Ukraine Daily Summary - Thursday, February 15

Navy says only 5 Ropucha-class ships left in Russia's Black Sea Fleet after sinking of Caesar Kunikov -- Serious threat to US national security relates to Russia's plans to put nuclear weapons in space -- Ukraine could receive $4 billion from frozen Russian assets in 2024 -- Germany aims to deliver 4 times as many shells to Ukraine in 2024 -- and more

Thursday, February 15

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Servicemen carrying the coffin of combat medic Diana Wagner from the 49th Carpathian Infantry Battalion during the memorial service at St. Michael’s Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 14, 2024. (Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Navy says only 5 Ropucha-class ships left in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet after sinking of Caesar Kunikov. Ukrainian Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said that only five of the 13 “775” ships (code-word for the Ropucha-class landing ships) remained in service in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Stoltenberg says 18 of 31 NATO members expected to meet 2% defense spending goal. In a first since the end of the Cold War, Germany is expected to reach the 2% defense spending goal, a spokesperson for Germany’s Defense Ministry said on Feb. 14.

ABC News: Alleged ‘serious threat’ to US national security relates to Russia’s plans to put nuclear weapons in space. According to ABC News, Russia may want to use a nuclear weapon against satellites rather than drop it on the Earth. One of the media’s sources called such reports “a big deal,” which is “very concerning and very sensitive.”

Media: Speaker Johnson wants private meeting with Biden before moving forward on Ukraine aid. Democratic sources told NBC that U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson has backed himself into a corner after a series of inconsistent positions on aid for Ukraine and legislative changes to domestic border issues.

Canada allocates $44 million to support Ukraine’s future F-16 fleet. Canada has allocated $44 million to support Ukraine set up its fleet of F-16 fighter jets, Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair said on Feb. 14.

Umerov after Ramstein: 15 countries join air defense coalition in support of Ukraine. The initiative is led by Germany, France, and the U.S., and 15 countries total have already joined, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said noted.

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Syrskyi, Umerov visit command posts near Avdiivka, Kupiansk. Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov visited command posts at the front near Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast and Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast, Syrskyi reported on Telegram on Feb. 14.

Reports estimate Russia lost over 8,000 tanks, other armored fighting vehicles since February 2022. Separate reports published by Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence Service and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on Feb. 13 suggest Russia has lost over 8,000 armored fighting vehicles, such as tanks and armored personnel carriers, in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian carriers to hold protests at Poland border. Ukrainian carriers plan to launch protests on Feb. 15 at the Dorohusk-Yahodyn border crossing with Poland in response to ongoing blockade by Polish farmers, Suspilne reported on Feb. 14.

Zelensky orders to set up new system linking military and industry. The goal is to make manufacturers more aware of the needs on the front line, while Ukraine’s Armed Forces will be better informed about production capabilities in all regions.

Deputy minister: Ukraine could receive $4 billion from frozen Russian assets in 2024. Already this year, Ukraine could receive $4 billion from Russian assets frozen by the EU and the Group of Seven (G7) countries, Deputy Justice Minister Iryna Mudra told Forbes Ukraine in an interview published on Feb. 14.

Pistorius: Germany aims to deliver 4 times as many shells to Ukraine in 2024. Germany plans to “deliver around three to four times as much artillery ammunition” to Ukraine in 2024 as it did in 2023, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said upon arrival to the meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) in Brussels on Feb. 14.

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Ukraine war latest: Ukrainian forces sink another Russian warship off Crimean coast

The Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov was sunk in the Black Sea in the morning of Feb. 14, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces confirmed.

Photo: NurPhoto/Corbis via Getty Images

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He is in Russian captivity. She has late-stage cancer. Will they see each other again?

For Olha Kurtmallaieva, Jan. 31 was a day of dashed hopes. On that day, Ukraine and Russia carried out their 50th prisoner exchange since 2022, with Ukraine bringing home over 200 POWs – nearly half of them were soldiers who had for three months bravely defended the southern coastal city of Mariupol.

