Overview:

  • Germany seems to be taking the lead on the free world’s stage, Zelensky says
  • Another teen wounded in Russian air strikes, this time in the Poltava region
  • France sends more much-needed munitions
  • Russians make weekend advances along Kupyansk-Kreminna line, ISW says
  • Moscow continues to close in on Avdiivka

Zelensky says US on verge of sending a bad signal, as Germany takes point on Kyiv aid

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that if the United States continued on its path to blocking aid to Kyiv, this would send a “bad signal” to the world, as Germany begins to take the lead on Ukraine’s defense.  

With US aid potentially diminishing, as Biden’s $60 billion proposal for Kyiv is close to being torpedoed by former president Donald Trump and his loyal followers on Capitol Hill, Zelensky “urged Germany to use its economic weight to rally EU partners to give more to Kyiv in its fight against Russia,” AFP reported.

“Passivity from the United States or the lack of support would be a bad signal,” Zelensky told German national television, adding that Berlin has a chance to become the European leader in defending against Russia’s aggressions.

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“Germany can manage to consolidate the EU,” Zelensky said, in an overture to Europe’s number-one contributor to military aid. “Many countries have important economic relationships with Germany and their economy is dependent on Germany’s decisions because Germany has a strong economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Berlin’s latest package will include Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, more than 80 Leopard-1 A5 main battle tanks; more than 230,000 artillery shells; armored personnel carriers, engineering tanks and bridge-building tanks; 450 armored vehicles, as well as demining systems, drones and radar systems, plus six Sea King Mk41 multi-purpose helicopters starting in the second quarter of 2024, state media Ukrinform reported, and training of pilots by then.

OSCE Official Gets Jail Term for 'Spying' in Russian-Held Ukraine
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OSCE Official Gets Jail Term for 'Spying' in Russian-Held Ukraine

OSCE condemned it as "a grave violation of participating states' commitments under international law" and called for the immediate release of Vadym Golda and two other jailed OSCE officials.

Moscow continues air strikes on Ukrainian civilian targets

Missile and drone strikes and targeted four regions of Ukraine overnight, wounding at least three people including another adolescent, it was reported on Sunday.

Ukraine’s air force said on Sunday that civilian sites and “critical infrastructure” were attacked in central Poltava, eastern Donetsk, southeastern Zaporizhzhia and central Dnipropetrovsk.

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Eight Shahed-type explosive drones, two Iskander missiles and three S-300 missiles were launched in the attacks, four of which were shot down. One missile had fallen on a residential area in the city, the local prosecutor’s office said, injuring a 15-year-old boy and a 35-year-old man. In a neighboring house, a 30-year-old resident suffered head trauma.

France not far behind Germany in Kyiv contributions with latest artillery shipment

France will provide Ukraine with 78 Caesar howitzers for Ukraine, six of which will be delivered in the near future. As for greatly depleted 155mm projectiles, the Minister of the French Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecornu, said France would be able to provide the Ukrainian Army (AFU) with 3,000 rounds each month,” Lecornu said, according to Ukrinform.

As the state media outlet reported last week, representatives from 22 countries took part in the inaugural meeting of the international Artillery Coalition, held in Paris, focused on strengthening the AFU’s capabilities and providing Ukraine with new models of artillery systems.

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Operations: Kupyansk

Geolocated footage published over the weekend seems to show that Russian forces recently made advances along the tirelessly contested Kupyansk-Kreminna front: west of Synkivka (northeast of Kupyansk) and east of Makiivka (northwest of Kreminna), and west of Dibrova (southwest of Kreminna).

Russian military bloggers claimed that Russian elements of the 47th Tank Division (1st Guards Tank Army, Western Military District) captured Tabaivka (southeast of Kupyansk), although the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has not observed any evidence of this claim.

Operations: Avdiivka

The ISW reported that Russian forces continued to make confirmed advances near Avdiivka on Saturday and Sunday, amid continued fighting that is among the most intense of the war this winter.

Geolocated footage published on Sunday seems to confirm that Moscow’s troops advanced north of Stepove (northwest of Avdiivka) and in southeastern Pervomaiske (southwest of Avdiivka). 

Fighting also raged on northwest of Avdiivka near Novobakhmutivka, and Stepove; near Avdiivka itself; west of Avdiivka near Tonenke; and southwest of Avdiivka near Sieverne, Pervomaiske, and Nevelske.

Russian military bloggers once again claimed that Russian forces expanded their zone of control near the ruins of the “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant on Avdiivka’s southern outskirts, with one source claiming that there are unconfirmed reports that Russian forces completely control the burned-out building. A Ukrainian serviceman serving in the Avdiivka direction stated that Ukrainian forces pushed Russian forces out of the restaurant’s environs.

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(While the ex-restaurant has been a point-of-reference for military bloggers in the Avdiivka area for months, there have been no reports about what kind of utilities or strategic value the destroyed facilities still can provide.)

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