Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, February 16

How Ukraine destroys Russia’s Black Sea Fleet one ship at a time [video explainer] -- NATO, Ukraine to launch joint training center in Poland -- Pashinyan says Azerbaijan may plan 'full-scale war' against Armenia -- Explosion reportedly occurs at military plant in Russia's Altai region -- Ukraine to receive 1 million drones from allies in 2024 -- and more

Friday, February 16

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A view of smoke rising from the Avdiivka Coke and Chemical Plant behind the village of Lastochkino on Feb. 15, 2023 in Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast. The Russian army is advancing, shelling the city with non-stop artillery and guided aerial bombs (FAB-500). (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade confirms redeployment to Avdiivka, says situation ‘extremely critical.’ After arriving in Avdiivka, some battalions of the Third Assault Brigade raided the Russian-held parts of the city, inflicting “critical losses” to two Russian brigades, the Ukrainian brigade said on Telegram.

Commander: Fighting in Avdiivka ‘difficult, but controlled.’ “The situation in Avdiivka is difficult, but controlled. Fierce fighting is taking place within the city,” Commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said on Feb. 15.

Stoltenberg: Ukraine to receive 1 million drones from allies in 2024. Allies are planning to join forces and supply Ukraine with a million drones this year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reportedly said at a press conference in Brussels on Feb. 15.

Official: Border blockade could cost Ukraine over $200 million. Ukraine could lose over $200 million if the border blockade led by Polish farmers is not lifted by the end of February, Danylo Hetmantsev, chairman of the parliamentary finance committee, said on Feb. 15.

Poll: Trust in Zelensky fell after Zaluzhnyi dismissal. Trust in President Volodymyr Zelensky fell by around 5% following the dismissal of Valerii Zaluzhnyi on Feb. 8, a poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) released on Feb. 15 found.

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Zelensky’s office announces plan for France, Germany visit. President Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to France and Germany on Feb. 16-17 to participate in the Munich Security Conference and meet with several European leaders, the Presidential Office announced on Feb. 15.

World Bank: Ukraine’s recovery costs rise to $486 billion. This figure, based on data gathered between Feb. 24, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2023, is 2.8 times higher than Ukraine’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) for last year, the report noted.

Russia claims rocket attack on Belgorod. Russian air defense allegedly shot down 14 rockets over Belgorod at around 12:30 p.m. local time, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed on Feb. 15.

Explosion reportedly occurs at military plant in Russia’s Altai region. An explosion occurred in an industrial area of Biysk in Russia’s Altai region, possibly at a military plant that produces ammunition, among other things, a local media outlet reported on Feb. 15, citing residents.

NATO official: No major shifts expected in Ukraine-Russia war this year. There will not likely be any major shifts in the war this year as both Ukraine and Russia struggle to assemble a striking force capable of making a major breakthrough, a Kyiv Independent reporter said on Feb. 14, citing a high-ranking NATO official.

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Ukraine war latest: White House says Avdiivka may fall to Russia as Ukraine runs out of shells

Avdiivka is at risk of falling to Russian hands, in large part due to a lack of artillery shells on Ukraine’s part, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Feb. 15. Ukraine’s Third Assault Brigade confirmed that it was “urgently” redeployed to Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, adding that the situation in the area is “extremely critical.”

Photo: Vlada Liberova / Libkos via Getty Images

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Ukraine pins hopes on home-made drones to counter Russia

Last year, first-person view (FPV) kamikaze drones gained notoriety for their simple construction, low cost, and high damage. Unlike drones that are meant to survive, like battlefield scouts or grenade droppers, FPV drones are meant to fly into their target and explode. To be cost-effective, they should be as cheap and bare-bones as possible.

Photo: Mykhailo Fedorov / Facebook

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Human cost of war

Russian attack on Donetsk Oblast village kills 1 civilian, injures 2. Russia launched an attack against the village of Zoria in Donetsk Oblast’s Illinivka community on Feb. 15, killing an 83-year-old woman and injuring two men aged 71 and 41, the regional military administration reported.