Photo: Liza Pyrozhkova / The Kyiv Independent

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Human cost of war

Russian attacks in Selydove, Donetsk Oblast, kill 3, injure 12. Among the injured were four children.

1 injured in Zaporizhzhia amid Russia’s mass missile attack. One civilian was injured in Zaporizhzia in the early hours of Feb. 15, regional Governor Ivan Fedorov said via his official Telegram page. An infrastructure facility was also hit in the attack, according to Fedorov.

Death toll from Feb. 7 attack on Kyiv rises to 5. The death toll from Russia’s attack against Kyiv on Feb. 7 rose to five after a woman died of her injuries, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported on Telegram on Feb. 14.

Russian attack on Donetsk Oblast town kills 2, injures 1. Russia launched an attack against Mykolaivka in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 14, killing two women aged 62 and 74 and injuring one person, said Governor Vadym Filashkin.

1 killed, 4 injured in Russian attack on Kherson. A 19-year-old man injured in a Russian attack against Kherson earlier on Feb. 14 died in the hospital due to his injuries, said Roman Mrochko, the head of the city military administration.

2 killed, 5 injured in Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast village. Three men and two women were reportedly injured. Four people were rescued from the debris, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

Russian missile strike on Chuhuiv in Kharkiv Oblast kills 1. At least one person has died as a result of a Russian missile strike on the city of Chuhuiv in Kharkiv Oblast, Chuhuiv Mayor Halyna Minayeva told Suspilne on Feb. 15.

International response

Stoltenberg: Concerns valid over level of NATO ally defense spending. NATO’s European allies and Canada have stepped up their defense spending to record levels, but criticism about the Alliance’s members not spending enough is valid, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Feb. 14.

Blinken says he spoke with Paul Whelan, US citizen held in Russia. Speaking at a forum about hostage diplomacy, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoke with Paul Whelan on Feb. 12 but provided no further details.

Austin: Ramstein summit to focus on artillery, air defenses for Ukraine. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Feb. 14 opened the 19th Ramstein-format meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), which is being held in a hybrid format in-person in Brussels and online.

Serbian appellate court overturns ex-SBU official’s prison sentence. The former head of the SBU’s internal security department was detained in Serbia in 2022 after fleeing Ukraine. The High Court of Nis convicted Naumov of money laundering, sentencing him to one year in prison in September 2023.

Netherlands to join Latvia-led drone coalition for Ukraine. The Netherlands will join a Latvia-led coalition to supply Ukraine with advanced military drone technology, Dutch Defense Ministry Kasja Ollongren told Reuters on Feb. 14.

Kremlin denies Reuters report that Putin proposed ceasefire to US. “No. It is not true,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said of the report, which claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had proposed a ceasefire in Ukraine to the U.S.

European coalition agrees to aid Ukraine’s IT, cybersecurity defense capabilities. The IT Coalition for Ukraine, comprising 10 European nations, has signed a cooperation agreement to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities in information technology, communications, and cybersecurity, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry announced on Feb. 14.

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Alone: Photo project shows wives of fallen soldiers coping with loss, shattered dreams.

Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by Russia’s war since 2022, leaving behind partners with shattered dreams of a shared future.

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In other news

UNESCO: Ukraine needs $9 billion to revive tourism, cultural sectors. According to UNESCO, the besieged country has lost over $19 billion in tourism revenue as a result of Russia’s full-scale war.

Military intelligence publishes list of Syrians recruited by Russia to fight in Ukraine. Ukraine’s military intelligence agency published a list on Feb. 14 of over 100 Syrian nationals who have been recruited by Russia to fight against Ukraine.

Poroshenko says he is not allowed to attend Munich Conference over alleged threat to life. The leader of the European Solidarity opposition party said he planned to meet Western leaders during the security-focused conference that will take place in Germany later this week.

Parliament says ‘no documents’ for Poroshenko’s Munich Conference trip, his party denies. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, said on Feb.14 that former President Petro Poroshenko had not submitted “any relevant documents” that would confirm his reported meetings with Western leaders at the Munich Security Conference, where he was allegedly not allowed to attend.

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