Daily review: Ukraine declares state of emergency, Russian proxies ask Russia to help fight Ukraine

Daily review: Ukraine declares state of emergency, Russian proxies ask Russia to help fight Ukraine

 

Daily review

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Past 24 hours in the war zone

  • On Feb 22 and the following night, the Russian occupation forces launched 112 attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Mariupol sectors, including heavy artillery, reported JFO.
  • 1 Ukrainian soldier was killed, 6 wounded
  • As of 19:30 Feb 21, OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission recorded 703 violations, including 332 explosions in Donetsk Oblast; 1224 violations, including 1149 explosions in Luhansk Oblast.
  • The Russian-occupation forces’ shelling severely damaged 4 private homes in government-controlled Novohnativka and children’s center in government-controlled Marinka, Donetsk Oblast.
  • On Feb. 23, another kindergarten was damaged by the Russian-occupation forces’ fire attack, this time in Zelenopillia, Bakhmut community, Donetsk Obl. Also, a civilian woman got fragmentation wounds in Mykolaivka, Volnovakha area, Ukraine’s National Police reported.

Ukraine flash news

  • Japan imposes sanctions on Russia over aggressive actions in Ukraine, announces Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, calling Moscow’s move an unacceptable violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and international law.
  • Escalation in the Ukraine-Russia war will raise world food prices, which are already approaching the highest level yet. It may force buyers of wheat, corn, and sunflower oil to look for alternative suppliers, writes Reuters.
  • Ukrainian Parliament has passed at first reading the bill “On the right to civilian firearms,” defining the concept of ownership of civilian firearms and its conditions.
  • Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) announced the introduction of the state of emergency in all Ukrainian regions except for Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, where a special regime has been effective since 2014. The Parliament adopted the relevant supported the relevant decree of President Zelenskyy to introduce the state of emergency starting from midnight on February 24.
  • Ukraine’s Border Guard Service introduced additional border crossing restrictions in the areas bordering Russia, Belarus, occupied territories, and those adjacent to Ukraine’s seacoast.
  • Ukraine’s Parliament permits the quick allocation of the state budget funds for the army and security.
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine recommends that Ukrainian citizens refrain from any travel to Russia and those who already stay there are urged to leave Russia immediately.
  • The Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán said his country should “stay away” from the military conflict between Ukraine and Russia and refused to supply weapons to Ukraine.

Ukraine under attack

Russian proxies ask Putin to help fight Ukraine

Leaders of the Russian proxy groups in Donbas, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics,” have simultaneously appealed to the Russian president with an official request to help in the armed resistance to the Ukrainian army, RIA Novosti reported Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying:

“Given the current situation (…), the presidents of the two republics are asking the Russian president to provide assistance in repelling the aggression of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the basis of agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Russia and the republics.”

Peskov briefly quoted the content of the official appeals of the leaders of the “DNR” Denis Pushilin and “LNR” Leonid Pasechnyk.

In their requests, the leaders of the Russian militants repeat baseless allegations about the alleged attack of Kyiv on the frontline settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Allegedly, due to the shelling by Ukraine, the “civilian population of Donbas” has to flee to Russia.

Official letters of Donbas proxy state leaders to Putin. Credit: kremlin.ru ~

Official letters of Donbas proxy state leaders to Putin. Credit: kremlin.ru

Zelenskyy addresses Russians

Zelenskyy addressed Ukrainians following the Russian proxies’ appeal to Putin. Here are the main points, translated by Anton Troianovski, Moscow Bureau Chief for New York Times, on twitter:

“Today I initiated a phone call with the president of the Russian Federation. The result was silence, though the silence should be in the Donbas. As a result I want to address all citizens of Russia… “We are separated by more than 2000 km of mutual borders, along which 200,000 of your soldiers and 1,000 armored vehicles are standing. Your leadership has approved their step forward onto the territory of another country. This step could become the beginning of a big war… “The cause could come up at any moment, any provocation, any spark, a spark that could burn everything down. You are told that this flame will liberate the people of Ukraine, but the Ukrainian people are free. …

“You are told we hate Russian culture. How can one hate a culture? … Neighbors always enrich each other culturally, however, that doesn’t make them a single whole, it doesn’t dissolve us into you. We are different, but that is not a reason to be enemies. …”Listen to the voice of reason. The people of Ukraine want peace, the authorities in Ukraine want peace, they want it and are doing everything they can for it. … We don’t need war. … “But if we are attacked, if someone attempts to take away our land, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. We won’t attack, but defend ourselves. By attacking, you will see our faces, not our backs, but our faces.”

