Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Paris, February 16, 2024

UPDATES: Alexei Navalny Is Dead, Possibly Assassinated, In A Russian Prison

Friday’s Coverage: Kyiv — Russians Using 1000s of Elon Musk’s Starlink Terminals on Frontline

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Three Russian warplanes — two Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers and one Su-35 fighter — have been downed over eastern Ukraine, says the head of the Ukraine Air Force, Mykola Oleshchuk.


At least 212 people have been detained at memorial rallies for Alexei Navalny in Russian cities, according to rights group OVD-Info.

Police seized at least 109 people in St Petersburg and at least 39 in Moscow. There were individual arrests in smaller cities such as Belgorod near the Ukraine border and Vorkuta, a mining outpost in the Arctic.


Addressing the Munich Security Conference, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has emphasized Kyiv’s ability to defeat the Russian invasion and the necessity of ensuring that it does so.

We can get our land back. And Putin can lose. And this has already happened more than once on the battlefield….

If we do not act now, Putin will manage to make the next years catastrophic – catastrophic for other nations as well….

He has made the genocide of our people just an ordinary part of his policy.

“How long will the world let Russia be like this?” he asked the audience of global leaders. “There is no one for whom the ongoing war in Europe does not pose a threat.”

As Trumpists and hard-right Republicans hold up vital aid to Kyiv, he explained, “Unfortunately, keeping Ukraine in an artificial deficit of weapons, particularly in deficit of artillery and long-range capabilities, allows Putin to adapt to the current intensity of the war.”

Please, do not ask Ukraine when the war will end. Ask yourself, why is Putin still able to continue it?…

May our world based on rules never become the world of yesterday.

Referring to Ukraine’s withdrawal from Avdiivka in the Donetsk region after a four-month Russian assault, the President said Russia had lost “tens of thousands of people”, more than seven times higher than Ukraine’s casualties.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the conference.


A civilian has been killed in the Sumy region in northern Ukraine by one of 47 Russian attacks throughout Friday.

The man was slain in Bilopillia, the target of most of the shelling. The settlement is 8 km (5 miles) south and 25 km (15.5 miles) west of the Ukraine-Russia border.


Ukraine has withdrawn its forces from the devastated town of Avdiivka in the east of the country after a relentless 4-month assault by Russia’s invaders.

The new Ukrainian commander-in-chief Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi said in a statement, “Based on the operational situation around Avdiivka, in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of the servicemen, I decided to withdraw our units from the city and move to defense on more favorable lines.”

He said Ukrainian soldiers had fulfilled their military duty with dignity, inflicting significant losses in manpower and equipment on the Russian attackers, and assured:

We are taking measures to stabilize the situation and hold our positions. Servicemen’s lives are the highest value.

We will take back Avdiivka anyway.

Gen. Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of the Tavria Brigade, posted that Ukrainian defenders were facing Russia’s 10:1 advantage in artillery shells: “Encirclement was prevented, personnel were withdrawn. Our soldiers took up defense at the designated lines.”

Russia launched the assault on Avdiivka, which had a pre-war population of about 33,000, in early October. Airstrikes, armored forces, and constant shelling accompanied “human wave” attacks.

The town is about 20 km (12.5 miles) north of Donetsk city, the main position since 2014 of Russia’s occupation of parts of eastern Ukraine.

The capture of the town is only the second by Russian forces in Ukraine since July 2022, alongside the seizure of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region in May 2023.

It is likely to give a symbolic boost to the Kremlin, facing heavy losses on the battlefield and Ukrainian strikes on key military facilities and resources far behind the frontlines. However, analysts say Avdiivka is of little strategic significance for Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War summarized on Friday, “The capture of Avdiivka itself would not offer any operationally significant benefits or avenues for operationally significant advances.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: During his trip to Germany and France, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed security agreements with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The accords commit Berlin and Paris to the defense of Kyiv during and beyond the Russian invasion about to enter its third years.

The Ukrainian-German agreement is for 10 years in the first instance.

Germany is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within borders, which have been internationally recognised since 1991, including the territorial sea and free economic (maritime) zone.

In 2024, Germany will provide more than €7 billion in military assistance to Ukraine. The two parties will cooperate on sanctions against Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin’s invasion continues and until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored.

Berlin is also pledging to work for the establishment of a tribunal to try those committing crimes of aggression during the invasion.

Scholz announced another military aid package of €1.1 billion, with 36 armored vehicles, 120,000 rounds of ammunition, two Skynex air defense systems, and missiles for Iris-T air defense systems.

“Unwavering Support” From France

After the meeting with Macron, Zelenskiy announced:

Macron posted, “Ukrainians are fighting not only for their freedom, but also for European security. Our commitment will not waver….Vladimir Putin’s Russia has become a methodical actor in the destabilization of the world.”

The agreements follow a security accord between Ukraine and the UK on January 12.