Our live coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine has moved here.
A former Chechen commander wanted by Ukraine for alleged war crimes last year is leading the Russian earthquake relief effort in Turkey.
Daniil Martynov was in several locations in Ukraine last year in the early weeks of the Russian invasion. He is thought to be close to the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and has been featured in several videos on Kadyrov’s official Telegram channel.
In recent days, he has given interviews to Russian media outlets from the earthquake zone in Turkey, after being appointed last year as an advisor in Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry.
Last August, the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, alleged that Martynov had committed a series of war crimes in the town of Borodianka, north of Kyiv.
The SBU described Martynov as the Deputy Head of the National Guard Troops in the Chechen Republic and said he was “responsible for the training of Kadyrov's personal security detail.”
The SBU alleged that Martinov managed the occupation of the Borodianka psychiatric hospital in March. It said that on his orders “almost 500 people were taken hostage (patients, staff and local residents), including more than a hundred bed-ridden patients.”
The SBU alleged that the hospital had been “turned into a firing position of the occupiers” and said that Martynov was accused of “violation of the laws and customs of war, and abuse of prisoners of war or civilians.”
There is no record of Martynov responding to the Ukrainian allegations. While dismissing the SBU accusations last August, Kadyrov said: "With regard to Martynov, he does not work for us. He's working with the MES [Ministry of Emergency Situations.]"
Martynov was sanctioned in 2020 by the US Treasury Department for “serious human rights abuse in Russia." It said he was “a personal security advisor for Kadyrov, [and] has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.”
CNN is reaching out to Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry for comment on Martinov’s role, as well as to the Ukrainian Security Service.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed British lawmakers and met with King Charles on Wednesday in his first trip to the United Kingdom since Russia's invasion of his country. Zelensky later arrived in France to meet with the French president and German chancellor. He's now set to go to a European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday.
Here are the latest headlines:
United Kingdom visit: During his address in the Houses of Parliament, Zelensky repeated his call for Western allies to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. According to the UK's PA Media news agency, the United Kingdom is "actively" considering whether to send British jets to Ukraine. But warnings from the Russian embassy in London warned the UK against providing the jets due to what it said would produce "military and political ramifications" for the whole world.
Zelensky then met with King Charles III, who told him that he's "been worried" about him and Ukraine as the war rages on. Zelensky then arrived at a British military facility where he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian troops being trained on Challenger 2 tanks. Then later on Wednesday at a joint news conference, Sunak announced the first Challenger 2 battle tanks will arrive in Ukraine next month. Following the joint news conference, Zelensky said Ukraine and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on a "powerful defense package."
France visit: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized their support for Ukraine during a joint news conference held Wednesday. Macron and Scholz affirmed to Zelensky that the countries will continue to provide military aid to Ukraine.
Ground developments: Russian shelling appears to be increasing in parts of the Kharkiv region recaptured by Ukrainian forces last September, as well as in other areas of northern Ukraine. Near the town of Semenivka in the northern Chernihiv region, two Ukrainian civilians were killed Wednesday in a missile strike.
Military assistance: The first battalion of Leopard 2 tanks delivered by Western allies could reach Ukraine by March or April of this year, according to German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. During the joint press conference with Sunak, Zelensky said Ukraine will be "intensifying our diplomacy” in regard to the request for Eurofighter typhoon jets. And while at the British military facility, Zelensky said his battlefield priorities are for Ukraine to obtain more armored vehicles, longer-range missiles and fighter jets. Two hundred Ukrainian troops are currently being trained in the United Kingdom by Australian soldiers, according to the Australian Department of Defence. Seventy Australian soldiers were deployed to the UK to begin taking part in a UK-led and based training program for Ukrainian recruits, which the Australian Department of Defence refers to as “Operation Kudu.”
The Russian embassy in London described Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s trip to the UK on Wednesday as a “hasty event,” “theatrical performance,” “fundraising event,” and “ex-comedian in a green sweatshirt now on tour around Europe.”
