U.S. reportedly readying $2 billion aid package for Ukraine; Kyiv signals reforms ahead of EU summit

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Feb 1, 2023. See here for the latest updates. 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that Kyiv is preparing new reforms as it prepares for a summit with top EU officials at the end of the week.

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said the reforms "will change the social, legal and political reality in many ways, making it more human, transparent and effective. But these details will be announced later," he added.

Ukraine will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other top EU officials on Friday, with hopes high in Kyiv that its application to join the EU will progress quickly.

Ukrainian and U.S. flags are flown along Pennsylvania Avenue leading to the U.S. Capitol ahead of a visit by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for talks with U.S. President Joe Biden and an address to a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2022. 
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

In other news, U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters he is planning to speak to President Zelenskyy about future military aid packages amid reports that further assistance could be announced as early as this week.

"We're going to talk," Biden said when asked if he has spoken to Zelenskyy and what he planned to tell him about future assistance requests.

Two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told Reuters Tuesday that the U.S. is preparing to offer Kyiv a $2.2 billion military aid package which is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time as well as other munitions and weapons.

Ukrainian prosecutor general says Russia has committed more than 65,000 war crimes, reiterates calls for special tribunal

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin participates in a panel discussion at Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C., on February 1, 2023.
Amanda Macias | CNBC

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said Wednesday that regional authorities have registered more than 65,000 Russian war crimes since Moscow's conflict began nearly a year ago.

"We have all witnessed with horror the evidence of atrocities committed in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Izium, Kherson, Kharkiv regions and other liberated cities and towns," Kostin said, adding that Ukrainian authorities have discovered mass burial sites in areas occupied by Russian troops.

"These crimes are not incidental or accidental, they include indiscriminate shelling of civilians, willful killing, torture, conflict-related sexual violence, looting and forced displacement on a massive scale," he added in remarks at the Georgetown Law School in Washington.

His comments add to an emerging picture of the horrors experienced during nearly a year of war in Ukraine. The conflict has shown few signs of ending soon, even as local and international officials try to probe potential crimes committed over recent months in Ukraine.

In a separate discussion with journalists, Kostin said he believed Kyiv was close to gaining U.S. support to establish a special tribunal to prosecute Russia's crimes of aggression.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

Ex-Wagner Group member apologizes to Ukrainians in Norway

A mural depicting the Wagner Group's logo in Belgrade, Serbia.
Srdjan Stevanovic | Getty Images

A former member of the Russian private military contractor Wagner Group who's seeking asylum in Norway has apologized to Ukrainians living in the Scandinavian country, who object to his presence there.

"I'm a scoundrel to you, but I only ask you to take into account that I have come to realize that, albeit belatedly, and I spoke against all that," Andrey Medvedev said in an excerpt from his interview to Norwegian broadcaster NRK that was posted online Tuesday. "I ask you not to condemn me, and in any case I apologize."

Medvedev who has said that he fears for his life if he returns to Russia, lives in a center for asylum seekers in Oslo. He illegally crossed into Norway, which has a 198-kilometer (123-mile) -long border with Russia, earlier this month.

Medvedev has said that he left the Wagner Group after his contract was extended beyond the July-November timeline without his consent. He said he's willing to testify about any war crimes he witnessed and denied participating in any himself.

— Associated Press

Ukrainian refugees attend a job fair in the Brooklyn

Ukrainian refugees attend a job fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Ukrainian refugees stand in line to attend a job fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York on February 01, 2023.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian refugees attend a job fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York on February 1, 2023. 
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian refugees attend a job fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York on February 1, 2023. 
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian refugees attend a job fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York on February 1, 2023. 
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian refugees attend a job fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York on February 01, 2023.
Angela Weiss | Afp | Getty Images

— Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine raids home of billionaire in war-time anti-corruption crackdown

A picture taken on March 2015 by Unian agency shows Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky speaking during the Ukrainian Football Federation session in Kiev. Ukraine's president has dismissed Igor Kolomoisky, one of the country's most controversial tycoons from his regional governor's post, his office said on March 25, 2015.
Vladyslav Musienko | AFP | Getty Images

Security services searched the home of one of Ukraine's most prominent billionaires, moving against a figure once seen as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's sponsor in what the authorities called a war-time anti-corruption purge.

