As the war enters its 720th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Tuesday, February 13, 2024.
- Norway’s intelligence service has warned Russia that it has “gained an advantage” in the war in Ukraine due to the large number of troops and material supplied by Iran, China, North Korea and Belarus. Nils Andreas Stensones, the head of the military’s intelligence unit, said Kyiv needs “a lot” of Western military help to turn the situation around.
- Researchers in Kyiv said a preliminary analysis concluded that Russia struck the Ukrainian capital last week with a hypersonic Zircon missile, marking the first use of the weapon in war. Zircon has a range of 1,000km (625 miles) and travels at nine times the speed of sound, according to Russia.
- Ukraine’s Air Force said its air defense system destroyed 14 of 17 drones launched by Russia overnight and a Kh-59 cruise missile. Several buildings were destroyed, including in the central city of Dnipro, but there were no reports of casualties.
- The Kremlin has denied Ukraine’s claim that its troops are using Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet system for military communications in parts of Ukraine it occupies. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the system was not certified for use in, nor officially provided by, Russia, and therefore could not be used.
Politics and diplomacy
- The European Union adopted a law to set aside windfall profits generated by Russia’s central bank’s frozen assets, in the first concrete step toward the bloc’s goal of using the money to finance reconstruction. in Ukraine. About 300 billion euros ($323 billion) in Russian central bank assets were frozen after the country launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.
- Kristina Puzyreva, a Canadian-Russian woman, pleaded guilty in a United States court to money laundering conspiracy for her role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to ship drones and missile components to Russia for military use against Ukraine, the US Justice Department said. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison
- Russia has imposed sanctions on 18 UK citizens including Russian officials, historians and experts accusing them of trying to demonize Russia. Moscow also admits that the United Kingdom’s strategy in Ukraine has led to further escalation and loss of life in the war.
- France’s Viginum agency, which works to defend against foreign online threats, says it has discovered a “structured and coordinated” network of Russian websites designed to spread Kremlin propaganda in Europe and US.
- A Moscow court ordered the arrest of Meta spokesman Andy Stone for two months pending trial on several terrorism-related charges. Meta’s main social platforms – Facebook and Instagram – were banned immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Meta was later found guilty of “extremist activities” in Russia. The stone is not in Moscow.
- Ukraine’s Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov told Reuters news agency that Ukraine will produce thousands of long-range drones capable of deep-attack in Russia by 2024, and there are already 10 companies that produces drones with the ability to reach Moscow and St Petersburg.
- Moldovan authorities said they destroyed about 50kg of explosives discovered in part of a Russian-launched Shahed drone that crashed in its territory near the southern town of Etulia, near the border with Ukraine.