Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, February 24

Russian reconnaissance drone shot down over Kyiv -- 65% of EU citizens approve financing military equipment for Ukraine -- China may provide Russia with drones -- Mariupol 'no longer completely unreachable' for Ukrainian military -- G7 steps up Ukraine support to $39 billion in 2023 -- and more

Friday, February 24

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ukrainian refugees and locals gather for ‘Light for Ukraine’ ceremony, uniting in prayer for peace and lighting candles in the shape of a heart on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on Feb. 23, 2023, in Grabie, Wieliczka commune, Poland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Russia launches almost 5,000 missile strikes on Ukraine since Feb. 24. Over the first year of the full-scale invasion, Russian troops have carried out almost 5,000 missile strikes and 3,500 air strikes against Ukraine, according to General Staff Deputy Chief Oleksii Hromov. Russia also used drones to attack Ukrainian settlements nearly 1,000 times since it started its all-out war on Feb. 24 last year.

Russian shelling damages pipeline providing heating to Kherson residents. “Another Russian strike damaged the main pipeline that provided heating to about 600 residences — more than 40,000 people!” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on Feb. 23. “Repair work will continue without pause until the heating supply is restored.”

Air Force spokesman: Russian reconnaissance drone shot down over Kyiv. Ukraine’s air defense shot down a Russian reconnaissance drone over Kyiv on Feb. 23, Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat confirmed on national television. He called the work of Kyiv’s air defense system “a usual day in a warring country.”

Survey: 87% of Ukrainians oppose territorial concessions. Eighty-seven percent of Ukrainians oppose territorial concessions, according to the results of a survey the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology conducted between Feb. 14-22. Only 9% of Ukrainians surveyed believe that some territories can be given up in order to achieve peace and preserve independence.

EU leaders: ‘We will not rest until Ukraine prevails.’ The European Council members published a joint statement in support of Ukraine on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s all-out war. “We will make sure that Ukraine prevails, that international law is respected, that peace and Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders are restored, that Ukraine is rebuilt, and that justice is done,” reads the statement. “Until that day, we will not rest.”

Survey: 65% of EU citizens approve financing military equipment for Ukraine. According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the European Commission, 65% of Europeans support the funding and supply of military aid to Ukraine.

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Zelensky: China’s interest in securing peace a promising ‘first step.’ During a press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Feb. 23, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was interested in the details of China’s proposed peace plan for Ukraine. Zelensky clarified that China’s interest in securing peace in Ukraine was promising and he wasn’t going to rule out the plan before seeing it.

Foreign Ministry denies China’s claims about smuggling of Western weapons from Ukraine. Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko called on China to operate with facts instead of being what he called “a tool in the hands of Russian propaganda.”

Der Spiegel: China may provide Russia with drones. According to information obtained by German news website Der Spiegel, Russia’s military is discussing the mass production of kamikaze drones for Russia with Chinese drone manufacturers.

UN General Assembly adopts resolution calling on Russian troops to leave Ukraine. The General Assembly of the United Nations has approved a resolution calling on Russia to immediately withdraw its troops from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, Deutsche Welle reported on Feb. 23.

UK Defense Ministry: Russian forces might be preparing offensive near Vuhledar. The Feb. 23 added that Ukrainian forces have maintained resupply routes around Bakhmut despite Russia’s attempts to encircle the city. The fighting has been particularly intense over the past 48 hours.

Southern Command: Mariupol ‘no longer completely unreachable’ for Ukrainian military. Ukraine’s Southern Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk said on Feb. 23 that the area of Russian-occupied Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast was “no longer completely unreachable” for Ukrainian forces. Earlier the same day, the city council reported three explosions in Mariupol with “a high probability” of hitting the area where Russian troops had been temporarily stationed.

One year of Russia’s all-out war

One year of Russia’s all-out war through the eyes of one Ukrainian newsroom

The Kyiv Independent members look back at making the choice on whether to stay or flee, rescuing their family members from occupied territories, reporting from the front line, and growing into an internationally recognized media outlet.

Watch the full video on our YouTube channel.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Governor: Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast leaves people trapped under rubble. Russian occupants attacked the city of Kupiansk and the surrounding district of Kharkiv Oblast on Feb. 23, reports Governor Oleh Syniehubov. According to Syniehubov, one of the local administration buildings was hit. As of 12:34 p.m., Syniehubov said people were under the rubble and emergency services were on site.

General Staff: Russia has lost 145,850 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. According to the report, Russia has also lost 3,350 tanks, 6,593 armored fighting vehicles, 5,215 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,352 artillery systems, 471 multiple launch rocket systems, 244 air defense systems, 299 airplanes, 287 helicopters, 2,029 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

Australia to give drones to Ukraine, expand sanctions against Russia. Australia will supply Ukraine with drones worth $33 million and introduce additional sanctions against Russian military, government, and media figures, the Guardian reported on Feb. 23, citing the Australian government.

Finland to transfer 3 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Finland will send three Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and train soldiers how to use and maintain them, the Finnish Defense Ministry confirmed on Feb. 23. The three tanks are part of Finland’s latest defense aid package to Ukraine, totaling 160 million euros.

Spain may provide Ukraine with 10 Leopard 2 tanks. Spain will consider supplying Ukraine with four more Leopard 2 A4 tanks in addition to the six ones already promised by the government, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Feb. 23. The decision will be made “in the coming weeks,” he added.

US likely to announce $2 billion in aid for Ukraine on war’s anniversary. Washington is expected to announce an additional $2 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds on Feb. 24, the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale war, CNN reported, citing a U.S. official.

US announces $7 million to protect Ukrainian heritage. The U.S. State Department will invest $7 million to “support Ukrainian efforts to protect its cultural heritage,” a U.S. State Department press release said on Feb. 23.

G7 steps up Ukraine support to $39 billion in 2023. These funds will “give Ukraine certainty” and allow the authorities to continue providing essential services, carry out critical repairs to the infrastructure damaged by Russian attacks and stabilize the country’s economy, according to a statement published by the Japanese Finance Ministry.

In other news

Moldova denies Russian claim of planned provocation against Transnistria, urges calm. Moldovan authorities denied the claim made by the Russian Defense Ministry on Feb. 23 that Ukraine is planning a provocation against Transnistria, a breakaway region internationally recognized as part of Moldova that has been under heavy Russian influence since 1990.

Security Service: More property and assets belonging to Medvedchuk’s wife seized. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported on Feb. 23 that property and assets belonging to Oksana Marchenko, the wife of disgraced pro-Russian lawmaker Viktor Medvechuk, were seized. The total value of the assets is Hr 5.6 billion ($152 million).

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