Photographs circulating on social media appeared to show Ihor Kolomoiskiy dressed in a sweatsuit and looking on in the presence of an SBU security service officer at his home.

The action, days before a summit with the European Union, appears to reflect determination by Kyiv to demonstrate that it can be a steward of billions of dollars in Western aid and shed a reputation as one of the world's most corrupt states.

The SBU said it had uncovered the embezzlement of more than $1 billion at Ukraine's biggest oil company, Ukrnafta, and its biggest refiner, Ukrtatnafta. Kolomoiskiy, who has long denied wrongdoing, once held stakes in both firms, which Zelenskiy ordered seized by the state in November under martial law.

Separate raids were carried out at the tax office, and the home of Arsen Avakov, who led Ukraine's police force as interior minister from 2014-2021. The SBU said it was cracking down on "people whose actions harm the security of the state in various spheres" and promised more details in coming days.

— Reuters

Five ships leave Ukrainian ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative

An aerial view of the Turkish-flagged ship "Polarnet" carrying grain from Ukraine is seen at the Derince Port, Kocaeli, Turkiye on August 08, 2022. 
Omer Faruk Cebeci | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Five vessels carrying 216,719 metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian ports, the organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from the country said.

The ships are destined for Spain, Turkey, Portugal, Egypt and China. The vessels are carrying wheat and 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 690 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.

— Amanda Macias

Ambassador McCain calls on global effort to address food insecurity triggered by Russia's war

Cindy McCain speaks onstage during the U.S.VETS Salute Gala on November 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
FilmMagic | Getty Images

Cindy McCain, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies in Rome, called for a global effort in addressing food insecurity exacerbated, by Russia's war in Ukraine.

McCain, who spoke before an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, has previously called the mounting food crisis "the worse humanitarian crisis since World War II."

Before the war, Ukraine and Russia accounted for almost a quarter of global grain exports until those shipments came to a severe halt due to Moscow's naval blockade.

McCain added that before the war global food supply chains were burdened by the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. sanctions 22 in global network supporting Russia's military

Ukrainian soldiers are seen on their ways to the frontlines with their armored military vehicles as the strikes continue on the Donbass frontline, during Russia and Ukraine war in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on January 26, 2023. 
Mustafa Ciftci | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury Department announced fresh sanctions against a multinational group of 22 individuals and entities supporting Russia's military-industrial complex.

The sanctions target the "Zimenkov network", a Russian sanctions evasion network led by Igor Vladimirovich Zimenkov, an arms dealer based in Russia and Cyprus. The group has worked to supply a Russian company with high-technology devices for use in its war against Ukraine and supported previously sanctioned entities in Russia.

The Zimenkov network has also reached as far as Singapore, Belarus, Bulgaria and Israel. The sanctions block access to all property and interests of the sanctioned individuals and entities owned or in possession of an American on U.S. soil.

— Chelsey Cox

Few sanctioned Russian oligarchs disclose UK property, despite new law

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER, 21 (RUSSIA OUT) Russian businessman and billionaire Vladimir Potanin attends the meeting with top businessmen at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, December,21, 2017. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year, Britain trumpeted new legislation requiring property-ownership disclosure aimed at cracking down on Russian oligarchs and corrupt elites laundering illicit wealth.

Foreign companies holding UK property had until the end of Tuesday to identify their "beneficial owners" in a new public register, making Britain one of the first countries to do so. But a Reuters analysis of government data found that the people behind more than 10,000 UK-property owning foreign companies remain shielded from public view.

More than 19,700 overseas companies had disclosed ownership of UK property as of Wednesday morning in Britain, according to data from Companies House, which runs the new register. That represents about two-thirds of all the property-owning foreign companies, according to the government.

