Good morning from Kyiv.

It was a thankfully quiet night in the capital and the most dramatic news development of the morning in the city is that a 2.5-meter deep sinkhole has appeared in the middle of a road on the left bank.

Elsewhere, the steady flow of VIP visitors from the U.S. continued yesterday with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Kyiv, where she announced a further $1 billion in aid to Ukraine.

In a tweet accompanied by a picture of her in front of St. Michael’s Monastery, she said: “When Putin launched his brutal assault on Ukraine, some believed that Russia would secure a quick and decisive victory over Kyiv.

“A year later, Putin’s war has been a strategic failure for the Kremlin.

“Ukraine still stands. And the U.S. stands alongside the Ukrainian people.”

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What’s happening today?

All eyes are on Bakhmut this week where, according to President Zelensky, the situation is getting “more and more complicated.”

Ukrainian forces launched counterattacks over the weekend and blew up a retaining dam on a waterway dividing the two villages to the north of the city, reportedly flooding a 3-5 kilometer swath of ground in the path of attacking Russian troops.

But Russian troops led by Wagner Group fighters on Saturday captured Yahidne, effectively denying use of the M-03 highway, one of three key AFU supply routes into the city, to the Ukrainians.

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You can read the latest on Bakhmut here and we’ll bring you updates as they come.

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

As well as discussing the situation in Bakhmut, President Zelensky also renewed his call for fighter jets and more air defense capability after an overnight drone attack from Russia killed two emergency services workers in Khmelnytsky.

He said during his daily address on Monday: “That is why we need the aviation component of air defense – modern combat aircraft – to protect the entire territory of our country from Russian terror. Air defense is complete only when it is backed by aviation. Modern aviation.

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“Our pilots, together with our anti-aircraft gunners, together with all the warriors and specialists of our Air Forces, are already doing a great job. But we will be able to fully protect the sky when the aviation taboo in relations with our partners is lifted.”

What’s the latest military situation?

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Feb. 28 focuses on the reported destruction of a very expensive Russian airplane by partisans in Belarus.

The MoD notes that the Beriev A-50 surveillance plane was first observed by amateur aircraft spotters during joint Russian-Belarusian air drills last month at the Machulishchy air base.

It adds: “On 26 February 2023, Belarusian partisan group BYPOL and exiled opposition leaders reported an A-50 MAINSTAY had sustained damaged from Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) attacks at Maschulishchy air base.

“Attribution and damage has not been officially corroborated. However, the loss of an A-50 MAINSTAY would be significant as it is critical to Russian air operations for providing an air battlespace picture.

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This will likely leave six operational A-50s in service, further constraining Russian air operations.”

The Institute for the Study of War’s Feb. 27 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:

·      Ukrainian military officials continue to respond to Western concerns about Ukrainian capabilities to liberate Ukrainian people and land and suggest that Ukrainian forces are preparing for a spring counteroffensive in southern Ukraine.

·      Russian officials are promoting an information operation that falsely frames Russia’s war in Ukraine as existential to the continued existence of the Russian Federation.

·      Russian officials continue to engage in information operations in an attempt to discourage the Western provision of military aid to Ukraine.

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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