Daily review: Russian medical units at Ukraine border, Ukraine & west at odds over invasion threat

 

Daily review

Catch up with the latest news from Ukraine in our Daily Review. Our patrons get this review as a newsletter delivered to their inbox; become one of them here.

Past 24 hours in the war zone

  • Ceasefire violated as JFO report 2 attacks by Russian proxies in Maryinka and Luhansk Obl where Russian reconnaissance group tried to penetrate further into Ukrainian territory.
  • As of 19:30 Jan 26, OSCE SMM recorded 510 violations, incl 20 explosions in Donetsk Obl; 6 violations in Luhansk Obl.

Ukraine news flash

  • Canada to extend and expand UNIFIER military training mission in Ukraine for another 3 years.
  • US convenes meeting of the UN Security Council in connection to threat of Russian military incursion into Ukraine. Scheduled for Jan 31, says US Ambassador to UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
  • Pres Biden and Pres Zelensky held long phone conversation: diplomatic efforts for de-escalation, future plans, financial support discussed.
  • Ukraine’s FM Kuleba & EU High Representative Borrell discuss further sanctions vs Russia.

About the Russian invasion threat

According to The Wall Street Journal, Western defense officials are convinced that Russia has “completed the latest preparations for the invasion of Ukraine” by sending medical units to the border. This is a “level of readiness that it hadn’t reached in past buildups,” according to Western defense officials. While the moves don’t mean an attack is certain, they are prerequisites for battle and have intensified debates among Western allies over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions. The US and European allies, particularly Germany and France, appear to be drawing different conclusions from identical intelligence, the Journal says. Reuters reported that the medical materials include blood supplies, which US officials say are indicators of an invasion.

Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that Russia had about 112,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, and about 130,000, if the navy and aviation is included. This is 20,000 more than in December 2021.

“As of now, there are no military phenomena or actions that are significantly different from what happened last spring before Easter. The only difference in the military plan that we are closely following is the situation in Belarus. What is radically different is the intensity of hybrid measures, primarily information, as well as the impact of these measures on the macroeconomic situation.”

According to Reznikov, such reports are a means of pressure, and “not only and not so much on Ukraine.”

During a meeting with foreign journalists, Zelensky downplayed the threat of an invasion and called on world leaders and the media not to panic about the war with Russia, because it harms Ukraine’s economy. He also gave veiled criticism of Western nations who were warning of new economic sanctions but only if Russia invades. He suggested that the sanctions were needed before any possible invasion.

US President Joe Biden has threatened to impose devastating sanctions on Russia if leader Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, but some big companies and business groups are pushing the White House and lawmakers to be cautious. A trade group representing Chevron, General Electric and other big US corporations that do business in Russia is asking the White House to consider allowing companies to fulfill commitments and to weigh exempting products as it crafts any sanctions. At the same time, big energy companies are pushing Congress to limit their scope and time frame.

How prepared is Ukraine’s army to fight Russia in 2022?

The Ukrainian army has gone a long way since its first standoff with the Russian army in 2014. Since that time, Ukraine has trained and expanded its army, but Russia has not stood still, either. What are the major changes in the army, how has the battlefield changed in Donbas, and how prepared is Ukraine to fight Russia now?

How prepared is Ukraine’s army to fight Russia in 2022?

Russia builds up troops near Ukraine for blackmailing, not invasion, ex-DNR hostage Stanislav Aseyev believes

Former political prisoner from Russian-occupied Donetsk Stanislav Aseyev told that fears of an imminent Russian invasion into Ukraine are “one of the biggest bluffs in the history of the relations between the West and the Russian Federation.” The Kremlin has massed at least 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders. The West believes that the Russian army gets ready for a full-scale invasion in Ukraine, while many Ukrainian officials believe that Russia gathered them only to sow fear among Ukrainians.

Russia builds up troops near Ukraine for blackmailing, not invasion, ex-DNR hostage Stanislav Aseyev believes

Latest map of Russian battalions at Ukraine’s borders:

Here are the latest maps of the disposition of Russian battalion tactical groups around Ukraine & deployed to Belarus, created by George Barros from the Institute for Study of War.Daily review: Russian medical units at Ukraine border, Ukraine & west at odds over invasion threat ~~ Daily review: Russian medical units at Ukraine border, Ukraine & west at odds over invasion threat ~~

Ukraine reveals Russian-made weapons, explosives found in occupied Donbas

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has reported on its latest finds of the weapons and munitions supplied from Russia to the warzone in the east-Ukrainian Donbas region. Among the documented types of weapons are not just Soviet-designed landmines, but also exclusively Russian-made explosive devices and grenade launchers, not seen before in the Donbas.

Ukraine reveals Russian-made weapons, explosives found in occupied Donbas

Of Kremlin plans and thinking. The “Murayev coup” plot seen through the prism of the Surkov Leaks

Recently, the UK released a warning about Russian plans to create a coup in Ukraine and install a loyal government led by local pro-Russian MP Yevhen Murayev. This is a realistic scenario, based on what we know about the Kremlin’s previous campaigns in Ukraine.

Of Kremlin plans and thinking. The “Murayev coup” plot seen through the prism of the Surkov Leaks

Strengthening the security resilience of Ukraine: military, energy, cyber

As over 100,000 Russian troops mass on Ukraine’s border, the Transatlantic Task Force on Ukraine (TTFU) held an online forum to discuss the Western response and measures that could strengthen Ukrainian security resilience, particularly regarding the military, energy, and cyber sectors.

Strengthening the security resilience of Ukraine: military, energy, cyber 

US companies push Biden, Congress for caution on Russia sanctions

US President Joe Biden has threatened to impose devastating sanctions on Russia if leader Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, but some big companies and business groups are pushing the White House and lawmakers to be cautious. A trade group representing Chevron, General Electric and other big US corporations that do business in Russia is asking the White House to consider allowing companies to fulfill commitments and to weigh exempting products as it crafts any sanctions. At the same time, big energy companies are pushing Congress to limit their scope and time frame.

Study shows EU will survive Russia cutting off its gas this winter

Europe will suffer if Russia cuts off the gas; but that price will be paid from the wallet rather than through physical suffering, Economist writes.

Czech court to decide whether paramilitary involved in Russia’s invasion of Crimea is extradited to Ukraine

The Prague Municipal Court is due to decide in the middle of February whether Aleksandr Franchetti is to be extradited to Ukraine to face trial for his active role in Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

Night lights show economic growth of Ukraine, decline of occupied Donbas

An analysis of changes in night illumination in Ukraine, used as a proxy of economic growth, reveals the economic successes of decentralization and economic downfall of occupied Donbas.

Night lights show economic growth of Ukraine, decline of occupied Donbas

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