Tomer Avital in the wake of the approval of the 2023-24 budget For the sake of the journalists and presenters…
Ukraine October 2022-
Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // May 25, 2023 // Ukraine // No comments
From the Ground in Ukraine:
Paule Robitaille Interviews Dan Bilak
Full Fact: Fact checks featuring claims seen in the UK
about the ongoing war in Ukraine
Ukraine February – October 2022
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Official website
Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine
The Forgotten Potential of Ukraine’s Energy Reserves
Kennan’s Warning on Ukraine
Ambition, Insecurity, and the Perils of Independence
(Foreign Affairs) George Kennan, the remarkable U.S. diplomat and probing observer of international relations, is famous for forecasting the collapse of the Soviet Union. Less well known is his warning in 1948 that no Russian government would ever accept Ukrainian independence. Foreseeing a deadlocked struggle between Moscow and Kyiv, Kennan made detailed suggestions at the time about how Washington should deal with a conflict that pitted an independent Ukraine against Russia. He returned to this subject half a century later. Kennan, then in his 90s, cautioned that the eastward expansion of NATO would doom democracy in Russia and ignite another Cold War. …
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy surprises Johns Hopkins grads as their commencement speaker
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a guest appearance at Johns Hopkins University as he delivered a surprise address to the class of 2023 at their commencement ceremony Thursday morning.
Zelenskyy spoke in a live video stream from Ukraine that was shown at Homewood Field on the university’s Baltimore campus, where he was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels.
In his 10-minute speech, Zelenskyy centered his remarks on the importance of time, in addition to indispensable ideals of freedom, self-determination and democracy.
Ukraine courts Africa and ‘Global South’ as peace plans proliferate
(Reuters) – Ukraine’s foreign minister began a tour of African countries this week, stepping up wartime Kyiv’s diplomatic push to challenge Russian influence in the “Global South” and cement the vision laid out by Ukraine as the only path to peace.
Top diplomat Dmytro Kuleba said his main priority was to get African countries to endorse President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s peace plan as he travelled to Morocco on his second tour of Africa since Russia invaded in February last year.
The tour follows three days of diplomacy by Zelenskiy at the Arab League of Nations on Friday and then at a Group of Seven summit in Japan. As well as G7 leaders, he met those of India, Indonesia, Iraq and the Saudi crown prince during his travels.
Political analysts say Ukraine is accelerating its push to court the Global South – a term meaning Latin America, Africa and much of Asia – and that the effort has taken on greater importance as rival peace proposals to end the war in Ukraine have popped up in other capitals.
CTV is finding they cannot do without Jeremy!
Jeremy Kinsman: G-7 Summit – Zelinsky makes it an epic summit
Zelenskiy uses G7 summit to reach beyond the west for support
Patrick Wintour, Diplomatic editor
Ukraine’s leader knows he needs to win over nonaligned countries such as Brazil and India to increase the pressure on Russia
(The Guardian) Ukraine for months has known it is not telling its story clearly enough to the phalanx of 40 or so nonaligned states that have abstained at successive UN general assembly votes on the war. India, Brazil, China and as many as 20 African states have sat on the sidelines in the key votes.
In the autumn it decided there was no substitute for its own diplomats making their case, rather relying on US or UK intermediaries.
It has involved a change in mindset and strain on resources. Ukraine, for instance, has only 10 embassies throughout Africa.
In October the foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, undertook a four-nation tour of Africa, visiting Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Kenya. “Russia’s narrative has been very present here,” he said. “Now it’s time for Ukrainian truths.”
Over the ensuing week, Kuleba attempted to counter Russia’s three “lies” as he put it to African journalists. He noted that Russia had first attacked Ukraine in 2014 when Ukraine’s policy was neutrality not Nato membership.
The second Russian lie was that Russia and Ukraine were actually one country, and so the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had the right to impose his will on Ukraine
Head of Ukraine’s supreme court held in anti-corruption investigation
Senior judge detained as part of suspected bribery scheme as Kyiv clamps down on high-level graft
Anti-corruption authorities in Ukraine have detained the head of the country’s supreme court in an investigation they cast as an important step in Kyiv’s fight against high-level graft.
Kyiv has redoubled efforts to clamp down on corruption despite Russia’s invasion as a necessary pre-condition for joining the European Union
Ukraine is locked in a war with corruption as well as Putin – it can’t afford to lose either
High-profile resignations highlight the nation’s struggle to prove to the world it is not, as Russia tries to suggest, a corrupt basket case
Zelensky, in private, plots bold attacks inside Russia, leak shows
THE DISCORD LEAKS | U.S. intercepts reveal the Ukrainian’s leader’s aggressive instincts, a marked contrast to his public-facing image as the stoic statesman weathering Russia’s brutal onslaught
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has won the trust of Western governments by refusing to use the weapons they provide for attacks inside Russia and prioritizing the targeting of Russian forces inside Ukraine’s borders.
But behind closed doors, Ukraine’s leader has proposed going in a more audacious direction — occupying Russian villages to gain leverage over Moscow, bombing a pipeline that transfers Russian oil to Hungary, a NATO member, and privately pining for long-range missiles to hit targets inside Russia’s borders, according to classified U.S. intelligence documents detailing his internal communications with top aides and military leaders.
Ian Bremmer: Ukraine’s counteroffensive: Prospects for success, unity, and peace
(GZERO) I’m modestly optimistic about Ukraine’s odds. In part, this is because of how all-in the US and its NATO allies are on Kyiv’s success, having provided everything short of fighter jets and boots on the ground. And in part, it’s because of how patient the Ukrainians have proven to be in building up new units and incorporating Western weapons and ammunition – and how competently they’ve defended against Russia’s failed winter offensive.
I expect that Ukraine will be able to recapture a sizeable amount of land, especially in the south, but will fail to break the land bridge between Russia and Crimea and threaten Russian control of the peninsula. Russia, which has about 350,000 troops dug in heavily armed defensive positions across the front lines and especially in the Zaporizhzhia region, will suffer significant losses but maintain overall cohesion. Having spent the last several months building up significant defensive capabilities in anticipation of a Ukrainian advance against the land bridge, they won’t get routed.
