Daily review: Ukraine to conduct own drills as Putin deploys more troops, Macron and four foreign ministers visit Ukraine

Ukraine news

 

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.

Recent developments in the Donbas war zone

  • Russian hybrid forces launch 5 attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors, including heavy artillery and weapons banned by Minsk.
  • One Ukrainian soldier wounded
  • Between evenings of February 4-6, OSCE SMM recorded 416 violations, including 38 explosions in Donetsk Oblast, 35 violations, including 1 explosion in Luhansk Oblast.
  • Gunfire directed at OSCE SMM UAV near non-goverment-controlled Pervomaisk, Luhansk Oblast.

Quick Ukraine news

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted that the United States and Germany are on the same page when it comes to Russia and Ukraine, except for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. During the joint conference with Scholz, Joe Biden was explicit in saying that the pipeline would be stopped in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, unlike Scholz who didn’t comment on the pipeline.
  • President of Poland Andrzej Duda proposed high-level meeting between NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia at NATO summit in Madrid. “I believe we should invite Georgia to a meeting of NATO heads of state & invite Ukraine to same meeting. We must show that we will not leave them to the mercy of fate,” Duda said. Polish Government approves arms supply to Ukraine that should be delivered soon.
  • Foreign ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia visit Kyiv, meet with Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. During the joint press conference, ministers assured they stand firmly on Ukraine’s side. Ministers also visit Kharkiv city and the line of contact on Donbas.
  • The United States has greenlighted the supply of “very interesting items” from Baltic states for the needs of the Armed Forces which Ukraine has long requested, Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov announced.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg believes that the risk of a new Russian military attack on Ukraine is increasing, given the rising number of Russian troops, deployment of field hospitals and additional infrastructure.
  • Ukraine’s intelligence reports that Russia has intensified the recruiting of mercenaries to send them for service to the occupied Donbas.
  • Netflix, the US video streaming service, has acquired the rights to screen the Ukrainian film “Rhino” by Oleg Sentsov, the famed Ukrainian filmmaker and former political prisoner has announced on his Facebook page.

140,000 Russian troops around Ukraine and Ukraine’s large military drills planned in response

The joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises “Union resolve 2022” would begin on 10 February. In response, the Ukrainian Armed Forces would conduct simultaneously its own exercises at the training areas of Rivne, Kovel, Ovruch, Shyroky Lan, Oleshkivski Pisky, Chernihiv, Chuhuyiv, Sumy, Odesa, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov said.

He added that recently more Russian troops arrived to Ukrainian borders. As of today, there are a total of 140,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine from the direction of the Russian Federation, Belarus, and occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russia will deploy National Guard “to the areas of practical exercises”

Rosgvardia, Russia’s National Guard, is preparing for its Zaslon annual exercise. The 2021 Zaslon occurred in July. The 2022 Zaslon coincides with February military drills in Belarus. The extent and significance of the Rosgvardia deployment remains to be seen and would influence Russia’s overall combat readiness to launch a full-scale attack on Ukraine.

The transfer of forces and means of the National Guard of the Russian Federation to the areas of practical exercises will be carried out from different districts by military aviation, as well as by road and rail transport,Velerii Gribakin, the spokesperson of the National Guard said.

The National Guard is part of Russia’s internal forces. In case of a full-scale attack on Ukraine, Russia will have to deploy National Guard to occupied areas to suppress local resistance and hold control over the territory.

Illustrative photo of previous Zaslon exercises. Source: Tass ~

Illustrative photo of previous Zaslon exercises. Source: Tass

Landing ships of the Russian Baltic and Northern fleets enter Black Sea

A group of large landing ships of the Russian Navy is passing through the Bosporus and Dardanelles from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

The ships from the Baltic and Northern fleets will reinforce the current group of seven Russian landing ships near Ukraine, increasing the capabilities of the Russian Navy to land up to 4,200 troops with vehicles in one operation on Ukraine’s coast. At the same time, Russia sent additional missile submarines, missile cruisers, and missile frigates to the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas from its Pacific fleet. Six landing ships from the north were firstly reported on 17 January when they left the Baltic sea, sparking speculations about their possible course towards Ukraine that now became true.

Russia rapidly moving landing ships, submarines of Baltic, Northern & Pacific fleets to Black Sea

Ukraine conducts tank and artillery military drills to work out defense against tank offensive

Ukrainian soldiers were raised on alarm. They moved to the location of the conventional enemy with tanks and artillery units, deployed their weapons, and destroyed the armored vehicles of the conventional enemy.

