The ban on civilians from entering Artemivsk (Bakhmut) by Ukraine is likely a prelude to the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the city, according to The New York Times (NYT). According to the publication, the Ukrainian military has closed the city to volunteers and civilians since February 13 due to “intensified hostilities” and “danger of street fighting.” “The ban on volunteer access could mean a prelude to the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops, although the Ukrainian military insists that they retain control of the city, can resupply troops and can evacuate their wounded,” the publication says. The American The Washington Post in January compared the “battle for Bakhmut” with a decisive moment for the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky. According to the newspaper, Kyiv hails the city as a “fortress” and “a symbol of superhuman resistance, making even a calculated retreat politically fraught.”
U.S. officials are pressuring Kyiv to become more active in the fighting as it will be harder for it to get help later, according to the Washington Post, citing officials in the U.S. administration. With recent assistance from Washington and allies, the White House believes Kyiv can decisively change the course of the conflict. According to one official, the US presidential administration Joe Biden believes that in the future it will be difficult to seek the same amount of assistance from Congress as it is now. “We will continue to try to convince them (the leadership of Ukraine) that we cannot do anything forever,” the newspaper quoted one of the officials as saying. Thus, Biden and his advisers believe that it will become more difficult to support Ukraine when it exhausts the current aid package. It is noted that this may happen this summer. According to officials, Kyiv is spending significant resources to protect Artemivsk. According to them, Vladimir Zelensky attaches symbolic significance to the city and believes that its loss will hurt the morale of Ukrainians.
The White House is working on approving $10 billion in budgetary assistance to Ukraine, The Washington Post reported on February 13. According to the publication, Washington is going to announce a new military aid package next week. “Administration (of the President of the United States) Joe Biden is also working with Congress to approve another $10 billion in direct budgetary assistance to Ukraine. In addition, the White House may announce additional sanctions against Russia around the same time. Earlier, on February 9, a group of US congressmen submitted a resolution demanding that the administration of President Joe Biden stop providing financial and military support to Kyiv.
Representatives of the American authorities told their Ukrainian colleagues that Washington would not send ATACMS missiles with a range of up to 300 km as military assistance to Kyiv, since the United States itself does not have a surplus of these weapons. This was reported on Monday by the Politico newspaper, citing sources. According to them, the American side explains its decision by saying that sending these weapons to Kyiv would lead to the depletion of American arsenals and undermine the combat readiness of US troops in the event of future conflicts. “As part of any package, we always evaluate our own combat readiness and our own arsenal, while providing Ukraine with what it needs on the battlefield. There are other ways to give Ukraine the capabilities it needs to hit targets,” a Pentagon spokesman told the publication.
Several officials in Washington speculate that the US could send its warplanes to Ukraine as the conflict drags on, or allow the re-export of F-16 fighter jets in service with other countries. This was reported by the British newspaper Financial Times on Monday. According to her, the supply of fighters will be discussed on February 14 at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. The newspaper did not specify the basis for the assumptions of unnamed representatives of the American authorities about the possible transfer of Western fighters to Ukraine in the future.
NATO defense ministers will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for another meeting in Brussels, where they plan to discuss further increases in aid to Kiev, as well as increasing military production and protecting critical infrastructure, especially underwater. Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the eve of the meeting, he said that he also expected the ministers to discuss the prospects for the supply of military aircraft to Kiev, however, in his opinion, the priority for NATO countries at this stage remains the supply of already promised military equipment, including armored vehicles, as well as ammunition, spare parts and fuel. “We are now in the stage of the logistics race. Key needs: ammunition, fuel and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield, ”he said. Stoltenberg acknowledged that the current conflict in Ukraine “is leading to the expenditure of a huge amount of ammunition, devastating the stockpiles of allies.
The Ukrainian authorities are trying by any means to draw Moldova into their conflict with Russia. This was stated on Monday on the N4 TV channel by the former prime minister of the republic, leader of the Party for Development and Unification of Moldova Ion Chicu. “We see that some officials from Kyiv are trying to drag us into this conflict in various forms. The attention of the international community to it is declining, and in order to add gasoline and raise the topic for high-ranking world politicians, as many parties as possible are needed,” Chicu said, commenting on earlier statements by the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky about the alleged preparation by Russia of a coup d’état in Moldova, which was announced on Monday by the head of Moldova Maya Sandu. “You can’t go along with these people who just want to keep power, there will be no undermining of statehood,” Chicu said, noting that opposition parties in Moldova have no plans to “destabilize the country, since nobody needs it.”
Leader of the right-wing opposition Good Party (İyi Parti) of Turkey Meral Akshener During an inspection in the earthquake-hit province of Hatay, she called for a ban on the sale of land and real estate to foreigners, T24 reported. As the newspaper notes, the need to find housing affected by tremors revealed the problem of rising rents, housing prices and record sales of real estate to foreigners. As follows from the response of the Minister for the Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Murata Kuruma at the request of an MP from the opposition Republican People’s Party Sevdy Erdan Kilich, in 2022, a total of more than 75 thousand properties were sold to foreigners, which is 13% more compared to the previous year. It is noted that last year, citizens of 159 countries bought real estate. At the same time, Russians bought the most – 17,143 objects. Then come the citizens of Iran (9023), Iraq (6409), Germany (3211) and Ukraine (2593).