These are the main developments as the war enters its 697th day.
Here is the situation on Sunday, January 21, 2024.
- A fire broke out at a natural gas terminal in the Russian Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga, the regional governor said early on Sunday. A high alert regime has been introduced in the Kingiseppsky district, which includes the port, and no casualties have been reported, according to the AFP news agency.
- Russia’s parliament will consider a law allowing for the confiscation of money, valuables, and other property from those deemed to spread “deliberately false information” about Moscow’s military actions, a senior lawmaker said on Saturday.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday that he expected a number of new Western defence packages for Ukraine to be signed this and next month. “We are preparing new agreements with partners – strong bilateral agreements,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.
- The wife of a Russian soldier delivered an emotional appeal for his return from Ukraine on Saturday at the election headquarters of President Vladimir Putin, a defiant gesture in a country where open criticism of the war is banned.
- The Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom stated on Saturday that Ukraine sustains a military presence along the left bank of the Dnipro River and persists in fending off Russian assaults despite logistical challenges.
- Russia has lost 375,270 soldiers in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, including 750 over the past day, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed on Saturday. The number has not been independently verified.
Diplomacy and politics
- Zelenskyy said in an interview aired on Friday that he was worried at the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House, branding the former US president’s claim that he could stop Ukraine’s war with Russia in 24 hours as “very dangerous”.
- Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told public broadcaster RTVS on Saturday that neighbouring Ukraine was not a sovereign nation but was under the absolute control of the United States.
- North Korea said on Sunday it has agreed to further strategic and tactical cooperation with Russia to establish a “new multi-polarised international order” as the two countries work to build a united front in the face of their separate, intensifying tensions with the US.
- Putin may visit Pyongyang soon, North Korea’s state media KCNA reported on Sunday.
- The scale of NATO’s Steadfast Defender 2024 exercises mark an “irrevocable return” of the alliance to Cold War schemes, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the state news agency RIA in remarks published on Sunday.