Diplomatic efforts to bring about a truce will fall flat, as Ukrainian gains will dampen Kyiv’s already minimal desire to compromise and Russian losses won’t be large enough to force Moscow to the negotiating table. That includes the peace push by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who last week spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since the war began and offered economic support for Ukraine’s reconstruction in exchange for a ceasefire.
See Xi plays peace broker
The World Awaits Ukraine’s Counteroffensive
As the country approaches a battle for its ultimate fate, democracy and Western civilization hang in the balance.
By Tom Nichols
(The Atlantic Daily newsletter) The Atlantic’s June cover story is a dispatch from Ukraine, including an interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian leader met with our editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, staff writer Anne Applebaum, and Laurene Powell Jobs, chair of the magazine’s board of directors, and their conversations took place as Ukraine prepares to conduct what could be one of the most consequential military counteroffensives in modern history.
… These two battles are inextricably linked. If America stumbles even deeper into authoritarian darkness than it already has, Ukraine is lost. If Ukraine is lost, Europe and the West face an existential threat not only to our physical security but also to our democratic civilization.
… this is what the Russian war on Ukraine has become: a campaign of revenge by an infuriated despot who is determined to show that democracy will bow to dictatorship, even if he has to bomb every home and kill every Ukrainian.
… As we now know, the Russian military had for years managed to hide its shocking incompetence and poor logistics from the world—and especially from Putin, whose small circle of sycophants was too terrified to tell him the truth. Lost in a fantasy, he expected not only that Kyiv would fall but also that Russian soldiers would be greeted as liberators. The Russian campaign, as Anne and Jeff write, was “to annihilate both Ukraine and the idea of Ukraine,” but now, with tens of thousands of Russian casualties and the Russian nation in shock at constant defeats, Putin has apparently decided that he must destroy what he once hoped to possess whole. He will rule over whatever is left—and then continue his attempted march westward.
Ukraine’s tech entrepreneurs fight war on a different front
(Reuters) – Eugene Nayshtetik and his five co-workers shuttered their company developing medical and biotech startups to join the defense forces days after Russia invaded Ukraine. Within two months, their commanders agreed it would be more useful if they swapped their military gear for computers.
With the government’s blessing, Nayshtetik and his team of engineers moved to neighboring Poland where they raised initial funding from a Polish company, Air Res Aviation, to develop a new drone for the Ukrainian military. …
The Defender drone, now ready for testing, is designed to withstand strong winds to enable surveillance in bad weather, can fly vertically and carry big payloads. It’s an example of how some startups in Ukraine’s dynamic tech sector are switching to pursue military projects.
Who Really Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipeline?
New clues keep surfacing, but this geopolitical true crime has yet to be solved.
(New York Intelligencer) On September 26, a series of deep-sea explosions rocked the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipelines along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, near the Danish island of Bornholm.
Nearly six months later, multiple countries continue to conduct their own investigations into the sabotage, but the mystery of who targeted the pipelines remains unsolved. Recent reporting, however, suggests investigators may be hot on the trail of the saboteurs.
Was it some pro-Ukraine group?
Then there’s the German yacht theory.
What about a false-flag operation?
U.S. and German officials have continued to emphasize that it remains possible the sabotage was disguised to look like it was perpetrated by someone else.
Why not Russia? – It also remains unclear what Russia would have had to gain from disabling their own pipeline, which they helped build and had already shut off.
Or maybe it was the United States all along? — American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, last month self-published a report on his Substack alleging the U.S. had conducted a covert strike on the pipelines. Hersh’s supposed bombshell…was quickly endorsed by Kremlin officials and Russian state media….The White House has rejected his post as “complete fiction,” and some members of the OSINT community have detailed numerous holes in Hersh’s assertions.
From the Ground in Ukraine: Paule Robitaille Interviews Dan Bilak (YouTube)
Paule Robitaille interviews Dan Bilak, a Ukrainian-Canadian based in Kyiv for some 30 years, where he has worked to promote investment in Ukraine. Mr. Bilak responded to the invasion of his country by Russian forces by mobilizing his own volunteer defence unit, an achievement recognized with a medal awarded him by Ukraine’s defence minister. Paule Robitaille, who, like Mr. Bilak, is a McGill law graduate, reported on his engagement in a recent article published in the National Post (‘This is total resistance’: How a Toronto lawyer became a Ukraine defender) and La Presse (Un avocat canadien au cœur du
« combat de gladiateurs »)
Ukraine opts to fight on in Bakhmut
(Reuters) – Ukraine has decided to fight on in the ruined city of Bakhmut because the battle there is pinning down Russia’s best units and degrading them ahead of a planned Ukrainian spring counter-offensive, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.
Nord Stream plot twist: Was it … Ukrainians?
It’s been five months since somebody blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia to Europe, and we still don’t know who did it. Was it Russia trying to freeze Europe into submission? Was it the US trying to isolate Russia? Or, was it, as Ian Bremmer theorized a few weeks ago, the Ukrainians trying to remove Russia’s leverage over Germany? Well, The New York Times on Tuesday reported that US officials have intelligence suggesting it was a “pro-Ukrainian group” – most likely including Ukrainian or Russian nationals – that had no official ties to the government of Volodymyr Zelensky. We’re watching to see where this latest plot twist leads, and whether the suspicion of Ukrainian involvement — official or not — affects both German and broader European unity in supporting Kyiv.
Intelligence Suggests Pro-Ukrainian Group Sabotaged Pipelines, U.S. Officials Say
(NYT) New intelligence reporting amounts to the first significant known lead about who was responsible for the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines that carried natural gas from Russia to Europe
China and Belarus express ‘extreme interest’ in Ukraine peace
The leaders of China and Belarus have expressed their “extreme interest” in a peaceful resolution in Ukraine.
Chinese President and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, issued the statement after talks in Beijing.
Mr Lukashenko said his country “fully supports” a Beijing plan for ending the war in Ukraine.
