Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, February 21

Leaked document reveals alleged Kremlin plan to take over Belarus by 2030 -- Belarus plans to form 100,000-150,000 strong volunteer military force -- Situation with Ukraine's energy infrastructure has become more stable -- Italy is open to sending fighter jets to Ukraine alongside other Western allies -- and more

Tuesday, February 21

Russia’s war against Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) walks next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) in front of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral as Biden arrives for a surprise visit to Kyiv on Feb. 20, 2023. (Dimitar Dilkoff /AFP via Getty Images)

Biden makes surprise visit to Kyiv, meets Zelensky. U.S. President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Feb. 20, his first-ever visit to Ukraine as president.

Biden: ‘Putin’s war of conquest is failing.’ “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided,” U.S. President Joe Biden said on Feb. 20. “He thought he could outlast us. I don’t think he’s thinking that right now,” Biden added. “He’s just been plain wrong,” Biden said, standing alongside President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv’s Mariinskyi Palace.

Biden pledges $500 million in aid to Ukraine during surprise trip. During his surprise visit to Ukraine on Feb. 20, U.S. President Joe Biden pledged an extra $500 million in aid to the country, reports CNN. The assistance package will include more military equipment, such as javelins, howitzers, and artillery ammunition.

While Biden visits Ukraine, China’s top diplomat heads to Moscow. U.S. President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv on Feb. 20 is set to be followed by top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi’s visit to Moscow, reports Reuters. Both visits occur in the days preceding the anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Reuters: Belarus plans to form 100,000-150,000 strong volunteer military force. Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko said on Feb. 20 that he had ordered the formation of a new volunteer territorial defense in the country so that everyone knows how to “handle weapons” and be ready to respond to an act of aggression.

Reznikov: Next Ramstein summit to take place in mid-March. The 10th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, also known as Ramstein, may take place in mid-March, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Feb. 20. The summit will likely be held online, according to the minister.

Ukrenergo: Situation with Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has become more stable. The situation with Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has become more stable, and energy imports are nearing zero, reported Ukrenergo on Feb. 20. Starting from October, Ukrenergo’s key network facilities suffered extensive damages due to Russian missile and drone attacks, meaning they will need significant resources and time for complete restoration.

Survey: 90% of Ukrainians have an overall positive view of US. According to a survey released by the sociological group Rating on Feb. 20, 90% of Ukrainians have a positive attitude toward U.S. President Joe Biden. Furthermore, 92% of Ukrainians consider the U.S. friendly toward Ukraine.

Putin to deliver speech ahead of one year mark of war in Ukraine. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is expected to give a speech on Feb. 21 updating Russia’s political and military elite on the state of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine that began nearly one year ago.

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Ukraine war latest: Biden in Kyiv, China’s top diplomat to visit Moscow

Just days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Kyiv and met with President Zelensky in a show of “unwavering” support to the country.

Photo: President’s Office

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One year later: How Russia came to fail in Ukraine, battle after battle

How did something that was supposed to be Putin’s several-day-long “special military operation” turn into a staggering defeat and a subsequent grinding war that the Kremlin’s propaganda now calls Russia’s “fight for survival”?

Photo: Genya Savilov/AFP

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Russia attacks village in Donetsk Oblast, killing one. Russian troops struck the village of Ivanopillia in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 20, killing one person and injuring two, according to Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. Russia also hit Toretsk and Avdiivka with artillery and a missile and used multiple launch rocket systems to target the village of Novyi Komar.

General Staff: Russia has lost 143,680 troops in Ukraine. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on Feb. 20 that Russia has lost around 143,680 troops, 3,316 tanks, 6,553 armored fighting vehicles, 2,334 artillery systems, 243 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 471 multiple-launch rocket systems, 299 aircraft, 287 helicopters, 2,018 drones, 873 cruise missiles, 18 warships, 5,209 vehicles and fuel tanks, and 225 special equipment since the start of the full-scale invasion.


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

A group of European and U.S. media outlets, including the Kyiv Independent, has obtained a 17-page document allegedly detailing Russia’s plans to subjugate Belarus and dismantle its independence.

Credit: Karl-Erik Leik and Mart Nigola/Delfi Estonia

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International response

Pentagon announces new military aid package for Ukraine. The U.S. Defense Department announced the allocation of another military assistance package to Ukraine worth $460 million on Feb. 20. Earlier on Feb. 20, U.S. President Joe Biden pledged an extra $500 million in aid to Ukraine during his surprise visit to Kyiv.

Media: Italy is open to sending fighter jets to Ukraine alongside other Western allies. Italy is prepared to send up to five fighter jets to Ukraine if other Western allies start doing so, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported. According to the article, Italy does not want to be the first ally to send fighter jets “for political reasons.”

AP: Japan pledges $5.5 billion aid package for Ukraine. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged a $5.5 billion aid package for Ukraine on Feb. 20, reported AP. Kishida, this year’s president of the Group of Seven (G7), promised to hold an online group meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the first anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion.

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King Charles visits Ukrainian troops training in UK. King Charles III met with Ukrainian troops undergoing training by British and international military personnel in the U.K. on Feb. 20.

EU launches Ukraine’s digital transformation support project worth 17.4 million euros. The European Union is allocating 17.4 million euros (($18.5 million) to Ukraine’s digital transformation. The project titled “Digital Transformation for Ukraine,” will support the development of digital services and infrastructure, as well as day-to-day governance.

In other news

Navalny urges restoration of 1991 borders, reparation payments to Ukraine by Russia. Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s team issued a statement on Feb. 20 calling for the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders and the payment of reparations by Moscow, independent Russian media outlet Meduza reported.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Oleksiy Sorokin, Kate Tsurkan, Teah Pelechaty, Dinara Khalilova, Olena Goncharova, and Lili Bivings.

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