Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks with European Council President Charles Michel, Kyiv, February 3, 2023
Friday’s Coverage: European Union Steps Up Support for Kyiv — But Is There More to Come?
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1251 GMT:
Emergency shutdowns have been implemented in Odesa in southern Ukraine after a “technological accident” at a high voltage electricity substation.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal posted on Telegram: “The situation is complex, the scale of the accident is significant, it is impossible to quickly restore power supply, in particular to critical infrastructure.”
A special council has ordered generators and a US-supplied gas turbine to be brought to the area.
The Usatovo substation in #Odesa is on fire. pic.twitter.com/pXrbWFBoll
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) February 4, 2023
UPDATE 1111 GMT:
Seeking to restrict Iran’s supply of attack drones to Russia, the US has sanctioned eight senior executives of the Iranian firm Paravar Pars.
The company manufacturers the Shahed series of “kamikaze” drones, hundreds of which have been used by Russian forces in attacks on energy infrastructure and other civilian sites.
See also Ukraine War, Day 270: Iran to Make Drones in Russia — Western Officials
Paravar Pars was one of four companies targeted by US sanctions in September amid the deliveries of the Shaheds to Moscow.
UPDATE 1054 GMT:
Russia has freed 116 Ukrainian troops in a prisoner exchange.
Ukraine freed 63 Russian POWs. Moscow said the UAE mediated the exchange.
Ukraine Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak tweeted:
Another big POWs swap. We managed to get back 116 of our people. Those are the defenders of Mariupol, Kherson partisans, snipers from Bakhmut vicinities, and other heroes of ours. pic.twitter.com/DQFtjPC4E6
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) February 4, 2023
The bodies of British humanitarian workers Christopher Parry and Andrew Bagshaw were also returned by the Russians.
The two were killed by Russian fire in early January as they were evacuating an elderly woman near Soledar in the Donetsk region.
UPDATE 1048 GMT:
An American medic has been killed by a Russian missile near the frontline in eastern Ukraine.
Pete Reed was slain when his evacuation vehicle was struck in Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Several other people were injured.
Reed was a former US Marine Corps rifleman who also worked as a paramedic.
A resident, Oleksandr Tkachenko, said it was “clear” that Reed’s vehicle was not a military target. Other residents who tried to rescue pthe victims were also attacked.
UPDATE 0732 GMT:
Canada has sanctioned 54 Russian artists, journalists, and media outlets for “spreading disinformation and propaganda”.
Ottawa cited 38 individuals and 16 entities.
“Putin’s war in Ukraine is based on lies and deceit. The Russian disinformation machine is mobilizing celebrities and so-called news organizations to relay the Kremlin’s arguments in an attempt to justify the atrocities in Ukraine,” said the Canadian Foreign Ministry.
UPDATE 0722 GMT:
For the first time, the US has transferred to Ukraine the confiscated assets of a Russian individual.
Ukraine Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin and US Attorney General Merrick Garland, meeting in Washington, announced the handover of $5.4 million taken from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev.
In December 2022, the US Senate approved the transfer of seized assets, to be used for Ukrainian reconstruction.
The US has cited Malofeyev, the owner of the Tsargrad TV channel, for sanctions evasion. He is accused of funding Russian proxies in Russian-occupied Crimea in 2014.
Delighted to see the new legislation aimed at seizing the Russian oligarchs’ illicit assets in action. The first-ever transfer of the confiscated assets in the amount of USD 5,4 million to the @StateDept for rebuilding Ukraine has been authorized. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/uYFtXNIrL6
— Andriy Kostin (@AndriyKostinUa) February 3, 2023
UPDATE 0715 GMT:
Two more arrests in the Kremlin’s shutdown of independent media and activists….
Alexander Gusov, reportedly the administrator of the Novyi Vek and VChK-OGPU Telegram channels, was arrested on Friday on charges of extortion.
VChK-OGPU was established to reveal the “secrets of officials, oligarchs, gangsters, and security officials”.
Anti-war activist Oleg Seliverov has been detained on charges relating to terrorism after Moscow authorities investigated him for ties to the Nexta Live outlet.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: As European Union leaders met Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskiy and his senior leaders in Kyiv on Friday, the EU agreed on new sanctions against Russia.
The US confirmed a $2.175 billion military aid package to Ukraine. Significantly, the assistance includes the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb with a range of 94 miles — almost double the 50-mile range of the HIMARS rocket systems that have significantly enhanced Ukrainian capability since their arrival last summer.
The EU met President Zelenskiy’s request for tightened sanctions with a cap on the price of oil products. Taking effect on Sunday, the cap is $45 per barrel for standard products such as fuel oil and $100 per barrel for premium products such as diesel.
The G7 countries — the US, UK, Japan, and Canada as well as Germany, France, and Italy — and Australia quickly followed with their own caps.
The restriction accompanies the limit of $60 per barrel for Russian crude oil, imposed on December 5.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen tweeted:
We must continue to deprive Russia of the means to wage war against Ukraine. EU’s import ban on Russian petroleum products comes into force on Sunday.
With the G7 we are putting price caps on these products, cutting Russia’s revenue while ensuring stable global energy markets.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 3, 2023
At the joint press conference with Von der Leyen, Zelenskiy asked asked the EU to impose sanctions on Russian State nuclear agency Rosatom and its senior executives, citing Moscow’s deportation of Ukraine children to Russia.
We would like some of the states, European states who still don’t want to impose sanctions against Rosatom, the top managers of Rosatom… the nuclear power for them to understand what if their children were just taken, put into buses and forcefully taken to the Russian Federation.
Von der Leyen said the EU’s 10th package of sanctions, sought before the anniversary of the Russian invasion on February 24, will cover trade worth €10 billion ($10.83 billion) and focus on technology used by Moscow’s military, such as drone components.
A Longer-Range US Bomb for Ukraine
US officials indicated early this week that they were significantly increasing Ukraine’s capacity to strike behind Russian frontlines, through the supply of the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb.
See also Ukraine War, Day 343: US Sending Longer-Range Rockets to Kyiv
The Pentagon confirmed the provision of the GLSDB on Friday. The new military aid also includes more ammunitions for the HIMARS rocket systems; HAWK air defense systems; mine-resistant vehicles; Javelin anti-tank missiles and anti-tank rockets; artillery and mortar rounds; and other munitions, equipment, and medical supplies.
The range of the Ground Launched Small Diameter (GLSDB) glide bombs that the US included in the recent military aid package for Ukraine is enough to hit Russian transportation network & logistics on all occupied territories of Ukraine, except Crimea.
Infographic by Reuters. pic.twitter.com/2YoaAUP6Ge
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) February 4, 2023
France and Italy confirmed on Friday that they have completed technical talks for the delivery of the SAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine this spring.
The SAMP/T is the only European-made system that can intercept ballistic missiles, tracking dozens of targets and intercepting 10 at once.
French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu and his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto completed the arrangements in a Friday call.
The French Defense Ministry said in a statement, “This will allow Ukraine to defend itself against Russian drones, missiles and plane attacks, through the coverage of a significant part of the Ukrainian territory.”