Ukraine Daily Summary - Saturday, February 25

Belarus Defense Ministry conducting combat readiness measures -- Stakes of Russia's war stretch far beyond Ukraine -- Russian military attempting to exhaust Ukrainian resources -- Ukraine 'deeply concerned' over joint naval drills of Russia, China and South Africa -- -- and more

Saturday, February 25

Russia’s war against Ukraine

People joined in the symbolic march ‘Together to Victory’ parading through the streets of Krakow to demonstrate their unwavering support for Ukraine in its valiant fight against Russian aggressors over the past year, in Krakow, Poland on Feb. 21, 2023.

Zelensky’s address on 1-year anniversary of Russia’s all-out war.

EU Commission President on 1-year war anniversary: We are with you for as long as it takes. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion in a video by commending the Ukrainian people, saying, “You are fighting for freedom, for democracy, and for your place in the European Union.”

Scholz on 1-year war anniversary: Putin must end the war. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised to support Ukraine for as long as necessary and called on Russia to end the war in a video marking the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion. “The sooner Putin admits that his imperialist goal will not be achieved, the more chances there are for the war to end. Everything is in Putin’s hands. He can stop this war,” Scholz said.

Polish PM pens op-ed reflecting on 1-year anniversary of Russia’s all-out war. In an op-ed reflecting on one year of Russia’s all-out war in Ukraine, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stressed the war’s global impact and the need for continued solidarity. “This is not a local conflict. Russia tries to set Europe ablaze,” said Morawiecki. “Its aim is to destabilize the entire global economic order.”

Zaluzhnyi thanks Ukrainian defenders in video address. “At the core of our strength is people — people of concrete, people of steel. They are ordinary people and heroes, among us and with us in the ranks. Thank you. I am proud of you,” Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi said. “It is thanks to you we survived. Thanks to you, we will win.”

Zelensky presents awards to soldiers on 1-year anniversary of Russia’s all-out war. President Volodymyr Zelensky presented the Hero of Ukraine and other state awards to Ukrainian defenders on Sofiivska Square in Kyiv to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.

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US Defense Secretary: Stakes of Russia’s war stretch far beyond Ukraine. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin commemorated the “solemn” one-year anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24 in a statement, calling it the “most urgent danger to European security” since World War II.

NATO Secretary General casts doubt over China’s peace plan. During a press conference in Tallinn on Feb. 24, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cast doubt on China’s proposed peace plan for Ukraine, pointing to China’s failure to explicitly condemn the Russian invasion.

ABC News: Biden dismisses China’s proposed peace plan. In an interview with ABC News, U.S. President Joe Biden dismissed the peace plan China put forward for Russia’s full-scale war, noting that it would likely only work in Russia’s favor. “I’ve seen nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia if the Chinese plan were followed,” he said.

ABC News: Biden says Ukraine does not need F-16 fighter jets. In an interview with ABC News, U.S. President Joe Biden said he has ruled out giving Ukraine advanced fighter jets “for now.”

Erdogan speaks with Putin over phone call. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the phone after meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky, European Pravda reported on Feb. 24, citing press releases from both Turkey and Russia.

Foreign Ministry: Ukraine ‘deeply concerned’ over joint naval drills of Russia, China and South Africa. Ukraine is “deeply concerned” about joint naval exercises that Russia, China, and South Africa launched just ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s all-out war, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said on Feb. 24.

Belarus Defense Ministry conducting ‘combat readiness measures.’ Belarus’ Defense Ministry announced on Feb. 24 that it was conducting “combat readiness measures.” Additionally, the Defense Ministry stated that “one of the missile units” was moving to a designated area for combat use.

UK Defense Ministry: Russian military attempting to exhaust Ukrainian resources. Russia has likely changed its approach from seizing extensive territory in Ukraine to exhausting the resources of the Ukrainian military, U.K. Defense Ministry said on Feb. 24. This pivot follows Russia’s forced retreat from Kyiv Oblast in April 2022 and failure to make gains in the east and the south in recent weeks.

First moments of Russia’s full-scale invasion, as remembered by our staff

No matter where our staff members were on the day Russia launched its all-out war against Ukraine, one thing is common to all their stories: Their lives as they had known them had ceased to exist.

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Andrii Borovyk: A year of war – how is Ukraine transforming right now?

Over the past nine years, Ukrainians have shown how they can transform entire sectors and industries, but there is still a lot of work ahead, including in the crucial sphere of anti-corruption. Let’s look at the changes that have taken place during the year of the war.

Photo: JENS SCHLUETER/AFP via Getty Images

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Belarus Weekly: Leaked document reveals alleged Kremlin plan to take over Belarus by 2030

Check out our weekly Belarus recap.


