January 17, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales, Maureen Chowdhury and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 12:43 a.m. ET, January 18, 2023
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6:48 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Biden administration says more US aid to Ukraine could be announced “as soon as the end of this week”

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

The White House teased that additional Ukrainian aid could be announced “as soon as the end of this week,” while vowing to work to hold President Vladimir Putin responsible for any war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of the country.  

“I suspect that you will continue to hear coming from the United States additional packages of security assistance, additional weapons and capabilities for Ukraine – perhaps as soon as the end of this week,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. 

Kirby didn’t answer when asked if the package would include tanks for the Ukrainians, saying he didn’t “want to get ahead of things we haven’t announced yet,” but he said the US was focused “on trying to make sure that we are giving Ukraine what they need in the fight that they're in."

“We're gonna continue to modulate these packages so that they're most appropriate for what Ukraine needs and if we can't provide that, we're working with other allies and partners to see if they can,” he said.  

He was also asked if the Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro, Ukraine, that killed dozens, including six children, was a war crime.

Kirby said the US had been “very, very clear and honest about the fact that the Russian Armed Forces continue to commit atrocities and war crimes” and would work with the international community to hold Russia accountable. 

“It is just egregious to look at what Mr. Putin did here over the last 48 hours or so in hitting an apartment complex with no military value whatsoever,” he said. “It wasn't about knocking out power or water. It was about killing innocent civilians while they were at home.” 

5:41 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Blinken: US determined to give Ukraine the support it needs to succeed on the battlefield

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at the State Department in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at the State Department in Washington, DC on Tuesday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday the support Washington has provided to Kyiv has evolved throughout the course of the war as the United States is determined to give Ukraine "what it needs to succeed on the battlefield."

“As this aggression has evolved, so too has our assistance to Ukraine, making sure that it has what it needs to meet the aggression head on,” Blinken said at a news conference in Washington, DC, alongside British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

Blinken teased “more announcements” from the US coming out of the meeting of the Ramstein group, which Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will attend in Germany this week. Blinken did not get into details about what else the US might be providing to Ukraine.

“If you look at the trajectory from Stingers to Javelins to HIMARs to Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Patriot missile batteries, we have continuously provided what Ukraine needs and we're doing it in a way to make sure that it's responsive to what's actually happening on the battlefield, as well as projecting where it might go, making sure as well that the Ukrainians are trained on the systems that were provided, that they have the ability to maintain the systems,” Blinken said. 

He said the provision of US support started “when we saw the storm clouds gathering in the months before the aggression.”

The top US diplomat reiterated that the fastest way to end the war is "to give Ukraine a strong hand on the battlefield,” which is what the US is doing, he said.

Blinken praised the United Kingdom for its announcement that it will provide tanks to Ukraine, saying, “We applaud the prime minister’s commitment over the weekend to send Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems to Ukraine, elements that will continue to reinforce and add to what the United States has provided, including in our most recent drawdown.”

3:31 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

European Union needs to stay united on Ukraine, Spain's prime minister says

From CNN's Gayle Harrington

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during a meeting of the Federal Executive of the Socialist Party, in Madrid, Spain on January 9, 2023.
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during a meeting of the Federal Executive of the Socialist Party, in Madrid, Spain on January 9, 2023. (Alejandro Martinez Velez/Europa Press/Getty Images)

Spain's prime minister on Tuesday stressed the need for long-term European unity in its support of Ukraine.  

In an interview with CNN's Julia Chatterley at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that the price of Russia's war on the Ukrainian people has been high.

"They need to feel the solidarity, the empathy and commitment of the whole European Union. We will be with the Ukrainians for as long as it takes," he said.

When asked if he believed Putin had been weakened, Sánchez said that it was his impression that he had been.

Earlier, the prime minister warned delegates attending the forum that it is crucial the EU "fights the rotten seeds Putin has planted in our own countries." 

The Russian president has allies in Europe who hide their sympathies and ties to Putin who must be prevented from destroying the EU from the inside, Sánchez said. 

In his address, he pledged to fight them with the same conviction the Ukrainians are fighting the Russian forces but with different weapons. 

3:03 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Netherlands plans to join US and Germany in sending Patriot missile system to Ukraine, prime minister says

From CNN's Duarte Mendonca, Mick Krever, Nikki Carvajal and Lindsay Isaac in London

The Netherlands plans to join the US and Germany in sending a Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday.

“We have the intention to join what you are doing with Germany on the Patriots project, so the air defense system. I think that is important that we join that,” Rutte said, adding that he’s already discussed the issue with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We can never accept that Putin and Russia get away with it this, so our accountability to take them to court, to make sure that this all gets done,” Rutte said.

A Dutch defense ministry spokesperson declined to comment beyond Rutte’s statement.

Biden and Rutte “reaffirmed the historic ties and shared values that link” the US and the Netherlands when they met Tuesday, the White House said, in a readout of the meeting. 

The two leaders, “reviewed our steadfast political, security, economic, and humanitarian support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression, including our efforts to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and for the war crimes committed by Russian forces,” according to the readout. They also discussed “growing cooperation on other foreign policy priorities, including our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

More on the Patriot missile system: The Patriot’s radar system combines “surveillance, tracking, and engagement functions in one unit,” a description from the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) says, which makes it stand out among other air defense systems. The system’s engagements with incoming aerial threats are “nearly autonomous” aside from needing a “final launch decision” from the humans operating it. Patriot – an acronym for Phased Array Tracking Radar for intercept on Target – system is considered one of the most capable long-range air defense systems on the market. 

