Russia's goals for 2024 same as previous two years - Ukrainian Inteligence

Ukraine's military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, stated at the "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum on February 25 that Russia's strategic goals for 2024 remain focused on destroying Ukrainian statehood and reaching the administrative border of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. The objective is to "keep what they already have." Budanov emphasized that Russia has failed to achieve these goals through military means in 2022-2023, and he believes they will not succeed in 2024 either.

The forum, which discussed various aspects of Ukraine's goals in the war, featured conversations about developing defense and security forces, implementing a peace formula, ensuring economic growth and integration into world markets, security guarantees, the status of the military-industrial complex, and protecting the lives of Ukrainians.

Addressing concerns about Russia acquiring Iranian missiles, Budanov assured reporters that Moscow currently has none, and he considers it unlikely to happen in the future. He mentioned that recent attacks on Russian territory have shaken the confidence of Russia's leaders. Budanov also expressed confidence that Ukraine will destroy the Kerch Bridge connecting Crimea to Russia.

However, he acknowledged that Russia has adapted to Ukraine's current systems and changing tactics, suggesting that overcoming this requires "significant volumes" of long-range weapons from the West.

When asked about a backup plan if the U.S. fails to deliver the $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, Budanov asserted that Ukraine "doesn't need a plan B." Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh mentioned on February 20 that the U.S. can quickly deliver defense aid to Ukraine once Congress passes a foreign aid bill allocating $60 billion to Kyiv.

Budanov noted that delays in U.S. aid have impacted Ukraine, citing the loss of Avdiivka, a city in Donetsk Oblast that has faced Russian attacks since 2014. The loss was linked to shortages in artillery shells and other supplies provided by the West. When asked about the number of Ukrainian soldiers captured in Avdiivka, Budanov mentioned that it is small and "not thousands or hundreds."

Russian attack destroys Kostiantynivka Central Station in Donetsk Oblast

The aftermath of a Russian missile attack on the Kostiantynivka Central Station on Feb. 25, 2024. (The Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor’s Office/Facebook)

A Russian overnight attack destroyed the Kostiantynivka Central Station in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, as reported by the state-owned railway company Ukrzaliznytsia on February 25. Fortunately, no casualties were reported at the train station, which had not been operational for an extended period.

The regional prosecutor's office indicated that Russian forces likely used a KAB-250 guided bomb in the attack, causing injuries to one civilian. A 75-year-old woman was injured as the blast wave broke windows at her home near the train station.

Russia utilizes various "smart" bombs, such as the KAB-250, KAB-500, and KAB-1500, which can be laser-guided or satellite-guided. The KAB-500L, equipped with a highly explosive warhead, is commonly used in Russia's conflict against Ukraine.

The regional prosecutor's office has initiated an investigation into the violation of the rules and customs of war. Additionally, Russian attacks in Donetsk Oblast damaged three educational facilities, two administrative buildings, 12 apartment buildings, two houses, 21 shops, a church, and an infrastructure site in various locations across the region over the past day.

Kostiantynivka, being a front-line city, regularly experiences attacks by Russian forces, reflecting the ongoing conflict in the region.

March and April will be difficult for Ukraine – Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stated that Ukraine anticipates a challenging period in March and April, with Russia allegedly preparing for an offensive in late May or early summer. Zelenskyy mentioned that the U.S. elections could be a turning point, and the situation will become clearer afterward. He highlighted fluctuations in U.S. support and the need for the EU's continued backing. Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of adequate military equipment, using the example of insufficient U.S.-made Patriot air defense systems. Despite challenges, he expressed confidence in Ukraine's ability to prepare for the potential Russian counteroffensive.