Day 713 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Sweden Plans To End The Investigation Into The Nord Stream Explosion

Ukraine | February 6, 2024, Tuesday // 16:19|  views

Day 713 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • The Russians are advancing on all lines in Ukraine
  • Is the West starting to change its strategy for supplies to Ukraine
  • A two-month-old baby was killed in a Russian strike in the Kharkiv region
  • Von der Leyen: The EU and Ukraine have shown that we are ready to fight for what we believe in
  • Borrell outlined the goals of his visit to Kyiv
  • Ukraine says it has busted a Russian spy ring in its intelligence
  • A pro-Russian "minister" and "MPs" were killed in the attack in Lysychansk
  • The International Court of Justice of the United Nations will consider the case of Ukraine against Russia on the charges of genocide
  • The head of the Russian Orthodox Church leaves Estonia
  • German media: Sweden plans to end investigation into Nord Stream gas pipeline explosion in 2022

The Russians are advancing on all lines in Ukraine

Russian units are advancing on all sections of the front, and the shortage of artillery ammunition not only hinders Ukrainian attacks, but also creates a serious problem for the defense. Ukraine is under intense pressure, Deutsche Welle reports.

The Russians managed to conquer two settlements southeast of Kupiansk - Tabaivka and Krokhmalnoe - and are also advancing to the northeast. Near Avdiivka, the battle for supremacy is largely at a standstill, but Russia is concentrating more and more forces in the area, which probably means that increased strikes against the Ukrainian defenders of the city are coming, the German media ZDF also wrote. At the same time, the Russian units are also advancing towards Bakhmut.

Among the main problems facing the Ukrainian army is the shortage of ammunition for air defense. Russia has repeatedly shelled key Ukrainian cities, including Kharkiv, with missiles and drones, which has exposed weaknesses in Ukraine's air defenses. On February 2, Russian drones struck the industrial city of Kryvyi Rih. Power to a large mine was cut, leaving miners trapped underground. They were saved only after power was restored.

However, Ukraine is still able to strike Russian military targets in Crimea. The sinking of the corvette "Ivanovets" on the night of January 31 against February 1 shows it, ZDF recalls. Ukraine attacked two Russian military airfields on the occupied peninsula, with at least three Russian military planes downed at Belbek airfield. In addition, an air force command center was also affected. According to unconfirmed reports from Ukrainian and Russian sources, high-ranking General Alexander Tatarenko and several other staff officers were killed in the attack.

In the war of attrition, Russia has an advantage, writes ARD. Moscow has invested heavily in its defense and increased its production capacities. It also receives ammunition from outside, including from North Korea.

"We are in a rather difficult situation. If we save, the ammunition can arrive for another month and a half," Ukrainian military expert Andrey Kamarov told ARD. And he notes that Russia is gathering more and more forces at key points on the front. "In Avdiivka, in the area of Kupiansk and in Lyman. The enemy may soon begin to exert very strong pressure and then it will become critical," warns Kamarov.

The effects of all this are visible on the front lines, says US military analyst Michael Coffman. "Russia holds the initiative on most of the front line and has a significant fire advantage. I think Ukraine needs about 3,000 artillery shells per day, but probably has no more than 2,000. This is partly due to the fact that American aid she's very frugal at the moment."

In the US Senate, meanwhile, a bill was presented that provides over 60 billion dollars in support for Ukraine, as well as another 10 billion for humanitarian aid in Gaza and Ukraine. However, it is far from certain whether the bill will also be supported in the Lower House of Congress, where leading Republicans have already spoken out against it.

The European Union also fails to keep its promises, notes ARD. The EU was supposed to provide Kyiv with one million shells. However, only slightly more than half of them will be delivered on time.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has announced plans to produce more and more drones. The declared goal is to produce one million unmanned aerial vehicles in Ukraine by 2024, ZDF informs.

Is the West starting to change its strategy for supplies to Ukraine

In January, several senior NATO military officials warned almost simultaneously that the alliance should prepare for conflict with Russia. "We have to realize that we cannot take for granted that we live in peace," said Dutch admiral and chairman of NATO's military committee, Rob Bauer.

Norwegian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Eirik Kristoffersen said there is now a "window of one, two or three years during which even more investment in secure defense will have to be made," Oslo-based daily Dagbladet reported. At the same time, in neighboring Sweden, Commander-in-Chief Micael Bydén called on his countrymen and politicians to "move from understanding to action".

Experts interpret all this as a call by the military to politicians in Europe to change the strategy in the conflict with Russia. "The hopes for a quick end to the war in Ukraine with the help of Western arms supplies, on the one hand, and sanctions against the Russian military economy, on the other, were not justified," said German security expert Nico Lange to DV.

What worries both the military and analysts is above all the lack of ammunition, new military equipment and the state of production facilities in Europe. NATO's military deterrence potential is closely intertwined with military supplies to Ukraine. Last year, the EU promised to deliver 1 million grenades to Kyiv by March. That plan failed.

According to Lange, an expert on Ukraine and Russia who also works for the Munich Security Conference, the German government, for example, has been slow to give producers the necessary guarantees that it will buy their output. "This is only being done now, after two years," commented Lange. At the same time, the need for ammunition is huge - not only in Ukraine, but also in NATO countries.

In the worst case, NATO has no more than 5 years to arm itself in such a way as to be able to deter a possible Russian attack on NATO territory. The head of the Center for Security and Defense at the German Council on Foreign Relations, Christian Mölling, already outlined this in an analysis published at the end of 2023.

And Gustav Gressel of the European Council on Foreign Relations wrote in a recent analysis: "The West, and specifically the Europeans, should review their financial regulations and radically encourage the production of drones, munitions, armored fighting vehicles and much more." Gressel believes that the strategy of supplying Ukraine mainly with weapons of Soviet production from the warehouses of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe has already been exhausted. For the simple reason that such stocks no longer exist. Arms production must be greatly increased - both for Ukraine and for NATO countries in Europe.

In Ukraine's second military winter, military personnel and analysts are particularly concerned about the Ukrainian army's weaker position in artillery. Russia is apparently able to fill its own shortfalls with supplies from North Korea, while Ukraine's military is forced to impose restrictions on the use of the projectiles. According to the American analyst Michael Kofman, the ratio with them is currently one to five in favor of Russia. According to more pessimistic analyses, the ratio is even one in ten.

Kofman believes it is possible that the Ukrainians will be forced to withdraw from the contested town of Avdiivka on the eastern front. There is also a danger of a large-scale Russian attack near the city of Kupiansk. "It is becoming increasingly clear that the West's reluctance to supply the necessary ammunition and military equipment over the past two years has resulted in Ukraine eventually being forced to withdraw even from territory it has already liberated," said analyst Christian Mölling.

Nico Lange sees the beginning of a change in the West's strategy. It is dictated by the military situation in Ukraine and the analyzes of Western military experts who also monitor the weapons needs of their own armies. It is important to structure the long-term combat capability of the Ukrainian armed forces," German Major General Christian Freuding said.

A two-month-old baby was killed in a Russian strike in the Kharkiv region

Today, as a result of a Russian strike, a two-month-old baby was killed in Zolochiv, Kharkiv region, Ukrinform reported, quoted by BTA. The agency recalls that earlier three women were also injured in the Russian attack, in which S-300 missiles were also used.

Russian forces have already killed 523 Ukrainian children and their actions have injured another 1,217 since the beginning of the invasion, according to data from the Prosecutor General's Office, Ukrinform reported.

"As a result of Russia's full-scale armed aggression throughout Ukraine, a total of 1,740 children have suffered. As of the morning of February 6, 2024, according to the official reports of the Juvenile Prosecutor's Office, 523 children have died and 1,217 have been injured," was said in the statement.

The data is not final, as the authorities are verifying information coming from the temporarily occupied and liberated territories.

The largest number of injured children were reported in the regions of Donetsk (508), Kharkiv (328), Kherson (146), Kyiv (130), Dnipropetrovsk (111), Mykolaiv (101), Zaporizhzhia (100), Chernihiv (72) and Lugansk (67).


Von der Leyen: The EU and Ukraine have shown that we are ready to fight for what we believe in

Putin cannot understand the desire for freedom”, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said today in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, dedicated to the war in Ukraine. EPP Bulgarian MEP Alexander Yordanov called for the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia.

"The EU and Ukraine have shown that we are ready to fight and pay the highest price for what we believe in," von der Leyen told MEPs, noting that Putin's instinct is to crush what scares him.

