After receiving confirmation of the assistance of modern Leopard 2, Abrams and Challenger 2 tanks, Ukraine requested F-16 fighter jets from the United States. White House national security spokesman John Kirby confirmed Ukraine’s request. “We have no additional weapons systems to talk about today,” he said at the White House, Friday, January 27, 2023.
Russia and Ukraine are preparing for a major spring offensive, although Washington has advised Ukraine to wait until the latest weapons are available and training has been provided – a process expected to take several months.
Moscow accuses US President Joe Biden of prolonging the war by arming Kyiv. Ukraine says the only way to end the war is for allies to provide weapons to win it.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the situation at the front remained very acute, particularly in the eastern region of Donetsk. In a speech late Friday, Zelenskiy said Russian troops had not only overrun Ukrainian positions but also destroyed towns and villages around them.
In the village of Bohoiavlenka in the Donetsk region, soldiers said fighting around the nearby town of Vuhledar had intensified, with Russian troops trying to advance and take it.
Vuhledar came under onslaught in the past 24 hours, with seven buildings and two schools damaged, Yevhen Nazarenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian army’s 68th brigade, told Reuters. “They constantly use artillery fire, aviation. There is not a minute of calm here,” he said.
Thick black smoke rose over Bohoiavlenka and explosions could be heard in the background. Several houses were damaged. Por Synehubov, governor of the north-eastern region of Kharkiv, said heavy fighting was continuing along the front line there, but Ukrainian forces were holding out against Russian pressure.