“War will remove guarantees from everyone. No one will have security guarantees any more. Who will suffer most of all from this? People. Who wants this the least? People. Who can not allow this to happen? People. There are these people among you, I’m sure of it. …“I know this speech of mine won’t be shown on Russian TV, but the people of Russia need to see it. They need to know the truth. The truth is that this must be stopped before it is too late, and if the leadership of the Russia does not want to sit down at a table for peace with us, then maybe it will sit down at a table with you. Do Russians want war? I would very much like to answer this question. But the answer depends only on you — the citizens of the Russian Federation.”

Ukraine requests urgent UNSC meeting due to “LDNR” appeal to Putin

Ukraine has requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council due to the appeal by Russian occupation administrations in Donetsk and Luhansk to Russia with a request to provide them with military assistance, which is a further escalation of the security situation, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba informed.

Night shift of Titan chemicals plant in occupied Crimea evacuated – Kuleba

Worrying reports from Crimea on the entire night shift of Titan chemicals plant in Armyansk evacuated from the facility. This might be a preparation for another staged provocation by Russia. Moscow seems to have no limits in attempts to falsify pretexts for further aggression, Kuleba tweeted.

US warns full-scale invasion of Ukraine could be imminent

The US has issued a warning to the Ukrainian government that the latest intelligence points to Russia imminently launching a full-scale invasion, according to Ukrainian, US and western officials familiar with the matter, CNN reported.

The US intelligence assessment comes as foreign leaders are warning about an imminent attack and say that Russian troops are moving into the pro-Moscow region of eastern Ukraine. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a media briefing in Australia, which occurred Tuesday evening eastern time, that “Russia is at peak readiness to now complete a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.” Morrison, whose country is a member of the Five Eyes alliance that shares intelligence, said it was “likely to occur within the next 24 hours.” […]
A senior Ukrainian official said Ukraine has not verified the intelligence and noted that the United States has issued similar warnings before, for assaults that ultimately did not materialize.

Russia’s Donbas proxies shelled Russian territory and their own civilians, SBU intercept claims

Ukraine’s SBU has released intercepts purporting to show that the Donbas militants shelled Russian territory, their own civilians, and mention the arrival of Kadyrov’s troops and a PMC to Donbas.

Russia’s Donbas proxies shelled Russian territory and their own civilians, SBU intercept claims

Ukraine demands urgent UN Security Council meeting on situation in Donbas

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine has demanded an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council regarding the latest appeal of the Russian occupation administrations of Luhansk and Donetsk to Russia for military assistance, “which is a further escalation of the security situation,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ukrainian government websites, banks came under another DDoS attack

On 23 February, Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov reported on another distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Ukraine’s government websites. According to him, the attack made temporarily inaccessible the sites of Ukraine’s foreign ministry, Cabinet, Verkhovna Rada. He also said that “a number of banks” were under attack too. The attack on government sites was confirmed by NetBlocks. a cybersecurity watchdog organization. Later that day, the government websites returned to normal operations.

Bellingcat reported that Independent threat researcher Snorre Fagerland, working in cooperation with Bellingcat and The Insider, has identified a web service, apparently serving as the DDoS attack’s control center linked to Russian state interests.

Putin’s plan A failed, but there is the no less dangerous plan B: Kyiv defense experts

It appears that the full-scale invasion predicted by many analysts will not materialize. Yet, there are several no less dangerous scenarios that Putin may still apply, experts from the Kyiv-based Center for Defense Strategies say.

