9th Ramstein meeting brings no jets, Russia deploys nuke carriers to Baltic Sea

15 February, 02:59 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Wednesday, February 15th, 2023.

•   Russia has begun deploying tactical nuclear weapon-armed vessels in the Baltic Sea for the first time in the last 30 years.

These vessels belong to Russia’s Northern Fleet. Norwegian intelligence services noted that during the Soviet era, Northern Fleet warships regularly went to sea with nuclear weapons, but this is the first time  the modern Russian Federation has done the same.

Video of day

•   The ninth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (known as the “Ramstein format” meetings will take place at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Feb. 14.

Representatives of the defense departments of more than 40 countries have been gathering for such meetings since the spring of last year. The meeting discussed protecting Ukrainian airspace, the tank coalition, the formation of a safety margin for ammunition, training programs for Ukrainian soldiers, and stability of support to Ukraine.

•   Photos of the ruined Mariupol seaport were published on Telegram on Feb. 13 by Mariupol’s City Council.

Prior to the Russian occupation, the Port of Mariupol was one of the largest in Ukraine and on the Sea of Azov, with a capacity of 18.8 million tons per year. It traded with 152 other ports in 60 countries around the world.

•   Four Leopard 2A4 battle tanks, donated from Canada, are already in Poland and being used to train Ukrainian soldiers.

"As a country, we had already announced the transfer of four Leopard 2 (tanks) to Poland,” Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said before a planned NATO ministerial meeting. “This has already happened. These tanks are in Poland and we are currently training Ukrainian soldiers to operate these tanks.”

•   The European Council has decided to add the British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, the Marshall Islands, and Russia to the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

“The Council regrets that these jurisdictions are non-cooperative on tax matters and invites them to improve their legal framework in order to resolve the identified issues,” a report by the European Council report reads. According to the EU Council, Russia was added to the list after the code of conduct group screened Russia’s new legislation adopted in 2022 against the good tax governance criteria of the code and found that Russia had not fulfilled its commitment to address the harmful aspects of a special regime for international holding companies.

•   A whole network of private railways and stations have been built for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to travel across the country.

That’s according to Russian independent media outlet Project. The outlet's journalists have found three railway dead-end lines leading to the dictator's residences in Valday, Novo-Ogarevo, and Sochi.

•   The bodies of a Ukrainian woman and her two sons were found under the rubble of a building destroyed by the earthquake in Antakya, Turkey.

According to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko, at least five Ukrainians, including the Petrov family from Zaporizhzhya, were killed in the earthquake in Turkey. Ten Ukrainians were rescued from the rubble, while seven remain missing. 46-year-old Zaporizhzhia resident Yulia Petrova and her sons Zakhar, 10, and Matviy, 5, moved to stay their relatives in Antakya a few months ago.

•   The latest Ramstein format meeting brought no news about potential transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine.

According to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, he expects a Ukrainian offensive in the spring of 2023 and have “a lot to get done” in order to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine with armored vehicles and adequate firepower, in time.

•   The day’s long read: Vasyl Malyuk and Ihor Klymenko: what you should know about the newly-appointed head of the SBU and Minister of Internal Affairs

On Feb. 7, Ihor Klymenko officially replaced the late Denis Monastyrsky as Minister of Internal Affairs, and Vasyl Malyuk was appointed head of the Security Service of Ukraine. NV explains the backgrounds of these two men.

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