Russian forces focus efforts on Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine; Zelenskyy set to address Davos elite. Follow our live updates

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Russian forces zero in on Severodonetsk in Donbas, Ukraine says

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Russian forces have been targeting Ukraine’s defenses in the Donetsk area in a bid to push through to neighboring Luhansk in the eastern region of Donbas, Kyiv said in its latest military update Monday morning.

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The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russia had been concentrating its efforts toward Severodonetsk, a city above and between Donetsk and Luhansk, conducting assault operations in the Toshkivka area to the south of the city.

In its post on Facebook, Ukraine added that Russia had intensified the use of its aircraft to destroy civilian infrastructure in the areas of active hostilities.

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Ukraine said its forces have repelled 11 enemy attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas in the last 24 hours. Six Russian tanks, 10 units of armored combat vehicles and six units of enemy vehicles had been destroyed, it added.

Air defense units shot down one Orlan-10 UAV and an enemy Su-25 aircraft in these areas, Kyiv said. CNBC was unable to verify the information in the report.

, Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine top of the agenda in Davos as business leaders gather

Russia would normally have its own “house” at the World Economic Forum as a showcase for business leaders and investors.

This year the space on the dressed-up main street in Davos has been transformed by Ukrainian artists into a “Russian War Crimes House”, portraying images of misery and devastation.

Russia has denied war crimes in the conflict.

Ukraine is top of the agenda for the four-day meeting of global business leaders, which kicks off in earnest on Monday with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“This is the world’s most influential economic platform, where Ukraine has something to say,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Sunday night.

As the WEF meeting emerges from a coronavirus pandemic hiatus of more than two years, a deferral from January to May means that attendees are surrounded by spring flowers and verdant slopes rather than navigating icy streets.

But not only the weather is different in 2022, with Russian politicians, executives and academics entirely absent.

Russian institutions such as its sovereign wealth fund, state banks and private companies have thrown in previous years some of the most glitzy parties, serving black caviar, vintage champagne and foie gras.

They even hired Russia’s most prominent musicians and pop stars to perform for top chief executives.

, Reuters

Russia presses Donbas offensive as Polish leader visits Kyiv

Russia pressed its offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region Sunday as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the outcome of the grueling conflict would determine whether his country’s fate lies with the West or under Moscow’s domination.

After declaring its full control of a sprawling seaside steel plant that was the last defense holdout in the port city of Mariupol, the Russian military launched artillery and missile attacks in Ukraine’s industrial heartland, seeking to expand the territory Moscow-backed separatists have held since 2014 .

In a Saturday night video address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation in the Donbas as “really hard” but “the fact that we are able to say this on the 87th day of a full-scale war against Russia is good news.”

“Every day that our defenders take away from these offensive plans of Russia, disrupting them, is a concrete contribution to the approach of the main day. The desired day that we are all looking forward to and fighting for: Victory Day,” Zelenskyy said .

Zelenskyy’s remarks came as Poland’s president prepared to meet with him to support Ukraine’s goal of becoming a candidate for European Union membership, an issue set to be decided at an EU summit in late June.

As the West rallies behind Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda made an unannounced visit to Kyiv and on Sunday became the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament since the start of the war.

, Associated Press

As Russia intensifies push for Donbas, Ukraine rules out ceasefire

Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or concessions to Moscow as Russia intensified an offensive in the eastern Donbas region and stopped providing gas to Finland.

After ending weeks of resistance by the last Ukrainian fighters in the strategic southeastern city of Mariupol, Russia is waging what appears to be a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbas.
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Russian-backed separatists already controlled swathes of territory in Luhansk and the neighboring Donetsk province before the Feb. 24 invasion, but Moscow wants to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donbas.

“The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. The Russian army was trying to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces were holding off their advance, he said.

Earlier, Zelenskiy told local television that while the fighting would be bloody, the end would come only through diplomacy and that the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory would be temporary.

Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak ruled out agreeing to a ceasefire and said Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory. He said making concessions would backfire on Ukraine because Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting.

“The war will not stop (after concessions). It will just be put on pause for some time,” Podolyak, Ukraine’s lead negotiator, told Reuters in an interview in the heavily guarded presidential office.

“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”

, Reuters

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Ukraine rules out ceasefire and ceding territory; Polish president addresses Ukrainian lawmakers

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Credit: www.cnbc.com /

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