- Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation Staff reported one attack by Russian-hybrid forces, namely near Vodyane, Donetsk Oblast.
- As of 19:30, 8 February, OSCE SMM recorded 11 violations, including 7 explosions in Donetsk Oblast; 169 violations, including 29 explosions in Luhansk Oblast.
Ukraine news flash
- On behalf of all EU states, the Union’s foreign minister Josep Borrelll sent a reply to a letter on “security guarantees” from Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Interfax reports. Borrelll said that any differences and tension must be resolved only by dialogue and diplomacy.
- Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that non-key staff of the Russian diplomatic mission in Ukraine leave the country for some time. On 24 January, the US, the UK, Germany, and Austria informed of the withdrawal of embassy staff.
- The White House views the joint Russia-Belarus military drills (10-20 February) as activities for the conflict escalation, Jen Psaki said in her last briefing.
- According to Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó, Hungary does not support the US idea to station additional NATO troops in the country, Еuronews informs.
- Planes with US military continue arriving in Poland. On Thursday, two American military transport birds C-17A Globemaster III with units of the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army landed in Poland, 90 km (56 miles) from the border with Ukraine, ZN.ua reports.
- Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in the press briefing that Russia continues bringing more troops to the border with Ukraine and the territory of Belarus.
- Ukraine will not implement Minsk Agreements on terms set by Russian Federation, says Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba in the briefing. There will be no direct dialogue with the occupied territories of the Donbas; this is Ukraine’s principled position.
- Russia will not send its officials to take part in the Munich Security Conference on 18-20 February, said Maria Zakharova from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interfax reports.
- The US President Biden held talks with his French counterpart Macron after the latter’s visit to Moscow and Kyiv, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. They discussed diplomatic efforts for the Russia-Ukraine conflict de-escalation.
- The UK ordered 1,000 troops to be in a state of readiness to deliver support in case of a humanitarian emergency provoked by any Russian aggression, Reuters report.
- Denmark renounces the decision to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons. According to Defense Minister Morten Bødskov, their Stinger missiles turned out to be too old, The Copenhagen Post reports.
- British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arrived in Moscow to urge Russia to choose a peaceful way of conflict-resolution and warn Putin of serious consequences if he invades Ukraine, AFP reports.
More military aid from the US to Ukraine
The US will provide Ukraine with over a dozen of Mark VI patrol boats, according to The Ukrainian Naval Forces press service.
The tenth aircraft with US military assistance arrived in Ukraine, reports Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.
“Today is an “open day” at Boryspil airport! The tenth bird from the US flew in right behind the ninth. Over 80 tons of ammunition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” he wrote on his Twitter.
German security assistance to Ukraine perpetually on hold (Part 2)
Germany’s tripartite coalition government, in office since December 8, 2021, is continuing the policy of the predecessor government of Angela Merkel, which embargoed arms sales to embattled Ukraine. In deference to Russia, moreover, the German government is grasping at legal opportunities to obstruct or block arms transfers from other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states to Ukraine.
Western leaders have made Putin into a Superman to avoid facing up to their own mistakes, Inozemtsev says
One of the most effective ways to conceal from oneself and others his or her failures is to suggest that one is up against someone or something with apparently superhuman powers, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. And that is exactly what many in the West have done by promoting Putin as a fetish with superhuman powers.
Ukrainian soldier loses arms to grenade attack, but not his passion for life
“At one point during the fighting, I spotted a grenade under my feet. I tried to throw it outside of our fortification, but it exploded right in my hands. I hit the ground knowing that the irreparable had just happened. I could not feel my arms, my right eye was filled with blood, my lower lip was destroyed. I did not feel any pain, only terrible nausea because of blood loss,” recalls Oleksandr Tereshchenko, a Ukrainian veteran of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Crimean Tatar activist, wife of political prisoner helps families left behind by Russian arrests
“The dozen or so FSB officers showed no mercy; they shoved my husband to the ground so that he bruised his forehead. Our girl cried out “Daddy, daddy!” when she saw the masked, armed men holding her father,” Mumine Saliyeva, the wife of Russia’s Crimean Tatar political prisoner Seiran Saliyev, describes the moment of her husband’s arrest. Seiran Saliyev is one of the 127 Crimean prisoners who ended up in jail for political reasons. Detained in 2017 on terrorism charges (but in fact, for his activism for the release of Russia’s Crimean Tatar political prisoners), he was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment. His wife persists in fighting for his release.
Maggie Miller: On Ukraine, senators put cyberattacks top-of-list for sanctions
Efforts to deter Moscow’s cyber aggression toward Kyiv are turning into more serious, with senators are considering sanctions for cyberattacks within a draft law taking action against Putin, should he invade Ukraine. And it appears possible that a Russian hacking operation could be the first to entail such sanctions.
