Moldova summons Russian ambassador over airspace violation
The Washington Post February 10, 2023
Moldova said Friday that a Russian missile crossed into its airspace while heading toward Ukraine, and the government summoned Russia's ambassador to register the "unacceptable violation of our airspace." It condemned the incursion and called on Russia to stop its "military aggression" against Ukraine.
The head of Ukraine's air force said the missiles also crossed into the airspace of neighboring Romania - a NATO member. However, the Romanian Defense Ministry denied this, saying its air force detected a projectile, probably a cruise missile, launched from the Black Sea but that it did not enter Romanian airspace.
In Moscow, the Kremlin confirmed Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would deliver a high-profile address to the country's Federal Assembly on Feb. 21. Under Russia's constitution, Putin is expected to make the speech annually, but he skipped it last year, prompting speculation. He is expected to mention the ongoing war in Ukraine, which Russia dubs a "special military operation."
Latest on the war and its impact across the globe
• A Russian projectile came "approximately 35 kilometers northeast of the border" of Romania's airspace, its Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday, adding that it was "mostly likely a cruise missile" launched from a ship near the Crimean Peninsula. The projectile entered Ukrainian airspace, then Moldovan airspace, before reentering Ukraine, it said. A spokeswoman for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, asked about Ukraine's allegation that it had entered Romanian airspace, referred to the Romanian Defense Ministry's statement.
• Air raid alerts blared across eastern and central Ukraine on Friday. In the capital, Kyiv, the mayor urged citizens to seek shelter and reported some missile damage. The northeastern region of Kharkiv was also under attack Friday, said its governor, Oleh Synyehubov. He reported some injuries and damage to critical infrastructure that caused widespread power outages. A similar situation was reported in Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine early Friday, local officials said, citing Russian rocket attacks.
• French President Emmanuel Macron has not ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine, a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a rare trip to Brussels. Macron told European officials Friday: "I exclude absolutely nothing." However, he said the focus should remain on artillery and other weapons that could boost Ukraine's defenses in the near term. Zelensky has made several requests for fighter jets and other military equipment, but many Western allies have been reluctant to commit to providing warplanes for fear of escalating the conflict.
• Ukraine uses specific coordinates provided or confirmed by U.S. military personnel for the majority of its rocket strikes, The Washington Post reported. The disclosure reveals that the Pentagon is playing a more significant role in the war than previously known.
• The Pentagon is urging Congress to resume funding top-secret programs in Ukraine, current and former U.S. officials have told The Post. The programs were suspended ahead of Russia's invasion last year and, if resumed, could allow American Special Operations troops to employ Ukrainian operatives to observe Russian military movements and counter disinformation. Congressional officials say it is difficult to predict the outcome.
• Residents of eastern and southern Ukraine were warned of potential drone attacks Friday. Dnipropetrovsk military administrator Serhiy Lysak told people to stay away from critical infrastructure facilities, while the Mykolaiv governor, Vitaly Kim, issued an alert to watch out for drones overhead.
• Russian forces have "made tactical gains" in Bakhmut and Vuhledar, according to a daily intelligence update from Britain's Defense Ministry. In the past few days, Russian forces have dominated the northern outskirts of the Donbas town of Bakhmut, largely due to Wagner Group forces, it said. To the south, Russia has made advances around the western edge of the town of Vuhledar, although they suffered "heavy casualties" and equipment losses there.
• Russia has begun an offensive in Luhansk centered on Kreminna, said the eastern region's governor, Serhiy Haidai. "It's possible to confirm that in principle a certain intensification has already begun, and it's possible to say that de facto this is part of the full-scale offensive that Russia has planned," he said in a video. Haidai added that the number of daily attacks "has increased," and he accused Russian forces of "concentrating all their maximum efforts in the Kreminna direction."
• Russia's Wagner Group claims it has "completely stopped" recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine, according to a post on Telegram. The private military organization is run by an ally of Putin and has been a key military force in the war. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, assessed that the group "will likely continue to recruit from prisons, albeit in a much more limited capacity."
• Zelensky met with Poland's president in Rzeszow, southeastern Poland, after his Brussels trip, according to a tweet from President Andrzej Duda's office on Friday. The two men discussed the situation on the front lines, the need for joint military support and broader security in the region, it said.
• Ukrainian intelligence intercepted a Russian plan to take control of Moldova and "break democratic order" in the Eastern European country, Zelensky told the European Union. After discovering a Russian document that showed "who, when and through what actions was going to break Moldova," Kyiv immediately warned Moldova, he said, without providing further evidence.
The Washington Post's David L. Stern and Natalia Abbakumova contributed to this report.