Ukraine February 2024-

Written by  //  April 16, 2024  //  Europe & EU, Geopolitics, Ukraine  //  No comments

15-16 April
Ukraine waits for help as Russia advances
(GZERO media) Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukraine’s top general, has issued a stark warning: The battlefield situation in Ukraine’s east has “significantly worsened” in recent days. Russian forces outnumber and outgun Ukrainian defenders, the grinding battles over cities like Bakhmut and Avdiivka are expanding to other towns in the Donetsk region, and Ukraine’s depleted air defenses leave its cities increasingly vulnerable to Russian attack.
Slow but steady gains come at great cost to Russian lives and equipment – both sides have seen tens of thousands of soldiers killed and hundreds of thousands wounded – but Russia has deeper reserves of both men and munitions.
Ukraine, watching U.S. coalition protect Israel, feels alone
(WaPo) When Iran unleashed hundreds of deadly missiles and drones at Israel this weekend, Israelis relied on a crucial tool that Ukraine still does not have: instant, direct assistance from the United States and other partners with military assets in the region.
For more than two years, Ukraine has faced Russian missile and drone attacks, often including Iranian-made Shahed drones like the ones Tehran used on Saturday. As a shield, Ukraine relies on a hodgepodge of air defense systems provided by Western partners, including three U.S.-designed Patriot batteries manned by Ukrainian troops. This month, the biggest power station serving Kyiv was destroyed. Civilian casualties are common.
Last week alone, Russia launched nearly 130 Shahed drones, 80 missiles and 700 guided aerial bombs at Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Sunday. Ukraine relied on its own troops and its dwindling supplies of ammunition. But the immediate international response to Iran’s attack on Israel proved that modern air defense can save lives and that such defense is possible, Zelensky said.
Iran attack puts pressure on US House speaker to pass aid bill for Israel and Ukraine
Mike Johnson has said he will aim to advance legislation to support Israel but has not clarified whether Ukraine funding will form part of package
Ukraine’s attacks on Russian oil refineries deepen tensions with U.S
The Biden administration views the attacks as reckless and likely to raise prices. Kyiv sees them as essential to raising the cost of Russian aggression.

14 April
Institute for the study of war: Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment
The exhaustion of US-provided air defenses resulting from delays in the resumption of US military assistance to Ukraine combined with improvements in Russian strike tactics have led to increasing effectiveness of the Russian strike campaign in Ukraine. Without substantial and regular security assistance to Ukraine, Russian strikes threaten to constrain Ukraine’s long-term war-fighting capabilities and set operational conditions for Russia to achieve significant gains on the battlefield. Ukraine requires significant provisions of Western air defense systems and fighter jets capable of intercepting drones and missiles in order to establish a combined air defense umbrella that is even remotely as effective as the one Israel and its allies successfully used on April 13.

