Good morning from a grim and cold Kyiv, where the sun and all other signs of a coming spring have gone back into hibernation. The night in the capital and throughout most of Ukraine was relatively calm.
The key event for today, which we will be keeping our eyes on, is President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Poland, Ukraine’s key ally and one of the most generous supporters. Zelensky is coming at the invitation of President Andrzej Duda. Unlike previous international visits by Zelensky, the Warsaw trip has been made public in advance by the Office of the President of Poland.
During the presidential-level discussions, the first since December, and a meeting between President Zelensky and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, several topics are expected to be addressed: сommitting to more military aid; managing the politics of Poland and Eastern Europe; and planning future arrangements for Ukrainians in Poland.
What’s happening today?
Today’s headlines in Ukraine are dominated by the latest interview with the former U.S. President Bill Clinton, in which he has expressed regret about his role in persuading Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in 1994.
Clinton suggested that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if Kyiv still had its nuclear deterrent.
"I feel a personal stake because I got them [Ukraine] to agree to give up their nuclear weapons. And none of them believe that Russia would have pulled this stunt if Ukraine still had their weapons," he said.
You can read more about this story here.
Another event which found a huge response in Ukraine is the trial of another former American president, Donald Trump, who was arrested and now faces criminal charges of falsifying business records related to his alleged role in hush money payments toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign.
Specifically, prosecutors noted three people who received hush money payments: adult film star Stormy Daniels, Playboy model Karen McDougal, and a former Trump Tower doorman
Arrest is a formal procedure; in the US, it is mandatory for charges to be filed. The charge was filed, and Trump left the courthouse after pleading “not guilty” to all counts.
You can read more about this story here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
During his daily address on Tuesday evening, April 4, Zelensky congratulated the people of Finland on joining the NATO alliance.
“Russian aggression clearly proves that only collective guarantees, only preventive guarantees can be reliable. That's what we always talked about. We also talked about speed – the speed of security decisions matters. Now we can see how fast the procedures can be,” Zelensky said.
The President has also outlined that he’s constantly keeping in touch with Ukraine’s commanders on the battlefield.
“A special format of our military meeting was held today. General Syrsky – regarding Bakhmut, Commander-in-Chief, Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate – regarding the overall military situation. The Ministry of Defense – regarding the supply of ammunition and everything else according to the needs of our defenders. Decisions are already being implemented,” he said.
Zelensky has also expressed gratitude to the U.S. government and particularly to President Joe Biden for providing Ukraine with additional financial aid.
“The U.S. is providing a $2.6 billion defense support package. Ammunition for HIMARS, for air defense, for artillery is just what we need. Thank you Mr. President Biden, thank you Congress, thank you every American,” the President said.
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) update on April 5 focuses on Russia anticipating external financial support from foreign states to purchase its foreign sovereign debt and therefore finance some of Russia’s future budget shortfalls.
“On March 28, 2023, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that a move to issuing some of Russia’s sovereign debt in foreign currencies was ‘under development.’”
“Once the development is completed, investors from other countries will be able to purchase Russia’s sovereign debt and therefore finance some of Russia’s future budget shortfalls. Such investors would be indirectly financing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
In recent months, according to the MoD assessment, Russia’s own banks have been the main entities purchasing Russian state debt. However, they are unlikely to have the capacity to fully fund anticipated future budget deficits.
“Russian officials likely see external debt issuance as one way to plug gaps in Russia’s finances as they plan for a long war in Ukraine. However, it remains unclear whether Russia will succeed in implementing the measures.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s April 4 daily assessment reports on Moscow’s alleged upcoming attempts to coerce Belarus into further Union State integration when Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko meet in Moscow on April 5 and 6.
The ISW also mentions that the Kremlin continues to attempt to reassure the Russian public that the war in Ukraine will not have significant long-term economic consequences.
It also notes that:
The Kremlin continues to attempt to employ nuclear threats to deter Western military aid provisions to Ukraine ahead of Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive.
Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin’s demonstrative response to the assassination of Russian milblogger Maxim Fomin indicates that Prigozhin likely believes that the attack was in part directed at himself.
The Kremlin is likely trying to shift more responsibility for growing Russian industry onto regional bodies to insulate itself from possible criticism about Russia’s deteriorating economic situation.Advertisement
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that Russia’s ongoing spring conscription cycle is going according to plan, progressing as quickly as planned, and has completed initial military registration.
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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