As the war enters its 719th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Monday, February 12, 2024.
- Seven people were killed, including three small children, after a Russian drone attack on the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Saturday hit a petrol station burning half the street to the ground.
- Russia launched drone attacks on Kyiv and southern Ukraine, injuring at least one civilian and damaging a gas pipeline and residential buildings in the river and seaport of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s military said on Sunday. The Air Force said air defence systems destroyed 40 out of the 45 Russian-launched Shahed drones.
- Ukrainian intelligence said it had evidence Russian forces were using Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink on the battlefield in occupied areas in the east of the country. Musk said the system was not being sold to Russia.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced five senior military appointments after naming Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky as the new Armed Forces chief earlier in the week. Colonel Vadym Sukharevskyi would take charge of uncrewed systems and the development of the use of drones by soldiers, while Colonel Andriy Lebedenko would focus on technological innovation of army and combat systems as deputy chiefs of staff to Syrsky, Zelenskyy said. Three brigadier generals were named deputies of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – Volodymyr Horbatyuk, who would run operations and management, Oleksiy Shevchenko, in charge of logistics, and Mykhailo Drapatyi on training.
Politics and diplomacy
- A narrowly divided United States Senate moved closer to passing a $61bn aid package for Ukraine, despite mounting opposition from Republican hardliners and former US President Donald Trump who is running for election in November.
- Trump told a campaign rally that if elected president, he would not protect NATO members who had not met their financial obligations and would “encourage” Russia to attack them. The White House said the comments were “appalling and unhinged”. European Council President Charles Michel said the comments were “reckless”, while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned against talk that “undermines security”.
- Alexander Stubb was elected Finland’s new president. The centre-right, pro-European Stubb is a strong supporter of Ukraine and has taken a tough stance towards Russia.
- Russian state news agency TASS said the registration of candidates for the March presidential election had closed, with the final list including President Vladimir Putin and three politicians who all support Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Antiwar candidate Boris Nadezhdin was not on the list.
- Human rights group Memorial said 71-year-old Ukrainian Viktor Demchenko had died in a Russian prison while on trial for espionage. Demchenko had been accused of spying, participation in a terrorist group and the illegal possession of weapons. TASS later reported that Demchenko died on December 31 as the result of a stroke several days earlier.
- In an interview with German media, NATO’s Stoltenberg called on Europe to increase its arms production to support Ukraine and prevent “potentially decades of confrontation” with Moscow.