Ukraine Daily Summary - Wednesday, February 7

Ukraine is about to get new US long-range bombs. How will it use them? -- Ukrainian military to create separate branch dedicated to drones -- Output of Russian oil refineries drops by 4% following drone attacks -- Tucker Carlson visiting Moscow is like touring Berlin in 1940 -- Russian agents pose as activists, filmmakers to reportedly spy on domestic civil society organizations -- and more

Wednesday, February 7

Russia’s war against Ukraine

The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell (C), speaks with a European Gendarmerie Force instructor (L), during exercises of the Ukrainian Police on their training ground outside Kyiv, Feb. 6, 2024. Borell’s visit comes amid renewed international efforts to help Ukraine replenish its arms to fight off Russia’s full-scale invasion. (Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images)

Russia launches large-scale missile, drone attack against Ukraine. Russia launched another large-scale attack against Ukrainian cities early in the morning on Feb. 7. Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, and Kharkiv oblasts were among those targeted, according to the latest information.

EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell arrives in Kyiv. Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, arrived in Kyiv on Feb. 6, media reported. This is Borrell’s fourth visit to Ukraine since the outbreak of the full-scale war.

Tucker Carlson announces interview with Putin. Former Fox News host and far-right commentator Tucker Carlson announced he will soon conduct an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, confirming rumors about his controversial visit to Russia.

Official: Situation in Avdiivka becomes **‘critical in some places.’**The situation around Avdiivka, a front-line town in Donetsk Oblast, is deteriorating, becoming critical in some areas, said Vitalii Barabash, the head of the city’s military administration, on Feb. 6.

Defense Ministry: Ukrainian special forces capture Russian equipment from Black Sea drilling platform. Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces conducted an operation on a Russian-occupied drilling platform off the coast of Crimea, the Defense Ministry reported on Feb. 6.

Zelensky: Ukrainian military to create separate branch dedicated to drones. The Unmanned Systems Forces will reportedly focus specifically on improving Ukraine’s work with drones, creating special drone-specific units, ramping up training, systemizing their use, increasing production, and pushing innovation.

Parliament approves 90-day extension of martial law, mobilization. Ukraine’s parliament previously extended martial law and mobilization from November 2023 until Feb. 14, 2024.

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Kuleba meets with Portuguese FM in Kyiv. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked his Portuguese counterpart, Joao Cravinho, for his “personal firm position in support of Ukraine” and said the two discussed Ukraine’s peace formula, Ukraine’s accession into NATO and the EU, and further Portuguese military assistance.

International Atomic Energy Agency head arrives in Kyiv. Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived in Kyiv on Feb. 6 ahead of a visit to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Russian media: Output of Russian oil refineries drops by 4% following drone attacks. Russian oil refineries reduced refining operations by 4% in January 2024 compared to the same period the year before, partly due to “increased drone attacks,” the Russian state-controlled media outlet Kommersant reported on Feb. 6.

Ukraine nationalizes Russian oligarch’s oil, gas assets. Ukraine’s High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) nationalized Ukrainian assets valued at half a billion hryvnias ($13 million) belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch Eduard Khudainatov.

Russia orders arrest of exiled writer Akunin in absentia over terrorism, spreading ‘fake news’ about army. Russian authorities added Boris Akunin to the so-called “terrorist list” and announced in December 2023 that he was charged with supporting terrorism and spreading “fake news” about the army.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine war latest: Ukraine to create separate military branch dedicated to drones

The Unmanned Systems Forces will reportedly focus specifically on improving Ukraine’s work with drones, creating special drone-specific units, ramping up training, systemizing their use, increasing production, and pushing innovation.

Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

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How Ukrainian officials get away with having Russian citizenship – even amid war

Ukraine’s Constitution bans foreign citizenship for officials. However, in some cases, officials with Russian citizenship are not fired at all, and in other cases Ukraine’s judiciary stubbornly resists their dismissals.

Photo: Supreme Court

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Everyone talks about investing in Ukraine, but few are doing it

Despite its economy steadily improving from the first months of the full-scale invasion, very little foreign capital is currently trickling down to Ukraine’s private and public sectors.

Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

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Ukraine is about to get new US long-range bombs. How will it use them?

Striking Russian pressure points deep behind enemy lines has become a near-daily task for Ukraine — and the country’s long-range arsenal continues to grow to serve the purpose.

