Good morning from Kyiv where a team of city workers has been up all night clearing the latest snow fall from the city’s roads.
It’s a serious business in the capital and the yearly increase in traffic accidents that inevitably accompanies snow and ice on the roads is currently compounded by the darkness and lack of traffic lights caused by continued blackouts.
What’s happening today?
The debate over F16 fighter jets continues with a mixed bag of messages from world leaders being digested today.
Over in the U.S. President Joe Biden flat out said “no”, but in Europe French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte were more open to the idea.
And in more positive news for Ukraine, France and Australia have announced a deal to jointly produce much-needed 155 mm artillery shells. There won’t be enough at this stage to make a decisive difference in the war but it’s better than nothing.
You can read more about that story here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
President Zelensky spent Monday on a working trip to the southern port of Mykolaiv where he highlighted the partnership between Ukraine and Denmark and its role in the rebuilding of the city ravaged by Russian aggression.
“I want to thank Denmark, personally Mrs. Prime Minister and other representatives of the Danish Government for their willingness to help Ukraine,” Zelensky said during his daily address.
“Mykolaiv is a city the reconstruction of which Denmark has taken patronage over. There is a need for projects in the energy sector, infrastructure, social sphere, and production.
An especially sensitive issue for Mykolaiv is water purification and restoration of normal water supply, which was destroyed by the Russian occupiers.
“There is already a corresponding project with the participation of Denmark, the implementation of which has already begun. But much more needs to be done to restore and modernize what is the basis of our people's lives.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 31 focuses on fighting around the towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar, 50km south-west of Donetsk city in the east of Ukraine.
The MoD notes that a previous Russian assault on the area in November of last year using the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade was unsuccessful.
It adds: “Elements of the 155th are again involved as part of an at least brigade sized force which has likely advanced several hundred metrers beyond the small Kashlahach River which marked the front line for several months.
“Russian commanders are likely aiming to develop a new axis of advance into Ukrainian-held Donetsk Oblast, and to divert Ukrainian forces from the heavily contested Bakhmut sector.
“There is a realistic possibility that Russia will continue to make local gains in the sector. However, it is unlikely that Russia has sufficient uncommitted troops in the area to achieve an operationally significant breakthrough.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 30 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Western, Ukrainian, and Russian sources continue to indicate that Russia is preparing for an imminent offensive, supporting ISW’s assessment that an offensive in the coming months is the most likely course of action.
· Iranian state media reported that Iran and Russia established direct financial communication channels between Iranian banks and more than 800 Russian banks on January 29.
· Russian forces continued to make marginal territorial gains near Bakhmut.
And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.
Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.
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