This week arrived in Ukraine from USA auditors from three agencies - the State Department, the Pentagon, and the state agency USAID. They will analyze the use of American aid in Ukraine, including military aid. The Administration of US President D. Biden in this case works proactively. After passing under the control of the Republicans of the lower House of Representatives of the US Congress, the Democrats are forced to respond to the criticism of the opponents of the "Ukrainian policy" of the Administration. Previously, the Republicans demanded that the spending of funds and resources that the United States sends to help Ukraine be tightly controlled. This is happening against the backdrop of the fact that ex-US President D. Trump is now launching an election campaign, which, apparently, will be largely based on criticism of the Ukrainian case of US President D. Biden. For their part, D. Biden's team, sending their auditors to Ukraine, demonstrate that, contrary to the criticism of the Republicans, they pay a lot of attention to controlling the spending of funds and large-scale theft has not been recorded. With this in mind, assistance to Ukraine in the future may become somewhat more complicated.
Against the background of the visit of US auditors to Ukraine and the negative public opinion in Ukraine, the team of the President's Office is trying to extinguish the extremely negative informational political effect of corruption scandals (in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the Ministry of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure, and others) that last week got into the public plane thanks to the efforts of the media and anti-corruption activists, focused on Western partners and the team of P. Poroshenko.
To this end, the authorities decided to dismiss of several deputy ministers and leaders of the first echelon, leaders of the second order (at the same time striving to keep key political figures - the head of the Office of the President, the Minister of Defense, etc.) and unfreezing the investigation of politically toxic figures and oligarchic groups. Deputy Head of the Office of the President Kyrylo Tymoshenko and Deputy Minister of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov, Deputy Prosecutor General O. Symonenko, Deputy Minister for the Development of Communities and Territories of Ukraine Ivan Lukerya, Deputy Minister for the Development of Communities and Territories of Ukraine Vyacheslav Negoda, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Vitaliy Muzychenko, a criminal case has also been opened against Deputy Minister for the Development of Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Vasily Lozinsky, and the leadership of the State Tax Service and the State Customs Service have also resigned. But the resignation of the deputies seemed not enough, and now the authorities and law enforcement agencies have stepped up the investigation of cases related to corruption and the activities of oligarchs, competing political and economic players. In particular, the situation around the State Customs Service is an attempt to extinguish criticism of large-scale corruption at customs, which, according to experts, reaches $5 billion annually. The ongoing searches of officials and ex-officials of the Ministry of Defense are designed to convince the public and foreign partners that the authorities are fighting corruption in defense supplies, as well as to keep Defense Minister A. Reznikov (an important figure for the OP) in his post. The situation around the oligarch I. Kolomoisky should demonstrate that the government team is independent of this oligarch (the media often wrote about this dependence before) and may be a reaction to the attempts of the I. Kolomoisky team to increase the value of their parliamentary group by attacking other allies of the OP (primarily deputy groups on the wreckage of the ex-HLE). By the way, the presence of parliamentary influence unites at least 3 persons involved in the searches - I. Kolomoisky ("For the Future" and non-factional), V. Stolar ("Restoration of Ukraine"), and A. Avakov (individual deputies), which may also mean an attempt by the authorities to fight competing influences in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Toxicity of I. Kolomoisky was added by the fact that in four international jurisdictions - Cyprus, Israel, the USA, and Great Britain, four cases are pending before the courts on the claims of PrivatBank against the former owners with a total amount of claims for $ 11.5 billion.
It is noteworthy that the wave of searches on February 1 was organized by structures that are in the zone of influence of the Office of the President: BEP, SBU, SBI, and not NABU, SAP, or NAZK, which are influenced by Ukraine's Western partners.
At the same time, one should not expect any serious public condemnations of the Ukrainian authorities by US auditors. Since such statements can create a serious political crisis in Ukraine, which will be used by the Russian Federation, as well as hit J. Biden and the Democrats in the United States. It is more likely that the administration of US President A. Biden will use compromising information received from auditors as an additional lever of control and pressure on representatives of the Ukrainian authorities.
