Past 24 hours in the war zone
- On 25 January, Russian-hybrid forces launched five attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Mariupol sectors, including heavy artillery and weapons, banned by the Minsk accords, Ukraine’s Joint-Forces Operation Staff reported. In the attacks, two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously.
- As of 19:30 January 17, OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission recorded 39 violations with 23 explosions among them in Donetsk Oblast, and 163 violations, including 110 explosions, in Luhansk Oblast.
Short Ukraine news
- NATO decides to put troops on alert and send additional ships and fighter planes to Eastern Europe to boost Alliance deterrence and defense capabilities.
- Biden says he will consider sanctioning Putin if Russia moves further into Ukraine, writes BBC.
- NATO will continue to assist Ukraine in cyber defense, according to the Alliance’s deputy secretary-general.
US and NATO reject Russian demands for “security guarantees”
On 26 January, the US and NATO delivered separate written responses to Russia’s demands for “security guarantees” which include NATO kicking 14 eastern member states out of the Alliance. Unsurprisingly, the demands were rejected. The demands included a number of provisions aimed at returning NATO to its “1997 state.”
Ukraine now ready to fight Russia unlike 2014, Ukrainian defense minister says
In a recent column, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov wrote that after eight years of learning in battle, Ukraine is now ready to fight Russia. At the same time, he notes that “the Kremlin is trying to destabilize Ukraine with hybrid means, including sowing panic. We must not give it this opportunity.”
Meanwhile, his deputy Hanna Maliar stated that any panic is premature, as “the group of troops concentrated around the border of Ukraine is not yet enough for a full-fledged offensive.”
Ukrainian FM Dmytro Kuleba told reporters in Kyiv that Russian troops could attack Ukraine at any time, as had been the case since 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, but currently would not be able to mount a full offensive.
Some 56% of Ukrainians ready to join territorial defense ranks: poll
According to a poll by the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, 56% of Ukrainians are ready to join the territorial defense if such units are created in their communities. The poll shows that 33% of respondents believe that the threat of a Russian attack on Ukraine is real.
Another 37% believe that the build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine’s borders is an element of Russia’s bargaining strategy to force NATO to give Moscow “security guarantees”, including NATO non-enlargement pledge and rejection of Ukraine’s NATO membership. Meanwhile, other 14% of respondents believe that there is no threat of a full-scale invasion: either there is fear-mongering in the media, or Russia’s saber-rattling.
US delivers more weapons to Ukraine
On 25 January, the US delivered the third of its shipments of military aid to Ukraine. According to the US Embassy in Kyiv, the 79-ton delivery includes about 300 Javelin anti-tank missiles. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked the US on Twitter and added that the cargo also includes security aid and that the fourth batch is now expected.
Moscow relocates fighter jets to Belarus
Russia continues amassing its troops around Ukraine. Recently, Moscow relocated its Su-35S fighter jets from the east of the Russian Federation to Belarus. According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, the maneuvers of the aircraft took place as part of large-scale joint exercises of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. Earlier Russia reportedly transferred the equipment of Russian of its marine and artillery units to Belarus.
“Why should Americans care about the Ukraine conflict?”
In its newsletter, USA Today explains why the Ukraine developments are important for Americans. Among the reasons given, the article mentions that US President Joe Biden said that invading Ukraine would be “the most consequential thing that’s happened in the world, in terms of war and peace, since World War II.”
Additionally, it cites William Taylor, former US ambassador to Ukraine, who said,
“If the Russians succeed in reestablishing a sphere of influence or of dominating Ukraine, they won’t stop there. They will continue. The Poles and the Romanians, the Czechs will be very concerned as they see Russian tanks coming west from Russia into Ukraine toward them, and they will ask for reinforcements from the United States.”
Russian naval assault could mean ‘total disaster’ for Ukraine’s economy
If Moscow goes ahead with an invasion of Ukraine, Russian naval ships and marines could launch amphibious assaults to cut the country off from the Black Sea. Security analyst Mykhaylo Samus told RFE/RL that blocking maritime trade would be a “total disaster” for Ukraine’s economy, leaving it essentially landlocked.
