- White House is irate about right-wing personality’s Thursday interview with Putin
- Zelensky thanks top EU diplomat for ammo and other support during his visit to Kyiv
- US House punts on aid package to Ukraine, Senate to try again Thursday
- Russians make more advances in the Donetsk region
- Both sides trade gains along the left bank of the Dnipro River
The Kremlin has received many Putin interview requests but decided to grant one to a Trump ally
The White House on Wednesday bristled at the idea that a celebrity who is friendly to Russian President Vladimir Putin should give the brutal dictator a mouthpiece to amplify his propaganda about his invasion of Ukraine.
Tucker Carlson, the fired Fox News host and media consultant to 2024 election candidate Donald Trump, has announced that his interview with Putin will be broadcast on social media on Thursday.
A steadfast opponent to US military aid for Kyiv, the now-network-less pundit has made a handsome living in the past as a megaphone for autocratic figures, but Western journalists and US officials are now drawing a line in the sand with this latest stunt.
“It should be very obvious to everybody what Mr. Putin has done in Ukraine, and the completely bogus and ridiculous reasons for which he tried to justify it,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters aboard Air Force One, AFP reported.
“I don’t think we need another interview with Vladimir Putin to understand his brutality,” he said.
The AFP underscored that actual foreign journalists in Russia (Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe’s Alsu Kurmasheva, for example) are currently imprisoned there.
The Kremlin rebuked suggestions by Carlson that he was the only foreign personality to seek an interview with Putin, saying they have received numerous such requests from journalists, but ended up accepting the anti-Ukraine pundit’s bid.
Meanwhile, Carlson has been enjoying a gaggle of paparazzi following him around Moscow, promoting his upcoming interview.
DEVELOPING IN MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Tucker Carlson 'escaping' from Moscow, left the hotel in Moscow through the back door to avoid meeting the bulk of the reporters trying to interview him. WATCH pic.twitter.com/OAO1DEOO9w— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) February 7, 2024
Borrell repeats promises to send Kyiv more than a million rounds of ammo
President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude to EU High Representative Josep Borrell on Wednesday for the European Union’s renewed promise to send more artillery shells to Kyiv, during the diplomat’s visit to Ukraine and its capital.
“You have always been with us in difficult moments,” Zelensky said. “In times of great challenges, you have always been on the side of Ukraine and its people in our struggle for life and sovereignty.”
At a meeting with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Borrell specified that the European Union expects to provide Ukraine with a larger-than-expected 1,155,000 artillery rounds by the end of the year due to the increased capacity of the bloc’s defense industry.
Visited the residential building hit by Russian missiles today & a shelter with mayor @Vitaliy_Klychko.— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) February 7, 2024
I pay tribute to the innocent civilians that were killed in Kyiv & in other places of Ukraine during this latest indiscriminate attack by Russia.
Слава Україні! pic.twitter.com/v49BfVPswH
US House Republicans block Ukraine aid, but Senate on Thursday will circle back with new shot on goal
As widely expected, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted down a $118 billion foreign aid and border reform package on Wednesday, caving to pressure from their party’s overlord, former president Donald Trump, who encouraged them to punt [kick the ball toward the other team's side to mitigate its positional advantage] on any changes to US border reform to leave it unaddressed as a November election issue.
According to the AFP, “that led to an hours-long standoff in the upper chamber of Congress, resolved only when party leaders elected to schedule a new vote that puts immigration on the back burner and calls for $95 billion in aid, mostly for Ukraine and Israel.”
Democrats had long been pushing for US President Joe Biden’s $60 billion proposal for Kyiv, but House Republicans initially demanded that it be tied to border reform until Trump told them to back off any such deal, which the Republican politicians dutifully did.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the Senate would reconvene at noon on Thursday “to give our Republican colleagues the night to figure themselves out.”
Emergency post: here is the one way to guarantee #Ukraine aid is put on the floor of the house for a vote, only need 3 or 4 people to do this. Historic moment requiring historic courage pic.twitter.com/8dIkHqnt6s— Adam Kinzinger (Slava Ukraini) 🇺🇸🇺🇦🇮🇱 (@AdamKinzinger) February 7, 2024
Geolocated footage posted on Wednesday shows that Moscow’s troops have pushed further into the eastern outskirts of Heorhiivka (just west of Donetsk City), with some bloggers claiming that Russia’s forces have gained a foothold in the town itself.
Imagery posted the same day apparently shows troops from the Russian 155th Naval Infantry Brigade advancing into eastern Novomykhailivka along the town’s Lenin Street.
Operations: Dnipro River
Ukrainian forces seem to have advanced in eastern Krynky, often described as a few rows of fishermen’s houses, where Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) amphibious troops first set up a foothold after their eastward crossing of the Dnipro, advancing into the occupied left bank across from Kherson.
Ukrainian flag flies in Krynky. It was placed there by the 36th Ukrainian brigade.— German_Observer (@GermanObserver1) February 7, 2024
Geolocation: 46.737946, 33.095104
Source: https://t.co/5fatgu7Sob@GeoConfirmed @UAControlMap pic.twitter.com/4Ghyf8cFTX
Meanwhile, Russian forces seem to have advanced in southern parts of the same village on Wednesday.
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