Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – FEBRUARY 20-26, 2023

The situation as of 8:00 a.m. on February 27, 2023

  • Despite the continued offensive in various parts of the front, Russian troops fail to break through the Ukrainian defense. The situation in Bakhmut remains the most challenging for Ukrainian units.
  • The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution at a special session calling on Russia to cease hostilities and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
  • On February 20, U.S. President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv and pledged a new aid package for Ukraine.
  • European Union countries agree on the tenth package of sanctions against Russia. The sanctions list includes 121 individuals and legal entities, and introduces significant new restrictions on imports and exports, including dual-use technologies.
  • U.S. intelligence reported that China is considering supplying Russia with weapons (including UAVs and artillery shells).


Russian troops continue offensive operations in the eastern direction. In the area of Bakhmut, they achieved limited success, advancing to the city from the north while still engaging in intense fighting on its eastern outskirts. They also slightly improved their positions near Avdiivka. In the areas of Svatove, Kreminna, and Vuhledar, despite continuing attacks, the Russian military failed to make any advances.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are seeking to undermine the ability of Russian troops to conduct active operations by striking their rear infrastructure in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The shelling of Russian targets in Mariupol, which is far from the front line, may indicate that the Ukrainian military has new long-range ammunition.

On February 26, an explosion was recorded at the Machulishchy airfield in Belarus, which is used by Russian aviation. According to preliminary reports, an A-50 AEW&C aircraft used to coordinate Russian strikes and detect Ukrainian air defense was damaged. Opponents of the Lukashenko regime claimed responsibility for the sabotage.

Russian troops keep conducting air strikes in Ukraine. On the night of February 27, Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Khmelnytskyi regions were attacked by kamikaze drones. In total, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, during the year of full-scale aggression, Russia has fired more than 5,000 missiles at Ukrainian territory and conducted almost 3,500 air strikes. With the gradual depletion of weapons and ammunition stocks, the Putin regime is looking for sources to replenish them. U.S. officials report that there is a danger of arms supplies to Russia from China, and that the Chinese side is currently considering a corresponding proposal.

The Russian military continued to shell Ukrainian civilian infrastructure throughout the week. During this period, civilian casualties in the frontline regions of Ukraine amounted to: in Donetsk region – 9 people killed and 26 people wounded; in Kherson region – 11 people killed and 32 people wounded (the vast majority of victims were killed in the shelling on February 21); in Kharkiv region 14 people wounded (2 more people were injured in Kharkiv region as a result of a mine explosion). In addition, Russian troops shelled the territory of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv regions.


The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has documented the deaths of more than 8,000 civilians since the beginning of the full-scale Russian aggression in Ukraine; more than 13,000 people have been injured. At the same time, the mission notes that the real figures for the victims of the war in Ukraine may be much higher.

On February 24, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed two laws – on the denunciation of the Treaty Between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on Cooperation in the Use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, and on the withdrawal from the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Group (BLACKSEAFOR), to which Russia is a member.

On February 26, Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed a series of decrees to implement the National Security and Defense Council’s decisions to impose further sanctions on Russian citizens. The sanctions apply to people involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children; to the structures of Russian mercenaries to participate in the war against Ukraine; and to representatives of the sports sector in Russia who “try to put sports in the service of aggression.”

The Security Service of Ukraine is conducting investigations in nearly 60 criminal proceedings into the activities of Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate priests to the detriment of Ukraine’s national interests. So far, 850 people have been tested; 7 clergymen have been convicted.


In connection with the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a UN meeting was held with the participation of foreign ministers. As a result of the special session of the UN General Assembly, the resolution “Principles of the Charter of the United Nations underlying a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine” was adopted. The resolution covers the key provisions of the Ukrainian Peace Formula and emphasizes the need to ensure international accountability of the Russian Federation for its aggression against Ukraine.

On February 24, the G7 leaders held an online meeting dedicated to the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion with the participation of the President of Ukraine. As a result, the Group of Seven (G7) countries adopted a joint statement and pledged to increase pressure on Russia, which continues its aggression against Ukraine, and to take action against third countries and entities that help Russia circumvent international sanctions.

International partners are increasing their military and financial assistance to Ukraine. This week alone, the United States announced almost $10 billion in additional budget support for Ukraine, $2 billion in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), and $450 million in military aid, including ammunition for HIMARS and howitzers, Javelins, anti-tank systems, and other weapons. The Estonian Ministry of Defense announced a new military aid package for Ukraine, bringing Estonia’s total military aid to nearly €400 million, or more than 1% of the country’s GDP. Italy presented its sixth package of military aid to Ukraine, which focuses on air defense and includes SAMP-T, Skyguard and Spike systems. Australia will provide Ukraine with unmanned aerial systems worth 33 million Australian dollars, and Poland will provide Ukraine with 60 more PT-91 Twardy tanks.

The World Bank allocated additional grant funding for Ukraine in the amount of $2.5 billion to ensure the continuity of essential services and the performance of key functions of the Ukrainian government in the context of war.

Sanctions measures by the international community to limit the financing of Russian aggression are being strengthened. On February 24, the European Union approved the tenth package of sanctions against Russia, which provides for tighter control over export and import operations, including a ban on the supply of a number of critical technologies and industrial goods to Russia that could contribute to the development of the Russian defense sector. In total, restrictions were imposed on 87 individuals and 34 legal entities, including the Russian National Welfare Fund. In turn, the United States announced a new package of sanctions targeting the financial, metallurgical and mining sectors of Russia’s economy, as well as 22 individuals and 83 organizations. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand also imposed new sanctions. The Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) (FATF) suspended Russia’s membership.

On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, international leaders stepped up visits to Kyiv, demonstrating solidarity with the Ukrainian people. For the first time in his presidency, President of the United States Joseph Biden arrived in Ukraine on February 20 and met with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi.

In addition, during the week, the President of Ukraine met with Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. The Head of State also met with members of the Knesset of the State of Israel Yuli Edelstein and Ze’ev Elkin and a delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives led by Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Michael McCaul.

This week, Volodymyr Zelenskyi had phone conversations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Estonian President Alar Karis, Pakistani President Arif Alvi, and African Union Chairperson Azali Assoumani.

On February 24, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis” consisting of 12 points. The document declares respect for the sovereignty of all countries, but does not mention that Russia is the aggressor and Ukraine is a victim of war.

The information in the newsletter is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.