French President Emmanuel Macron opens a conference discussing support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, Paris, February 26, 2024 (Reuters)

Tuesday’s Coverage: Europe Meets to Support Kyiv — But No Consensus on Troops and Missiles

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has urged European politicians and officials to investigate and punsih Vladimir Putin and his “criminal gang”, cutting off their finances.

Navalnaya was greeted with a standing ovation at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. She told the legislators:

Putin is the leader of an organized criminal gang. This includes poisoners and assassins but they’re just puppets. The most important thing is the people close to Putin – his friends, associates and keepers of mafia money.

You and all of us must fight the criminal gang. And the political innovation here is to apply the methods of fighting organised crime, not political competition. Not statements of concern but the search for mafia associates in your countries, for discreet lawyers and financiers who are helping Putin and his friends to hide money.

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

She concluded:

Putin must answer for what he has done to my country. Putin must answer for what he has done to a neighboring, peaceful country. And Putin must answer for everything he has done to Alexei.

My husband will not see what the Beautiful Russia of the Future will look like, but we must see it. And I will do my best to make his dream come true, that evil will fall and this beautiful future will come.


One civilian was killed and one injured by Russian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine on Tuesday.

A 76-year-old resident was killed by shelling in the village of Nove, and an artillery attack on the town of Orikhiv injured a 53-year-old man.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has spoken to the Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit in Albania about the significance beyond Ukraine of resisting Russia’s invasion.

Zelenskiy continued:

We have seen in the past how someone else tried to determine the fate of other nations. This happened in the Balkans, in Eastern Europe, and in all other parts of Europe. Now Putin wants to do exactly the same.

Putin’s hostility and everything he wants to force other nations to do are an attempt to make the old dictates of how nations should exist, what they should agree or disagree with. It is critical for all free nations that he and his regime lose. All his failures are our security.

The President spoke about the Ukraine Peace Formula, to be discussed at a forthcoming summit in Switzerland; co-production for defense, with a Ukraine-Balkans Defense Industry Forum; and joint efforts for food security.


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has told the European Parliament:

It is time to start a conversation about using the windfall profits of frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military equipment for Ukraine.

There could be no stronger symbol and no greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live.

Previewing a new European Union industrial defense strategy, she said:

The risks of war should not be overblown, but they should be prepared for and that starts with the urgent need to rebuild, replenish, modernise member states’ armed forces.

Europe should strive to develop and manufacture the next generation of battle-winning operational capabilities. That means turbo-charging our defense industrial capacity in the next five years.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday, discussing the Ukraine Peace Formula to end the two-year Russian invasion.

Zelenskiy praised Saudi Arabia’s role in the effort, including its hosting of an international summit last August on the Formula. He thanked the Crown Prince for his “valuable advice” over implementation.

The meeting reviewed the next Peace Summit, hosted by Switzerland later this year, and evaluated “possible steps for truly restoring security for Ukraine”, Europe, and the world.

Zelenskiy said, “We have identical interests in ensuring global stability,” while Mohammad bin Salman “affirmed the Kingdom’s keenness and support for all international endeavours and efforts aimed at resolving the Ukrainian-Russian crisis”.

Zelenskiy is in Albania on Wednesday for the Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit.


Ukraine’s National Resistance Center says partisans blew up an office of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia” party in the occupied city of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region in the south of the country.

The Center, run by Ukraine’s Special Forces, said the resistance attacked “to stop the fake election process in the captured city” amid preparations for Russia’s managed Presidential vote in mid-March.

The Center called on Ukrainian citizens in occupied territories boycott the election. It said, “Every collaborator who helps organize the ‘election process’ will be held accountable for their actions.”

Marina Zakharova, the Russian proxy head of the Electoral Commission of the Kherson region, acknowledged in a video message that “as a result of a terrorist attack by Ukraine” in Nova Kakhovka, “the premises of precinct commissions were damaged”.

Zakharova added that “an enemy shell exploded near the territorial election commission in the Holoprystanskyi municipal district”.

Vladimir Saldo, the Russia proxy heead of the Kherson region, confirmed the attacks but claimed they were carried out by drones.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: A series of allies have knocked back French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion that troops from European and NATO countries could be sent to Ukraine, bolstering Kyiv’s resistance against Russia’s two-year invasion.

Macron said at a Paris meeting of 20 leaders on Monday that “nothing should be excluded” regarding assistance to Kyiv: “We will do everything that we can to make sure that Russia does not prevail.”

He noted that previous objections to the delivery of armored vehicles, missiles, and warplanes had been overcome: “People used to say give them just sleeping bags and helmets….[Now] we must do whatever we can to obtain our objective.”

Throughout Tuesday, fellow leaders rejected the step. They emphasized that other areas of support — notably provision of weapons and artillery shells, amid a blockade on US aid by Trumpists and hard-right Republicans — must be stepped up.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Polish counterpart Donald Tusk started the procession of remarks. At their joint press conference in Prague, Fiala said:

I am convinced that we should develop the paths of support that we embarked on after Russia’s aggression.

I believe we do not need to open some other methods or ways.

They were quickly followed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is also holding out against supply of Taurus long-range missiles: “There will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there by European countries or NATO states.”

Statements were issued by leaders or their spokespeople in the US, the UK, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Hungary. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg added:

NATO allies are providing unprecedented support to Ukraine. We have done that since 2014 and stepped up after the full-scale invasion. But there are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.

Only Lithuania Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis offered support for the French President’s initiative: “Europe’s fate is being decided on the battlefields of Ukraine. Times like these require political leadership, ambition and courage to think out of the box.”