Friday’s Coverage: 11 Russian Warplanes Downed Within 2 Weeks

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The Netherlands is the latest country to agree a security pact with Ukraine.

Visiting Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte signed the guarantee with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The Netherlands joins Canada, Italy, the UK, Germany, France, and Denmark in the 10-year security deals with Kyiv.


With the breaking of Russia’s blockade in the Black Sea, Ukraine exported a record 8m tons of freight, including 5.2m tons of agricultural products, through a protected corridor in February.

Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said, “These are record export indicators not only via the Ukrainian corridor but since the start of [Russia’s] large-scale invasion.”


Ukraine air defenses downed all four Iran-type attack drones launched by Russia overnight.

The UAVs were intercepted over the Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions.

Russia also fired five S-300 missiles.


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reiterated his opposition to the supply of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.

Noting that the range of these missiles is 500 km (312 miles), Scholz claimed, “If used incorrectly, they can hit a specific target somewhere in Moscow.”

He said that the UK and France, which are supplying Kyiv with Storm Shadow and SCALP long-range missiles, “have taken care to know exactly where they will land”. But for Germany to do this, its military would have to be involved in the launch of the missiles.

“And I think that this is excluded,” Scholz said.

He said he is “irritated” by criticism of his position, since Germany has supplied Ukraine with far more weapons than most other countries.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Unsettled by a resurgent Europe and NATO and trying to break international support for Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has threatened the use of nuclear weapons to prop up his two-year invasion.

In a “state of the nation” campaign speech two weeks before Russia’s managed Presidential election, Putin reacted to the suggestion of French President Emmanuel Macron that European troops might be deployed in Ukraine.

There has been talk about the possibility of sending Nato military contingents to Ukraine.

[Western nations] must understand that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilization.

Don’t they get that? We remember the fate of those who once sent their contingents to the territory of our country. Now the consequences for possible interventionists will be much more tragic.

Most leaders across Europe and in the US pushed back Macron’s suggestion, focusing instead on an increase in military, financial, and economic support to Kyiv.

But Putin is also facing a reassertion of European backing of Ukraine’s resistance, even as Trumpist and hard-right Republicans paralyze American aid. Earlier this week — overcoming the blockade of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, a long-time ally of Putin — the European Union agreed a €50 billion fund for Ukraine aid through 2027.

NATO is also on the verge of another breakthrough, with Sweden soon becoming the 32nd member. Hungary lifted its objection to the accession last week.

And while Russia is trying to seize the initiative on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, Kyiv is inflicting damage behind the frontlines — including well inside Russia — with missile, drone, and rocket strikes. Russia’s grip on the Black Sea has been broken with the attacks on its warships and ports; a series of oil refineries and supply and logistics points have been struck; and 13 warplanes have been downed with the past two weeks.

Putin declared that the possibility of Russia attacking Europe as “nonsense”, but in the next breath spoke of nuclear conflict if the West pursued “intervention” in Russia.

“They think this is some kind of game. They are blinded by their own superiority complex,” he said.

Putin postured that Russian troops have “the initiative” in the invasion and are “liberating new territories”.

The Russian occupation on February 17 of devastated Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, was only their second capture of a town or city since July 2022.

However, with Ukrainian ground troops crippled by a lack of artillery shells, the Russians are holding to press further in the east in the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.