Good morning from Kyiv where – after a slightly unexpected quiet few days over the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion – there’s a resigned sense of “business as usual.”
Overnight, Russia launched 14 kamikaze drones into Ukrainian territory, sparking an incredibly long five-hour air raid alert. Explosions were reported in various cities across the country including in Kyiv as air defenses shot them out of the sky.
Tweeting a video of the air raid sirens sounding last night, former presidential spokesperson Iuliia Mendel said: “Possibly drones are coming to Kyiv. I don’t know how to get used to this sound.”
Unfortunately, according to initial reports, one of the drones struck buildings in the city of Khmelnytskyi, killing an emergency services worker.
What’s happening today?
The United Nations Human Rights Council meets today, with calls for unity in condemning Moscow and extending a probe into war crimes in the conflict.
Days after the UN General Assembly in New York voted overwhelmingly to demand Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine, Moscow's war is expected to dominate the opening of the UN rights body's main annual session in Geneva.
And elsewhere, there was quite a buzz about what the Belarusian opposition has described as the “most successful act of sabotage since the beginning of 2022.”
You can read more about that story here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
During his daily address on Sunday evening, President Zelensky highlighted all the world leaders that had visited Kyiv last over the last few days – most notably U.S. President Joe Biden of course – and said the week was rounded off with a “a strong diplomatic event”.
“For the first time in 32 years, a high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia visited Ukraine,” he said.
“This is one week. And again and again, it's about strengthening our state, our soldiers, our steadfastness, our international positions,” he added.
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Feb. 27 focuses on some rather mysterious explosions over recent weeks around the occupied city of Mariupol.
“Sites of the incidents have included an ammo cache at the airport, two fuel depots, and a steel works that Russia uses as a military base,” the MoD notes.
The reason why the explosions are mysterious is that Mariupol lies at least 80km away from the front line, beyond the range of weapons that Ukraine is known publicly to use.
The MoD adds: “Russia will likely be concerned that unexplained explosions are occurring in a zone it had probably previously assessed as beyond the range of routine Ukrainian strike capabilities.”
You can read more about that story and what these mystery weapons could be, here.
The Institute for the Study of War’s Feb. 26 daily assessment focuses on Russia’s recruitment and manpower issues:
· Russia likely began to run out of combat-ready forces by late May 2022, forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin to decide between launching a volunteer recruitment campaign or ordering an unpopular involuntary reserve call-up.
· Putin may find himself facing another dilemma after another wave or two of reserve call-ups, as the pool of reservists appropriate for front-line fighting is finite.
· The specter of limitless Russian manpower is a myth.
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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