Ukraine Daily Summary - Wednesday, February 21

Kyiv asks UN, Red Cross to investigate execution of Ukrainian POWs in Avdiivka -- 11 more Ukrainian children illegally held by Russia return home -- Ukrainian soldiers recall retreat from Avdiivka, on foot, leaving their wounded behind -- Germany plans to send long-range missile systems, Taurus missiles not mentioned -- and more

Wednesday, February 21

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A dog is rescued from a building as Russian missile attack hits an industrial zone of a utilities factory in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast. Four employees of a utility company aged 43, 48, 56 and 58 were wounded in the attack on Feb. 20, 2024. (Jose Colon/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Kyiv says it will ‘firmly respond’ if Moscow attempts to involve Transnistria in the war. Kyiv will “firmly respond” to any attempts to involve the Russian-controlled Moldovan region of Transnistria in Russia’s war against Ukraine and destabilize the situation in Moldova, the Foreign Ministry said amid increased Russian pressure on the Eastern European country.

Spanish media confirms identity of murdered Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine. Maksim Kuzminov’s death in Spain was first reported on Feb. 19 by Ukrainska Pravda and other Ukrainian media outlets, citing the press service of Ukraine’s military intelligence.

Zelensky, first lady pay tribute to activists killed during EuroMaidan Revolution.

Commemorating the 10th anniversary, President Volodymyr Zelensky and First Lady Olena Zelenska on Feb. 20 in Kyiv paid tribute to the “Heavenly Hundred,” the activists killed during the EuroMaidan Revolution in 2014.

Ukraine denies Russia’s claim that it captured village in Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command denied Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s claim that the village of Krynky in Kherson Oblast had been captured by Russia on Feb. 20.

Prosecutor’s Office investigates shooting of Ukrainian POWs in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Law enforcement are investigating the alleged shooting of three Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian troops on Feb. 18 near Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Prosecutor General’s Office said on Feb. 20.

Ombudsman: 11 more Ukrainian children illegally held by Russia return home. Ukraine managed to return 11 more children deported or illegally held by Russia, including in the occupied territories, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets announced on Feb. 20.

US Ambassador: ‘There’s no time to lose.’ The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink told reporters on Feb. 20 that the U.S. does not “have a plan B” when it comes to the supplemental aid package currently being debated in Congress “because we’re focused 100% on plan A.”

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Poll: Majority of Ukrainians want Zelensky to remain president for duration of martial law. When asked if President Volodymyr Zelensky should run for another term (if elections are held), 53% of respondents said yes, a six percent decrease since December 2023.

Media: OSCE will hold a special meeting on anniversary of full-scale invasion. The Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will hold a special meeting on Feb. 23 to highlight the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine the following day, Ukrinform reported on Feb. 20.

Infrastructure Ministry: Grain dumped by Polish farmers was transiting to Germany. According to the Infrastructure Ministry, the protesters spilled about four metric tons of grain from two grain freight cars waiting to be reloaded onto the narrow gauge. These agricultural products were in transit to Germany.

Reuters: Ukrainian businesses fear new mobilization law could paralyze economy. Ukrainian business associations are calling for reforms of the country’s new mobilization law, fearing that its draft policies could cripple an already-struggling domestic economy, Reuters reported on Feb. 19.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine war latest: Kyiv asks UN, Red Cross to investigate execution of Ukrainian POWs in Avdiivka

Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on Feb. 20 that he appealed to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to investigate the killings of Ukrainian prisoners of war at the Zenit strongpoint in Avdiivka.

Photo: Pierre Crom/Getty Images

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Ukrainian soldiers recall retreat from Avdiivka – on foot, leaving their wounded behind

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: Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian drone attack on Kharkiv kills 2, injures 1. Russian drones struck a civilian vehicle in the Kupiansk district of Kharkiv Oblast, instantly killing two of the passengers and injuring the third, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Feb. 20.

Death toll of Russian attack on Sumy Oblast rises to 5. “As a result of the attack, a family has died: a mother and her two sons, as well as two of their distant relatives – a grandmother and a woman who came from another city,” regional authorities said.

Governor: Russian attack on Kramatorsk injures 3 people. A Russian missile attack on Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast injured at least three people on Feb. 20, Governor Vadym Filashkin reported.

Governor: 3 injured in Russian strikes on Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Russian forces struck the Nikopol district in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on Feb. 20, wounding three residents, Serhii Lysak, the regional governor, reported.

Opinions and Insights

As an American in Avdiivka, what is Congress doing?

“We have already delivered many miracles in this war, and I am sure we will continue to do so, but hoping for miracles is not a reliable way to win a war,” writes John Roberts, an American military veteran, and a volunteer assault instructor and soldier in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Photo: Vlada Liberova/Libkos/Getty Images

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International response

Biden administration to impose ‘major sanctions’ in response to Alexei Navalny’s murder. The White House says it is preparing “major sanctions” against Russia in response to opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s murder in an Arctic penal colony late last week, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Feb. 20.

UN: Continued US aid required to support Ukrainian refugees. The High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released a report on Feb. 20 detailing the situation regarding Ukrainian refugees and appealed for $993 million to fund its support for those displaced by the full-scale war.

EU allocates almost $90 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Moldova. Counting today’s donation, the EU’s executive arm has devoted 923 million euros ($999 million) to humanitarian aid to civilians affected by Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine since February 2022.

German media: Germany plans to send long-range missile systems, Taurus missiles not mentioned. Germany’s coalition parties are preparing a resolution on arming Ukraine that does not explicitly mention Taurus cruise missiles, German media reported on Feb. 20.

Media: Bulgaria delays supply of pledged armored vehicles to Ukraine. Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry in 2023 concluded an agreement with the Ukrainian Defense Ministry to provide 100 older vehicles from its stocks. The Bulgarian parliament gave its final approval to the deal last December.

Polish farmers threaten to extend border blockade until April, block buses from crossing. “If we decide not to let buses in, it will be very bad. But perhaps then our authorities will finally look for substantive solutions,” said Roman Kondrow, the leader of an organization of Polish farmers involved in the protest.

Estonia says it stopped ‘hybrid operation’ by Russian security services. The Estonian media outlet ERR reported earlier on Feb. 20 that the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) detained 10 people in connection with a series of crimes committed in late 2023, including vandalism of a car belonging to Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets.

Polish farmer protests threaten Ukraine-Poland relations

Polish farmer protests threaten Ukraine-Poland relations

In other news

Second Ukrainian basketball player dies of injuries after attack in Germany. Eighteen-year-old Ukrainian basketball player Artem Kozachenko died in the hospital on Feb. 20 after being stabbed in Germany alongside his teammate last week, according to the ART Giants basketball club for which both players played.

Belarusian political prisoner reportedly dies in custody. According to the Viasna human rights group, Ihar Lednik is the fifth political prisoner to die behind bars in Belarus in the last two years.

Yulia Navalnaya calls on EU not to recognize Russian election results. Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, called on the European Union not to recognize the results of the Russian presidential election in March.

Kremlin dismisses EU’s demand for international investigation of Navalny’s death. “We do not consider such demands at all, especially from Mr. Borrell,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said at a press conference, as cited by RIA Novosti.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Martin Fornusek, Dinara Khalilova, Nate Ostiller, Teah Pelechaty, Rachel Amran, Kateryna Denisova, Olena Goncharova, and

Dmytro Basmat.

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