Russian forces sought to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin eastern cities straddling a river as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned Moscow was seeking to destroy the eastern Donbas region where it has focused its attacks.
* European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called for talks with Moscow on unlocking wheat exports that are trapped in Ukraine as a result of a Russian sea blockade.
* Russia has not yet seen an Italian peace plan for Ukraine, but hopes to receive it through diplomatic channels, Kremlin's spokesman said.
* Battles being fought in eastern Ukraine could determine the country's fate, with Russia's military campaign now in its most active phase, Ukrainian Defence Ministry spokesman said.
* Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow was deliberately slowing its offensive in Ukraine in order to allow civilians to evacuate, RIA news agency reported. Reuters was not able to independently verify the report.
* Russia has deflected much of the impact of sanctions on its oil trade but the insurance industry threatens to throw a spanner in the works unless Moscow and its customers can plug a gap left by Western underwriters.
* Western countries must not trade security for economic profit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned, referring to debates over the use of Chinese technology in 5G networks and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for Russian gas.
* Russia is using food supplies as a weapon with global repercussions, just like it does in the energy sector, EU's von der Leyen said.
* Ukraine is considering the possibility of issuing debt receipts backed by frozen Russian assets to raise funds for rebuilding the country, a presidential adviser said.
* "This is a stupid war which your Putin started," jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny told an appeals court in Moscow via video link from a corrective penal colony. "This war was built on lies." .
* "The invasion may have been the beginning of the Third World War and our civilisation may not survive it," billionaire financier George Soros told the gathering in Davos. "The best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilisation is to defeat Putin as soon as possible. That's the bottom line."
Australian Associated Press
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