Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, January 30

How many tanks does Russia have left? -- Russian soldier who abducted, killed civilians in Chernihiv Oblast sentenced to life imprisonment -- NATO Alliance must be prepared for potential 'Russian missile strikes in Europe' -- NATO chief: Support for Ukraine 'not charity.' -- and more

Tuesday, January 30

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, during a press conference in Kyiv on Dec. 26, 2023. Conflicting reports emerged on Jan. 29, 2024 that President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed Zaluzhnyi from his post by presidential decree. (Kaniuka Ruslan / Ukrinform / Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Contradicting reports point at dismissal of Zaluzhnyi as top commander; Zelensky’s office denies it. Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi may have been dismissed on Jan. 29, according to sources of the Kyiv Independent and several other Ukrainian media. No official decree has been published on President Volodymyr Zelensky’s website yet.

Yermak: Kyiv, Budapest take ‘powerful step’ toward meeting between Zelensky, Orban. Negotiations with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto proved the mutual desire of Kyiv and Budapest to hold a bilateral meeting of the two countries’ leaders, Ukraine’s Presidential Office head Andriy Yermak said on Jan. 29, as cited by European Pravda.

Kuleba: Ukraine, Hungary to set up special commission to resolve national minorities issue. Ukraine and Hungary agreed to establish a special commission to deal with the unresolved issues of national minorities and to present a “concrete understanding” of this topic within 10 days, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Jan. 29.

FT: EU agrees to set aside billions in profits from frozen Russian assets. The European Union has agreed to set aside billions of euros of profits from frozen Russian Central Bank assets, paving the way to allow the profits to be transferred to Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Jan. 29, citing a draft text.

Zelensky: Europe cannot support Ukraine alone without US. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s fears have been echoed by other Ukrainian leaders, such as Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who said earlier in January that there is no “plan B” if U.S. aid ends.

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Zelensky: Surpassing Russia in drone operations ’one of the main tasks’ in 2024. President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Jan. 29 that one of the main tasks in the ongoing year is to keep ahead of Russia in the quality of drone operations, the production of which Ukraine aims to increase significantly.

Ukraine refutes Russia captured Tabaivka village near Kupiansk. A Ukrainian military spokesperson denied on Jan. 29 Russia’s claims about the capture of Tabaivka, a Kharkiv Oblast village not far from Kupiansk.

Defense Ministry inspects enlistment offices, food warehouses, uncovers many violations. According to Rustem Umerov, the Defense Ministry aims to fix all the drawbacks systematically and cooperates with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the State Bureau of Investigation, and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Media: Putin plans to visit Turkey in February to discuss Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s international visits have been curtailed since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant in March 2023 for his role in the deportations of Ukrainian children. Turkey is not party to the ICC’s Rome Statute, meaning it is under no obligation to detain Putin.

Russian soldier who abducted, killed civilians in Chernihiv Oblast sentenced to life imprisonment. A Russian soldier who illegally detained three civilians and killed two of them in Chernihiv Oblast in 2022 was sentenced to life imprisonment, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Jan. 29.

Ukrainian journalists meet G7 ambassadors amid concerns about press freedom. Ambassadors of the Group of Seven (G7) countries met with prominent Ukrainian journalists amid concerns about decreasing press freedom in Ukraine, the G7 Ambassadors’ Support Group in Ukraine reported on Jan. 29.

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Ukraine war latest: Kyiv denies Russia captured village in Kharkiv Oblast

“The enemy claims that they have already captured Tabaivka. This is not true. Battles are taking place not far from this settlement,” Volodymyr Fito, the spokesperson of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, said on television. Fito’s announcement comes as Kyiv has been warning that Russia is intensifying attacks around Kupiansk, aiming to encircle and capture this key logistics hub, over the past weeks.

Photo: Ignacio Marin/Anadolu via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Official: Russian attack in Sumy Oblast kills 3, injures 1. Russian troops struck the Znob-Novhorodske community in Sumy Oblast on Jan. 29, killing three people and injuring one more, the community’s head Petro Honcharov told Suspilne news outlet.

General Staff: Russia has lost 383,180 troops in Ukraine. This number includes 1,070 casualties Russian forces suffered over the past day.

International response

NATO general: Alliance must be prepared for potential ‘Russian missile strikes in Europe’. Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank and other NATO generals cautioned that a direct military confrontation with Russia could occur as soon as within the next three years.

NATO chief: Support for Ukraine ‘not charity.’ Stoltenberg is visiting Washington, D.C. to persuade U.S. legislators to approve a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine that has been stalled by congressional Republicans since October 2023.

Top UN court to rule on Russia’s objections to Ukraine genocide case. Russia submitted objections to Ukraine’s suit during hearings in September, arguing that the Hague-based court does not have the jurisdicion to hear the case. The ICJ will rule on those objections on Feb. 2.

EU extends economic sanctions against Russia for additional 6 months. The EU Council announced on Jan. 29 the prolongation of economic sanctions against Russia, imposed due to its aggression against Ukraine, until July 31.

US inspectors arrive in Kyiv to help oversee aid. “Their meetings with implementers, partners, and the Ukrainian government support oversight and accountability for U.S. assistance to Ukraine,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink wrote on the social media platform X.

Netherlands allocates $132 million in new military aid funding package for Ukraine. The Netherlands has allocated €122 million ($132 million) to support Ukraine’s ammunition supply, equipment, and cybersecurity, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced on Jan. 29.

Borrell says Central Asia must strengthen cooperation on Russian sanctions circumvention. “In order for these sanctions to be effective, we need full cooperation from our partners,” said the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell.

Romanian far-right leader lays claim on Ukrainian regions, Moldova. Claudiu Tarziu, one of the leaders of Romania’s far-right Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) party, said his country should “reunite” with Moldova and the Ukrainian border regions of Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and Zakarpattia, the G4Media online outlet reported on Jan. 27.

Opinions and insights

Kharuk: How many tanks does Russia have left?

“This question has come up quite frequently in discussions, and it’s simply impossible to find a precise answer – Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov probably don’t even know. But this doesn’t deter us from trying to count Russia’s tanks anyway,” military historian Andrii Kharuk writes.

Photo: Maximilian Clarke/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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In other news

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva banned for 4 years over doping. Switzerland’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on Jan. 29 to ban Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva from competition for four years, declaring her guilty of an anti-doping violation.

Ex-commanders of Berkut riot police charged with destroying weapons used to shoot EuroMaidan protesters. Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation said on Jan. 29 it charged two ex-commanders of Berkut riot police with destroying weapons used to shoot protesters during the EuroMaidan Revolution in 2014.

Media: Ruling Georgian Dream party chair Kobakhidze to take over as Georgian PM. The news, which is expected to be formally announced later this week, came a month after Georgian Dream party founder and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said he was returning to politics as the party’s “honorary chair.”

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