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Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Britain steps up military backing for Ukraine as Zelenskiy visits London

UKRAINE-CRISIS-SNAPSHOT:Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Ukraine replacing defence chief
UKRAINE-CRISIS-SNAPSHOT:Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Ukraine replacing defence chief Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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- President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Britain on Wednesday to drum up aid, winning a pledge to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced NATO fighter jets, a big symbolic step up in Western military support.

VISIT

* London was his first stop on only his second trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. An EU diplomat said Zelenskiy would travel on to Brussels on Thursday, where the European Union is holding a summit.

* British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the country would accelerate the supply of military equipment including longer range capabilities. Kyiv says Russia is intensifying its assault on Ukrainian government-held parts of eastern and southern regions of Ukraine that Moscow has unilaterally declared are now part of Russia.

RUSSIAN ECONOMY

* Russian authorities are discussing a one-off budget contribution from businesses this year of about 200-250 billion roubles ($2.8-$3.5 billion), three sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters, as Moscow seeks to rein in its widening budget deficit.

* Western sanctions on Russia have significantly reduced state oil revenues and diverted tens of billions of dollars towards shipping and refining firms, some with Russian connections.

* Russia's rouble slid to a one-month low against the dollar ahead of two OFZ treasury bond auctions, held back from a more dramatic fall by the government's foreign currency sales. Russia is now selling 8.9 billion roubles ($124.48 million) worth of foreign currency per day, compensating for lower oil and gas revenues, down 46.4% year-on-year in January.

* A fire broke out at an oil refinery in Russia's southern Rostov region, but was later extinguished, Russian news agencies said. The cause was not immediately clear.

* The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates said it had granted a licence to Russia's MTS Bank, a fintech unit of Russia's largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems.

* Amsterdam-listed mobile telecoms operator VEON VON.AS said Russian regulatory authorities had approved the proposed sale of its Russian operations, driving up its shares.

BATTLEFIELD LATEST

* Ukraine's military said on Tuesday that 1,030 Russian troops were killed over 24 hours, the highest daily toll of the war. For its part, Russia said it had inflicted 6,500 Ukrainian casualties in the month of January. Reuters could not independently verify either report.

* Ukraine national security chief Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview the Kremlin was expected to target the northeastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhia regions in a new thrust.

* The Ukraine military said on Tuesday evening that more than 30 towns and villages in Kharkiv and 20 communities in Zaporizhzhia came under fire.

DIPLOMACY

* A new U.S. package of weapons is expected to include longer-range rockets, which would give Ukraine the ability to hit Russian supply lines in all of the territory it occupies in Ukraine's mainland and parts of the Crimea Peninsula.

* The German government's security council has approved delivery of 178 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine from industry stocks, considerably more than previously announced, a source said, confirming an earlier Spiegel magazine report.

* Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands will pool funds to restore at least 100 old Leopard 1 tanks from industry stocks and supply them to Ukraine, according to a joint statement.

* Russia says Western arms shipments to Ukraine are dragging military alliance NATO into the conflict with a potentially "unpredictable" level of escalation.

* Switzerland is close to breaking with centuries of tradition as a neutral state, as a pro-Ukraine shift in the public and political mood puts pressure on the government to end a ban on exports of Swiss weapons to war zones.

* The Paris mayor says there should be no Russian delegation at the Paris 2024 Olympics as long as the war is ongoing.

* Russia has demanded that the U.S. embassy in Moscow stop spreading what Moscow regards as fake news regarding its military operation in Ukraine and has threatened to expel U.S. diplomats, the TASS news agency reported.

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