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Terror and tragedy in Ukraine

A helicopter crash kills three Ukrainian officials, while China tries a new approach to diplomacy

A helicopter carrying senior Ukrainian officials crashed on Wednesday (18 January) near a nursery in a suburb of Kyiv. According to reports, children were among those killed, as well as three government officials including the interior minister Denys Monastyrsky – the highest-ranking official to die since the start of the Russian invasion.

Ido Vock in Berlin and Katie Stallard in Washington DC discuss what we know about the tragedy so far and why so many officials were travelling on a single aircraft. They also discuss the latest developments in the war, including the Russian missile strike on a block of flats in Dnipro over the weekend that killed at least 45 people, and changes to the Russian military leadership. 

Next, they turn to China, where Qin Gang, the former US ambassador, has been appointed foreign minister ahead of the US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s expected visit to Beijing in early February. They discuss Gang’s reputation for combative “wolf warrior” diplomacy, and whether China is moving away from this approach. 

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Katie on China’s new foreign minister and the taming of “wolf warrior” diplomacy

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Ido on what we know about the helicopter crash that killed three Ukrainian officials

Ido writes that new commander Valery Gerasimov may not be able to stem Russia’s losses

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Jeremy Cliffe writes that divisions over Ukraine are exposing the incoherence of German foreign policy

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[See also: European diplomacy in the 21st century, with Catherine Ashton]

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