“Putin Will Get Some Nice Surprises” – Ukraine War Update for February 1

summary:

  • NATO's Stoltenberg hints that he and the Republican House leader are on the same page on Ukraine
  • Ukrainian Storm Shadow missiles are believed to have hit an airfield in Crimea
  • The Russians are making further progress around Avdiivka and Bakhmut
  • US Undersecretary of State in Kiev praises Ukrainian soldiers
  • North Korean artillery shells are said to have been used in the Moscow attack
  • Unofficial news of Zalozny's release is seen as a done deal across the Atlantic

“Supporting Ukraine is not an act of charity,” NATO’s Secretary General told lawmakers in Washington.

At the conclusion of his visit to Washington, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday addressed conservative lawmakers, stressing the importance of approving Democratic President Joe Biden's $61 billion in additional aid to Kiev, despite former President Donald Trump's behind-the-scenes efforts to thwart… No such deal. .

Stoltenberg reported on social media that he and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) “agreed” on the importance of standing up to Putin. The joint statement issued by the two used the word “directed.”

“We addressed the importance of sending a clear and decisive message to President Putin that he will not win his war of aggression in Ukraine,” the joint statement said.

“What you produce keeps people safe,” Stoltenberg said, speaking at the pro-Trump Heritage Foundation. “What allies buy keeps American businesses strong.”

Agence France-Presse quoted him as saying: “So NATO represents a good deal for the United States.” The NATO Secretary General stressed that US aid has so far helped destroy “a large part of Russia's combat capability.”

He appealed to the business-friendly crowd with economic numbers: American manufacturers have exported $120 billion worth of weapons to allies over the past two years, money that creates jobs and domestic profits.

“Supporting Ukraine is not an act of charity,” Stoltenberg said. “It is an investment in our security.”


Other topics of interest

Schulz pledges to do everything in his power to provide “huge” European Union aid to Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell admitted on Wednesday that the EU would supply Ukraine with just over half a million artillery shells it promised to send by March.

Ukrainian missiles fall near Belbek Airport in the occupied Crimean Peninsula

Geolocated images released on Wednesday appear to show a Ukrainian airstrike near the area Belbek Airport close Sevastopoloccupied Crimea.

Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Mykola Oleshchuk, thanked the Ukrainian forces for hitting the targets:

However, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said it had not yet observed conclusive evidence indicating Russian targets were struck by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) at or near the airport.

Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War reported that the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Russian forces intercepted 20 Ukrainian missiles, 17 of them on the approach to Sevastopol on Wednesday. One Russian blogger wrote that these were likely Storm Shadow missiles, reminiscent of similar attacks from Storm Shadow in the vicinity of the same airport in October.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that fragments of the missile fell in the area Lyubimovka (northeast of Sevastopol), and Sevastopol's occupying governor Mikhail Razvozaev claimed that “rocket fragments destroyed buildings along Fedorevska Street near Belbek Airport,” ISW reported.

Operations: Donetsk region

The Institute for the Study of War reported on Wednesday that Russian forces advanced in areas along the Avdiivka and Bakhmut fronts, citing geolocated footage.

The images appear to show that Russian forces advanced marginally along the streets in residential areas in the far south of the country Avdiivka. One Russian military blogger claimed that the units advanced along a front up to 500 meters wide and 300 meters deep along Chernyshevskoho, Sportevna and Soborna streets in southern Avdiivka.

The head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, Vadim Velashkin, also said that Russian forces launched 24 slide bombs on Avdiivka this week, ISW reported.

Meanwhile, along the Bakhmut front, geographic images published on Tuesday indicate Russian forces advancing eastward IvanevskyIt is a town located directly west of Bakhmut.

“Putin will get some nice surprises on the battlefield,” says the US envoy in Kiev.

Acting US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland visited Kiev on Wednesday to ease concerns that US aid might run out, and to praise Ukraine's defense efforts so far in the all-out Russian invasion.

Agence France-Presse quoted Nuland as saying: “I leave Kiev tonight even more excited about unity and the result, and about 2024 and its absolute strategic importance for Ukraine.”

He added: “I also feel more confident that as Ukraine strengthens its defenses, [Russian President Vladimir] “Putin is going to get some nice surprises on the battlefield and Ukraine is going to have some very strong success,” she said, noting that Ukraine “has done significant damage to Putin’s ground forces.”

Her comments came as Putin claimed Russian forces now controlled the outskirts of Avdiivka, aiming to appease voters ahead of the March presidential election in which Russia's stunning losses there yielded results.

Russia was said to be using North Korean artillery, in addition to its missiles

State media Ukrinform reported on Wednesday that a military intelligence spokesman confirmed that Russia is using artillery shells supplied by North Korea in the war against Ukraine.

“Yes, we can confirm that if we are talking about artillery shells, then this cooperation between the two regimes will be closer,” Andrei Yusov, spokesman for Ukrainian defense intelligence, told Ukrinform. “North Korea has already delivered a significant portion of artillery shells to Russia. Some of them are already being used and are being used in the war against Ukraine.”

Pyongyang reportedly delivered more than a million artillery shells to Russia last November.

The use of North Korean missiles against targets in the Kharkiv region has already been widely reported, but this represents the first official confirmation of North Korean artillery in Ukraine. Ukrainian Ground Forces Command spokesman Volodymyr Vityu said it was difficult to definitively determine whether a North Korean shell had been used “since the shells completely disintegrated during the explosion.”

The US media isn't quite sure what to make of Zalozny's ouster

With the tape of the “dismissal of a top Ukrainian general,” the American news giant CNN interviewed the head of Ukrainian defense intelligence, Kirilo Budanov, whom it identified as a possible successor to Valery Zalozny, on the “Erin Burnett Outfront” program on Wednesday. Burnett described Zalozny's “dismissal” as a bombshell, although the Ukrainian president's office has not confirmed the news.

In a meeting on Monday with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Zalozny was reportedly informed that he would be replaced, but no official announcement has yet been made. This news caused disbelief among his loyal soldiers, and much confusion in the American media, some of which, such as CNN, reported it as mere news. The reality.

Zelensky's spokesman Serhiy Nikiforov on Monday denied news of Zalozny's dismissal. “[This is not a] “The topic of conversation,” he said. “The president did not fire the commander-in-chief.”

When reporters asked him about the matter at a news conference at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Major General Pat Rader of the US Air Force said: “I am not tracking any changes.” [on that]“It is clear that it is up to Ukraine to discuss its internal affairs.”

John Moretti

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