Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to the UK and France yesterday. He called for fighter jets to be deployed against Russian invaders in the UK Parliament and then flew to Paris to have dinner with the French and German leaders at the Elysee Palace.
Today, Mr Zelensky will join EU leaders in Brussels for a summit described by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as "a signal of European solidarity and togetherness".
Ukraine is preparing for an expected Russian attack and is working on plans to regain lands occupied by the Drisksy. Western support is more important than ever for Ukrainian forces at a time of fierce fighting in the east and south-east of Ukraine.
V. Zelensky thanked the British for their support since "day one" of Moscow's invasion almost a year ago and stressed that Ukraine needs all kinds of weapons, not only aircraft but also ammunition and long-range missiles.
In the evening, Mr Zelensky was given a friendly hug by Mr Macron on the steps of the Elysee Palace, and then, together with Mr Scholz, the three leaders went inside. This visit marks a turning point in Mr Zelensky's relations with France and Germany, which were previously seen by many Ukrainians as insufficiently supportive in the war against the Russian invasion.
"Ukraine can count on France, its European partners and allies to win the war. Russia cannot and must not win," Macron said before their working dinner. Macron's office issued a statement confirming that Mr Zelensky will attend a summit in Brussels on Thursday, where EU leaders will pledge support for the Ukrainian people.
V. Zelensky's trip to European capitals on Wednesday was only his second foreign trip since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. In December, he travelled to Washington to meet US President Joe Biden and delivered a speech to the US Congress.
We are pleased to report that Mr Zelensky has read our writings and has got down to doing what we think he should do (joking). Instead of making mournful speeches, art festivals are about meeting and talking in person with the leaders of the most politically and economically important countries. It is only in these face-to-face meetings, not in newspaper headlines, that crucial, hot and real information is shared and agreements are made.
This trip by the President of Ukraine and his meetings with European leaders mean that Europe is united and that Russia is coming to its most certain end.
At the same time, at Russia's request, Roger Waters, co-founder of the famous music group Pink Floyd, addressed the UN Security Council. Although he condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine as illegal, he stressed that it was "not unprovoked". For some reason, he blamed mysterious "provocateurs" for the Russian aggression. The old man did not give specific details, but said that "the only sensible thing to do today is to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine".
Richard Mills, Deputy US Ambassador to the United Nations, who listened to his speech, remarked that while Waters has "impressive credentials as a recording artist", his qualifications to speak on arms control or European security issues are "less obvious".
Ukraine's ambassador to the UN, Serhiy Kyslycha, was more blunt, using the analogy of Pink Floyd's hit "Another Brick in the Wall": "How sad for his former fans to see him accepting to play the role of just another brick in the wall - the wall of Russian disinformation and propaganda".
We are increasingly hearing from some Russian 'oppositionists' and other Moscow playthings such as Waters that, supposedly, all that is needed is a ceasefire and 'everything will be fine'. Translated: let us cease fire, let us tacitly confirm the occupation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, let us let the Drisksy get a foothold, and we will soon see the drunken snouts of the marauders outside Vilnius.
Yesterday, the President of SpaceX said that she had taken action to prevent the Ukrainian army from using the company's Starlink satellite Internet service to control drones. "SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service, which provided broadband connectivity to the Ukrainian military in defence against the Russian army, "was never intended for weapons", SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell told a conference in Washington.
Ukraine, as we know, effectively uses UAVs to detect enemy positions, to adjust long-range fire and to drop bombs.
Shotwell said that the use of Starlink to control drones went beyond the scope of SpaceX's agreement with the Ukrainian government, adding that the contract was for humanitarian purposes, such as providing broadband internet to hospitals, banks and families affected by the Russian invasion, rather than for war.
We will not comment.
Ukrainian tennis player and Olympic bronze medallist Elina Svitolina called on Wednesday for a complete ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Paris Games in an interview with The Associated Press news agency.
"It will be very sad and send the wrong message to the world if the Olympics sticks to the decision to keep them (Russia and Belarus) under a neutral flag," Svitolina said in the interview. "I don't think it's the right decision."
In Russia, sport is about power, Svitolina stressed. And we just want to point out once again that everything in Russia is linked to the fascist regime - sport, art, vodka and even balalaika. Russian and Belarusian citizens must be expelled from all international organisations, all roads and doors to Western countries and their events must be closed to them.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss support for Ukraine, as well as political support for Finland's and Sweden's bid to join the Alliance. They also discussed the diplomatic tensions following the sighting and shooting down of an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon over the United States last week.