12 April
Dispatch from Kyiv: Ukraine is fighting for its economic survival, too
By Olga Khakova and Charles Lichfield
(Atlantic Council) Imagine a country exporting nearly 90 percent of the wheat and corn it did before losing control of a sixth of its territory. Consider facing daily air raids targeting vital infrastructure while still keeping the lights on and the internet running. These are some of the many impressive achievements of the Ukrainian economy in the two years since Russia’s full-fledged invasion.
For just a few thousand dollars apiece, Russia buys kamikaze drones from Iran that do millions of dollars of damage. Ukraine is using air defenses sparingly because of uncertainties surrounding how long Western military and financial support will last. Kyiv and its backers tend to say that reconstruction cannot wait for the war to end. But when cash becomes sparse, as it has recently, resources will clearly go to the war effort and urgent basic services first.
On our recent research trip to Kyiv, we were struck not only by the size of the challenges, but also by the encouraging coherence of nascent strategies meant to deal with them. Ukrainian officials and civil society are demonstrating the plucky and determined resolve that has characterized Ukraine’s heroic fight against the invading forces. The problem is that, quite like on the battlefield, they haven’t been provided with all the tools for success.
Earlier this year, prevarication by the US Congress over supplemental funding combined with farmers’ and truckers’ protests at Ukraine’s borders triggered cash flow problems. If Japan hadn’t acted by bringing forward two donations of just under half a billion dollars, which had been scheduled for later, Kyiv would have struggled to pay soldiers’ salaries in March and April. The government now has a little more visibility for the months to come, as the first 4.5 billion euro tranche from the European Union’s (EU) Ukraine Facility was disbursed in March, as well as two billion Canadian dollars in financial assistance from Ottawa.
The EU funds are meant to “provide predictable financial support to help Ukraine in its recovery, reconstruction, and modernization,” but this first tranche will most likely end up funding the Ukrainian state budget—some of which will go to repairs to civilian infrastructure, but not all. It’s already clear that the longer the war lasts, the more it will consume funds initially meant for long-term investments.
So, what does Ukraine need now for its economic survival? To start with, more certainty that its air defenses will continue to be supplied would help Ukraine move to more long-term planning on reconstruction. For now, insurance contracts—though heavily subsidized by Western governments and international financial institutions—can only cover shipments lasting a few short weeks. The much–vaunted solution of “war insurance” covering the risk the private sector would take by investing in Ukraine requires contracts lasting several decades. That will only become possible if air strikes become less frequent and less damaging. Before moving in, investors also need more visibility on how they will be able to move their return on investment out of Ukraine. The National Bank of Ukraine’s strict capital controls are justified given uncertainties over cash flow. But clarity on the conditions under which these will be lifted would be helpful.
In addition to more funding sources for Ukraine, a revitalized Ukrainian economy will also provide benefits to Western economic security. Restored mining capacities can replace the titanium countries used to buy from Russia. With the right tools, the mighty agricultural sector can continue to diversify into biomass energy and sell more into the EU single market without upsetting its farmers.
There is potential in every region of Ukraine. For now, it is still up to Ukraine’s backers to provide enough certainty on weapons and immediate financial assistance to make it possible to tap into that potential.

10 April
Switzerland to host Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16
(Reuters) – The Swiss government will host a two-day high-level conference in June aimed at achieving peace in Ukraine, it said on Wednesday, although Russia has made clear it will not take part in the initiative.
Switzerland said in January it would host a peace summit at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and has since held talks with the EU, G7 member states and countries such as China and India to gauge their interest in taking part.

8 April
Ukraine will define the future of NATO
(GZERO media) Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Stockholm.
How is the role of NATO evolving now as the 75th anniversary of the organization coming up?
CB: Well, it’s going to be Ukraine that’s going to be defining the future of NATO. Two issues most immediately: One, if NATO can take on a stronger role for coordinating military aid to Ukraine, that’s been done so far by an ad hoc coalition and US support; there’s a proposal on the table for taking that over. The second is, of course, what Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg proposed on the day of the ministerial meeting in Brussels, to set up a very large fund for financing the military support in the years to come. We’ll see how these two proposals evolve over the time period up until the Washington summit. And then there’s, of course, the big issues of Ukraine membership.

4 April
We need to do more to help Ukraine, Nato chief says
(The Guardian) Wrapping up a two-day meeting of Nato foreign ministers, the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, told reporters that the situation in the battlefield in Ukraine remains serious and that Ukraine needs more air defences and assistance.
We need to do even more, he said, adding that support needs to be put on a more enduring basis.
Summary of the day
Nato foreign ministers met for a second day in Brussels, marking the 75th anniversary of the alliance’s founding.
The ministers held talks with Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister. Kuleba stressed Ukraine’s call for more air defences. “Saving Ukrainian lives, saving Ukrainian economy, saving Ukrainian cities depends on the availability of Patriots and other air defence systems in Ukraine.
He also emphasised that “providing Patriots depends on allies, they have plenty of them.”
The Ukrainian minister also said he spoke with the American secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and “urged our American partners to find ways to provide additional ‘Patriot’ air defence systems as soon as possible.”
… The Nato secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said allies need to do two things: mobilise more support for Kyiv in the coming days and weeks, and but then also ensure that we’re able to establish a stronger, more robust framework for long-term support, so aid can continue on a more predictable basis.
The Nato chief reiterated that the alliance’s military leadership has been tasked with coming up with a structure, which would have to be underpinned by a financial commitment. He declined to go into more detail about plans.
Can NATO Trump-Proof Its Future?
(Foreign Policy) With no new U.S. military aid on the way to Ukraine—for now—NATO is looking to step up in a big way.
The 32-nation alliance is considering taking over the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the U.S.-led group of nations that coordinates military aid deliveries to Kyiv. It’s also looking to establish a five-year aid package to Ukraine worth more than $100 billion, alliance officials confirm to SitRep (the Financial Times first reported the news on Tuesday), with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pitching the effort to the allies directly.
“Every day of delay in the decision in the United States on providing more support to Ukraine has consequences on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday. “So we have a responsibility as NATO allies to take the decisions and to ensure that the Ukrainians get the ammunition they must have to be able to continue to push back the Russian invaders.”
There’s a reason you haven’t heard the White House bash Johnson’s Ukraine aid ideas
(Politico) The White House has maintained contact with Johnson’s office about Ukraine aid throughout Congress’s two-week recess, according to two administration officials. And while the president has publicly pressured House Republicans to pass the Ukraine aid package, he and his team have held off on aggressively attacking the speaker over the drawn-out process for getting it passed. Instead, they’ve sought to give Johnson breathing room as he leads a fractious GOP caucus with an ever-shrinking majority.

