February 3, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Sana Noor Haq, Hannah Strange, Tara Subramaniam, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Adrienne Vogt and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 0044 GMT (0844 HKT) February 4, 2023
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6:00 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

American volunteer aid worker killed in Bakhmut while helping Ukrainian civilians

From CNN's Zahra Ullah and Jennifer Hansler 

An American volunteer aid worker, Pete Reed, was killed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on Thursday while aiding civilians, according to a statement from Global Response Medicine, the humanitarian aid group he founded. 

Reed, a US Marine veteran, was listed as "killed while rendering aid" on a mission with another organization, GRM said in a statement posted on social media.

"Yesterday, GRM founder Pete Reed was killed in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Pete was the bedrock of GRM, serving as Board President for 4 years. In January, Pete stepped away from GRM to work with Global Outreach Doctors on their Ukraine mission and was killed while rendering aid," according to a post shared on Instagram.

"This is a stark reminder of the perils rescue and aid workers face in conflict zones as they serve citizens caught in the crossfire. Pete was just 33 years old, but lived a life in service of others, first as a decorated US Marine and then in humanitarian aid. GRM will strive to honor his legacy and the selfless service he practiced," the statement said.

Reed was also listed as the Ukraine country director on the Global Outreach Doctors' website.

A US State Department spokesperson confirmed "the recent death of a US citizen in Ukraine" when asked for comment.

“We are in touch with the family and providing all possible consular assistance,” the State Department spokesperson said. “Out of respect for the privacy of the family during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add.”

Reed's wife, Alex Kay Potter, wrote on Instagram that her husband not only lived for his duty but apparently died saving another team member's life.

"He was evacuating civilians and responding to those wounded when his ambulance was shelled. He died doing what he was great at, what gave him life, and what he loved, and apparently by saving a team member with his own body," the post said.

Reed started his humanitarian career working after Superstorm Sandy hit his home state of New Jersey, according to the biography pages on the Global Response Medicine and Global Outreach Doctors websites.

Reed led medical teams during the Battle for Mosul in Iraq, treating over 10,000 trauma patients, according to the websites.

4:51 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

EU chief says 10th round of sanctions will target trade and technology behind Russian war machine

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen attends a joint briefing with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on February 2.
European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen attends a joint briefing with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on February 2. (Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen said that the bloc's 10th round of sanctions against Russia will target the Russian trade and technology fueling the war in Ukraine. 

"Our nine packages of sanctions are biting, and a 10th one is on its way," von der Leyen said in a tweet as an EU-Ukraine summit wrapped in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Friday. 

The European Commission president stressed that the 10th sanctions package will "hit the trade and technology that supports Russia’s war machine."

Speaking during a press conference in Kyiv earlier on Friday, von der Leyen said the bloc aims to publish the package — which will have a volume of $10.8 billion (or about 10 billion euros) — by Feb. 24, the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion.

At the same press conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the EU to use sanctions to prevent Russia from rebuilding its military capacity. 

CNN's Eve Brennan, Kostan Nechyporenko and Katharina Krebs contributed reporting to this post.

3:27 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

1 person killed as city of Kherson was shelled 18 times, according to local officials

From Katharina Krebs in London and Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv

The southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was shelled 18 times on Friday, Ukrainian authorities said, resulting in one death and one person injured.

Apartments and private houses were also damaged in the shelling, the Kherson city council said in a statement.

“Since November 20, a total of 1,810 incoming hits have been recorded in the city. During this period, 77 people died, including one child,” according to the statement, adding that a total of 214 people — including six children — have been injured in total.

Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian Emergency Services reported that Russian shelling caused three large fires in Kherson city overnight.

3:11 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

US attorney general says forfeited funds seized from Russian oligarch will go toward Ukrainian aid

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

US Attorney General Merrick Garland, left, meets with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin and officials at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, on February 3.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland, left, meets with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin and officials at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, on February 3. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the first transfer of forfeited assets from sanctions against a Russia oligarch on Friday during an appearance with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin at the Justice Department. The funds, according to Garland, will go toward aiding Ukraine. 

“Today, I am announcing that I have authorized the first ever transfer of forfeited Russian assets for use in Ukraine,” Garland said. “These forfeited assets follow the announcement I made last April of the indictment of designated Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, on charges of sanctions evasions.” 

In June, millions were seized from a US bank account belonging to Malofeyev, whom the United States announced sanctions against in April “for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly” the Russian government, the Treasury Department said at the time. 

“With my authorization today. The forfeited funds will next be transferred to the State Department to support the people of Ukraine,” the attorney general added. “Russian war criminals will find no refuge in the United States.” 

Kostin echoed Garland’s statement Friday, adding that the two countries were sending a clear message: “There will be no immunity and impunity for international crimes.” 

“Today, we are witnessing the authorization of transfer of the confiscated assets in the amount of $5.4 million US dollars to the State Department for the purpose of rebuilding war ravaged Ukraine,” Kostin added. 

“We are grateful to the United States for its decisive efforts and support. Ukrainian people will never forget that,” he said.

1:30 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

US Treasury sanctions senior officials at Iranian drone manufacturer 

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The US Treasury Department on Friday imposed sanctions on eight senior officials at an Iranian drone manufacturer – its latest punitive measure in response to Tehran’s provision of drones to Russia for its war against Ukraine.

