Helicopter crash kills top Ukrainian officials; Zelenskyy pleads for Western tanks

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Jan.18, 2023. See here for the latest updates. 

A military stands at the site where a helicopter crashed near a kindergarten outside the capital Kyiv, killing Sixteen people, including two children and Ukrainian interior minister, on January 18, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

The leadership of Ukraine's Interior Ministry died in a helicopter crash in a suburb of the capital Kyiv on Wednesday.

"This morning, on January 18, a helicopter of the State Emergency Service crashed in Brovary.  As a result of the crash, the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs died: the minister, the first deputy minister and the state secretary," the head of the National Police of Ukraine Ihor Klymenko said on Facebook.

The helicopter fell near a kindergarten and a residential building in Brovary. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Ukraine's emergency services has said at least 17 people, including four children, died as a result of the crash.

Ukrainian women should be involved in legislation, says activist
Ukrainian women should be involved in legislation, says activist

In other news, Russian President Vladimir Putin could be ready to announce another mobilization round as Russia looks to beef up its armed forces in Ukraine.

"Putin may announce a second mobilization wave to expand his army in the coming days — possibly as early as January 18," analysts at the U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War said Tuesday.

Ukrainian intelligence officials said last week they believed Russia was preparing for a second wave of mobilization.

Russian embassy tweets map that shows Crimea as part of Ukraine

A Twitter account operated by the Russian Embassy in Sweden on Wednesday posted an image of Europe which identifies Crimea—shown at the lower right—as part of Ukraine.
Twitter / Russian Embassy, SWE / Forum Mapping HU.

A Twitter account operated by the Russian Embassy in Sweden posted a map identifying Crimea as part of Ukraine.

Officially, Moscow claims Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula that extends into the Black Sea, as part of Russia. Crimea was seized from Ukraine when Russia invaded the region in March 2014.

— Ted Kemp

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin will meet new German counterpart in Berlin

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on "Department of Defense's Budget Requests for FY2023", on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 7, 2022.
Sarah Silbiger | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Berlin, where he will meet with his new German counterpart Boris Pistorius.

The two are expected to hold a joint press conference.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz named Pistorius as Germany's next defense minister on Tuesday after Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday. Lambrecht had previously faced criticism for her handling of the slow supply of offensive weapons to Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

IAEA sends staff to all Ukraine nuclear plants in safety bid

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi talks to media in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 18, 2023. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finalized the stationing of permanent missions at 3 Ukrainian nuclear power plants: Rivne, Chornobyl and Pivdennoukrainska NPPs. 
Sergii Kharchenko | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The International Atomic Energy Agency is placing teams of experts at all four of Ukraine's nuclear power plants to reduce the risk of severe accidents as Russia's war against the country rages on, agency head Rafael Grossi said Wednesday.

The IAEA, which is affiliated with the United Nations, already has a permanent presence at Ukraine's — and Europe's — largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia that is held by Russian forces.

The IAEA's permanent presence at all of Ukraine's nuclear facilities, with at least 11 staff in total, marks an unprecedented expansion for the agency. IAEA technicians will also be at Chernobyl, the now-closed nuclear plant that was the site of a deadly nuclear accident in 1986 that spread fallout over much of Europe.

"From tomorrow, there will be two flags at all of the nuclear facilities in Ukraine; one of Ukraine and the second of the international nuclear agency," Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a joint press conference with Grossi at the government headquarters in Kyiv on Wednesday.

— Associated Press

Uber CEO says the ride sharing app is helping to save lives in Ukraine

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that his company's segment in Kyiv was not concerned with profitability because the popular ride sharing app was helping to save lives.

"They are risking their lives there getting doctors to hospitals, teachers getting to school transporting refugees and getting winter supplies to families in need," Khosrowshahi told CNBC during an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Khosrowshahi said that he recently visited Kyiv to see how Uber, which has been operating in the country since 2016, was contributing to Ukrainians' daily lives as Russia's war continues.

"There is a lot more work to be done," he added.

— Amanda Macias

Two ships leave Ukrainian ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative

A cargo ship carrying Ukrainian grain, and another originating from Ukraine, sail at the entrance of Bosphorus, in the Black Sea off the coast off Kumkoy, north of Istanbul, on November 2, 2022.
Ozan Kose | AFP | Getty Images

Two vessels carrying 64,200 metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian ports, the organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from the country said.

One ship is destined for Germany and is carrying rapeseed. The other vessel is headed to Libya with corn.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen.

