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Feb. 1 news wrap-up

February 2, 2022 8:41 amby TheKyivIndependent
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Editor’s Note: The following is the latest edition of the Kyiv Independent’s newsletter, Ukraine Daily. If you would like to receive news about Ukraine in your mailbox six days a week subscribe here. It’s free.

Johnson: Sanctions the minute Russian troops further invade Ukraine. The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that his country would impose sanctions on the Kremlin “the moment the first Russian toecap crosses further into Ukraine.” During his press conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Feb. 1 in Kyiv, Johnson said that this was also the position of the U.S. government.

Zelensky announces trilateral partnership between Ukraine, Poland, UK. President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the creation of a new “format of political cooperation” involving Ukraine, Poland and the U.K. in his address to Ukraine’s parliament on Feb. 1. According to Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the new trilateral partnership will strengthen security and develop trade and readiness for concrete action.

UK to provide Ukraine with $120 million in financial aid. Ukraine is set to receive an additional $120 million in foreign aid from the U.K. to support the country’s “stable governance” and “energy independence,” according to a Feb. 1 statement by the British government.

UK’s defense aid to Ukraine skyrockets amid Russia threatThis January could be declared the month of Britain in Ukraine. Ever since pictures emerged on the internet showing the Royal Air Force’s transport aircraft at Boryspil Airport outside of Kyiv on Jan. 19, the United Kingdom’s popularity in Ukraine has soared into the stratosphere.

Zelensky issues decree to bolster Ukraine’s military. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Feb. 1 to increase the total number of active service personnel and improve the conditions of service in the military. The armed forces will enlist 100,000 more personnel by 2025, and reach 361,000 troops.

Putin says West ‘ignored’ Russian security concerns in rare public remarks.Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly addressed tensions surrounding Ukraine for the first time since December, accusing the U.S. of using Kyiv as a “tool” to pull Russia into an armed conflict over its neighboring country. Putin said the U.S. and its allies have “ignored” Moscow’s top security demands while speaking at a news conference on Feb. 1.

Polish Prime Minister urges Germany not to certify Nord Stream 2. “We jointly call on Germany not to launch the gas pipeline, because it will become an element of blackmail from Russia,” Mateusz Morawiecki said. The operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline registered a subsidiary in Germany on Jan. 27, bringing the project closer to certification. The pipeline would be able to send Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating the need for Ukraine’s pipes and with that, a major deterrent against further Russian aggression.

EU: Nord Stream 2 pipeline on hold for compliance review. "Clearly there is certain action from the Russian side that triggered the European Commission's investigation into whether Gazprom is acting in line with market principles.... Unfortunately, this problem of weaponization of gas flows is not new," European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said.

In other news

US media: Bridget Brink to become ambassador to Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to nominate Bridget Brink as ambassador to Ukraine, Bloomberg and CNN reported, citing their sources, although the news hasn’t yet been officially confirmed. Brink currently heads the U.S. embassy in Bratislava.

Turkey, Ukraine could sign free trade agreement on Jan. 3. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the FTA may be signed during a visit of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ukraine’s trade volume with Turkey could double up from $5 billion in 2021 to $10 billion if both countries iron out the details of the long-awaited agreement.

NABU detains developer representative over $120,000 bribe. Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau caught the suspect trying to bribe an official to give them a certificate of completion to a finished building on Feb. 1. The official, head of the State Inspectorate for Architecture and Urban Planning Semen Kryvonos, initiated the investigation. He has been public about his cooperation with NABU since last summer.

Controversial judge Chaus to be released from house arrest if he makes bail. A court set bail at Hr 700,000 ($25,000) for Mykola Chaus, who was charged with bribery in 2016. Chaus fled to Moldova but was later kidnapped and brought back to Ukraine in 2021.

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