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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Feb. 5

A Ukrainian serviceman rides on a battle tank in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 5, 2023.
A Ukrainian serviceman rides on a battle tank in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 5, 2023.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EST.

11 p.m.: Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Sunday that Kyiv would not use new long-range weapons from the West to strike targets in Russia, Agence France-Presse reported.

"On Friday our partners decided to provide us with weapons capable of firing at a distance of 150 kilometers," or around 90 miles, Reznikov told a news conference. "We always tell our partners that we take an obligation not to use the weapons of foreign partners against the territory of Russia, only against their units in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine for the purpose of de-occupying our land," he said.

10:15 p.m.: Despite frequent Russian attacks and blackouts in Kyiv, the National Opera of Ukraine continues to put out shows during the war.

The Kyiv Independent provides this video of the opera's work on YouTube.

9:40 p.m.: The Institute for the Study of War and the organization Critical Threats released their daily control-of-terrain maps of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

8:50 p.m.: Ukraine has sent letters to companies that back the International Olympic Committee urging them to keep Russian athletes out of the Paris Olympic Games, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, according to Reuters.

Zelenskyy has been spearheading a drive to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the games under a neutral flag. Zelenskyy has said their presence would normalize Russia's invasion of his country and make "terror" acceptable.

8:18 p.m.: Britain’s Ministry of Defense says the story Russia tells the world about its illegal war is vastly different to the reality on the ground.

7:33 p.m.: Vira Levadna and Nina Podrepna share the same village street in their corner of eastern Ukraine, northeast of the regional capital, Kharkiv.

Before Russia's full-scale invasion began in February 2022, they were just neighbors. Eleven months later, they say, Russian occupation, heavy shelling, and life without heat and electricity have made them more like family, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

Theirs was a village of a few thousand people before the invasion, but just a fraction of that now, including these two retired families

They are now the only residents of their street here on the outskirts of Kharkiv, a city that first saw armed violence in 2014, when Moscow occupied Crimea and Kremlin-backed separatists wrested control of large swaths of eastern Ukraine.

After Russia's all-out invasion began on February 24, Tsyrkuny, just 15 kilometers from the Russian border, was even more unfortunate.

6:18 p.m.: Britain’s Ministry of Defense says Russia, over the past week, has continued to make small advances in its attempt to encircle the Donbas town of Bakhmut.

5:15 p.m.: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree on sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry proposed by his country's National Security and Defense Council. The measures target 200 Russian entities and will remain in effect for 50 years, The Kyiv Independent reports.

Among the sanctioned entities is Russia's state nuclear monopoly Rosatom, which illegally operates the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant located in the occupied city of Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia oblast. Russia has been using the plant as a tool of nuclear blackmail.

“The terrorist state (Russia) uses the nuclear industry to put pressure on other states and as an element of external expansion,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Sunday. “All these are sufficient reasons for Russia's nuclear industry to be under global sanctions," he said.

5:05 p.m.: Repair works in the Black Sea port of Odesa could take weeks after a fire on its overloaded electrical grid left about half a million people without power. Crews are working around the clock to repair the city’s damaged from shelling energy infrastructure, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his nightly video address Sunday. Zelenskyy said that such disruptions in Ukrainian cities "could not have happened" before the onset of Russian attacks on power generation sites, some of which involved dozens of missiles at a time.

4:30 p.m.: Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is being replaced by General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the country's military intelligence agency, according to the leader of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's faction in parliament, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

David Arakhamia, the leader of the Servant of the People faction in parliament, said on Telegram on February 5 that Reznikov would be moved to the post of minister for strategic industries to strengthen military-industrial cooperation.

"War dictates personnel policy," Arakhamia said. "Time and circumstances need to be strengthened and regrouped. This is happening now and will happen in the future."

An official ministry statement has not yet been issued about the changes.

Rumors of a possible Reznikov resignation or ouster have mounted after a series of accusations of corruption within the ministry.

In a news conference hour earlier, Reznikov said he was not planning to resign but added that any decision about his future would be made by the president.

"He nominates an appointee, and the [parliament] appoints. Therefore, only by the decision of the president of Ukraine will I make certain decisions, and I will do what the president of Ukraine tells me," he said.

In January, Ukrainian media reported that the Defense Ministry had allegedly purchased products for the military at inflated prices through a "gasket" company. Other charges of corruption were also reported in the media.

