Day 724 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Ukrainian Army Withdraws From Avdiivka

World » UKRAINE | February 17, 2024, Saturday // 12:37
Bulgaria: Day 724 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Ukrainian Army Withdraws From Avdiivka

Day 724 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • The Ukrainian army has withdrawn from Avdiivka
  • Zelensky in Munich: If you don't act now, Putin will make the coming years disastrous
  • During the night, 33 drones were shot down over Russian territory
  • The election campaign for the presidential elections in Russia begins
  • Over 100 arrested at demonstrations in memory of Navalny in Russia
  • Biden: Putin is responsible for Navalny's death
  • Russian oppositionist on Navalny's death: It's about revenge

The Ukrainian army has withdrawn from Avdiivka

The Ukrainian army announced that it had withdrawn from the key Donbas city of Avdiivka.

By the end of the year, Kyiv will receive military aid for around 10 billion euros - from Germany and France.

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed bilateral security agreements in Berlin and Paris, guaranteeing long-term support for the country.

Ukraine's withdrawal from Avdiivka is seen as Russia's biggest symbolic victory since Kyiv's failed counteroffensive last summer. The retreat is also the first key decision by the new commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, appointed to the post earlier this month. The situation has significantly worsened in recent days, reported General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, who commands the forces in this area.

Meanwhile, Germany announced a new shipment of arms and ammunition to Kyiv worth more than 1 billion and 100 million euros. The bulk of the shipment is intended to strengthen anti-aircraft defenses and field artillery. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a 10-year security cooperation agreement in Berlin:

The importance of the document cannot be underestimated. He decreed that Germany would support an independent Ukraine. In the event of new Russian aggression in the future, we have detailed arrangements for diplomatic, economic and military support, such as today's, Scholz said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged up to €3 billion in additional support to Kyiv this year.

Ukraine's security arrangements with France, Germany and the UK should provide long-term support for Kyiv at a time when US aid is suspended.

In Paris, President Zelensky said: "These three agreements give me confidence as president that we are not alone."

Zelensky in Munich: If you don't act now, Putin will make the coming years disastrous

After signing important support agreements for Ukraine in Berlin and Paris yesterday, President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to the participants of the Munich Security Conference.

"If you don't act now, Putin will succeed in making the coming years disastrous for other nations as well. We can get our land back. Putin can lose. And this has been proven time and time again on the battlefield," he said.

Kyiv has been hoping for months to vote on a key US aid package worth about $60 billion after Joe Biden's administration made the decision, but its approval has been blocked by the Republican opposition, which is influenced by former President Donald Trump.

Failure to unblock this aid in the US Congress would be a "gift to Putin", warned Kamala Harris in a speech in Munich yesterday.

During the night, 33 drones were shot down over Russian territory

Russian air defenses destroyed 33 Ukrainian drones in Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk, Briansk and Kaluga regions last night, the Russian Ministry of Defense claims.

The agency announced this morning that 18 drones were intercepted and destroyed over the Bryansk region.

Local authorities claim that there were no injuries.

The election campaign for the presidential elections in Russia begins

In Russia today, the pre-election campaign for the presidential elections in March officially begins.

It comes a day after the announcement of the death in prison of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which sparked outrage and accusations around the world against Russian authorities.

The Russian presidential election will take place over three days, from March 15 to 17. Four candidates will take part in them - the deputy chairman of the State Duma from the "New People" party Vladislav Davankov, the deputy from the State Duma and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Leonid Slutsky, the deputy from the State Duma from the Communist Party Nikolai Kharitonov and the current head of state Vladimir Putin.

Boris Nadezhdin lost his appeal against the decision of the electoral authorities to ban him from participating in the vote. At the forefront of his campaign was his call for an end to the war in Ukraine, and his exclusion from the race was seen as a sign that the authorities would not tolerate any open opposition to Kremlin policies.

A survey showed that 76 percent of Russians intend to go to the polls, and three-quarters of them would vote for Vladimir Putin. The 71-year-old leader, who has effectively been at the head of Russia since 2000, has a chance to rule for another six years - until 2030.

Yesterday, the Central Election Commission of Russia approved the schedule for distributing free airtime on state TV channels and radio stations among registered candidates. Putin's staff refused the free time for debates and explained the decision with the busy schedule of the head of state.

Over 100 arrested at demonstrations in memory of Navalny in Russia

Police in Russia have arrested more than 100 people at organized vigils and demonstrations in 10 cities in memory of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a human rights group reported, cited by world news agencies. Navalny, 47, died yesterday in a high-security colony in the Arctic, where he was serving a 19-year sentence for extremism. Footage from Russia's two largest cities - Moscow and St Petersburg - showed police ripping placards from protesters and ushering others out of makeshift places of worship in Navalny's memory. There were vigils and demonstrations in a number of European capitals, including in Sofia.

The European Union and the United States have named the Russian state leadership as responsible for Navalny's death. US President Joe Biden said he was "angry" but not surprised by what happened to the opposition leader

Biden: Putin is responsible for Navalny's death

The White House continues to gather information about the sudden death of Alexei Navalny.

The US president has warned that he is considering further steps to punish Russia after the death of the opposition leader.

Joe Biden said the Russian president was responsible for Navalny's death.

Russia described the West's reaction as "hysterical and absolutely unacceptable".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the cause of Navalny's death was not yet clear because the medical and forensic experts' report was not ready.

Russian oppositionist on Navalny's death: It's about revenge

"The murder of Navalny is a terrible tragedy - a loss for society, for the Russian opposition. The responsibility for his death lies with the Kremlin and Putin personally - regardless of what and how it happened. It's about revenge," said on BNT Ilya Ponomarev, leader of the military wing of the Russian opposition, former MP, the only one who voted against the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

According to him, it is clear that this would not have happened if Navalny had not been arrested on false charges.

"The Kremlin only understands the language of force," added Ilya Ponomarev.

He expressed hope that Navalny's death would unite the Russian opposition.

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Tags: Zelensky, Ukraine, Russia, Avdiivka

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