Day 720 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky Might Tour Europe For Aid

World » UKRAINE | February 13, 2024, Tuesday // 11:17
Bulgaria: Day 720 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky Might Tour Europe For Aid

Day 720 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Russia has announced a search warrant for the Prime Minister of Estonia
  • Report: Russia has lost over 3,000 tanks since invasion of Ukraine began
  • Estonian intelligence: Kremlin probably accepts conflict with NATO in the future
  • The US does not expect an invitation to Ukraine for NATO membership in July
  • Russia hit the power plant in Dnipro, residents are without electricity and water
  • Republican senators railed against Trump on Ukraine
  • Zelensky might participate in the Munich Security Conference
  • Zelensky held a first meeting with the new Ukrainian military leadership
  • Canadian woman smuggled electronics to Russia
  • Russia launched a hypersonic Zircon missile for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine


Russia has announced a search warrant for the Prime Minister of Estonia

Russia announced today that Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is wanted in a case for which no details are given, AFP reported.

The Russian Interior Ministry's wanted persons database says that Kaja Kallas, Prime Minister of Estonia from 2021, is "wanted under an article of the Criminal Code", but without specifying the charges.

Estonian State Secretary Taimar Peterkop is also wanted by Russia.

The Russian law enforcement agencies informed TASS that "a case has been filed against Kallas and Peterkop for the "destruction and damage of monuments to Soviet soldiers". "Within this case, they are wanted," said a source of the agency.

Lithuanian Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys is also wanted.

Subsequently, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that those wanted "are taking hostile actions against Russia and historical memory."

Report: Russia has lost over 3,000 tanks since invasion of Ukraine began

Russia lost over 3,000 tanks during its invasion of Ukraine, the equivalent of its entire pre-war active inventory. But there are lower-quality armored vehicles in stock for a long-term replacement, a leading research center said, Reuters reported.

Ukraine has also suffered heavy losses since the February 24, 2022 invasion, but Western military reinforcements have allowed it to maintain its stockpiles while improving quality, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said in its annual Military Balance Report.

"Moscow has managed to trade quality for quantity, pulling thousands of older tanks from storage at a rate of, at times, around 90 tanks a month," the report said.

Russian stockpiles mean that Moscow "can potentially withstand another 3 years or so of heavy losses and replenish its tanks from its reserves, even at a lower technical level, regardless of the ability to produce new equipment."

Russia has an active strength of 1,750 main battle tanks, from the older T-55 to the modern T-80 and T-90, the report added. Another 4,000 are in stock.

"The situation underscores the growing sense of a stalemate in the fighting that could continue into 2024."

The Russian Ministry of Defense declined to comment on the report.

Estonian intelligence: Kremlin probably accepts conflict with NATO in the future

Russia will continue in 2024 its approach to wear down Ukraine, as it cannot achieve military success due to inadequate preparation. Military reform in Russia follows the vision of the state leadership for the resources needed for conflict with Ukraine and confrontation with the West. The Kremlin probably sees the possibility of a conflict with NATO in the next decade.

These are some of the conclusions in the annual report of the Estonian intelligence agency, released today.

Putin aims for victory in Ukraine as a demonstration of his geopolitical superiority over the West and to redefine European security, the authors continue. His intermediate goal is to freeze the conflict in Ukraine on his terms and by using nuclear and political blackmail.

The US does not expect an invitation to Ukraine for NATO membership in July

US Ambassador to NATO Julian Smith said today that he does not expect the alliance to extend a membership invitation to Ukraine at its summit in Washington in July, Reuters reported.

"As for the meeting this summer, I don't think the Alliance will extend an invitation under the circumstances," Smith told reporters ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers on Thursday.

While fighting the Russian invasion, Ukraine has clearly set its sights on membership of the pact. Kyiv and some of its NATO allies, particularly in Eastern Europe, are calling for an invitation to join, even though it is clear that Ukraine cannot join while it is at war.

At a summit in Lithuania last year, NATO leaders announced that Ukraine's future was in the alliance, but did not extend an invitation or announce a time frame for membership.

Russia hit the power plant in Dnipro, residents are without electricity and water

Russia attacked the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro with missiles and drones on Tuesday, the Air Force reported on Telegram.

A power plant was damaged, and water supply to some residents was cut off, according to Ukrainian media and government officials. The station has ceased operations and is not producing electricity as equipment is damaged.

A missile and four groups of drones have approached from the south, east and north. The thermal power plant is out of order, according to data from the largest private energy supplier DTEK. No casualties reported.