Russia shoots down China’s peace plan for the Ukraine war as Beijing becomes more entangled in the conflict a year into the fighting
The Kremlin said the conditions are not right to pursue China’s plan for peace in Ukraine.
China introduced a peace plan last week, which has been met with skepticism by the West.
The US has warned that Beijing could provide weapons to Russia to use in Ukraine.
(Business Insider) “We paid a lot of attention to our Chinese friends’ plan,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday, per the Moscow Times. “For now, we don’t see any of the conditions that are needed to bring this whole story towards peace,” he added.
China issues peace plan; Zelenskyy says he’ll await details
(AP) — China called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Ukraine and Russia on Friday, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement — but said success would depend on actions not words.
Beijing claims to have a neutral stance in the war that began one year ago, but has also said it has a “no limits friendship” with Russia and has refused to criticize Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, or even refer to it as an invasion. It has accused the West of provoking the conflict and “fanning the flames” by providing Ukraine with defensive arms.
Ukraine’s unbelievable resistance
A year after the start of the war, Denis Trubetskoy looks at the hardships of the last months and on the hope that motivates Ukrainians to keep going
(IPS) In recent weeks, the strength of the Ukrainian resistance has been amazing, with the capital managing to provide its citizens with electricity despite Russia’s unrelenting attacks on the infrastructure. Not counting the front line, Ukraine’s capital – along with Odesa – is the area most affected by the Russian strikes to the country’s energy infrastructure that began on 10 October 2022. These days, they rarely make headlines in the West, but have not at all decreased: an average of 50 to 60 missiles are fired on Ukraine every seven to 14 days. Added to that are the Iranian combat drone attacks.
It was long assumed that the electricity situation in Ukraine, especially here in Kyiv, would not fundamentally improve before late March. The daily routine of three hours with electricity followed by three without – and no heating, electricity or water for three or four days after a successful Russian strike – was expected to continue for the foreseeable future. But then we had six full hours of electricity at a time followed by three-hour blackouts, and since 12 February, apart from local exceptions, there have been no power outages. In Kyiv, for the first time in two months, electric-powered public transport – trams and trolley buses – have been running. There is also a bit more street lighting.
It’s not possible to downplay the horrific damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Yet, despite the attacks, the country – and the state, which many Ukrainians used to underestimate – manages to keep things going.
Biden Visits Embattled Ukraine as Air-Raid Siren Sounds
President Biden took a nearly 10-hour train ride from the border of Poland to show his administration’s “unwavering support” nearly a year into Russia’s invasion.
Ukrainian refugees safe, but not at peace, after year of war
(AP) Nearly a year has passed since the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion sent millions fleeing across Ukraine’s border into neighboring Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova and Romania. Crowds of terrified, exhausted people boarded trains and waited for days at border crossings.
Across Europe, about 8 million refugees have been recorded, according to U.N. estimates based on data from national governments, and nearly 5 million of those have applied for temporary protection. Experts say those numbers are fluid — some people apply in more than one country — but they agree it’s the largest movement of refugees in Europe since World War II. Unlike refugees from recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, the Ukrainians were largely met with an outpouring of sympathy and help.
They suffer from trauma and loss — uprooted from their lives, separated from relatives, fearing for loved ones stuck in Russian-occupied areas or fighting on the frontline. Children are separated from fathers, grandparents, pets. Others have no family or homes to return to.
Refugee mental health is a priority for aid organizations large and small, even as they work to meet needs for housing, work and education.
Who blew up Nord Stream?
(GZERO Media) The controversial Nord Stream gas pipelines connecting Russia to Germany and Europe made headlines last September when several sections mysteriously exploded deep underwater, causing the surface of the Baltic Sea to bubble.
Multiple investigations determined the explosions were an act of sabotage, but they failed to identify a culprit. Most experts in the West pointed the finger at Russia, suspecting it was an attempt to worsen the winter prospects of an already energy-starved Europe to weaken its resolve to support Ukraine. …
Why would Russia blow up its own multi-billion-dollar infrastructure and destroy its biggest source of leverage over Germany, Europe, and the West? While the pipelines were already offline, the Russians were counting on the Europeans eventually getting weary of going without their cheap gas. The ability to turn the tap back on was Moscow’s best bet to undercut Western support for Ukraine.
Most importantly, it’s been nearly five months without a shred of evidence linking Russia to the sabotage. If there were anything at all that pointed to the Kremlin, US intelligence would have found it and we would already know about it.
Ukraine’s allies rush to send more equipment, risking logjams
As the expected spring counteroffensive approaches, critical supply routes to usher heavy weaponry and ammunition to the Ukraine battlefield risk getting clogged
(WaPo) From European depots and harbors, to central gathering points and over the border onto the roads and rails of Ukraine, the increasing flow is challenging the ability to transport it in real time, officials said.
There was a palpable sense of urgency as top military and defense officials gathered here [Brussels] for the latest meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the coalition of more than 50 nations providing security assistance.
Russian ‘re-education camps’ hold thousands of Ukrainian kids, per report
Russia’s system for supervising thousands of Ukrainian children uprooted during the war involves “re-education” camps and forced adoptions, U.S. researchers said Tuesday, calling it a sprawling operation directed by the Kremlin’s highest levels.
According to a report from the Conflict Observatory, a State Department-supported initiative, Russia has placed at least 6,000 Ukrainian children at 43 camps and institutions stretching from Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea region to Siberia and Russia’s Pacific coast, or with new families, as part of its “systematic, whole-of-government approach to the relocation, re-education and, in some cases, adoption and forced adoption of Ukrainian children.”
What Ukraine Needs to Liberate Crimea
A Credible Military Threat Might Be Enough
By Alexander Vindman
(Foreign Affairs) If earnest negotiations were to start soon, Zelensky might still be open to a deal that ended the war and deferred the question of Crimea to a later date. But if the fighting drags on through the spring and summer and Ukraine inflicts enormous casualties on Russia while liberating substantial territory, it will become increasingly difficult for Zelensky to grant Putin a face-saving exit from the war and permit Russia’s continued but temporary occupation of Crimea. By the summer, Ukraine is likely to begin targeting more of Russia’s military infrastructure in Crimea in preparation for a broader campaign to liberate the peninsula. Instead of waiting for this scenario to play out, risking a longer and more dangerous war that could embroil NATO, Washington should give Ukraine the weapons and assistance it needs to win quickly and decisively in all occupied territories north of Crimea—and to credibly threaten to take the peninsula militarily.