About 5,500 companies, or nearly 30% of the more than 19,700 companies that did register with Companies House didn't identify any individual owners, Reuters found. Many of those disclosed as beneficial owners entities in countries known for business secrecy, such as the British Virgin Islands or Panama. Government guidance defines a beneficial owner as either an individual or an entity, such as a corporation or trustee.

Only four Russian nationals under British government sanctions appeared on the register as of Wednesday morning. They were: Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia's wealthiest businessmen; Russia's former first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov and his wife; and Alexander Frolov, the former chief executive officer of Evraz, a Russian steel and mining company.

— Reuters

Russian journalist sentenced for speaking out on Ukraine

Television journalist Alexander Nevzorov speaks in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012.
Sergei Konkov | AP

A court in Moscow sentenced a Russian journalist in absentia to eight years in prison on charges of disparaging the military, the latest move in the authorities' relentless crackdown on dissent.

Alexander Nevzorov, a television journalist and former lawmaker, was convicted on charges of spreading false information about the military under a law that was adopted soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine. The law effectively exposes anyone critical of the Russian military action in Ukraine to fines and prison sentences of up to 10 years.

Nevzorov was accused of posting "false information" on social media about the Russian shelling of a maternity hospital in the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol. Moscow has fiercely denied its involvement.

Nevzorov, who moved abroad after the start of the Ukrainian conflict, didn't have an immediate comment on the verdict.

— Associated Press

Vladimir Putin is now fighting for his own political survival: former German ambassador to Russia

Retaining domestic power high in Putin's agenda, says former German ambassador to Russia
Retaining domestic power high in Putin's agenda, says former German ambassador to Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin's inability to score a decisive win on the battlefield or subjugate Ukraine to his will means he is now fighting for his own political survival via the war, according to Rüdiger von Fritsch, former German ambassador to Russia and partner at Berlin Global Advisors.

Ukrainian authorities raid Kyiv tax chief's home over corruption allegations

Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation accused the head of Kyiv's tax service of criminal activities and large-scale corruption, announcing it was searching the official's home via a post on its official Facebook page.

"Abusing power and position, the acting chief of the Kyiv money tax office made a decision on non-compliance with taxpayer risk criteria for a number of enterprises," the post read, according to a Facebook translation, while not naming the official in question.

"According to operational data, she implemented through her trustees schemes to artificial inflation of gross expenses by some enterprises, entrepreneurial activities without registration ... and submission of unverified income information," the post said.

It added that the "total amount of established unfounded assets ... is about 1.4 million U.S. dollars."

The government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a point of cracking down on corruption in recent weeks as some Western officials worry about the transparency and allocation of billions of dollars in foreign aid funds. Ukraine is regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in Europe.

— Natasha Turak

Russia and China becoming closer poses a threat to both Asia and NATO: Stoltenberg

General Jens Stoltenberg (left) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) on Jan. 31, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. Stoltenberg visits Japan to strengthen bilateral ties between the country and the E.U.
Takashi Aoyama | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Strengthened ties between Russia and China, especially since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, pose a threat to regional security in Asia as well as to NATO, the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

"The fact that Russia and China are coming closer and the significant investments by China and new advanced military capabilities just underlines that China poses a threat, poses a challenge also to NATO allies," Stoltenberg said during a speech in Tokyo. "Security is not regional, but global."

He described China's growing investments into long-range missiles and nuclear weapons as lacking transparency and international dialogue, and accused it of threatening Western-allied Taiwan.

Moscow and Beijing are orchestrating an "authoritarian pushback" against democratic countries and the current international order, Stoltenberg said, while also adding that NATO does not see China as an enemy, nor does it want escalation.

China's foreign ministry pushed back against the comments, with a spokesperson saying that Beijing was a force for global stability and that NATO is driving a "Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation."