Russian airstrike in Kharkiv Oblast kills 3, injures 2. A Russian attack on the village of Chorne in Kharkiv Oblast killed three people, two of whom were a couple, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Feb. 15.

Czech volunteer fighting for Ukraine killed near Avdiivka. A Czech volunteer was killed in battle near Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, the Czech news outlet Seznam Zpravy reported on Feb. 15, citing the Czech Foreign Ministry.

Authorities: Russian shelling of Kherson kills woman. Russian forces struck Kherson in southern Ukraine on Feb. 15, killing a 70-year-old woman, the Kherson Oblast Military Administration reported.

Prosecutor’s Office: Death toll of Russia’s Feb 14 attack on Kharkiv Oblast village rises to 4. Rescuers retrieved the bodies of two women from the rubble of an apartment building in Kharkiv Oblast’s village of Velykyi Burluk hit by Russia’s Feb. 14 missile strike, the regional prosecutor’s office reported on Feb. 15.

General Staff: Russia has lost 399,090 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. Russia has also reportedly lost 6,442 tanks, 12,090 armored fighting vehicles, 12,691 vehicles and fuel tanks, 9,620 artillery systems, 984 multiple launch rocket systems, 671 air defense systems, 332 airplanes, 325 helicopters, 7,404 drones, and 25 warships and boats.

International response

Stoltenberg: NATO, Ukraine to launch joint training center in Poland. “Today, we decided to create a new NATO-Ukraine joint analysis, training, and education center in Bydgoszcz, Poland,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference the day before the meeting of the NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium.

Financial Times: Hungary blocking new EU sanctions package against Russia. Hungary has blocked the approval of the European Union’s latest package of sanctions against Russia due to the presence of Chinese companies in the list, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Feb. 15, citing unnamed European officials.

Polish minister: Ukraine-Poland talks on agricultural trade at ‘final stage.’ On a technical level, the talks are at the final stage, and quota levels for some agricultural goods coming from Ukraine to Poland could be agreed upon at the end of March, Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski said.

The Hill: US lawmakers mull 2 ‘plan Bs’ for passing Ukraine aid. The Senate passed the $95 billion funding request, including assistance for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, earlier this week. Johnson said, however, he will not put the bill to the vote, arguing that the country should first address the growing number of migrants at the southern border.

Reuters: Ukraine refuses to remove Austrian Raiffeisen bank from ‘sponsors of war’ list. Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has refused to remove Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank from the international sponsors of war list, citing the bank still not having a clear plan to leave the Russian market, Reuters reported on Feb. 15.

Ukraine designates Irish-American oilfield service company as international ‘sponsor of war.’ The Irish-American oilfield service company Weatherford International has been added to Ukraine’s list of “international sponsors of war” for continuing operations in Russia, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) announced on Feb. 15.

Germany pledges over $100 million to Ukraine in short-term support. The assistance pledged by Bundesweher Inspector General Carsten Breuer includes mine-protected vehicles, explosives for drones, 77 MULTI 1A1 trucks, medical supplies, and spare parts for weapons systems.

World Bank to disburse $500 million for Ukrainian businesses in 2024. The matter was discussed during a meeting between the ministry’s team and the World Bank mission headed by Arup Banerji, the World Bank’s regional country director for Ukraine and Moldova.

How Ukraine destroys Russia’s Black Sea Fleet one ship at a time

How Ukraine destroys Russia’s Black Sea Fleet one ship at a time

In other news

Pashinyan says Azerbaijan may plan ‘full-scale war’ against Armenia, Baku denies. “Our analysis shows… that Azerbaijan wants to launch military action in some parts of the border with the prospect of turning military escalation into a full-scale war against Armenia,” Pashinyan said during a government meeting.

Zelensky signs law legalizing medical cannabis. Medical cannabis is to be legalized in Ukraine to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and provide pain relief to people with serious illnesses such as cancer, according to a law signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky on Feb. 15.

FBI informant charged with lying about Biden family’s ties to Ukrainian business. The informant, Alexander Smirnov, told his handler in summer 2020 that the Bidens sought two $5 million bribes from the energy firm Burisma in 2015 and 2016.

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