UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – kyiv and Moscow reached a new agreement, a week after already exchanging around 200 prisoners from each camp.
Olaf Scholz encourages his Western allies to “Do more” to help Ukraine before his meeting with Joe Biden. A Ukrainian woman is sentenced to ten years in prison for “spying” in Russia. The UN calls on Moscow to stop the “forced transfer” of Ukrainian children. The Russian defense minister announced an exchange of prisoners. Le Figaro takes stock of the war in Ukraine this Thursday, February 8.
Prisoner exchanges between kyiv and Moscow continue
The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday that it had exchanged 100 prisoners of war with Ukraine during the day, more than a week after an operation of this type involving around 200 soldiers from each side.
“On February 8, following negotiations, 100 Russian servicemen who were in danger of death in captivity returned from the territory controlled by the Kiev regime. In return, 100 prisoners of war from the Ukrainian forces were handed over.indicated the ministry.
Russia says it shot down 12 Ukrainian missiles and rockets launched at border region
The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday it had shot down 12 missiles fired from Ukraine at the border region of Belgorod, regularly targeted by kyiv’s forces in response to Russian bombings.
Around 5:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. GMT), Russian anti-aircraft defense “destroyed” all of the “eight Ouragan multiple rocket launchers and four Alder missiles” launched on the Belgorod region, the ministry said in a statement published on Telegram .
Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny dismissed and replaced by General Syrsky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday named the head of his army, General Oleksandr Syrsky, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian forces, replacing Valery Zalouzhny.
The head of state described his new commander as “the most experienced general in Ukraine”, stressing that he had commanded the defense of Kiev at the start of the Russian invasion almost two years ago, then the counter-attack. offensive of autumn 2022 which liberated the Kharkiv region.
Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday praised the work of General Valery Zalouzhny at the head of the Ukrainian armed forces, offering him to remain in his “team”, a few minutes before the Ministry of Defense announced the departure of the popular commander-in-chief.
“We talked about the changes the armed forces need. We also discussed who could be part of a renewed command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The time for renewal is now. I suggested to General Zaluzhny to stay in the team,” the Ukrainian president wrote on X.
Scholz calls on EU and US to ‘do more’ to help kyiv
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday called on the United States and the EU to “Do more” to help Ukraine defend itself against the war of Russian aggression, before flying to Washington where he is due to meet Joe Biden on Friday. “We must find a way to do more together”the leader told journalists from Berlin airport, judging “insufficient” the aid decided so far and while a support package for kyiv is currently blocked in the American Congress.»
The EU recently agreed, not without difficulty, on an aid package of 50 billion euros until 2027, after Hungary lifted its veto. “The time has come when we must do what is necessary, namely, together give Ukraine the opportunity to defend itself, and at the same time send a clear signal to the Russian president: that he should not count on the fact that our support diminishes”underlined the German leader. “The message that we must together send in the days and weeks to come is that (our support) will last as long as necessary and that it will be quite significant” to allow Kiev to retaliate, he insisted.
Berlin, the second largest contributor of aid to Ukraine in absolute terms after the United States, has practically doubled its military support budget to more than 7 billion euros this year, and the chancellor continues to urge these recently his European partners have increased their efforts, emphasizing that his country cannot carry everything on its shoulders.
Ukrainian woman sentenced to ten years in prison for “espionage” in Russia
A Russian court has sentenced a Ukrainian woman to ten years in prison for passing military intelligence to her country’s security services (SBU), Russian news agencies said Thursday. The courts regularly condemn Russians or foreigners accused of having provided information to Ukraine, where the Kremlin has been leading an offensive for almost two years. A court in Rostov-on-Don, southern Russia, found the Ukrainian citizen guilty of“spying”according to the agency Ria Novosti.
Authorities say she passed information to Ukrainian services about the location of air defense and movements of military equipment. Rostov-on-Don, a city near Ukraine, is home to the headquarters of the Russian army for its assault against the forces of kyiv. It is located less than 100 km from the border with the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, whose annexation Moscow has claimed.
UN calls on Moscow to stop ‘forced transfer’ of Ukrainian children
Moscow must end the “forced transfer” of Ukrainian children to Russia, provide information about those who have already been subject to it and ensure that they return home, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child demanded on Thursday. Ukraine estimates that at least 20,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly sent to Russia since the start of the war in February 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky estimated that this is “clearly a genocide”. At this point, according to kyiv, only around 400 have been repatriated. The International Criminal Court, which Russia does not belong to, last year issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Children’s Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for “illegal deportation” thousands of Ukrainian children. Moscow firmly rejects these accusations.
“No discussion” within the EU on sanctions against host Tucker Carlson
There is no “no discussion” underway to sanction American presenter Tucker Carlson, who conducted an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an EU spokesperson assured Thursday in response to rumors relayed in particular by billionaire Elon Musk. “It is not for us to speculate whether a person will be proposed by a Member State or a group of Member States to be put on the sanctions list, there is a procedure (…) which is confidential”declared the spokesperson for the head of diplomacy Josep Borrell, Peter Stano, questioned during a press briefing. “But what I can say beyond that is that currently there is no discussion within the relevant EU bodies regarding this person”he added.