Ukraine Daily Summary - Wednesday, January 17

F-16s for Ukraine: When will they arrive and what can they do? -- EU chief says aid package for Ukraine will be approved 'with or without' Hungary's approval -- Belarus prepares new military doctrine allowing use of nuclear weapons -- Downed A-50 spy plane 'serious blow' to Russia's aviation -- and more

Wednesday, January 17

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A Ukrainian woman carries her baby out of an apartment building after a Russian missile hit the city center of Kharkiv, injuring 17 people, on Jan. 16, 2024. (Yevhen Titov/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Russian missile attack on downtown Kharkiv injures 17. Russian troops launched two strikes against Kharkiv, most likely using S-300 missiles, late on Jan. 16, injuring at least 17 people, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

EU chief says aid package for Ukraine will be approved ‘with or without’ Hungary’s approval. The EU will approve a 50 billion euro aid package for Ukraine ‘with or without’ Hungary’s approval, EU President Ursula von der Leyen said in Davos on Jan. 16. “My personal priority is to have an agreement by 27. And if this is not possible, we are prepared for an agreement by 26.”

Zelensky asks Davos forum to invest in Ukraine’s peace. “I appreciate your willingness to hear answers to really important questions. When will the war end? Is the third world war possible? Is it time to negotiate with Putin?” Zelensky said in his opening words.

Air Force: Downed A-50 spy plane ‘serious blow’ to Russia’s aviation. Russia’s loss of a Beriev A-50 spy aircraft recently downed by Ukraine won’t dramatically affect the distribution of forces in the Ukrainian sky but will likely force Russia’s aviation “to behave more cautiously,” Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat told Ukrainska Pravda on Jan. 16.

European Parliament to vote on resolution on stripping Hungary of EU voting rights on Jan. 18. “Delivering on our promises: the final letter has now been sent to the President of the Parliament,” Petri Sarvamaa, a senior member of the parliament who sits on several committees, said on the social media platform X.

Media: Belarus prepares new military doctrine allowing use of nuclear weapons. According to the AP, Belarusian Security Council Secretary Alexander Volfovich said that the change in doctrine was a reaction to perceived aggression from Poland.

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PM Shmyhal: Government allocates almost $21 million in reserve funds for ‘urgent’ military needs. The funds will go towards purchasing items such as ammunition, thermal imagery devices, and drones.

Ukraine’s parliament votes for law to create electronic conscription registry. The bill passed on Jan. 16 does not address the larger issue of mobilization, but aims to improve the digitalization of Ukraine’s army.

Ukraine amends conscription rules for military industry workers. The changes in the conscription rules for military industry workers are “aimed at strengthening the potential of the defense industry and enabling defense companies to operate steadily and increase production,” said Deputy Economy Minister Ihor Fomenko.

Border Guard: Polish truckers unblock last crossing at Ukraine border. Earlier the same day, Polish truckers ended their blockade of two other checkpoints — Korczowa-Krakovets and Hrebenne-Rava Ruska, meaning the border is now fully unblocked. This followed an agreement between Warsaw and the Polish truckers, who said they would end their border blockade until March 1.

Minister: Bucharest meets some of protesting farmers’ demands. The Romanian Agriculture Ministry agreed to meet several of the demands of the Romanian farmers who have been blocking the country’s major roads and two crossings on the border with Ukraine, Euractiv reported on Jan. 16.

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F-16s for Ukraine: When will they arrive and what can they do?

Experts said F-16s will not win the war by themselves, but they will give Ukraine important capabilities it doesn’t currently have. Russian planes mostly engage ground targets, including civilian targets in cities. F-16s could defend Ukraine’s airspace, reducing the pressure on ground-based air defenses

Photo: Jan Langhaug / NTB / AFP via Getty Images

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Ukraine war latest: Zelensky attends Davos forum, meets NATO, EU chiefs

President Volodymyr Zelensky asked leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan. 16 for resolve in supporting Ukraine, stressing that this is the only quick way toward just and stable peace. As international support for Kyiv softens, Zelensky arrived in Switzerland to reinvigorate confidence among allies.

