Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Kyiv, January 12, 2024 (Sky)

Friday’s Coverage: The Baltic States Step Up for Kyiv — “We Are Stronger Than Russia”

Map: Institute for the Study of War


France has followed the Baltic States and the UK in this week’s substantial military commitments to Ukraine.

During a visit by French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne to Kyiv, the two countries agreed to “scale up” their defense cooperation.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba cited discussions on Ukraine’s integration into the European Union and NATO and the tightening of sanctions against Russia.

Sejourne spoke of addressing EU and bilateral legal issues to help French companies set up more military production facilities in Ukraine and to invest in transport, energy, telecommunications, and water in the country.


The Ukraine Air Force says Russia attacked with 37 missiles and three drones on Saturday morning.

More than 20 of the weapons failed to reach their targets. Eight were downed and others fell in fields.

Damage was reported in the Cherniv region in the north. In central Ukraine, a missile was downed over Kremenchuk in the Poltava region, damaging a building with no casualties. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, two cruise missiles were downed over Kryvyi Rih, and explosions were heard in the city of Kropyvnytskyi.

In the west, authorities in the Khmelnytskyi region said no “critical infrastructure” or civilians were affected. Air defenses prevented any damage in the Rivne region, and “rockets did not manage to enter the airspace” of the Lviv region.


The Russian military is continuing to block International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from seeing part of the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi reported on Friday that experts cannot check out the halls of three of the six reactors in Europe’s largest nuclear complex.

These restrictions on the experts’ timely access to the ZNPP are impeding the IAEA’s ability to assess the safety and security situation, including confirming the reported status of the reactor units, spent fuel ponds and associated safety equipment, independently and effectively.

The Russians have shut off all six turbine halls since mid-October and the three reactor halls — where the reactor core and spent fuel are located — since December 19.

Russia seized the plant in the first days of its February 2022 invasion, using the site to shell Ukrainian territory across the Dnipro River.

Power has recurrently been cut off to the complex, threatening damage to the reactors. Five of the six are in cold shutdown, and the other is in hot shutdown, providing steam and heating to nearby towns.


The Ukraine Air Force says Russia has begun a widespread missile assault, including hypersonic Kinzhal missiles fired by MiG-31K fighter jets in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region and cruise missiles launched from warships in the Caspian Sea.

Almost all Ukrainian region are under an air alert. Explosions were heard about 5 a.m in Dnipro city in south-central Ukraine and about 7 a.m. in Kropyvnytskyi in the center of the country.

There is no information on casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure so far.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The UK has signed a security treaty with Kyiv, promising “swift and sustained” help if Russia again invades Ukraine.

The 10-year agreement, which remains in force until Ukraine joins NATO and comes under its collective defense provisions, is accompanied by British pledges of £2.5 billion ($3.19 billion) in military aid. Additional assistance is assured for each of the further years of the pact.

The commitments were made during a visit by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Kyiv. He met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and addressed the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

Zelenskiy hailed the accord:

Today marks a watershed moment in European history….

If the UK and other countries had provided such a level of guarantees after 1991, there would have been no Russian aggression at all. Our common goal is to ensure that an attack on Ukraine will never happen again once the current Russian aggression has been halted and Ukraine strengthened.

Later, in his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy said:

The immediate military aid includes thousands of shells, long-range missiles, and training for the Ukrainian military. At least £200 million ($255 million) will be spent on hi-tech combat drones, most of which will be made in the UK. They include long-range strike drones, capable of hitting Russian targets far beyond the frontline, and maritime drones which are being used successfully by Ukraine against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Former Ukraine Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk noted the UK commitments were a “big deal…particularly given the freeze we currently see from the US,” where Republicans in Congress are blocking further budgetary authority to aid Kyiv.

See also Ukraine War, Day 658: Zelenskiy-Biden “Freedom is Strong”…But US Republicans Maintain Blackmail Over Aid

Zagorodnyuk noted that the pact extends a pattern of British assistance during Russia’s 22 1/2-month invasion, including tanks and encouragement of the supply of US-made fighters: “It’s extremely important because this war is more and more about UAVs. They play a critical role.”

The UK-Ukraine pact follows the commitments of military, economic, and political aid from the Baltic States — Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia — during Zelenskiy’s meetings with the countries’ leaders on Wednesday and Thursday.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly address, “I want to thank all our friends in the Baltic States….There are decisions regarding weapons for our warriors, regarding economic support for Ukraine. Support for our relations with the European Union. Our movement towards NATO.”