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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
Biden aide: Russia is preparing pretext for potential invasion of Ukraine. According to U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine.”
Russian military runs combat readiness tests in its Far East. Russia launched a surprise combat readiness check of its military forces deployed in the Far East. The drills aim to test the capacity of the country’s transportation grid to project military force “from long distances,” according to a statement by Russia’s Defense Ministry on Jan. 14.
Yermak: Ukraine proposes trilateral talks with US, Russia. “We called for U.S. participation and leadership” in the peace talks to resolve Russia’s war in the Donbas, Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said during an Atlantic Council webinar.
Defense Ministry: Russia prepares provocation against Ukraine in Transnistria. Russia is planning a provocation near the village of Cobasna in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria in order to accuse Ukraine of aggressive actions, Ukraine’s ministry’s intelligence unit said on Jan. 14.
Blinken: Basic principles of international peace and security at stake. “If we allow (Russia’s actions) to stand with impunity, that will undermine the entire international system,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Jan. 14. Blinken also mentioned that the U.S. along with the G7, the EU, and NATO are preparing “very significant sanctions” against Russia and working to shore up Ukraine’s defenses.
US Senate fails to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2. The Senate on Jan. 13 fell short of the required 60 votes for the Republican-sponsored bill that would have sanctioned Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline within 15 days of passage. Senate Democrats unveiled their own bill Wednesday, winning the support of U.S. President Joe Biden, that would impose sanctions only if Russia launches another invasion of Ukraine.
Bloomberg: US is putting pressure on European allies to agree on potential sanctions against Russia. Some European nations, however, fear the economic blowback and the possibility of Russia cutting energy supplies.
Ukraine’s jet pilots have begun another year of training flights. According to the Air Force Command, over the last week, Ukrainian tactical aircraft, such as Mikoyan MiG-29s and Sukhoi Su-27 fighters, Su-25 close air supporters, Su-24 bombers and Albatros L-39 training jets, have had 11 series of flights, with pilots getting a total of 200 operational hours. See photos here.
Cyberattack on Ukraine
Major cyberattack hits Ukrainian government websites. Ukraine was hit by a major cyberattack on the night of Jan. 14, crashing many government websites, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Veterans Affairs, State Emergency Service, Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Education and Science.
Borell condemns cyberattack on Ukraine: ‘I have no proof, but we can imagine (it’s Russia).’ According to the European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell, the EU has mobilized its political and security committee and cyber units to assist Ukraine in handling the cyberattack.
Government experts say Russia behind cyberattacks on state websites. The Center for Strategic Communication said that the cyberattack targeting governmental websites came from Russia and might be connected to Moscow’s defeat at the talks with the West about Ukraine this week.
Evidence proving Russian responsibility for cyberattack on Ukraine could warrant sanctions. According to U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith, cyberattacks on government agencies would be classified as renewed aggression against Ukraine.
NATO, Ukraine to sign agreement on cyber cooperation. Ukraine will gain access to the alliance's internal platform for exchanging intelligence on cyber threats.
Poland says cyberattack statement is repeated attempt to destabilize Ukrainian-Polish relations. According to Poland's Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Łukasz Jasina, the statement that was published on the Ukrainian government websites in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish is yet another attempt to undermine the relations between Kyiv and Warsaw.
Covid-19 in Ukraine
Education Ministry: 92% of all teachers have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccinations have been mandatory for teachers since November. Failure to comply would result in a suspension without pay. However, earlier reports suggested that a majority of faculty opposed vaccination.
Ukraine has 12.3 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. The Health Ministry said that as of Dec. 12 it had 990,000 CoronaVac doses, 9.1 million Pfizer doses, 102,000 AstraZeneca doses and 2.2 million Moderna doses.
In other news
Court to consider arresting Poroshenko on Jan. 17. Kyiv’s Pechersk Court will consider arresting ex-President Petro Poroshenko in relation to a treason case at 11 a.m. on Jan. 17, the State Investigation Bureau said. Poroshenko, who is currently abroad, is planning to return to Ukraine by plane at 9:10 a.m. on Jan. 17.
Azerbaijan, Ukraine sign 6 memorandums, joint declaration supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The signed documents concern cooperation between the two countries in the energy, agriculture, land development and trade sectors.
Reports of domestic abuse increased by 56% in 2021 compared to previous year. The Internal Ministry attributed the increase to citizens being better informed on identifying and reporting domestic abuse.