“If there were pre-invasion sanctions, they would be connected to Russian cyberattacks inside Ukraine,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
How Ukraine can prevent an imminent Russian blockade of the Black & Azov Seas
Russia will effectively blockade the Black and Azov seas for Ukraine in the next week, which Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims is a violation of international law, and which greatly increases the chances of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine. International lawyer Oleksandr Kalinichenko outlines a plan by which Ukraine, working together with NATO, can prevent this blockade and lower the risks of intervention.
Rebecca Grant: Biden’s 6 instant decisions if Russia invades Ukraine
If Russia makes a decision to invade Ukraine, here is what the US President might do, according to Rebecca Grant:
- Provide location information on Russian forces
- Brace for a cyber-attack, on the battlefield or across Ukraine
- Set up a no-fly zone over Ukraine and use NATO airpower’s electronic warfare
- Neutralize Russian air defenses
- Authorize Ukraine’s forces to call in US and/or NATO airstrikes on Russian tanks, artillery and other military assets
- Prepare for refugees
Is Ukraine ready for future cyberattacks? Don’t hold your breath, experts say
The recent massive cyberattacks of 14 January on government websites and web services of Ukraine defaced several official resources and led to the temporary suspension of dozens more. The EU and NATO offered Ukraine support for building up the country’s cyber defenses.
In the wake of the attack, local cybersecurity experts are unanimous that Ukraine remains vulnerable to future cyberattacks. They see the root of Ukraine’s vulnerability lying deep in the ineffective cybersecurity structure, the country’s insufficient cooperation with the private sector, and the lack of direct responsibility for not addressing security flaws.
Halya Coynash: New attack on Crimean Tatar civic activists in Russian-occupied Crimea
On 9 February, Russian security officers detained four Crimean Tatar civic activists and opponents to occupation. Their nine children saw their fathers taken away by the armed and masked men who violently broke into their homes at 4 a.m. Previously, these activists ran across Russian occupation authorities pressure due to their political views. One of the arestees Ernest Seitosmanov is a brother of political prisoner Enver Seitosmanov, recently became the victim of an effective FSB abduction.
Since 2014, Russian occupation authorities in Crimea established a highly repressive regime. Punitive measures fall upon Crimean Tatars, the Peninsula’s indigenous people professing Islam who put up the primary resistance against Russian occupation back in 2014, ethnic Ukrainians, activists, journalists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups who either disagree with the occupation or show any form of dissent.
They suffer from continuous raids on their homes, offices, and places of worship. Their leaders are expelled from Crimea, their media agencies are shut down, and their peaceful organizations are outlawed. Often, imprisonment on trumped-up charges, like in the cases of Ernest Seitosmanov, Ansar Osmanov, Marlen Mustafayev, Ametkan Abdulvalov, is the price of peaceful disagreement.
Halya Coynash: Russia causes irreparable damage to 16th Century Crimean Tatar Khan’s Palace in occupied Crimea
Russia’s so-called ‘restoration’ of the world-known Khan’s Palace in Bakhchysarai city, Crimea, has led to its irreparable damage. The Khan Palace is a significant monument for Crimean Tatar cultural and historic heritage.
“The Svitsky Corpus [Retinue Corps] which survived a strong earthquake on 11 September 1927 may not be able to survive Russia’s barbaric vandalism and corruption. There is now almost certainly no possibility that the Khan’s Palace, or Hansaray, will, as planned, be placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and the destruction is ongoing,” says Halya Coynash.
There can be no “red lines” from a third party − NATO representative in Ukraine
In Part 2 of Kyiv Not Kiev’s interview, the Director of the NATO Information and Documentation Center in Ukraine, Ms. Vineta Kleine discussed NATO’s rejection of Putin’s so-called “red lines” to prevent the Alliance’s enlargement through Ukraine’s accession; 3D holograms or NATO’s creative approach to communicating its work; its many plans for 2022, namely, holding a NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Ukraine, and more.
How Ukraine’s largest volunteer movement changes rules of the game, unites East & West
“We are investing in Ukrainian people who will change the rules of the game,” says Yuriy Didula, founder of Building Ukraine Together (BUR), Ukraine’s largest volunteer movement.
In 2014, he wanted to leave the USA to join the Army to defend Ukraine. But his mentor persuaded Yuriy that his talents are better spent by instilling the values of Euromaidan into the lives of everyday Ukrainians. Since then, 32 people and thousands of volunteers have dedicated their time to what he says is building a true democracy.