She defined the invasion of Ukraine nearly 2 years ago as "not only morally but also strategically wrong":

Mr. Putin, you made this mistake because you cannot understand what drives the human spirit when it is free to think, dream, create and prosper because you cannot bear to accept that man's quest for freedom will always win ! And dear MEPs, Putin cannot understand that if he gives the people a choice, they will choose freedom once and for all”.

Von der Leyen noted that the EU has so far trained over 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers and allocated €28 billion in military support, increasing the production capacity of the EU defense industry by 40%. Although the EU will deliver 1 million shells to Ukraine by the end of 2024, von der Leyen said "this is certainly not enough" and called on member states to speed up the supply of ammunition. She added that the EU would also integrate Ukraine in some of its defense programs "where necessary".

"Russia must experience all the horror of the war it has started," said EPP MEP Alexander Yordanov and called for the suspension of diplomatic relations:

"Soon it will be not only 2 years since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but also 10 years since the illegal annexation of Crimea and 20 years since the poisoning of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. And 20 years later, the so-called ‘useful idiots in this hall should clearly see the imperial intentions of the Kremlin regime" - this is how the MEP from the same group, Radan Kanev, addressed his colleagues from the extreme left.

Borrell outlined the goals of his visit to Kyiv

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said upon his arrival in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, that the purpose of his visit was to discuss the "firm support (of the EU) for Ukraine" in the military and financial sectors, as well as for reforms on the way to joining the bloc, reported Ukrinform and Reuters.

"I am in Kyiv again for my fourth visit since the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion. I am here to discuss with my Ukrainian friends the firm support for Ukraine - from the military side, from the financial side with the new aid to Ukraine, as well as in the way of the European reforms," Borrell wrote on the X social platform, as quoted by Ukrinform.

Borrell announced he would visit Ukraine in early February at a press conference after a meeting of the EU's Foreign Policy Council last month to reaffirm the bloc's support for Kyiv in defense and security.

UNIAN clarifies that Borrell will remain in Ukraine tomorrow as well. His meetings with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense Dmytro Kuleba and Rustem Umerov are scheduled.

Borrell is also scheduled to speak before the Ukrainian parliament - the Verkhovna Rada, and to meet with the advisory commission to the EU on reforms in the field of civil safety in Ukraine.

UNIAN also notes that Borrell's special adviser - Zaki Laidi, published in "X" his photo from the railway station in Kyiv.

Ukraine says it has busted a Russian spy ring in its intelligence

Ukrainian authorities announced today that five current and former intelligence officials are suspected of passing information to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), and said they had "neutralized" this "powerful network" of Moscow, AFP reported.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said all five members of this "enemy group" had been arrested.

According to the General Prosecutor's Office, they are Ukrainian citizens. One of them worked for a regional branch of the SBU, and the other four were previously military intelligence officers of the Ministry of Defense and the Foreign Intelligence Service.

Ukrainian special services claim to have "neutralized this powerful network of FSB agents" operating in Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian special services, the task of the detainees was to transmit to Russia information about the Ukrainian army and about "the main energy infrastructure of the country".

According to prosecutors, some of those agents provided Moscow with information about the type of vehicles used by military intelligence, the location of Ukrainian soldiers, the security systems of two Ukrainian nuclear power plants and the routes used to bring foreign weapons into the country.

One of them is said to have also passed on information about defense systems located near the Black Sea port of Odesa and about rocket launchers in Kharkiv, in the north-east of the country, at a time when both sites are regularly targeted. Russian strikes.

The agents are suspected of "treason" for handing over this information for financial payment, prosecutors said.

A pro-Russian "minister" and "MPs" were killed in the attack in Lysychansk

Minister of Emergency Situations for the so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), declared annexed by Russia, and deputies from the "municipal district" of Lysychansk were killed in the attack on a restaurant in the city over the weekend, representatives of the occupying power in your channels in "Telegram".

The information about the liquidated "minister" Alexei Poteleshchenko and "MPs" Artyom Trostyansky and Ivan Zhushma comes days after Russia accused Ukraine of killing 28 civilians in the strike in the city not far from the front line, controlled by Moscow in the summer of 2022. About the deaths they were informed by the Russian-appointed governor of Lysychansk, Eduard Sokhnenko, and the head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik.

The shelling of the ADRIATIC restaurant, famous in Lysychansk, was carried out, according to Russia, by the Ukrainian armed forces, and a bakery next to was targeted in Moscow's claims. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has not yet commented on the shelling.

Representatives of the city military administration of Lysychansk (based outside the city) meanwhile believe that the Russian forces used the place for meetings, and the bakery is intact. According to other Ukrainian officials, images from the weekend indicated that the bakery, which remained intact, was not targeted at all.

The Russian-controlled Luhansk Information Center reported that Ukraine had fired on the bakery using a US-supplied HIMARS highly mobile rocket launcher system, and Moscow called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of using the American Patriot complex to strike the Il-76 plane with Ukrainian prisoners on board, which crashed in the Belgorod region.

The International Court of Justice of the United Nations will consider the case of Ukraine against Russia on the charges of genocide

The International Court of Justice of the United Nations has decided to consider the case "Ukraine against Russia" on the accusations of genocide, Voice of America (VOA) reports. This comes after Moscow took the position that the Court did not have the jurisdiction to rule on such a matter.

And while US support for Ukraine is being debated in Congress, the EU has announced a new billion aid package. Ursula von der Leyen said the EU has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to support Ukraine.

These decisions come amid ongoing attacks in Ukraine. In the area of the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk, at least 28 people, including a child, died in an attack. Ukrainian authorities did not comment on the attack, Voice of America (VOA) reports.

This is happening after a Russian ship was sunk in the Black Sea earlier. The Associated Press cited information from a private security firm that Ukraine used six drones, each of which was loaded with 300 kg of explosives. This case remained without comment from the Russian authorities.

Meanwhile, in field hospitals, just a few kilometers from the front line, wounded soldiers in need of urgent medical care continue to arrive, Voice of America (VOA) reports.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church leaves Estonia

Tallinn Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church and All Estonia Yevgeny (born Valery Reshetnikov) announced that he was forced to leave the country after his residence permit was not renewed.

This happens months after the Bulgarian authorities decided to expel the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Archimandrite Vasian (Zmeev) in September last year.

The interior ministry in Tallinn declared Yevgeny a "security threat" in mid-January, justifying the decision not to renew his permit. Yevgeny did not condemn Russia's war in Ukraine "despite earlier warnings".

Reshetnikov "supports the actions of the aggressor" and "consistently engages in justifying and supporting the bloody aggression of the Kremlin regime against Ukraine" in his public activities, the message continued.

Metropolitan Yevgeny, head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Tallinn since 2018, is still in the Estonian capital, but comments after a service at Tallinn's Alexander Nevsky Cathedral suggest that Sunday was his last service. Yevgeny sees "God's providence" for salvation in what is happening. He did not specify when he was leaving, but according to the Estonian Ministry of Interior, his permit expires on February 6.

Russians are the largest national minority in Estonia - 306 thousand people, or 22% of the population by 2023, and they are mostly Orthodox.

German media: Sweden plans to end investigation into Nord Stream gas pipeline explosion in 2022

Sweden plans to drop its investigation into the 2022 explosions that damaged the Russian-German Nord Stream gas pipelines that ran along the bottom of the Baltic Sea after apparently failing to identify a suspect, several German media reported.

According to the publications “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and “Zeit”, as well as the television stations NDR and WDR, the Swedish prosecutor leading the investigation will soon announce the end of the investigation.

"I will make a decision tomorrow, and what that decision will be I cannot tell you now," Swedish prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist told Reuters today, declining to give further details.

"It's being coordinated for various reasons and I can't say more now."

As the explosions took place in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark, the two countries are investigating together with Germany. The conclusion of the Swedish investigation will not affect production in Germany, media reports said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today that Moscow has repeatedly asked for details from the Western investigation into the explosions of the underwater gas pipeline "Nord Stream", but so far nothing has been shared with Moscow, Reuters reported.

Peskov was commenting on plans by the prosecutor leading an investigation into the gas pipeline explosions in Sweden to announce a decision this week on whether to drop the case, press charges or seek arrest.

Peskov also called the 2022 pipeline explosions "sabotage against critical international infrastructure."

The multibillion-dollar Nord Stream gas pipelines, which carried Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, were destroyed in Swedish and Danish waters, releasing huge amounts of methane into the air, Reuters recalls. Danish police said pipelines were damaged by powerful explosions, and Swedish investigators confirmed traces of explosives were found at the site, strongly indicating sabotage.

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Tags: Ukraine, Russia, EU, Kyiv


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