Doing so would force Putin to the negotiating table and create an opening for diplomatic talks while the final status of Crimea remains unsettled, offering Putin a path out of Ukraine that doesn’t guarantee his political demise and allowing Ukraine to avoid an enormously costly military campaign that is by no means guaranteed to succeed.
EU pledges to double military aid programme for Ukraine
EU to train an extra 15,000 soldiers and prepare new sanctions against Russia
(The Guardian) Speaking at the start of a two-day trip to Kyiv, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, reiterated that the EU aimed to have a tenth package of sanctions against Russia in place by 24 February, the first anniversary of the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin.
“We are making Putin pay for his atrocious war,” she told reporters, on a visit accompanied by 15 EU commissioners, the first time so many EU officials have visited a war zone. “Today Russia is paying a heavy price as our sanctions are eroding its economy, throwing it back by a generation.”
Separately the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, announced the intention of EU member states to train an additional 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers in 2023, doubling an existing 15,000 troop-training programme launched last October. This €45m plan comes alongside a further €500m in EU-funded weapons for Ukraine announced on Thursday, taking the total assistance from the bloc under the European peace facility to €3.6bn.
Ukraine Fears New Offensive Is Underway as Russia Masses Troops
Russia is massing hundreds of thousands of troops and stepping up its bombardment, perhaps signaling the biggest assault since the start of the war. “I think it has started,” Ukraine’s leader says.
(NYT) Ukrainian forces are struggling to hold their ground on a 140-mile stretch in the east, awaiting tanks, armored vehicles and other weapons systems from the West.
Ukrainian officials have been bracing for weeks for a new Russian offensive that could rival the opening of the war. Now, they are warning that the campaign is underway, with the Kremlin seeking to reshape the battlefield and seize the momentum.
What Western tanks will mean for Ukraine
The tanks are a “significant step forward” in the race to arm Ukraine and the timing is critical.
(Atlantic Council) With Russia making “minor gains” near Bakhmut and Soledar in eastern Ukraine, as well as launching “small offensive operations in the Zaporizhzhia region,” [Ambassador John E. Herbst] says, “the tanks will help Ukraine defend its positions with fewer casualties in both locations. They will also prove invaluable if Moscow launches a major offensive from Belarus or elsewhere this year—something that Ukraine’s intelligence services expect.”
And if the promised tanks arrive in the next few months (which is no sure thing), they could be a part of Ukraine’s next big push, John adds: “On the flat terrain in Ukraine’s east and south, they could spearhead the counteroffensive.”
… Those will need to be Leopards, because the thirty-one pledged US Abrams tanks won’t be arriving soon. Leah [Scheunemann] points out that the Abrams will be drawn from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, “which is on a longer timeline and a pot intentionally meant to secure Ukraine over the long term. This isn’t the decisive assistance needed for spring offensives.”
But Leah says these delays should not be cause for concern in Kyiv. They are, rather, a signal of US long-term backing: “This package could take months to arrive, will take months to train on, and would likely include sustainment and repair assistance for the future—further solidifying the promise of US support for Ukraine’s victory.”
… The pressure was greatest on Germany, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and allied countries—particularly Poland, Dan [Daniel Fried, Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow, Former US Ambassador to Poland] points out—pressing for the Leopards. In Dan’s view, “the Germans were working through the collapse of their long-held assumptions about Russia, namely that dialogue was always the answer and cooperation was achievable.”
While the outside pressure mattered, Dan says Berlin acted because “Germans could see for themselves what Putin’s Russia has become: a bloodthirsty aggressor bent on conquest and killing.”
The move signifies a new approach to Russia across the West, Dan argues: “That policy starts with support for Ukraine on the battlefield and in the future, and realism about Russia as an adversary that needs to be contained and weakened so it can no longer start wars or otherwise commit aggression.”
European allies will send about 80 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Germany says
Chancellor Olaf Scholz finally agrees to supply the German-made tank after the US also agrees to send American tanks.
(Politico Eu) Germany and its European partners plan to “quickly” send two Leopard 2 tank battalions to Ukraine — suggesting about 80 vehicles — the government in Berlin announced Wednesday, adding that Germany would provide one company of 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks “as a first step.”
Other countries likely to send Leopards to the war against Russia include Poland, Spain, Norway and Finland.
The decision by Chancellor Olaf Scholz — which emerged on Tuesday evening — marks a decisive moment in Western support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.
Ukrainian officials dismissed in Zelenskiy’s biggest shake-up of war
Kyiv: President in tune with society after graft allegations
Graft battle key to Western support, bid for EU accession
(Reuters) – A slew of senior officials were dismissed on Tuesday in Ukraine’s biggest political shake-up of the war so far that Kyiv said showed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was in tune with his public following corruption allegations.
A long-running battle against corruption in Ukraine has taken on vital significance as Russia’s invasion has made Kyiv heavily reliant on Western support and it pursues a bid to join the European Union.
Zelenskiy ramps up anti-corruption drive as 15 Ukrainian officials exit
Key officials have been dismissed or resigned since Saturday, with six facing corruption allegations
Top Ukrainian officials ousted in anti-corruption sweep
(WaPo) Several senior Ukrainian officials, including a close adviser of President Volodymyr Zelensky, were swept out of their posts on Tuesday, mainly over corruption allegations, as Kyiv moved swiftly to show zero tolerance for graft that could undermine the confidence of Western nations keeping the country alive with donated weapons and billions in economic assistance.
Germany to send Leopard tanks to Kyiv, allow others to do so – sources
(Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has decided to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries such as Poland to do so while the United States may supply Abrams tanks, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The decision concerns at least one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks that will be provided out of Bundeswehr stocks, said Spiegel magazine, which first reported the news. One company usually comprises 14 tanks.
