Here is the situation on Monday, February 5, 2024.
- At least 28 people, including a child, were killed in the Russian-occupied eastern city of Lysychansk after a restaurant and bakery were hit by shelling. Russia accused Ukraine of the attack. Ukraine did not comment on the incident. Only about a tenth of Lysychansk’s pre-war population of 110,000 remains in the city, according to Ukrainian officials.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Ukrainian soldiers under relentless attack from Russian forces on the front line in the village of Robotyne in the southeastern Zaporizhia region. Zelenskyy met troops from the 65th Mechanised Brigade and handed out medals.
- During his visit to the front, Zelenskyy also named Ivan Federov the new head of the Zaporizhia regional state administration. Federov was abducted in March 2022 by Russian soldiers as they entered the city of Melitopol, where he was then mayor, after refusing to cooperate with Moscow.
Politics and diplomacy
- Zelenskyy told Italian state broadcaster RAI that he was considering a “reset” to replace several senior officials. When asked about his plans for army chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, he said any changes did “not concern a single person, but the direction of the country’s leadership”.
- US senators released the text of a much-anticipated bipartisan deal that would unlock $60bn in new aid for Ukraine while tightening US border laws. US President Joe Biden said he “strongly supported” the bill and urged Congress to back it. The first vote on it is expected on Wednesday.
- Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would discuss a new mechanism to allow Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Turkey. The date has not been confirmed but local media have said it will take place on February 12.
- Police in Moscow detained some 20 journalists for several hours at a rally where the wives of Russian soldiers in Ukraine called for their husbands to be returned home.
- Serbian actor Milos Bikovic was dropped from the cast of the popular television show The White Lotus, an HBO spokesperson said, after the Serbian native’s ties to Russia drew a sharp rebuke from Ukraine.
- South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Chung Byung-won expressed Seoul’s “grave position” on Russia’s growing military cooperation with Pyongyang as Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko visited Seoul. Chung urged Russia to take “responsible actions”, a statement from South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said. Seoul and Washington have said North Korea is sending weapons to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies