Russian shelling of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast's Nikopol 

Russia launched an artillery strike on Nikopol, located in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, on January 29, resulting in injuries to two young men aged 19 and 21, as reported by Governor Serhii Lysak.

The 19-year-old victim will receive treatment at home, while the condition of the 21-year-old is described as "difficult," with shrapnel wounds to his head and chest. Governor Lysak provided this information on his Telegram channel, emphasizing that medical professionals are offering all necessary assistance.

Details regarding the incident are currently limited.

Nikopol, positioned on the banks of the mostly dried-up Kakhovka Reservoir, facing Russian-occupied Enerhodar and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, has unfortunately become a frequent target of Russian attacks.

The city and its surroundings experienced artillery strikes from Russian forces overnight on January 28, causing damage but, fortunately, resulting in no casualties.

US inspectors arrive in Kyiv to help oversee aid

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink (the second from the right) and U.S. inspectors in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 29, 2024. (Ambassador Bridget Brink/X)

On January 29, three Inspectors General representing the U.S. Defense Department, the State Department, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) arrived in Kyiv for crucial meetings with Ukrainian officials. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, announced this visit, highlighting that the discussions aim to reinforce oversight and accountability for U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

The United States, being the primary military donor to Kyiv, has faced challenges in the disbursement of over $61 billion in aid due to domestic political disputes in Congress. The visit by the inspectors is part of an ongoing effort to ensure the effective use of U.S. assistance.

While the inspections have not revealed any cases of military aid theft in Ukraine, the U.S. Defense Department Inspector General's Office reported on January 10 that despite improvements in tracking systems, over $1 billion in weapons sent to Ukraine, subject to enhanced end-use monitoring (EEUM), remains untracked as of June 2023. EEUM-designated military aid includes items like Javelin and Stinger missiles, Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), unmanned aircraft systems, and night vision devices.

It's essential to note that the findings do not suggest misuse or diversion of weapons; rather, the monitoring aims to ensure the proper and accountable use of U.S.-provided advanced conventional weapons in Ukraine. Pentagon Spokesperson General Pat Ryder emphasized that there is no credible evidence of illicit diversion of these weapons.

Putin plans to visit Turkey in February to discuss Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly planning to visit Turkey in February for discussions with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The meeting is expected to cover various topics, including the situation in Ukraine. This visit comes as Putin has limited his international travels since an arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2023 for his role in the deportations of Ukrainian children. Notably, Turkey is not bound by the ICC's Rome Statute and, therefore, is not obligated to detain Putin.

Turkey has positioned itself as a mediator in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, playing a crucial role in brokering a grain deal that facilitated the resumption of maritime trade from Ukrainian ports in July 2022. After the collapse of the agreement in July 2023, Turkey has remained engaged with both Kyiv and Moscow, exploring options for its restoration.

During the upcoming talks between Putin and Erdogan, Ukraine is expected to be a significant topic of discussion, including the possibility of a peace settlement. However, specific details about the agenda were not provided by Yuri Ushakov, an advisor to Putin.

Direct peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have been limited, with Kyiv insisting on a full Russian withdrawal as a precondition for talks. While Russia has indicated a willingness to discuss a potential peace settlement, skepticism remains in the West and Ukraine about the sincerity of such negotiations, given Putin's stated maximalist goals for the conflict that have persisted since February 2022.