Allies offer more weapons to Ukraine, but no decisions made on tanks
Inside the urgent push to arm Ukraine for a spring offensive
Over the past few weeks, Ukraine’s Western allies have committed massive packages of mechanized armor to break the stalemate with Russia. But is it enough to change the tide of the war?
(WaPo) The United States — along with France, Germany and the United Kingdom — have committed to the transfer of armored vehicles, their most advanced air defenses, and large-scale troop training programs. These decisions reflect a new urgency, and a belief that if Ukrainian forces are not equipped to make significant new gains in the coming months, they may face an endless war of attrition or worse.
On the eve of Friday’s meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the United States announced a new drawdown of up to $2.5 billion in weapons, including another 59 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers, along with hundreds of other vehicles and millions of rounds of artillery, mortar and small arms ammunition. The package follows $3 billion authorized just two weeks ago, and brought the U.S. total over the past year to nearly $27 billion in military aid.
Western allies seek to break stalemate with Germany over Leopard tanks for Ukraine
The big question heading into the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at the United States’ Ramstein airbase is whether Berlin will grant permission for Western countries to donate German-made Leopard tanks to Kyiv.
When Western countries sell weapons to other countries, they normally insist on an end-use declaration to verify that the buyer is the final user of the weapons and does not intend to transfer them to another country or use them for another purpose.
This means that Germany would have to approve any request from Canada, or other countries, to ship its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, has so far resisted pressure to sign off on the re-export of the tanks – specifically from Poland and Finland, which have said they are ready to send some of their own Leopards to Ukraine as soon as Berlin gives the green light – out of concern that the arrival of NATO tanks on the battlefield could escalate the war.
Why is Germany under pressure to send tanks to Ukraine?
U.S., allies ramp up pressure on Germany to send tanks to Ukraine
Berlin has said it won’t transfer its tanks, or give other European countries permission to do so, until the U.S. sends its own vehicles.
(Politico) A group of European nations is working to form a coalition to pressure Berlin to allow them to send their German-made tanks to Ukraine, as frustration mounts over Berlin’s insistence that the U.S. donate their tanks first.
The group, which will likely be led by Poland, could take its first steps at a Friday meeting of 50 nations committed to helping Ukraine in Ramstein, Germany, during a regular gathering of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
Austin to Convene Ukraine Defense Contact Group Session
“The contact group has been instrumental in identifying, synchronizing and ensuring delivery of the military capabilities the Ukrainians need to defend their homeland against Russian aggression,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder at a briefing today.
Defense minister Reznikov under fire as corruption probes rock Ukraine
The deputy infrastructure minister has been fired, and the defense ministry is facing the heat over a military catering contract.
(Politico Eu) Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov — one of the most prominent faces of the war against Russia — is now under fire on the home front as investigations into government corruption rocked the country over the weekend.
Kyiv’s officials have been at pains over the course of the war to attempt to show that the nation is pulling together and cleaning up its act on corruption in a bid to chart a course toward the EU, so the revelations of two probes into top-level graft have come as a severe blow.
Ukraine’s nation-building progress spells doom for Putin’s Russian Empire
By Dennis Soltys, retired Canadian professor of comparative politics living in Almaty.
(Atlantic Council) The widespread habit of underestimating Ukrainian agency has led to misleading perceptions of today’s conflict and an over-emphasis on Great Power politics. Such thinking discounts the fact that the Ukrainian people are directly responsible for their country’s recent emergence from centuries of Russian domination and have consciously chosen a democratic, European future. This is the ultimate reason why Putin launched Europe’s largest armed conflict since World War II, and it will continue to reshape the geopolitical landscape long after Russia’s criminal invasion is over.
… If the former imperial heartlands of Ukraine succeed in freeing themselves from the Kremlin, this would drastically undermine Russia’s influence over other neighbors such as Moldova and Belarus along with the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus. In a worst-case scenario, Ukraine’s integration into the Western world could serve as a catalyst for the collapse of the Russian Federation itself.
Time is not on Ukraine’s side
By Condoleezza Rice and Robert M. Gates
We agree with the Biden administration’s determination to avoid direct confrontation with Russia. However, an emboldened Putin might not give us that choice. The way to avoid confrontation with Russia in the future is to help Ukraine push back the invader now. That is the lesson of history that should guide us, and it lends urgency to the actions that must be taken — before it is too late.
(WaPo Opinion) Vladimir Putin remains fully committed to bringing all of Ukraine back under Russian control or — failing that — destroying it as a viable country. He believes it is his historical destiny — his messianic mission — to reestablish the Russian Empire and, as Zbigniew Brzezinski observed years ago, there can be no Russian Empire without Ukraine.
…although Ukraine’s response to the invasion has been heroic and its military has performed brilliantly, the country’s economy is in a shambles, millions of its people have fled, its infrastructure is being destroyed, and much of its mineral wealth, industrial capacity and considerable agricultural land are under Russian control. Ukraine’s military capability and economy are now dependent almost entirely on lifelines from the West — primarily, the United States. Absent another major Ukrainian breakthrough and success against Russian forces, Western pressures on Ukraine to negotiate a cease-fire will grow as months of military stalemate pass.
Ukraine FM aims for February peace summit
(AP) — Ukraine’s foreign minister said Monday that his nation wants a summit to end the war but he doesn’t anticipate Russia taking part, a statement making it hard to foresee the devastating invasion ending soon.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press that his government wants a “peace” summit within two months at the United Nations with Secretary-General António Guterres as mediator.
Kuleba said that Russia must face a war-crimes tribunal before his country directly talks with Moscow. He said, however, that other nations should feel free to engage with Russians, as happened before a grain agreement between Turkey and Russia.
The AP interview offered a glimpse at Ukraine’s vision of how the war with Russia could one day end, although any peace talks would be months away and highly contingent on complex international negotiations.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky seeks India PM Modi’s help with ‘peace formula’
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said he sought India’s help with implementing a “peace formula” in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The conversation comes at a time when India is seeking to strengthen trade relations with Moscow while Western nations introduce new measures to limit Russia’s funding of the war.