So far, more than 660 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.

— Amanda Macias

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson receives honorary citizen of Kyiv award

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Justin Tallis | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko presented former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with an "honorary citizen of the city of Kyiv" award.

"Boris repeatedly visited the Ukrainian capital - both in peace and in the most dramatic time of our struggle against the Russian aggressor. As Prime Minister of Great Britain, Johnson did everything possible to help Ukraine," Klitschko said.

Johnson, who was one of the first world leaders to visit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv following Russia's invasion, quickly became one of the most visible Western supporters of Ukraine. He resigned from the prime minister post in July.

— Amanda Macias

Bidens send condolences following helicopter crash in Ukraine

The helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in Brovary, Kyiv.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden expressed their condolences to the families of those killed in the helicopter crash in Ukraine.

"Our hearts are also with the dozens of civilians who were killed or injured, including precious children, and their families," the first couple wrote in a statement.

The Bidens highlighted the work of Denys Monastyrsky, Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs, who was killed in the crash along with several other Ukrainian officials.

The Bidens called him a "reformer and patriot," and said he "championed the will of the Ukrainian people."

"We will continue to honor that legacy through efforts to strengthen Ukraine's institutions, and in our unfailing partnership with the people of Ukraine to keep the flame of freedom bright," the Bidens wrote.

— Amanda Macias

NATO warns Russia is preparing for a long war in Ukraine, vows to be ready

A fire engulfed a CHP power station hit by Russian missile on October 10, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russia is preparing for an extended war so NATO must get ready "for the long haul" and support Ukraine for as long as it takes, the alliance's deputy secretary general told top military chiefs from across Europe.

Speaking at the opening of the military chiefs' meeting in Brussels, Mircea Geoana said NATO nations must invest more in defense, ramp up military industrial manufacturing and harness new technologies to prepare for future wars.

As Russia's war on Ukraine nears the one-year mark, NATO chiefs are expected to discuss how allies can expand the delivery of weapons, training and support to Ukraine in the coming months, and how they can further shore up their own defenses.

"We have no indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin's goals have changed," said Geoana, adding that Russia has mobilized more than 200,000 additional troops. "So we must be prepared for the long haul. 2023 will be a difficult year and we need to support Ukraine for as long as it takes."

— Associated Press

Zelenskyy says Western countries should send tanks before another Russian attack

"Mobilization of the world must outpace a next military mobilization of our joint enemy," Zelenskyy said via videoconference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that Western countries should send tanks before Russia's next offensive.

His comments come as analysts fear the Kremlin could soon launch a new mobilization drive — and once again pile the pressure on the country's Western allies to deliver heavily armored vehicles to Kyiv.

Speaking via videoconference, Zelenskyy said, "Mobilization of the world must outpace a next military mobilization of our joint enemy."

"The supplying of Ukraine with air defense systems must outpace Russia's next missile attacks. The supplies of Western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks," he added.

Read the full story here.

— Sam Meredith

Australian Open bans flags from Russia and Belarus

In this file photo an Australian Open branded tennis ball is seen on court ahead of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 11, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
Graham Denholm | Getty Images

Flags from Russia and Belarus were banned from the site of the Australian Open after more than one was brought into the stands by spectators on Day 1 of the year's first Grand Slam tournament.

Normally, flags can be displayed during matches at Melbourne Park. But Tennis Australia reversed that policy for the two countries involved in the invasion of Ukraine that began nearly a year ago.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus were barred from competing at Wimbledon and team events such as the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup last year because of the war in Ukraine.

— Associated Press

Death toll from missile strike on residential building in Dnipro rises to 45

Rescuers carry the body of a dead person during a missile attack by the Russian army in Dnipro.
Sergei Chuzavkov | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Mayor of Dnipro Borys Filatov said the death toll from a Russian missile strike on a residential building has risen to 45 people.

Filatov said that at least 17 people remain missing in Dnipro and 12 bodies have not been identified, according to an NBC News translation. Another 25 people are recovering in the hospital.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy thanks Trudeau for latest military aid package of 200 armored vehicles

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for announcing a new security package for his country, which includes armored personnel carriers.

"Today the Ukrainian army needs 200 Senator APCs more than ever. Together we are moving towards victory," Zelenskyy wrote in a tweet.

Anita Anand, Canada's defense minister, during a news conference with Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, during a news conference at the Military Press Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.
Ethan Swope | Bloomberg | Getty Images