Good morning from Kyiv, where it’s a chilly minus 4 degrees with a reasonable dusting of snow that fell overnight

 It was a quiet night in terms of air raid sirens but there was some drama after a tower block caught fire. The cause of the blaze has not been confirmed but is not believed to be war related. Fortunately there were no causalities.

 What’s happening today?

 All eyes are on President Volodymyr Zelensky to see if he will take up an offer from the head of Russia's mercenary group Wagner to take part in a fighter jet duel over the skies on Ukraine.

 OK, he’s never going to even acknowledge it, but the bizarre stunt is an intriguing insight into the ongoing PR battle between the Kremlin and Yevgeny Prigozhin ahead of an expected Russian offensive.


 You can read more about that story and watch Prigozhin’s video here.

 What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

 During his daily address on Monday evening, President Zelensky took time to offer condolences to those affected by the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria which has killed thousands of people.

 “There are many casualties,” Zelensky said. “Thousands of homes have been destroyed. My sincere condolences to Mr President of Turkey Erdoğan, as well as to those in Syrian society who have lost loved ones, who have lost their homes.

 “Ukraine immediately responded and offered Turkey support in the rescue operation.”

The Syrsky War: Ukraine’s Supreme Commander Is Betting on Drones, Patience and Discipline
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The Syrsky War: Ukraine’s Supreme Commander Is Betting on Drones, Patience and Discipline

Three months after General Syrsky took overall command Ukraine’s soldiers are still fighting backfooted, hitting Russia with fierce losses but losing ground. That may be the plan.

 Zelensky also referenced the current turmoil engulfing the Ministry of Defense, saying: We are also strengthening our management positions. In a number of regions - especially in the border and frontline regions - we are appointing managers with military experience.

 “Those who can prove themselves in the most effective way in the defense against the current threats. I will inform you about each such decision.

 “In general, it is worth noting that we will combine the experience gained by our people in defending Ukraine - military experience - with specific managerial work in positions in local and central government.”


 What’s the latest military situation?

 The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Feb. 7 focuses on Russia’s renewed offensive which it believes the Kremlin has “highly likely” been trying to restart since last month.

 The MoD adds: “Its operational goal is almost certainly to capture the remaining Ukrainian-held parts of Donetsk Oblast.

 “Russian forces have only managed to gain several hundred meters of territory per week. This is almost certainly because Russia now lacks the munitions and maneuver units required for successful offensives.

 “Senior commanders likely make plans requiring undermanned, inexperienced units to achieve unrealistic objectives due to political and professional pressure.

 “Russian leaders will likely continue to demand sweeping advances. It remains unlikely that Russia can build up the forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war within the coming weeks.”


 The Institute for the Study of War’s Feb. 6 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:

·       Ukrainian officials assess that Russian forces are preparing to launch a large-scale decisive offensive in eastern Ukraine in mid-to-late February;

·       Select Russian nationalist voices continued to express scepticism towards Russia’s ability to launch a successful offensive past late February;

·       German Chancellor Olaf Scholz undermined Russian President Vladimir Putin’s false narrative that the provision of German tanks to Ukraine threatens Russian security.

 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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