The military situation is still developing according to an inertial scenario. At the front, the RF Armed Forces are conducting an offensive in the Bakhmut, Avdeevsky, Limansky, Novopavlovsky (Ugledar) directions. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are attacking in the direction of the city of Kremennaya and the city of Svatovo. After the local success of the Russian army near the city of Soledar, the battles again turned into a positional phase, both sides pulled up reserves and are fighting for a tactical initiative. The tensest situation is now developing around the city of Bakhmut and the city of Ugledar (the Russians are trying to storm the city). The General Staff declares that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not leave the city of Bakhmut as long as it is possible to defend there. Attacks continue on the settlement of Ivanovskoye (formerly Krasnoye) on the Bakhmut-Konstantinovka highway.
At the same time, the likelihood of a new large-scale offensive by the Russian Federation in the Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, or Sumy and Chernihiv directions continues to grow. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine A. Danilov believes that the Russian Federation can launch a new large-scale offensive in the Donbas before February 24.
Against the backdrop of the threat of a new offensive by the Russian Federation, the allied countries, led by the United States, nevertheless agreed on the supply of main battle tanks from the United States, Germany, and Great Britain to Ukraine. The United States is also preparing another $2.2 billion military aid package for Ukraine, likely to include long-range missiles and other weapons and ammunition. After the United States announced that they were ready to provide Ukraine with Abrams tanks, Germany officially agreed to the supply of Leopard tanks. They were also permitted to send their tanks to Ukraine from other European countries. The first Leopard-2 tanks could be delivered from Germany in about three months. In general, the delivery to Ukraine of 2-3 battalions of Leopard tanks (80-120 units) and 1 Abrams battalion (31 units) has been announced, which can go to the front approximately from the second half of spring or by summer. 100-150 tanks are not capable of changing the situation at the front, although they can allow Ukraine to carry out 1-2 counteroffensive operations. Although this may be only the initial batch. At the same time, they continue to say in Ukraine that the supply of tanks is not enough for victory. Defense Minister A. Reznikov expects that the first tanks should appear in Ukraine in March. President V. Zelensky declares the need for 300-500 tanks for an effective counter-offensive. Jet fighters, aircraft, and, possibly, long-range missiles remain on the list of necessary weapons for Ukraine. In particular, work on obtaining F-16 fighters continues, taking into account the mood of Western (Germany - against, in the USA - no approval yet) partners, as well as the timing of flight training (about a year), it can be assumed that fighters in Ukraine will not be able to use in this year.
On January 26, Ukraine was already subjected to the 13th major rocket attack from the Russian Federation. Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine V. Zaluzhny said that 47 out of 55 missiles launched in Ukraine that day were destroyed. We are talking about air and sea-based missiles (Kh-101, Kh-555, allegedly Kh-47 "Kinzhal", "Kalibr", Kh-59). To prevent severe damage to the power system in the Kyiv, Odesa, Dnepropetrovsk, and Kharkiv regions, preventive power outages were carried out. In Odessa, Kryvyi Rih, and several other cities, all-electric transport was stopped. Overall, it is clear that Russia's strategy to destroy Ukraine's critical infrastructure continues to cause significant damage to the country's energy system and economy. Even though the work of Ukrainian air defense has recently improved significantly, on average, according to the statements of the leadership, they cannot cope with hitting a target in 10-20% of cases (although this data cannot be verified). And in the future, even though a complete blackout has so far been avoided, one can still expect serious negative consequences due to the cumulative effect of the blows. The number of missiles fired has decreased on average, now it is from 50 to 70 pieces, and not 70-100, as before. What can say that rockets are saving and drones will be used more; or about reducing the nomenclature of goals?