— Natasha Turak

Boris Johnson calls on West to send fighter jets to Ukraine 'as fast as possible'

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomes former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine January 22, 2023.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Ser | Via Reuters

Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling on Western allies to give Ukraine fighter jets and whatever else it needs to combat Russia, taking on a dramatically different tone to U.S. and European leaders.

"All I will say is that every time we have said it will be a mistake to give such and such an item of weaponry, we end up doing it and it ends up being the right thing for Ukraine," Johnson said during an interview with Fox News. The former PM spoke while on a trip to Washington to rally support for Ukraine among members of Congress.

The U.S. and U.K. recently shot down the idea of sending Western F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, something Kyiv has long been asking for.

"We do not think it is practical to send those jets into Ukraine," a Downing Street spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Aside from the massive amount of training it would require, many Western leaders also fear that sending such sophisticated and powerful equipment to Ukraine would provoke Russia too much. But Johnson rejected the notion, saying that was the same mindset that preceded many prior decisions to ultimately send other advanced weapons to Ukraine.

"I remember being told it was the wrong idea to give them the anti-tank shoulder-launched missiles. Actually, they were indispensable and the United States – under Donald Trump – gave them the Javelins as well. They were indispensable in the battles to repel the Russian tanks," he said.

"All I'm saying is save time, save money, save lives. Give the Ukrainians what they need as fast as possible."

— Natasha Turak

Israel's Netanyahu says he is open to mediator role 'if asked'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a briefing to ambassadors to Israel at a military base in Tel Aviv, Israel May 19, 2021.
Sebastian Scheiner | Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview that he would be willing to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia if asked by both countries and Washington.

"If asked by all relevant parties, I'll certainly consider it, but I'm not pushing myself in," Netanyahu said, adding that it would need to be "the right time and the right circumstances."

The right-wing Israeli leader also said that he had been informally asked to play such a role shortly after the war broke out but declined, since he was not Israel's prime minister at the time.

Israel is a longtime ally of Russia, and while it has condemned Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, it has held back on sanctions for a number of reasons. Israel is a sanctuary for Russian Jews and is home to the third-largest number of Russian speakers outside of the ex-Soviet states, and around 100,000 Israelis lived in Russia before the war, though the current figure is unclear.

And while Israel's government has sent humanitarian aid and defensive equipment to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, it's refrained from sending offensive weapons that Kyiv has asked for, out of a reluctance to upset Moscow.

Netanyahu's predecessor, Naftali Bennett, spoke to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in March in an attempt to mediate at Kyiv's request, but was unsuccessful.

— Natasha Turak

Talks underway on long-range missiles, attack aircraft, official says

One of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's senior political advisors said talks were underway regarding long-range missiles for Ukraine, as well as attack aircraft.

"Each war stage requires certain weapons. Amassing RF's (Russia's) reserves in the occupied territories require specifics from (Ukraine) & partners," Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

"So: 1. There is already a tank coalition (logistics, training, supply). 2. There are already talks on longer-range missiles & attack aircraft supply," he added.

Ukraine has asked its allies for fighter jets to help it combat Russia's invasion but allies are reluctant to commit. The U.S., German and U.K. have ruled out sending jets to Ukraine, but other allies, such as Lithuania and Poland, are keen that Kyiv should have access to the weaponry it needs to fight Russia.

— Holly Ellyatt

Kremlin welcomes bounty offer for destroying Western tanks in Ukraine

A New Year decoration Kremlin Star, bearing the letter Z, a tactical insignia of Russian troops in Ukraine, at the Gorky Park in Moscow on Dec. 29, 2022.
Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

The Kremlin on Wednesday welcomed a Russian company's offer of "bounty payments" for soldiers who destroy Western-made tanks on the battlefield in Ukraine, saying it would spur Russian forces to victory.

The Russian company Fores this week offered 5 million roubles ($72,000) in cash to the first soldiers who destroy or capture U.S.-made Abrams or German Leopard 2 tanks in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian troops would "burn" any Western tanks that were delivered to Ukraine, adding the bounties were extra encouragement for Russian soldiers.

