Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, February 18

Avdiivka shows we need air defenses, long-range weapons, shells -- Czechia can deliver 800,000 shells to Ukraine if allied financing secured -- Ukraine downs 3 Russian warplanes -- US to transfer confiscated Russian funds to Ukraine via Estonia -- Mass protests in Hungary over child sex abuse scandal -- and more

Sunday, February 18

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A rescuer holds a rescued cat at the site of a house destroyed in a Russian missile attack on Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, on Feb. 17, 2024. Russia launched missile attacks on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, killing at least two people and trapping others under rubble. (Jose Colon/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Navalny’s team confirms his death, blames Putin for his murder. “Alexei Navalny’s death occurred on February 16 at 2:17 p.m. local time, according to the official message to Alexei’s mother,” said his spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh.

Umerov: Avdiivka shows we need air defenses, long-range weapons, shells. Ukraine took several lessons from the loss of Avdiivka, namely the importance of air defenses, long-range weapons, artillery shells, and fortifications, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said on Feb. 17.

Biden: US Congress to blame for fall of Avdiivka. “This morning, Ukraine’s military was forced to withdraw from Avdiivka after Ukrainian soldiers had to ration ammunition due to dwindling supplies as a result of congressional inaction, resulting in Russia’s first notable gains in months,” the White House statement said.

Zelensky meets US Senators in Munich, discusses Ukraine aid. “Held a meeting with the U.S. Senate delegation in Munich. We spoke about Ukraine’s main defense needs, namely artillery systems and shells, long-range weapons, electronic warfare systems, and air defense support,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram.

Zelensky, Harris discuss Ukraine’s security, resilience during Munich Conference. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris at the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17, with Ukraine’s “security and resilience” as the chief topics of discussion, the Presidential Office said.

Ex-NATO chief: ‘We need outside-the-box thinking’ on providing Ukraine with arms. Kyiv’s partners “need outside-the-box thinking” regarding providing Ukraine with sufficient weaponry to repel Russia’s full-scale invasion, ex-NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17.

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Rheinmetall wants to produce artillery shells in Ukraine. The German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall signed a memorandum of intent with a Ukrainian company on the production of artillery shells directly in Ukraine, Rheinmetall said on Feb. 17.

Air Force commander: Ukraine downs 3 Russian warplanes. Ukraine’s military shot down two Russian Su-34 fighter jets and another Russian Su-35 combat aircraft on Feb. 17, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk reported.

Alleged drone factory catches fire in Russia’s Izhevsk. A large fire broke out overnight at an industrial enterprise in the city of Izhevsk in Russia’s Udmurt Republic, the regional emergency service said on Feb. 17. Russian media previously reported that a shopping mall located at this address had been turned into a drone factory.

Drone remnants found in Moldova near border with Ukraine. Fragments of a Shahed-type drone were found in Moldova in a field two kilometers from the country’s border with Ukraine, the Moldovan Border Police reported on Feb. 17.

Official: Russian attack damages infrastructure facility in Zaporizhzhia, causes heating outages. Russian forces struck Zaporizhzhia on the afternoon of Feb. 17, damaging an infrastructure facility and leaving around 4,000 residents without heating, Anatolii Kurtiev, the city’s acting mayor, reported.

Yermak: Press freedom is ‘one of the values we are fighting for.’ Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s Presidential Office head, said that he considers press freedom “one of the most important parts of any democratic society” and “one of the values we are fighting for” when asked about his personal reaction to an investigation accusing the country’s security service of surveilling independent journalists.

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Zelensky in Munich: ‘If Ukraine left alone, Russia will destroy us’

President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17, urging more security assistance from Ukraine’s allies amid ammunition shortages and the recent withdrawal from the embattled city of Avdiivka.

Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Navalny’s death preceded by long list of Putin critics’ murders

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death in jail on Feb. 16 follows a long list of murders and suspicious deaths of opponents of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Since he came to power in 1999, more than 20 Putin critics have been killed or died mysteriously.

Photo: Novaya Gazeta/Epsilon/Getty Images

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Human cost of war

2 dead in Russian missile attack on Kramatorsk, Sloviansk. The attack killed a woman in her late 40s and a 23-year-old man. Other victims are believed to be trapped in the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Russian airstrikes against Kupiansk kill 1, injure 5. Russia attacked Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast with aerial bombs on the afternoon of Feb. 17, killing one woman and injuring at least five people, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported.

Russian shelling in Sumy Oblast kills 1, injures 1. Shelling in the community of Khotin killed one resident and left another injured, the authorities said. The attacks also damaged homes and a farm building.

Russian attack on Kherson kills 1, injures 2. Russian forces struck Kherson on the afternoon of Feb. 17, killing a 49-year-old man and wounding two more residents, Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

General Staff: Russia has lost 401,350 troops in Ukraine since beginning of full-scale war. This number includes the 1,050 casualties Russian forces suffered over the past day.

This Week in Ukraine S2 E6 – Who is leading Ukraine’s military now?

Inside Ukraine’s military command reshuffle | This Week in Ukraine S2 E6

International response

Pistorius: Germany’s support for Ukraine ‘firm and sustained.’ “This war is about much more than two states fighting over a territory. This war is about the question of whether we’ll allow an imperialist power to impose its will on another state,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

Dutch PM: Netherlands actively working on bilateral security guarantees for Ukraine. “We are discussing intensely now with (President) Volodymyr Zelensky’s team on coming up with security guarantees… And I’m cautiously optimistic that we can close these discussions pretty soon,” Rutte said in press comments at the Munich Security Conference.

Dutch PM: Russia is ‘nothing compared to the collective EU economy.’ The EU’s collective economic power is by far superior to Russia, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told the Kyiv Independent on Feb. 17 in an interview at the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, adding that European nations must invest more in defense and support for Ukraine.

Pavel: Czechia can deliver 800,000 shells to Ukraine if allied financing secured. “We have identified at this point half a million rounds of 155 mm caliber and another 300,000 rounds of 122 mm caliber, which we will be able to deliver within weeks if we quickly find funding for that activity,” Czech President Petr Pavel said at the Munich Security Conference.

Italy loans 100 million euros to bolster Ukraine’s energy sector. The agreement lays out the terms of a subsidized loan worth 100 million euros ($107.8 million) to the state-owned energy company Ukrhydroenergo.

US to transfer confiscated Russian funds to Ukraine via Estonia. The transfer marks the second time the U.S. has sent confiscated Russian money to Ukraine, and the first time such funds have been sent to a foreign ally with the intent of providing aid to Ukraine.

US provides Ukraine with war crimes collection assistance. The new package contained 66 vehicles, 250 drones, nine 3D laser ground scanning devices, and a DNA laboratory, the Interior Ministry said.

Ukrainian refugees in UK can extend visas by 18 months. Over 200,000 Ukrainians have migrated to the U.K. since March 2022, with the first visas set to expire in March 2025.

Reuters: Oreos manufacturer Mondelez overhauls Russian operations amid boycott, protests. Mondelez was added Ukraine’s list of “international sponsors of war” in May 2023 for continuing operations in Russia.

In other news

Mass protests in Hungary over child sex abuse scandal. The wave of discontent arose after it was revealed that President Katalin Novak, who resigned on Feb. 10, pardoned a man convicted of covering up widespread sex abuse at a government-run children’s home.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Nate Ostiller, Lili Bivings, Dinara Khalilova, Martin Fornusek, Toma Istomina, Oleksiy Sorokin, Francis Farrell, and Abbey Fenbert.

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