2 April
Trump-proofing weapons for Ukraine: Allies consider moving arms group into NATO
Officials are expected to discuss gradually moving the organization — called the Ukraine Defense Contact Group — into the alliance’s control
(Politico) The U.S. and other Western countries are considering transferring to NATO a U.S.-led multinational group that coordinates the shipment of weapons to Ukraine, one of several new proposals that could help maintain the flow of arms to Kyiv under a second Donald Trump presidency.
During the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels Wednesday and Thursday, officials are expected to discuss a range of options, including gradually moving the organization — called the Ukraine Defense Contact Group — into the alliance’s control…. The goal would be to finalize the move at the NATO leaders’ summit in Washington in July, one of the officials said.

9-12 March
Vatican backtracks after pope’s Ukraine ‘white flag’ blunder
Russia’s war on Ukraine is “unjust” and must end, says Holy See’s top diplomat.
(Politico Eu) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state and second-highest ranking official after Francis, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that Russia “should first and foremost cease fire,” calling the country the “aggressor” and the war in Ukraine “unjust.”
Pressure builds on Ukraine
(GZEROmedia) The most hotly debated question about a possible second Donald Trump foreign policy: Would he simply abandon Ukraine and its fight to repel Russian invaders? We might now have an answer.
Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán, a political ally of both Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, announced after meeting with Trump in Florida yesterday that the former president “will not give a penny in the Ukraine-Russia war.” He told Hungary’s M1 TV channel that “if the Americans don’t give money, the Europeans alone are unable to finance this war. And then the war is over.”
Trump himself has yet to comment on this claim that he would end the conflict by forcing a Ukrainian surrender.
Putin has also added more pressure on Ukraine. On Monday, he called it “quite understandable” that Pope Francis has reportedly urged Ukraine’s leaders to find “the courage of the white flag” to negotiate with the Kremlin.
Ukraine hits back at Pope Francis over ‘white flag’ remark urging peace talks with Russia
Kyiv’s ambassador to the Vatican told NBC News his country could not accept the pope’s logic — a hint of the intense backlash his comments drew.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also appeared to address the pope’s remarks Monday, without directly referring to him. “President Putin started this war and he could end it today, but Ukraine does not have this option,” Stoltenberg said. “Surrender is not peace.”
Francis sparked fury last year by praising Russia’s imperial rulers — the historical pretext that President Vladimir Putin often uses to help justify his invasion. The pope also said in the early months of the war that “NATO’s barking at Russia’s door” may have precipitated the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor.
Pope says Ukraine should have ‘courage of the white flag’ of negotiations
(Reuters) – Pope Francis has said in an interview that Ukraine should have what he called the courage of the “white flag” and negotiate an end to the war with Russia that followed Moscow’s full-scale invasion two years ago and that has killed tens of thousands.
Francis made his comments in an interview recorded last month with Swiss broadcaster RSI, well before Friday’s latest offer by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to host a summit between Ukraine and Russia to end the war.
8 March
Erdogan offers to host Ukraine-Russia peace summit after meeting Zelenskiy
Two leaders discuss Ukraine war, grain deal, defence ties
Erdogan offers to host Ukraine-Russia peace talks
No Russia at first peace summit in Switzerland, Zelenskiy says
Turkey has sought to maintain good ties with Ukraine and Russia

