For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.
The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EST.
10:10 p.m.: He was 66 years old and had voiced concerns over his health — yet it is claimed he killed seven Ukrainian soldiers single-handed while fighting for the Russian mercenary group Wagner. The case of Aleksandr Tyutin, whose 23-year jail sentence for ordering the contract killing of an entire family has been annulled by presidential order, is raising fears and doubts in Russia.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty had this report.
8:38 p.m.: President Emmanuel Macron says that France doesn’t exclude sending fighter jets to Ukraine. But he laid out multiple conditions Monday before taking such a significant step, The Associated Press reported.
France has sent Ukraine air-defense systems, rocket launcher units, cannons and other military equipment and has pledged to send armored surveillance and combat vehicles. Asked at a news conference if France is considering sending warplanes, Macron said “nothing is excluded” as long as that wouldn't escalate tensions or weaken France's armed forces.
He also said the warplanes shouldn't be used to touch Russian soil. Macron was meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who said sending warplanes would be a “very big step.”
7:03 p.m.: Croatia’s president has criticized Western nations for supplying Ukraine with heavy tanks and other weapons in its campaign against invading Russian forces, saying those arms deliveries will only prolong the war, The Associated Press reported.
Zoran Milanovic told reporters in the Croatian capital Monday that it's “mad” to believe that Russia can be defeated in a conventional war.
Milanovic won the presidential election in Croatia in late 2019 as a left-leaning liberal candidate, a counterpoint to the conservative government currently in power in the European Union and NATO-member state. But he has since made a turn to populist nationalism and criticized Western policies toward Russia as well as the Balkans.
6 p.m.: President Joe Biden said Monday he will not be sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to help its war against Russian invaders, but said he would visit crucial ally Poland, Agence France-Presse reported.
"No," he said when asked by reporters at the White House if he was in favor of sending the jets, which Ukraine's leaders have said are at the top of their latest weapons wish list.
Western nations this month finally agreed after serious divisions to send Ukraine modern NATO-standard tanks, one of the most powerful weapons in their conventional armies.
The upgrade in support sparked hope in Kyiv that it will soon begin getting F-16 warplanes to bolster its own depleted air force, but the issue remains very much under debate in the West.
With the first anniversary of Russia's invasion on February 24 looming, there are growing expectations that Biden could travel to Europe as a show of support for the alliance supporting Ukraine. Poland is at the heart of the effort as a logistics hub, provider of weapons, and key U.S. ally in eastern Europe.
"I'm going to be going to Poland. I don't know when, though," he told reporters when asked about a visit.
4:27 p.m.: U.N. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric held a press briefing Monday where he said that fighting over the weekend in Ukraine killed and injured civilians, while critical facilities, including several hospitals, were damaged on both sides of the frontline, VOA’s U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer reported .
“On Saturday evening, dozens of civilians were reportedly killed or injured during an attack on a hospital in Novoaidar, in the part of Luhansk region currently under military control of the Russian Federation,” Dujarric said.
Another health facility was reportedly hit in areas under Russian control in the Kherson region Saturday, and Sunday, attacks were reported in Kherson city and other parts of the region that are under Ukrainian control, he said.
“Health workers were reportedly injured when the Kherson Clinical Hospital was hit. Other civilians were killed or injured and civilian infrastructure — including homes and schools — were damaged. In Kharkiv city, a residential building was hit last night, once again killing and injuring civilians,” Dujarric noted.
“Our humanitarian colleagues are on the ground, supporting the survivors. While we have limited access to areas not under Ukrainian control and cannot independently verify the number of casualties, it is clear and needs to be reiterated that international humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate attacks and requires the parties to take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize civilian harm,” he added.
3:18 p.m.: The International Olympic Committee on Monday rejected fierce criticism from Ukrainian officials, who have accused it of promoting war after the body said Russians could potentially be given the opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Reuters reported.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak at the weekend described the Lausanne-based body as promoting "violence, mass murders, destruction" and said on Monday a Russian presence at the Games would constitute giving the country "a platform to promote genocide".
"The IOC rejects in the strongest possible terms this and other defamatory statements," the IOC told Reuters in a statement. "They cannot serve as a basis for any constructive discussion."
