Past 24 hours in the war zone
- In the area of the Joint Forces operation, a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group tried to penetrate the front lines of the Ukrainian army but was stopped.
- Joint Forces Headquarters report no attacks/shelling by Russian-led militants
- As of 19:30 Jan 25, OSCE SMM recorded 403 violations, incl 26 explosions in Donetsk Oblast; 57 violations, including 70 explosions in Luhansk Oblast
- UAVs again encountered multiple instances of GPS signal interference (probable jamming)
- NATO increases combat readiness due to threat of Russia’s further incursion into Ukraine, says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in briefing.
- Russian arms control official states that NATO countries hold nuclear weapons on the territory of nuclear-free member-states and test the possibility of nuclear strikes at Russian strategic objects.
Short Ukraine news
- The operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline registered a subsidiary in Germany to bring the project closer to certification. The new company, registered in Schwerin, will own and operate the 54-kilometer section of the pipeline in German waters, as well as the landfall facility in Lubmin.
- 66% in Poland, 61% in the US, 61% in Canada, 57% in France, 49% in Germany, and 47% in the UK favor NATO allies making a commitment to defend Ukraine from Russian aggression, according to the Yalta European Strategy survey.
- The EU is mobilizing about EUR 6.5 billion in investments to support Ukraine‘s economy, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi stated after a meeting with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
- Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on foreign partners “to refrain from steps in public space that disturb the information space and shake society.” “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the decision of the vast majority of foreign partners not to change the mode of operation of diplomatic missions in Ukraine, including the evacuation of family members and staff. We confirm the statement that such steps are premature at this stage. At the same time, we continue to work closely with partners to assess further risks and threats of Russian aggression.”
- A 20-year-old Ukrainian National Guard conscript shot dead four servicemen and a civilian woman at the Pivdenmash aerospace plant in Dnipro city. He was later detained. The motives of the shooting remain unclear, although preliminary reports say the conscript was abused by his colleagues. National Guard Commander Mykola Balan has tendered his resignation due to a deadly shooting.
- Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again denied their plans for war with Ukraine, saying that “We consider unacceptable even a thought about the war between our people’s.” That is despite 7-year-long low-intensive war in occupied Donbas.
- The Kremlin says Russia’s concerns on security guarantees have not been taken into account by the United States in its written response to recent demands by Moscow, though room exists to continue dialogue with Washington over the issue.
Canadian support for Ukraine
Canada will provide an additional CAD 50 million (about $39.5 million) in humanitarian and development aid to Ukraine. Adding to a loan of up to 120 million that was announced last week.
Also, Canada will double the size of its current military training mission in Ukraine to 400 servicemen, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Sixty of the additional Canadian soldiers are to leave for Ukraine within days.
Trudeau also added that Canada would send non-lethal equipment to Ukraine and assist with intelligence gathering and countering cyber-attacks.
Czech support for Ukraine
The Czech government passed a decision to provide Ukraine with scores of artillery rounds as part of the country’s support amid the looming threat of Russia’s invasion, Kyiv Independent reports.
The transfer of 4,006 stored 152-millimeter shells with a total value of $1.7 million at no costs to Ukraine was approved on 26 January 2022 following a request from the Czech Defense Ministry.
“We’ve been developing the cooperation with Ukraine and supporting its path to democracy since a long time ago,” said Jana Cernochova, the Czech defense minister. “We have a relatively wide range of options at hand, from political and diplomatic support to specific expressions such as donating munitions, which I consider an important gesture of solidarity.”
German controversial support for Ukraine
Germany will send Ukraine 5,000 helmets as military aid, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told news outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung on Jan. 26. Earlier, Berlin decided to allocate EUR 5.3 million to Kyiv for a mobile field hospital.
“It’s a very clear signal that we’re on your side,” Lambrecht said.
She also said she believes the decision not to supply weapons to Ukraine is the right decision, “because we are afraid that it will escalate the conflict. We want to contribute in a different way.”
Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany Andriy Melnyk called German support a drop in the ocean and reminded that Kyiv is asking for 100,000 helmets and tactical vests for volunteers of territorial defense as well as anti-aircraft systems and warships.
While providing 5,000 helmets and the field hospital, Germany at the same time has blocked Ukraine’s purchase of these weapons from NATO procurement agency as well as didn’t allow Estonia to provide military aid to Ukraine with German-made components.
Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klytshko called this German defensive aid to Ukraine “a joke.” According to Klytshko, the German government has failed to grasp the gravity of the situation of Russia’s military buildup on the Ukrainian border, where at least 127,000 Russian soldiers are deployed.
In turn, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock expressed concern that a dispute over arms supplies to Ukraine could split the West. She also highlighted that
“Germany has made it clear that new military action against Ukraine will have massive consequences for Russia. On this basis, we develop a strong sanctions package. In case of new aggression, our response will be wide, including Nord Stream 2.”
Why does Germany refuse to export arms to Ukraine?
Germany is going to send a field hospital facility in February but remains firm in its unwillingness to export arms to Ukraine despite the looming threat of further Russian incursion with over 100,000 Russian troops lined up at Ukrainian borders.
