Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks with commanders in the Kupyansk area in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, February 19, 2024 (AFP)

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Map: Institute for the Study of War


A family of five have been killed in a Russian drone strike on a private house in the Sumy region in northern Ukraine.

The Russians attacked the village of Nova Sloboda about 4 a.m. with drones and artillery.


Russia’s State security service has seized another American citizen.

The FSB said it “suppressed the illegal activities” of a 33-year-old US-Russian woman in the city of Yekaterinburg. It claimed she was “proactively collecting funds… which were subsequently used to purchase tactical medical item, equipment, means of destruction and ammunition for the Ukrainian armed forces”.

The woman is a resident of Los Angeles, the FSB asserted. If convicted of treason, she could be sentenced to life in prison.

Last March the service seized US citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershevich as he was in Yekaterinburg working on stories about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and attitudes towards Wagner Group mercenaries.

Gershevich has been refused released from pre-trail detention and faces up to 20 years in prison.

In October, US-Russian citizen and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty editor Alsu Kurmasheva was arrested. She has been charged with failure to register as a foreign agent and could be punished with a five-year sentence.


Two civilians have been killed in Russian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.

Governor Ivan Fedorov said there were 435 attacks on 19 settlements, with 13 reports of the destruction of residential buildings and infrastructure facilities.

The victims were in the settlements of Primorskyi and Lisnyi.


Sweden is sending another 7.1 billion Swedish crowns ($682 million) in military aid to Ukraine.

The package is Sweden’s 15th and the largest to date during Russia’s invasion. Stockholm has provided a total of about 30 billion crowns ($2.9 billion).

The latest package includes artillery and artillery ammunition, maritime assault vessels, and recoilless rifles. Funds are earmarked for the purchase of material through international funds for Ukraine, with 1 billion crowns for the purchase of about 10 new armored combat vehicles to be ready for delivery to Ukraine in 2026.

“We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Swedish Defense minister Pal Jonson told a press conference.


A Russian helicopter pilot who defected to Ukraine last year has been murdered in Spain, possibly in an assassination by Moscow’s operatives.

Maksim Kuzminov was found dead last Tuesday in the town of Villajoyosa on the Mediterranean coast. His body was discovered on a car park ramp underneath an apartment block.A burnt-out car was discovered nearby in the Costa Blanca town of El Campello.

Reports in Spanish media say unknown gunmen fired 12 shots. Police initially thought the shooting was gang-related before reportedly learning of the defection.

Kuzminov crossed the frontline last August while on a flight between two Russian airbases, transporting parts for Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets. The other two pilots were killed.

Ukraine military intelligence head Kyrylo Budanov said his officers hpersuaded Kuzminov to defect during a six-month operation. The pilot’s family were extracted from Russia.

Commentators linked to Russia’s Defense Ministry insisted the reports about Kuzminov’s killing were planted by Ukraine’s intelligence services to fake the pilot’s death.

Without claiming responsibility, Sergei Naryshkin, the director of the Russian foreign intelligence service, said:

In Russia it is customary to speak either good of the dead or nothing at all.

This traitor and criminal became a moral corpse at the very moment when he planned his dirty and terrible crime.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for resolution of a months-long dispute limiting the movement of Ukrainian goods across the border with Poland.

Since November 6, Polish farmers have blocked crossings. They are demanding that the European Union reinstitute customs payments, waived in May 2022 because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on Ukrainian agriculatural products.

The Polish Government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who took office in December, have said that it will work with Kyiv to settle the issue. But on Tuesday, Polish farmers said that they will escalate the blockade and halt almost all traffic from Ukraine.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly address to the nation:

A few words about a situation that is not usual, a situation that demonstrates the erosion of solidarity on a daily basis. Things that are happening on our western border, the border with Poland, cannot be considered normal or ordinary.

A simple and clear justice is needed. Only 5% of our agricultural exports pass through the Polish border. So in reality, the situation is not about grain, but rather about politics….

We need common decisions, rational decisions, to resolve this situation. The decisions made by us and the Poles, first of all, and by everyone in Europe who cares about the fate of Europe.


UAE banks have reportedly limited transactions with Russian entities and closed the accounts of Russian citizens since September, to avoid punishment from Western secondary sanctions.

Citing three businesspeople working in the UAE and a representative of the Russian organization Delovaya Rossiya, the Russian outlet Vedomosti wrote on Monday that the Emirati banks are not accepting deposits from or making payments to Russian entities. They are also closing the accounts of companies whose owners are Russian citizens.

A “source close to the Russian Cabinet of Ministers” said Moscow is aware of the problem but considers it “not critical and solvable”. Vedomosti’s sources pointed ot the use of local connections, avoiding any links with entities under Western sanctions.

Bloomberg had reported in November that Emirati banks, under US pressure, had begun rejection of Russian firms.

Last month, some Chinese State-owned banks ordered reviews of business with Russian clients, severing ties with sanctioned Russian entities and those involved in the Russian defense industry.Turkish banks have also reportedly started to close the accounts of Russian companies.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited the frontline in the Kharkiv region in the northeast of the country, as Russia tries to advance with waves of assaults.

Zelenskiy conferred with commanders, chatted with troops, presented honors, and visited wounded soldiers in hospital.

In a nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy said:

The situation is extremely difficult in several parts of the frontline, where Russian troops have amassed maximum reserves. They are taking advantage of the delays in aid to Ukraine….

There is a deficit of artillery. There is a need for frontline air defense and for a longer range of our weapons. We are working with our partners as hard as possible to resume and extend support.

Ukraine liberated almost all of Kharkiv, on the border with Russia, in autumn 2022. However, since last autumn Russian has tried to regain the initiative with intense attacks, particularly in the Kupyasnk area.

The Russians have a large advantage in troop numbers and artillery shells. This has been exacerbated by Ukraine’s shortage of munitions, with European countries trying to increase productions and US aid suspended because of a blockade by Trumpists and hard-right Republicans.

Moscow is hoping to follow up on last week’s seizure of the devastated town of Avdiivka in the neighboring Donetsk region. The capture is only the second by the Russians since July 2022, alongside the overrunning of Bakhmut in May 2023; however, the Kremlin is playing up a symbolic victory as it tries to break Ukrainian will and international support for Kyiv.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War assesses that the tempo of Russia’s offensive has “dramatically slowed”, as the Russians — with an estimated 16,000 troops killed or seriously wounded and unable to return during their four-month assault — consolidating their position.

Ukraine military spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy said on Monday that Russian attacks, shelling, and aerial operations had significantly decreased, as Ukrainian forces withdrew to new defense lines.