January 18, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Kathryn Snowdon, Jack Guy, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Leinz Vales, CNN

Updated 12:25 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023
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3:34 a.m. ET, January 18, 2023

At least 16 killed in helicopter crash in Kyiv region, Ukrainian police say

From CNN's Maria Kosetenko in Kyiv

Medics and emergency personnel work at the site a where a helicopter crashed in the town of Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 18.
Medics and emergency personnel work at the site a where a helicopter crashed in the town of Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 18. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

At least 16 people have been killed after a helicopter crashed in a Kyiv suburb on Wednesday, Ukrainian police said.

National Police chief Ihor Klymenko said nine of the dead had been onboard the aircraft, which crashed near a kindergarten and residential building in the eastern suburb of Brovary.

Two of those killed were children, he said.

Another 22 people are in hospital, including 10 children, he added.

3:05 a.m. ET, January 18, 2023

Number of victims "increasing" after helicopter crash, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

A unspecified number of casualties have been reported after a helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in a Kyiv suburb on Wednesday, a senior Ukrainian official said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, said in a social media post that “the number of reports of victims in Brovary is increasing.”

The head of the Kyiv regional military administration said earlier that there were a number of injured people, without providing further details.

3:34 a.m. ET, January 18, 2023

Helicopter crashes near kindergarten and residential building in Kyiv region

The site where a helicopter crashed in the town of Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 18.
The site where a helicopter crashed in the town of Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 18. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

A helicopter crashed near a kindergarten and a residential building in the Ukrainian city of Brovary in the Kyiv region on Wednesday, according to Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv regional military administration. 

"At the time of the tragedy, there were children and the staff in the kindergarten. At the moment, everyone was evacuated," he wrote on Telegram. 

Kuleba said there are injured people, but did not give further details on how many or the degree of injuries. 

Paramedics, the police and firefighters are responding at the scene, he added. 

This post has been updated with additional information.

1:35 a.m. ET, January 18, 2023

More than 9,000 civilians killed in Ukraine during Russia's invasion, Kyiv official says

From CNN's Teele Rebane

People lay flowers at the coffin of Mykhailo Korenovsky, a boxing coach and father killed in a Russian missile strike on an apartment building on Tuesday in Dnipro.
People lay flowers at the coffin of Mykhailo Korenovsky, a boxing coach and father killed in a Russian missile strike on an apartment building on Tuesday in Dnipro. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

More than 9,000 civilians, including 453 children, have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion began last February, Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff, told the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Ukrainian presidential office.

According to the senior presidential aide, Ukraine has also registered 80,000 crimes committed by Russian forces during the invasion.

“We will forgive not a single torture or life taken, not a single destroyed home, not a single tear of a Ukrainian child. Each criminal will be held accountable,” Yermak said in his virtual remarks.

Yermak urged the international community to establish a Special International Tribunal to hold Russia's leadership accountable for “the crime of aggression,” as the International Criminal Court does not have the relevant jurisdiction, the statement said. 

He also called for the development of mechanisms that would allow the confiscation of Russian assets to pay for war damages.

“No victory is complete without restoration of justice. That means the guilty must be punished, and the damages they have caused must be compensated. The repetition of crime must be prevented,” Yermak told the forum. 
“In our case, justice is reached through trial of those who committed war crimes.”
12:51 a.m. ET, January 18, 2023

Russia bans more European officials in retaliation for EU sanctions

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh 

Russia has expanded its list of blacklisted European Union officials in response to the EU's ninth round of sanctions imposed in December, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday. 

Those now barred from entering Russia include senior officials from military agencies of EU countries involved in the training of Ukrainian troops, the statement said. 

It also includes European state-run and commercial entities that manufacture and supply weapons and military equipment to Kyiv, and citizens of EU countries "who engage in systematic public anti-Russian rhetoric," the statement added. 

The ministry did not mention specific names of individuals or entities.

Some background: The EU sanctions imposed in December added almost 200 individuals and entities to an asset freeze list, including Russian military members, defense firms, politicians and Russian proxy authorities in occupied areas of Ukraine, the European Commission said at the time. 

"We consider these EU moves illegitimate and believe they undermine the UN Security Council international legal prerogatives," Russia's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, adding "any and all unfriendly actions by Western countries will be met with a timely and commensurate response."
12:40 a.m. ET, January 18, 2023

Wagner defector's lawyer says war crimes charges "a thought that is unavoidable"

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Lawyer Brynjulf Risnes is representing former Wagner defector Andrey Medvedev in Norway.
Lawyer Brynjulf Risnes is representing former Wagner defector Andrey Medvedev in Norway. (CNN)

A lawyer for former Wagner commander Andrey Medvedev, who is seeking asylum in Norway after refusing to renew his service with the Russian military group, said the possibility his client could be charged with war crimes "is being thoroughly analyzed."

Speaking to CNN's Erin Burnett on Tuesday, lawyer Brynjulf Risnes said potential war crimes charges against Medvedev were "a thought that is unavoidable," but added "it's a fact that he himself says, of course, that he didn't have any contact with any civilians."

"The only places he was engaged in any fighting was in a situation where they were sort of shooting at someone that didn't see, they were told to shoot at certain points," Risnes said of his client. "So you saw that as a typical military activity.”

A spokesperson for Norway’s Police Security Service confirmed to CNN Monday that Medvedev was in Norway and seeking asylum.

In an interview with a Russian activist who helps people seek asylum abroad, Medvedev said he feared for his life after refusing to renew his service with Wagner.

Medvedev said he was afraid of being executed in the same manner as another Wagner defector who was killed on camera with a sledgehammer.

The mercenary group, headed by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, has emerged as a key player in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — recently doing much of the fighting in the small eastern town of Soledar.

7:51 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.” 

7:50 p.m. ET, January 17, 2023

Netherlands plans to send Patriot missile system to Ukraine, prime minister says

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

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 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. The 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.

7:48 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.