© Reuters. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, meet to discuss how to help Ukraine defend itself
(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the situation on the front lines in the east was getting tougher and Russia was throwing more and more troops into battle.
FIGHTING IN THE EAST
Ukrainian forces remained in control of the village of Bilohorivka, the Luhansk region governor Serhiy Haidai said, adding that the situation there is tense, but under control.
Over the past day, Ukraine’s forces have repelled Russian attacks in the areas of the settlements of Kreminna and Shipylivka in the Luhansk region and Verkhnyokamianske, Blagodatne, Krasna Gora, Paraskoviivka, Bakhmut, Ivanivske and Klishchiivka in the Donetsk region, according to General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield accounts.
ODESA POWER OUTAGE
* Odesa restored power to critical infrastructure after a fire broke out at an overloaded substation, leaving nearly 500,000 people in the Ukrainian port city without electricity after months of Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid. Officials said repairs could take weeks.
* U.S. President Joe Biden will visit Poland, the Polish president’s foreign policy adviser said. Biden has said he would visit the country amid reports his European trip might coincide with the Feb. 24 anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
* British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Zelenskiy agreed on the importance of the international community speeding up assistance for Ukraine, Sunak’s office said after the two leaders spoke.
* Zelenskiy revoked the citizenship of several former influential politicians in the latest step to “cleanse” Ukraine of pro-Russian influences. State media said they included several top politicians from the office of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russian president removed from office in 2014.
* Portugal will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said, without specifying how many.
* Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the supply of more advanced U.S. weaponry to Ukraine will only trigger more retaliatory strikes from Russia, up to the extent of Russia’s nuclear doctrine.
* The United States warned Turkey in recent days about the export to Russia of chemicals, microchips and other products that can be used in Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine, and it could move to punish Turkish companies or banks contravening sanctions.
* Ukraine and Russia traded almost 200 prisoners of war in a swap, both sides said, with the bodies of two British volunteers also being sent back to Ukraine.
* Germany has collected evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, the country’s prosecutor general said in a newspaper interview, adding that he saw a need for a judicial process at the international level.