"Last week, Beijing violated international law and US sovereignty by having a Chinese surveillance balloon in US airspace," Blinken told reporters at a press conference with Stoltenberg on Wednesday.
Blinken promised that the US would share its findings on the balloon, which was shot down off the east coast of the US over the weekend, with the US Congress and allies around the world. He added that the US Navy is working to recover fragments of the balloon.
The Russian mercenary group Wagner has stopped recruiting prisoners for the war in Ukraine, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said.
Wagner began recruiting prisoners in Russia's sprawling prison system in the summer of 2022, and Prigozhin, an apartment thief and Russian führer's cook who served nine years in the Soviet Union, offered convicts a pardon if they survived six months in Ukraine.
Figures from the Russian Penitentiary Service show that the country's prison population dropped by more than 20,000 between August and November, the biggest drop in more than a decade. This figure is in line with our estimates of the number of 'zeks' marauding on Ukraine's eastern front.
Has recruitment really stopped? We very much doubt it. There are over 400 000 prisoners in Russian prisons - in the Kremlin's view, potential meat to fertilise Ukraine's fields.
Late yesterday evening, Russian Führer Putin convened the Russian Security Council. At the meeting, he stated: "Today we have two issues. One of them concerns the development of infrastructure. But this is the second issue. The first concerns measures to improve fire safety and to reduce the risk of emergencies during floods".
Neither the regions threatened by fires nor the means by which the Russian Federation wants to combat them and floods were specified.
As we know, fires have been a very common phenomenon in Russia recently. We would suggest that the real reason why the main Russian terrorists and war criminals have been gathered together has to do with the activities of subversive groups within Russia itself.
A new meeting of the Contact Group in the Ramstein format will take place as early as 14 February. The partners will focus on Ukraine's most pressing needs. "The expectation is to analyse progress and have very important discussions about what needs to be done to help Ukraine in the future," said Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder. He said Washington would continue to consult closely with Kyiv and international partners to identify Ukraine's immediate needs.
We believe there will be discussions about the possibility of providing Ukraine with fourth-generation fighters.
This is confirmed by some of the details of the meeting in London.
British Challenger 2 tanks will be deployed on the battlefield in Ukraine as early as March this year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Asked whether Kiev could receive combat aircraft from London, the British head of government said that "anything is possible when it comes to helping the Ukrainian army".
Meanwhile, foreign analysts say that the Russian occupation forces are preparing for a new offensive against Ukraine. The Russian Federation has already prepared 1 800 tanks, 3 950 armoured vehicles, 2 700 artillery systems, 810 Soviet-era multiple launch rocket systems such as Grad and Smerch, 400 fighter jets and 300 helicopters for the coming strike. The number of Russian occupation forces in Ukraine exceeds 300 000.
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War believe that the Russian occupiers have launched an offensive in Luhansk. Russian movements have been detected north-west of Sviatovo, and the offensive in this area involves units of several divisions. "Units of several regiments of the 144th and 3rd Motorised Rifle Divisions (20th Combined Army, ZVO) and the 90th Tank Division Regiment, supported by units of the 76th Airborne Division and unspecified units of the Southern Military District, are conducting offensive operations," the report notes.
Unfortunately, the Diasks have indeed launched an offensive. We wrote about this about two weeks ago.
The enemy continues to focus its efforts on offensive operations in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka axes, in the Kreminna, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Opytne, Maryinka and Vugled districts, in order to take full control of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Active use of aviation.
During the day, the Russian occupiers carried out 3 rocket and 45 air strikes, resulting in the death of 3 civilians and the serious condition of three others. In addition, the enemy launched 67 attacks from the DRDO, with particular damage to civilian infrastructure in the Kherson area.
The threat of further Russian air and missile strikes on the whole territory of Ukraine remains high.
Over the past day, the Ukrainian Defence Forces' air force has struck 21 times against areas of concentration of the occupying forces' manpower and military equipment and 3 times against anti-aircraft missile system positions. Rocket and artillery strikes hit 2 enemy checkpoints, 3 areas of concentration of live forces, 3 anti-aircraft missile system positions, 2 ammunition depots and a fuel and lubricants depot.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius made a surprise visit to Kyiv, where he announced that the old Leopard 1 battle tanks will soon reach Ukraine: 20-25 tanks will arrive by summer, around 80 by the end of the year and more than 100 by 2024.
Photo: Volodymyr, Rishi and Challenger Two (source - APnews.com)
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