Airborne alert declared throughout Ukraine.
An air alert has been raised across Ukraine following the takeoff of a MiG-31K fighter jet in Belarus. This was reported by Ukrainska Pravda, citing the country’s monitoring map on air alarms. At 11.27 local time, an escort fighter took off from Baranovichi airport, and at 11.30, the MiG – which can carry the Kinzhal hypersonic missile – departed from Machulishchi airport.
“Biden on a surprise visit to Kyiv”
US President Joe Biden is on a surprise visit to Kyiv. In the morning, local media on social media released images of what is referred to as the convoy of the American president. Biden was expected today in Warsaw. The streets of central Kyiv have been blocked to traffic since this morning since several local journalists had spoken of the imminent arrival of an “important delegation”. German newspaper Bild confirmed Biden’s presence in Kyiv. Politico writes that Biden’s team has been looking for ways to get the president in secretly across the Ukrainian border.
Zelensky: “We will defend Bakhmut but not at any price.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine would maintain the defense of the eastern city of Bakhmut but “not at any price”. “We need to defend it, but not at any price, and for everyone to die. We will fight until it is reasonable. The Russians then want to continue to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, up to the borders of Donbas and up to Dnipro if they can. We are resisting, and in the meantime, we are preparing the next counterattack”, declared the Ukrainian leader in an interview with Corriere della Sera.
Borrell: “Give ammunition to Ukraine, or the war is at risk.”
“The most urgent dossier is that of ammunition. If we fail, the war is at risk. Ukraine needs bullets, especially those of 1.55 calibre. Russia fires 50,000 shells a day; we need to make Ukraine have the same capabilities. Today I will present a series of proposals and tomorrow, I will be at NATO with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba”. This was stated by the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, citing the proposal of a joint procurement platform. The goal, he underlined, is to reach an agreement at the Defense Affairs Council at the beginning of March.
Kuleba, yes to joint direct purchase of weapons and ammunition
“I thank Estonia for proposing a joint direct purchase of weapons and ammunition, which could start with EU members supplying one million 155mm shells to Ukraine. While I cannot join today’s Foreign Affairs Council in person, we strongly support the initiative and urge it to be implemented.” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
Estonia proposes joint EU purchase of one million shells for Kyiv.
“Ukraine is running out of bullets. Estonia has proposed a European procurement program to deliver 155 shells to Ukraine systematically, and this program provides for 1 million shells and costs about 4 billion euros. This was stated by the Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Reinsalu, upon his arrival at the EU Foreign Council. “If we look at the comparison with today’s figures, this is a situation where the amount of shells is. Ukraine produces per day, and Russia uses per day. The EU produces in a month. Thus we can reach Ukraine’s requirement in about six years, which is unacceptable,” he explained. “We have to take further steps on accountability, and any compromise on the hybrid court is not what we have to work on in this paradigm,” he added about Russian war crimes.
Moscow talks for a possible peace plan with China.
Communist Party of China diplomacy chief Wang Yi has arrived in Moscow to discuss a possible peace plan for Ukraine. Sky News reports it. Wang Yi traveled to Russia for the meeting yesterday, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant. “The main purpose of his trip is to increase Beijing’s role” on the Ukrainian issue, writes the newspaper, adding that the talks are “designed to accelerate the resolution of the crisis, which entails growing costs for Beijing in relations with the West”. While Western accusations that Beijing may provide military assistance to Moscow remain in the background.
Beijing denies the US: “We do not give weapons to Moscow.”
Beijing has rejected what it called “false” claims by the United States that China is considering arming Russia in its war against Ukraine. “We do not accept the United States pointing the finger at China-Russia relations, much less exercising coercion and pressure,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing, accusing Washington of “spreading false information.”