Washington Institute for Defense and Security
Security Bulletin – February 2022
United States & Europe:
- Moscow, Russia: On February 24th, President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine, claiming to seek protection of ethnic Russians in Ukraine through “demilitarization & denazification”. The resulting operation has been a major military invasion of Ukrainian territory accompanied by cruise missile strikes on numerous Ukrainian targets. This invasion confirms suspicions made public by western intelligence and builds on weeks of military escalation at the Ukrainian-Russian border.
- Washington DC, United States: President Biden lambasted the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” and has vowed significant political and material support to the Ukrainian government and military. He clarified that he would not, however, advocate US or NATO forces joining the conflict directly against Russia.
- Brussels, Belgium: In a historic first the European Union announced its decision to purchase €500 of military support for Ukraine. €450 million of this funding will be allocated to lethal aid, with the rest being used for non-lethal support.
- Kyiv, Ukraine: Russian forces push into the suburbs of Kyiv, seeking to capture the seat of government of Ukraine. Air strikes, artillery, and paratrooper deployments have been confirmed across the city. Russian forces have begun protracted conflict in several large cities besides Kyiv. In the southeast, the major city of Mariupol has been surrounded and besieged by the Russian military. In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, fighting has been significant, however Ukrainian forces remain in control. Russia has made advances in the south of Ukraine approaching from the Crimean Peninsula. Ukrainian resistance has proven stiffer than expected, and despite numerical and technological advantages Russian forces are alleged to be suffering from logistics and supply issues.
- Damascus, Syria: Israeli air strikes hit multiple targets in Syria including a strike against an anti-aircraft installation and one against a military target which killed three regime soldiers. Israel has cited concerns about expanding Iranian presence in the region in justification.
- Abha, Saudi Arabia: 12 wounded by shrapnel as Saudi air defenses destroyed a Houthi drone attempting to launch an attack on Abha International Airport near the Yemeni border. This is one of many attempted drone attacks against the Gulf states made by Houthi rebels in recent years.
- Rabat, Morocco: Large protests took place across several cities on the anniversary of the February 20thArab Spring protests. These demonstrations focused primarily on rising costs of fuel and other necessities and demanded an end to government corruption.
- Bamako, Mali: At the request of President Assimi Goita, French and European forces have begun a withdrawal from their longstanding anti-terror operations in Mali. This caps off weeks of tension following the Goita junta’s refusal to host agreed upon elections in February. Russian-backed Wagner Group mercenaries have also arrived in the country to support the current regime.
- Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Coup-leader Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba has been inaugurated as president of Burkina Faso, formalizing the forceful transition of power which occurred in January.