This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (February 2)

General Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Source: NATO/Flickr

A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Political Developments

The status of Ukrainian military commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi is uncertain, after reports emerged this week that the Army Chief has been sacked. Kyiv has made no formal announcement of Zaluzhnyi’s firing, though one could come before the end of the week, CNN reported. Zaluzhnyi has overseen Ukraine’s defense effort, but his relationship with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has frayed in recent months.

Following the emergence of those reports, CNN published an opinion piece from Zaluzhnyi, in which he highlighted how both technological developments and “political conditions at home and abroad” have shaped the conflict with Russia.

“We must acknowledge the significant advantage enjoyed by the enemy in mobilizing human resources and how that compares with the inability of state institutions in Ukraine to improve the manpower levels of our armed forces without the use of unpopular measures.

“We remain hamstrung by the imperfections of the regulatory framework in our country, as well as the partial monopolization of the defense industry.” – Valerii Zaluzhnyi

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), said it discovered a corruption scheme involving the procurement of mortar rounds that siphoned away nearly $40 million. Funding allocated for the purchase of 100,000 mortar rounds from Lviv Arsenal in the fall of 2022 was transferred to foreign accounts and the mortar rounds were never delivered. The SBU said former and current high-ranking officials were involved in the fraud.

Military Assistance to Ukraine

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting of E.U. leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron urged the bloc “accelerate the scale of our support,” adding that the costs “of a Russian victory are too high for all of us.”

At the February 1 meeting, the European Union agreed to provide Ukraine with an aid package worth 50 billion euros ($54 billion) over the next four years. There were concerns that Hungary would block the aid deal, as was the case during a summit in December. However, all 27 EU leaders signed off on the new aid package. The investment comes at a time when funding from the U.S. remains stalled in Congress.

New long-range guided bombs provided by the United States are expected to arrive in Ukraine this week. The Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, made by a team of Boeing and Saab, has a range of around 90 miles and comprises a 250-pound bomb mounted on a rocket motor. The U.S. operates air-launched versions of the SDB, but it does not have the ground-launched version in its own arsenal. The weapon’s arrival comes at a time when Ukraine’s artillery and munitions stockpiles are dwindling.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Thursday that the Senate will hold a vote next week on the national security supplemental bill, which covers aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as well as additional measures for U.S. border security. The full text of the bill could be published as early as Friday.

Germany said on Tuesday that a new batch of military equipment had been delivered to Ukraine, including 24 armored personnel carriers, four BV206 multipurpose tracked vehicles, IRIS-T SLS missiles, 155mm ammunition, 3 Wisent-1 mine-clearance vehicles, a bridge-laying vehicle, and other hardware.

Moreover, German company Quantum Systems has delivered 100 Trinity drones to Ukraine. The company, which has also supplied Vector drones to Ukraine, announced the donation in September 2023.

Battlefield Updates

Ukraine’s Main Director of Intelligence (GUR) announced on Thursday that Ukrainian USVs successfully targeted Russian Navy vessel Ivanovets in western Crimea, sinking the Project 1241.1 corvette. GUR released footage of the attack to support its claim. The Russian government has not commented on the alleged sinking as of writing, but a prominent Russian military blogger wrote that Ivanovets sank after being struck by three USVs.

Russia has launched another drone attack on Ukrainian targets.  The operation took place during the night of January 29-30.  Moscow fired 35 attack drones at targets across Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine is using fake weapons to fool Russian air strikes.  These decoy systems are forcing Russia to waste missiles and drones attacking false targets.  A team led by the Metinvest steel company is producing these decoys.

 

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