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Ukraine war latest: Poland delivers Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Zelensky reflects on first year of all-out war

Check out the key developments on Feb. 24

Photo: Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

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Eugene Czolij: Ukraine’s two anniversaries must be recognized and acted upon

At this stage, NATO member countries should not only recognize the heroism and remarkable resilience of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and its population, but supply Ukraine with all the necessary weapons to win the war as soon as possible and limit further human suffering.

Photo: Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Russian attacks injure 4 people in Sumy Oblast on Feb. 24. Russian troops attacked a taxi near Khotin in Sumy Oblast on Feb. 24, injuring four civilians, the Sumy Oblast military administration reported. The driver and three passengers were reportedly taken to the Sumy Oblast Clinical Hospital, where there injuries will be assessed.

Health Ministry: 106 medical professionals killed in Ukraine since Feb. 24. The number includes 33 medical professionals who were killed on work premises, reports the Health Ministry.

General Staff: Russia has lost 146,820 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. According to the report, Russia has also lost 3,363 tanks, 6,600 armored fighting vehicles, 5,224 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,363 artillery systems, 474 multiple launch rocket systems, 247 air defense systems, 299 airplanes, 287 helicopters, 2,033 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

Australia, New Zealand announce new sanctions against Russia. The governments of Australia and New Zealand have announced new defense aid for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, including “persons and entities engaging in activities of economic and strategic significance to Russia or that threaten the territorial integrity or sovereignty of Ukraine.”

UK announces new sanctions against Russia. U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced a new sanctions package against Russia on the one-year anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion. The package targets executives of Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom and establishes export bans on “every item” Russia has been using to aid its war efforts.

US expands sanctions against Russia. The U.S. introduced an additional package of sanctions against Russia on Feb. 24, targeting banks and key suppliers of the Russian military sector, according to a statement published by the White House.

US announces new $2 billion defense aid package for Ukraine. The package includes additional ammunition for HIMARS (High-Mobility Rocket Artillery Systems), 155mm artillery rounds, munitions for laser-guided rocket systems, and funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment of equipment.

US announces $10 billion aid package for Ukraine. Washington announced an additional $10 billion aid package for Ukraine on Feb. 24. In a press release, U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken said the package includes budgetary support to the Ukrainian government and energy assistance to help support Ukrainians “suffering from Russia’s attacks.”

Sweden to send up to 10 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. “The Swedish tanks reinforce the Leopard 2 contribution that other European countries make. Coordination of support is ongoing with international partners donating Leopard 2 or other tanks,” the government said in a statement.

Germany to give Ukraine 18 Leopard tanks instead of 14. Combined with the tanks that Portugal and Sweden will deliver, Ukraine will be able to create an entire battalion of Leopard 2A6 tanks, according to the ministry. A standard Ukrainian battalion consists of 31 tanks.

Canada to send additional Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Canada will give Ukraine four more Leopard 2 main battle tanks, increasing its contribution to eight tanks in total, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Feb. 24, cited by CTV News.

AP: Polish PM delivers Leopard tanks to Ukraine during his visit. Polish President Andrzej Duda confirmed that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki delivered the first batch of Leopard tanks promised by Poland during his visit to Kyiv on Feb. 24, the Associated Press reported.

Polish PM: Ukraine to receive 60 PT-91 tanks ‘in coming days’. Poland will send an additional 60 PT-91 Twardy main battle tanks to Ukraine “in the coming days,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Feb. 24 during his visit to Kyiv.

PM: Poland ready to train Ukrainian soldiers on F-16 fighter jets. During a joint press conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Feb. 24, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that his country is ready to train Ukrainian soldiers to fly F-16 fighter jets.

WSJ: France, Germany, UK suggest defense pact with Ukraine. France, Germany, and the U.K. believe that closer links between NATO and Ukraine may serve as a way to encourage Kyiv to begin peace talks with Moscow this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing officials from the three countries.

In other news

Parliament strips mandates of 3 lawmakers from pro-Kremlin party. The Verkhovna Rada revoked the mandates of three lawmakers belonging to the pro-Kremlin Opposition Platform – For Life party, reported lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak on Feb. 24.

Russian Foreign Ministry: Attack on Transnistria would be an ‘attack’ on Russia. Russian propagandists have claimed that Ukraine, Moldova or NATO are preparing an attack on Transnistria. There is speculation that this is a facade for a Russian plan to invade or destabilize Moldova.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Toma Istomina, Kate Tsurkan, Oleg Sukhov, Dinara Khalilova, Anastasiya Gordiychuk, and Teah Pelechaty.

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