Good morning from Kyiv. The sun is out this morning, possibly to welcome a very important guest who just pulled into the capital’s main train station (more on that below).
Wednesday was a quiet day in the city but unfortunately this wasn’t true across the country. Yet another Russian missile struck a residential building. killing at least three people in Kramatorsk.
What’s happening today?
European Union (EU) chief Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv this morning ahead of Friday’s EU-Ukraine summit, reiterating Europe’s support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s continued aggression.
In a tweet, she said: “Good to be back in Kyiv, my 4th time since Russia‘s invasion. This time, with my team of Commissioners.
“We are here together to show that the EU stands by Ukraine as firmly as ever. And to deepen further our support and cooperation.”
Elsewhere, a new report on the state of global democracy paints a grim picture, with the authors saying 2022 was a “disappointing” year.
Things are particularly bad in Russia, which recorded the biggest drop in ranking of any country. Ukraine fell slightly but the very detailed report does address how the current war could actually present opportunities for positive change.
You can read more about that story here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the latest crackdown on graft and corruption which on Wednesday saw another wave of dismissals and property searches of officials.
“Unfortunately, in some spheres, the only way to guarantee legitimacy is to change leaders, along with institutional change implementation,” he said during his daily address on Wednesday evening.
“Change as much as necessary to ensure that people do not abuse power.”
Coming ahead of the EU summit, the searches appear to be part of a push by Kyiv to reassure key military and financial donors in European capitals and Washington that Ukraine is tackling systemic graft.
“Today is a fruitful day for our country – a fruitful day in confronting those who are trying to weaken Ukraine even now,” Zelensky said.
“We will not allow anyone to weaken our state. I thank all law enforcement officials who have demonstrated the power of law and the power of the state today.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Feb. 2 focuses on Russia’s role as a “reliable arms exporter” which it says isn’t quite going to plan right now.
The MoD writes: “Even before the invasion, Russia’s share of the international arms market was declining. Now, when faced with conflicting demands, Russia will almost certainly prioritize deploying newly produced weapons with its own forces in Ukraine over supplying export partners.
“A shortage of components is likely affecting the production of equipment for export, such as armored vehicles, attack helicopters, and air defense systems.”
The MoD says the medium-term picture for Russia is grim and its ability to be a reliable arms supplier is “likely to be seriously disrupted for at least the next three to five years.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Feb. 1 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Ukrainian officials are continuing to warn about Russia’s intention of conducting a decisive offensive operation in Donbas in February and/or March, supporting ISW’s most likely course of action assessment;
· Russian President Vladimir Putin may be setting conditions for further Russian cross-border raids into north-eastern areas of Ukraine, likely in an effort to further domestic information operations and pin Ukrainian forces against northern border areas; and
· The Kremlin is likely seizing an opportunity to discredit Igor Girkin, a prominent critical voice within the Russian nationalist space and former Russian officer, following his altercation with Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin.
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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