CNN's Haley Britzky contributed reporting to this post.

1:28 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Around 100 Ukrainian troops have begun Patriot missile training at US base, Defense Department confirms 

From CNN's Michael Conte and Oren Liebermann

The US Defense Department confirmed that "upwards of 90 to 100 Ukrainians" have all arrived at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and have begun their training on the Patriot missile system.

On Monday, the US Army base announced that Ukrainian troops had arrived at the location to begin training. CNN was first to report that the training was set to begin as soon as this week.

Fort Sill is home to the Fires Center of Excellence where the US conducts Patriot training for its own military and other countries. 

“The same instructors who teach U.S., allied and partner nations will conduct the Ukrainian training, and these classes will not detract from the ongoing training missions at Fort Sill,” the base said in a statement.

The training will take “several months” on the advanced, but complex long-range aerial defense system, according to Pentagon officials. It’s not clear how much the military can accelerate the training program.

2:51 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Biden thanks Netherlands prime minister for "standing strong with Ukraine"

From CNN's DJ Judd

US President Joe Biden, right, speaks while meeting with Mark Rutte, Netherlands prime minister, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
US President Joe Biden, right, speaks while meeting with Mark Rutte, Netherlands prime minister, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday. (Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

United States President Joe Biden thanked Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte for “standing strong with Ukraine,” while blasting Russia for “just continuing to act in ways that are almost unbelievable in its brutality.”

Biden made the comments from the Oval Office after welcoming Rutte to the White House Tuesday,

The president called the Netherlands, “one of our strongest allies and personal friends —and you've been a great, great personal ally as well," he said alongside Rutte.

12:34 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Top Ukrainian and US generals meet in Poland

From Yulia Kesiaeva in Kyiv and Oren Liebermann

Commander in Chief of the Ukrainian armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi attends a session of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine, on December 28.
Commander in Chief of the Ukrainian armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi attends a session of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine, on December 28. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters)

Ukraine’s top general said he had his first ever in-person meeting with his US counterpart Gen. Mark Milley in Poland on Tuesday.

“I extended my gratitude to General Mark Milley for the unwavering support and assistance provided by the United States of America and allies to Ukraine." Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said on Facebook. "I outlined the urgent needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine meeting which will accelerate our victory.”

Milley and Zaluzhnyi discussed “the unprovoked and ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine,” according to a readout of the meeting provided by the US general's office.

Later this week, Milley will attend the next meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany, when the US and approximately 50 other countries come together to pledge new support to Ukraine. On Monday, Milley saw the newly expanded combined arms training of Ukrainian forces in Germany.

“The Chairman reaffirmed unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to the readout.

The meeting between the generals came one day after Ukrainian troops arrived at Fort Sill in Oklahoma to begin training on the Patriot missile system, according to the US Army base.

11:16 a.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Europe rushes to stock up on Russian diesel before an import ban could push up prices at pumps

From CNN's Anna Cooban

Europe is scrambling to buy diesel fuel from Russia before a ban on imports comes into force in early February, but the frantic stockpiling is unlikely to prevent a new price shock for truckers, drivers and businesses.

In the first two weeks of January, European countries snapped up almost 8 million barrels of Russian diesel, according to energy data provider Vortexa, roughly on par with imports this time last year before Russia invaded Ukraine. Imports in the fourth quarter of 2022 were up nearly 19% on the same period the previous year.

Russia is the bloc’s biggest supplier, making up 29% of its total diesel imports last year, data from Rystad Energy shows.

Since Russia’s invasion in February last year, the European Union has made a huge effort to wean itself off Moscow’s oil and natural gas supplies.

EU countries drastically reduced their imports of crude from Russia ahead of the ban, but that isn’t happening with diesel because it’s much harder to find alternative sources of the fuel.

The EU ban will tighten the global market for diesel, according to Mark Williams, a research director at Wood Mackenzie, told CNN — unless Russia can successfully divert its cargoes to Latin America and Africa, regions which typically import from the United States. That would free up US barrels to be sent to Europe, plugging the gap left by Moscow, he said.

But importing diesel from suppliers further afield, including the United States and Saudi Arabia, will push up freight costs, feeding into higher consumer prices, he said.

“We are expecting diesel prices to rise in Europe. We’re expecting a spike sort of February, March time,” Williams said.

According to Wood Mackenzie’s estimates, the price of a barrel of diesel will average $40 for the first three months of this year. That’s up a whopping 470% from the average price for the whole of 2021, before Russia’s invasion sent prices soaring.

Read more here.

10:37 a.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Death toll from Russian strike on a Dnipro apartment building rises to 45

From Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

The exposed interior of an apartment in the block in Dnpiro, Ukraine, on January 15.
The exposed interior of an apartment in the block in Dnpiro, Ukraine, on January 15. (Yan Dobronosov)

The death toll from Saturday's Russian attack on an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro has risen to 45, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk region military administration said Tuesday.

Another child was found among the dead, Valentyn Reznichenko said on Facebook. The total number of people killed now stands at at least 45, among whom six were children.

At least 19 people are still missing.