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Day 718 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Trump Would Encourage Russia To Attack NATO Allies
Day 718 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Trump would encourage Russia to attack NATO allies
- Drones over Kyiv. Sumy region is under fire
- "We must be useful": Ukrainian women undergo military training to help their country
- Ukrainian President Zelensky announced five new senior military appointments
- Russian police made arrests at demonstrations of wives of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine
Trump would encourage Russia to attack NATO allies
Donald Trump has said he will "encourage" Russia to attack any NATO member that does not pay its bills as part of the Western military alliance. The White House called the comments "shocking and abnormal."
At a campaign rally on Saturday, February 10, the former US president and candidate for the post this year recounted how he once told a leader of another country that he would not defend a nation that was behind in its payments and would "encourage" the aggressors to "do whatever the hell they want".
Addressing supporters in South Carolina, Trump said he made his comments about Russia during a meeting of NATO leaders in response to a hypothetical situation presented by the leader of a "major country" - that country defaults on its financial obligations within NATO and was attacked by Moscow.
According to Trump, the leader asked if the US would come to his country's aid in that scenario, prompting him to issue a rebuke:
“I said, 'You didn't pay? You're guilty?... No, I'm not going to defend you, in fact I'd encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay.'”
By joining NATO, each member state committed itself to the principle of collective defense as stated in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America will be considered an attack against all of them. Each member is therefore obliged to assist the attacked nation by taking such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
A White House spokesman said the former president was "encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes" and called the comments "appalling and abnormal". And he added that the statement "threatens American national security, global stability and our economy at home."
Trump, who is the front-runner for the Republican nomination in this year's US presidential election in November, has long criticized NATO and what he says is an excessive financial burden on the United States to ensure the defense of 30 other nations.
Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 after Trump left office. He has since complained about the amount of US money sent to non-NATO Ukraine, the BBC notes.
According to White House data since December, the US has provided Ukraine with more financial support than any other single country, totaling more than billion since the invasion in 2022 (for comparison, the EU and its member states have provided more than billion . dollars of financial, military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, including billion in financial and budgetary support).
Since the start of the year, however, Republicans in Congress have blocked any new funding, demanding strict measures to limit migration to the US along its southern border, and rejected an amended bill when it was introduced earlier this week.
Trump celebrated that rejection at a rally on Saturday, saying the proposals made by President Biden were "disastrous." The two issues have now been successfully separated, meaning senators can now discuss aid money separately.
Politico recently reported how at Davos 2020, Trump told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that "if Europe is attacked, we will never come to your rescue and support you." "Politico" refers to one of the most senior members of the European Commission - the European Commissioner responsible for the internal market, Thierry Breton. "By the way, NATO is dead and we will leave, we will leave NATO. And, by the way, you owe me 400 billion dollars because you, the Germans, are not paying what you should be paying for defense," he also said Trump according to Breton.
Drones over Kyiv. Sumy region is under fire
Ukraine repels a Russian drone attack over the capital Kyiv, Reuters reported, citing the Kyiv Regional Military Administration. The attack began early this morning.
The Ukrainian air defense is in action in several areas, as air-raid sirens have turned on in addition to the capital, in Mykolaiv, Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr regions.
The Russian armed forces fired 28 times on a border area in the north-eastern Ukrainian Sumy region within the framework of yesterday, reported Ukrinform.
The agency refers to a publication on the Facebook social network of the local regional military administration.
"About 150 explosions rang out. The municipalities of Khotin, Krasnopole, Bilopole, Velika Pisarevka, Esman, Shalihine, Seredina-Buda and Druzhba were shelled," reads the publication.
Eight explosions following mortar fire were heard in Esman, and Shalihine came under artillery fire. 73 were the explosions in Bilopole.
An airstrike was carried out on Seredina-Buda.
The Ukrainian Air Force announced that it had shot down 40 of the 45 Shahed attack drones sent by Russia last night, Reuters reported.
