Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Tuesday, January 24th, 2023.
• The EU has allocated EUR 500 million ($543 million) to further military aid to Ukraine.
The decision was made at the most recent EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels. The package includes EUR 45 million ($49 million) for “non-lethal equipment” for EU’s program of training Ukrainian troops. Notably, Hungary did not veto the aid package, but remains opposed to further sanctions against Russia, “especially if they would limit Budapest and Moscow’s cooperation in nuclear energy.”
• Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden shouldn’t expect Turkey to support its NATO accession.
The statement came following a protest in Stockholm, where protestors publicly burnt the Quran. “Those who caused such a disgrace in front of our embassy should not expect any benevolence from us regarding their NATO membership applications,” Erdogan said.
• Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ukraine’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at CC.
The credit rating company explained that Ukraine’s likely massive economic damage, caused by the full-scale Russian invasion, will most likely result in further debt restructuring and haircuts for creditors. Fitch also forecasted GDP growth of 2% in 2023, with ongoing conflict preventing a sizeable return of refugees or large-scale investment, while energy outages following Russian strikes provide an additional headwind into 2023.
• Ukraine is to contract U.S. nuclear company Westinghouse to build two new nuclear reactors at the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy, quoting Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko, reported on Jan. 20 that the Ukrainian government has approved an order to organize construction of the two new reactors. The estimated completion date for the construction and start-up of the reactors is 2030-2032, although the timing may be affected by the course of military operations. The cost of each reactor is to be about $5 billion.
• Ukraine’s Council of Ministers has dismissed Vasyl Lozynskyi, Deputy Minister of Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine, from his post for accepting a $400,000 bribe.
According to Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, an inspection has been initiated of all existing projects of the Ministry of Communities, in particular those with budget or international funding, as well as technical assistance projects. Lozynskyi is also suspected of being a member of an organized criminal group, and has been detained on various corruption charges.
• President Volodymyr Zelenskyy congratulated Ukrainians on the country’s Unity Day.
The holiday celebrates the union of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1919, which resulted in the formation of the first modern Ukrainian state. The President stated that the events of the past year events have passed two pieces of wisdom down to the next generations of Ukrainians. The first, he said, was that Ukraine’s full sovereignty can only be restored if Ukrainians keep fighting. The second is that Ukrainian independence can only be lost if real unity inside the country is first lost.
• Russian propaganda channel RT France has ceased operations following an asset freeze caused by recent EU sanctions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France stated that they consider the decision to suspend RT France’s operations in the country to be a legitimate response to unceasing Russian aggression against Ukraine.
• A meeting of defense ministers at Ramstein failed to approve the shipment of Leopard 2 tanks shipment to Ukraine.
Pistorius said Western defense ministers didn't manage to come to a shared view of transferring German-made tanks to the Ukrainian army. ”All pros and cons must be weighed very carefully," Pistorius said, adding that there is no sign of a final decision on the matter.
• The lack of a decision resulted in protests breaking out in Berlin.
• NV provides a snapshot of civilian life in frontline Bakhmut.
The Bakhmut area has been one of the hottest spots in the war for months. At the same time, despite the constant danger, volunteers continue to help the population of the frontline town of Bakhmut, which is under constant shelling by the Russian invaders.
• The day’s long read: Why the West missed Russian fascism, reveals author Oksana Zabuzhko – NV interview
In an interview with Radio NV Editor-in-Chief Aleksey Tarasov, Zabuzhko spoke about the revolution in the world of Western Slavic studies provoked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, noted erroneous stereotypes about Russian culture, and commented on the sudden “epiphany” of figures like Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who she argues were until recently loyal to Russia.
• Don’t miss: How Ukraine keeps migrants connected to home, explains Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna – NV interview
In an interview with NV, Stefanishyna spoke about the Ukrainian government’s work on simplifying bureaucratic procedures for temporary migrants in the EU, protecting war-affected Ukrainians, and preparing Ukraine for the post-war recovery.
In their opinion: Putin's last hope
Former Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko explains what Putin is telling the West in his latest speech, and why the Russian dictator’s words are peppered with so many lies.