Earlier on Monday, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba drew attention to the fact that many Russian Olympians had ties with the military, including by competing for sports clubs affiliated with the defense ministry.
"The army that commits atrocities, kills, rapes, and loots. This is whom the ignorant IOC wants to put under white flag allowing to compete," Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
2:10 p.m.: Russia has begun its "big revenge" for Ukraine's resistance to its invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday, as Russian forces claimed a series of incremental gains in his country's east, according to Reuters.
Zelenskyy has been warning for weeks that Moscow aims to step up its assault on Ukraine after about two months of virtual stalemate along the front line that stretches across the south and east.
While there was no sign of a broader new offensive, the administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk province, Denis Pushilin, said Russian troops had secured a foothold in Vuhledar, a coal mining town whose ruins have been a Ukrainian bastion since the outset of the war.
Pushilin's adviser, Yan Gagin, said fighters from Russian mercenary force Wagner had taken partial control of a supply road leading to Bakhmut, a city that has been Moscow's main focus for months.
1:50 p.m.: Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, will never again be part of Ukraine, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said on Monday in remarks detailing his objection to Zagreb providing military aid to Kyiv, Reuters reported.
In December, Croatian lawmakers rejected a proposal that the country join a European Union mission in support of the Ukrainian military, reflecting deep divisions between Milanovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
A vocal critic of Western policy in Ukraine, Milanovic has said he does not want his country, the EU's newest member state, to face what he has called potentially disastrous consequences over the 11-month-old war in Ukraine.
What the West is doing about Ukraine "is deeply immoral because there is no solution [to the war]," Milanovic told reporters during a visit to military barracks in the eastern town of Petrinja, referring to Western military support for Kyiv.
1:05 p.m.: Tanks donated by Britain to Ukraine will be on the front line before summer, defense minister Ben Wallace said on Monday, without giving an exact timetable, Reuters reported.
Asked in parliament when the 14 Challenger tanks it has agreed to supply would be deployed onto the battlefield, Wallace said: "It'll be this side of the summer, or May — it'll be probably towards Easter time."
He said security reasons prevented him from setting out the timetable of training for Ukrainian forces on using the tanks, but that it would begin with instruction on operation of individual vehicles before progressing to how to fight in formation.
Last week, Britain said its plan was that the tanks would arrive in Ukraine by the end of March.
12:45 p.m.: Ukraine's military will spend nearly $550 million on drones in 2023, and 16 supply deals have already been signed with Ukrainian manufacturers, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Monday, according to Reuters.
Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have used a wide array of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, for reconnaissance and assault purposes during 11 months of war.
"In 2023, we are increasing the procurement of UAVs for the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Reznikov wrote on Facebook. "We plan to allocate about 20 billion hryvnias ($547.05 million) to this segment."
Ukraine has received significant supplies of UAVs from its partners, from Turkey's missile-equipped Bayraktar TB2 to the Norwegian-made Black Hornet reconnaissance drone, which weighs less than 33 grams.
Kyiv is now seeking to boost domestic production to build what officials cast as an "army of drones."
12:10 p.m.: A 23-year-old university student in Siberia has been sentenced to three years in prison for posting a video on the internet condemning Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
A court in the city of Tyumen pronounced Kirill Martyushev's sentence on Monday after finding him guilty of extremism.
Martyushev was arrested in March. The court ruled that each day served by the defendant in pretrial detention equals 1 1/2 days in prison and therefore his final prison term will be 18 months.
11:45 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Monday to discuss cooperation within the OPEC+ group of oil producing countries in order to maintain oil price stability, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, known collectively as OPEC+, are due to hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday.
Two OPEC+ delegates told Reuters on Monday that the panel was likely to recommend keeping the group's current oil output policy.
Russian oil production has so far shown resilience in the face of Western sanctions imposed after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on February 24 and price caps introduced by Western countries in December.
11:10 a.m.: Turkey could greenlight Finland’s membership in NATO before that of Sweden, if the military alliance and both Nordic countries agree to it, the Turkish foreign minister said Monday, according to The Associated Press.
But Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haaivisto poured cold water on that suggestion, saying it was important that Finland and Sweden join NATO at the same time. In Helsinki, Haaivisto said his country’s ”strong desire...has been, and still is, to join NATO together with Sweden.”
“We have actually underlined to all our future NATO partners, including Hungary and Turkey, that Finnish and Swedish security goes together,” the Finnish minister said, adding that the two countries would be able to join before a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July. “I think it will be an important milestone, but we cannot, of course, decide on the behalf of Turkey or on behalf of Hungary about their timetables. We are in their hands,” he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu defined Finland’s application as “less problematic” than that of Sweden. Turkey accuses Stockholm of failing to take concrete steps to crackdown on groups that Ankara considers to be terrorists. More recently, has been incensed by Quran-burning protests that were staged outside the Turkish embassies in Stockholm and Copenhagen by an anti-Islam activist who holds Swedish and Danish citizenship.
“In my opinion it would be fair to differentiate between the problematic country and the less problematic country,” Cavusoglu told journalists during a joint news conference with his visiting Portuguese counterpart. “We believe that if NATO and these countries take such a decision, we can evaluate (Finland’s bid) separately.”
10:40 a.m.: Ukrainians were urged on Monday to swap old light bulbs for free energy-efficient LED bulbs under a scheme intended to ease an energy shortfall caused by Russian attacks, Reuters reported.
Launching a program backed by the European Union and aimed at replacing 50 million light bulbs, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said all adults would be able to exchange five incandescent light bulbs for five LED bulbs at post offices.
The goal is in the next few months to reduce by a quarter the energy deficit caused by Russian missile and drone strikes on power infrastructure that have frequently left millions of Ukrainians without light, water or heating.
"Ukraine is fighting on military, economic and energy fronts," Svyrydenko told a news briefing. "It is an important step to reduce pressure on Ukraine's energy system."
One LED bulb uses eight times less electricity than the older bulbs, she said.
10:10 a.m.: The United States' new ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, was heckled by a crowd of people chanting anti-U.S. slogans on Monday as she entered the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow to present her diplomatic credentials, Reuters reported.
The group held hand-painted placards carrying messages criticizing Washington, one of which read "Your tanks are killing civilians".
Protests in Russia — particularly on issues related to the war — are effectively banned unless they have the backing of the authorities.
Relations between Washington and Moscow are near all-time lows. The United States has responded to Russia's invasion of Ukraine by supplying Kyiv with weaponry - soon to include main battle tanks - and imposing a swathe of new economic sanctions on Russia, all in concert with Western allies.
9:40 a.m.: Russian shelling killed at least five people and wounded 13 others during the previous 24 hours, Ukrainian authorities said Monday, as the Kremlin’s and Kyiv’s forces remained locked in combat in eastern Ukraine ahead of renewed military pushes that are expected when the weather improves, The Associated Press reported.
The casualties included a woman who was killed and three others who were wounded by the Russian shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city in the country’s northeast, according to regional Gov. Oleh Syniyehubov.
Moscow’s troops seized large areas of the northeastern Kharkiv region in the months following its invasion of its neighbor last February. But Ukrainian counteroffensives that began in August snatched back Russian-occupied territory, most notably in Kharkiv.
Those successes lent weight to Ukraine’s arguments that its troops could deliver more stinging defeats to Russia if its Western allies provided more weaponry. Kyiv last week won promises of tanks from the United States and Germany to help its war effort.
“The pattern of delivery of Western aid has powerfully shaped the pattern of this conflict,” the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, said late Sunday.
9:10 a.m.: Russian forces say they have made slight territorial gains in intense fighting in Ukraine's east amid reports Moscow has moved additional forces to the Kursk region on the border with Ukraine to protect the frontier and ensure security, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Kyiv rejected assertions by Denis Pushilin, administrator of Russian-controlled parts of the Donetsk region, on Monday that advances were made near the town of Vuhledar, an epicenter of current fighting in the battle for control of eastern Ukraine.
"We did not lose our positions," Yevhen Yerin, the Ukrainian military spokesman in charge of the area, said.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the situation on the ground "very tough," with Russian forces making "constant attempts to break through our defenses."
8:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the southern city of Mykolaiv on Monday, Reuters reported, during a rare visit by a foreign leader to a region close to the war front.
Video footage posted online by Zelenskyy's office showed the president greeting Frederiksen with a handshake on a snowy street before entering a hospital where they met soldiers wounded in Russia's invasion.
"It is important for our warriors to be able to undergo not only physical, but also psychological rehabilitation," Zelenskyy wrote on the Telegram messaging app. "I am grateful to all the medical workers who care about the health of our defenders. I wish them a speedy recovery!"
The two leaders also visited the Mykolaiv Commercial Sea Port, where they saw oil storage tanks hit by Russian enemy missiles and drones, and a heating point equipped with a water purification and distribution unit under a project implemented with Danish assistance.
Zelenskyy thanked Frederiksen for the assistance provided by Denmark, whose defense ministry said earlier this month that the country would donate 19 French-made Caesar howitzer artillery systems to Ukraine.
8 a.m.: Belarus’s armed forces could face widespread desertion from conscripts should the country’s strongman leader, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, order an invasion of Ukraine, a former senior law enforcement official said, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The prediction by Alyaksandr Azarov, who represents an association of former Belarusian security officials, comes amid conflicting signals about whether Lukashenka may finally decide to commit Belarusian troops to the Ukraine invasion, now in its 12th month.
In the run-up to last February’s invasion, Russia held large-scale military exercises in Belarus. But as the exercises wound down, many of the 30,000 Russian troops stationed there were then used to invade Ukraine, in an unsuccessful push south to seize the Ukrainian capital and topple the government.
But while Lukashenka’s government has allowed Russia’s military wide leeway to use Belarusian territory, Lukashenka has sidestepped pressure from Moscow to actively join the invasion.
7:35 a.m.: Russia has moved additional forces and equipment to the Kursk region on the border with Ukraine to protect the frontier and ensure security, regional governor Roman Starovoit said on Monday, according to Reuters, which quoted Interfax news agency.
Local authorities say that the region has repeatedly been subjected to Ukrainian shelling since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago.
Some of Russia's troops entered from the Kursk region, although the areas of northeastern Ukraine that they seized have since been retaken by Kyiv's forces.
Starovoit told a meeting of the regional government that a solid contingent of personnel from the armed forces, border guards and law enforcement agencies had already been formed in Kursk, but that "it is necessary to provide comprehensive support for the reception, deployment and arrangement of additional forces".
7:05 a.m.: Friends and volunteers gathered Sunday at Kyiv’s St Sophia’s Cathedral to say goodbye to Andrew Bagshaw, a New Zealand scientist who was killed in Ukraine with another volunteer while they were trying to evacuate people from a front-line town, The Associated Press reported.
Bagshaw, 48, a dual New Zealand-British citizen, and British volunteer Christopher Parry, 28, went missing this month while heading to the town of Soledar, in the eastern Donetsk region, where heavy fighting was taking place.
Volunteers spoke of their memories of Bagshaw and read tributes from his family.
6:40 a.m.: Iran and Russia have connected their interbank communication and transfer systems to help boost trade and financial transactions, a senior Iranian official said on Monday. Both Tehran and Moscow are chafing under Western sanctions, Reuters reported.
Since the 2018 reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran after Washington ditched Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the Islamic Republic has been disconnected from the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging service, which is a key international banking access point.
Similar limitations have been slapped on some Russian banks since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year.
"Iranian banks no longer need to use SWIFT ... with Russian banks, which can be for the opening of Letters of Credit and transfers or warranties," Deputy Governor of Iran's Central Bank, Mohsen Karimi, told the semi-official Fars news agency.
6:25 a.m.: The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says Ukraine is struggling to provide health care services in frontline communities. “There is one doctor left at this location to attend around 1700 people,” Saviano Abreu told CNN in an interview, speaking about a clinic in Siversk, Donetsk region.
6:10 a.m.: Iran summoned Ukraine's charge d'affaires in Tehran on Monday over his country's comments on a drone strike on a military factory in the central Iranian province of Isfahan, Reuters reported according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
In Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia to attack civilian targets in Ukrainian cities far from the front, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy linked the incident directly to the war there.