“I had a phone call with PM Narendra Modi and wished a successful G20 presidency,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “It was on this platform that I announced the peace formula and now I count on India’s participation in its implementation.”
Zelensky asked the Group of 20 (G20) major economies last month to adopt Ukraine’s 10-point peace formula and to end the war. India holds the G20 presidency for a year.
Putin claims Moscow ready for Ukraine talks as attacks go on
(AP) — President Vladimir Putin claimed that Russia is ready for talks to end the war in Ukraine even as the country faced more attacks from Moscow — a clear sign that peace wasn’t imminent.
Putin said in a state television interview, excerpts of which were released on Sunday afternoon that Russia is “prepared to negotiate some acceptable outcomes with all the participants of this process.” … Putin’s remarks come as attacks on Ukraine continue. A country-wide air raid alert was announced twice on Sunday alone, and three missiles in the afternoon hit the city of Kramatorsk in the partially occupied Donetsk region, local officials reported.
Zelenskyy comes to Washington and pulls neither punches nor asks
The Ukrainian president asked for money, weapons and continued support in a trip that comes amid a shifting power dynamic in D.C.
(Politico) The trip was planned for less than two weeks before Republicans take control of the House, potentially endangering future assistance to Kyiv. But it was also important, senior officials said, to showcase solidarity to a wary Europe to keep pushing the continent to support Ukraine as Russia’s terrorizing attacks on civilians escalate and temperatures plummet.
Live Updates: Zelensky Tells Congress ‘You Can Speed Up Our Victory’
(NYT) Making his first trip outside Ukraine since Russia invaded, Zelensky urged a joint session of Congress to continue support for the defense of his country. Some Republicans skipped his speech.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine capped his visit to Washington by asking Congress to approve nearly $50 billion in additional aid to his country. Swift passage would not only stop Russian influence in the region, but preserve democracy as a whole, he said.
Addressing a joint session of Congress, Mr. Zelensky spoke for roughly 25 minutes, mixing doses of humor with pleas for the future safety and stability of Ukraine. He delivered the speech in English, giving it more impact than if it had been translated from Ukrainian.
Biden tells Zelenskyy: ‘It’s an honor to be by your side’
(AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid a defiant wartime visit to Washington on Wednesday to thank U.S. leaders and “ordinary Americans” for their support in fighting off Russia’s invasion and to press for continued aid in the brutal months to come. President Joe Biden and Congress responded with billions in new assistance and a pledge to help Ukraine pursue a “just peace.”
Just before his arrival, the U.S. announced its largest single delivery of arms to Ukraine, including Patriot surface-to-air missiles, and Congress planned to vote on a spending package that includes about $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine.
Biden hails Zelensky’s leadership against Putin’s inhumane war
Zelensky’s address to Congress elicits comparisons to Churchill
After 300 days of war, Zelensky’s Washington visit comes at pivotal point
A look at the weapons systems the U.S. is providing Ukraine
(WaPo) Biden spoke at a news conference with Zelensky after a White House meeting, the Ukrainian president’s first trip to Washington since Russia invaded in February.
Later, Zelensky is scheduled to address a joint meeting of Congress. Ahead of his arrival, the Biden administration confirmed plans for a new $1.85 billion security assistance package that will include the Patriot missile system. Zelensky’s appearance before lawmakers comes as they work to pass a $1.7 trillion spending package, which includes another $44.9 billion in emergency security and economic assistance for Ukraine.
Biden greets Zelensky at White House
(The Hill) During remarks at the top of a bilateral meeting between the two leaders, … Zelensky, who said he wanted to come to the U.S. sooner, said he offered “all my appreciations from my heart and from the heart of all Ukrainians.” He also thanked the president, Congress and “ordinary people” for the support from the U.S. toward Ukraine.
Diane Francis: Nuremberg not Negotiations
… The only way to achieve peace is to intensify the war until Putin is defeated or removed, and his regime can be prosecuted for perpetrating war crimes, genocide, mass murder, and global terrorism.
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commander of the U.S. Ground Forces in Europe, believes that “Ukraine will complete the liberation of Crimea by the end of summer 2023. Ukraine has no navy, but the Russian Black Sea fleet is out of the fight except for the occasional missile. The whole war is about Crimea and the Black Sea region. If Russia is allowed to keep any part of Crimea, Ukraine will never be fully secure or safe (emphasis added).”
Kissinger calls for a negotiated peace in Ukraine, Kyiv dismisses his proposal
(Reuters) – Veteran U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger said the time is approaching for a negotiated peace in Ukraine to reduce the risk of another devastating world war, but the Kyiv government dismissed his comments as amounting to “appeasing the aggressor” and said there could be no deal involving ceding territory.
Ukraine air defenses counter Russian barrage, but missiles hit energy grid
(WaPo) Damaged cities — including Kharkiv and Sumy in the northeast, Poltava, Dnipro and Kyiv, the capital — reported power outages after the strikes, even though Ukrainian officials said that their bolstered air defenses had succeeded in intercepting and destroying 60 of 76 missiles fired by the Russians.
It was not possible for The Washington Post to independently verify the Ukrainian claims, but Kyiv’s Western supporters have been rushing to send additional air defense systems to the country since Russia began its bombing campaign against infrastructure in early October.
Zelensky proposes ‘global peace summit’ for Ukraine to G7 nations
(France24) Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky on Monday proposed a special summit, which he called the Global Peace Formula Summit, “to determine how and when we can implement the points of the Ukrainian Peace Formula”, which would secure Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity.
Hundreds call Ukraine’s surrender hotline for Russian soldiers – BBC News
Ukraine faces multiple Russian attacks as NATO seeks to calm Moscow’s neighbours
Russia said its forces had edged forward in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday and Kyiv said Moscow was “planning something” in the south, while NATO sought to shore up other countries that fear destabilization from Moscow.
