Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, February 2

Is it OK to have fun during war? We asked Ukrainians -- Romania: Russia 'will not stop' with war in Ukraine, calls for better preparation amid potential conflict with NATO -- Ukraine strikes Russian targets in Crimea methodologically and regularly -- Russia ignores Ukraine's appeal to return bodies of POWs Moscow says are killed in Il-76 crash -- and more

Friday, February 2

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, left, and Charles Michel, president of the European Council, at a news conference following a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 1, 2024. (Ksenia Kuleshova/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

All 27 EU leaders agree on 50 billion euro aid package for Ukraine.

All 27 leaders of EU member states agreed on an additional 50 billion euro support package for Ukraine within the EU budget, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Feb. 1.

Orban says he agreed to $54 billion EU funding package for Ukraine due to control mechanism, guarantees on Hungary’s funds. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he agreed to the 50 billion euro ($54 billion) EU funding package for Ukraine on Feb. 1 because there is a control mechanism in place and Hungary’s funds “will not end up in Ukraine.”

Media: Orban’s request to review Ukraine aid annually rejected. The aid deal includes a provision for a yearly discussion on the package and the potential to review it in two years “if needed,” but there is no explicit veto for Hungary or any other member state.

Zaluzhnyi: Ukraine must introduce new philosophy that accounts for limits in assets. In an opinion piece published by CNN on Feb. 1, Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi named three main areas of focus for Ukraine’s military in 2024.

Romanian defense chief: Russia ‘will not stop’ with war in Ukraine, calls for better preparation amid potential conflict with NATO. In an interview with Europa Libera Romania on Feb. 1, Romanian Chief of Defense Gheorghita Vlad urged Romania and Europe to better prepare for a potential war with Russia, warning that Russia will continue its escalation if it is successful in Ukraine.

US Senate to vote on Ukraine aid package next week. After a months-long delay, the U.S. Senate is set to vote next week on a proposed Ukraine-Israel aid package, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Feb. 1.

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Military intelligence: Russian missile ship sunk off occupied Crimea. Ukraine’s military intelligence said that the ship costs approximately $60-70 million.

Minister: 112 Russian tanks worth $300 million destroyed or disabled by National Guard in January. Ukraine’s National Guard has destroyed or disabled 112 Russian tanks in the first month of 2024, with an estimated total value of over $300 million, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko, said on Feb. 1.

Air Force: Ukraine strikes Russian targets in Crimea ‘methodologically and regularly.’ Ukraine has certain “tools” at its disposal that means it can strike Russian military targets occupying Crimea “methodologically and regularly,” Yurii Ihnat, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force, said in an interview with Radio Svoboda on Feb. 1.

Russia ignores Ukraine’s appeal to return bodies of POWs Moscow says are killed in Il-76 crash. After Russia said Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in the recent Il-76 plane crash, Ukraine appealed to return the allegedly killed POWs home, Andrii Yusov, a representative of the military intelligence, said on Feb. 1. But the Russian government has not responded to Ukraine’s request, he added. There is no evidence of the presence of the POWs on the crashed plane apart from Russia’s claims, Yusov added.

Foreign Ministry: ICJ decision ‘leaves no doubt Russia is in violation of international law.’ The ICJ decision on Jan. 31 stemmed from a case brought by Ukraine in 2017, which has taken seven years to conclude. The case originated from Ukraine’s argument that Russia had financed terrorism during the conflict in Donbas.

AfD’s rise in Germany set to disrupt Berlin’s lead in supporting Ukraine. One of Russia’s top narratives is that it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” this multi-ethnic democracy led by a president with Jewish roots and holocaust survivors in his lineage. In fact, Russia’s public obsession with “fighting Nazis” masks how its closest relations among European political parties are with those on the far right. One of these parties is Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has been mired in scandal after recent reports of its affiliations with Neo-Nazis.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine war latest: EU leaders agree to $54 billion funding for Kyiv; Russian ship sunk near occupied Crimea

All 27 leaders of EU member states agreed on an additional 50 billion euro ($54 billion) support package for Ukraine within the EU budget, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Feb. 1.

Photo: Ksenia Kuleshova/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Governor: Russian forces attack Kharkiv with 4 drones, damaging civilian enterprise. Russian forces attacked Kharkiv in the late hours of Jan. 31 with four drones, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Telegram. Two drones were shot down, while two others hit a civilian enterprise in the city’s Osnovianskyi district.

Foreign volunteers killed by Russian attack in Kherson. Two foreigners, both French citizens, were killed by a Russian attack on the town of Beryslav in Kherson Oblast, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported on Feb. 1. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the foreigners killed were civilian volunteers.

Russian attacks on Kherson kills 2, injures 10. Damage to civilian infrastructure including residential buildings, educational institutions, a dormitory, and commercial buildings was also recorded.

Azov commander says more than 900 defenders of Mariupol remain in captivity. Over 900 defenders of Mariupol remain in Russian captivity, Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov Regiment, told Ukrainian media on Feb. 1. The announcement comes after 207 Ukrainian POWs were returned home from Russian captivity on Jan. 31.

International response

Reuters: European Commission to begin talks on 13th Russian sanctions package. The European Commission aims to have the new sanctions package in place to mark the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, Reuters said.

ICJ rejects key parts of Ukraine’s 2017 case against Russia. Chief among the claims was a request to declare Russia responsible for the downing of MH17 in 2014, which killed 298 people, the majority of whom were Dutch citizens.

Reuters: China cautions Ukraine over inclusion of Chinese companies in ‘sponsors of war’ list. “The (Chinese) ambassador said that all this (sponsors of war list) could have a negative impact on our relations,” an unnamed Ukrainian source told Reuters.

White House won’t discuss separating aid to Ukraine from security bill. The White House won’t discuss the possibility of separating aid for Ukraine into separate legislation from the national security bill currently being negotiated in Congress, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Feb. 1.

Opinions and insights

Is it ok to have fun during war? We asked Ukrainians.

“It’s okay to experience joy in tough times, especially when you realize that each moment could be your last,” Maryna Hrachova, who works at the Kharkiv Literary Museum, told the Kyiv Independent.

Photo: Yurii Stefanyak/The Kyiv Independent

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In other news

Ex-Supreme Court chief charged with bribery released on bail, can return to work. Vsevolod Kniaziev, former chairman of the Supreme Court and a suspect in a bribery case, was released from detention after paying Hr 18 million bail ($450,000) on Jan. 31. Kniaziev has been dismissed from his position as the court’s chairman but can return to work as an ordinary judge.

Military intelligence denies granting Arestovych right to leave Ukraine.

Military intelligence denied reports from Ukrainian investigative outlet NGL Media on Feb. 1 that Oleksiy Arestovych, a controversial blogger and former president’s office aide, could leave Ukraine with their permission.

Media: Former Russian-appointed head of occupied Sevastopol detained in London. British authorities arrested former Russian-appointed head of occupied Sevastopol, Dmitry Ovsyannikov, in London on Jan. 22, the Times reported. He is suspected of violating sanctions laws.

Budanov says he’s not worried about potential Trump victory. Former U.S. President Donald Trump “is an experienced person. He has fallen many times and gotten back up again. And this is a very serious trait,” said Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence.

Budanov hints at plan to increase strikes on Russian critical infrastructure. A “hypothetical” plan exists to increase the tempo of strikes in Russia, potentially including “all the major critical infrastructure facilities and military infrastructure facilities of the Russian Federation,” said Kyrylo Budanov, chief of Ukraine’s military intelligence.

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