A possible lack of support for Ukraine from the USA would be wrong “for everyone”, but if that happens, Kiev will count on Germany’s support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this in an interview with the German broadcaster Ard im Erste.
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EU sources: 'FT document does not represent our plan'
“The document to which the Financial Times refers is a background paper prepared by the Council Secretariat on its own responsibility, which describes the current situation of the Hungarian economy. “It is a factual document that does not reflect the status of the ongoing negotiations on the EU budget among Sherpas and at management level. The note does not set out a specific plan related to the EU budget and the Ukraine Facility, nor a plan related to Hungary.” EU sources explain this by saying that the negotiations on the budget review are based on “an acceptable compromise found at 27”.
Hungarian currency falls after Financial Times leaks
The Hungarian currency fell 0.7% to 389 forints per euro after the Financial Times reported that Brussels would be prepared to sabotage Hungary's economy if Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continued to block aid to Ukraine as the summit was extended on Thursday . This was reported by the same British newspaper and also recorded an increase in the yield of the benchmark ten-year bond by 0.09 percentage points to 6.35%, the highest level since December, due to the fall in prices.
Moscow claims capture of a village in Kharkiv
Moscow's Defense Ministry said Russian forces had taken control of the village of Tabaivka in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region. A statement from the Kiev General Staff denied that fighting continued in the area. Volodymyr Fityo, head of communications for the Ukrainian ground forces, said on national television: “This does not correspond to reality. Fighting is taking place nearby.” Location”.
Ukraine wants to expand the bridgehead on the occupied bank of the Dnieper
The Ukrainian army has announced that, despite intense enemy attacks, it is trying to “expand” its bridgehead occupied by the Russian army on the left bank of the Dnieper in the south of the country. “The Ukrainian Armed Forces are continuing their efforts to expand their bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region,” the Army General Staff said in its morning report. “Despite significant losses, the enemy continues to try to dislodge our units from their positions,” the General Staff added, reporting that “eight” Russian offensive operations “failed” yesterday alone. The Ukrainian armed forces – in particular two marine infantry brigades – have been trying to gain ground on the left bank of the Dnieper in the Kherson region for months, while the entire front has been largely frozen since the end of 2022 and the Russians are on the offensive in several areas in the east . In particular, the Ukrainians have managed to establish positions near the village of Krynky and have been holding them since at least October last year. According to analysts, this is in preparation for future larger operations. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-based think tank, reported fighting on Friday near Krynky, but noted that there were “no confirmed changes” to this sector of the front. In the east, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had captured the village of Tabaivka near Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region. Ukrainian army spokesman Volodymyr Fitio on television denied the capture of this place and assured that the fighting was still ongoing. At the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow's troops occupied a significant part of the Kharkiv border region. In the fall of the same year, the Russian army was forced into a humiliating retreat from the area.
Pope: “Holy See mediates the return of Ukrainian civilians forcibly deported to Russia”
The Holy See is trying to mediate prisoner exchanges and the return of Ukrainian civilians. In particular, we are working with Ms. Maria Llova-Belova, the Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights, on the repatriation of Ukrainian children who were forcibly brought to Russia. Someone has already returned to his family,” Pope Francis said in an interview with La Stampa about the progress of Vatican diplomacy on the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine. The Pope recalls that he entrusted the task of “this complicated and delicate mission” to Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, President of the Italian Bishops' Conference: “He is good and competent, he carries out constant and patient diplomatic work to put aside conflicts and create an atmosphere of reconciliation.” He went to Kiev and Moscow and then to Washington and Beijing.
The ISW Think Tank: “Moscow is creating conditions to destabilize Moldova”
“Kremlin officials and spokespeople continue to create information conditions to destabilize Moldova, probably as part of efforts to prevent Chisinau’s integration into the EU and the West,” writes the US think tank Isw (Institute for the Study of War) in the latest report published on its website, highlighting some arguments that support the analysis. Alexei Polishchuk, director of the second department of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with the Russian state news agency Tass published on January 28 that Moldova had begun to “destroy its relations.” “With the CIS member states and the Moscow-led organization as a whole and that there are rumors that Moldova intends to leave the CIS by the end of 2024. Polishchuk said that this decision would not benefit Moldova's interests or citizens and would not be profitable for Moldova's economy, adding that the solution of the Transnistria issue in Moldova is in a “deep crisis” and that the economic pressure, the Chisinau has been exercising its influence on Transnistria since the beginning of 2024 and has “further delayed” any solution. Polishchuk further argued that Russia is ready to resolve the deteriorating relations between Moldova and Transnistria “as a mediator and guarantor” of the solution. Moldova's Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Serebrian said on January 28 that Moldova would not return to the 5+2 negotiation process on Transnistria until then, which also includes Russia
Hungary against the EU: “Let’s not give in to blackmail”
“Hungary will not give in to blackmail! The document prepared by Brussels bureaucrats simply confirms what the Hungarian government has long been claiming: access to EU funds is being used by Brussels for political blackmail.” This was written by the Minister of European Affairs, János Bóka, in a tweet, commenting on the indiscretion the Financial Times said Brussels would be prepared to sabotage the Hungarian economy if Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continued to block aid to Ukraine at the extraordinary summit planned for Thursday. “Hungary – he explains – does not establish a connection between support for Ukraine and access to EU funds and refuses to allow other actors to do so. Hungary has participated constructively in the negotiations and will continue to participate constructively, but will not give in to blackmail.” ” Citing Bóka himself, Balázs Orbán, political director of the Hungarian Prime Minister, specifies on “the issue of common debt for financing, provided that – he writes – further reservations will be added, giving Budapest the opportunity to change its mind at a later date.
