As the war enters its day 693th, these are the main developments.
At least 17 individuals were injured in a Russian strike on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Tuesday evening, using possibly two S-300 missiles, according to the regional governor, Oleg Synegubov. Residential buildings were decimated, with no military targets in the vicinity, as reported by Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov.
Earlier, authorities in the Kharkiv region urged residents of over two dozen villages near the frontline to evacuate due to escalating Russian attacks.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to visit Ukraine in February to finalize a bilateral security guarantee. Under this agreement, France will supply more sophisticated weapons, including long-range cruise missiles. Macron emphasized the imminent delivery of approximately 40 Scalp long-range missiles and hundreds of bombs in the coming weeks, stating, “We cannot let Russia win, and we must not allow that to happen.”
North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Choe Son Hui, held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Kremlin. The United States and its allies have condemned North Korean missile deliveries to Russia for potential use against Ukraine, a clear violation of international law.
Polish truck drivers, previously blocking three crossings on the Polish-Ukrainian border, have lifted all blockades, facilitating the resumption of free traffic. Poland’s infrastructure minister announced that truckers would suspend their protest until March 1 after reaching an agreement with the government.
TotalEnergies, the French company, invoked force majeure over its investment in Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 liquefied natural gas project, subject to anti-war sanctions. Putin’s war against Ukraine has compelled global energy companies to write off substantial amounts and withdraw from Russia. Force majeure enables companies to abandon contractual obligations in the face of uncontrollable factors.
Ukraine’s parliament passed a law establishing an electronic registry for mobilization purposes, according to MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, emphasized the need for continued support for Kyiv. “We must empower their resistance, providing predictable financing throughout 2024 and beyond.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged Western unity and increased support for Ukraine to prevent Russia’s dominance. In a Davos speech, Zelenskiy expressed that the West’s concerns about escalation had impeded Kyiv’s efforts against Russia.
President Vladimir Putin asserted that it was “impossible” to undo the military gains Russia had achieved in Ukraine.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán highlighted the importance of helping Ukraine without harming the EU’s budget. A petition, signed by at least 120 Members of the European Parliament, calls for the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights due to Orbán’s obstruction of EU processes, including aid approval to Ukraine. Orbán, known for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin, faces increasing scrutiny.