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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 703. Turkey emerges as key intermediary for Russian sanctions loopholes

Both Taiwanese machine precision tools and complex western measuring equipment are funneled into Russia via Türkiye, investigations by Russia’s Insider show

Military

British Intel: Avdiivka likely to remain in Ukrainian control over coming weeks. Russian forces are trying to bypass Ukrainian defenses and enter Avdiivka. However, Ukrainian forces would remain in control over Avdiivka in the near future, as the main supply route remains undamaged and Ukrainian forces make local counter-attacks in the area.

ISW: Russia expands its military presence and influence in Africa . Formal basing agreements and sanctioned operations suggest these efforts would likely last for years, ISW reported.

As of 27 Jan 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

      • Personnel: 381370 (+770)
      • Tanks: 6271 (+6)
      • APV: 11652 (+15)
      • Artillery systems: 9085 (+3)
      • MLRS: 972
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 660
      • Aircraft: 331
      • Helicopters: 324
      • UAV: 7037 (+4)
      • Cruise missiles : 1845
      • Warships/boats: 23
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 12072 (+8)

Intelligence and Technology

Ukraine, Lithuania agree on joint drone production . Lithuania’s government has promised to assist any business in any sector ready to participate

Insider: GRU officer in Brussels funnels military exports to Russia. Just steps from the EU capital, a Russian GRU veteran and sons mastermind a scheme to keep Russia’s military machine rolling with banned Western equipment, with Türkiye as a key intermediary

Defense Ministry: Netherlands joins IT coalition to support Ukraine, contributes over $ 10 mn. The coalition, led by Estonia and Luxembourg, aims to support Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces in IT, communications, and cybersecurity.

Ukrainian cyberattacks cripple Russian defense contractor, weather center. Terabytes of data causing millions of dollars in losses, were wiped out by Ukrainian hackers

Insider: Taiwan becomes Russia’s top supplier of precision machine tools. An investigation has exposed how Russia has tapped Taiwan as its primary source of banned high-tech machine tools by evading sanctions through intermediaries in Türkiye and China

International

The Telegraph: US to deploy nuclear weapons to UK air base. The return of American nuclear weapons for the first time in 15 years is said to be “part of a Nato-wide program to develop and upgrade nuclear sites in response to heightened tensions with the Kremlin.”

European intel: Kremlin aims to weaken dollar, undermine global financial system. Amid perceived wins in Ukraine, Russia is increasingly focused on leveraging its global position to disrupt the US-led West, warn European security officials.

Nepal demands Russia return Nepalis recruited to Russian ranks. According to Nepal’s minister, over 200 Nepalis were recruited by Russia to fight in Ukraine, despite laws prohibiting Nepalis from serving in foreign militaries. At least 14 Nepalis died in Russia’s war.

Spiegel: Russia behind massive disinformation campaign to undermine support for Ukraine in Germany. The German Foreign Ministry has uncovered a large-scale and systematic disinformation campaign, orchestrated by Russia, that aims to sow discord and distrust among Germans.

France accuses Russia of fake news campaign after debunked mercenary strike. France’s defense minister has slammed what he called Russian fake news aimed at discrediting French nationals fighting alongside Ukraine.

Humanitarian and Social Impact

Russia hit Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast with Iskander-M missile. The morning Russian attack by Iskander-M missile destroyed civilian infrastructure, according to the city mayor, Vadym Lyakh.

Russian forces kill one, injure two over past day in Kherson Oblast. Russian occupying forces dropped explosives from drones on Beryslav, Kherson Oblast, on the morning of 27 January, Kherson Oblast Head Oleksandr Produkin said .

Russian sabotage group shot brother, sister in Sumy Oblast. Overnight and on the morning of 27 Jan., the Russian military fired upon the border areas and settlements of the Sumy Oblast three times. Reportedly, 61 explosions were recorded.

Entrepreneurs gain direct line to Zelenskyy through Economic Council. After the arrest of businessman Ihor Mazepa spurred outrage among Ukraine’s business elite, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revealed plans Friday for an All-Ukrainian Economic Platform to facilitate improved dialogue with the private sector.

Ukraine gears up for EU accession talks. Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy announced the start of the screening process, which will assess the compatibility of Ukrainian legislation with EU norms and prepare for the accession negotiations.

New Developments

Bloomberg: War with Ukraine sparks labor shortage in Russia. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has aggravated a labor shortage that poses a challenge to its military and economic objectives, as workers seek higher pay and more options in a tight market.

Ukraine-US documentary wins Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Festival. The film “Porcelain War” depicts Ukrainian artists who decide to stay behind and fight amidst Russian fighter jets and missile strikes, proving that passion for living cannot be destroyed.

WP: new US plan aims to strengthen Ukraine military by 2024, not retake land. The new US approach looks to “future-proof” support for Ukraine against the possibility of reduced assistance if Donald Trump is reelected.

Read our earlier daily review here

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