Drone was shot down in Russia's Yaroslav region this morning
A drone was shot down this morning in Russia's Yaroslav region, northeast of Moscow, several hundred kilometers from the border with Ukraine, while attempting to attack a refinery. This is reported by Governor Mikhail Evraev on his Telegram channel. “The electronic defense system of the Slavneft-Yanos oil refinery thwarted the attack,” the governor wrote, citing Ria Novosti agency, adding that there were no injuries. According to the Russian Telegram channels Mash, Baza and Astra, the drone crashed on the site of the same refinery. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on energy infrastructure deep in Russian territory, including refineries and gas pipeline terminals. Kiev's military intelligence said two drone attacks were carried out in the Leningrad region, whose capital is St. Petersburg, almost a thousand kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
FT: EU ready to sabotage Hungary if it blocks aid to Ukraine again
The EU will sabotage Hungary's economy if Budapest blocks new aid to Ukraine at this week's summit. This is reported by the Financial Times, citing a confidential plan from Brussels that represents a significant escalation in the fight between the EU and its most pro-Russian member state. The document, drawn up by EU officials and seen by the Financial Times, said: Brussels has outlined a strategy that explicitly targets Hungary's economic weaknesses, endangering its currency and weakening investor confidence in order to damage “jobs and growth”, if Budapest refuses to lift its veto on aid to Kiev. However, the ministers for European affairs meeting in Brussels downplay this: the main plan is to reach a compromise with the vote in Budapest.
Zelenskyy praises Scholz, but insults Germany's Ukraine policy during the Merkel era
“I am not disappointed with Olaf (Scholz). I am disappointed with German politics, which did not play the role in the occupation of Crimea that Ukraine deserved, that Europe and the world deserved. That all the people who lived back then and then lost their lives in the war deserved it.” This is the implicit criticism of the then Merkel government that Volodymyr Zelenskyy expresses. The Ukrainian president said this in an interview with the Ard program “Caren”. Instead, Zelensky defined Scholz as one of the true “leaders of Europe” and emphasized that the fact that Berlin did not send Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev was “not his fault, but the personal fault” of the Chancellor. Zelensky explains that there are some things that are not allowed to be said publicly.
Zelensky: “Without the USA, Europe would not be able to fight against Russia”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Europe cannot stand up to Russia alone if the US stops aid to Ukraine; At the same time, he said he was confident this would not happen. “Europe alone will not be able to guarantee the level of assistance that Ukraine has received so far, neither military nor financial,” Zelensky said in an interview with German broadcaster Ard. “Even if all of Europe were united, it would probably not be able to provide sufficient support to Ukraine,” he continued. “However, the United States has influence, and if the signals are not very positive, it has an impact on some European leaders,” Zelensky noted. “If the US delays support processes, this will also have an impact on a united Europe, but I believe that Europe will not remain alone,” said the Ukrainian leader.
Kiev: Russia lost 383,180 soldiers in Ukraine
Russia has lost 383,180 soldiers in Ukraine since the war began on February 24, 2022, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported. The figure includes 1,070 casualties suffered by Russian forces over the past day. According to the report, Russia also lost 6,290 tanks, 11,696 armored fighting vehicles, 12,149 fuel vehicles and tanks, 9,113 artillery systems, 972 multiple rocket systems, 660 air defense systems, 331 aircraft, 324 helicopters, 7,049 drones, 23 boats and a submarine.
Head of Hungarian diplomacy in Ukraine for the meeting between Orban and Zelensky
Hungarian diplomatic chief Peter Szijjarto will meet his counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in western Ukraine ahead of a European summit to seek financial aid for the war-torn country after Budapest's recent veto. The aim is to prepare a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to find “solutions” to their differences and “release EU decisions that are crucial for Ukraine,” said Kiev. As evidence of extremely tense relations between the two neighbors, Szijjarto has never set foot in Ukraine since the Russian offensive began, although he has visited Moscow several times. The meeting will take place in Oujhorod, where a large Hungarian community lives. Security measures were tightened after the Hungarian minister received a letter threatening his death. Zelensky's chief of staff Andriy Yermak will also be present at the meeting. Viktor Orban is the only European leader to have close ties with the Kremlin while maintaining complicated ties with Ukraine.
Zelensky: “Rotation of soldiers at the front is necessary”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has recognized the need to relieve the burden on soldiers at the front through more frequent replacements. “Gratitude is not enough,” said Zelenskyy in an interview with the German broadcaster Ard im Erste, as the Tagesschau reported. “We need fair rotation, they need vacation, because money alone cannot compensate for this,” said the Ukrainian president, emphasizing that a new law for more frequent exchange of front-line soldiers is being prepared. The Kiev government is responding to repeated protests by relatives of soldiers at the front who asked for help for the fighters, Zelensky said. The Ukrainian president stated that he did not want to exert pressure to bring back conscientious objectors who had fled abroad, even if he personally wanted these people to return. What Ukraine needs is a “working law” on this issue, Zelensky continued.