Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy Slams IOC Over Paris Olympics Plan


The Pentagon’s inspector-general met in Kyiv on Friday with Ukraine’s defense minister, days after at least 10 officials were ousted over corruption allegations and as Western weapons donations — and calls for accountability — pick up pace.

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(Bloomberg) —

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The Pentagon’s inspector-general met in Kyiv on Friday with Ukraine’s defense minister, days after at least 10 officials were ousted over corruption allegations and as Western weapons donations — and calls for accountability — pick up pace.  

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Ukraine’s president slammed a plan by the International Olympics Committee to consider allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Paris 2024 summer games as individuals. 

The International Monetary Fund is exploring a loan of as much as $16 billion to support Ukraine’s economy. It comes a week before a European Union-Ukraine summit, and as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces prepare for a new, lengthy offensive. 

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)  

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Key Developments

  • Russian Refiners Churn Through Crude Ahead of EU Import Ban
  • Putin Braces for Long War as He Plans New Offensive in Ukraine
  • EU to Battle on Oil Price Caps, Sanctions in Push to Hurt Russia
  • Yellen Positive on Cap Talks After EU Floats Russia Diesel Price
  • EU Weighs Prosecution Office to Help Punish Russian War Crimes 

On the Ground

Over the past 24 hours, the Russian army fired 10 missiles, one of them at Zaporizhzhia civilian infrastructure, 26 air strikes and 81 shells from multiple rocket systems, including at civilian facilities in the city of Ochakiv, the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in an update. Some civilians were killed or wounded. Russia shelled the Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv regions with mortar and artillery. It also shelled Kherson and the surrounding region in the south. Russian troops continue to advance in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka sectors.

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(All times CET)  

Zelenskiy Slams IOC Over Paris Olympics ‘Pathway’ Plan (8:10 a.m.)

Ukraine’s president slammed a plan by the International Olympic Committee that may allow Russians and Belarusians to compete at the 2024 Paris summer games, still 18 months away. 

The IOC on Wednesday said it would explore “a pathway” for those athletes to compete in Paris, potentially as individuals, adding that “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport.”

“There is no such thing as neutrality when a war like this is going on,” Zelenskiy said Friday in his nightly video address. “It is obvious that any neutral flag of Russian athletes is stained with blood.” He invited the IOC’s president to visit the front lines. 

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Russian Disinformation Over War is Pervasive, UK Says (8 a.m.)

Disinformation by Moscow in its public announcements about the invasion of Ukraine remains “pervasive,” the UK defense ministry said. 

It gave as an example Russian losses in a Ukrainian strike on troop accommodation at Makiyivka in Donetsk Oblast on Jan. 1. In a rare public admission, Russia’s defense ministry acknowledged 89 casualties — but the UK estimates 300 were likely killed. Ukraine previously estimated about 400 deaths. 

Defense Minister Meets Pentagon’s Inspector General (4 a.m.)

Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, wrote on Twitter Friday about his meeting in Kyiv with a US Defense Department delegation led by Robert Storch, the department’s inspector general. 

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In his tweet, Reznikov said that Ukraine’s allies “continue to see for themselves that transparency & accountability are critical components of our policy.”

Storch, who was an inspector general for the National Security Agency and a deputy inspector general at the Justice Department, assumed his current role in December.

Ukraine May Export 5 Million Tons of Grain in January (5 p.m.)

Ukraine’s grain export may total near 5 million tons in January “despite complications” caused by Russia in the Bosphorus, Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotskyi said, according to the ministry’s website. Vessel wait times in the Bosphorus Strait sometimes add as much as $30 to $40 per ton of grain in additional costs, squeezing farmers.

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Ukraine to Use Drone Hunter System to Protect Energy Facilities (3:45 p.m.)

Ukraine has obtained six systems to help detect and down Russian Shahed drones, Digital Transformation Minister Mykhaylo Fedorov said on Telegram. The protecting systems were purchased with money from the official government fundraising platform United24.

Russian Diesel Heads to Europe Ahead of Import Ban (3:40 p.m.)

Oil traders are sending huge amounts of Russian diesel to the EU, with an import ban on the fuel just days way. 

Countries from the bloc imported more than 600,000 barrels-a-day of diesel-type fuel from Russia in the first 23 days of this month, according to data from Vortexa Ltd. compiled by Bloomberg. That’s a little more than both the average imports for 2022 and arrivals over the same period last year, before Moscow’s troops invaded Ukraine.

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Traders Cram Russian Diesel Into Europe as Import Ban Looms

EU Weighs Prosecution Office to Help Punish Russian War Crimes (12:14 p.m.)

The European Union is exploring ways to create a special prosecution office to help probe Russian war crimes in Ukraine while separate talks on a special international tribunal to punish crimes of aggression continue to be mired in legal wrangling.

Moves to set up the office, which would initially be charged with helping Ukraine collect evidence about Russian violence, gained broad support from EU nations this week, said people familiar with the talks. 

Read more: EU Weighs Prosecution Office to Help Punish Russian War Crimes

Orban Laments Allies’ ‘Drift’ Deeper Into War (11:50 a.m.)

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Ukraine’s allies have become part of the war through their expanding military support for Kyiv. Hungary, by contrast, “has avoided drifting into the war” by not directly supplying weapons, even though Budapest has provided financial assistance and failed to veto financing of EU weapons purchases for Kyiv. 

“If you send weapons and finance the full-year’s budget of one of the warring parties and you mull sending more arms, ever more modern ones, then you can say what you want, you’re part of the war,” Orban told state radio on Friday, calling instead for “peace talks.”

“It started with the Germans saying they were willing to send helmets,” Orban said. “Now, we’re at battle tanks, and they’re already talking about planes.”


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