Ukraine Daily Summary - Monday, February 20

Kuleba urges allies to start training Ukrainian pilots before decision on aircraft delivery is made -- US concerned China may provide Russia with weapons -- Russia's Rostec says it is stepping up production of hypersonic missiles -- Russia changes tactics of missile strikes -- Russia uses sexual violence as weapon in its war against Ukraine -- and more

Monday, February 20

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ukrainian civilians including children and elderly, embark on a westbound train as they are evacuated away from the fighting near Bakhmut, Ukraine on Feb. 18, 2023. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Borrell: ‘Ukrainians receive a lot of applause, but not enough ammunition.’ European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell called upon the bloc’s members to step up their military support for Ukraine, underscoring that “a lot of applause” is not helpful without actions. “(President Volodymyr) Zelensky and the Ukrainians get a lot of applause, but not enough ammunition,” Borrell said. “It’s a paradox. They need less applause and more weapons.”

Russia’s Rostec says it is stepping up production of hypersonic missiles. Russian state arms conglomerate Rostec said on Feb. 19 that it is scaling up the production of Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles for the Russian Defense Ministry.

Air Force: Russia changes tactics of missile strikes. Russian troops have started concealing missiles in the Dniester and Southern Buh riverbeds, allowing them to travel low to the ground to bypass Ukrainian air defense systems, Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesperson for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said.

Kuleba urges allies to start training Ukrainian pilots before decision on aircraft delivery is made. “We propose to start with training. This is our request to all our friends who can potentially share aircraft with us,” he said at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 18.

Zelensky: Ukraine ‘balances situation’ on front line, prepares for military maneuvers in near future. President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a meeting with the country’s military leadership on Feb.19 that the Ukrainian military “levels the situation (on the front line), doing everything to prepare actions for the near future.“

Russia uses sexual violence as weapon in its war against Ukraine. “Russia uses sexual violence as a weapon of war. We record such cases wherever the Russian military is stationed,” Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said during the meeting with UK’s MP Alicia Kearns in Munich. The two discussed ways to bring criminals to justice and compensate for damages at the expense of Russia.

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Blinken: US concerned China may provide Russia with weapons. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Feb. 18 that Washington has concerns that Beijing is considering supplying Moscow with “lethal support,” such as weaponry.

US ambassador to UN: China would overstep line by supplying lethal support to Russia. In an interview with CNN, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “that would be a red line” if China provided lethal aid to Russia.

ISW: Chechen leader Kadyrov likely rejected Wagner’s proposal to work against Russian Defense Ministry. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has likely rejected Russia’s Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s proposal to cooperate in a “renewed informational attack” against the Russian Defense Ministry, a D.C.-based think-tank analyzing the war said in its latest report.

Foreign Ministry: Russia blocks rotation of IAEA mission at occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Feb.19 that Russia had blocked the rotation of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian city of Energodar, which has been occupied shortly after Feb. 24.

Ukraine sanctions Moscow Stock Exchange, Russian bankers. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed into law a new set of sanctions on Feb. 19, targeting 333 Russians connected to the banking sector and the Moscow Stock Exchange. The sanctions will be in effect for the next ten years.

Italian media: Meloni to visit Kyiv on Feb. 21. Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is set to visit Kyiv on Feb. 21 and meet President Volodymyr Zelensky, Italian daily newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano reported on Feb. 19. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference that Meloni would “soon” visit Kyiv.

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Ukraine war latest: Russia intensifies shelling of southern Ukraine amid Kyiv’s request for more weapon supplies.

As world leaders gathered at the Munich Security Conference to discuss Moscow’s ongoing war, Russian forces intensified shelling of the southern Kherson Oblast on Feb. 19.

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Russia attacks 9 regions across Ukraine over the past 24 hours. A man in the liberated town of Vovchansk in the northeastern Kharkiv Oblast was killed at home, according to Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov. He said that a projectile hit the victim’s house during the shelling.

Update: 3 killed, 8 wounded in Russian shelling of Kherson Oblast. A total of three civilians were killed, and eight, including three children, were wounded in a village in Kherson Oblast due to heavy Russian shelling, the regional military administration said in an updated report.

Governor: Russian forces shell settlements in Kharkiv Oblast, injure civilians. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Feb.19 that Russia hit several settlements, including the village of Lyptsi, located 10 kilometers from the Ukrainian-Russian border, the cities of Vovchansk and Kupiansk.

Russia shells Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, leaves hundreds of households without electricity. Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Governor Serhii Lysak reported on Feb. 19 that Russia’s shelling of the Myrivska community left 350 private households without electricity.

Prosecutor General’s Office: Russia’s war has killed at least 461 children, injured 924 since Feb. 24. Russia’s shelling of Bakhmut on Feb. 17 injured a 16-year-old boy, bringing the total number of children casualties to 461 killed and 924 injured, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Feb. 19. The real number of casualties is expected to be higher as the current count does not include data from Russian-occupied territories or where hostilities are ongoing.

General Staff: Russia has lost 142,860 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. According to the report, Russia has also lost 3,310 tanks, 6,545 armored fighting vehicles, 5,196 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,327 artillery systems, 469 multiple launch rocket systems, 243 air defense systems, 298 airplanes, 287 helicopters, 2,016 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

Minister: French armored vehicles to arrive in Ukraine next week. French AMX-10RC wheeled tank destroyers are set to arrive in Ukraine at the end of next week, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said in an interview published on Feb. 18.

France doesn’t rule out training Ukrainian pilots to fly fighter jets. Critics argue that allies’ reluctance to supply F-16, Typhoon and Dassault fighter jets and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory.

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Bloomberg: EU members may agree to pool ammunition purchases for Ukraine in March. The proposal, which was put forward by Estonia and is estimated to cost €4 billion ($4.3 billion), won tentative approval from Romania and the Netherlands.

In other news

First group of Ukrainian rescuers returns from Turkey. “Despite the fact that Ukraine itself is currently in the midst of war, we are ready to support those in need,” he said. “Because the strong always help and save. The weak can only destroy and kill.”

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Oleksiy Sorokin, Asami Terajima, Oleg Sukhov, Thaisa Semenova, Olena Goncharova, Natalia Datskevych, Anastasiya Gordiychuk, and Anastasiia Malenko.

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