Situation around Ukraine in brief. February 8

08.02.2023, Moscow.

We publish a summary of events concerning the situation around Ukraine as of 10 p.m., February 8.

Political situation

Mauritania is interested in oil and gas and food supplies from Russia, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a press-conference with his Mauritanian counterpart Mohamed Salem Ould Merzouk. “Our friends are interested in deliveries of hydrocarbon fuel, food and fertilizers from Russia. We talked about it in detail today,” Lavrov stated.

Scheduled for May 2023 concerts by Russian virtuoso pianist Denis Matsuev in Italy were canceled, reported on the website of the international festival Pianistico. Matsuev’s concerts were canceled after the mayors of the Italian cities of Brescia and Bergamo sent letters to the organizers, written at the request of Ukrainian Ambassador Yaroslav Melnik.

Today, Russia again fights tyranny in the name of just world order, the deputy of the National Assembly of Venezuela Jesus Faria said. His statement was published on the Telegram channel of the Russian Embassy in Venezuela. “The victory in the Battle of Stalingrad saved the planet from the enslavement and barbarism of Nazism. Today, Russia is fighting tyranny again in the name of a just world order in which sovereignty is respected,” Faria said at the unveiling of a mural commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad.

The West’s decisions to transfer tanks and longer-range missiles are aimed at prolonging the conflict in Ukraine, Chairman of the Crimean parliament Vladimir Konstantinov wrote on his Telegram channel. “At the same time, the USA makes it clear that it does not intend to limit Ukrainian fighters in their use of weapons against Russian territory. As if they used to. They just did not talk about it so openly. But at the same time, it [the USA] not only ‘approved’ terrorist attacks, but also directed and corrected strikes on our cities,” the statement reads.

Taiwan’s top weapons builder has test-fired a missile believed to be capable of hitting mainland China, as cross-strait tensions show no sign of abating. It has also said it is working with local civilian companies to develop five types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to build up a drone fleet and boost the military’s surveillance ability, South China Morning Post wrote.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Sudan came as a surprise to Western diplomats, Bloomberg wrote. Lavrov visited the Sudanese capital on the same day that US and European Union diplomats were there. While the Western representatives’ visit had been planned in advance, Lavrov’s trip came as a surprise, sources said. As Bloomberg points out, the visit took place against the backdrop of Western attempts to isolate Russia in the international arena.

Honest people always return what they find on the street to the owner, and so the USA should return the wreckage of the downed balloon to China, Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Chaye said. “If you pick up something on the street, you should return it to the owner, if you know who the owner is,” said Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France.

The crisis in Ukraine is a direct consequence of the US policy of pursuing its geopolitical goals at the expense of all other countries, said Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, at a meeting of Secretaries of National Security Councils held in Moscow.

“It is not surprising the US is playing the long game and it will not call a truce until it achieves its goal of weakening and dismembering Russia. However, in the process, Ukraine will inevitably become the biggest victim, and Europe, abducted by the US strategy driven by Cold War mentality, is paying the second worst price,” Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.


German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius came to Kyiv. He met with Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov. Reznikov said that he and Pistorius discussed options for accelerating the production of munitions for Ukraine, particularly for air defense systems. Reznikov confirmed that the German government has already decided to supply Ukraine with Leopard 1 tanks as well. “20-25 of these tanks will be here by the summer, about 80 by the end of the year, and more than 100 Leopard 1 tanks during 2024,” Reznikov said.

Captain of the 103rd Brigade of Territorial Defense Aleksander Ganushchin explained the reasons for the increased rate of mobilization in Ukraine. According to him, this is happening because the Ukrainian Armed Forces need to have the personnel to master new Western equipment and make up for losses.

“We really need people because we need highly trained, motivated fighters who know how to operate the equipment that is coming in. We also need people to replace casualties, we need people for logistics and for non-military services. Therefore, the mobilization will definitely continue,” the military stressed on the air of Apostrof TV.

Zelensky appointed new heads of Kherson, Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk regional administrations. Prokudin (former police chief of Kherson region) was appointed head of the Kherson regional state administration. Lysak was appointed head of the Dnepropetrovsk regional state administration (in July 2022 Zelenskyi appointed him head of the Ukrainian Security Service department in the Dnepropetrovsk region). Malashko was appointed head of the Zaporozhye regional state administration (he had been acting head of the Anti-Terrorist Center under the Ukrainian Security Service).

Zelensky arrived in the United Kingdom. He held talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The sides discussed increasing supplies of military equipment to the Kiev regime and signed a joint agreement between the two nations to deepen military cooperation. According to Sky News, the British will train Ukrainian pilots to fly Western-made fighter jets, as well as to train marines.

King of the United Kingdom Charles III received Zelensky in London. This was reported by the press service of Buckingham Palace.

Zelensky gave the speaker of the British Parliament a helmet of a Ukrainian pilot and asked London for combat planes. Other important statements Zelensky in the British capital:

  • I propose the creation of a special mechanism for compensation consisting of the transfer of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine as compensation;
  • your aid to Ukraine was preventive, we need to adopt this principle – preventively help those who are under threat;
  • freedom will win, Russia will lose. Victory will change the world, it will be the change the world has needed for so long.

Under pressure from the West, Ukraine is beginning to sell off its nuclear power. The Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament] has supported a bill to “corporatize” the state-owned National Nuclear Energy Company Energoatom. It is argued that the corporatization of the company was carried out to ensure economic security and protect the interests of the state. The transformation from a state enterprise into a joint stock company was supported by 259 MPs. For the time being, 100% of Energoatom’s shares will belong to the state.

The supplying fighter jets, attack aircraft and Apache helicopters to Ukraine will be decided within the next few weeks, Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of Vladimir Zelensky’s office, said on the air of the Ukrainian TV marathon.

Western countries and their supporters

Lithuania handed over several dozen L-70 anti-aircraft guns with ammunition to the Ukrainian armed units and trained combat crews.

By the end of February, Ukraine will receive from Germany more air defence missiles, five Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and five Dachs engineer tanks. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced this.

German tanks are being rapidly moved to the borders of Ukraine. Last night, a column of German vehicles with Leopard tanks was spotted near Dresden, moving in the direction of Poland.

The US has agreed to sell Poland $10 billion worth of weapons, including ATACMS missiles (without the right to transfer to Ukraine) – Reuters. In particular, Poland will receive 18 launchers HIMARS, 1,559 rockets GMRS (with a range up to 90 km) and ballistic rockets ATACMS, launched by the same HIMARS, but with a range of almost 300 km. Poland will receive them under the condition that they will not be transferred to third countries without US consent.

Polish Deputy Minister of National Defense Wojciech Skurkiewicz said that his country plans to conduct monthly military training for two battalions of the Ukrainian armed units as part of the EU EUMAM mission.

Joe Biden delivered his annual address to the US Congress:

– Russia’s ‘special operation’ in Ukraine was a ‘test of centuries’ for the US and the world;

– The US united NATO and built a coalition to counter Russia in Ukraine;

– The USA makes it clear to China that it is determined to compete, not conflict: defeating China in a competitive struggle will unite the USA.

Britain said nothing was off the table and it wanted to start training Ukrainian fighter pilots to fly “sophisticated NATO-standard fighter jets in the future.” “The first step in being able to provide advanced aircrafts is to have soldiers or aviators that are capable of using them. That is a process that takes some time. We’ve started that process today,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said alongside Zelenskiy at an army camp in Dorset, southwest England – Reuters.

A conflict similar to that in Europe may be repeated in Asia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. This is possible because China is rapidly expanding its military capabilities, including nuclear weapons. He also said that the alliance has already transferred all types of aid to Ukraine worth $120 billion.

Kiev has no resources to carry out offensive actions. The situation for Kiev is close to defeat. This was reported by the former commander of the Polish Army, General Waldemar Skrzypczak, in an interview with Writeulna Roska.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer called for the construction of a wall along the entire external border of the European Union to protect against illegal migrants, the German newspaper Bild wrote. “Physical infrastructure and barriers are necessary to protect these external borders. This means: fences, walls and everything connected with them,” said the chancellor.

Activists sprayed red paint on the facade of the TotalEnergies building because of the company’s excess profits amid the energy shortage in the country. Activists from the associations Alternatiba Paris and Amis de la Terrewrote on their Twitter page. “TotalEnergies continues to make disproportionate profits, while more than 12 million French people are forced to live in energy shortages because of the energy crisis,” the activists said.

Poland’s former leader Donald Tusk should apologize for trying to be friends with Russia 15 years ago, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said –“I appeal to Donald Tusk to admit his mistakes, which began exactly 15 years ago with his visit to the Kremlin, to admit a big political and strategic mistake,” Morawiecki said.

The future of Ukraine is linked to the EU, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during his speech in the Bundestag with a government statement on the agenda of the upcoming EU summit. “At the upcoming European Council, we will confirm the promise that the council made to Ukrainians last June, namely that Ukraine belongs to Europe and that its future is in the EU,” Scholz said.

Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and his British counterpart Ben Wallace signed an agreement on mutual defense cooperation. This was reported on the website of the British Ministry of Defense.

Dissatisfaction among American students and teachers with the closure of the exhibition “Vkhutemas: Laboratory of the Avant-Garde, 1920-1930,” in New York led to the exhibition being reinstalled, the New York Times wrote. After indefinitely postponing a modest student exhibit about the Russian equivalent to the Bauhaus, the school received protests from 750 academics.

Information that the current US administration is behind the alleged sabotage of the Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 is  not true. This statement was made by White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson stated in a commentary for TASS.

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