Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, February 27

Russia concentrates troops near Kupiansk, Ukraine builds powerful fortifications -- CIA network of bases in Ukraine at risk if US does not pass aid -- Kuleba calls for Europe to suspend ammunition sales to third countries -- Russia plans to produce 2.7 million shells this year -- and more

Tuesday, February 27

Russia’s war against Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as he arrives to attend a conference in support of Ukraine with European leaders and government representatives on Feb. 26, 2024 in Paris, France. (Chesnot/Getty Images)

Macron doesn’t rule out possibility of Western troops in Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Feb. 26 that the possibility of sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine is not “ruled out” in the future, following discussions among European leaders as Russia’s full-scale invasion entered its third year.

Military: Ukraine withdraws from Lastochkyne near Avdiivka. Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the village of Lastochkyne near the recently captured Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, Dmytro Lykhovii, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Tavria Group, said on national television on Feb. 26.

Military: Russia concentrates troops near Kupiansk, Ukraine builds ‘powerful fortifications.’ Russia continues concentrating its forces near Kharkiv Oblast’s Kupiansk, which remains the primary target for Russia in this area of Ukraine’s front line, Illia Yevlash, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Khortytsia Operational and Strategic Group, said on Feb. 26.

NYT: CIA network of bases in Ukraine at risk if US does not pass aid. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has supported a network of a dozen bases in Ukraine that are “increasingly at risk” if Republicans continue to block $61 billion in funding for Kyiv, the New York Times (NYT) reported on Feb. 25.

Zelensky signs bill on conditions for demobilization of conscripts. According to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s original proposal, conscripts whose term of service expired during martial law and whose military service was extended beyond the established period are released from service to the reserve “within the terms determined by the presidential decree.”

Zelensky unveils new ‘Made in Ukraine’ economic platform. “I am glad to announce today the launch of our new economic platform, and therefore a new economic policy - the Made in Ukraine policy,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a forum in Kyiv on Feb. 26.

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Zelensky meets with Bulgarian PM in Kyiv. It was Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov’s first visit to Ukraine since he became the head of Bulgaria’s government in June 2023.

Kuleba calls for Europe to suspend ammunition sales to third countries. Europe should suspend ammunition exports to third countries other than Ukraine in light of the shortages faced by the Ukrainian military, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) published on Feb. 26.

Military intelligence: Russia plans to produce 2.7 million shells this year. Russia plans to produce 2.7 million shells in 2024, an increase from around 2 million 122 and 152 mm shells manufactured by the country last year, Vadym Skibitskyi, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (HUR), told Interfax Ukraine.

Minister: Ukraine to catch up with Russia in production of Shahed-type drone in 2024. Ukraine’s capabilities to produce drones similar to the Iranian-designed Shahed “are no longer inferior to Russia’s,” Strategic Industries Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin said in an interview aired on Feb. 26.

Sweden’s defense minister meets Lviv mayor, visits military recruitment center. “We are grateful for this visit and the support that Sweden is providing at this difficult time. It is not only about military assistance but also about the exchange of important experience,” Lviv Mayor Andrii Sadovyi said on Telegram.

Kyiv asks Warsaw to act after 160 tons of Ukrainian grain destroyed in Poland. The crops, en route to the port of Gdansk and then to other countries, were dumped at a Polish railway station near Bydgoszcz, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Feb. 25.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine war latest: Ukraine withdraws from Lastochkyne, Syrskyi prepares two war plans contingent on US aid

Lastochkyne is a small village that lies around three kilometers west of the northwestern outskirts of Avdiivka. The decision was motivated by Ukraine’s need to set up defenses near the neighboring settlements of Orlivka, Tonenke, and Berdychi and prevent further Russian advance in the western direction.

Photo: Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Who is Viktor Pavlushchyk, newly-elected head of key Ukrainian anti-corruption agency?

Viktor Pavlushchyk was chosen on Feb. 25 as the head of the National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP) - one of Ukraine’s main corruption fighting bodies. Pavlushchyk, a detective at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, has been praised by anti-corruption activists and his former colleagues.

Photo: Screenshot / NACP

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Our readers’ questions about the war, answered. Vol. 5

We asked members of the Kyiv Independent community to share the questions they have about the war. Here’s what they asked, and how we answered. Join our community to ask a question in the next round.

Photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian attacks against Ukraine kill 5, injure 10. Russian attacks against Ukraine killed five people and injured 10 over  the course of Feb. 25, regional authorities reported early on Feb. 26.