Every time we train, we must achieve the shortest time between a unit commander making a decision and issuing an order, and specific gunners or tank crews fulfilling it,” said Joint Forces Commander Lieutenant-General Serhiy Nayev.

At the same time, across Ukraine, the exercises are conducted with new Javelin, NLAW, and Stringer systems, ahead of the announced large-scale drills starting on 10 February, the same time the Russian-Belarusian drills start.

French President Emmanuel Macron visits Putin and Zelenskyy, looks for appeasement, says Ukraine removed draft bill on Russian demand to resume the Normandy Format meetings

Speaking at a press conference after talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, French President Emmanuel Macron denied having spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about a possible “Finlandization” of Ukraine, which would imply Ukraine adopting a neutral status and scrapping NATO aspirations. He also stated that implementing the Minsk protocols is the way to de-escalate military tensions, and that there is a need to create a “new defense and security order for all of us and which would suit everyone on the continent.”

Macron in Kyiv denies discussing “Finlandization” of Ukraine with Putin

On Tuesday night, 8 February, speaking after meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy withdrew a crucial bill that affirmed Ukraine’s “red lines” in the implementation of the Minsk peace deal between Ukraine and Russia. Official Kyiv had denied that the withdrawal, which essentially meant succumbing to Russian demands, was done in order to resume the meetings in the Normandy Format after a two-year pause.

Macron confirms Kyiv scrapped crucial bill upholding Ukraine’s interests to appease Russia

Japanese parliament adopts resolution in support of Ukraine

The Lower House of Japanese parliament adopted a resolution expressing solidarity with Ukraine, saying Tokyo is “gravely concerned and always with the Ukraine people who hope for the stability of their country and the region.”

Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida pledged to take “strong action in response to any attack” on Ukraine by Russia during a virtual summit with U.S President Joe Biden late last month.

Russia’s ambassador to Japan said Tokyo’s remarks about “strong actions against Russia” are “counterproductive” to Japan-Russia relations.

German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock visits Ukraine

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba held talks with German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock, who is visiting Ukraine for the second time, Promote Ukraine reports. The chief diplomats of Ukraine and Germany discussed in detail the steps to intensify the political and diplomatic settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

Kuleba reminded of Ukraine’s “red lines” within the framework of political settlement: Ukraine will not make any concessions on issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders; will not have any “direct dialogue” with the Russian occupation administrations in Donetsk and Luhansk; will not allow anyone but the Ukrainian people to determine Ukraine’s foreign policy.

Baerbock visited the contact line to see for herself the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.

Ukrainian minister of culture and information policy criticizes Reuters for naming pro-Russian militants in Donbas “separatists”

According to Ukraine’s minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, international journalists, while conducting an interview with occupiers of Donbas and naming them separatists, legitimize the actions of the Kremlin.

My question is not to the militants, whose actions will be assessed either by the court or the tribunal, but to journalists who, under the guise of standards to give information from all parties, legitimize terrorism. At the same time, they give criminals a platform to voice the Kremlin’s ideas… I think it is time to remind once again that a foreign journalist has the right to visit the temporarily occupied territory. But they must do this exclusively through Ukrainian checkpoints along the line of contact.

Ukrainian snipers on the frontline

Ruslan Shpakovych, a sniper training instructor with the Come Back Alive Foundation, a calm and soft-spoken man, shares his live combat experience in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

In today’s trench war of Donbas, the work of Ukrainian snipers can be viewed as even more effective than shelling with heavy weapons. In 2014, at the very start of Russia’s war against Ukraine in Donbas, Ukraine had virtually no snipers. Now, it has a good training program, and 90% of the snipers are provided with equipment. However, most of it is still supplied by volunteers. And while at the start, the Ukrainians adopted the experience of the US military, now, the opposite is true: Americans learn from Ukraine.

Ukrainian snipers on the frontline: why the US army is adopting their experience

Moscow to finally replace its Soviet-era strategic missiles

Thirty years after the end of the USSR, the Russian defense ministry has announced that it will begin scrapping strategic missiles from the Soviet era and replace them with updated versions, a mark of just how dependent the Russian Federation remains on what the Soviets achieved even in the defense sector.

Moscow moves up plan to finally scrap Soviet-era missiles

 

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