In response to the UK saying it's "actively looking" at whether to send fighter jets to Ukraine, the embassy warned that “Russia will know how to respond to any unfriendly actions by the British side.”
“We would like to remind London: in the event of such a scenario the death toll of yet another round of escalation, as well as and its military-political consequences for the European continent and the whole world will be on the United Kingdom’s hands," the embassy said in a statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “when it comes to the provision of military assistance to Ukraine, nothing is off the table” when asked whether the UK will provide fighter jets to Ukraine.
And Zelensky hailed his visit, noting the two countries had reached an agreement on a "powerful defense package."
French President Emmanuel Macron told his visiting Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that France is “determined” to assist Ukraine in its war against Russia.
“We stand by Ukraine, determined to help it to victory,” Macron said. “Ukraine can count on France and its allies to win the war, Russia should not and will not win the war.”
Macron affirmed to Zelensky that France will continue to provide military support to Ukraine and Paris will "adapt and re-adapt" to Kyiv’s needs.
"Ukraine can count on us to build peace," the French leader said, speaking alongside Zelensky and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris.
After arriving in Paris, Zelensky said he is “thankful for the spontaneous idea for us to meet and talk” in a joint news conference with Macron and Scholz.
“France and Germany have the potential to be game changers” Zelensky said in his opening remarks, adding that “the sooner Ukraine manages to get long range weapons and modern planes, the stronger our coalitions will be.”
Scholz said Germany will continue to provide military aid to Ukraine “as long as it needs.”
“Russia should not win this war," Scholz said.
He said that Zelensky going to an EU summit taking place in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday as “a strong signal” of solidarity.
Correction: The headline and quote from President Macron have been corrected to note that France is determined to help Ukraine to victory.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on a "powerful defense package."
"We have agreed on a significant number of armored vehicles and the supply of long-range weapons," Zelensky said on his official Telegram account. "And we agreed to start training Ukrainian pilots.”
The announcement comes after Zelensky made his first visit to the United Kingdom since the Russian invasion of his country.
"I believe that this is our clear signal – of Ukraine and the UK – that together we are not only going, but will go all the way to our common victory," he said.
See photos shared by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak from the joint news conference with Zelensky:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived at Orly Airport in Paris, according to the French government.
Zelensky was greeted on the tarmac by French defense minister Sébastien Lecornu, according to live visuals.
Zelensky will head to the Elysee Palace for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Ukraine will be "intensifying our diplomacy” in regard to the request for Eurofighter typhoon jets, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Zelensky suggested that the decision was not solely in the UK's hands.
"Once again, I heard from Mr. Prime Minister the desire to provide fighter jets, and officially he declared they can begin training our pilots," Zelensky said in the joint news conference at Lulworth Camp in Dorset, England. "When it comes to Typhoons, not everything depends just on the decision of Great Britain."
"I will be working in that direction because, again, this is how we have been able to change many things," said Zelensky, adding that he will be meeting with a dozen EU leaders in the coming days.
Zelensky also emphasized the need to have these diplomatic conversations regarding fighter jets "quickly."
Sunak noted that it takes three years to train a Typhoon fighter pilot from scratch, to which Zelensky responded, "I didn't even know it takes three years to train a pilot like that. You know, come on, we will be sending you pilots who have already trained for two and a half years."
Earlier on Wednesday, the prime minister's official spokesperson said the UK is "actively" considering whether to send British jets to Ukraine. Downing Street maintained no decision has yet been taken on whether to supply the jets, though.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz has arrived in Paris, according to a CNN team on the ground who spotted the German leader at the Elysee Palace.
Scholz will meet with French and Ukrainian presidents, Emmanuel Macron and Volodymyr Zelensky, Wednesday evening.
Zelensky is expected to arrive in Paris soon after making his first visit to the United Kingdom since the Russian invasion of his country.