Putin’s plan A failed, but there is the no less dangerous plan B: Kyiv defense experts

Putin’s Big Lie: the “Donbas genocide” and “impending Ukrainian attack”

Putin’s main Big Lie of today is that Ukraine allegedly conducts a “genocide of Russian speakers” inspired by presumable right-wing Russophobia in Ukraine, and consequently, plans an attack on eastern Ukraine’s Donbas and Russia. These outright fakes are not supported by facts. They are frequently disseminated in Russian domestic and international media and reproduced by Putin himself, including his latest speech in which he denied Ukraine the right of existence.

Putin’s Big Lie: the “Donbas genocide” and “impending Ukrainian attack”

International

Visit of Polish and Lithuanian leaders to Kyiv

Presidents Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, Andrzej Duda of Poland, Gitanas Nausėda of Lithuania met in Kyiv on 23 February. After the meeting, Polish and Lithuanian leaders signed a joint statement “on the Russian Federation’s decision to recognize the so-called DNR&LNR,” in which they not only condemned Russia’s actions but also mentioned that “Ukraine deserves the status of a candidate for EU membership.”

Ukrainian FM meets Biden, Austin in Washington

US President Joe Biden met with Ukrainian FM Dmytro Kuleba in Washington. The American leader reiterated the readiness of the United States to “take further swift and decisive actions, in close coordination with allies and partners,” should Russia proceed with further aggression against Ukraine.

In Pentagon, Mr. Kuleba discussed further strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capabilities with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they discussed practical steps to protect Ukraine, in particular, the development of cooperation in the fields of air and missile defense.

Finally, the Ukrainian foreign minister spoke to the UN General Assembly, where he reaffirmed Ukraine’s proposal, made several years ago to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission to Ukraine, which hasn’t happened until now as the UN Security Council failed to take the necessary decisions.

Ukraine gets Stingers from Latvia

Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov reported that Latvia has supplied to Ukraine man-portable air-defense systems FIM-92 Stinger.

Stingers from Latvia arrived in Ukraine. 23 Feb 2022. Source ~

Stingers from Latvia arrived in Ukraine. 23 Feb 2022. Source

Poland sends helmets, grenade launchers to Ukraine

Without any additional details, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov, has also said that Poland shipped helmets and grenade launchers in Ukraine on 23 February.

More sanctions against Russia

Australia sanctions Russia for recognition of “LDNR”

The Australian government has announced a new package of sanctions against Russia following its decision to recognize the independence of Russia’s puppet statelets of “LNR” and “DNR” in eastern Ukraine.

According to Australian PM Scott Morrison, Australia would initially impose travel bans and targeted financial sanctions on eight members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. The sanctions will also include entities linked to Moscow, as well as Russian banks, transport, energy, telecommunications, oil, gas, and minerals.

Ukraine to sanction Russia’s Duma deputies for recognizing “LNR/DNR”

On 23 February, the Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada approved by 322 votes a resolution to urge the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) to impose sanctions for 10 years against the deputies of Russia’s State Duma who had voted to propose Putin recognize the independence of Russian puppet statelets of Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics.” The NSDC is highly likely to approve the sanctions list, also adding other personalities linked to the matter.

Ukraine to sanction Duma deputies for recognizing “LNR/DNR”

Biden sanctions Nord Stream 2 pipeline’s operator

US President Joe Biden announced on 23 February sanctions on the Russian company Nord Stream 2 AG that built the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline after Germany halted the pipeline’s certification a day before.

Other

EU will unveil a strategy to break free from Russian gas, after decades of dependence

For years, Europe’s dependence on Russian energy has held it back from taking powerful action against Kremlin mischief. But now, the Russia-Ukraine crisis is forcing a change unlike any before, driving the European Union to make plans for a permanent, far-reaching break from Russian oil and gas, European policymakers said, according to Washington Post.

