Good morning from Kyiv. It was a quiet weekend in the capital after Friday’s missile and drone attacks across the country, which failed to have any major effect on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
In fact, last night it was announced there would be no scheduled blackouts, though authorities did caution residents to use electricity sparingly as the system is still in a delicate state and can be easily overloaded.
What’s happening today?
There’s a bit of a furor going on in Italy, where former PM and friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi has caused outrage with yet more pro-Russian ramblings.
Speaking of last week’s meeting between current Italian PM Giorgia Meloni and President Volodymyr Zelensky, Berlusconi said he would never have met the Ukrainian president because he believes he provoked Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
You can read more about that story here.
Elsewhere, the ongoing tussle between Ukraine and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rumbles on with IOC chief Thomas Bacha standing by his decision to find a "pathway" to allow Russian and Belarusian competitors to take part in the Paris Games, under a neutral flag.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has called for a boycott of the 2024 Paris Olympics if Russian athletes are allowed to take part, said Friday their presence would be a "manifestation of violence".
More than 200 Ukrainian athletes and coaches have been killed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, including Kateryna Diachenko, an 11-year-old rising gymnastics star.
You can read some of their stories here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
President Zelensky last night reiterated calls for more international sanctions against Moscow, announcing that Ukraine had put into effect a recent decision to impose sanctions on 200 people working for the Russian nuclear industry.
“All elements of the Russian system that are involved in the war, in providing terror and financing aggression, must be isolated from the global system.,” he said.
Zelensky also praised Ukraine’s energy infrastructure workers, saying that despite Russia’s missile and drone attacks last week, most Ukrainians had a weekend without scheduled blackouts.
“The very fact that we can have such calm days in terms of energy after the constant terrorist attacks with missiles and Shaheds, [especially] after the massive missile attack this week, proves the professionalism of our power engineers and the extraordinary dedication of everyone who works on the provision of our energy system,” he said.
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Feb. 13 focuses on “one of the central dilemmas for Russian operational planners,” namely which bit of the front line to reinforce to counter possible Ukrainian offensives.
The MoD notes: “Despite the current operational focus on central Donbas, Russia remains concerned about guarding the extremities of its extended front line.
“This is demonstrated by continued construction of defensive fortifications in Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk oblasts and deployments of personnel. Russia’s front line in Ukraine amounts to approximately 1,288 kilometers with the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia oblast frontline at 192 kilometers.
“A major Ukrainian breakthrough in Zaporizhzhia would seriously challenge the viability of Russia’s ‘land bridge’ linking Russia’s Rostov region and Crimea; Ukrainian success in Luhansk would further undermine Russia’s professed war aim of ‘liberating’ the Donbas.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Feb. 12 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Russia has partially regained the ability to conduct successful information campaigns in support of its strategic objectives and even discrete operational aims.
· Russian information campaigns have supported a continuous strategic objective of deterring or slowing the West’s provision of material support to Ukraine.
· Russia uses the narrative that Ukraine is incapable of defeating Russia because of inherent power disparities between the two states to mitigate major Russian setbacks or Russian failures to achieve rapid successes in major offensive operations.
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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