Russian invasion damages 1 in 7 Ukrainian schools. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has damaged every seventh Ukrainian school and completely destroyed 400 educational institutions, Deputy Education Minister Yevhen Kudriavets said on Feb. 25.

General Staff: Russia has lost 410,700 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. This number includes 880 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

International response

Macron announces coalition to send Kyiv long-range missiles. France and other allies of Ukraine will “create a coalition for deep strikes and therefore medium- and long-range missiles and bombs,” French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Feb. 26.

Scholz again rules out Germany’s delivery of long-range Taurus missiles. Scholz is reportedly against sending Taurus missiles to Kyiv because he fears the move will draw Germany into the war. Ukraine has received other long-range missiles, such as the Storm Shadow from the U.K. and the French-made SCALP.

Germany sends shells, drones, other aid in latest aid package to Ukraine. Germany has handed over 14,000 155 mm shells, ten Vector reconnaissance drones with spare parts, and other aid in their latest delivery of military aid to Ukraine, the German government said on Feb. 26.

Der Spiegel: Germany conducting negotiations to procure ammunition from India. Germany is conducting “discreet negotiations” to procure artillery ammunition from India, which is estimated to have “several hundred thousand rounds” stored in stockpiles, Der Spiegel reported on Feb. 25.

South Korea to strengthen export controls on Russia, Belarus. South Korea plans to tighten export controls on Russia and Belarus for goods that could be used for military purposes, the South Korean Trade Ministry announced on Feb. 26.

Latvian agriculture minister calls on EU to ban Russian agricultural imports. Latvia’s Agriculture Minister Armands Krauze called on the European Union to add Russian foodstuffs to sanctions lists on Feb. 26, ahead of an EU Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels.

US Treasury says threat to sanction 3rd-country banks has impacted Russian funding flows. According to internal Treasury Department data, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters that the flow of Russian money to third-party countries long suspected of assisting Russia’s sanctions circumvention has decreased since the order was signed.

Bloomberg: At least $488 million in sanctioned goods entered Russia from EU in 2023. Despite extensive Western sanctions aimed at cutting off supply lines, Russia continues to obtain sanctioned goods, such as microchips, via third-party countries.

US State Department condemns ‘sham parliamentary elections’ in Belarus. Belarus opened polling stations for both the parliamentary and local elections on Feb. 25 amid condemnations from the Belarusian democratic opposition. The country is ruled by dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who uses rigged elections to solidify his regime rather than to provide a chance for actual democratic competition.

Opinions and insights

The Counteroffensive: The battle that saved Kyiv from Russian occupation

“Ukrainian resistance – and luck – turned the entire tide of the war. This epic, 36-hour battle pierced the idea of Russian military superiority and a quick military victory and prevented Kyiv from falling into Russian hands,” writes Tim Mak, American journalist and founder of Kyiv-based publication The Counteroffensive.

Photo: Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

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In other news

Hungary approves Sweden’s NATO accession. Hungary’s parliament voted to ratify Sweden’s application to join NATO on Feb. 26, finalizing the country’s membership after almost two years of delays.

Denmark drops investigation into Nord Stream explosions. “The investigation has led the authorities to conclude that the sabotage of the pipelines was intentional. However, the assessment is that there is no sufficient basis to pursue a criminal case in Denmark,” the Danish police said in a statement.

Russian prosecutors ask for 6-year prison term for activist’s social media comments. Yaroslav Shirshikov was arrested in April 2023 on charges of “justifying terrorism” after he called pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky a “scumbag” on Telegram and said that he did not feel “a tinge of sadness” over his death.

Navalny killed to prevent swap with convicted Russian hitman, opposition leader’s associate claims. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was killed in prison to prevent his exchange with Vadim Krasikov, a convicted Russian hitman sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany, Anti-Corruption Foundation chair Maria Pevchikh claimed on Feb. 26.

Politico: Western officials say no Navalny prisoner swap was offered to Russia. Negotiations were in progress for a prisoner exchange involving Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at the time of his death on Feb. 16, but no proposal had been presented to the Kremlin, two Western officials briefed on the discussions told Politico.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Martin Fornusek, Elsa Court, Dinara Khalilova, Francis Farrell, Nate Ostiller, Kateryna Denisova, Olena Goncharova, and Abbey Fenbert.

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