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Daily review: US sends more Javelins; US, UK, others urge their citizens to leave Ukraine, resultless Normandy talks

ukraine news daily review 11 feb 2022
Daily review: US sends more Javelins; US, UK, others urge their citizens to leave Ukraine, resultless Normandy talks
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Past 24 hours in the war zone

  • Russian hybrid forces launched eight attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Mariupol sectors, including heavy artillery and weapons banned by Minsk accords, according to Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation Staff.
  • As of 19:30 Feb 9, OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) recorded 27 violations, including 11 explosions in Donetsk Oblast; 224 violations, including 23 explosions in Luhansk Oblast.
  • Gunfire was directed at SMM UAV near the non-government-controlled city of Luhansk.

Ukraine news flash

  • Foreign Minister of Hungary Peter Szijjártó says Budapest does not see the real threat of a further Russian invasion of Ukraine. Despite the tensions, Hungary refuses to station additional NATO forces on its territory and is critical about imposing new sanctions against Moscow.
  • NATO considers long-term deployment of combat groups in the Black Sea region, says Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
  • British Parliament has approved the law on sanctions against Russia (companies and individuals in economic and strategically important sectors) if Russia moves further into Ukraine.
  • Estonia allocates €351,700 to residents of frontline areas in eastern Ukraine.
  • Ukraine triggered the so-called “risk-reduction” mechanism of the OSCE Vienna Document, triggering an inquiry in an attempt to make Russia explain its massive troop buildup near the border, after a similar maneuver by the Baltic nations directed at Belarus went nowhere.

More military aid from the US to Ukraine

The 14th and 15th flights carrying US security assistance, including Javelins, ammunition, defensive equipment arrived at Boryspil on February 10 and 11. According to the US Embassy to Ukraine, the US has delivered about 1,200 tons of materiel to Ukraine in January.

The 14th shipment of the American military assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the year. Photo: Twitter/USEmbassyKyiv
The 15th shipment of the US military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the year. Boryspil, 11 February 2022. Photo: Twitter/USEmbassyKyiv

Biden warns Americans in Ukraine to leave

On 11 February, US president Joe Biden warned that “things could go crazy quickly” in Ukraine and again urged American citizens to leave immediately. “American citizens should leave, should leave now,” Biden said in an interview with NBC News. “We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. This is a very different situation and things could go crazy quickly.” The Russian offensive may begin the next week, according to US officials.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned in his conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba the “increasingly acute threat of possible further Russian aggression,” while White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Russia may invade before the end of the Beijing Olympics:

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan's quote

On the same day, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Estonia, and Denmark also advised their citizens to leave Ukraine because of the Russian threat. In addition to such recommendations, Israel has also announced the evacuation of the families of its diplomats. South Korea has ordered its citizens to leave Ukraine, threatening liability in case of non-compliance. Also, the EU for the first time said it was urging all non-essential diplomatic staff and families to leave Ukraine.

In turn, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba assured,

“There is nothing new in this [President Biden’s] statement. We know the position of the United States, which has already made such statements. They started with the evacuation of family members and embassy staff. Therefore, this statement does not indicate that the situation has changed dramatically,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for government interaction at all levels in the organization of territorial defense in Ukraine.

Ukraine calls on international media to not legitimize Russia’s occupation of Donbas

Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy and Foreign Minister have called on international media to not refer to the Russian-backed statelets of Donbas as independent “people’s republics” or to their administrations as “separatists” so as to not assign them a sense of false agency. “The temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are under the full control of the occupying state, the Russian Federation,” the officials stress.

Ukraine calls on international media to not legitimize Russia’s occupation of Donbas

Russia cancels scheduled Azov Sea blockade, Black Sea still to be blocked

On 10 February at 16:43, the Department of Navigation and Oceanography of Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced it is canceling the blockade of the Azov Sea ​​north of the Kerch Strait. However, the Black Sea will still be essentially blocked for Ukraine till 19 February.

Russia cancels scheduled Azov Sea blockade, Black Sea still to be blocked

Russia may annex one-third of Ukraine: Kurt Volker

In his interview, former US ambassador to NATO and US representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker what can we expect in case of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine;

“The Germans and the French and everybody will be calling for a cease-fire. And Russians will say, “OK, we’ll have a cease-fire and then we’ll have to do dividing lines.” And this time I will not at all be surprised if Russia annexes the territory as they did with Crimea before… The big question mark in my mind is Kharkiv, the northeastern city in Ukraine. Would they take it out or not? They might… But they would not go as far west even as Poltava. I think they will be staying in the south and east. It will be a third of the country.”

No progress in Normandy talks around Russia-Ukraine conflict in Donbas

On the night of 11 February, a nine-hour Normandy Format meeting ended in Berlin amid continuing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Like its last gathering on 26 January in Paris, it did not bring any progress, even in the form of a communique.

No progress in Normandy talks around Russia-Ukraine conflict in Donbas

“Ukraine has emerged as best it can from the Normandy Four talks and has made clear it will stand its ground. While the Europeans — at least for the time being — are not forcing concessions, Ukrainian popular sentiment is far from trusting. There are still worries that the position of its partners might change if — or when — Russia finally decides to launch its biggest military offensive to date,” believes Olga Tokariuk of CEPA.

