Overview:

  • Meeting with coalition of 24 nations, plans emerge to send more missiles to Kyiv
  • Zelensky announces “Made in Ukraine” economic policy
  • Moscow continues westward progress in towns around Bakhmut and Avdiivka
  • Poland’s foreign minister calls out US Republican leader for hampering Ukraine’s fight
  • AFU loses more territory in Luhansk region

French president says Russia is acting more aggressively and that “nothing can be ruled out”

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that while there was no consensus to send Western troops to Ukraine, “nothing can be ruled out.”

“We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Russia cannot win this war,” he said, after meeting with a coalition of 24 partner countries, who have vowed to set up channels together to supply Ukraine with “missiles and bombs of medium and long-range to carry out deep strikes,” Macron was quoted by AFP as saying.

“We are convinced that the defeat of Russia is indispensable to security and stability in Europe,” the French president said. “Nothing can be excluded to achieve our objective. Russia cannot win that war.”

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Domestic, private-company production of drones targeted for about 950K this year

Speaking at the “Made in Ukraine” forum on Monday, the Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, said that private Ukrainian businesses will manufacture 95 percent of the projected one million new drones in 2024, according to the state news agency Ukrinform.

“The plan to manufacture one million drones in 2024, announced by President [Volodymyr Zelensky], will be implemented. For that, we can thank Ukrainian entrepreneurs/manufacturers of drones,” said Fedorov.

"It is they who will assemble almost 95 percent of these UAVs or even more. Last year, we streamlined the procedure for drone manufacturers, and this year we will do the same for manufacturers of ground robotic platforms, as well as for manufacturers of EW [electronic warfare] systems,” Fedorov noted.

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Rheinmetall has also said it plans to set up at least four factories in Ukraine, which is in desperate need of ammunition to confront the Russian invasion.

He said the production of drones, year-on-year, had increased 120-fold by the end of 2023. That took into account a 30-fold boost in the manufacture of reusable quadcopters, and a 70-fold spike in Mavic-type reconnaissance quadcopters, while FPV (first-person view) drones had increased by a factor of 200.

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Zelensky cut the ribbon on this new initiative on Monday, saying “I am glad to announce today the launch of our new economic platform, and therefore a new economic policy - the Made in Ukraine policy,” Zelensky said.

“We have to win. It is a matter of our survival,” he added. “And for Ukraine to have all the necessary resources for its victory, then Ukrainian goods, Ukrainian services, Ukrainian consumption, and Ukrainian exports, Ukrainian entrepreneurs must also win.”

Fedorov noted that the recent deregulation of the drone industry in Ukraine has helped fuel its surge. Earlier this month, the technology minister posted to social media that Ukrainian-made drones had knocked out 19 Russian tanks in a single week:

Operations: Donetsk

Russian forces continued their push along two fronts in the Donetsk region, with images confirming advances west of the seized cities of Avdiivka and Bakhmut.

Geolocated footage seems to show that troops marginally advanced northeast of Ivanivske (west of Bakhmut) on Monday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) pointed out.

Moscow’s forces are also pressing toward Lastochkyne, a town west of Avdiivka, after Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) troops pulled back from the town and took up defensive positions northwest of Avdiivka.

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Geolocated footage posted Monday indicates that invading forces have entered the southeastern part of Sjeverne (west of Avdiivka) with some additional but unconfirmed Russian reports that troops have captured the entire town.

Polish foreign minister says that if Ukraine fails, US House speaker is to blame

On a visit to the US capital on Friday, Poland’s foreign minister said that if Russia wins its war of aggression, House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) would be squarely to blame, as reported by Bloomberg.

“I again appeal personally to Speaker Mike Johnson,” Radoslaw Sikorski said. “Please let democracy take its course. Please, let’s pass this to a vote.”

In Washington to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Polish diplomat continued, “I’d like [Johnson] to know that the whole world is watching what he would do. And if this supplemental [aid package] were not to pass and Ukraine were to suffer reversals on the battlefield, it will be his responsibility,” he said at the Atlantic Council.

Johnson oversees a slim majority in the lower house, and while several Republican representatives have publically asked for a vote on the Senate’s $60 billion aid proposal for Kyiv, the speaker has thus far sided with former President Trump to block a floor vote on continued military aid to Ukraine sponsored by the Biden administration and passed in the Senate.

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Operations: Luhansk

As fighting continued along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, geolocated footage published on Monday seems to indicate that Russian forces advanced east of Bilohorivka (south of Kreminna).

Other skirmishes unfolded over the regional border in Kharkiv, just northeast of Kupyansk near Synkivka and Ivanivka; southeast of Kupyansk near Tabaivka; west of Kreminna near Terny; and south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka, the ISW reported.

Ukrainian regional head in Luhansk Artem Lysohor reported that the Russians have “more than 10 times” the artillery as defending forces in the Kupyansk area over the past month.

The ISW specified that Moscow’s units in the area include elements of the 16th Spetsnaz Brigade (Russian General Staff Main Directorate [GRU]) along the Kupyansk front.

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