"Explosive night in Iran," Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted on Sunday. "Did warn you."
A U.S. official told Reuters that Israel appears to have been behind the attack.
Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but says they were sent before Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year. Moscow denies its forces use Iranian drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.
5:55 a.m.: Agence France-Presse reported that Ukrainian Presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak on Monday called the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a "promoter of war" after the sports body said it was considering ways for Russian athletes to compete.
"(The) IOC is a promoter of war, murder and destruction. The IOC watches with pleasure Russia destroying Ukraine and then offers Russia a platform to promote genocide and encourages their further killings. Obviously Russian money that buys Olympic hypocrisy doesn't have a smell of Ukrainian blood," Podolyak said on Twitter.
5:25 a.m.: Novak Djokovic said it "hurts him and me" after they decided that his father would not be courtside to see him win the Australian Open on Sunday, following a controversy over a Russian flag, Agence France-Presse reported.
Srdjan Djokovic was absent from the Serbian's box for his final against Stefanos Tsitsipas at Rod Laver Arena, where Djokovic won a record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title. Srdjan decided to miss the semi-finals after he faced calls, led by Ukraine, to be banned from the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.
A video posted to a pro-Russian YouTube account on Thursday showed him posing with a man holding a Russian flag with President Vladimir Putin's face on it. The video was captioned: "Novak Djokovic's father makes bold political statement."
Djokovic subsequently defended his father, saying there had been a "misinterpretation" of the images and no harm was meant. Ukraine's ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, had called for Srdjan Djokovic to be stripped of his stadium pass.
5 a.m.: Reuters reported that a Russian company said it will offer five million roubles ($72,000) in cash to the first soldiers who destroy or capture western-made tanks in Ukraine, after the Kremlin vowed Russian forces would wipe out any Western tanks shipped to Ukraine.
The United States, Germany and several other European countries are lining up to send Kyiv dozens of advanced combat tanks over the next few months to help boost Ukraine's military capacity as the war approaches the 12-month mark.
The decision has been criticized by the Kremlin as a dangerous escalation, and spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the tanks would "burn" on the frontlines.
Now a Russian company — Fores, a Urals-based firm which makes proppants for the energy industry — is offering cash payments to Russian servicemen who "capture or destroy" German-made Leopard 2 or U.S.-made Abrams tanks.
The company said it will pay five million roubles to the first Russian soldier to destroy one of the tanks, and 500,000 roubles ($7,200) for all subsequent attacks. Echoing language used by Russian officials and pro-war state TV hosts, Fores said NATO was pumping Ukraine with an "unlimited" amount of arms and escalating the conflict. It also said it would pay a 15-million rouble ($215,000) bounty on Western-made fighter jets, should they ever be delivered to Ukraine.
4:25 a.m.: Turkey could evaluate Finland's NATO bid independently from that of Sweden, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday according to Reuters, after protests including the burning of a Koran in Stockholm sparked outrage in Ankara.
"It is a fair approach to set a difference between a problematic country and a less problematic one. We can evaluate (Finnish and Swedish) NATO applications separately if NATO and those countries make a decision about it," Cavusoglu said.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and need all member countries' approval to join. Turkey and Hungary are yet to ratify the Nordic countries' membership.
4 a.m.: Turkey will hold a natural gas summit on February 14-15 to bring together gas supplier countries and Europe's consumer countries, Reuters reported Turkish energy minister Fatih Donmez as saying on Monday.
"We will bring together supplier countries from Middle East, Mediterranean, Caspian and Middle Asia with consumer countries from Europe," Donmez said.
Speaking at an event, Donmez said the meeting is scheduled to take place in Istanbul.
3 a.m.: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sought to drum up support for Ukraine during his first South American tour although differences with his hosts emerged, with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez declaring the region was not planning on sending weapons.
According to Reuters, on his three-day trip, Scholz has sought to stress unity, noting all three countries he is visiting — Argentina, Chile and Brazil — condemned Russia's invasion at the United Nations General Assembly last year.
The fallout of the war and Western sanctions on Russia such as soaring food and energy prices, however, have hit the region particularly hard, raising questions over the West's approach.