— Reuters

Bakhmut surrounded on three sides, Russian official says

Ukrainian soldiers return from the front line in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on Jan. 29, 2023.
Marek M. Berezowski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian forces have almost completely surrounded Bakhmut in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, according to a Russian-installed official.

"Artemovsk [the Russian name for Bakhmut] is now in an operational encirclement, our forces are closing the ring," Yan Gagin, an aide to Denis Pushilin, the acting head of the pro-Russian, separatist "Donetsk People's Republic," told the Rossiya-24t tv channel, according to state news agency Tass.

Gagin said battles are now taking place to control the highway between Bakhmut and the nearby town of Chasiv Yar. He said "this is the only artery through which Ukraine can supply its group in Artemovsk."

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the claims but Russian forces have been trying to capture Bakhmut for months and have been seen to have been advancing in the area in recent weeks.

— Holly Ellyatt

Spain to send up to six Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine, El Pais reports

A Leopard 2 A4 main battle tank.
Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Spain plans to send between four and six German-built Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine, newspaper El Pais reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified government sources.

The actual number will depend on the condition of the battle tanks in storage and how many other countries will eventually supply to Ukraine, the sources told El Pais.

A spokesperson for the Spanish Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kyiv secured pledges from the West this month to supply main battle tanks to help fend off Russia's invasion, with Moscow mounting huge efforts to make incremental advances in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday his government expects to receive 120 to 140 Western tanks from a coalition of 12 countries in a first wave.

Kuleba said those tanks would include German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2 and U.S. M1 Abrams tanks, and that Ukraine was also "really counting" on supplies of French Leclerc tanks being agreed.

— Reuters

Zelenksyy signals Kyiv ready to unroll new reforms as it pursues EU membership

Ukraine will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other top EU officials on Friday, with hopes high in Kyiv that its application to join the EU will continue to progress.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that Kyiv is preparing new reforms as it prepares for a summit with top EU officials at the end of the week.

"We are preparing new reforms in Ukraine. Reforms that will change the social, legal and political reality in many ways, making it more human, transparent and effective. But these details will be announced later, based on the results of the relevant meetings," Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

Ukraine will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other top EU officials on Friday, with hopes high in Kyiv that its application to join the EU will continue to progress.

"This week will be a week of European integration in every sense of the word," Zelenskyy said. "We are expecting news for Ukraine. We are expecting the decisions from our partners in the European Union that will be in line with the level of cooperation achieved between our institutions and the EU, as well as with our progress. Progress, which is obvious - even despite the full-scale war," he said.

"We are preparing Ukrainian positions for negotiations with EU representatives," he added.

Ukraine applied to join the 27-member political and economic bloc last year, just days after Russia invaded last February, and wants its application fast-tracked. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said earlier this week that Kyiv hopes it can join the EU within two years.

Other counties in Europe, such as North Macedonia and Montenegro, have been waiting more than a decade to have their membership applications progress, however, and there are expectations that EU officials could try to temper Ukraine's expectations during their visit.

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. readies $2 billion-plus Ukraine aid package with longer-range weapons, sources say

U.S. President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outside the White House in Washington on Dec. 21, 2022.
Olivier Contreras | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The United States is readying more than $2 billion worth of military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time as well as other munitions and weapons, two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

The aid is expected to be announced as soon as this week, the officials said. It is also expected to include support equipment for Patriot air defense systems, precision-guided munitions and Javelin anti-tank weapons, they added.

One of the officials said a portion of the package, expected to be $1.725 billion, would come from a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows President Joe Biden's administration to get weapons from industry rather than from U.S. weapons stocks.

The White House declined to comment. The contents and size of aid packages can shift until they are signed by the president.

In addition to the USAI funds, more than $400 million worth of aid was expected to come from Presidential Drawdown Authority funds, which allows the president to take from current U.S. stocks in an emergency.

