January 24, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Jack Guy, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:14 a.m. ET, January 25, 2023
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7:27 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Germany confirms it has received Polish request to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

A Leopard 2 combat tank in action at the 9th Panzerlehr Brigade of the German Bundeswehr in Munster, northern Germany, on February 7.
A Leopard 2 combat tank in action at the 9th Panzerlehr Brigade of the German Bundeswehr in Munster, northern Germany, on February 7. (Focke Strangmann/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

The German government has received a Polish request to export German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, a spokesman told CNN.

He would not say how quickly a possible approval could happen, but said the process would take place with “necessary urgency.” 

“The Federal Government has received an application from Poland for the export of Leopard 2 tanks," the spokesman confirmed.

"As already explained by government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit at yesterday's government press conference, applications for the approval of an arms export are examined with the necessary urgency in accordance with the established procedures and arms export guidelines,” he added.

10:26 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

More officials dismissed from Ukrainian government as part of "personnel" changes

From CNN's Jo Shelley and Kostan Nechyporenko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers his nightly address from Kyiv on January 23.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers his nightly address from Kyiv on January 23. (President of Ukraine)

Two more deputy ministers have been dismissed from the Ukrainian government as part of the “personnel” changes announced by President Volodymyr Zelensky last night. 

“At a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on Jan. 24, a number of personnel decisions were made,” Oleh Nemchinov, the minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, said on Telegram. 

He said that Viacheslav Nehoda, the deputy minister of Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine, and Vitalii Muzychenko, deputy minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, had been dismissed.

They join Viacheslav Shapovalov, a deputy minister of defense, and Ivan Lukerya, a deputy minister of Communities and Territories Development, in leaving the government.

The dismissals follow that of Vasyl Lozynskyy, the acting minister of Communities and Territories Development.

Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry said on Sunday that Lozynskyy had been arrested on suspicion of embezzlement. He has not commented on the allegations. 

In a Facebook post published on Monday, Lozynsky’s lawyer, Oleksandr Tananakin, said his client had been dismissed “before he was notified of suspicion.”

“No funds, let alone in the amounts indicated by the NABU [National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which had accused him of receiving “unlawful benefits”], were found and seized from Mr. Lozynsky,” he said.

Tananakin accused the bureau of “deliberately using manipulative tactics to inform the public in order to artificially create a representation of Lozynsky's guilt and form a negative image of him.”

In a post on his Facebook page, Nehoda said that he was “automatically subject to dismissal” because “in December, the Government decided to liquidate the Ministry of Regional Development.” He said that only two deputies were offered jobs with the minister and that all others automatically lost their jobs. “I didn't write any letter of resignation, it's not necessary at all,” he said.

In addition, the cabinet supported the dismissal of the governors of the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Sumy and Kherson regions, Nemchinov said.

On Monday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had signaled that there would be changes to “personnel” within the Ukrainian government, without naming the people impacted. 

6:57 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Kremlin says travel restrictions are not being discussed after reports of new border procedures

From CNN's Anna Chernova

The Kremlin is not currently talking about the possibility of restricting citizens’ travel outside of Russia, spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

“No (such plans) are not being discussed in the Kremlin,” Peskov told reporters.

Earlier Tuesday, state news agencies reported that Russian lawmakers have drafted a bill requiring citizens to register online to book a specific date and time for crossing the Russian border.

The proposed amendments will only affect freight transport, said Yevgeny Moskvichev, head of the State Duma Transport Committee, according to RIA Novosti.

The draft bill was posted online on Monday but had been taken down as of Tuesday morning, according to RIA Novosti.

The Kremlin and other Russian officials have repeatedly denied widespread speculation that Moscow is planning to close country's borders in January, and possibly announce a second wave of mobilization.

6:46 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Approval of tank deliveries to Ukraine would affect Russia-Germany relations, Kremlin says

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Antonia Mortensen

Berlin's approval of Leopard 2 tank deliveries to Ukraine would inevitably affect relations between Russia and Germany, which are already at a “fairly low point,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

Peskov said that there is currently “no substantive dialogue with Germany or with other EU and NATO countries.”

“Of course, such deliveries do not bode well for the future of relations. They will leave an imminent trace,” Peskov added during a regular press briefing.

Peskov was speaking before Poland formally asked for approval from Germany to transfer some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on Tuesday.

