Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Ukraine replacing defence chief
Ukraine is replacing Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, an ally of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday, a move that could have far-reaching consequences for the nearly year-long war against invading Russian forces. Reznikov had been under pressure over a corruption scandal in the ministry. * Zelenskiy revoked the citizenship of several former influential politicians on Saturday in the latest step to "cleanse" Ukraine of pro-Russian influences.
Ukraine is replacing Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, an ally of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday, a move that could have far-reaching consequences for the nearly year-long war against invading Russian forces. FIGHTING IN THE EAST
* Reznikov will be replaced by Kyrylo Budanov, chief of the GUR military intelligence agency, the head of Zelenskiy's parliament bloc said. * Zelenskiy has fired a series of high level officials this year in a purge aimed at clamping down on corruption. Reznikov had been under pressure over a corruption scandal in the ministry.
* Zelenskiy revoked the citizenship of several former influential politicians on Saturday in the latest step to "cleanse" Ukraine of pro-Russian influences. * Fierce battles being fought in Ukraine's Donetsk region "are very difficult," Zelenskiy said, as Kyiv braced for a possible Russian offensive this month before the first anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine.
* "Things are very difficult in Donetsk region - fierce battles," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. "But however difficult it is and however much pressure there is, we must endure ... We have no alternative to defending ourselves and winning." * "Not all of the Western weaponry will arrive in time. But we are ready. We have created our resources and reserves, which we are able to deploy and with which we are able to hold back the attack," Reznikov said before the news about his transfer.
* Reznikov also said Ukraine will not use longer-range weapons pledged by the United States to hit Russian territory and will only target Russian units in occupied Ukrainian territory. * The head of Russia's private Wagner militia said on Sunday that fierce fighting was ongoing in the northern parts of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the focus of Russian forces' attention for weeks.
*Ukrainian forces remained in control of the village of Bilohorivka, the Luhansk region governor Serhiy Haidai said on Sunday, adding that the situation there is tense, but under control. Some Moscow-installed officials and pro-Russian military bloggers have recently claimed Russian advances in the direction of Bilohorivka, the last part of Luhansk held by Ukrainian forces. Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield accounts.
OIL, DIPLOMACY * Price caps on Russian oil likely hit Moscow's revenues from oil and gas exports by nearly 30% in January, or about $8 billion, from a year ago period, International Energy Agency (IEA) chief Fatih Birol said on Sunday.
* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will arrive in Baghdad on Sunday to discuss boosting bilateral relations and energy cooperation, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement. (Compiled by Frances Kerry)
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