Fernandez said in a joint news conference with Scholz in Buenos Aires on Saturday that Argentina, like Germany, wanted to help restore peace as soon as possible.
But asked if Argentina would send weapons to Ukraine to fend off Russian troops like Germany and its western allies had, he gave an emphatic no.
"Argentina and Latin America are not planning to send weapons to Ukraine or any other conflict zone," he said.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric did not refer to the war in his opening statements at a news conference with Scholz in Santiago de Chile on Sunday, focusing instead on economic cooperation, particularly in the commodities sector.
2:30 a.m.: Negotiations on creating a safety zone around Ukraine's Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are tough, and Kyiv appears to be just stalling for time, Reuters reported Monday, citing Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti which quoted Moscow’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
"While consultations with the IAEA are ongoing, it would not be right to make public information about the possible parameters of the ZNPP protection zone. The negotiation process is not progressing easily," Ryabkov said in an interview with the agency.
"We handed over our proposals to Rafael Grossi, the agency's director general. As far as we know, Kyiv has not yet given a clear answer to the initiative of the IAEA head. Apparently, it's just stalling."
2 a.m.: Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi is set to visit Moscow in February, Russia's Vedomosti newspaper said on Monday, citing two sources.
According to the newspaper, Wang may visit Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the sources said.
Reuters was not able to immediately verify the report.
1:30 a.m.: Russia's deputy foreign minister said in an interview published on state media Monday that it was "quite possible" the New START nuclear arms control treaty with the United States would end after 2026, according to Reuters.
"This is quite a possible scenario," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the RIA news agency in an interview.
U.S.-Russia talks on resuming inspections under the New START treaty, which expires in February 2026, were called off at the last minute in November 2022. Neither side has agreed on a time frame for new talks.
1 a.m.: Ukraine's world heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk has told Agence France-Presse he has two goals this year — a unification title fight with Tyson Fury and rebuilding the house where his "good friend" was killed by Russian soldiers.
Oleksiy Dzhunkivskyi, a former teammate of Usyk, was shot in the hall of the building in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv. Usyk has teamed up with the charity United24 and is raising funds to restore the badly damaged five-story house to its former glory.
He has contributed $205,000 towards the overall cost of $330,000.
In a Zoom interview, Usyk told AFP it had been a coincidence he had selected the building to take a look. "I randomly chose this house," the 36-year-old former cruiserweight world champion said through an interpreter. "When we came to look at it and saw how destroyed the house was, I was a little surprised. In this house there was a boxing gym of my good friend. He and I were in the national team, we went to boxing competitions together. Oleksiy Dzhunkivskyi was shot by Russian soldiers right in this hall."
When Russia invaded Ukraine last February, Usyk had wanted to take up arms immediately. However, he was dissuaded from doing so as his compatriots felt that in his role as a sports star with global renown, he could add another weapon to the Ukrainian war chest. "The guys from the Armed Forces convinced me that I need to prepare and fight to help my country on the international stage, talk about it and bring opportunities to Ukraine to restore my country," he said.
12:01 a.m.: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged South Korea on Monday to increase military support to Ukraine, citing other countries that have changed their policy of not providing weapons to countries in conflict after Russia's invasion, Reuters reported.
Stoltenberg is in Seoul, the first stop on a trip that will include Japan and is aimed at strengthening ties with U.S. allies in the face of the war in Ukraine and rising competition with China.
Speaking at the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies in Seoul, he thanked South Korea for its non-lethal aid to Ukraine, but urged it to do more, adding there is an "urgent need" for ammunition. Russia calls the invasion a "special operation."
"I urge the Republic of Korea to continue and to step up on the specific issue of military support," he said. "At the end of the day, it's a decision for you to make, but I'll say that several NATO allies who have had as a policy to never export weapons to countries in a conflict have changed that policy now."
In meetings with senior South Korean officials, Stoltenberg argued that events in Europe and North America are interconnected with other regions, and that the alliance wants to help manage global threats by increasing partnerships in Asia.
South Korea has signed major deals providing hundreds of tanks, aircraft and other weapons to NATO member Poland since the war began, but South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has said that his country's law against providing arms to countries in conflicts makes providing weapons to Ukraine difficult.
Some information in this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.