Overview:

  • US Senate releases contents of Kyiv aid bill that lower house Republicans called “dead on arrival”
  • Moscow detains three locals charging them with attempted bombing of Crimean occupation official
  • Paris demands answers from Kremlin envoy about strikes that killed French volunteers
  • Dutch Ministry of Defense commits six more F-16s to Ukraine
  • Kremlin Grad system claims another civilian life along the border with Russia

“Don’t be STUPID,” Trump tells Republican lawmakers about swapping immigration reform for Ukraine aid

Twice-impeached former US president Donald Trump, the current leading Republican candidate for the White House in November and éminence grise who dictates any Republican decisions on Capitol Hill, said on Monday that right-wing lawmakers should kill the newly unveiled Senate deal on immigration reform in the House of Representatives, thereby denying any US funds for Ukraine.

The US Senate on Monday released the contents of a negotiated bipartisan bill that tied together, among other appropriations, $60 billion for Ukraine aid and $20 billion for US border improvements and reform, the latter of which Republicans in the House had insisted upon before discussing any further aid to Kyiv.

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Responding to the news, Trump wrote on social media, “This Bill is a great gift to the Democrats, and a Death Wish for The Republican Party.”

On his own Truth Social social platform, he continued, “Don’t be STUPID!!! We need a separate Border and Immigration Bill. It should not be tied to foreign aid in any way, shape, or form!”

Republican insiders have described any immediate congressional solution to the influx of illegal immigrants congregating at the border with Mexico as bad news for Trump in this election year.

Quai d’Orsay summons Russian ambassador to answer questions about slain aid workers

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On Monday, the French Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to France to discuss the deaths of two French aid workers last week in Ukraine, the Kremlin announced.

According to AFP, “tensions have risen between Moscow and Paris in recent days,” as Moscow is irate with stepped-up arms shipments to Ukraine, and Paris demands information about its two citizens who were killed, and three injured, last week in Russian airstrikes in the city of Beryslav in the Kherson region.

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“The Russian Ambassador in Paris, Alexey Meshkov, was summoned to the French foreign ministry... over the deaths in Ukraine of two French citizens,” a statement from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs read, lamenting that Paris was sending “increasingly destructive and lethal weapons” to Ukraine, AFP noted.

Last month, Moscow declared that it had killed dozens of “French mercenaries” in a strike on Kharkiv. Paris insists that no French soldiers or citizens are fighting in Ukraine.

Netherlands to send more F-16 fighters to Ukraine as security talks continue

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren tweeted on Monday that the Netherlands has committed to sending six more NATO F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s aerial superiority is essential for countering Russian aggression,” she said.

Previously, the Dutch government had planned to sell those same aircraft to a private contractor, but those negotiations fell apart.

“The Netherlands has stopped discussions about the possible sale of six F-16 fighter aircraft,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Both parties have come to the conclusion that the sale and delivery of these F-16s will not take place in the short term.”

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This latest tranche of aid brings to 24 the number of American-made fighters that the Netherlands promises to provide to Kyiv.

Ukraine and the Netherlands held a third round of talks on Monday on a potential bilateral security agreement in Kyiv.

Russian rockets kill a civilian in the Sumy region

Rockets from a Russian-fired Grad system in the Sumy region killed a civilian on Monday and injured his mother, local authorities said.

Ukraine’s regional military administration head Ihor Kalchenko wrote on social media that “Today, on Feb. 5, at 5 p.m., the Russians fired from MLRS at the town of Vorozhba. Eight explosions were recorded. The shelling killed a 40-year-old man and injured his mother. Another person was also injured,” he posted.

Reports from the field claimed that five residential buildings, as well as power and communications networks were damaged. Russian forces also fired a reported six times on Sunday night at the settlement.

Moscow holds three in connection with an assassination attempt on Kremlin-appointed Crimean official

AFP reported that Moscow has detained three of “its citizens” for an alleged conspiracy to kill a high-ranking, Kremlin-appointed Crimean official with a car bomb. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said that the assassination attempt was planned by “the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU).”

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The three unnamed suspects were said to be found in possession of an improvised explosive device (IED), the FSB claimed. They have been held on charges of terrorism.

The AFP noted that several high-ranking occupation authorities have been targeted with assassination attempts. Conversely, top Ukrainian intelligence and defense officials have been the target of attempted attacks by Russian agents since hostilities began two years ago.

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