3:45 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said fierce battles are taking place in the Donetsk region as he vowed continuous resistance against Russia. “No matter how much pressure there is, we have to withstand it,” he said. Zelenskyy stressed that Ukraine has to strengthen its defense at the front to bolster Ukraine’s international position, to increase pressure on Russia and to “give our people new opportunities to get through this difficult time,” he said. Zelenskyy added “we have no alternative but to defend ourselves and win.”

2:55 p.m.:

2:45 p.m.: Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov expressed confidence Sunday, that Western allies will agree to Ukraine’s request to provide warplanes against Russian forces that invaded nearly a year ago, The Associated Press reports. Reznikov told a news conference in Kyiv that Ukraine has already received everything from its “wish list to Santa,” except planes. However, he predicted confidently: “There will be planes, too.” So far, Ukraine has won support from Baltic nations and Poland in its request to obtain Western fighter jets. But several Western leaders have expressed concern that providing warplanes could provoke the Kremlin and draw their countries deeper into the conflict. German-made tanks are on the way to Ukraine. Reznikov said his forces would begin training on Leopard tanks on Monday.

1:53 p.m.: An estimated 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to U.S. and European officials. The toll is likely to rise as the Kremlin is reportedly readying for a new offensive against Ukraine in the coming weeks.

According to the U.S. military the Russian casualties of dead and injured soldiers reach to roughly 180,000, an assessment matching Norway’s report of 180,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.

1:15 p.m.: Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Agriculture said Sunday, that Ukraine exported 5.5 million metric tons of grain in January, a significant drop in volume compared to the previous month. The total grain export decreased by 1.3 million metric tons due to hold up and obstruction of the passage of outbound vessels by Russia, the ministry said.

Shipments of all grain and oil-based crops decreased, with the corn exports decreasing by 700,000 metric tons, and wheat by 250,000 metric tons.

According to the ministry, Ukraine has exported 15.4 million metric tons of corn and 9.7 million metric tons of wheat from July to January.

For over five months following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea were blockaded by the Russian navy.

The UN-backed grain deal, in effect since August 1, enabled 39.2 million metric tons of agricultural products to be exported from Ukraine, much of which has been crucial for the food security of parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, The Kyiv Independent reported.

12:45 p.m.: The European Union is launching its ban on imports of Russian diesel fuel. Starting Sunday, the 27-country EU is taking the step to further slash its energy dependency on Moscow. The measure also aims to dampen the Kremlin’s fossil fuel earnings as a retaliatory measure for its invasion of Ukraine. The ban comes along with a price cap agreed by the Group of Seven allied democracies. The goal is allowing Russian diesel to keep flowing to countries like China and India and avoiding a sudden price rise that would hurt consumers worldwide, while reducing the profits funding the war. Europe will have to find new supplies of the diesel fuel from the U.S., Middle East and India, The Associated Press reported.

12:15 p.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reacted on twitter Sunday to comments by former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that during Bennett’s mediation efforts in Ukraine at the start of the war, Putin had promised not to kill Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

11:20 a.m.: The head of Russia's private Wagner militia Yevgeniy Prigozhin said on Sunday that fierce fighting was ongoing in the northern parts of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has been the focus of Russian forces' attention for weeks.

"Ukrainian forces are not retreating anywhere. They are fighting to the last," he said in a statement published on his Telegram channel.

"Fierce battles are going on in the northern quarters for every street, every house, every stairwell," he added.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday, that "Nobody will give away Bakhmut.” We will fight for as long as we can. We consider Bakhmut our fortress."

Russian forces have been attempting to encircle and capture Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donbas region, for weeks, and appear to be making slow, grinding and costly progress.

If Russian forces manage to capture the ravaged by shelling city, it would be their most significant strategic advance since last summer, when their initial offensive through the east of Ukraine came to a standstill and was eventually reversed in a series of stunning Ukrainian counter offensives in the second half of 2022, Reuters reported.

11:07 a.m.: “Russia has sole responsibility for the war,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview published Sunday with German newspaper Bild. Scholz said that he made that clear to the Russian president during phone conversations.

“In our telephone conversations, our very different positions on the war in Ukraine become very clear,” he said.

The chancellor also denied that Germany’s decision to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine was a threat to Russia, Politico reported.