The situation in the Kharkiv region: without significant changes. There were battles in the area of the settlement Gryanykivka, Kharkiv region (53 kilometers northwest of Svatovo), and the settlement Novovodyane, Luhansk region (24 kilometers northwest of Kremennaya)
In Donbas: The Russian army is advancing in the Bakhmut, Avdiivsky, Limansky, Novopavlivsky (Ugledar) directions. The Ukrainian command confirmed the loss of Soledar. The tensest situation at the front now is the city of Bakhmut and Ugledar. Attacks of the RF Armed Forces repulsed near the settlements of Dibrova and Bilogorivka in the Lugansk region. In the Donetsk region attacks were repelled - in the areas of the settlements of Yampolivka, Verkhnekamenske, Rozdolivka, Sol, Blagodatnoye, Paraskovievka, Ivanovskoye, Kleshcheevka, Novomikhailovka, Vodyane, Maryinka, Peremoha, Spirne, Blagodatne, Krasna Gora, Klishchiivka and Paraskoviivka in the Donetsk region.
The situation in the southern direction: In the Zaporizhzhia direction, attacks were repelled in the area of the settlement Charivne (closest to the Donbas) is located in the Zaporizhzhia region, south of the settlement Huliaipole.
Black Sea-Azov direction: without significant changes.
The internal situation in the country.
Shelling of critical infrastructure.
On January 26, Ukraine was already subjected to the 13th major rocket attack from the Russian Federation. Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine V. Zaluzhny said that 47 out of 55 missiles launched in Ukraine that day were destroyed. We are talking about air and sea-based missiles (Kh-101, Kh-555, Kh-47 "Kinzhal", "Kalibr", Kh-59).
Air defense hits and operations were recorded in several areas:
▪️Odessa region, - two critical infrastructure facilities, were damaged;
▪️Vinnytsia region - hits on infrastructure facilities;
▪️ Kyiv, - there are arrivals, 1 dead and 2 wounded, air defense worked out in the region. Despite the statements of the Kyiv city military administration that all 15 missiles flying to the capital were shot down, the first "arrival" happened within a few minutes. According to the mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko, the explosion occurred in the Dnieper region.
Also, air defense worked in the Mykolaiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Zhytomyr regions.
Due to the de-energization of some sections of railway communication, there are problems in the movement of trains, and in the southern regions, there are problems with light. According to Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko, the most difficult situation with electricity after the strike is observed in the Kyiv, Odesa, and Vinnytsia regions.
To prevent severe damage to the power system in the Kyiv, Odesa, Dnepropetrovsk, and Kharkiv regions, preventive power outages were carried out. In Odessa, Kryvyi Rih, and several other cities, all-electric transport was stopped.
DTEK imports electricity to reduce the deficit. 60 million kWh of electricity was imported in January, the company said. Electricity supplies from the EU could increase to 1 billion kWh per month, equal to the consumption of close to 4 million households.
Overall, it is clear that Russia's strategy to destroy Ukraine's critical infrastructure continues to cause significant damage to the country's energy system and economy.
Since October, Russia has fired 728 missiles into Ukraine:
▪️ October 10-11: 111 missiles;
▪️ October 17-22: 49 missiles;
▪️ October 31: 50 rockets;
▪️ November 15-17: 120 rockets;
▪️ November 23: 70 missiles (blackout);
▪️ December 5: 70 rockets;
▪️ December 16: 76 missiles;
▪️ December 29-31: 89 missiles;
▪️ January 14: 38 rockets;
▪️ January 26: 55 missiles.
( The missiles were counted according to the data provided by the Ukrainian command after each shelling).
The work of Ukrainian air defense has recently improved significantly, but on average, according to the leadership, they fail to defeat the target in 10-20% of cases (although this data cannot be verified). And in the future, even though a complete blackout has so far been avoided, one can still expect serious negative consequences due to the cumulative effect of the blows. The number of missiles fired has decreased on average, now it is from 50 to 70 pieces, and not 70-100, as before. What can say that rockets are saving and drones will be used more; or about reducing the nomenclature of goals?
Corruption scandals and personnel changes.
Personnel rotation and corruption scandals continue in the country.
Many deputies have already retired - Deputy Head of the Office of the President Kyrylo Tymoshenko and Deputy Minister of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov, Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksandr Symonenko, Deputy Minister for the Development of Communities and Territories of Ukraine Ivan Lukerya, Deputy Minister for the Development of Communities and Territories of Ukraine Vyacheslav Negoda, Deputy Minister social policy of Ukraine Vitaliy Muzychenko, a criminal case has also been opened against Deputy Minister for the Development of Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Vasily Lozinsky. Four heads of regional administrations (Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Sumy) associated with Tymoshenko were fired.
