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Feb. 2 news wrap-up

February 3, 2022 1:41 amby The Kyiv Independent
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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.

Russia’s war against Ukraine

US will deploy 3,000 troops to Germany, Poland, and Romania. Roughly 2,000 troops will head to the U.S. NATO allies Germany and Poland, while 1,000 will go to Romania, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is the first major U.S. movement of troops since the beginning of Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine.

IMF may aid countries hit by Russia’s military escalation. According to International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, the financial institution is ready to assist countries that may be affected by Russia’s ongoing escalation and the Western sanctions that can follow. “We still have about $700 billion in lending capacity," Georgieva said.

NATO to deploy more troops into eastern Europe if Russia escalates aggression, El Pais reported, citing the U.S. and NATO’s written responses to Russia regarding Moscow’s security demands. The U.S. has stated that it refrained from stationing "substantial” combat forces but Russia may force it to do otherwise. NATO expressed concerns about cyberattacks, widely employed by Russia against Ukraine and other countries.

US doesn’t call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “imminent” anymore. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that it was inappropriate for the U.S. to have used the word “imminent” to describe Russia’s potential military action against Ukraine. “We stopped using it because I think it sends a message that we weren’t intending to send, which is that we knew that (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin had made a decision,” Psaki said at a White House press briefing on Feb 2. 

French FM Le Drian: All elements are there for Russian invasion of Ukraine. Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the danger was “clear and imminent,” yet added there was no indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade the country. He also said measures would be “massive” if Putin were to invade.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visits Kyiv, warns of “serious consequences” if Moscow chooses to further invade Ukraine.

US, EU searching for gas in case of Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to Bloomberg, the White House has already approached gas exporters such as Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, and companies operating in Algeria about increasing output should hostilities break out. U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Qatar’s leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, at the White House on Jan. 31, tasked to ensure “the stability of global energy supplies.” Officials from China, Japan, South Korea, and India have also been approached. 

5 countries launch foundation to support Ukrainians that suffered from Russia’s war. The U.S., Canada, the U.K., Switzerland, and Sweden have launched the foundation “For Strong Ukraine” with a starting budget of $47 million, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. 

FM Dmytro Kuleba: Diplomacy is still on the table, as Russian invasion is “not imminent.” Speaking to foreign journalists, Kuleba emphasized that Russia is stalling negotiations, while Ukraine has been willing to continue discussions in any proposed format.

I lost my home to Putin once. Now it can happen again.” The Kyiv Independent’s journalist Anna Myroniuk writes about how the current crisis reminds her of being directly affected by the Russian invasion in 2014.

Other news

Kuleba confirms Bridget Brink's candidacy as U.S. ambassador. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed earlier reports that Brink was being nominated as the ambassador to Ukraine. The U.S. has sent her candidacy to Ukraine for approval.

Zelensky’s MP expelled from party after video shows him try to bribe police officers. Oleksandr Trukhin, a lawmaker from the President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, was kicked out of the party after a journalistic investigation exposed his attempts to bribe police officers at the site of a car crash that he may have caused.

Business

Ukraine approves draft of free trade agreement with Turkey. The agreement that could bring up to $10 billion in trade between the two countries is expected to be signed on Feb. 3, during the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ukraine.

Government to spend $35 million on infrastructure projects. According to the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development, European Investment Bank funds will be spent on supporting projects in nine oblasts across Ukraine. The money will be spent on the construction or reconstruction of essential social infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and sports and cultural centers.

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