That aid was expected to include mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS) and ammunition. The U.S. has sent approximately $27.2 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine since Russia's February 2022 invasion. Russia calls the invasion a "special operation."

— Reuters

U.S. accuses Russia of endangering nuclear arms control treaty

In image from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Oct. 26, 2022, a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired as part of Russia's nuclear drills from a launch site in Plesetsk, northwestern Russia.
Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Russia's refusal to allow on-the-ground inspections to resume is endangering the New START nuclear treaty and U.S.-Russian arms control overall, the Biden administration charged.

The finding was delivered to Congress and summarized in a statement by the State Department. It follows months of more hopeful U.S. assessments that the two countries would be able to salvage cooperation on limiting strategic nuclear weapons despite high tensions over Russia's war on Ukraine.

Inspections of U.S. and Russian military sites under the New START treaty were paused by both sides because of the spread of the coronavirus in March 2020. The U.S.-Russia committee overseeing implementation of the treaty last met in October 2021, but Russia then unilaterally suspended its cooperation with the treaty's inspection provisions in August 2022 to protest U.S. support for Ukraine.

"Russia's refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control," the State Department said Tuesday.

The administration also blamed Russia for the two country's failure to resume talks required under the New START treaty.

— Associated Press

Biden says he will talk to Zelenskyy soon about additional weapons packages

U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters before walking to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House January 4, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

President Joe Biden told reporters he is planning to speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about future military aid packages.

"We're going to talk," Biden said when asked if he has spoken to Zelenskyy and what he planned on tell him about future assistance requests.

In recent days, Kyiv has asked Western partners for additional weapons, including fighter jets.

— Amanda Macias

Bakhmut hit by rocket-propelled artillery 197 times over past day, official says

A damaged car and pile of debris are seen as the Russia-Ukraine War continues in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 28, 2023.
Marek M. Berezowski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Bakhmut in Donetsk remains the key target for Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, a spokesman of the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhii Cherevaty, said during a national telethon Tuesday.

"Bakhmut continues to be one of the main directions of the enemy's attack. There, they struck our positions with rocket-propelled artillery 197 times" over the past day, he said, in comments reported by news agency Ukrinform.  

He added that 42 combat clashes had taken place in the same timeframe with 277 Russian soldiers killed and 258 wounded.

Ukrainian soldiers return from the front line in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on Jan. 29, 2023.
Marek M. Berezowski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Cherevaty said Russian troops were unable to cut the route used to supply Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut despite the repeated attacks.

 "So far they have not succeeded. Everything is being done to prevent them from blocking the movement of our units. All the necessary ammunition, equipment, food, are being delivered to Bakhmut," Cherevaty said.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia claims further advances in Donetsk

Russia's defense ministry claimed that its armed forces in Ukraine have seized another village in Donetsk.

Russian troops have reportedly captured the village of Blahodatne in the region (the area pro-Russian separatists call the "Donetsk People's Republic" or DPR), according to an official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov.

Ukraine has not commented on the claim, but Russia has been seen to have made incremental gains in the Donetsk region around Vuhledar, to the southwest of the city of Donetsk.

A volunteer who are evacuating civilians from Bakhmut, when the Russian shelling began in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 30, 2023.
| Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Yan Gagin, an advisor to the acting head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, told the Rossiya-1 TV channel Tuesday that Russian forces in Donetsk are taking control of one settlement after another, and are advancing on Bakhmut, capturing which is a key strategic goal for Russia.

"Our troops in Artemovsk [Russia's name for Bakhmut] are advancing, and they are taking settlement after settlement, moving quite actively," he said in comments reported by news agency Tass and translated by Google.

The U.K.'s Ministry of Defence said Tuesday that, in the last three days, Russia likely developed its probing attacks around the Donetsk towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar into a "more concerted assault."

The settlements lie around 30 miles southwest of the city of Donetsk, and Russia previously used the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade in an unsuccessful assault on the same area in November 2022, the ministry noted on Twitter.

—Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here: