Russia has lost ‘strategically, operationally and tactically’, says US general
General Mark Milley, chairman of America’s joint chiefs of staff, has said Russia has lost “strategically, operationally and tactically” and that they are “paying an enormous price on the battlefield” in Ukraine.
Milley, speaking at a joint news conference with US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, said President Vladimir Putin believed he could defeat Ukraine quickly when he ordered his troops to invade almost a year ago.
[Putin] was wrong. Ukraine remains free. They remain independent. Nato and its coalition has never been stronger.
Now, Russia is a global pariah and the world remains inspired by Ukrainian bravery and resilience. In short, Russia has lost – they’ve lost strategically, operationally and tactically and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield.
Russian forces have made incremental progress in the last day or two in their assault on the Ukrainian city of Bahkmut but it is unclear if it will fall, the White House has said.
John Kirby, the US national security council spokesperson, added that if Bakhmut were to fall to the Russians “it would not have a strategic impact on the overall war”.
British national dies in Ukraine, says UK foreign office
A British national has died in Ukraine, the UK government has said.
A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said:
We are supporting the family of a British national who died in Ukraine, and are in contact with the local authorities.
Here are some of the latest images we have received from Ukraine.
A South Korean court has granted two Russians who fled their country to avoid being drafted to fight in Ukraine the right to apply for refugee status.
The two men, who have been stranded at Incheon International Airport, near Seoul, since last October, will be able to leave the terminal building and enter the country, the court said.
The court denied a similar request from a third Russian citizen, without detailing the reasons for the decision.
The three Russian citizens, whose lawyer requested they not be named out of concern for the safety of their families in Russia, have been living inside the airport since October.
They landed in South Korea with hopes of being granted asylum, but the justice ministry rejected their applications, saying that avoiding military service did not qualify as a valid reason for receiving asylum in South Korea.
“We welcome the court’s decision on the two but it is regrettable that it rejected the other one’s plea,” said Lee Jong-chan, a lawyer representing the three. He added:
They came here trying to avoid killing innocent people and getting themselves killed in a war initiated by their home country. It took them four months just to win the right to apply for refugee status.AdvertisementAdvertisement
The two will now be allowed to end their airport stay and will be settled in South Korea while undergoing the asylum recognition process, which could take years.
The third Russian has the right to appeal his rejection, but he must remain living at the airport in the interim. Lee said returning to Russia was not a viable option for the third man.
Russian convicts have said they are being employed by the country’s defence ministry to fight as “cannon fodder” in Ukraine, according to a report.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian Wagner mercenary group, said last week that the recruitment of prisoners by Wagner “has completely stopped”.
Instead, CNN reports that Russia is pursuing a disturbing new strategy of directly employing convicts to fight in Ukraine. In an audio recording obtained by the news channel, a Russian convict who was sent from prison to fight tells his wife:
I am being taken to be shot. I lost a lot of people there. Remember this: do not send more people here. It’s enough, they want to kill us all.
A Ukrainian intelligence official confirmed to the news channel that Russian prisoners recently captured by Ukrainian forces had said they were directly employed by the defence ministry.
The official said this new strategy had “echoes of internal squabbling among the Russian military leadership” including among the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and Valery Gerasimov, the overall commander for the war in Ukraine.
The EU will launch an ad hoc group to investigate how billions of dollars in frozen Russian funds, including central bank reserves, can be used for reconstruction work in Ukraine, according to the Swedish government.
Speaking at a news conference in Stockholm, prime minister Ulf Kristersson said:
The mandate is to contribute to mapping which funds have been frozen in the European Union … and secondly how to legally proceed to access those funds.
There is no prior model for how to handle the Russian assets, and the EU must ensure that appropriate legal procedures are established, he said.
It’s Russian tax payers, not all other tax payers, who must bear the cost of the necessary reconstruction work.
Bakhmut will not be captured ‘in the near future’, says Wagner boss
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner group whose mercenaries have been fighting for months to take the eastern city of Bakhmut, has said the battle is far from over.
In a Telegram post, Prigozhin said Ukraine was reinforcing with up to 500 new fighters a day.
According to his press service, Prigozhin said:
Bakhmut will not be taken tomorrow, because there is heavy resistance and grinding, the meat grinder is working.
“We will not be celebrating in the near future,” he added.
His comments came as Ukrainian forces have reportedly blown up a bridge near Bakhmut, in a sign they may be planning to retreat from the area.
Troops blew up the bridge on Monday, according to a local Donetsk region news site. Ukraine denies it intends to leave Bakhmut, despite six months of heavy fighting and reportedly dwindling stockpiles.
Iran is emerging as a global leader in the production of cheap and lethal drones, according to US officials who say Tehran is using the war in Ukraine as a shop window for its technologies.
Analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency outlined how Iran had turned from being a regional drone player in the Middle East to becoming Moscow’s most significant military backer in the war.
Countering denials by Iran’s foreign ministry that its drones had been used in deadly attacks in Ukraine, including against civilian energy infrastructure, the officials shared declassified intelligence demonstrating that Iranian drones used in attacks in the Middle East – including one claimed by Iran – were identical in all significant features to drones being used in Ukraine.
One official described Tehran as having emerged as a global leader in the production of cheap and very effective drones.
Although the supply of Iranian drones to Moscow for its war in Ukraine has long been treated as fact in much reporting, as well as in multiple US briefings that have sought to describe the increasingly close military cooperation between Iran and Russia, the officials stressed that the point of their briefing was to persuade sceptics in a global audience of the depth of the intelligence the US has amassed on Iran’s drone shipments.