Only when the West declares Ukraine one of its own, global conflict with Russia would end
Ukrainian FM Dmytro Kuleba says that the global conflict with Russia will end only when the West declares Ukraine one of its own.
Meanwhile, according to him, the future of Euro-Atlantic security is decided in Ukraine, and the good news is that finally, the awareness of this appeared in the key capitals that actively consult with Kyiv. And it will be hard for Ukraine to remain friends with countries who choose their policy towards Ukraine after looking through a Russian prism.
Ukrainian-Canadians anxious as Russian threat looms: Global News Canada
One of Euromaidan Press editors, Christine Eliashevsky Chraibi, has shared her thoughts on the looming Russian threat on Global News Canada.
Russia aims to rebuild Soviet Empire, Latvian President says, urging arms for Ukraine
In his statement on 26 January, Latvia’s President Egils Levits slammed Russia’s “intention to rebuild the Soviet Empire,” as “stuck in the categories of 19th-century imperialism” and urged to meet it with arms for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. He called Russia’s demands towards NATO, including the withdrawal of NATO troops and equipment from 14 NATO members that joined after 1997 and guarantees that NATO will not expand eastward, a “new dimension in Russia’s aggressive rhetoric.”
Croatia sows confusion with threat to pull NATO troops over Ukraine crisis
On 25 January Croatian President Zoran Milanović made headlines when he declared the country would withdraw its troops from NATO forces in Eastern Europe if there’s an escalation of tensions with Russia over Ukraine. But Milanović was then contradicted by the country’s Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman.
And it soon emerged that Croatia’s forces in Poland had already returned home earlier this week at the end of a routine deployment — as documented on the website of the Croatian defense ministry.
Ukraine finally stops persecuting whistle-blower judge, and rules against corruption
The Kharkiv Court of Appeal has overturned the acquittal of a former Poltava deputy mayor who offered a bribe to Oktyabrsky District Court Judge Larysa Holnyk. The victory for those fighting corruption is partial and belated, but important, nonetheless, since up till now it was Judge Holnyk who suffered persecution for blowing the whistle on high-level corruption.
Day of prayer for peace in Ukraine
On 26 January, Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, led a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine, calling for dialogue to prevail over partisan interests to resolve the West’s standoff with Russia.
The pontiff announced the prayer day for Ukraine peace back on Sunday, 23 January, calling for “all people of goodwill to raise prayers.”
Russia challenges compensation awarded former Crimean Tatar political prisoner for torture-like imprisonment
Russia’s Penitentiary Service has challenged a crucial ruling that awarded 64-year-old Kazim Ametov compensation for the inhuman conditions he was held prisoner in for over two years. The conditions in the SIZO [remand prison] in occupied Simferopol are notoriously bad, and for the many political prisoners of Ametov’s age positively dangerous.
Ukrainian company plans to convert several gas power plants to co-fire biomass
The Ukrainian company Naftogaz Teplo is going to retrofit its thermoelectrical power plants for co-firing straw and other types of biomass instead of fossil fuels only. Ukraine remains largely dependent on fuel imports, as its domestic production of natural gas and coal doesn’t cover the entire demand.
Meanwhile, straw is currently mostly considered waste from wheat and barley production so Ukrainian farmers often just plow the straw and stubble down or burn them in the fields after harvesting.
Crucial law adopted to help Russia’s Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages
Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has finally adopted a long-needed bill that will provide social and legal aid to the huge number of political prisoners, hostages and prisoners of war, held in captivity in Russia or occupied Crimea and Donbas, and their families. The bill endorsed on 26 January 2022 by 288 MPs, is the most important of three tabled as urgent by President Volodymyr Zelensky on 27 September 2021.
Write a letter to support political prisoners!
Writing letters of support to political prisoners sentenced with no crime is a simple, yet significant act. Here is what Server Mustafayev wrote in his letter from behind the bars:
Make the winter of one of the 127 Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin a little warmer, join the Winter letter marathon for Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin – 2022