US at OSCE: Russia has mobilized 85 battalion tactical groups near Ukraine

Russia has mobilized 85 heavily armed battalion tactical groups on Ukraine’s borders, according to Ambassador Michael Carpenter, US Permanent Representative to the OSCE. He said this at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 10 February.

Assessing the Military Strength of Russia and Ukraine

Russia may not hold the military advantage media reports indicate, writes Giselle Donnelly. Much of today’s hand-wringing stems from an outdated understanding of what happened in Ukraine in 2014 and what’s happened since. If the Ukrainian army has been unable to become as modern or lethal as its Russian opponents, it has become a much more professional and tactically competent force, at least in some part.

“This is how western media lose credibility in Ukraine”

“No wonder Ukrainians start treating the once-respected media outlet as a piece of cheap pro-Russian propaganda”: Julia Kazdobina dissects why a recent New York Times article about the alleged dangers of “armed nationalists in Ukraine” does a disservice to the credibility of western media in Ukraine.

This is how western media lose credibility in Ukraine

New satellite images show continuing Russian military buildup on three sides of Ukraine

New satellite images released by a US-based technology company appear to show continuing Russian military buildup in Crimea, western Russia, and Belarus, as pressure continues to mount on Ukraine from three directions, underscoring fears that the Kremlin is planning an incursion into Ukrainian territory, CNN reports.

Ukraine is the number one victim of Russian disinformation. Here is how it can fight back

“No country, no population has been as heavily targeted” by Russian disinformation as have Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, according to Jonathan Katz, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund (GMF), who moderated a recent Transatlantic Task Force on Ukraine online discussion about countering Moscow’s information warfare.

One of the ways Ukraine can fight back, its participants said, is by helping Ukrainian media reach their audiences before the Russians do.

Ukraine is the number one victim of Russian disinformation. Here is how it can fight back

For Georgians, Ukraine tensions revive painful war memories

As tens of thousands of Russian troops mass near Ukraine’s border, many in fellow ex-Soviet state Georgia are feeling a frightening sense of deja vu. In 2008, during the Summer Games in Beijing, Russia launched a devastating ground assault against the small Caucasus country on its southern border. The fighting in August 2008 only lasted several days, but claimed more than 700 lives and displaced tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians.

Today Georgians are seeing frightening parallels as Western capitals warn of another possible Russian attack on Ukraine, France24 says.

Macron’s “Finlandization of Ukraine”

On the plane en route to Moscow for his 7 February visit, French President Emmanuel Macron confided to French journalists that “Finlandizing” Ukraine could solve two problems: the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“Finlandization” of Ukraine would provide Russia with the “guarantee” it wants against NATO’s enlargement and would enable “NATO to cohabit with Russia in Europe.” He would put this issue, among others, on Putin’s table, Macron told the accompanying French journalists.

On 8 February in Kyiv, however, Macron denied having said that, and Ukrainian officials contended that he did not bring this proposal or opinion to Kyiv.

Macron’s Ukraine diplomacy runs into a Kremlin wall

Russia has manufactured the crisis to intimidate Nato into abandoning Ukraine. Any compromise that leaves Ukraine further exposed or vulnerable will be a loss for Nato and a win for Russia, The Conversation argues regarding the “Finlandization” as a possible solution for Ukraine.

Ukraine displaced fear losing homes again

When she fled the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, Liudmyla Bobova never imagined she would celebrate her 59th birthday, almost eight years later, still living in emergency housing in Kharkiv and under the threat of fresh bloodshed, AFP says. The makeshift housing is showing its age. The units are creaking, taps are broken and water heaters keep breaking down more frequently.

Now, as fears swirl that over 100,000 Russian troops camped along Ukraine’s border could stage an invasion, there are fresh warnings that millions more people could join the hundreds of thousands like Bobova already forced from their homes.

‘This is their 1776’: US army veterans train Ukraine civilians in resistance warfare

US Army Ranger Adam, who spent four years of his early adulthood fighting insurgents in Afghanistan, says he’s now ready to join a Ukrainian insurgency — should Russian forces attack the capital city of Kyiv. Read another Nolan Peterson’s reportage from Ukraine.

Ukrainian Vladyslav Heraskevych flashes ‘No War’ sign after skeleton run, won’t face IOC punishment

A Ukrainian skeleton athlete flashed a small sign that read “No War in Ukraine” to the cameras as he finished a run at the Beijing Olympics on Friday night. Shortly after the race, the International Olympic Committee said there would be no repercussions for Heraskevych.

“It’s my position. Like any normal people, I don’t want war,” Heraskevych said after he finished competing. “I want peace in my country, and I want peace in the world. It’s my position, so I fight for that. I fight for peace.”

A Ukrainian skeleton athlete flashed a small sign that read "No War in Ukraine" to the cameras as he finished a run at the Beijing Olympics on Friday night.
Ukrainian skeleton athlete Vladyslav Heraskevych flashed a small sign that read “No War in Ukraine” at the Beijing Olympics on 11 February.
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