Key developments on Feb. 27:
- US Treasury Secretary meets Zelensky, Shmyhal in Kyiv
- Russia's war caused 'the most massive violations of human rights,' says UN chief
- UN-backed commission to track down Ukrainian children taken to Russia illegally
- Ukraine downs 11 drones overnight on Feb. 27
- Russia still wants to destroy country's energy system, intelligence warns
- Ukrainian military repels 81 Russian attacks over past 24 hours.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Feb. 27 to reaffirm Washington’s economic support for Ukraine.
During the trip, she met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, among other officials.
Yellen conveyed that the U.S. will stand with Ukraine "for as long as it takes," and "highlighted the efforts of the U.S. and its global coalition to impose severe sanctions on Russia to degrade its war machine and limit the revenue it has to fund its brutal war," according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
"The United States has been powerfully supporting us since the first days of this war not only with weapons, but also on the financial front," Zelensky wrote on his Telegram following his meeting with Yellen. "We really appreciate it."
"It is necessary to further strengthen sanctions to deprive Russia of the ability to finance the war," Zelensky added.
Yellen’s trip comes a week after U.S. President Joe Biden paid a historic surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital in a show of "unwavering" support to Ukraine, and the introduction of Washington’s new sanctions against Russia, targeting over 200 individuals and entities within Russia and worldwide, including banks and key suppliers of the Russian military.
The U.S. also announced an additional $10 billion aid package for Ukraine on Feb. 24, which includes budgetary support to the Ukrainian government and energy assistance to help support Ukrainians "suffering from Russia's attacks."
Russia's war caused 'the most massive violations of human rights,' says UN
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Feb. 27 that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had triggered "the most massive violations of human rights we are living (through) today."
"It has unleashed widespread death, destruction, and displacement. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have caused many casualties and terrible suffering," the UN chief said.
According to the United Nations human rights agency most recent data, Russia's war against Ukraine has killed at least 8,101 civilians and wounded at least 13,479 since the beginning of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.
The actual figures are likely significantly higher since data from occupied territories or areas with ongoing hostilities either can’t be confirmed or is inaccessible.
According to Children of War, a website created by the Ukrainian government, 16,221 children have been abducted by Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.
In a joint effort on Feb. 27, the European Commission and Poland announced an initiative aimed at locating Ukrainian children who have been abducted by the Russian troops from occupied territories. This initiative has received support from the UN and aims to gather evidence that will assist in locating these Ukrainian children who were illegally taken to Russia, as well as to bring charges against those who abducted them.
Guterres also said the agency has documented dozens of cases of the war-related sexual violence against men, women, and girls in Ukraine.
"Serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law against prisoners of war, and hundreds of cases of enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detentions of civilians were also documented," he said.
Russian-organized torture chambers that held both Ukrainian civilians and soldiers have been found in numerous villages, towns, and cities liberated by the Ukrainian army.
Attacks and casualties
Russia continued to launch its attacks across Ukraine on Feb. 27.
In a morning update, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said that the Ukrainian military successfully repelled 81 Russian attacks over the past 24 hours in northeastern and eastern Ukraine. The attacks occurred near Kupiansk in the northeastern Kharkiv Oblast as well as Lyman, Bakhmut, Adviika, and Shakhtarsk in the eastern Donetsk Oblast.
Russia is focusing its main offensive efforts in these areas, according to the report.
Russian troops launched eight missile attacks and 28 air strikes against Ukraine, including 12 strikes using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones, on Feb. 27, the General Staff said.
Overnight on Feb. 27, Russia launched 14 drones to attack Ukrainian cities, but 11 of them were shot down by Ukraine's Air Force. Explosions were reported in Khmelnytskyi Oblast and Kyiv during the night.
According to local authorities, three people were killed, and eight were wounded due to the Russian attacks on Feb. 27.
One person was killed and four were injured as the Russian forces hit the western city of Khmelnytskyi with the drones, Mayor Oleksandr Symchyshyn reported. Later Governor Serhii Hamalii said that one of the wounded had died in the hospital.
The attacks killed one person and wounded two more in the southern Kherson Oblast, which the Russian troops struck 97 times using multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), mortars, tanks, drones, and artillery, Kherson Oblast Military Administration reported.
Moscow is still pursuing plans to destroy Ukraine's energy infrastructure, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate.
The directorate reported that in addition to targeting the electricity grid, Russia is also seeking to disrupt the country's fuel and energy complex in order to cut off the supply of petroleum products.
Moscow has been launching missile and drone attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure since October, resulting in numerous casualties and significant damage to the country's energy system.
Despite this, state-owned power grid operator Ukrenergo reported in late February that the situation with Ukraine's energy infrastructure has become more stable.