Ukraine’s General Staff said earlier that its troops had repelled six Russian attacks in 24 hours in the eastern Donbas region, while Russian artillery had relentlessly shelled across the Dnipro River, including at Kherson city, in the south.
Winter weather has hampered fighting on the ground, and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told Ukrainians to expect a major Russian barrage this week on Ukraine’s stricken electricity infrastructure, which Moscow has pounded roughly weekly since early October.
Putin is ‘weaponizing winter’ as Russia bombs Ukraine infrastructure: NATO chief
Russian President Vladimir Putin is “weaponizing winter” as Moscow continues its bombing campaign on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, NATO’s secretary general says.
With winter settling in, Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday that it is critical for the military alliance to support Ukraine and help rebuild its energy infrastructure as a wave of Russian attacks have repeatedly knocked out power supplies and heating for millions of Ukrainians.
Why Ukraine should not accept Bosnia-style peace
The Dayton Accords made Bosnia a dysfunctional state. Ukraine should resist pressure for a similar flawed peace deal.
Hamza Karčić, Associate professor at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Sarajevo
(Al Jazeera) If Western pressure continues, Zelenskyy would be faced with the difficult choice Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic was given by Richard Holbrooke, a US diplomat and chief negotiator at the 1995 Dayton peace talks.
“Do you want us to negotiate a single Bosnian state, which would necessarily have a relatively weak central government, or would you prefer to let Bosnia be divided, leaving you in firm control of a much smaller country?” Holbrooke asked Izetbegovic.
If Zelenskyy were to agree to peace talks now, he would be presented with a similar choice: giving up Ukrainian territory to Russia or accepting the formation of autonomous regions loyal to the Kremlin.
The Ukrainian president has promised to liberate occupied territories, including Crimea. If he compromises on Ukrainian territorial integrity, this would undermine his standing at home and weaken the morale of his forces. It would also make all of Ukraine’s internationally recognised territory negotiable – not just the portions Russia now occupies. Thus, there would never be a guarantee that the country would be safe from future invasions or territorial claims.
Russia’s war on Ukraine latest news: Millions without heat or power
(Reuters) – Millions of Ukrainians were still without heat or power on Friday after the most devastating Russian air strikes on its energy grid so far, with residents warned to brace for further attacks and stock up on water, food and warm clothing.
* Russia’s latest barrage killed 11 people and shut down all of Ukraine’s nuclear plants for the first time in 40 years.
* Viewed from space, Ukraine has become a dark patch on the globe at night, NASA satellite images showed.
* The war’s first winter will now test whether Ukraine can press on with its campaign to recapture territory, or whether Russia’s commanders can halt Kyiv’s momentum.
* More than 15,000 people have gone missing during the war in Ukraine, an official at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said.
The U.S. bolsters Ukrainian air defenses and long-range artillery.
A new shipment of $400 million in matériel underscores Ukraine’s battlefield priorities: shooting down waves of Russian missiles while continuing to push back Moscow’s ground forces.
Ukraine has increased its pleas for more Western air defenses as Moscow has aimed missile and drone strikes at Ukraine’s power plants, substations and waterworks, degrading the quality of life for millions of civilians in an effort to demoralize them.
The 10-point peace plan for Ukraine proposed by Zelensky
(Straits Times) excerpts from the 10-point peace formula that Mr Zelensky outlined in his speech at the summit.
1. Radiation and nuclear safety
Russia must immediately withdraw all its militants from the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The station must be immediately transferred to the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Ukrainian personnel.
2. Food security
We have already launched the initiative, Grain From Ukraine… Ukraine can export 45 million tonnes of food this year. And let a significant part of it be directed to those who suffer the most.
3. Energy security
Price restrictions on Russian energy resources should be introduced.
4. Prisoners and deportees
We must release all these people.
5. United Nations Charter and Ukraine’s territorial integrity
We must restore the validity of international law – and without any compromises with the aggressor. Because the UN Charter cannot be applied partially, selectively or at will.
6. Russian troops and hostilities
Russia must withdraw all its troops and armed formations from the territory of Ukraine.
The world should endorse establishment of the Special Tribunal regarding the crime of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the creation of an international mechanism to compensate for all the damages caused by this war.
8. Immediate protection of the environment
Millions of hectares of forest were burned by shelling. Almost 200,000ha of our land are contaminated with unexploded mines and shells.
9. Prevention of escalation
We should hold an international conference to cement the key elements of the post-war security architecture in the Euro-Atlantic space, including guarantees for Ukraine.
10. Confirmation of the end of the war
When all the anti-war measures are implemented, when security and justice begin to be restored, a document confirming the end of the war should be signed by the parties.
Zelenskyy lays out 10-point peace plan for Ukraine at G20, including withdrawal of Russian troops and ‘all for all’ prisoner swap
Zelenskyy virtually addressed world leaders at the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday.
He told them that Russia’s war must end, and proposed a 10-step peace plan.
The plan includes ensuring nuclear and food safety, and an “all for all” prisoner swap.
(Business Insider) Speaking in a virtual address at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, Zelenskyy said the war should be ended “justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law,” according to an official transcript of the speech.
Ukraine president says he’s open to talks with Russia while reiterating Kyiv’s key conditions
Zelenskyy’s demands, including return of all of Ukraine’s occupied lands, appear to be non-starters for Moscow
Western weapons and aid have been key to Ukraine’s ability to fight off Russia’s invasion, which some initially expected would tear through the country with relative ease. That means Kyiv cannot ignore how the war is seen in the U.S. and the European Union, according to political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko.
“Zelenskyy is trying to manoeuvre because the promise of negotiations does not oblige Kyiv to anything, but it makes it possible to maintain the support of Western partners,” Fesenko, head of the Kyiv-based Penta Center independent think tank, said.
“A categorical refusal to hold talks plays into the Kremlin’s hands, so Zelenskyy is changing the tactics and talks about the possibility of a dialogue, but on conditions that make it all very clear,” he added.