He said that Germany is delivering battle tanks to Ukraine, along with other allies including the U.S., so that Kyiv “can defend itself.”

“This joint approach prevents an escalation of the war,” Scholz said.

10:35 a.m.: Ukraine expects a possible major Russian offensive this month, but Kyiv has the reserves to hold back Moscow's forces even though the latest Western military supplies will not all arrive in time, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Sunday during a news conference.

"Despite everything, we expect a possible Russian offensive in February. This is only from the point of view of symbolism; it's not logical from a military view. Because not all of their resources are ready. But they're doing it anyway," he said.

Russian forces have been making incremental advances in the east as Moscow tries to capture the embattled city of Bakhmut after a string of battlefield setbacks in the second half of last year, Reuters reported.

10:15 a.m.: Russia's defense ministry warned that Ukraine is preparing to blow up buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk and then accuse Moscow of carrying out war crimes and targeting civilians in a false flag operation.

The defense ministry provided no evidence for the claims, which it outlined in a post shared on social media on Sunday, Reuters reported.

10:05 a.m.:

9:25 a.m.: A fire broke out in the two-story school building in the southern city of Kherson after Russian shelling Sunday morning.

The Kherson Oblast administration said on Telegram, the fire, with a total area of 100 square meters, was extinguished by rescuers. No casualties were reported.

One person was killed, and another was injured as Russian forces attacked the region 60 times over the past day.

Russian troops used multiple rocket launch systems, artillery, mortars, tanks, armored fighting vehicles, and anti-tank missile systems. According to the report, Russian forces hit the city of Kherson six times, damaging houses, The Kyiv Independent reported.

8:55 a.m.: Ukraine will not use longer-range weapons pledged by the United States to hit Russian territory and will only target Russian units in occupied Ukrainian territory, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Sunday.

"We always tell our partners officially that we will not use weapons supplied by foreign partners to fire on Russian territory. We only fire on Russian units on temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory," Reznikov told reporters at a news conference.

The United States announced Friday that a new rocket that would double Ukraine's strike range was included in a $2.175 billion U.S. military aid package to help Kyiv fight back Russian forces.

8:35 a.m.: The swiftest path to achieving peace is helping to arm Ukraine so it can defend itself against Russia British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in an article published on Sunday in the Times of Malta.

Reuters reports, Cleverly was writing in a Maltese newspaper ahead of a visit on Tuesday to the Mediterranean island, which assumed the presidency of the U.N. Security Council at the start of February.

"Like all authoritarian rulers, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin responds only to strength in his opponents," he said.

He added that he was delighted that Germany and the United States had joined Britain in agreeing to send tanks to Ukraine.

"Giving the Ukrainians the tools they need to finish the job is the swiftest -- indeed the only –- path to peace," he wrote.

The war in Ukraine is expected to dominate the talks between Britain and Malta, a European Union member.

The island has enforced EU sanctions against Russia and provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine including medicines and power generators. A small number of Ukrainian soldiers are also being treated in Maltese hospitals.

7:57 a.m.:

7:35 a.m.:

5:20 a.m.: The Russian military has formally integrated occupied areas of Ukraine into its Southern Military District, the British Ministry of Defense reported Saturday. On Friday, Russia state news agency TASS reported that the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions are being placed under the three-star command which is headquartered in Rostov-on-Don, the ministry said.

4:32 a.m.: The Kyiv Independent reported that at least three people were injured when two S-300 Russian missiles hit downtown Kharkiv.

4:03 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is overcompensating for his declining influence by continuing to frame himself as the sole victor in the Bakhmut area.

Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine exchanged 63 Russian POWs for 116 Ukrainian POWs, and Russian forces conducted limited offensive operations northwest of Svatove and continued offensive operations around Kreminna.

2:08 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said Russia continues to try to surround the town of Bakhmut, making small advances. Wagner paramilitary forces recently seized one of the routes to the town, which links Bakhmut and Siversk, the update said.

12:02 a.m.: A hospital in the city of Balaklia in Ukraine's Kharkiv region has reopened after state and international funds were used to repair and reequip it. Medical staff say the hospital was shelled by Russian forces and that surgeons were forced to kneel in the corridors as Russian soldiers opened fire in the corridors. The Russian side accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the building. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press and Reuters.

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