Russia Strikes with Rockets and Drones

  • In the midst of a number of European official visits to Ukraine, Ukrainian air defenses recorded 40 attacks on Saturday, 13 January.  Several buildings were damaged with no casualties reported so far. (Politico; see also Reuters)

Russia’s Presidential Election

  • Boris Nadezhdin, who is bidding to run against Russian President Vladimir Putin in the upcoming presidential election, called Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine a “big mistake” while talking to soldiers’ wives. (NBC News)

European Visits and Commitments of Aid

  • Stéphane Séjourné, the new French Foreign Minister, went to Ukraine the day after his appointment to the position.  As he headed to Ukraine, he said that support for Ukraine was one of his top priorities. (Politico; see also Reuters, AP News)
  • U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Ukraine with promises to provide aid to Ukraine and to come to Ukraine’s defense against future aggression.  Sunak promised £2.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine in 2024-2025 and proposed the bilateral defense deal, the U.K.-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation. (Politico; see also Reuters, AP News)
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to put more pressure on EU member states to deliver weapons to Ukraine, saying that “the arms deliveries for Ukraine planned so far by the majority of EU member states are by all means too small.”  His statements come before the February 1 meeting where member states plan to adopt a €50 billion financial aid package for Kyiv. (Politico)
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been the main opposition against the €50 billion aid package, but Orbán indicated that it may end its opposition if Hungary can be allowed to block disbursements annually. (Politico; see also Euractiv, Euractiv)  
  • The Hungarian and Ukrainian foreign ministers have planned to meet in Ukraine at the end of January. (Reuters)
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba continues to urge NATO member states to support strengthening Ukraine’s air defense capabilities. (Politico)
  • The Brussels Times reports the European Commission is not hurrying accession negotiations with Ukraine.  Although Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has stated that Ukraine has fulfilled three of the four outstanding recommendations needed for accession talks, the Commission is still preparing the next steps for accession. (The Brussels Times)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Ukraine

Effort to Mobilize Additional Troops

  • A widely-criticised mobilisation bill designed to supply more troops to the front was withdrawn from Ukraine’s parliament.  Ukrainian lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak said, “Nothing will happen under the law on mobilisation.  Neither today nor tomorrow nor in the near future.”  By contrast, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said that the bill would be revised and “needs to be approved as soon as possible.”  The bill generated controversy due to several proposals, including lowering the draft age from 27 to 25 and increasing penalties for draft dodgers. (Politico)  

Russia’s Sanctions Avoidance

  • A report by a U.S.-Ukrainian research team found that Russia has been able to get around sanctions on technology needed to fight its war against Ukraine.  Russian imports of “battle goods” were down only 10% from the pre-invasion numbers. (Politico)  
Sanctions against Russia

Kidnapped Ukrainian Children

  • Local Belarusian media reported that dozens of Ukrainian children have been deported to Belarus to undergo “emergency survival training” to learn “how to behave in extreme situations” with the Belarusian military.  The Council of Europe has described the “forcible transfer and russification of Ukrainian children” as “evidence of genocide.” (Politico)

Honoring Renowned Poet and Soldier

  • Hundreds gathered to honor Maksym Kryvtsov, a Ukrainian poet who was killed in action while serving as a soldier. (AP News)

Switzerland Hosting Peace Plan Talks

  • Ukraine and Switzerland are hosting 120 national security advisors in Davos in support of Kyiv’s peace plan.  These talks follow the meeting in Malta last year, where the hope was to build a coalition of support for Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan through a global “Peace Formula” summit. (Euractiv)

Russian Hackers Inside Ukrainian Telecoms Giant’s System

  • On 12 December, Russian hackers interrupted services from Ukraine’s telecoms giant Kyivstar for about 24 million users.  Ukraine’s cybersecurity head Illia Vitiuk warned that the hack was a message not only for Ukraine but also for the entire West. (Euractiv)

Author: Sophie Adams-Smith, Media Analyst, Promote Ukraine

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