Photo: President’s Office

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Second phase of Ukraine’s land reform underway, critics say law will hurt small farmers

Despite agricultural land being the backbone of Ukraine’s economy accounting for 20% of its workforce, opening up the country — 71% of which is agricultural land according to the World Bank — to land sales remains a highly contentious issue.

Photo: Yurii Stefanyak/Global Images Ukraine

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Investigative Stories From Ukraine: How men fake divorces, custody lawsuits to avoid draft

Ukrainian men found a loophole to avoid mobilization by becoming the only legal guardian of their children through court, according to an investigation by the Lviv-based media outlet NGL Media. A man who is the only legal guardian of a child is exempt from mobilization.

Photo: Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian drone attack on Odesa injures 3. A 62-year-old man sustained a shrapnel wound. Two women, aged 69 and 29, were also injured in the overnight attack.

Authorities: Russian strike on Kherson Oblast village injures 1. Russian forces struck the village of Bilozerka in Kherson Oblast on the morning of Jan. 16, injuring a 44-year-old man, the regional administration reported.

Russian attack on Kherson Oblast village injures 2, another strike targets rescuers. Russian forces struck the village of Tiahynka in Kherson Oblast on Jan. 16, injuring two people, as reported by Oleksandr Prokudin, the regional governor. Later the same day, a Russian attack hit a house in the village of Dniprovske near Kherson, the Interior Ministry wrote. When first responders arrived at the scene to put out the fire, Russia struck the area again.

General Staff: Russia has lost 372,090 troops in Ukraine. This number includes 1100 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

International response

Macron: France to deliver 40 SCALP missiles, ‘hundreds of bombs’ to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron promised to deliver the weapons and also to personally visit Kyiv in February.

German opposition to bring Taurus missiles to Ukraine up for vote in Bundestag. The CDU/CSU coalition will introduce a motion on Jan. 17 for a resolution in the Bundestag putting the matter of Taurus deliveries to a vote.

Financial Times: EU states face Brussels’ audit of their arms supplies to Ukraine. Brussels is conducting an audit of how much weaponry European Union members have supplied to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in response to claims that some countries have failed to provide as much as they could, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Jan. 16, citing undisclosed diplomatic sources.

Latvian-led coalition to arm Ukraine with ‘thousands’ of drones. “The main goal is to do everything possible to ensure that as many of these drones as possible are also delivered to Ukraine,” Latvian Defense Minister Andris Spruds said.

Estonia to stop funding Russian-language education. The Estonian government intends to switch to a “unified Estonian-language education” system, meaning it will no longer dedicate funds toward supporting Russian-language schools.

Israel participates in Ukraine’s peace formula discussions for first time. The deputy head of Israel’s National Security Council participated in the talks, said Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Michael Brodsky, which occurred ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Biden invites congressional leaders to White House to discuss Ukraine aid, spending priorities. Top congressional leaders are expected to attend the Jan. 17 meeting, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

Pentagon: Next Ramstein-format summit to be held on Jan. 23. The announcement came after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his counterpart Rustem Umerov talked on the phone on Jan. 16 about the upcoming summit and other battlefield updates.

In other news

Iran launches missiles at Syria, northern Iraq. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched ballistic missiles at what it claimed was an Israeli spy base in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, and at “anti-Iran terror groups” in Syria on Jan. 16.

Ukrainian investigative outlet says it was surveilled for months after personal calls, video appear online. “We see and understand that the wiretapping and monitoring took very long – at least several months,” Maksym Opanasenko, an editor of the investigative outlet, said in a comment for Hromadske.

Police raid homes of independent journalists in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz authorities ordered the detention of 11 independent journalists and conducted searches of their homes on Tuesday. According to attorney Zamir Zhooshev, the journalists are now held in custody for 48 hours, before the court decides to release them or to extend the detention.

Media: Money transfers from Russia to Turkey come to standstill. Turkish exporters have faced an almost complete halt of money transfers from their Russian clients since Jan. 1 as they were either returned or rejected by banks, which has led to serious disruptions in trade between the two countries, Turkish media outlet Ekonomim reported on Jan. 16, citing anonymous sources.

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