Good morning from Kyiv. Russia launched yet another missile attack against Ukraine overnight, firing 32 rockets at cities across the country.

Missile strikes were reported in the central regions of Dnipropetrovsk and Kirovograd, as well as northern and western Ukraine, where an industrial site in Lviv was also hit.

There are no reports on casualties at this time. According to the Ukrainian military, 16 of the 32 missiles fired by Russia were shot down.

Air raid sirens rang out across the country at 2:35am Kyiv time, and the all clear was given at 4:41am.

What’s happening today?

It’s finally been confirmed that Oleksii Reznikov will stay in his post as defense minister after weeks of speculation about his future.

Asked by Reuters during an interview on Feb. 15 if he expected to continue in his post for the foreseeable future, he replied: “Yes, it was the decision of my president.”

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The statement puts to bed a weeks-long saga over the 56-year-old’s position. You can read more about that story here.

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

President Zelensky looked ahead to the spring in his daily address on Wednesday evening, saying: “We have to ensure that this spring it is truly felt that Ukraine is moving toward victory.

“Any attempts by Russia to retake the initiative must be thwarted. And I am confident that we will do so.”

He said that Russia is “already losing so many of its people” that soon it will be “difficult to find” an actual elite Russian soldier on the territory of Ukraine.

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President Zelensky also highlighted the steps being taken to revive Ukraine’s shattered economy, saying: “Steps are also being prepared to create jobs. Every job in our country now is a contribution to our resilience.

“And it is a way to bring our people back to Ukraine.”

What’s the latest military situation?

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Feb. 16 focuses on the Russian air force, noting an increase of sortie rates over the last week to levels seen in summer 2022.

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It adds: Russia air power continues to significantly underperform in the war, constrained by a continued high threat from Ukrainian air defenses and dispersed basing due to the threat of strikes against Russian airfields.

“Russian combat jets operate almost exclusively over Russian-held territory, preventing them from carrying out their key strike role effectively.

“Across Russia, the VKS likely maintains a largely intact fleet of 1,500 crewed military aircraft, despite losing over 130 since the start of the invasion. However, it is unlikely that the VKS is currently preparing for a dramatically expanded air campaign as under the current battlefield circumstances it would likely suffer unsustainable aircraft losses.”

The Institute for the Study of War’s Feb. 15 daily assessment covers a number of topics, most notably:

·      Russia’s costly military campaign in Ukraine has likely significantly depleted Russian equipment and manpower reserves necessary to sustain a successful large-scale offensive in eastern Ukraine.

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·      Russian President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to announce measures for further escalation of the war in Ukraine, major new Russian mobilization initiatives, or any other significant policy in his planned address to the Russian Federal Assembly on February 21.

·      Russian military failures in Ukraine continue to deny Putin the ability to present military success to the Russian public.

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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