Likely hybrid attacks against the Ukrainian army

Kyiv-based Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group/UCMC says that Russian forces have already started sending out threats to Ukrainian servicemen, in particular, serving in the 53rd and 54th brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The think tank says that Russia invests enormous efforts into psychological and information operations to undermine the Armed Forces of Ukraine as part of the ongoing escalation. The goal the Kremlin pursues is sowing chaos and dismay among the defenders of Ukraine and, as a result among the Ukrainian people.

The infographics show what we can expect based on what we saw in 2014:

likely Russia's hybrid attacks against ukrainian army

How a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ‘breadbasket of Europe,’ could hit supply chains

Oil and gas prices are set to spike further as the Russia-Ukraine crisis escalates, but the impact on energy won’t be the only ramification. From wheat to barley, and copper to nickel, analysts tell CNBC that supply chains are set to be disrupted as the crisis takes a turn for the worse. Ukraine is considered the “breadbasket of Europe,” and an invasion would result in the food supply chain getting “hit hard,” said Alan Holland, CEO of sourcing technology company Keelvar, CNBC wrote.

“Denying other nation’s existence, you claim it’s okay to destroy it”

“When you deny that another nation exists, as in Putin’s myth about Ukraine, you’re making a claim that it’s okay to destroy that other nation. This kind of language is something we have to pay attention to because it usually precedes atrocious actions,” said historian Prof. Timothy Snyder in his comment to MSNBC regarding Putin’s statement on the recognition of the “LNR/DNR.”

In memoriam

Ukrainian soldier Oleksandr Stelmakh was killed in enemy shelling near Zaitseve

40-year-old Oleksandr Stelmakh was killed in enemy shelling near Zaitseve, Donetsk Oblast on 21 February 2022. Oleksandr was from the village of Hlynivtsi, Zhytomyr Oblast. In the army since 2013, he served as a staff sergeant for logistics in the 6th platoon of the 95th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade. Oleksandr leaves behind his grieving wife and 2 children.

40-year-old Oleksandr Stelmakh was killed in enemy shelling near Zaitseve, Donetsk Oblast on February 21, 2022.

In memoriam: Donbas dissident Dziuba, jailed by USSR for challenging Russian imperialism

Ivan Dziuba, 90, died in his sleep on 22 February 2022, a few short hours after Putin officially recognized the “independence” of the breakaway statelet in the Donbas region that was his childhood home. The announcement was quickly followed by the deployment of the Russian army. Dziuba is renowned for his book “Internationalism or Russification?” published in 1968. Because he questioned the underpinnings of the Soviet regime, he was imprisoned for 18 months.

In memoriam: Donbas dissident Dziuba, jailed by USSR for challenging Russian imperialism

Stand With Ukraine rallies

Kramatorsk rally

#StandWithUkraine rally took place in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, one of the Donbas cities threatened by Russia’s recognition of the so-called “LNR/DNR” within the borders of the entire oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Rally in Kramatorsk, Feb 23 2022. Photo: Twitter/Kiehart. ~

Rally in Kramatorsk, Feb 23 2022. Photo: Twitter/Kiehart.

#StandWithUkraine in Prague

On the evening of 22 February, the public initiative “A Million Minutes for Democracy” gathered a #StandWithUkraine rally of solidarity with Ukraine in Prague, the Czech Republic amid the looming Russian further invasion of Ukraine with some 200,00 Russian troops at Ukrainian borders.

#StandWithUkraine rally in Prague, the Czech Republic. 22 February 2022. Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in Prague ~

#StandWithUkraine rally in Prague, the Czech Republic. 22 February 2022. Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in Prague

Rally in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin

On 22 February, some 650 people gathered in front of the Russian embassy in the German capital in the Stand With Ukraine demonstration, organized by Vitsche Berlin, a group of Ukrainians living in Germany. They “expressed concern and grief at the developments in eastern Ukraine,” DW reports.

#StandWithUkraine rally in Berlin, Germany. 22 February 2022. Source. ~

#StandWithUkraine rally in Berlin, Germany. 22 February 2022. Source.

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