28 February
Ukraine reports jump in number of downed Russian planes
Ukraine’s military says it has shot down 10 Russian military jets in as many days, which marks a sharp increase over the preceding months.
The claim comes despite shortages experienced by Ukrainian forces due to delays in Western supplies.
Ukraine says a total of 342 Russian planes and 325 helicopters have been shot down since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Ukraine’s Zelenskiy seeks Balkan arms, support at summit in Albania
(Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tried to drum up Balkan support for his vision of peace in Ukraine and promoted the idea of joint arms production at a two-day summit of southeastern European countries on Wednesday.
The summit in the Albanian capital Tirana comes as Kyiv is trying to improve its defensive capabilities to beat back Russian forces at a time of faltering U.S. support more than two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion.

27 February
Ukraine says Russia will step up its hybrid attacks in spring
(Reuters) – Russia will escalate an ongoing influence operation this spring aimed at destabilising Ukraine and scuppering international support for Kyiv in its two-year-old war with Moscow, Ukrainian intelligence warned on Tuesday.
Ukraine is struggling to fend off Russian troops along much of the front line as Kyiv faces challenges in replenishing its ranks and a potential cut in U.S. military aid.
The Kremlin will bolster its invasion by stepping up efforts to seed disinformation on social media, sparking conflict among Ukrainians and sowing doubt among Kyiv’s allies of its chances for victory, according to a presidential intelligence committee.

24 February
Ukraine Second Anniversary: Our Coverage from Day One
We’re marking the second anniversary of the illegal invasion of Ukraine with a retrospective of Policy coverage — a timeline of pieces from among the many excellent ones filed on Ukraine in the past two years. It begins on Day One of the war, with a piece filed by longtime Policy contributing writer, Pendulum Group founding partner and former president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Yaroslav Baran hours after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine and the bombing of Kyiv began. From February 24th, 2022, here’s Vladimir Putin, History’s Latest Chaos Actor. From former longtime senior diplomat and Policy contributing writer Jeremy Kinsman, who served as Canada’s Ambassador to Russia, also filed on the first day of the war, here’s Putin’s Fateful War of Choice. On Russia’s geopolitical casus belli from Policy Editor Lisa Van Dusen on April 11th, 2022, Lavrov’s Rare Truth About Russia’s Global Motives.
From United Nations Ambassador Bob Rae on April 26, 2022, Putin’s War: Truth and Consequences. From then-Ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza filing from Kyiv on December 22, 2022, Dispatch from a Wartime Ambassador.
From February 2023, our Ukraine: One Year Later package, with pieces from Bob Rae, Yaroslav Baran, Jeremy Kinsman and former NATO Ambassador Kerry Buck.
From NDP MP Heather McPherson (above, in Irpin) filing from Ukraine on March 13, 2023, Witnessing the Indestructible Spirit of Ukraine. From October, 2023, our Policy Online Ukraine Series: Yaroslav Baran’s Q&A with Ukraine Ambassador to Canada Yulia Kovaliv; Anastasiya Ringis with Forged in the Maidan and Facing West: Ukraine’s New Generation of Leaders; Ashley Mulroney with Notes from a Wartime Posting: The Hardest Part Was Leaving Ukraine; Colin Robertson with Ukraine, Canada and the Call of History.
And, we end with Jeremy Kinsman’s piece filed hours after Alexei Navalny’s murderwhich is also about Ukraine — Navalny is Now Immortal, and Putin Has Never Been Weaker.

