- Russian troops are consolidating footholds to the south and north of Bakhmut, threatening to encircle the Ukrainian Armed Forces in and around the city.
- Intensified attacks in the area of Svatove and Kreminna indicate an attempt by Russian troops to launch an offensive in the direction of Lyman and Kupiansk.
- On February 3, the EU-Ukraine summit took place in Kyiv. Negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union are expected to begin by the end of this year.
- As part of the campaign against corruption in Ukraine, the house of oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi was searched, and several officials in the Ministry of Defense, Customs and Tax Services were arrested and dismissed.
Russian troops are conducting offensive operations in several directions, trying to break through the defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to seize the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. They have become more active in the area of Kupiansk (Kharkiv region), increasing pressure on the Ukrainian Armed Forces units in the northern part of the front. Russian attacks in the area of Svatove and Kreminna (Luhansk region) forced Ukrainian troops to go over to defense in the area and made it impossible to liberate these settlements in the near future.
In the area of Bakhmut, the advance of Russian troops poses the strongest threat to the Ukrainian front. The Russian military is expanding its strongholds around the city, advancing toward Chasiv Yar (southern ledge). They are also advancing in the northern direction, threatening to encircle the city of Siversk. At the same time, the intensity of Russian attacks in the area of Donetsk and Vuhledar has somewhat decreased.
Russian troops continue systematic shelling of civilian infrastructure in the frontline and border regions of Ukraine. As a result, civilian casualties over the past week amounted to at least: 15 people killed and 65 others wounded in Donetsk region (a significant number of victims were caused by rocket attacks on Kramatorsk on February 1-2); 5 people killed and 18 people wounded in Kherson region; 3 people killed and 11 others wounded in Kharkiv region. In addition, shelling of the territories of Sumy, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions persists. The mine threat remains relevant: in Kharkiv region, 8 teenagers were injured as a result of an anti-personnel mine explosion.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine announced the creation of the “Offensive Guard” – eight assault brigades consisting of the National Guard, the National Police and the State Border Guard Service, which should be staffed by highly motivated volunteers and strengthen the potential of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
In another major prisoner of war exchange on February 4, Ukraine brought back 116 people, as well as the bodies of two British volunteers and one Ukrainian.
On February 1, the Security Service of Ukraine initiated a series of searches that targeted Ukrainian businessmen, officials, and former officials. As part of the investigation into financial fraud around Ukrnafta, the house of Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi was searched. The former Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov was also searched in connection with the investigation into the helicopter crash in Brovary.
Searches were conducted at the homes of former Ministry of Defense officials B. Khmelnytskyi and V. Shapovalov, who had been involved in a scandal over the purchase of food for the military and served with suspicions of embezzlement of public funds. Searches were also carried out at the Kyiv Tax Service, which resulted in the exposure of Oksana Datii, the head of the Service, for multimillion-dollar illegal enrichment schemes. On the same day, it became known that former Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Ihor Nasalyk was searched and served with a notice of suspicion. Kyiv developer and former MP from the Opposition Platform – for Life Vadym Stolar was also searched. On February 1, the Government terminated the powers of the acting head of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, Viacheslav Demchenko, dismissed his first deputy, O. Shchutskyi, and suspended another deputy, R. Cherkasskyi.
Due to the deliberate detention of ships by Russian inspectors in the Bosphorus, exports of Ukrainian agricultural products within the “grain corridor” decreased by 1.3 million tons in January compared to the previous months.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
On February 3, the 24th EU-Ukraine Summit took place in Kyiv. The summit was attended by President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, EU High Representative Josep Borrell and 15 visiting European Commissioners. As a result of the summit, EU leaders positively assessed Ukraine’s implementation of the recommendations, and an action plan for further integration of Ukraine’s economic sectors into the European single market was approved. EU representatives announced the allocation of €1 billion for Ukraine’s recovery under the Fast Recovery program and announced the decision to prepare the tenth package of EU sanctions against Russia. In addition, a joint statement was adopted, which for the first time approved the decision to start negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU as soon as possible.
Amid reports of a possible offensive by Russian troops, international partners are scaling up defense assistance to Ukraine. In particular, the United States officially announced a new package totaling $2.2 billion, which includes HAWK air defense systems, additional missiles for HIMARS systems (including long-range GLSDB missiles with a range of up to 150 km), MRAP armored vehicles, Javelin systems, anti-tank missiles, Claymore anti-personnel munitions, and other equipment. France will provide Ukraine with 12 more Caesar self-propelled howitzers and, in partnership with Italy, will supply Ukraine with the MAMBA medium-range ground defense system. Portugal confirmed its intention to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.
The European Union will train an additional 15,000 soldiers as part of a training mission for the Ukrainian military, with a total of 30,000 Armed Forces personnel to be trained.
During the week, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi held talks with Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Poland Mariusz Błaszczak, Federal President of the Republic of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, and Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, who were on visits to Ukraine.
On February 5, an embargo on maritime shipments of oil products from Russia to the European Union came into effect. The G7 and EU member states also agreed to impose a $100 per barrel limit on the sale of Russian oil products (diesel and gasoline) to third countries as part of an effort to limit Russia’s revenues.
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.