Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, February 25

Ukraine's security services allegedly behind attack on Russian steel plant -- Situation in Ukraine grave, but not hopeless; More Russian soldiers have likely died to seize Avdiivka than died in the entire Soviet-Afghan war -- It’s been 2 years and world’s on the brink. Time to wake up or fall -- US philanthropist pledges $300 million for Ukraine in 2024 -- and more

Sunday, February 25

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Demonstrators march in support of Ukraine to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, on Feb. 24, 2024 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Sercan Ozkurnazli/ dia images via Getty Images)

World leaders arrive in Kyiv to mark 2-year anniversary of Russian invasion. These include Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Zelensky: ‘We are 730 days closer to victory.’ “Any normal person wants the war to end. But none of us will allow our Ukraine to end,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video marking the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Von der Leyen: EU to open Defense Innovation office in Kyiv. The European Union will open an office for Defense Innovation in Kyiv, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced during a press conference in Kyiv on Feb. 24.

Commander-in-Chief thanks allies in speech marking 2-year anniversary of invasion. In his statement marking the two-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion, Syrskyi also thanked Ukrainian soldiers, emergency service workers, and volunteers for their commitment, adding that “today, more than ever, we need unity.”

Media: Ukraine’s security services allegedly behind attack on Russian steel plant. Located approximately 400 kilometers from the Russia-Ukraine border, the plant serves as NLMK’s primary production facility. It accounts for 80% of NLMK’s steel output and contributes 18% to the total Russian steel production.

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G7 vows to sustain aid to Ukraine, Zelensky says G7 knows what is needed. President Volodymyr Zelensky urged decisiveness and unity in a Feb. 24 video call with leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), saying they “know very well” what Ukraine needs. G7 partners promised to continue their support in a statement after the call.

Zelensky: Western long-range weapons won’t be used outside of Ukraine. Ukraine will use its own weapons on targets outside of Ukraine’s occupied territories, President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a press conference on Feb. 24.

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Kyiv. “With their indomitable courage I have no doubt that the Ukrainians will win and expel Putin’s forces – provided we give them the military, political and economic help that they need,” Johnson wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Zelensky discusses potential security guarantees, joint weapons production with Swedish Defense Minister. President Volodymyr Zelensky and Swedish Defense Minister Paul Johnson discussed the prospects of joint weapons production and future negotiations for signing a bilateral security guarantee agreement, according to a Feb. 24 statement by Zelensky’s office.

ISW: Situation in Ukraine grave, but not hopeless. “More Russian soldiers have likely died to seize Avdiivka than died in the entire Soviet-Afghan war,” ISW analysts said.

Read our exclusives

After 2 years of Russia’s full-scale war, Ukraine keeps fighting

Despite Russia’s reported plan to “seize Kyiv in three days,” Ukraine has defied the odds and kept fighting, managing to liberate swaths of territory that fell under Russian occupation. The fight has come at a significant cost.

Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

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How has Crimea changed after 10 years of Russian occupation?

When Ukrainians talk about Crimea, they often talk about memories. For many, this peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea was a place where they spent long summer days enjoying beautiful nature and rich cultural life.

Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

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Generation of Fire: Young Ukrainians forced to survive first, plan for future later

The full-scale invasion has forced Ukrainians between the ages of 18-25 to make difficult, sometimes life-altering choices at a time when they should be enjoying the start of adulthood.

Photo: Hannibal Hanschke / Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Journalists estimate 83,000 Russian soldiers killed since start of full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Two years of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine has resulted in the deaths of 83,000 Russian soldiers, according to a joint study by independent Russian media outlets Meduza and Mediazona, published on Feb. 24.

General Staff: Russia has lost 409,010 troops in Ukraine since Feb 24, 2022. Russia has lost 409,010 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on Feb. 24. This number includes 770 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

Opinions and Insights

Editorial: It’s been 2 years and world’s on the brink. Time to wake up or fall.

“The West needs to snap out of the myth of “Russia can’t be defeated,” and stop seeing Russia as a giant whose fall would be too dangerous for everyone. Russia has proven time and time again that it is already a danger to everyone,” writes the Kyiv Independent in an editorial on the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP via Getty Images

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International response

Western allies publicly reaffirm support for Ukraine on 2-year anniversary of invasion. “The future of Ukraine lies in the European Union,” read a joint statement released by European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

EU to send 4.5 billion euros to Ukraine in March in first payment under new aid program. The European Union’s new 50 billion euro ($54 billion) Ukraine Facility will make its first transfer of 4.5 billion euros ($4.9 billion) to Ukraine in March, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Feb. 24.

UK will boost humanitarian aid to Ukraine by over $10 million. “Ukrainians are bravely defending their land against Russia’s brutal invasion, but the past two years of war have had a tragic impact on millions of people across Ukraine. Families have been separated, towns and villages decimated, and vital civilian infrastructure destroyed,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron in a written statement.

Canada, Italy sign security agreements with Ukraine. Both Canada and Italy have signed agreements on security assistance with Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Feb. 24.

German Foreign Ministry adopts Ukrainian spelling of Kyiv. The German Foreign Ministry has officially adopted the Ukrainian transliteration of Kyiv, changing the spelling in the official country directory from the Russian transliteration of Kiew to Kyjiw from Feb. 24.

Dutch far-right leader Wilders against signing security agreement with Ukraine. Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders said on Feb. 24 that he is against the Netherlands signing a 10-year agreement on security cooperation with Ukraine, the day after Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said the Netherlands will sign the agreement.

Funding delays threaten USAID projects for Ukraine. Congressional inaction poses risks to USAID projects aimed at integrating Ukraine’s railways into the European rail network and protecting Ukrainian farmers, among other humanitarian programs.

US philanthropist pledges $300 million for Ukraine in 2024. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has already donated over $500 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. The combined funds exceed the humanitarian aid contributions of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Canada.

Russia’s war against Ukraine, in 5 minutes

Russia’s war against Ukraine, in 5 minutes

In other news

Russian prison authorities release Navalny’s body. The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released to his mother, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh announced on social media Feb. 24.

Russia’s Supreme Court head dies in Moscow. Vyacheslav Lebedev, who was chairman of Russia’s Supreme Court since December 1991, died in Moscow on Feb. 23. Russia’s judiciary has long been controlled by the Kremlin, with the country’s parliament rubber stamping a heap of oppressive legislation, while courts handing out politically motivated sentences.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Kate Tsurkan, Oleg Sukhov, Lili Bivings, Oleksiy Sorokin, Alexander Khrebet, Andrea Januta, Toma Istomina, Elsa Court, and Abbey Fenbert.

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