In the first three months since Russia invaded Ukraine, it has likely suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine year war in Afghanistan, the UK ministry of defence has claimed.
A combination of “poor low-level tactics, limited air cover, a lack of flexibility” and a command approach which is “prepared to reinforce failure and repeat mistakes” has led to the high casualty rate, British intelligence said in its latest report released this morning.
Casualties are continuing to rise in the Donbas offensive, the report added.
The Russian public has, in the past, proven sensitive to casualties suffered during wars of choice. As casualties suffered in Ukraine continue to rise they will become more apparent, and public dissatisfaction with the war and a willingness to voice it may grow.”
Russia is “concentrating its efforts” on assaults on the eastern Ukrainian city of Siverodonetsk and the nearby town of Toshkivka, the Ukrainian military has said.
Russian forces are also preparing to resume an offensive in the Slovyansk direction after its troops were repelled following a failed operation in the area of Dovhenke, Ukraine’s latest operational report reads.
In the Kharkiv region, Russian forces have set up checkpoints and fortifications on access roads near the settlements of Velykyi Burluk, Kapitolivka, Mykhailivka, Levkivka, Zabavne and Kupyansk, Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesman for the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine said.
Meanwhile, in the Donetsk direction, Russian forces are reportedly attempting to break through the defences of Ukrainian troops and reach the administrative borders of Luhansk oblast.
Russia is focusing its main efforts on “maintaining occupied frontiers, conducting reconnaissance and engineering activities of positions”, Ukraine’s military claims adding its forced thwarted 11 Russian attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk over the past 24 hours.
The conflict in Ukraine is making its mark at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Kyiv will continues its diplomatic counteroffensive by targeting the world’s business and political elite gathering in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos during a four-day meeting of global business leaders.
Talks will begin on Monday with a video address by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
This is the world’s most influential economic platform where Ukraine has something to say,” the Ukrainian president said in an earlier address.
Zelenskiy will also mark the opening of Ukraine House Davos, a forum for Kyiv and its international backers.
“Ukraine House Davos will host dialogue on security, sanctions, humanitarian aid, rebuilding and revitalising Ukraine, and more,” an official statement reads.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg are among the leaders due to address the meeting.
In March, Davos organisers cut ties with Russian firms and officials, and announced that anyone under international sanctions would not be welcome at the event.
The main street in the town in Switzerland has been turned into a Russian War Crimes House by Ukrainian artists hoping to get their message across to world leaders, Reuters reports.
Visitors are confronted by images such as a badly burned man in Kharkiv after Russian shelling and a film made up of thousands of pictures of dead civilians and bombed houses.
“The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos this year will be the most timely and consequential annual meeting since the creation of the forum over 50 years ago,’’ WEF founder Klaus Schwab told reporters ahead of the meeting.
“The return of war, epidemics and the climate crisis, all those disruptive forces have derailed the global recovery,” Schwab said. “Those issues must be confronted in Davos; the global food crisis, in particular, needs our immediate attention.”
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said 50 to 100 Ukrainians are dying every day on the war’s eastern front in what appeared to be a reference to military casualties.
The heaviest fighting is focused around the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in Luhansk, one of the two regions that make up the Donbas.
Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, said in a local television interview that Russia was using “scorched-earth” tactics in the region and that Sievierodonetsk had been attacked from “four separate directions” though Russian forces had not succeeded in breaking into the city.
Russian airstrikes hit Ukrainian forces in the Mykolaiv and Donbas regions, targeting command centres, troops, and ammunition depots, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.
Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the defence ministry, said air-launched missiles hit three command points and four ammunition depots in the Donbas.
A British intelligence report released on Sunday claimed the city of Sievierodonetsk in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region is one of Russia’s “immediate tactical priorities” as its forces deploy terminator tanks to the area.
Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.
I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while before my colleagues in London take the reins a little later in the day.
On today’s agenda, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy will continue his diplomatic counteroffensive by targeting the world’s business and political elite gathering in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos. Zelenskiy will kick off the four-day World Economic Forum of global business leaders with a video address.
Zelenskiy has also claimed that up to 100 Ukrainians are dying every day on the war’s eastern front in what appeared to be a reference to military casualties.
Here is everything you might have missed:
- Ukraine has said it will not agree to any ceasefire deal that would involve handing over territory to Russia, as Moscow intensified its attack in the eastern Donbas region. “The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” said Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, Andriy Yermak.
- The comments came as Russia said it was willing to resume peace negotiations, its lead negotiator said Sunday, but the initiative to continue them was with Kyiv. Kremlin aide Vladimir Medinsky claimed in an interview with Belarusian TV that “Russia has never refused talks”. “Freezing talks was entirely Ukraine’s initiative,” he said, adding that the “ball is completely in their court”.
- Polish president Andrzej Duda became the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament in person since the invasion began, backing Ukraine’s stance on territorial concessions and warning the international community that ceding any territory to Russia would be a “huge blow” to the entire west. “After Bucha, Borodianka, Mariupol, there cannot be business as usual with Russia,” he said.
- Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said 50 to 100 Ukrainians were dying every day on the war’s eastern front in what appeared to be a reference to military casualties. The heaviest fighting is focused around the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in Luhansk, one of the two regions that make up the Donbas. Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, said in a local television interview that Russia was using “scorched-earth” tactics in the region.
- Ukraine is set to top the agenda at the four-day World Economic Forum in Davos, which kicks off on Monday with a video address from Zelenskiy. This year Russia’s “house” at the event was transformed by Ukrainian artists into a “Russian war crimes house”, portraying images of misery and devastation.
- The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, spoke with Zelenskiy on Sunday evening about Russia’s blockade of Odesa, Ukraine’s largest shipping port. The blockade of Ukraine’s ports has been a growing concern for world leaders as many continue to warn about global food security, in particular for developing countries.
- The Moscow-installed mayor of Enerhodar, a southern city of Ukraine and the location of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has been wounded in an explosion. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that Andrey Shevchik was in intensive care.
- A bid by Ukraine to join the European Union would not be finalised for “15 or 20 years”, France’s Europe minister said. “We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you’re lying,” Clément Beaune said. “It’s probably in 15 or 20 years. It takes a long time.”
- Zelenskiy has extended Ukraine’s martial law for three months through to 23 August. Ukraine’s parliament also banned the symbols “Z” and “V”, used by Russia’s military to promote its war in Ukraine, but agreed to Zelenskiy’s call to allow their use for educational or historic purposes.
- Olena Zelenska has given a rare interview with Zelenskiy, only their second public appearance together since Russia launched its invasion. She recounts the “anxiety and stupor” she felt on 24 February, and says that even though she has barely seen her husband since, “no one, not even the war, could take him away” from her.
- Technicians linked to the Syrian military’s infamous barrel bombs that have wreaked devastation across much of the country have been deployed to Russia to help potentially prepare for a similar campaign in the Ukraine war, European officials believe. Intelligence officers say more than 50 specialists have been in Russia for several weeks working alongside officials from president Vladimir Putin’s military.
- YouTube has taken down more than 70,000 videos and 9,000 channels related to the war in Ukraine for violating content guidelines, including removal of videos that referred to the invasion as a “liberation mission”.