Overview:

  • NATO’s Stoltenberg starts two-day visit to Washington
  • Moscow’s Grad missiles kill three civilians in Sumy region
  • Invading forces continue advances around Avdiivka
  • Russian bombs level agriculture business
  • Ukraine loses more ground along Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk regional border
  • Fighting continues around Bakhmut but no confirmed gains on either side

NATO chief meets with top US military officials, will hold talks with Congress on Tuesday

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US military and diplomatic leaders on Monday, looking for solutions to Washington’s stalled aid to Kyiv.

Stoltenberg, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Q Brown held discussions at the Pentagon. The NATO chief and the Defense Secretary have been among the world’s most prominent boosters of international support for Ukraine in its fight against the two-year Russian invasion.

Afterward, Stoltenberg had a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan. On Tuesday he is slated to meet lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Congress to describe the progress made by Ukraine’s soldiers, impress upon them the significance of standing up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, and plead with them to pass President Biden’s long-stalled supplemental funding package for Kyiv.

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“It will be a tragedy for Ukrainians if President Putin wins but it will also make the world more dangerous and all of us more insecure,” Stoltenberg said in a joint press conference with the US top diplomat.

The AFP reported that Stoltenberg said on Fox News in the lead-up to the Washington visit that the agreement being negotiated in the US Congress is “a good deal” for Americans, as the billions of dollars that Congress has already passed goes to American arms manufacturers.

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Three killed by Russian air strikes in Ukraine’s northeast

Three civilians were killed by Russian Grad missiles on Monday in the northeast Sumy region, according to local officials.

Petro Honcharov, the head of the Znob-Novhorodske community, told Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspline News that missiles struck a residential building in the Znob-Novhorodske community. The bodies of a man and woman were discovered inside, as emergency crews extinguished the flames in the debris.

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Another man was killed, and at least one wounded, as they were walking on a nearby street and were struck by what was reported as a mortar explosion. The man died while in an ambulance en route to the hospital in the town of Shostka, state media outlet Ukrinform reported.

Villages in the northeastern region have come under heavy artillery fire in recent days, killing and wounding several other civilians.

Operations: Avdiivka

Images geolocated by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), seem to indicate that the Kremlin’s troops have again made headway around the strategically important city of Avdiivka on Monday, marginally advancing on the southeastern outskirts of the city. The ISW reported that elements of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) “Pyatnashka” volunteer brigade are reportedly operating southeast of Avdiivka.

Kremlin-loyal bloggers claimed that Moscow’s forces also advanced northwest of Avdiivka near Stepove and south of Novokalynove and along Voroshylova Street in Pervomaiske (southwest of Avdiivka), although ISW has not observed confirmation of these claims.

Both Russian and Ukrainian sources said fighting continued northwest of Avdiivka near Ocheretyne, Novobakhmutivka, and Stepove; east of the city’s coke and chemical plant on the northwestern outskirts; in the area around the shot-up  “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant area in the southeastern part; west of Avdiivka near Tonenke; and southwest near Pervomaiske and Nevelske.

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Russians bomb local business in Kharkiv region

Russian aerial bombs on Monday demolished an agricultural business and struck other buildings in a village near Kupyansk, local authorities posted on Telegram.

“The enemy has struck again in the Kupyansk region. On Jan. 29, 2024, at about 11:30 a.m., the Russian armed forces fired on the village of Velykyi Burluk, damaging the premises of the enterprise. In addition, at 3:40 p.m., the enemy fired on the village of Khatnie of the Velykyi Burluk community: the territory of the agricultural enterprise was hit,” the Karkiv regional prosecutor’s office posted.

 

Operations: Zaporizhzhia region

Russian forces recently advanced along the border of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions, geolocated footage published on Sunday seems to indicate, the ISW reported on Monday: Troops made gains north of Pryyutne.

Russian and Ukrainian social media posts described fighting north of Pryyutne and near Zolota Nyva (southeast of Velyka Novosilka) and Staromayorske (south of Velyka Novosilka). The ISW analysts wrote that “elements of Russia’s 394th Motorized Rifle Regiment (127th Motorized Rifle Division, 5th Combined Arms Army [CAA], Eastern Military District [EMD]) and the 40th Naval Infantry Brigade (Pacific Fleet) are reportedly operating in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast along the border area; elements of the 143rd Motorized Rifle Regiment (127th Motorized Rifle Division, 5th CAA, EMD) are reportedly operating near Pryyutne; and elements of the 60th Motorized Rifle Brigade (5th CAA, EMD) and the 14th Spetsnaz Brigade (Special Forces of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces [GRU]) are reportedly operating near Staromayorske.”

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Operations: Bakhmut area

There were no confirmed gains reported near Bakhmut on Monday, the ISW wrote, although Russian sources claimed that Moscow’s forces made incremental gains around the city.

One Kremlin-linked military blogger claimed that Russian forces are advancing near Bohdanivka (northwest of Bakhmut) and Klishchiivka (southwest of Bakhmut) and towards Chasiv Yar (west of Bakhmut). The blogger also claimed that Russian forces recaptured unspecified previously lost positions along a railway line near Ivanivske (west of Bakhmut).

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