It is not known which power plant in the city with a population of just under 1 million people is being talked about, but according to the water supply company, many residents have been left without water, "Strana.ua" also writes that some areas are without electricity. The BBC's Russian service also talks about internet problems.

According to the head of the regional administration, Serhiy Lysak, several drones hit targets in the city.

A total of 23 "kamikaze drones" were launched over Ukraine tonight, according to the Air Force. Russia is again attacking Ukraine's energy infrastructure this fall and winter, as it did in 2022-2023. Ukraine has also increased attacks away from the front lines.

Republican senators railed against Trump on Ukraine

The US Senate took another step toward approving military aid to Ukraine after 17 Republican senators overruled presidential candidate Donald Trump's opposition to the package. It is for 95.34 billion dollars and also includes aid to Israel and Taiwan. A final vote is due no later than Wednesday, but with demands that it be tied to money and measures against illegal immigration, procedural roadblocks continue to be created by Trump supporters in both the Senate and the lower House, which must also pass it. approved.

Most of the Republicans who voted "yes" last night are senators with strong positions on national security issues, and some of them are military veterans.

Zelensky might participate in the Munich Security Conference

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may go on a working trip to Western Europe this week, UNIAN reports, citing Bloomberg and informed sources. They suggest that Zelensky may participate in the Munich Security Conference. As part of the trip, he will also visit Paris and Berlin.

It is noted that these plans have not yet been confirmed. It has been suggested that one of the purposes of the trip may be to speed up military aid to the Ukrainian army. The president will also insist on negotiations on security guarantees for Ukraine.

The Munich conference, attended by the world's defense and security elite, will take place from February 16 to 18. Those invited include Russian and Iranian NGOs, but no government officials, said Christoph Heusgen, chairman of the Munich Forum.

Zelensky held a first meeting with the new Ukrainian military leadership

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a first meeting with the new command of the country's armed forces, Reuters reported.

Last week, Zelensky made a number of personnel changes in Ukraine's military leadership. Last night he announced in his regular evening video address that he had a first meeting with the new commanders yesterday.

The meeting was attended by Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who replaced General Valerii Zaluzhnyi as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

Zelensky announced that he had discussed with the new leadership of the AFU the situation at the front in the eastern and southern parts of the country, as well as how to best protect critical infrastructure such as electricity and water supply.

The former commander-in-chief was very popular among Ukrainians, but recently there was talk of a rift in his relationship with the president.

The purpose of the personnel changes is to strengthen Ukrainian defense nearly two years after Russia's full-scale invasion of the country, Reuters notes.

Ukraine is short on manpower and equipment and had little success on the battlefield last year. It also faces the threat of military aid cuts from its biggest backer, the United States.

Canadian woman smuggled electronics to Russia

A Canadian woman of Russian origin detained in the United States has pleaded guilty to smuggling million worth of sanctioned electronics to Russia, BTA reported. It is noted that 32-year-old Kristina Puzyreva was arrested earlier this year in Manhattan. It has admitted to facilitating the transfer of parts for unmanned aerial vehicles and guided missiles to Russia in violation of sanctions.

Together with two others (among them her husband, who also has Tajik citizenship), Puzireva, who lived in Montreal, received over 150 packages from various American companies at her home address. Some of the parts she obtained were later found in Russian weapons destroyed in Ukraine.

Russia launched a hypersonic Zircon missile for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine

Russia has used a hypersonic Zircon missile in Ukraine for the first time since the start of the war that broke out nearly two years ago, Ukrainian researchers said.

A preliminary analysis has concluded that Russia struck Kyiv with such a weapon last week, Oleksandr Ruvin, the head of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Expertise, wrote on Telegram yesterday.

If confirmed, this development means that Ukraine's air defenses will face a new challenge.

Ruvin said his institute had completed preliminary analysis of Russian missile fragments after the February 7 attack on Kyiv. He also released a video of the alleged missile debris showing specific markings.

"In this case, we see elements that are characteristic of the Russian missile ‘Zirkon’ with the inscription 3M22. Parts and fragments of the engine and control mechanisms have specific markings," Ruvin wrote.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has not yet commented on the allegations.

Hypersonic missile "Zirkon" has a range of 1000 kilometers and moves 9 times faster than the speed of sound.

According to military analysts, hypersonic speed could mean a significant reduction in the response time of air defenses and the ability to attack large, deep-seated and fortified targets.

The American analytical magazine National Interest calls the Zircon missile a serious challenge for the US Navy.


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