5:29 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Ukrainian government shakeup shows President Zelensky "sees and hears" society, adviser says

From CNN’s Kostan Nechyporenko

Recent changes to “personnel” within Ukraine's government prove that President Volodymyr Zelensky “sees and hears society," according to a presidential adviser.

“Zelensky’s personnel decisions testify to the key priorities of the state... No ‘blind eyes’,” tweeted Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine.

“During the war, everyone should understand their responsibility. The President sees and hears society. And he directly responds to a key public demand – justice for all…” 

Earlier Tuesday, it was announced that Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, a deputy prosecutor general, and Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff had tendered their resignations and been dismissed. 

Deputy defense minister Viacheslav Shapovalov resigned after allegations of corruption surfaced in the media.

5:14 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Berlin to decide on Leopard tank delivery to Ukraine "very soon," defense ministry says

From CNN's Inke Kappeler and Claudia Otto

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius speaks during a joint news conference at the Defence Ministry in Berlin, Germany, on January 24.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius speaks during a joint news conference at the Defence Ministry in Berlin, Germany, on January 24. (Annegret Hilse/Reuters)

Germany will "very soon" decide whether to allow delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Tuesday.

“We are preparing our decision and it will come very soon,“ Pistorius said during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday.

If the decision is taken to send the tanks, Germany will be able to “act very soon,” added Pistorius.

He defended Germany from criticism for holding off on sending the tanks, saying they are not the only ones weighing up the decision. 

There are some partners who are still evaluating, this is a process,” he explained.

Germany would not stand in the way if other nations started training Ukrainian soldiers on Leopard tanks, he added.

“We don't stand in the way of starting the training right away, but we can't do that until we've made a decision about how to handle the Leopard delivery,” Pistorius said.

5:10 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Russia proposes electronic registration for border crossing slots, state media reports

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Russian lawmakers have drafted a bill requiring citizens to register online to book a specific date and time for crossing the country's borders, state news agency TASS reported Tuesday, citing an official document at their disposal.

The amendments to the transport law were prepared by Yevgeny Moskvichev, head of the State Duma Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development, according to TASS. 

“The passage of vehicles belonging to Russian carriers, foreign carriers, citizens of Russia, foreign citizens, stateless persons, and others on sections of highways in order to cross the state border of the Russian Federation is carried out on a reserved date and time in accordance with the procedure established by the government of the Russian Federation," reads the draft of the bill, reports TASS.

The amendments also introduce new measures of controlling the arrival of vehicles on the reserved date and time, and equipping checkpoints with means that would allow the forced stopping of vehicles, according to state news agency RIA Novosti. 

In September, the announcement of a "partial mobilization" sparked an exodus from Russia as military-age men fled the country rather than risk being conscripted, with video footage showing long lines of traffic at land border crossings into several neighboring countries, as well as surging airfares and sold-out flights.

5:03 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Poland says it has formally requested the transfer of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine

From CNN’s Antonia Mortensen

Members of the Bundeswehr's Panzerbataillon 393 stand next to two Leopard 2 A7V battle tanks on September 15, 2021 in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany.
Members of the Bundeswehr's Panzerbataillon 393 stand next to two Leopard 2 A7V battle tanks on September 15, 2021 in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

Poland has officially requested the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Polish defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak said Tuesday.

The Germans have already received our request for consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine,” he said on Twitter. 

“I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause, because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!” he urged.

CNN has asked Germany for confirmation.

5:00 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

NATO chief confident’ decision on Leopard tanks for Ukraine will be reached "soon"

From CNN’s Allegra Goodwin in London

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attends a joint press conference at the Defense Ministry in Berlin, Germany, on January 24.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attends a joint press conference at the Defense Ministry in Berlin, Germany, on January 24. (Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that he is “confident” a decision on sending German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine will be made soon. 

Speaking to reporters at a news conference alongside new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius in Berlin Monday, Stoltenberg said the much debated issue was discussed during a meeting between the two earlier. 

Consultations among allies will continue and I’m confident that we will have a solution soon,” he added.

At a meeting at the US' Ramstein air base in Germany on Friday, Berlin failed to reach an agreement with key Western partners on providing the tanks to Ukraine ahead of a potential Russian spring offensive in the war.

According to German law, weapons intended for warfare that are manufactured in the country cannot be re-exported without the federal government’s approval.