Biden admin nudge led Ukraine to drop Putin condition for peace talks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s new stance that peace talks with Russia can begin with Vladimir Putin in power was directly due to soft nudging by the Biden administration, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Zelenskyy outlined five conditions for negotiations on Monday, including ones he’s said before, like the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the punishment of war crimes and reparations. What he didn’t say, unlike in past announcements, was that Putin must be out of power before such conversations can take place.
The change, one of the people said, came after days of talks between Kyiv and Washington — including an in-person visit with Zelenskyy by national security adviser Jake Sullivan. U.S. officials didn’t directly tell Zelenskyy and his aides in Ukraine to alter their position, a senior administration official said, but did relay that Kyiv must show its willingness to end the war reasonably and peacefully.
The hope is it would reinforce to the world that it’s Ukraine, not Russia, that wants to resolve the conflict.
Kyiv may have no electricity, water or heat this winter, mayor says
“We are doing everything to avoid this. But let’s be frank, our enemies are doing everything for the city to be without heat, without electricity, without water supply, in general, so we all die. And the future of the country and the future of each of us depends on how prepared we are for different situations,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko told state media.
Russia has focused on striking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure over the last month, causing power shortages and rolling outages across the country. Kyiv was scheduled to have hourly rotating blackouts Sunday in parts of the city and the surrounding region.
Kyiv power grid in ’emergency mode’ amid Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure
Relentless Russian attacks on energy infrastructure prompted Ukrainian authorities on Friday to announce worsening blackouts around the country’s largest cities, with Kyiv’s mayor warning that the capital’s power grid is working in “emergency mode” with energy supplies down as much as 50 per cent from pre-war levels.
In the Kyiv region, as winter looms, the latest damage to utilities would mean outages of four or more hours a day, according to Ukrenergo, the state operator of Ukraine’s high-voltage transmission lines.
Ukraine cites success in downing drones, fixes energy sites
(AP) — Ukrainian authorities tried to dampen public fears over Russia’s use of Iranian drones by claiming increasing success Monday in shooting them down, while the Kremlin’s talk of a possible “dirty bomb” attack added another worrying dimension as the war enters its ninth month.
Ukrainians are bracing for less electric power this winter following a sustained Russian barrage on their infrastructure in recent weeks. Citizens in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv lined up for water and essential supplies Monday as Ukrainian forces advanced on the nearby Russian-occupied city of Kherson.
Ukraine’s forces have shot down more than two-thirds of the approximately 330 Shahed drones that Russia has fired through Saturday, the head of Ukraine’s intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, said Monday
EU considers paying Elon Musk to keep giving Starlink internet to Ukraine
EU discusses plan to buy services from SpaceX founder and provide internet to Ukraine.
EU countries are discussing whether to contribute funding to ensure Ukrainians keep their access to vital Starlink internet services currently paid for by Tesla boss Elon Musk.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis disclosed the plans, which are at an early stage, in an interview with POLITICO on Monday.
The proposal follows warnings from Musk that his SpaceX rocket company could not indefinitely continue paying for Ukrainians to have access to Starlink internet services, amid suggestions that he wanted the U.S. government to foot the bill. Musk, the world’s richest man, later changed his mind and said he would carry on funding the service.
But the scare raised concerns about the security of Ukraine’s continued access to a crucial telecommunications system that has played a vital role in their counteroffensives against Russian troops in occupied territories, as well as keeping the civilian population connected.
‘The hell with it’: Elon Musk will fund Ukraine’s Starlink after all
The move followed a social-media backlash against his proposed halt to funding the service.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it can no longer fund Starlink internet in Ukraine
Firm reportedly asks US government to pick up bill as relationship between Musk and Kyiv breaks down
In another post, he tweeted: “In addition to terminals, we have to create, launch, maintain & replenish satellites & ground stations & pay telcos for access to Internet via gateways. We’ve also had to defend against cyber-attacks & jamming, which are getting harder. Burn is approaching ~$20M/month.”
But the request for funding comes after a high-profile intervention from Musk, who suggested Ukraine should seek an end to the war by surrendering territory to Russia and committing to remain “neutral”. His tweets led to a furious reaction from the Ukrainian government, which had previously praised Musk for offering the Starlink system.
Democrats suggest shifting weapons from Saudi Arabia to Ukraine
Democrats call for suspension of transfer of Patriot missiles in wake of ‘turning point’ in relationship with Saudis
IAEA rejects Russian control of nuclear plant
(Al Jazeera) Head of the the UN’s nuclear watchdog says during a visit to Kyiv that it is “obvious” that the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant belongs to Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accuses Russia of “nuclear blackmail”, a day after Moscow and Kyiv sparred over control of the Zaporizhzhia power plant.
Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 225
Putin signed a decree ordering the Russian government to take control of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the biggest in Europe – and make it “federal property”. But hours after Russia said it plans to supervise operations, the head of Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company Petro Kotin said he is taking charge of the nuclear power station.
Ukraine claims major breakthroughs in Luhansk and Kherson
Kyiv is responding to Moscow’s claims to have annexed the regions by driving out Russian soldiers.
(Politico Eu) Ukraine is claiming its troops have made major breakthroughs in both Luhansk to the northeast and Kherson to the south, delivering a defiant military response to Russia’s illegal claims to have annexed those regions.
Ukraine rains fire on retreating Russians
Ukraine’s battlefield successes are promoting a rising chorus of nuclear threats from Moscow.
(Politico Eu) If Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions was supposed to act as a warning to Ukraine to stop fighting, it hasn’t worked.
Ukrainian troops on Monday liberated more of the country from Russian occupation — pushing hard in offensives in the east following the successful recapture of the strategic hub of Lyman and in south of the country, where Ukrainian units appear to have broken through Russian defenses on the west side of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region.
That news came on the same day that the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, unanimously backed the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions into Russia — something that President Vladimir Putin announced with great fanfare on Friday. Putin stressed that the people in the illegally occupied regions became “our citizens forever” and that Russia “will protect our land using all our forces and means at our disposal.”
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, believes that Russia’s defeat around Lyman indicates that Putin — who has reportedly been micromanaging Russian commanders on the ground — is “deprioritizing” the defense of the Luhansk region “in favor of holding occupied territories in southern Ukraine.”