Jan 27 (Reuters) – The danger of Russian air attacks remained high on Friday, Ukraine’s military said, a day after Russian missiles and drones killed at least 11 people in what appeared to be a response to promises by Western allies to supply Ukraine with tanks.
* Ukraine’s military said it shot down 47 of 59 Russian missiles – some fired from Tu-95 strategic bombers in the Russian Arctic. Russia also launched 37 air strikes, 17 of them using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. All drones were downed, the military general staff said.
* Explosions were heard near Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA said. A Russian official dismissed the comments as suggesting Moscow could not uphold nuclear safety.
* A former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who fled to Norway has spoken about how he witnessed some of his comrades being shot as they were trying to flee from the frontline in Ukraine, his Norwegian lawyer said.
* Reuters was unable to independently verify battlefield reports.
* Canada will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, the Canadian defence minister said, after Germany this week allowed other countries to re-export the German-built tank.
* France and Italy are close to finalising the technical details to supply an SAMP/T air defence system to Ukraine, two diplomatic sources said.
* The Kremlin said it saw the promised delivery of Western tanks as evidence of growing “direct involvement” of the United States and Europe in the 11-month-old war, something both deny.
* Ukrainian skeleton racer Vladyslav Heraskevych criticised the International Olympic Committee for considering allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to international competitions in Asia.
* Japan tightened sanctions against Russia following its latest wave of missile attacks in Ukraine, adding goods to an export ban list and freezing the assets of Russian officials and entities.
* The United States stepped up sanctions against the Wagner Group, labelling it a transnational criminal organization responsible for widespread human rights abuses.
* Russia said on Friday that new U.S. sanctions were “absurd”, and that they would make it more difficult for foreign companies to do business.
* Ukrainian government officials who shirk their duties during wartime will be quickly removed, a top aide to President Zelenskiy said amid a crack down on corruption.
(Compiled by Rob Birsel and Shri Navaratnam)