Ukraine Daily Summary - Monday, February 27

Explosion at Belarusian military airfield damaged Russian aircraft in reported partisan attack -- Ukraine says it could strike airfields and depots inside Russia as part of anticipated spring counteroffensive -- Ukraine downs Russian aircraft near Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast -- The specter of limitless Russian manpower is a myth -- Russia's 'elite' forces suffer heavy losses in Donetsk Oblast -- and more

Monday, February 27

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Tatiana Chvalun, 70, walks her dog Buru past her residential building destroyed as a result of shelling last March 9, that killed 54 people, in the town of Izium, Kharkiv region on Feb. 26, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)

Zelensky on 9-year anniversary of Russian occupation in Crimea: ‘We will return it.’ President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the nine-year anniversary of the start of the Russian occupation in Crimea, stating that “By returning Crimea, we will restore peace.” Crimea was illegally annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014 following the triumph of Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution and the peninsula is currently home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Zelensky approves new sanctions against Russian individuals. The list includes individuals allegedly involved in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children, those who help support mercenaries fighting against Ukraine, and Russian athletes and other sporting representatives who have shown public support for the war.

Germany denies report on NATO proposal to resume peace talks with Russia. A German government spokesperson on Feb. 26 denied a report that France, Germany and the U.K. have suggested a NATO defense pact with Ukraine in exchange for resuming peace talks with Russia.

Saudi foreign minister meets Zelensky in Kyiv, signs $400 million aid agreements. The visit was the first by an official Saudi delegation to Ukraine since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1993. According to Ukrainian presidential office head Andriy Yermak, Saudi Arabia will provide Ukraine with $100 million in humanitarian aid and $300 million in oil products.

Estonian defense minister arrives in Kyiv with new military aid. Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur arrived in Kyiv on Feb. 26, announcing a new military aid package for Ukraine that includes weapons and equipment for Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces.

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Opposition group: Explosion at Belarusian military airfield damaged Russian aircraft in reported partisan attack. A Russian A-50 early warning and control aircraft in Belarus was damaged as a result of the Feb. 26 explosion at the Machulishchy airfield near Minsk, Belarusian opposition media Nasha Niva reported on Feb. 26 citing Aliaksandr Azarov, leader of Belarusian anti-government organization BYPOL.

Ukraine downs 11 drones overnight on Feb. 27. According to the report, 14 Shahed drones were launched from the northern direction, 11 of which were destroyed by Ukrainian air defense.

Ukraine downs Russian aircraft near Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast. Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian Su-25 aircraft with a man-portable air-defense system, Ukraine’s 110th Mechanized Brigade reported on Feb. 26.

Governor: Demining efforts continue despite shelling in Kharkiv Oblast. Over the past day, the State Emergency Service defused 46 explosive objects in Kharkiv Oblast, reported Governor Oleh Syniehubov on Feb. 26. Demining measures actively continue across Kharkiv Oblast.

UK Defense Ministry: Russia’s ‘elite’ forces suffer heavy losses in Donetsk Oblast. Russia’s 155th Naval Infantry (NI) Brigade has “almost certainly been significantly degraded” due to inexperienced mobilized personnel and heavy losses, reports the U.K. Defense Ministry in its latest update. The report references imagery showing concentrated vehicle losses near Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast, that most likely belonged to elements of the NI brigade.

ISW: “The specter of limitless Russian manpower is a myth.” The Institute for the Study of War said Russia will face increasing costs to replace its losses in the latest report on Russian forces’ recruitment campaigns on Feb. 26.

Ombudsman: Russia holds 180 political prisoners in occupied Crimea. There are currently 180 political prisoners, including 116 Crimean Tatars, illegally held in Russian-occupied Crimea, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said Feb. 26, which marks the ninth anniversary of the start of the Russian occupation of the peninsula.

Prosecutor General’s Office records over 71,500 Russian war crimes, crimes of aggression in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Feb. 26 that Russian forces have committed 71,586 war crimes and crimes of aggression in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s all-out war.

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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine says it could strike airfields and depots inside Russia as part of anticipated spring counteroffensive.

Ukraine is eyeing to launch a major counteroffensive in spring, which could include striking airfields and depots of rockets and artillery systems inside Russia, a top intelligence official said in an interview published on Feb. 26.

Photo: Ihor Tkachov/AFP via Getty Images

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Russia shells Kherson Oblast, injures civilian. One 55-year old man was injured and later hospitalized when a shell landed in the coutryard of a residential area in the village of Dniprovske, the Kherson Oblast administration reported on Feb. 26.

Russian shelling of Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Oblast wounds child. Russian attack on Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Oblast at around 5 p.m. on Feb. 26 injured a child, Oleksii Roslov, head of the city military administration, told Suspilne television. Russia’s shelling also damaged several houses and a car, he added.

General Staff: Russia has lost 148,130 troops since Feb. 24. According to the report, Russia has also lost 3,381 tanks, 6,615 armored fighting vehicles, 5,242 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,380 artillery systems, 475 multiple launch rocket systems, 247 air defense systems, 299 airplanes, 288 helicopters, 2,037 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

German Defense Minister: NATO countries could transfer 62 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. This number of tanks will be enough to form two tank battalions, Boris Pistorius said on Feb. 26. However, Pistorius doubted that Germany would approve additional Leopard 2 deliveries, as the country’s industry must first replace the tanks in Germany’s own stocks.

US House Foreign Affairs Head: Congress ready to ‘prioritize’ advanced weapons for Ukraine. House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul said on Feb. 26 of the delivery of fighter jets or long-range missiles that if approved, Congress “would take steps to move the process along.”

European Council sanctions 11 Wagner-linked individuals and 7 entities. The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement that Wagner is a threat to “international peace and security as they do not operate within any legal framework. The EU is determined to continue taking tangible action against breaches to international law.”

In other news

Shmyhal: ‘No systemic corruption in Defense Ministry.’ In an interview with Germany’s Focus Magazine, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that the recent procurement scandal at the Defense Ministry does not point to a larger systemic issue of corruption in Ukraine. According to Shmyhal, Ukrainian society has changed as a result of the war and has “zero tolerance” for corruption.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Olga Rudenko, Kate Tsurkan, Oleg Sukhov, Daria Shulzhenko, Francis Farrell, Natalia Datskevych, Anastasiya Gordiychuk, and Anastasiia Malenko.

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