Air defense success, Transnistria “annexation,” Tusk-Zelenskyy meeting

Your slice of the headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Friday, February 23, 2024.

● Zelenskyy thanks Ukrainian forces shooting down seven Russian planes in a single week

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to the Ukrainian Armed Forces for shooting down seven Russian aircraft in a week, he said during his nightly video address to the nation on Feb. 21.

● German Bundestag approves long-range weapons for Ukraine, Taurus delivery uncertain

The German Bundestag voted in favor of providing "long-range weapons systems and ammunition" to Ukraine, Deutsche Welle reported on Feb. 22.

● Russia threatened to shoot down French jets patrolling Black Sea, French defense minister reports

Russia threatened to shoot down French planes patrolling the Black Sea in January, French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu said on Feb. 22, the Associated Press reports.

● Transnistria to ‘ask’ Putin for annexation on February 28 — opposition figure

A congress of "MPs" from all levels is set to convene on Feb. 28 in Tiraspol, Moldova (the capital of unrecognized Transnistria), to possibly appeal to Russia to "accept Transnistria into the Russian Federation,” said local oppositionist and activist Gennady Chorba, the Moldovan Infotag private news agency reported on Feb. 21.

● G7 reassure Kyiv and call on Moscow to ‘completely’ and ‘unconditionally withdraw its military forces’

The Group of Seven (G7) nations will seek to reassure Ukraine this week that their support will not waver, Bloomberg reported on Feb. 22, citing a draft statement ahead of an online summit to mark the anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion.

● UNDP Assessment: Ukrainian businesses prove to be resilient amid ongoing war

Ukrainian businesses proved to be resilient amid the ongoing war, with 84% of suspended companies managing to partly renew their business activities within a period of up to 6 months, according to the UNDP Assessment of the Impact of the War on Enterprises in Ukraine published on Feb. 20.

● EU moves to prolong tariff-free trade with Ukraine and Moldova for another year

The European Union's Committee of Permanent Representatives has approved a mandate to negotiate the extension of the "trade visa-free" arrangement with Ukraine and Moldova, the European Council announced on Feb. 21.

● Biden throws weight behind Dutch premier Rutte to lead NATO — Politico

U.S. President Joe Biden is backing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to become the next NATO secretary general, Politico reported on Feb. 21, citing an unnamed American official.

● Zelenskyy meets with his Servant of the People party for the first time in two years — NV sources 

For the first time in almost two years, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a closed door meeting with his Servant of the People party MPs, three sources in the party told NV.

● New details emerge as Spain investigates assassination of defected Russian pilot

Russian special services or unidentified "professional individuals" may be involved in the murder of Maxim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine on Mi-8 helicopter, according to a report by VilaWeb, a Catalan news outlet, on Feb. 21.

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