As the US, Britain, and the Baltic states deliver arms, German officials insist on using diplomacy instead of raising Ukraine’s defense capabilities so that the country could fend off a potential Russian invasion and make its costs unbearable for Moscow.
Why is Germany so adamant in its refusal to arm Ukraine even with defensive weapons?
Ukrainian Jews appeal to Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Amid the threat of a Russian invasion and the reluctance of Germany to export arms to Ukraine, Ukrainian Jews have penned an appeal to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in which they slam opposition to supplying arms to Ukraine through NATO’s procurement system as a “concession to the Kremlin” and “a decision that is logically unjustifiable and morally unacceptable.”
Parliament allows voluntary formations to use combat weapons while supporting territorial defense activities
Voluntary formations are not part of the currently being organized 130,000-strong territorial defense but are allowed to protect local territorial communities. The governmental decree on their regulation should still be adopted.
On 27 January 2022, The Verkhovna Rada has introduced amendments to the legislation on national resistance and allowed local voluntary defense formations, that are not the state-organized territorial defense battalions, to use other combat rifles in addition to earlier-allowed hunting rifles.
“Members of voluntary formations of territorial communities have the right to use personal hunting weapons, small arms, other weapons and ammunition while performing territorial defense tasks, in accordance with the procedure established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine,” the amendments read.
Currently there are two trends in Ukraine in additional to the preparation of 250,000 regular army for possible escalation.
Since 1 January 2022, government is actively organizing planned 130,000-strong territorial defense that already has enrolled about 10,000-15,000 troops, judging from official reports of the Ministry of Defense and local territorial defense commanders in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities.
At the same time, while government can’t provide weapons and other equipment for all volunteers instantly, many Ukrainians participate in short-term military trainings with their own purchased rifles.
The most popular became this photo of a Ukrainian mother-of-three who has armed herself with a powerful hunting rifle, vowing to “fight for Kyiv” amid the risk of a Russian attack. “As a mother, I do not want my children to inherit Ukraine’s problems, or have these threats passed on to them. It is better that I deal with this now,” Mariana Zhaglo, 52, told the Times of London.
“Friends, buy weapons! And then there will be no offensive. Almost every Ukrainian can buy a smoothbore weapon from the age of 21 and a rifle from the age of 25. The better prepared we are for a great war, the less likely it is that it will begin,” the Ukrainian community of veterans wrote on Facebook.
Normandy talks for Ukraine-Russia conflict resolution resumed. Why was it a win for Russia?
Following a long break, talks in the Normandy format resumed on 26 January in Paris. The final communique said nothing new, but there are many indications that the outcome was a win for Russia, analyst Maria Zolkina says.
Zelenskyy talks with Biden
In a tweet, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy informed that he had a phone conversation with US President Biden, in which the leaders discussed “recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future. Thanked President Joe Biden for the ongoing military assistance. Possibilities for financial support to Ukraine were also discussed.”
Had a long phone conversation with @POTUS. Discussed recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future. Thanked President @JoeBiden for the ongoing military assistance. Possibilities for financial support to Ukraine were also discussed. pic.twitter.com/pAsQLYAuig
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 27, 2022
Polish Sejm adopts resolution in support of Ukraine
Sejm, the lower house of the parliament of Poland, appealed to the governments of NATO countries and the EU “to provide comprehensive support to Ukraine, which found itself in the face of war, and for a firm response from the Member States of The European Union and The North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the aggression of the Russian Federation.”
The resolution also says that one of the dimensions of the current crisis is the energy pressure of the Russian Federation. “We are opposed to the launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which breaks European unity in the face of the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation,” the Sejm said.
The Sejm also called on the parliaments of NATO and EU member states to adopt all initiatives aimed at supporting Ukraine.
Ukrainian woman hostage on surviving Donbas militants-run prisons
Halyna Haiova, a 62-year-old Ukrainian senior nurse, spent more than 14 months in the illegal prisons of the “Donetsk People’s Republic.” Halyna worked at the maternity department in a hospital of Russia-controlled Dokuchaievsk city, just 40 km north of Donetsk. According to the former Ukrainian woman hostage, Russia’s fighters received medical aid at this hospital. She recorded their names to transfer them to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). For that, militants illegally imprisoned her.
Freed in a prisoner exchange, Haiova can share details about her captivity. During this time, she was tortured with electric shocks and severely beaten. In prison, she witnessed several executions resulting from torture. Haiova was kept incommunicado in a tiny cell measuring 1 x 1 meter. Guards forced her and other prisoners to work through the night.
As many as 296 people are held hostage in Russia-occupied Donbas, including 30 women, according to official data as of August 2021. During the entire period of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict (2014 to the present), 3,360 people, including 276 women, have endured captivity by illegal paramilitary groups.
Russian-Belarusian military exercise Soyuznaya Reshimost-2022
The analyst concludes that, unless a diplomatic breakthrough occurs, Russia’s force groupings may be ready to enact an invasion into Ukraine during or soon after the upcoming Russian-Belarusian military exercise Soyuznaya Reshimost-2022 conducted near the borders with Ukraine and Poland.