Iran has supplied three models of drone to Russia: Shahed 131 and 136 single-use kamikaze drones, used by Moscow as a cheaper alternative to cruise missiles, and the Mohajer-6 multi-role drone, which can be used for intelligence gathering and to carry a missile payload.
Using in-flight footage and debris of suicide and multi-role drones used in Ukraine, the officials said they sought to prove that Iranian denials that its drones had been used were untrue, as the US seeks wider support for sanctions against Iran over its drone supplies.
Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has been addressing a Nato summit at the military alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
Stoltenberg begins by welcoming Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, to the meeting, and says it has been almost a year since Russia launched its full-fledged invasion of Ukraine.
He describes Russia’s war in Ukraine as having brought “untold suffering to the people of Ukraine, shattered peace in Europe and affected people around the world to the food and energy crisis”.
Vladimir Putin has made “two big strategic mistakes”, Stoltenberg says, by underestimating the “strength and bravery” of Ukraine as well as the “unity and soul” of Nato and partners.
Summary of the day so far
It’s 6pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:
Ukrainian forces have reportedly blown up a bridge near the eastern city of Bakhmut, in a sign they may be planning to retreat from the area. Ukraine denies it intends to leave Bakhmut, despite six months of heavy fighting and reportedly dwindling stockpiles. The capture of Bakhmut would give Russia a significant symbolic boost ahead of the first anniversary of the war.
Wagner Group forces have almost certainly made further small gains over the last three days around the northern outskirts of Bakhmut, including into the village of Krasna Hora, the UK Ministry of Defence has said. However, organised Ukrainian defence continues in the area and the tactical Russian advance to the south of the town has likely made little progress, the latest British intelligence report adds.
One Ukrainian worker was killed and many have been hurt in recent days trying to repair the power network following Russian airstrikes, according to energy minister German Galushchenko. Russian unleashed a wave of airstrikes on Friday, targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and causing emergency power outages for millions of people. In a statement, Galushchenko and Ukraine’s grid operator Ukrenergy said the country was producing enough energy to meet consumers’ needs.
The Nato secretary general has urged members of the transatlantic military alliance to ramp up ammunition production for Ukraine. Jens Stoltenberg warned Vladimir Putin was preparing for new offensives and attacks, and that the question of supplying fighter jets to Ukraine was on the agenda but “not the most urgent issue now”.
Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, is taking part in the Nato ministerial talks that begin later on Tuesday. Reznikov said his goals included protecting Ukraine’s skies, “strengthening the tank coalition”, securing sufficient ammunition, ensuring more training for the Ukrainian army and stable logistics, maintenance and repair of weapons.AdvertisementAdvertisement
A meeting of the Ukraine defence contact group, a US-initiative that convenes more than 50 countries supporting Kyiv in its defence against Russian aggression, has met in Brussels ahead of Nato ministerial talks.
The US secretary of defence, Lloyd Austin, has said he expects Ukraine to conduct an offensive against Russia in spring. Speaking at a news conference following a meeting of the Ukraine defence contact group, Austin said Russia is introducing a number of new troops to the battlefield but that many are ill-trained and ill-equipped. Russia has “inflicted a year of tragedy and terror” on its neighbour Ukraine, he said.
Russia has lost “strategically, operationally and tactically”, Gen Mark Milley, chairman of America’s joint chiefs of staff, has said. Speaking at a joint news conference with Lloyd Austin, Milley said Russians were “paying an enormous price on the battlefield” in Ukraine.
Norway has announced it will send eight German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks and other equipment to Ukraine. In a statement, Norwegian prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre said it was “more crucial than ever to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom”. The announcement comes a day after Støre spoke with Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a phone call, where the pair discussed Norway’s five-year pledge for Ukraine.
Germany has signed contracts with Rheinmetall to restart the production of ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft guns it has delivered to Kyiv, the German defence minister, Boris Pistorius, has said. “We will quickly start our own production of Gepard ammunition at Rheinmetall. I am very happy we have been able to guarantee the delivery of this important part of air defence,” Pistorius said before a meeting with Nato ministers in Brussels.Advertisement
The US has told Ukraine it will not send long-range missiles because it has too few to spare, according to a report. US officials have said transferring Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to the battlefield in Ukraine would risk a shortage of its own stockpiles and damage its own readiness for any fight in the future, sources have told Politico.
The Kremlin has again criticised Nato over its stance towards the war in Ukraine, saying the military alliance was becoming more and more involved in the conflict in Ukraine. “Nato is an organisation which is hostile to us and which proves this hostility every day,” the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.
Two Dutch F-35 fighters were scrambled to intercept three Russian military aircraft near Poland, according to the Netherlands’ defence ministry. Poland’s defence ministry confirmed that Dutch F-35 fighter jets were scrambled on Monday to intercept three Russian aircraft. The F-35 fighters were operating over international waters and Polish airspace was not violated, it said.
The UK says it will mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a national moment of silence. Prime minister Rishi Sunak will lead a one-minute silence at 1100 GMT on 24 February, in an expression of solidarity with Ukraine.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, has admitted that he founded and financed a company the US has described as a “Russian troll farm” which meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Prigozhin’s statement outlined his specific links to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a St Petersburg-based company that US intelligence officials say was central to Russian efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election.AdvertisementAdvertisement
Good afternoon from London. I’m Léonie Chao-Fong and I’m here to bring you all the latest developments from the war in Ukraine. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or via email.