Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, February 20

Russian troops killed wounded Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka after promising to evacuate them -- Russia 'taking advantage' of delays in aid to Ukraine -- Biden administration considering supplying Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles -- China offers backing to Hungary in security matters, law enforcement -- and more

Tuesday, February 20

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ukrainian soldier of the ‘Tsunami’ regiment carries an artillery shell while walking in trenches in the direction of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast on Feb.19, 2024. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Military: Russian troops killed wounded Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka after promising to evacuate them. The confirmation came after media reports that relatives identified the dead bodies of three soldiers of the brigade. They were left behind heavily wounded, while the rest of the forces retreated from the strongpoint, according to the reports.

Media: Ukraine may receive first F-16 jets in June. Ukraine may receive its first F-16 fighter jets this June, the Foreign Policy magazine reported on Feb. 18, citing Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas and an unnamed European official.

Zelensky visits front-line troops in Kupiansk sector. “I am glad to be here today to see you, to congratulate you, to express gratitude on behalf of all Ukrainians, all of Ukraine, for doing such a great job every day, for defending the state, our families, independence, and our sovereignty,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Suspilne: Ukraine ‘working with SpaceX’ to disable Russia’s use of Starlink on front lines, Minister says. During an interview with Suspilne on Feb. 19, Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov revealed that Ukraine is “working with SpaceX” to find a solution to disable Russia’s use of Starlink satellite terminals in temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

Commander: Some units of 3rd Assault Brigade were ‘completely surrounded’ in Avdiivka but managed to escape. Despite reports from Russian Telegram channels, none of the fighters from the Third Assault Brigade were left in Avdiivka, said the unit’s deputy commander, Maksym Zhorin.

Zelensky: Russia ‘taking advantage’ of delays in aid to Ukraine. Russia forces are “taking advantage” of Western allies’ delays in providing Ukraine with additional military aid, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on Feb. 19.

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Ukraine’s infrastructure minister holds talks with Polish official after buses blocked at border. Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov held an urgent meeting with Polish National Security Bureau head Jacek Severa on the ongoing blockade on the mutual border, namely regarding passenger transport, the Infrastructure Ministry said on Feb. 19.

Former Kherson abbot of Moscow-linked church charged with treason, aiding Russia. A former abbot of the Dormition Cathedral in Kherson was charged with treason for supporting Russian occupation and cooperating with occupation authorities, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said on Feb. 19.

Air Force: Ukraine shoots down 2 Russian fighter jets. According to the Air Force, the two planes were a Su-34 and a Su-35S.

Navalny’s widow vows to continue his work, blames Putin for his death. “We know why exactly Putin killed Alexei (Navalny) three days ago. We’ll tell you about it soon,” said his widow, Yulia Navalnaya.

Biden says he is ready to meet House speaker to discuss Ukraine aid. “I’d be happy to meet with him (Johnson) if he has anything to say,“ Biden told reporters at the White House.

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Ukraine war latest: Russian troops killed wounded Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka after promising to evacuate them, military says.

The Russian military pledged to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the Zenit strongpoint in the town of Avdiivka and provide them with assistance but instead shot dead five of the soldiers, Ukraine’s 110th Brigade said on Feb. 19.

Photo: STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

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‘I still imagine being there:’ A trip through memories of Ukrainian cities in tatters from Russia’s war.

Russia’s now-10-year war against Ukraine has affected every inch of the country, but no other region has taken the brunt of Russian aggression like Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, comprised of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Photo: Alex Chan Tsz Yuk/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Ukrainian intelligence: Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead in Spain. Citing sources from Ukraine’s military intelligence, Ukrainska Pravda said that Maksim Kuzminov had decided to move to Spain, and was found shot dead in his apartment on Feb. 19.

Russia shells 9 communities in Sumy Oblast, injuring 4. Russian forces shelled Sumy Oblast 252 times in 54 separate attacks throughout the day, injuring 4 people, the Sumy Oblast Military Administration reported on Feb. 19.

Opinions and Insights

Munich diaries: Fear and uncertainty at the ‘Lose-Lose’ conference.

For three days every year, the space in front of the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in central Munich turns into one of the most locked-down security zones in the world.

Photo: Tobias Schwarz /Pool/AFP via Getty Images

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International response

Washington Post: European officials privately discussing ‘continentwide complement’ to NATO. The Washington Post spoke to a number of European officials who said that they were both plotting ways to more effectively communicate with the MAGA wing of the Republican party and making preparations in case former U.S. President Donald Trump is reelected and delivers on his proposed retreat from NATO.

Biden says US considering new sanctions on Russia over Navalny’s death. Biden, who had previously stated Putin was responsible for Navalny’s death, said that “we already have sanctions” but confirmed he is weighing new ones.

NBC: Biden administration considering supplying Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles. U.S. officials told NBC that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is prepared to send Ukraine the longer-range ATACMS variation in one of its first aid packages if Congress approves the funding.

Shmyhal: Japan to allocate $1.3 billion to support Japanese investors in Ukraine. The Japanese Foreign Ministry also announced 15.8 billion yen ($105 million) in aid to Ukraine in the form of grants.

Canada to donate over 800 drones to Ukraine. The SkyRangers come equipped with autonomous navigation systems and can carry payloads, including munitions, of up to 3.5 kilograms. They are designed for surveillance and reconaissance missions.

Estonian PM: EU should issue joint bonds to boost European defense. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also said that European countries should do more to support Ukraine against Russian aggression.

China offers backing to Hungary in security matters, law enforcement. China has offered long-term support to Budapest on security measures, expanding mutual ties beyond economic cooperation, Reuters reported on Feb. 19 after Chinese Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong’s visit to Hungary.

Foreign minister: Hungary won’t block new EU sanctions package against Russia. According to Szijjarto, Budapest will not obstruct the approval, as all elements of the sanctions package that “harmed Hungarian interests have been removed” and the updated package does not “affect the basic economic interests” of his country.

Dutch far-right leader Wilders criticizes Ukrainian refugees. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Geert Wilders said that Ukrainians are coming to the Netherlands not to flee from the full-scale war but instead to receive benefits from the Dutch government.

In other news

Prosecutors: EuroMaidan violence perpetrated by Ukrainian officers under Russia’s guidance. Murders and violence against the EuroMaidan Revolution’s participants were carried out by Ukrainian law enforcement officers under the orders of Ukrainian authorities and Russia’s guidance, according to a conclusion by the Prosecutor General’s Office, Interfax-Ukraine reported on Feb. 19.

Russia claims it foiled assassination attempt in occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claims it had prevented an assassination attempt of a “political figure” in Russian-occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti said on Feb. 19.

Russian court orders nationalization of Poroshenko’s factory in Lipetsk. The court ordered the remaining shares of the factory to be nationalized, and also banned Petro Poroshenko, his son Oleksii Poroshenko, and the former owner of the factory, Oleh Kazakov, from operating in Russia.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Kateryna Denisova, Nate Ostiller, Martin Fornusek, Oleh Sukhov, Francis Farrell, Dmytro Basmat, and Abbey Fenbert.

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