Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in London today (Wednesday) as a surprise, on his second political visit altogether outside of Ukraine since the war with Russia broke out almost a year ago. Zelensky met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, King Charles III, and addressed the British Parliament.Zelensky is determined to convince Western leaders to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine – and he presented Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the British House of Commons, with the helmet of a Ukrainian fighter pilot. On the helmet was written: “We have freedom, now give us wings to defend it.”
The Elysee Palace in France confirmed that at the end of Zelensky’s visit to London, he is expected to arrive in Paris this evening. According to the announcement of the French presidency, President Emmanuel Macron will host a tripartite summit tonight together with Zelensky and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz. Tomorrow, Zelensky is also expected to participate in the European Union summit that will be held in Brussels, Belgium.
Welcome to the UK, President @ZelenskyyUa.
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) February 8, 2023
Ukrainian President Zelensky presented the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, with a Ukrainian pilot’s helmet with the inscription “we have freedom, give us wings to protect it!” https://t.co/OQlgaZpaBj pic.twitter.com/AnY5g2Y1Lw
— Status-6 (@Archer83Able) February 8, 2023
Zelensky’s visit to European capitals comes against the backdrop of grave concerns about a new and extensive Russian attack in Ukraine in the coming days or weeks, and is expected to promote the expansion of Western aid to Kiev. Sonak’s office announced that Great Britain will begin training Ukrainian pilots in the operation of fighter jets to the standard of NATO armies, although the Western countries for the time being refuse to discuss the transfer of such aircraft to Zelensky’s country. In addition, in the office at Downing Street number 10 they expressed a willingness to supply Ukraine with long-range missiles as well – IML that Ukraine has been pressing to receive for a long time.
According to all estimates in Ukraine, a new Russian attack on a massive scale may be launched in the coming days. It is estimated that first and foremost the Russians will try to gain full control over the entire Donbas region (Lugansk and Donetsk regions), but many estimates also speak of Russia trying to further expand its control over Ukraine, invading other regions, and perhaps even threatening to attack the capital city of Kyiv again and other cities deep in Ukraine.A tank of the Ukrainian army in combat in the Donetsk region
According to the Ukrainians, the clear understanding is that Russia is expected to launch an extensive offensive at the same time as marking the anniversary of the invasion on February 24. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, said that Russia might launch an offensive that would also include Kharkiv Oblast in the northeast and Zaporizhia Oblast in southern Ukraine. From the beginning of the war until the month of September, Russia controlled a large part of Kharkiv district, until Ukraine liberated almost 100% of it in a counterattack. The Zaporizhia district is currently partially occupied by the Russians, although in September Moscow decided to annex it to the Russian Federation – after a fabricated referendum.
The governor of the Ukrainian Lugansk region, Sergiy Gaidi, reported on his Twitter account that the Russians were preparing for a large-scale attack in the region – and even said that the renewed invasion could begin “any moment after February 15”. Today Gaidi tweeted that the Russians are working for “maximum escalation” in the area of the city of Karmina in the Lugansk region, and are sending forces there on a large scale.
Hard documentation from the battlefield: soldiers of the Wagner Group beat their commander to death
At the same time as the preparations for fighting, even today the fighting in the Donetsk region continues with high intensity. As in most of the last six months, most of the hardest battles come from the city sector in Ahmet. According to the latest Ukrainian reports, the Russians continue to pour particularly large forces into the region, but manage to advance at a slow pace, estimated at several tens to hundreds of meters per week. In recent days it is evident that the pressure on Bakhmut from the Russians, and they are determined to conquer the city even before the outbreak of the extensive offensive.
Another sector where fierce fighting is going on is in the city of Voldar in the south of Donetsk region, where large coal mines are located. The Russian army continues to send attacks and raid operations on the positions of the Ukrainian army in the city, but even in recent days it has failed in its attempts, and according to reports from the field it is suffering heavy losses without any achievements at all.
One of the columns destroyed near Vuhledar on the 6th: there were several columns that tried to push through with the same results.There is also a longer video, which hopefully will be also published soon. pic.twitter.com/NtseDobd5t
— Tatarigami_UA (@Tatarigami_UA) February 8, 2023
In recent days, in Ukraine, they published an extraordinary document that was photographed by a drone in the skies of the fighting sector in Bakhmut. The documentation shows a group of fighters identified as fighters from the Wagner group, evicting the one identified as their commander in the field, but instead of saving him they choose to beat him, apparently to death.
Russians from the Wagner group are pulling their wounded commander away… One might think they’re evacuating him. Wrong.
They will “dostoyevsky” him behind some shed.
So much for “great Russian culture”. A very clear message for every commander in the Russian military. pic.twitter.com/cWseT8NeiN
— Melanie Podolyak (@MelaniePodolyak) February 6, 2023
In a video that has gone viral and is widespread on social networks, several fighters are seen dragging a soldier who appears to be wounded on the battlefield, and at first it seems that they are moving him away from the line of fire to allow him to receive medical treatment. However, within a few seconds the soldiers are seen behind a building – wielding what appear to be batons, shovels or shovels – and hit the same soldier lying on the floor. According to reports, they murdered him on purpose.
The message of the video, as circulated by various Ukrainian sources – shows the low morale and mental state among the fighters of the Wagner group in particular and the Russian soldiers in general. According to the Ukrainians, this is proof of the resentment that exists between many Russian soldiers, who doubt they want to be on the battlefield and agree with the Russian combat goals, and the commanders who are identified as the long arm of the government that condemned them to a cruel fate. In addition, the video may show how uneven and bad there is in the fighting ranks of the Russians.