Instead of K. Tymoshenko, the head of the Kyiv OVA Oleksiy Kuleba was appointed curator of regional policy in the OP.
Recall that even earlier, the authorities experienced an information crisis associated with A. Arestovich, and the head of the Dnepropetrovsk OVA V. Reznichenko (stealing during road repairs). These figures are also closely associated with the leadership of the OP.
So The SBU came with searches for some officials from the Ministry of Defense. Suspicions were raised against Deputy Director of State Procurement of the Ministry of Defense B. Khmelnitsky, former Deputy Minister of Defense Shapovalov, and Deputy Director of Promoboronexport V. Tereshchenko.
Alexander Liev wrote a letter of resignation from the post of the acting department of the military-technical department. policy, development of weapons, and military equipment of the Ministry of Defense. Yuriy Sotnyk was also fired from the post of First Deputy Chairman of the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine. And Andriy Lordkipanidze from the post of Deputy Chairman of the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection.
Searches are also being carried out at other officials' homes, they are handing over suspicions of corruption in the military sphere at various levels.
Also, the SBU and BEB conducted searches at the home of oligarch I. Kolomoisky. It is reported that the investigation is ongoing regarding fraud in Ukrtatnafta and Ukrnafta (the enterprises were nationalized). We are talking about the waste of oil products worth 40 billion hryvnias and the evasion of customs payments for large sums. Based on the results of the investigative actions of the top management of PJSC Ukrtatnafta, suspicions of committing criminal offenses were announced. Now in four international jurisdictions - Cyprus, Israel, the United States, and Great Britain, four cases are pending before the courts on the claims of PrivatBank against the former owners with a total amount of claims for $11.5 billion.
At the same time, the SBU and the State Bureau of Investigation conducted searches at the home of the ex-head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov. A. Avakov said that they looked at contracts for the purchase of Airbus helicopters 6 years ago as part of the case of a helicopter crash in the city of Brovary, as a result of which the top leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs died. Recall that the SBU is considering several main versions of the tragedy: violation of flight rules (pilot error); technical malfunction of the helicopter; sabotage.
Large-scale personnel changes are expected in the Government. There are rumors that the list of resignations will not be limited to this. They also talk about layoffs of other people, up to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. According to media reports, 8 ministers can resign at once:
▪️Energy Minister German Galushchenko,
▪️Minister of Strategic Industries Pavel Ryabikin,
▪️Minister of Youth and Sports Vadim Gutzeit,
▪️Minister of Veterans Yulia Laputina ,
▪️Minister of Education Sergey Shkarlet,
▪️Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration Irina Vereshchuk,
▪️Minister of Ecology Ruslan Strelets,
▪️Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko.
Officially, the government has not yet commented on this information.
Ryabikin, Minister of Strategic Industries, may be appointed to the position of Ambassador to China. The Ministry of Strategic Industries, as well as the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, can be merged with the Ministry of Economy.
All this was preceded by a whole series of corruption scandals in power. Publications in the media about purchases at inflated prices from the Ministry of Defense, the detention of Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Community and Territory Development Vasily Lozinsky on suspicion of a bribe, information about Alexei Symonenko's trip to Spain on vacation, and so on. In the public plane, all these topics are actively disseminated by the media that are associated with Western partners, as well as with the main competitor of V. Zelensky - P. Poroshenko.
For its part, the authorities are trying to ease the pressure of Western partners by dismissing several deputies, probably with the expectation of keeping the main figures (the head of the Presidential Office, the Minister of Defense, etc.) in leadership positions. Behind-the-scenes trading on new figures of the financial bloc continues. One of the subjects of bargaining with Western partners may likely be the case of the former head of the Office of President A. Kobolev (he is suspected of taking more than UAH 229 million in the form of a bonus for winning arbitration against Gazprom).