Photo essay
Saturday [24 February] will mark the two-year anniversary of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Although the Russian military initially made broad advances into the country beginning on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian forces, backed by Western support, resisted fiercely, forcing Russia to pull back into eastern and southern Ukraine. Soon, front lines hundreds of miles long were established, and the war evolved into a long and punishing battle of artillery, drones, and close combat across trenches, shattered forests, and ruined villages. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed or injured in the conflict. As Russia continues to launch missiles into all parts of Ukraine and presses forward with ground attacks across the front line, Ukrainian forces face intensifying shortages of manpower and ammunition. Gathered below are images from recent months, showing a region reshaped by two years of war. (The Atlantic)

19-23 February
‘War of drones’: Ukrainians step up drone production in fight against Russia
(The World) It’s been nearly two years since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. With military aid held up in the US Congress, there are widespread reports that Ukraine is beginning to ration its ammunition. Drone manufacturing is one way Ukrainians are trying to become more self-reliant as the war continues.
Ukraine remains stronger than you might think by Michael O’Hanlon, Philip H. Knight chair in defense and strategy at the Brookings Institution.
(WaPo) Two years since Russia invaded Ukraine and 10 since Vladimir Putin seized Crimea, the war is at a difficult standstill — not least because of wavering U.S. support. If Congress cuts off support, Ukraine could well collapse later this year. Yet Ukraine remains strong in many ways. It has continued to stymie the Kremlin’s greatest ambitions for taking over the country. While the going is tough today, there is no cause for fatalism.
Russia says it has crushed the last pocket of resistance in Avdiivka to complete the city’s capture
Ukraine outnumbered, outgunned, ground down by relentless Russia
War enters 3rd year with Russia in ascendancy
Ukrainian soldiers increasingly exhausted
Motivation high, fighters and ammo in low supply
Conflict combines trench and drone warfare
(Reuters) – As the Ukraine war enters its third year, the infantry of 59th Brigade are confronting a bleak reality: they’re running out of soldiers and ammunition to resist their Russian invaders.

Heather Cox Richardson: February 17, 2024
Although few Americans paid much attention at the time, the events of February 18, 2014, in Ukraine would turn out to be a linchpin in how the United States ended up where it is a decade later.
On that day ten years ago, after months of what started as peaceful protests, Ukrainians occupied government buildings and marched on parliament to remove Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych from office. After the escalating violence resulted in many civilian casualties, Yanukovych fled to Russia, and the Maidan Revolution, also known as the Revolution of Dignity, returned power to Ukraine’s constitution.
… To rehabilitate his reputation, Yanukovych turned to [American political consultant Paul] Manafort, who was already working for a young Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska worried that Ukraine would break free of Russian influence and was eager to prove useful to Vladimir Putin. At the time, Putin was trying to consolidate power in Russia, where oligarchs were monopolizing formerly publicly held industries and replacing the region’s communist leaders. In 2004, American journalist Paul Klebnikov, the chief editor of Forbes in Russia, was murdered as he tried to call attention to what the oligarchs were doing.
With Manafort’s help, Yanukovych finally won the presidency in 2010 and began to turn Ukraine toward Russia. In November 2013, Yanukovych suddenly reversed Ukraine’s course toward cooperation with the European Union, refusing to sign a trade agreement and instead taking a $3 billion loan from Russia. Ukrainian students protested the decision, and the anger spread quickly. In 2014, after months of popular protests, Ukrainians ousted Yanukovych from power and he fled to Russia.
… Shortly after Yanukovych’s ouster, Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimea and annexed it, prompting the United States and the European Union to impose economic sanctions on Russia itself and also on specific Russian businesses and oligarchs, prohibiting them from doing business in U.S. territories. These sanctions were intended to weaken Russia and froze the assets of key Russian oligarchs. …

18 February
What to know about Avdiivka as Russia claims control of strategic city
(WaPo) Avdiivka has strategic and logistical value for Moscow. The Defense Ministry said Saturday that capturing Avdiivka would push the front line of the war farther from Donetsk city, making it more difficult for Ukraine to stage attempts to reclaim the regional capital.
Avdiivka is a strategic hub in Donetsk — one of the four Ukrainian regions that Russia illegally claimed to annex in 2022.
Russian forces have made a “concerted effort” to seize the city since October, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry. Since then, Russia has frequently targeted a coke and chemical plant in the city, with a Ukrainian soldier reporting some 20 airdropped bombs a day. Russian forces advanced into the city this month.
Ukraine’s military chief, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, announced the troop pullout early Saturday. He said he ordered a withdrawal “to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Saturday that its forces had taken “complete” control of Avdiivka but were still clearing some areas, including the coke plant, which was a final stronghold in the battle for the city.
The withdrawal marks a significant defeat for Ukraine and comes as Kyiv is struggling with shortages of weapons, ammunition and troops amid a softening in support from its allies.

