Leadership Shake-Up in Ukraine

  • General Valerii Zaluzhnyi was replaced by Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi as Ukraine’s army chief, raising questions about whether the leadership shakeup will help turn Ukraine’s fortunes against Russia. (NBC News; see also Reuters, Reuters, Reuters, AP News, AP News, Euractiv)
  • Syrskyi is aiming to build momentum in the war with immediate goals of improved troop rotation at front lines and the use of new technology. (AP News)
  • Some troops have reacted to the shakeup with despair, citing Syrskyi’s reputation as a “hard-driving, Soviet-style general who puts his men in danger to reach his military goals.” (Politico
  • The removal of Zaluzhnyi comes after tensions and disagreement between the general and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on how the war should be fought. (Politico; see also Reuters)
  • A day after his removal, Zaluzhnyi was named a “Hero of Ukraine” by Zelenskyy, the highest state award. (Reuters)
  • Zelenskyy also named a new chief of staff, Major General Anatoliy Barhilevych, described as “an experienced individual who understands the tasks of this war and Ukrainian objectives.” (Reuters)

Drone Attack on Kharkiv

  • Seven people were killed by a Russian drone attack on Kharkiv.  The attack also damaged infrastructure and houses. (NBC News; see also Reuters, AP News)

€50 Billion Approved by EU as Aid for Ukraine

  • EU leaders agreed to provide €50 billion to Ukraine after Hungary dropped its opposition during the recent EU summit.  The package is not meant to fund arms and ammunition, instead focusing on stabilising Ukraine’s economy, paying for rebuilding, and setting Ukraine up for future EU membership. (AP News; see also Politico, Politico, Euractiv, Euractiv, EU Observer)
  • EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell arrived in Kyiv to reaffirm the EU’s support for Ukraine as the war enters its third year. (Reuters; see also Euractiv)

Perspectives on Ukraine’s EU Membership

  • While Ukraine’s accelerated EU accession process has been mainly justified by defending European security and values, an op-ed by the European Policy Centre argues that Ukraine has “great potential to contribute to the EU’s economic security.”  Ukraine’s EU membership could assist in helping end strategic dependencies in areas such as “food, energy, metals, and raw materials, as well as in the defence and IT sectors.” (EPC). 

Stalled Ukraine Aid in the United States

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the necessity of U.S. aid to Ukraine in a meeting at the White House.  Appealing to the EU’s recent decision to allocate more aid to Ukraine during the European Council Summit, Scholz said Congress should approve aid proposed by Biden. (Politico; see also Politico)
  • U.S. Republicans are drawing criticism from around the world for blocking military aid to Ukraine.  Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot called Republicans “shameful.” (Politico)
  • Others in the EU are also calling for the United States to continue supporting Ukraine, including Charles Michel, president of the European Council. (EU Observer)
  • In a visit to Kyiv, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met with Zelenskyy, saying that they would do their part to get military aid through the House of Representatives. (Reuters)
  • A U.S. Senate emergency spending package proposes $60 billion to support Ukraine, including money to help Ukraine rearm, money for support services like military training, and nonmilitary assistance including for government operations and Ukraine’s private sector. (AP News)
  • Already, the Senate defeated a bipartisan effort to increase U.S. border security that had included aid for Ukraine. (Euractiv)

Tucker Carlson and Putin Interview

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in his first interview with a Western media figure since the invasion.  Putin used the interview to repeat Kremlin talking points, “urge Washington to recognise Moscow’s interests, and press Kyiv to sit down for talks.” (AP News; see also Politico)

HBO Drops Pro-Kremlin Actor

  • HBO’s announcement of the casting of pro-Kremlin actor Milos Bikovic in the show The White Lotus sparked international outcry.  HBO has now dropped Bikovic from the show. (Politico)

Aftermath of Plane Crash in Russia

  • Russia has not returned the bodies of 65 Ukrainian POWs it says were on a plane that crashed in Russia.  Russia is trying to blame Ukraine for the crash, claiming that it was shot down by Ukraine, a claim that Ukraine neither confirms nor denies.  The Ukrainian government said that a prisoner swap was planned, but it was not informed that prisoners were aboard the plane. (Politico; see also AP News)

Artillery Shortage

  • Ukraine is not receiving enough artillery shells to defend its border.  Defence Minister Rustem Umerov described the shortage as “shell hunger,” and, although Ukraine is increasing its production of shells domestically, it still depends on its allies to provide much of its ammunition.  The EU has already said that it will miss its target of one million shells by March, and Washington has stopped all military aid. (Politico; see also Politico, Euractiv)
  • The EU Commission has said that it has been able to get 1 million rounds of ammunition ready for Ukraine, but actual deliveries to Kyiv are below that number. (Politico)
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on European countries to increase weapons production in support of Ukraine. (The Brussels Times)
Ammunition for artillery

UN on Russian Forcible Transfer of Ukrainian Children

  • The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child urged Russia to stop forcibly transferring children from Ukraine and return them to their families.  Kyiv says that 20,000 children have been taken.  The International Criminal Court is seeking to arrest Putin for alleged illegal deportation. (Reuters; see also AP News)

Russia’s Military Drone Production Increasing

  • Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia’s production of military drones had increased in the past year.  Russia has relied on many Iranian-made Shahed drones. (Reuters)

Report on 2022 Siege of Mariupol

  • Human Rights Watch said that at least 8,000 people were killed during Russia’s months-long siege of Mariupol.  The Human Rights Watch report is titled ‘Our City Was Gone: Russia’s Devastation of Mariupol, Ukraine’ and documents unlawful attacks against civilians. (Reuters)

Bill for Greater Mobilisation of Troops

  • A bill with tighter mobilisation rules for potential Ukrainian soldiers was passed through its first reading by parliament.  If the bill is passed, it will lower the age at which people can be mobilised from 27 to 25 and will tighten sanctions for draft evasion. (Reuters)

Accusations of Intensified Chemical Attacks

  • Ukraine said Russia was intensifying its use of toxic chemicals on the battlefield.  Russia has denied these allegations and has in turn accused Ukrainian forces of their use. (Reuters)

Governor Reports Donetsk Targeted by 2,500 Russian Strikes Daily

  • The Governor of Donetsk, Vadym Falshkin, said that Russia is firing between 1,500 and 2,500 strikes at Donetsk daily, targeting critical infrastructure and worsening winter conditions for people in the region. (Reuters)

Polish Farmer Protests

  • New Polish farmer protesters are blocking roads and checkpoints with Ukraine.  The farmers say that EU policy on Ukrainian agriculture products has caused unfair competition. (Euractiv)

New EU Sanctions Package

  • A new EU sanctions package is expected to target Russian military and tech firms including firms shipping ammunition from North Korea. (Euractiv; see also EU Observer, Agence Europe)

Ukrainian Citizen Running for MEP

  • A Ukrainian citizen is on the list of candidates for the Latvian political party ‘Movement For!’ in the European elections.  If elected, Ivanna Volocija will be the first Ukrainian MEP in the European Parliament. (The Brussels Times)

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

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