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dismissed the leadership of the State Customs Service. In particular, they lost their positions - the head of customs V. Demchenko, and his deputies - A. Shchutsky was dismissed, and R. Cherkassky was removed. S. Zvyagintsev, Deputy Head of the State Customs Service, has been appointed Acting Head of Customs.
It is also reported that the State Bureau of Investigation came with searches to the Main Department of the State Tax Service of Kyiv. In particular, the searches were carried out by acting. head of the tax service in Kyiv Oksana Datiy. The press service of the department stated that the head of the structure was exposed to multimillion-dollar illegal enrichment schemes. According to preliminary estimates, more than UAH 15 billion fell into the shadow turnover.
Also, the acting head of the State Tax Service Tatyana Kiriyenko was dismissed.
reported the suspicion to ex-Minister of Energy Igor Nasalik. He is suspected of signing agreements that are unprofitable for the state in favor of companies associated with the oligarch Dmitry Firtash for 1.5 billion hryvnias.
There are also rumors that S. Gaidai may soon lose his post as head of the Lugansk Regional State Administration, and he may be appointed ambassador to Kazakhstan.
Several deputies from the banned parties of the Opposition Platform for Life have resigned their mandates. People's deputies who were previously members of the Opposition Platform for Life faction, Natalia Korolevskaya and her husband Yuriy Solod, wrote a letter of resignation. Deputy Oleg Voloshin Oleg Voloshin also wrote a letter of resignation. Since the beginning of the invasion, they have been absent from Ukraine, and last week there was a rumor that they wanted to deprive them of their citizenship, and then their mandate, if they did not return to Ukraine. There are also rumors in the Rada that another former member of the Opposition Platform for Life faction Vadim Stolar, who returned to Ukraine in January for the first time since the start of the war, is going to resign the mandate, after which he was banned from leaving the country. V. Stolar's house was also searched. The SBU is investigating the involvement of the construction companies of Vadim Stolar in the legalization of the money of Viktor Medvedchuk, suspected of treason, and other sanctioned people. This was reported by the press service of the SBU.
There may be other statements about the resignation of the mandate, taking into account the fact that now all people's deputies are prohibited by the Decree of the President and the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers from traveling abroad without official necessity. In general, in this way, a significant part of the Ukrainian elite, especially deputies, find themselves on a leash in power, becoming virtually restricted to travel abroad.
On January 27, the Cabinet of Ministers, under the Decree of the President and the decision of the National Security and Defense Council, adopted a resolution banning the travel of officials, people's deputies, judges, and law enforcement officers abroad without good reason. several prominent officials have already managed to get into the scandal. This is how journalists discovered Nikolai Tishchenko, a people's deputy from the Servant of the People, in Thailand, for which he was expelled from the faction. Subsequently, it turned out that the leader of the "Batkivshchyna" Yulia Tymoshenko also spends time in Dubai.
In general, the intensification of the process of personnel rotation, as well as corruption scandals that have spilled over into the public plane, are mainly associated with pressure from Western partners (in particular, the visit of American auditors to Ukraine). International donors want to control the spending of huge funds that are allocated to Ukraine (now it is about 50% of budget revenues). The main purpose of the attacks is to discredit the head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak, which, in turn, will weaken the position of President V. Zelensky himself and make it possible to carry out personnel changes in the Ukrainian government.
According to a study by the Sociological Group "Rating" at the initiative of the "Ukrainian Veterans Fund" of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine (conducted on January 14-16, 2023).
47% of those polled are rather positive about the fact that various political forces can invite veterans to run in the elections. 15% don't care.
32% have a negative attitude towards the involvement of veterans by politicians in the elections.
• 63% have among their relatives those who fought or are fighting at the front since February 24, 2022.
• 47% of respondents noted that among their relatives and friends, some took part in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine from 2014 to 2021.
• 95% trust the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 93% - veterans of the current war, and 95% - veterans of the ATO (OOS) 2014-2021.
• The number of those who believe that the state is fulfilling its obligations to veterans of the Russian-Ukrainian war has decreased: in August 2022 there were 69% of them, and in January 2023 - 53%. Today, those who think otherwise - 26%.
