1 person killed as city of Kherson was shelled 18 times, according to local officials
From Katharina Krebs in London and Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv
The southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was shelled 18 times on Friday, Ukrainian authorities said, resulting in one death and one person injured.
Apartments and private houses were also damaged in the shelling, the Kherson city council said in a statement.
“Since November 20, a total of 1,810 incoming hits have been recorded in the city. During this period, 77 people died, including one child,” according to the statement, adding that a total of 214 people — including six children — have been injured in total.
Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian Emergency Services reported that Russian shelling caused three large fires in Kherson city overnight.
3:11 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023
US attorney general says forfeited funds seized from Russian oligarch will go toward Ukrainian aid
From CNN's Holmes Lybrand
US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the first transfer of forfeited assets from sanctions against a Russia oligarch on Friday during an appearance with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin at the Justice Department. The funds, according to Garland, will go toward aiding Ukraine.
“Today, I am announcing that I have authorized the first ever transfer of forfeited Russian assets for use in Ukraine,” Garland said. “These forfeited assets follow the announcement I made last April of the indictment of designated Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, on charges of sanctions evasions.”
In June, millions were seized from a US bank account belonging to Malofeyev, whom the United States announced sanctions against in April “for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly” the Russian government, the Treasury Department said at the time.
“With my authorization today. The forfeited funds will next be transferred to the State Department to support the people of Ukraine,” the attorney general added. “Russian war criminals will find no refuge in the United States.”
Kostin echoed Garland’s statement Friday, adding that the two countries were sending a clear message: “There will be no immunity and impunity for international crimes.”
“Today, we are witnessing the authorization of transfer of the confiscated assets in the amount of $5.4 million US dollars to the State Department for the purpose of rebuilding war ravaged Ukraine,” Kostin added.
“We are grateful to the United States for its decisive efforts and support. Ukrainian people will never forget that,” he said.
1:30 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023
US Treasury sanctions senior officials at Iranian drone manufacturer
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
The US Treasury Department on Friday imposed sanctions on eight senior officials at an Iranian drone manufacturer – its latest punitive measure in response to Tehran’s provision of drones to Russia for its war against Ukraine.
The manufacturer, Paravar Pars Company, was already under sanction in the United States and the European Union for manufacturing drones for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, according to a Treasury statement.
The Treasury Department on Friday targeted the company’s board of directors.
The agency also identified two Iranian vessels. The IRIS MAKRAN, “an oil tanker that was repurposed for naval operations" but still has the capability to launch unmanned aerial vehicles (UVA), commonly known as drones, is"currently conducting an international voyage," according to the Treasury. The Department said the tanker is accompanied by the naval frigate IRIS DENA (DENA).
“Iranian entities continue to produce UAVs for Iran’s IRGC and military. More broadly, Iran is supplying UAVs for Russia’s combat operations to target critical infrastructure in Ukraine,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. “The United States will continue to aggressively target all elements of Iran’s UAV program.”
3:00 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023
Ukraine says new NATO-supplied tanks will act as "iron fist" in counteroffensive
From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London and Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv
Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Friday that new NATO-supplied tanks will serve as an "iron fist" in Kyiv's counteroffensive against Russian forces in Ukraine.
"We need a 'tank coalition' with the main tanks of NATO countries for a counteroffensive. That is, we will use them as a "steel fist" in order to break through their defense line," said Reznikov at a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart.
In order to deter a possible new Russian offensive in the south and east, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will "primarily use 155-mm artillery" among other weapons, he added. "That is why we say today that the priority on the battlefield remains 155 mm artillery and shells for it."
Recently, Vadym Omelchenko, Kyiv's ambassador to France, said that numerous countries have confirmed "their agreement to deliver 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine."
He did not specify which countries would provide the tanks or provide a breakdown of which models.
The US has pledged to provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks and Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 A6s. Previously the United Kingdom has pledged 14 Challenger 2 tanks, while Poland has asked for approval from Germany to transfer some of its own German-made Leopard 2s to Ukraine.
CNN's Pierre Meilhan and Heather Chen have contributed to this post.
1:01 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023
Russian-installed Crimean authorities nationalize properties of Ukrainian politicians
From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova
Russian-installed authorities in Crimea said on Friday they had nationalized around 500 properties in the peninsula belonging to Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians.
“At an absentee vote, the deputies of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea adopted a resolution on the nationalization of the property of foreign citizens and states that commit unfriendly actions against Russia,” Vladimir Konstantinov, speaker of the Crimean parliament said in a Telegram post.
