Ukraine war - latest: Russia hints it will do something to "win the world's attention" on February 24 (2023)

Important points
  • The Kremlin hints that it will do something on Feb. 24 to "get the world's attention".
  • Ukraine's Defense Minister Predicts When Russian Offensive May Start
  • Russia's arms suppliers want to increase their deliveries "significantly" this year
  • Crimea cannot be recovered, says Pentagon
  • Dominick Waghorn:Race to Arm Ukraine Ahead of a Spring Offensive Begins
  • live report fromEmily Mei.Updates also fromDeborah Haynesin Ukraine andDiana Magnayin moscow


Aerial photos show house hit by rocket

These latest photos show the extent of damage to an apartment building hit by a Russian missile in Kramatorsk yesterday.

At least three people were killed and 18 others were injured in the attack.

The first at the scene described people screaming under the rubble.


Guerrilla group allegedly carried out bomb attack in Crimea

Two Russian officers were killed in an IED attack allegedly carried out by a Crimean guerrilla group.

According to the Ukrainian Resistance Centre, the police were driving from Sevastopol to Simferopol in Crimea when the attack took place.

The attack was carried out by members of the Ukrainian-Tatar resistance movement Atesh, a guerrilla group operating in Crimea.

Crimea has been occupied by Russia since 2014.


Russian oligarch may have confiscated $5.4 million

Sanctioned Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev could have $5.4m (£4.4m) seized by a US court, a judge has ruled.

US authorities accuse him of funding separatists in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

It is part of a US Justice Department crackdown aimed at squeezing the finances of Russian President Vladimir Putin's allies.

The funds of Mr. Malofeyev, owner of the Orthodox Christian TV channel Tsargrad TV, could be used to finance repairs in Ukraine.

The oligarch refused funding to separatists.

He was sanctioned by the US in 2014 and charged with sanctions violations last year.


Explosions reported in occupied Mariupol and Melitopol

Ukrainian authorities have reported explosions at Russian military installations near the occupied cities of Mariupol and Melitopol.

The city council said an explosion was seen at a makeshift Russian military base in the city.

Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov also reported explosions at a Russian base near the city, as well as at an oil depot in the village of Novobohdanivka.

Both Mariupol and Melitopol in southern Ukraine are under the control of Russian forces.


"We don't send our tanks to your borders, but we have something to answer" - Putin

Russia's Vladimir Putin has again reacted angrily to Western leaders' decision to send tanks into Ukraine.

“Those who drag European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia, especially irresponsibly declaring it a fait accompli, those who hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield, do not seem to understand that a modern war with Russia will give very different for them," he said at an event marking the anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.

"We are not pushing our tanks to the limit, but we have something to respond to. And that won't end the use of armored vehicles."

Russia has repeatedly made threatening remarks since countries including the United States, Britain, Germany and Poland agreed to send Western tanks into Ukraine.

Earlier today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia "will make greater use of its potential" to respond to Western arms shipments.


Army dog ​​'returned to Ukrainian trenches on three legs'

A former Ukrainian officer shared the incredible story of an army dog ​​named Vas'ka.

According to Sergiy Koshman, the animal got caught on a wire near the Russian positions - and ended up biting its paw to escape.

Koshman said the dog "returned to the Ukrainian trenches with three legs" and is now being treated in Poland.


Former Ukrainian defense official to be arrested on suspicion of corruption

A former undersecretary of defense is suspected of being involved in the department's purchase of overpriced food and substandard equipment for the military.

A Ukrainian court ordered their detention, according to the State Investigation Department.

The SBI did not name the former officer.

This follows the resignation of Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov last month after a media report claimed the Defense Ministry had bought food at inflated prices.

At the time, Shapovalov denied any wrongdoing, but said he would step down to maintain public confidence in the ministry.

The arrested person will be held for two months unless they pay a bail of around £9 million.

“The officer not only knew about the delivery of substandard products, but also pressured subordinates to accept substandard products in military camps,” the SBI said.

Ukraine has cracked down on corruption in recent days.

The EU has previously said it would be a requirement for Ukraine to join the bloc.


Wagner's group appears to be slowing prisoner recruitment - and may be 'left out' by Russia

The prominent Wagner mercenary group is known for recruiting convicts from Russian prisons and offering them freedom if they get a treaty in Ukraine.

The group may have slowed down its prisoner recruitment efforts in recent months, according to the latest assessment by the Institute for the Study of War.

Statistics show that the number of Russian prisoners dropped by 6,000 between November 2022 and January 2023.

But between September and October of last year, the number of prisoners fell by 23,000.

ISW, a US-based think tank, said the drop may be due in part to the Wagner Group's reputation for seeing high casualty counts.

Militants are known to have engaged in "human wave" attacks, trying to penetrate Ukrainian territory in sheer numbers.

“The likely inferior physical condition of most Russian inmates for military service is also likely to limit the Wagner group's prison recruitment efforts,” said ISW.

He added that there could also be efforts by Russia's Ministry of Defense to "shut down" the group in future attacks - meaning fewer recruits will be needed.


'No magic wand' can help Ukraine, says UK defense secretary

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace insisted that fighter jets are not what Ukraine needs right now.

He was asked about the issue after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the UK to send modern jets to Ukraine - something the UK government rejected.

At a Portsmouth press conference, Wallace said: "There is no magic wand in this terrible conflict."

He continued: “What the Ukrainians need is the ability to form military formations on the ground to use combined arms maneuvers to repel Russian forces.

"Because that's how you defeat the human wave attacks that the Russians have to resort to now... they're resorting to World War I level attacks, with casualties to match."

He also echoed Downing Street comments that it would take months to train Ukrainian soldiers on British jets.


Would a "Big Bang" of Western support help Ukraine win the war?

There are positive signs that the West is ready to provide Ukraine with more and better weapons. However, as the first anniversary of the conflict quickly approaches, there are fears that Ukraine and Russia could remain at an impasse in the coming year.

Professor Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, warned in an essay for Foreign Politics magazine that “the gradual expansion of military and economic aid” – as the West is currently doing – “will likely just prolong the war indefinitely”.

He wrote that Ukraine's allies should quickly begin expanding arms sales and sanctions against Russia to support a "breakthrough" in the conflict.

“Although Putin understood that Ukrainians are ready to fight as long as necessary to free their country, he still believes that time is on his side. That's because Putin expects Western governments and societies to lose their will and interest in further helping Ukraine," he said.

Professor McFaul said support should be "quick" - and could even be part of a "big bang" for the anniversary.

"Instead of deploying ATACMs in March, Reapers in June and jets in September, NATO should aim for a big bang," he said.

“Plans to deploy all these systems are to be announced on February 24, 2023, the first anniversary of Putin's invasion.

"An announcement of this magnitude will create an important psychological effect on the Kremlin and Russian society, signaling that the West is committed to Ukraine's quest to liberate all occupied territories."

He acknowledged there were risks to providing more support, but said there were also risks to doing nothing.

Fears that Vladimir Putin could escalate the war have not materialized so far, he said.

"The reason is simple: Putin doesn't have a good way to do this," McFaul said.

"He is already using very expensive cruise missiles to attack homes. He cannot attack NATO lest he risk a major war which Russia would quickly lose. That leaves him with only the nuclear option, but even that would not do him any good." ."

He added that if the war dragged on for years, many more people would die – and that would be “the price of incrementalism”.

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