• The level of salaries of the military, directly involved in hostilities, is considered optimal - 40%, below the required - 34%, above - 8%, could not estimate - 18%.
• Regarding the salaries of the military who serve in the rear, half rated it as optimal, 13% - below the necessary - 15%, above the necessary - 11%, could not assess - 25%
• 97% of those who have their own business, or would like to have one, are ready to hire a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
• 93% of respondents noted that they are ready to work in the same team as such a veteran.
• 93% support the idea of granting benefits to a business founded by veterans of the Russian-Ukrainian war, and only 5% are against it.
• Among the main problems that veterans face most often, the relative majority identified psychological disorders - 40%.
• From 23% to 29%, the main problems are difficulties with obtaining benefits, finding a job, obtaining medical care, and misunderstanding society.
• Conflicts with relatives and family or alcohol or drug addiction as a problem for veterans were mentioned by 14% of the respondents.
In general, the results of the survey show that a significant part of Ukrainian society is positive about the fact that various political forces can invite veterans to run in the elections. It is possible that in the future this will serve as a pretext for the emergence of a certain pool of political leaders in the military. At the same time, a significant part - about a third - has a negative attitude towards the involvement of veterans by politicians in the elections.
In the future, the highest indicators of trust in the military are recorded in society: 95% trust the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 93% - of veterans of the current war, and 95% - of veterans of the ATO (OOS) 2014-2021. Regardless of region and age, the vast majority trust these categories of citizens.
The situation around Ukraine.
With the transition under the control of the Republicans of the lower House of Representatives of the US Congress, ex-President D. Trump is increasing pressure on his competitors from the Democratic Party, launching an election campaign. Which, apparently, will be largely based on criticism of the Ukrainian case of US President D. Biden. Obviously, with this in mind, assistance to Ukraine will become somewhat more complicated in the future. Against this background, in the circles of world elites, supporters of a truce are stepping up their actions. So ex-US President D. Trump begins his election campaign, and he will again run for president from the Republican Party in 2024. So D. Trump said that he was able to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which lasts almost a year, in 24 hours. " If I were president, the war between Russia and Ukraine would never have happened, but even now, if I were president, I could agree to end this terrible war! Within 24 hours !.. When I was in the White House, no one dared to use the "nuclear word", I did not allow anyone. Now they hear him all the time because our leadership is not respected, ”said the ex-president. He promises to build an "impenetrable dome" to protect the United States from missile and nuclear attacks, as well as "end the war in Ukraine in 24 hours." But this can only be done if he is elected president again. Trump added that the use of nuclear weapons could cause World War III to become a catastrophe against which World Wars I and II would be like petty battles.
Acting Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazovich suggested that Pope Francis held a meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All of Russia in Podgorica, to which the pontiff agreed. The Montenegrin publication "Dan" reports that D. Abazovich 's initiative was included in the protocols of the Vatican and will be discussed with the Russian Orthodox Church. The holding of the meeting depends on many factors, one of which is the conflict in Ukraine, the publication believes.
The allied countries, led by the United States, nevertheless agreed on the supply of main battle tanks from the United States, Germany, and Great Britain to Ukraine. Germany has officially confirmed that it will provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks. They were also permitted to send their tanks to Ukraine from other European countries. The decision in Germany was made after negotiations with the United States and in parallel with the fact that US President D. Biden announced that he would transfer Abrams tanks to Ukraine. But according to the Washington Post, Abrams will arrive in Ukraine at the end of this year or even next, in 2024, 31 M1A2 tanks will not be transferred from US military stocks but re-purchased. " They will be built without depleted uranium armor," the publication adds. Note that such armor is one of the most important features of the Abrams, the secret of which is heavily guarded. Earlier, the newspaper reported that the United States agreed to the supply of tanks only for Germany to open the export of Leopards.
The decision of the United States and Germany gave a "green light" for the supply of tanks and other heavy equipment from other countries. The first Leopard-2 tanks could be delivered from Germany in about three months. The Ukrainian military has already arrived in Britain to learn how to operate the Challenger 2 tanks.