The main targets of the attacks were Kyiv and southern Ukraine. Two people were injured.
All drones sent against the Ukrainian capital have been shot down. There are no reports of injured people or material damage, reported the head of the city military administration, Serhiy Popko.
Air defenses over southern Ukraine worked for over five hours and shot down 26 drones.
The attacks that night were mainly aimed at coastal infrastructure and agricultural sites. The main target was Mykolaiv Oblast, where one civilian was injured, and residential buildings and a gas pipeline were damaged by debris from a downed drone and the explosion that followed its fall to the ground.
Four drones were destroyed over the Black Sea port of Odesa.
One person was injured by debris from a downed Shahed over the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, the head of the regional military administration, Serhiy Lysak, reported, as quoted by Ukrinform.
In Kherson region, to the south, a 68-year-old woman was killed by artillery fire, and her son was taken to hospital in serious condition. The Russian armed forces have fired a total of over 200 projectiles in the region in the last 24 hours, Ukrinform also reported, citing the head of the Kherson regional military administration, Oleksandr Prokudin.
Both Russia and Ukraine have stepped up airstrikes in recent months against critical energy, military and transport infrastructure far from the front lines, Reuters notes.
The agency emphasizes that it cannot independently verify the messages of the parties to the conflict.
"We must be useful": Ukrainian women undergo military training to help their country
Up near Kyiv, Ukrainian women of different ages and with different professions voluntarily undergo military training. For the first time, they are holding a machine gun and firing live cartridges. They undergo a basic course in weapons handling and urban combat.
Anastasia is a film producer. "The war can drag on for years, so women can be useful at the front," she believes. Tatiana, whose son is at the front, also thinks that women should be prepared because Ukraine does not have enough soldiers to defend itself against Russian aggression.
Anna, a sales manager, has already decided to join the army. Her husband and brother are in the army but have been missing for a year. She believes they are in Russian captivity. "If I don't do something, I'll get desperate and everything will get worse," says Anna. She plans to join a third Ukrainian assault brigade in which women already serve.
Ukrainian President Zelensky announced five new senior military appointments
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced yesterday five new appointments to the top leadership of the Ukrainian army, Reuters reported. The agency notes that the actions of the head of state followed the appointment of Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi as commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces in place of Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
In his traditional evening address to the nation, Zelensky said he had spent the day meeting with the military leadership and that experienced "commanders in this war" would take up new posts. This month, Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine will enter its third year.
Ranking as Syrskyi's deputies will be Colonels Vadim Sukharevski and Andriy Lebedenko, who will respectively lead unmanned systems, including the development of drone operations, and technological introductions to combat systems.
Zelensky added that he had approved the candidacies of three brigadier generals as deputies to the chief of the general staff of the Ukrainian army. Major General Anatoly Barkhilevych was appointed to the post in question this week on Syrskyi's recommendation.
The new appointees are Volodymyr Horbatyuk, who will be the operational chief, Oleksiy Shevchenko, responsible for the organization of activities, and Mykhailo Drapati, who will be in charge of training. "We continue to update our leadership team," Zelensky was quoted as saying on his channel on the Telegram app.
Russian police made arrests at demonstrations of wives of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine
Police in Moscow and Yekaterinburg yesterday made several arrests during protests organized by wives of Russians mobilized for the war in Ukraine, DPA reported, citing information on social platforms cited by DPA.
Five people were taken away by plainclothes policemen in the city of Ekaterinburg, in the Urals, while they were laying flowers in front of a military monument, the human rights website "OVD-Info" reports.
In Moscow, the police detained two journalists, reports the "SOTA" website. Both were subsequently released.
The Road Home movement, founded by the wives of conscripted servicemen, called for the protests. Activists laid flowers in front of military monuments in seven cities in memory of Russian soldiers who died in World War II.
In Moscow, the protest took place in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior next to the Kremlin walls. A long line of people formed in front of the memorial, many of them wearing red carnations. There was a large police presence at the scene, DPA notes.
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