UPDATE: US President Joe Biden in Kyiv in Surprise Visit
Good morning from Kyiv. There were a couple of air raid alarms over the weekend but no attacks on the capital. Unfortunately, this was not the case elsewhere in the country.
Russian shelling killed three adult members of a family in the southern region of Kherson on Sunday, regional authorities said. Four others – including two children – were injured when a shell flew into the yard of a house in the village of Burgunka.
"The Russian occupiers killed a family in the region of Kherson," the regional administration said in a statement.
"Three people died at the scene of the tragedy – the father, mother and uncle."
What’s happening today?
Today is a day of remembrance in Kyiv as Feb. 20 marks the Day of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes. Ukrainians remember those who were killed on this day in 2014 during the Revolution of Dignity.
As the Maidan Museum explains: “The participants of the Revolution of Dignity, who were killed by security officers and their mercenaries, received the name of the Heavenly Hundred. The official count of them is one hundred and seven.
“They were people of different nationalities, age groups, gender and educational background, from various regions of Ukraine and from abroad, successful entrepreneurs and poor pensioners, scientists, artists, students, and activists.
“The youngest one, Nazarii Voitovych, was sixteen. The oldest one, Ivan Nakonechnyi, was eighty-three.”
Elsewhere, there’s big news on the international stage after the U.S. accused China of mulling supplying weapons to Russia to assist in its faltering full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS that China was now "considering providing lethal support" to Moscow ranging "from ammunition to the weapons themselves."
"We've made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship," he added.
You can read more about that story here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s daily address on Sunday evening made very clear that weekends are a thing of the past in Kyiv’s halls of power, as he detailed all the meetings he held yesterday with his military leaders as well as world leaders.
Elsewhere, in an interview with the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Zelensky appeared to slightly change his tone on the heavily contested city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which he recently declared a “fortress city”.
“It is important for us to defend it but not at any cost and not so that everyone dies,” he said.
“We will fight as long as it is reasonable, as long as the Russians try to continue their offensive on Kramatorsk and Slovyansk, to reach the administrative borders of Donbas and the Dnipro River.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Feb. 20 focuses on Russia’s offensive actions in eastern Ukraine, specifically around Vuhledar, Kremina, and Bakhmut.
The MoD notes: “Casualties reportedly remain high, particularly in Bakhmut and Vuhledar. Specifically, the 'elite' 155th and 40th Naval Infantry Brigades have sustained very high losses in Vuhledar and are likely combat ineffective.
“Russian forces are likely under increasing political pressure as the anniversary of the invasion draws near. It is likely that Russia will claim that Bakhmut has been captured to align with the anniversary, regardless of the reality on the ground.
“If Russia's spring offensive fails to achieve anything then tensions within the Russian leadership will likely increase.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Feb. 19 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· The major phase of Russian offensive operations in Luhansk Oblast is underway, and Russia likely lacks sufficient uncommitted reserves to dramatically increase the scale or intensity of the offensive this winter.
· The absence of several elite and prominent WMD elements from the Luhansk Oblast line and elsewhere in theater suggests that the Russian military continues to face challenges in reconstituting combat units and specifically tank units.
· Russian tank losses have been enormous in this war, amounting to the equivalent of around 16 tank regiments worth, which is likely hindering Russia’s ability to reconstitute its tank units rapidly.
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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