In general, the delivery to Ukraine of 2-3 battalions of Leopard tanks (80-120 units) and 1 Abrams battalion (31 units) has been announced. But in general, 100-150 tanks are not able to radically change the situation at the front, although they can allow Ukraine to conduct 1-2 counter-offensive operations. Although this may be only the initial batch. At the same time, they continue to say in Ukraine that the supply of tanks is good, but not enough for victory. Defense Minister A. Reznikov expects that the first tanks should appear in Ukraine in March. President V. Zelensky declares the need for 300-500 tanks for an effective counter-offensive. Jet fighters, aircraft, and, possibly, long-range missiles remain on the list of necessary weapons for Ukraine.
In particular, work on obtaining F-16 fighters continues. So Poland is ready to transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in coordination with NATO, - Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki. The head of the Office of President Andriy Yermak commented on this statement: " Work on obtaining F-16 fighters continues. There are positive signals from Poland, which is ready to send them to us in coordination with NATO .” In Germany, they believe that the question of the supply of fighters is not at all worth it. At the same time, the United States, whose aircraft are mainly used in NATO countries and on which the supply of this equipment to Ukraine depends, is still more restrained in the comments. And they make it clear that the issue of aircraft is under consideration. Taking into account the mood of Western (Germany - against, in the USA - no approval yet) partners, as well as the timing of flight training (about a year), it can be assumed that fighters in Ukraine will not be able to use this year.
The US is preparing another $2.2 billion military aid package for Ukraine that will likely include long-range missiles and other weapons and ammunition. Part of the package, expected to be $1.725 billion, will come from a fund known as the " Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative " (USAI) to allow President Joe Biden's administration to source weapons from industry rather than existing weapons in the US. The USAI money will be used to purchase a new weapon, Boeing Co's small-diameter ground-launched bomb (GLSDB), with a range of only 150 km. Ukraine has long insisted on receiving from the United States and allies high-precision ATACMS missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers, which can be fired from HIMARS installations. According to Reuters, the United States rejected Ukraine's request for an ATACMS missile with a range of 297 km. The allies are refusing to transfer such weapons, according to unofficial sources, because of fears that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will begin to hit targets deep in Russian territory with them, which could lead to an uncontrolled escalation of the war.
Visit of American auditors to Ukraine.
On January 26, speaking in Congress, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland announced the visit of American auditors to Ukraine. They will understand the use of American assistance - including the military. The next day, American Ambassador Bridget Brink announced the arrival in Kyiv of inspectors from three departments - the State Department, the Pentagon, and the state agency USAID. Nicole Angarella from USAID, Diana Shaw from the State Department, and Robert Storch from the Pentagon (Defense Minister Reznikov, who recently got into a scandal with the purchase of products for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at inflated prices, has already reported on the meeting with him). At the same time, the same infographics appeared on the websites of all three inspectorates in Ukrainian and English. There is an appeal to report any information about the misappropriation of American aid to the indicated phones.
The preliminary results of the audit were announced by the Ministry of Finance: " We have no evidence that US funds were misused in Ukraine. We welcome the ongoing efforts of the Ukrainian authorities to work with us to provide adequate guarantees that US assistance will reach those to whom it is intended," said US Treasury Department spokeswoman Megan Upper Reuters told the inquiry. The visit of auditors from the USA is connected with the transition under the control of the Republicans of the lower House of Representatives of Congress. Recall that the Republicans demanded that the spending of funds and resources that the United States sends to help Ukraine be tightly controlled. And the Democratic administration in this case can work proactively - it demonstrates that, despite the criticism of the Republicans, it pays a lot of attention to control over spending. It is also possible that one of the tasks of the auditors is to collect wide compromising evidence on representatives of the current government, including President V. Zelensky. The administration of US President A. Biden will probably use this information in their interests, as an additional lever of control and pressure.
Ruslan Bortnik, Oksana Krasovskaya, Andrey Timchenko
for the Ukrainian Institute of Politics