12 February
Graphic Truth: What would Ukrainians give up for peace?
Ukraine is days away from marking the second anniversary of Russia’s 2022 invasion. The war is largely stalemated, with few changes to the battlefield map in recent months. Ukrainian troops are engaged in brutal trench warfare reminiscent of World War I but with the added nightmare of deadlier modern weaponry and technology. After enjoying strong, steady support from its Western allies in the first year and a half of the war, Kyiv now faces a constant struggle to keep aid flowing in as it runs short on supplies and faces manpower issues. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no signs of backing down despite the myriad political, economic, and societal consequences the war has had for Russia.
But none of that is undermining Ukraine’s resolve. New polling from the Munich Security Conference shows that Ukrainians are strongly opposed to any cease-fire framework that would require Kyiv to cede territory to Russia — particularly Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. This suggests that Ukrainians are largely aligned with their government, which has pushed for a peace plan that would see Russia withdraw troops from occupied territories and recognize Ukraine’s 1991 post-Soviet borders. Moscow has scoffed at this proposal.

8 February
Oleksandr Syrskyi: The battle-hardened ‘snow leopard’ leading Ukraine’s army from the front
The Moscow-educated general sleeps four-and-a-half hours a night and regularly visits troops on the frontline
(The Independent) Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who has led Ukraine’s ground forces since 2019, was promoted to commander of the armed forces on Thursday as the war with Russia nears its third year.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has shaken up his top military brass, replacing army chief General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi with Oleksandr Syrskyi.
Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said separately that the decision had been taken to change the military leadership.
The statements follow days of speculation that Zelenskiy was considering dismissing his popular army chief, who is seen by many Ukrainians as a national hero for overseeing the war effort since February 2022.

2 February
Ukraine and Canada launch international coalition for return of Ukrainian children
(RBC-Ukraine) Ukraine and Canada launched the operation of an international coalition for the return of Ukrainian children on February 2nd, according to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak.
According to his statement, he launched the coalition’s work together with Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly. They also presented the framework document of their activities at the meeting in Kyiv.
Zelenskyy announces arrival of 2 defense systems capable of shooting down everything
(RBC-Ukraine) Today, on February 2, Ukraine received two more air defense systems capable of shooting down all enemy aerial targets, announces President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Ukraine’s MFA head reveals obstacle preventing destruction of Crimean Bridge
(RBC-Ukraine) The Crimean Bridge still stands as Ukraine lacks the weaponry to dismantle it. “We need weapons that can effectively strike it, while avoiding Russian air defense systems,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba replies.
The illegally constructed Crimean Bridge by the occupiers has been hit at least twice. In October 2022, powerful explosions occurred, causing significant damage. …

1 February
Zelensky’s shake-up of military command, meant as a refresh, risks backlash
(WaPo) When Volodymyr Zelensky told his top commander, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, on Monday that he would soon be dismissed, the Ukrainian president suggested a leadership change might help provide a refresh. The public is increasingly exhausted by the war, and aid from international partners has slowed, Zelensky said, according to a senior Ukrainian official familiar with their conversation.
But a swift, negative reaction in the military ranks, misgivings among some officials in Kyiv, and uncertainty in the West suggest Zelensky’s removal of the popular general could backfire — allowing Moscow to seize on the instability. It could also deliver a blow to morale among troops on the front lines, especially because there has been no public explanation for Zaluzhny’s expected dismissal.

EU to expend $54 billion aid package to Ukraine, overcoming veto threat
(CNN) The leaders of the 27 European Union countries sealed a deal on Thursday to provide Ukraine with a new $54 billion support package for its war-ravaged economy after Hungary backed down from its threats to veto the move.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky gave his backing to the decision after it was announced. … “It is very important that the decision was made by all 27 leaders, which once again proves strong EU unity. Continued EU financial support for Ukraine will strengthen long-term economic and financial stability, which is no less important than military assistance and sanctions pressure on Russia.”

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