The property of Ukrainian oligarchs Serhiy Taruta, Igor Kolomoisky, Rinat Akhmetov and Arseniy Yatsenyuk are subject to nationalization. The list also includes the property of 12 Ukrainian banks and the Dynamo Kyiv football club, Russian state media TASS reported on Friday.
Some background: Crimea was forcibly seized by Russia in 2014. The Crimean peninsula is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based at Sevastopol. The peninsula acted as a launching pad for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Russian troops pouring into Ukraine’s south from the annexed region.
CNN's Vasco Cotovio and Tara John contributed to this post.
12:48 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023
US announces new $2.17 billion security assistance package for Ukraine
From CNN's Haley Britzky
The Biden administration has announced a new Ukraine security package worth $2.17 billion that includes longer-range missiles for the first time.
The package pulls $425 million from existing Defense Department stocks, and $1.75 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds. The new package marks $29.3 billion provided to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began last February.
CNN reported on Thursday that the package would include the Ground-launched Small Diameter Bomb — a guided missile with a range of 90 miles. The latest aid package does not include the sought-after ATACMS missiles, which the US has consistently rebuffed over concerns they could be used by the Ukrainians to hit targets deep inside Russia.
Though the missiles will effectively double the range of Ukrainian weaponry, the package won’t include the long sought-after ATACMS missile with a range in excess of 200 miles. The US has constantly rebuffed Ukraine’s requests for that system over concerns they may be used to hit targets deep inside Russia.
The latest announcement comes as the war in Ukraine approaches the 1-year mark and amid concerns over a spring offensive by Russia.
"The presidential draw down is the 31st such drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine," Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. "In total, the US has committed $32 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014, and $29.3 billion since Russia's unprovoked and illegal invasion nearly one year ago this month."
11:16 a.m. ET, February 3, 2023
European Union says a new round of sanctions against Russia is coming soon
From CNN's Eve Brennan in London
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that a 10th round of EU sanctions against Russia is "on its way."
“We have the aim to have it in place by the 24th of February. It has a volume of around about 10 billion euros — it’s a massive package," said von der Leyen.
"The perpetrator must pay and must be held accountable,” she added.
Separately, von der Leyen commended Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on his domestic reform work in its bid for EU membership. “Your determination to forge ahead is impressive. You're taking important steps with all the reforms forward to meet the recommendations, and we should not forget you are doing this while you are fighting against an aggressor.”
“Rest assured that your progress will be reflected in our important enlargement report that is due in autumn for the member states," she added.
11:22 a.m. ET, February 3, 2023
Zelensky says EU sanctions should aim to prevent Russia from rebuilding military capability
From Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv and Katharina Krebs
European Union sanctions on Russia should be targeted at stopping Moscow from rebuilding its military capability, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.
"We are very interested to ensure that Russia fails to rebuild military production. Sanctions are slowing down this process. We know precisely how many rockets were built there before the full-scale invasion and what happens now as result of sanctions from EU, US, Britain and other partners. Therefore, for us it is very important to make sure they don't have the capability to bypass sanctions as they often manage with help of some other countries," Zelensky said at a news conference in Kyiv alongside top European Union officials.
"It is imperative to stop Russian rebuilding military production," Zelensky said.
Zelensky spoke alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, who both traveled to Kyiv for a Ukraine-EU summit.
"It is very important not to allow any dilution of the important European sanctions that have already been approved, as well as any relaxation of these sanctions against some individuals, as is speculated in some countries, and even in EU member states," Zelensky said.
11:22 a.m. ET, February 3, 2023
Ukraine will fight to hold on to its "fortress" Bakhmut, Zelensky says
From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London
Ukraine will fight to hold onto the eastern city of Bakhmut for as long as it can, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.
"No one will surrender Bakhmut. We will fight as long as we can. We consider Bakhmut our fortress," Zelensky said at a news conference in Kyiv alongside top European Union officials following a Ukraine-EU summit.
Zelensky also urged the West to supply long-range weapons to help Kyiv stay on Bakhmut and push Russian troops out of the Donbas region.
The Ukrainian president said that Russia wants revenge for its military failures.
"Russia wants revenge. Revenge in the east where they didn't succeed. They want to take the east. Our task is not to give them this chance by strengthening our army with necessary weapons. I think we have every chance," Zelensky said at the news conference.
Ukrainian officials have said in recent weeks they believe Russia is preparing for a spring offensive.