Photo: Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian attacks on Kharkiv kill 2-month-old boy, injure 3. Russian forces’ attack on a three-story hotel in Kharkiv Oblast during the early hours of Feb. 6 killed a two-month-old boy and injured three women, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram.

Russian attacks in Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk oblasts injure 4. Russian attacks on Feb. 6 injured two people in Kherson Oblast and two in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, regional officials reported

General Staff: Russia has lost 390,580 troops in Ukraine. This number includes over 1,020 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

Opinions and insights

Monastiriakos: Tucker Carlson visiting Moscow is like touring Berlin in 1940

“Carlson’s pro-Russia Republican associates advance Putin’s interests in Congress. The self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” himself normalizes the Russian dictator who spent a quarter century invading his neighbors, jailing his critics, and exterminating his opponents,” writes George Monastiriakos, a Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security.

Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

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Former Sen. Cory Gardner: Russia is a terrorist state

“The U.S. State Department should, without delay, designate the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism (SST) … It would also be a strong statement of support for a democratic ally at perhaps the most difficult period in its modern history,”  writes former U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado.

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

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Shuster’s ‘Showman’ was supposed to be the definitive Zelensky biography. But it’s not

“While ‘The Showman’ offers some intriguing insight to English-language readers about Zelensky’s early career, as well as his evolving sense of national identity over the years, there are questionable elements of the book that detract from its overall value to the expanding collection of literature on Russia’s war against Ukraine,” writes Kate Tsurkan, culture reporter for the Kyiv Independent.

Image: Genya Savilov /AFP via Getty Images

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International response

Senate Republicans ready to kill Ukraine aid deal. The bill is scheduled for a Senate vote on Feb. 7. According to senators, the law has no chance of garnering the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster and advance.

Von der Leyen: EU aims to start payments of $54 billion Ukraine Facility fund in March. “Last night’s political agreement on the 50 billion euro ($54 billion) Ukraine Facility is a major step forward,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Feb. 6.

EU, IFC to mobilize over $530 million for Ukraine’s private sector recovery. This is part of the IFC’s Better Futures Program that aims to mobilize over 500 million euros ($537 million) across sectors, including infrastructure, goods production, decarbonization, and job preservation.

White House threatens to veto standalone Israel aid bill proposed by Republicans. “The Administration strongly encourages both chambers of the Congress to reject this political ploy and instead quickly send the bipartisan Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act to the President’s desk,” the U.S. Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

Media: Finland to extend border closure with Russia. A new decision on the status of the border is expected on Feb. 8, but sources in the government told Ilta Sanomat that the situation remains the same and that the government is looking for a more sustainable solution beyond simply temporarily extending the closure again.

Head of Russian Orthodox church in Estonia confirms he is leaving country after expulsion order. Estonian authorities have accused Metropolitan Yevgeniy of public statements and actions in support of Russian aggression.

NYT: Russia possibly helping **North Korea access international financial system.**Sources told the New York Times that Russia had helped unblock $9 million in North Korean funds frozen at a Russian bank.

In other news

Prosecutor General’s Office: Investigation into Bihus.Info surveillance transferred away from SBU. The investigation into the surveillance of investigative outlet Bihus.Info will no longer be conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Prosecutor General’s Office announced on Feb. 6, after the outlet reported on Feb. 5 that one SBU department had been involved in the surveillance.

Media: Russian agents pose as activists, filmmakers to reportedly spy on domestic civil society organizations. The alleged agents, who The Insider said posed as a human rights activist, a documentary filmmaker, and a journalist, are allegedly associated with the GRU unit 29155, best known for reportedly being responsible for the 2011 Novichok poisoning of Russian dissident Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K.

Kazakh President nominates new PM. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appointed his chief of staff, Olzhas Bektenov, to be Kazakhstan’s new prime minister following the resignation of Tokayev’s former cabinet.

Ex-Supreme Court head formally suspended until April. Vsevolod Kniaziev, former chairman of Ukraine’s Supreme Court and a suspect in a bribery case, is formally suspended from working at the court until at least April 6, the Supreme Court announced on Feb. 6.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Martin Fornusek, Mariia Tril, Nate Ostiller, Elsa Court, Teah Pelechaty, Tanya Myronyshena, Toma Istomina, Oleksiy Sorokin, Rachel Amran, Abbey Fenbert, and Olena Goncharova.

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