Past 72 hours in the war zone
- Russian occupiers launch 19 attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors, incl heavy artillery and weapons banned by Minsk.
- 2 Ukrainian soldier wounded, 1 Ukrainian soldier wounded
- Gunfire directed at OSCE SMM UAV at non-gov’t-controlled Petrivske; another UAV lost at gov’t-controlled Chasiv Yar, Donetsk Obl.
- Estonia will send Javelins, US-made missile launchers to Ukraine in the next few weeks, says Kaimo Kuusk, ambassador of Estonia to Ukraine. “…in the coming weeks. It’s a normal procedure; we were obliged to ask for permission and we received it. The US did it very quickly, without bureaucracy. So we’ve got Javelin missiles that are ready to be sent to Ukraine. And this means dozens, dozens, and dozens of missiles. I don’t want to name the specific numbers but it’s really quite a lot.”
- Advisors to the leaders of the Normandy Four countries will meet in Paris on January 25. The main topic will be the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping may have asked Putin not to attack Ukraine during Beijing Winter Olympics in order not to “overshadow China’s big moment”, writes Bloomberg.
- Canada to extend Unifier training program and will consider sending more instructors and defense weapons.
US weapons arrive in Ukraine
Over the weekend, Ukraine received two dispatches of weapons from the USA as part of a $200 million package approved by President Biden in December 2021.
Defense Minister Reznikov tweeted the photos of the airplanes arriving to Boryspil airport, stating that there were in total 170 tons of weapons to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
On 22 January, the US Department of Defense shared photos of the airplanes being loaded with Javelin anti-tank systems and other ammunition prior to departure on the Dover Air Force Base.
As well, weapons were loaded on the Travis Air Force Base.
NV.UA reported that apart from Javelin anti-tank missiles, the latest delivery of US military aid to Ukraine also includes M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, or SMAW-D – a weapon intended to crack hardened structures.
UK warns of Russian plan for coup in Ukraine
The UK government has warned about a Kremlin plan to install a loyal government in Ukraine as Russia mulls whether to invade. One of the candidates is Yevhen Murayev, a pro-Russian politician who is paradoxically under Russian sanctions. Here is what we know about him.
Scandals in Germany
The chief of Germany’s navy has resigned after arguing at a livestreamed event that Putin “deserves respect” and Kyiv will never win back annexed Crimea – comments that Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin said “massively” called into question Germany’s trustworthiness.
His statements were echoed by Prime Minister of Bavaria, Germany Markus Söder who said Russia is a difficult partner, but not an enemy. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry noted that such statements can harm Ukrainian-German relations.
Slamming the recent statements and Germany’s reluctance to arming Ukraine is an editorial by the Ukrainian online media European Pravda which directly accuses Germany provoking war and ruining its future in Ukraine:
“Put it bluntly, Ukrainian society is increasingly perceiving it as an aggressor’s accomplice.
This might sound harsh. But it is true.
And this is a true catastrophe that will worsen over time.”
UK and US withdraw families from Ukraine embassies
The US and UK are withdrawing diplomats’ families from Ukraine, but the EU has said dependants will stay put for now, amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion.
The state department told the dependants of staffers at the US embassy in Kyiv that they must leave the country. It also said that non-essential embassy staff could leave Ukraine at government expense.
“Military action by Russia could come at any time,” the US embassy said. Officials “will not be in a position to evacuate American citizens in such a contingency, so US citizens currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly”, it added.
On Monday the Foreign Office said some British staff and dependants were being withdrawn, but the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrelll, said the bloc did not plan to follow suit for now.
As well, the US military has ordered several hundred US troops on standby to potentially deploy to Eastern Europe.
NATO outlines deterrence plan
NATO said Monday it is bolstering its “deterrence” in the Baltic Sea region. Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 warplanes to Lithuania; Spain is sending four fighter jets to Bulgaria and three ships to the Black Sea to join NATO naval forces; and France stands ready to send troops to Romania. The Netherlands also plans to send two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April.
In Washington, Pentagon leaders have proposed a range of options for President Joe Biden to reinforce the US military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics as a demonstration of American commitment, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.
One of the officials said no specific deployments have been proposed but some unspecified US military units have been told to start planning for that possibility.
Epidemic of hoax bomb threats in Ukraine part of Russia’s hybrid war, emergency service says
A flow of hoax bomb threats inundated Ukraine at the beginning of the year, soared about a week ago, and keeps going to this day. Most of them target schools. According to Ukraine’s State Service for Emergency Situations, this is “nothing but an element of hybrid aggression and a pre-planned information operation. The purpose of this information terrorism is to keep Ukrainians tense and instill insecurity.”
Pope calls for a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine on Wednesday, 26 January
At the conclusion of Sunday’s midday prayer in the Vatican, Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, called for an international day of “prayer for peace” in Ukraine. For such a day the pontiff proposed that next Wednesday, 26 January, according to Vatican News.
Ukrainian vs Russian forces
Ukraine’s defence capabilities outmatch the Russian threat on its border, says this Center of Strategic Communications infographic based on Ministry of Defence data.
Russian parliamentarians move to ‘defend compatriots’ by recognizing Donbas pseudo ‘republics’
Viacheslav Volodin, speaker of Russia’s State Duma, is threatening ‘consultations’ in the coming week on a proposed ‘appeal’ to Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘asking’ him to recognize the Russian proxy ‘Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics’ [D-LNR’].
Hackers of attack on Ukrainian government websites also targeted Bundestag & Polish officials, Polish diplomat says
The hackers behind Ukraine’s January cyberattack also carried out an attack on the Bundestag and targeted e-mails of some Polish officials, said Permanent Representative of Poland to the EU, Ambassador Andrzej Sados. Read more about the cyber attack, which purported to originate from Poland, but had Russian traces, here.
Kremlin refuses to see ‘Russians are tired of empire’ and so is on a suicidal path, Tsipko says
Vladimir Putin and his regime continue to try to blame Gorbachev or the West for the demise of the USSR, a reflection of their unwillingness to face the fact that the most important player in the events of 1991 was not some internal or external enemy but the Russian people itself who had become “finally tired of empire,” Aleksandr Tsipko says.
Russia continues to plunder and destroy Crimea’s cultural heritage: 150 crimes documented by experts
Ukrainian historical experts have documented 150 violations of cultural heritage sites in occupied Crimea performed by the Russian authorities.
On Unity Day, Ukrainians ask to Say Yes fo Ukraine
The central event took place in Kyiv, where participants holding a 500-meter flag connected the St. Sophia & St. Michael’s Cathedrals. Smaller rallies took place in other Ukrainian cities, and as many as 60 countries, organizers from the Capitulation Resistance Movement said.
The symbolic human chains of the day harken back to 1990, when Ukrainians joined hands to connect Lviv and Kyiv on the anniversary of the historic date. It was a precursor to the independence of Ukraine declared in 1991. More photos here.