Situation around Ukraine in brief. February 17

17.02.2023, Moscow.

We publish a summary of events concerning the situation around Ukraine as of 10 p.m., February 17.

Political situation

Russia is ready to take equivalent retaliatory measures if the EU decides to confiscate its assets – Russian Foreign Ministry.

Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belorussian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenko began in Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region. Vladimir Putin said that he shares the approaches of the Belarusian president, as expressed in a recent press conference. The countries have extensive opportunities for cooperation, especially in industry.

Statements by Aleksandr Lukashenko:

  • Russian firms have ordered more than $300 million worth of services from IT companies in Belorussia.
  • Everything that Russia and Belorussia agreed on in the defense and security sector for 2022 has been fulfilled 100%.
  • Western countries have not managed to deprive Russia and Belorussia of opportunities in the IT sphere, and import substitution is in full swing.
  • Belorussia produces up to 1,000 components for the MS-21 and Sukhoi Superjet.
  • Union programs of Russia and Belorussia are almost 80% complete.
  • Belorussia is ready to start MiG-25 production with a little technological support from the Russian Federation.
  • Belarus fulfilled all its defense and security agreements with Russia in 2022.
  • The trade turnover between the two countries in 2022 reached $50 billion.

Georgian public and not the US State Department should assess the new bill on foreign agents, introduced in the Parliament of Georgia, said Mikhail Kavelashvili, majority MP of the People’s Power Movement, in response to the criticism of the US State Department on February 17. The bill envisages the creation of a register of foreign agents, which will include media and NGOs that receive more than 20% of their annual funding from abroad.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party accused billionaire George Soros of trying to undermine India’s democracy on Friday by predicting that the Adani group’s woes would loosen the Hindu nationalist leader’s grip on power. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Thursday, 92-year-old Soros said “Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies; their fate is intertwined” and the conglomerate’s troubles would “significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government” and “open the door to push for much needed institutional reforms”, the Financial Times reported.


Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk urged Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) residents to leave the city if they are law-abiding, patriotic citizens.

Ukraine will hold Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) at any cost, said Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba. “Bakhmut will be held, and those who complain about the high cost and sacrifices should not forget – if we retreat, another city will become a new Bakhmut,” Kuleba noted.

Zelensky once again declares that negotiations are impossible, “Any territorial compromises would weaken us as a state. So this is not about compromise. The question is, with whom? With Putin? No. Because there is no trust.”

Zelensky, “We believe that today there is no probability and high risk [of Belorussian participation in the special operation]. First of all, it is difficult to involve Belorussian soldiers in the Russian Armed Forces. <…> it is one thing to have missiles flying from the territory of Belorussia, planes flying from their airfields, <…> it is another thing if you deliberately go on the offensive. [It would be] a big historical mistake.”

Zelensky, speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 17, said that Ukraine has no other alternatives but to join NATO and the EU. “There is no alternative to Ukraine in the EU. There is no alternative to Ukraine in NATO. There is no alternative to our unity,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky, speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 17, said that Russia may supply nuclear fuel to Iran.

Western countries and their supporters

German Rheinmetall will produce part of the fuselage for the US fighter aircraft F-35, the corresponding letter of intent was signed by the defense concern and the US Lockheed Martin, the press service of the German company reported on February 17.

NATO countries should avoid direct confrontation with Russia while supporting Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during his speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 17. As Scholz stated, “we are making sure that there is no war between NATO and Russia.” In order to do so, it is necessary “to continue to maintain a balance between supporting Ukraine and avoiding escalation,” he said.

Supplies of weapons to Kiev do not prolong the conflict in Ukraine, but on the contrary, contribute to its early end, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the Munich Security Conference on February 17.

Increased military aid to Ukraine in the coming months and weeks is necessary for the victory of the Kiev regime and the beginning of the negotiation process, French President Emmanuel Macron said at the Munich Security Conference on February 17.

French President Emmanuel Macron said at the Munich Security Conference that Russia is part of Europe and no one can change that. Therefore, there will never be complete peace in the European part of the continent until there is a way to solve the “Russian question” with all common sense, Macron believes.

The USA is preparing the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance countries and Japan for a joint information warfare confrontation, Defense News reported. US intelligence continues to dialogue and share best practices with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and other countries, including Japan, according to  Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, commander of Naval Information Forces.

Japan’s ruling party said it was necessary to exchange intelligence with Taiwan, The Asahi Shimbun reported on February 17. The flight of alleged Chinese reconnaissance balloons showed that Japan and Taiwan need to exchange “critical” information about possible aerial threats, a senior politician in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party said.

Norwegian intelligence is concerned about the growing Russian presence in the Barents Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the increasing periods of deployment of Russian submarines, Defense News reported on February 17. In the Norwegian Intelligence Service’s annual report also expressed concern about the usage of new silent multipurpose submarines, which are increasing the capabilities of the Russian Navy in the Norwegian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. “The Northern Fleet’s naval forces will continue to carry out routine fleet exercises, longer submarine patrols in the Barents Sea and submarine operations in the Atlantic Ocean. The supply of new silent multi-role submarines increase the fleet’s capacity in the Norwegian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean,” the report stated.

The Moldovan Interior Ministry does not know what country belongs to the rocket, the fragment of which was found yesterday in Briceni. The head of the ministry says that an examination is to be carried out.

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