The manufacturer, Paravar Pars Company, was already under sanction in the United States and the European Union for manufacturing drones for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, according to a Treasury statement.

The Treasury Department on Friday targeted the company’s board of directors.

The agency also identified two Iranian vessels. The IRIS MAKRAN, “an oil tanker that was repurposed for naval operations" but still has the capability to launch unmanned aerial vehicles (UVA), commonly known as drones, is "currently conducting an international voyage," according to the Treasury. The Department said the tanker is accompanied by the naval frigate IRIS DENA (DENA).

“Iranian entities continue to produce UAVs for Iran’s IRGC and military. More broadly, Iran is supplying UAVs for Russia’s combat operations to target critical infrastructure in Ukraine,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. “The United States will continue to aggressively target all elements of Iran’s UAV program.”

3:00 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

Ukraine says new NATO-supplied tanks will act as "iron fist" in counteroffensive

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London and Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv

Polish military drive a Leopard tank during a live fire demonstration part of the Bear 22 military exercises at the Nowa Deba training ground in Poland last year.
Polish military drive a Leopard tank during a live fire demonstration part of the Bear 22 military exercises at the Nowa Deba training ground in Poland last year. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Friday that new NATO-supplied tanks will serve as an "iron fist" in Kyiv's counteroffensive against Russian forces in Ukraine.

"We need a 'tank coalition' with the main tanks of NATO countries for a counteroffensive. That is, we will use them as a "steel fist" in order to break through their defense line," said Reznikov at a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart.

In order to deter a possible new Russian offensive in the south and east, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will "primarily use 155-mm artillery" among other weapons, he added. "That is why we say today that the priority on the battlefield remains 155 mm artillery and shells for it."

Recently, Vadym Omelchenko, Kyiv's ambassador to France, said that numerous countries have confirmed "their agreement to deliver 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine."

He did not specify which countries would provide the tanks or provide a breakdown of which models.

The US has pledged to provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks and Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 A6s. Previously the United Kingdom has pledged 14 Challenger 2 tanks, while Poland has asked for approval from Germany to transfer some of its own German-made Leopard 2s to Ukraine.

CNN's Pierre Meilhan and Heather Chen have contributed to this post.

1:01 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

Russian-installed Crimean authorities nationalize properties of Ukrainian politicians 

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Russian-installed authorities in Crimea said on Friday they had nationalized around 500 properties in the peninsula belonging to Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians.

“At an absentee vote, the deputies of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea adopted a resolution on the nationalization of the property of foreign citizens and states that commit unfriendly actions against Russia,” Vladimir Konstantinov, speaker of the Crimean parliament said in a Telegram post. 

The property of Ukrainian oligarchs Serhiy Taruta, Igor Kolomoisky, Rinat Akhmetov and Arseniy Yatsenyuk are subject to nationalization. The list also includes the property of 12 Ukrainian banks and the Dynamo Kyiv football club, Russian state media TASS reported on Friday. 

Some background: Crimea was forcibly seized by Russia in 2014. The Crimean peninsula is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based at Sevastopol. The peninsula acted as a launching pad for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Russian troops pouring into Ukraine’s south from the annexed region.

CNN's Vasco Cotovio and Tara John contributed to this post.

12:48 p.m. ET, February 3, 2023

US announces new $2.17 billion security assistance package for Ukraine

From CNN's Haley Britzky

President Joe Biden speaks in Washington, DC, on Friday, February 3.
President Joe Biden speaks in Washington, DC, on Friday, February 3. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The Biden administration has announced a new Ukraine security package worth $2.17 billion that includes longer-range missiles for the first time.

The package pulls $425 million from existing Defense Department stocks, and $1.75 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds. The new package marks $29.3 billion provided to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began last February.

CNN reported on Thursday that the package would include the Ground-launched Small Diameter Bomb — a guided missile with a range of 90 miles. The latest aid package does not include the sought-after ATACMS missiles, which the US has consistently rebuffed over concerns they could be used by the Ukrainians to hit targets deep inside Russia. 

Though the missiles will effectively double the range of Ukrainian weaponry, the package won’t include the long sought-after ATACMS missile with a range in excess of 200 miles. The US has constantly rebuffed Ukraine’s requests for that system over concerns they may be used to hit targets deep inside Russia.

The latest announcement comes as the war in Ukraine approaches the 1-year mark and amid concerns over a spring offensive by Russia.

"The presidential draw down is the 31st such drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine," Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. "In total, the US has committed $32 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014, and $29.3 billion since Russia's unprovoked and illegal invasion nearly one year ago this month."
11:16 a.m. ET, February 3, 2023

European Union says a new round of sanctions against Russia is coming soon

From CNN's Eve Brennan in London

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses a media conference after the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 3.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses a media conference after the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 3. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that a 10th round of EU sanctions against Russia is "on its way."

“We have the aim to have it in place by the 24th of February. It has a volume of around about 10 billion euros — it’s a massive package," said von der Leyen.

"The perpetrator must pay and must be held accountable,” she added. 

Separately, von der Leyen commended Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on his domestic reform work in its bid for EU membership. “Your determination to forge ahead is impressive. You're taking important steps with all the reforms forward to meet the recommendations, and we should not forget you are doing this while you are fighting against an aggressor.”

“Rest assured that your progress will be reflected in our important enlargement report that is due in autumn for the member states," she added.