JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
Ukraine June 2023- January 2024
Bloomberg reports Ukraine issued a stark warning to allies that it faces a “critical” shortage of artillery shells as Russia deploys three times as much firepower on the frontlines. And the shortage is growing worse, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov. He urged European Union allies to do more to meet their pledge of supplying a million artillery rounds.
In Washington, some key Republican senators are signaling they could drop demands for harsher immigration restrictions as their price for helping Ukraine, and would back a stand-alone emergency aid package for the besieged country, along with funds for Israel and Taiwan. Far-right Republicans in the House—urged on by Donald Trump—have opposed a proposed Ukraine aid and border deal, even one including significant concessions recently offered up by US President Joe Biden.
Macron: ‘Whatever America decides,’ Europe must back Ukraine
“We must be ready to act to defend and support Ukraine whatever it takes,” French president said.
Russia and Ukraine exchange hundreds of war prisoners
Russia and Ukraine exchanged hundreds of prisoners of war on Wednesday, just a week after Moscow said Kyiv had shot down a plane carrying dozens of captured Ukrainian soldiers.
New US-made longer-range bomb expected to arrive as soon as Wednesday in Ukraine
The Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb doesn’t even exist in the U.S. inventory.
(Politico) The Pentagon has successfully tested a new long-range precision bomb for Ukraine that is expected to arrive on the battlefield as soon as Wednesday. … Ukraine will receive its first batch of Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs, a brand new long-range weapon made by Boeing that even the U.S. doesn’t have in its inventory. … The bomb will join other long-range weapons given to Ukraine over the past year that have allowed its troops to hit Russian logistics and naval sites in Crimea. While the new bombs don’t have the range of the British Storm Shadow or the U.S.-made Army Tactical Missile System, it is arriving as Ukraine’s stockpiles of artillery and munitions are running low.
(France24) Uncertainty as Russia, Ukraine trade plane crash blame at UN Security Council
Kremlin says Kyiv downed military plane carrying more than 60 Ukrainian POWs
The crash triggered a spate of claims and counterclaims, but neither side offered evidence for their accusations, and The Associated Press could not independently confirm who was aboard or how the plane was downed.
Russia alleged that Kyiv shot down the plane with two missiles and said the prisoners of war were headed for an exchange. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described it as “a totally monstrous act.” Russia’s top investigative agency, known as the Investigative Committee, opened a criminal probe Thursday on charges that the crash was a terrorist act.
Ukraine responded by casting doubt on the fact that POWs were aboard and putting forward their own theories, including implying that the plane may have posed a threat.
The UN refugee chief says that he’s worried that the war in Ukraine is being forgotten
(AP) — The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Wednesday that he’s worried that the war in Ukraine has been forgotten as the country prepares to mark two years since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi also told The Associated Press in an interview that it was important to remind the international community that Ukrainians were living through a brutal war despite other global crises taking the spotlight.
Ukraine’s Black Sea grain export success tested by Red Sea crisis
Ukraine is shipping million of tons of food via Black Sea route
Scheme salvaged grain exports after Moscow quit UN-backed deal
Red Sea crisis threatens revival in Ukraine’s trade with Asia
(Reuters) – Ukraine has managed to boost its Black Sea grain exports to a level not seen since before Russia’s invasion, although the Red Sea shipping crisis poses a new challenge to its crucial agricultural trade.
Kyiv’s success in replacing a UN-backed Black Sea export deal with its own shipping scheme has brought relief for Ukrainian farmers and importing countries while representing a naval breakthrough for Ukraine’s military as a land counteroffensive has stalled. … Passage through the Red Sea is very important for Ukraine as almost a third of its exports via the Black Sea corridor are sent to China.
Oscar nomination for ‘20 Days in Mariupol,’ AP’s first, comes as bombs fall on filmmaker’s hometown
The Associated Press journalists behind “20 Days in Mariupol” have reacted after their chronicle about the besieged Ukrainian city received an Oscar nomination for best documentary. The film, a co-production between the AP and PBS’ “Frontline,” was shot during the first three weeks of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.
(AP) — “20 Days in Mariupol,” Mstyslav Chernov’s harrowing chronicle of the besieged Ukrainian city and the international journalists who remained there after Russia’s invasion, has been nominated for best documentary at the Academy Awards, handing The Associated Press its first Oscar nomination in the 178-year-old news organization’s history.
The film, a co-production between the AP and PBS’ “Frontline,” was shot during the first three weeks of the war in Ukraine, in early 2022. Chernov, a Ukrainian journalist and filmmaker, arrived in Mariupol one hour before Russia began bombarding the port city. With him were photographer Evgeniy Maloletka and field producer Vasilisa Stepanenko.
The images and stories they captured — the death of a 4-year-old girl, freshly dug mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital — unflinchingly documented the grim, relentless realities of the unfolding siege.
In ’20 Days in Mariupol’ documentary, the horrors of war are illuminated
Seizing Russian Assets Won’t Save Ukraine
Confiscating the Kremlin’s funds could eventually help pay for reconstruction, but Ukraine needs more Western aid now.
(Bloomberg editorial board) Nearly two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the war has reached a critical phase. The failure of the US and Europe to approve additional aid has left Ukraine perilously low on weaponry, ammunition and manpower. With Russian President Vladimir Putin showing no signs of relenting, Western governments are now openly considering another option: seizing frozen Russian state assets and giving the proceeds to Ukraine.
The idea of making Russia pay for its aggression with its own assets has undeniable moral and practical appeal. At a time of tightening budgets, it’s an easier message to deliver to Western taxpayers than new funding packages. Proponents rightly want to help Ukraine, punish Putin and bring an end to the war. Yet confiscating sovereign assets now could end up making Ukraine’s predicament even worse.
… For all its savagery in Ukraine, Russia is a recognized state with a long-standing government. Any confiscation will face court challenges by Russia in multiple countries; Ukraine would be unlikely to have access to the money for years, even decades, if those processes are respected. At best, the confiscated funds might eventually help finance Ukraine’s postwar reconstruction; at worst, skeptics in the US and Europe will use the distant prospect of unlocking Russian assets as an excuse not to send fresh military aid to Ukraine, handing victory to Putin.
Ukraine Is Losing the Drone War
How Kyiv Can Close the Innovation Gap With Russia
By Eric Schmidt
(Foreign Affairs) The use of drones has underpinned many of Ukraine’s recent successes on the battlefield. In its campaign in the Black Sea, the Ukrainian military has relied largely on drones and, as of November 17, claimed to have destroyed 15 Russian naval vessels and damaged 12 more since the initial 2022 invasion. Ukraine’s attacks on Russia’s maritime forces have kept sea lanes in the region clear enough for grain shipments, which are vital to Ukraine’s economy, to resume. The drone strikes have also denied Russia the option to fire missiles on Ukrainian territory from offshore ships and have weakened Russia’s defense of Crimea and position in the Black Sea—a symbolic, economic, and military victory for Ukraine.
Ukrainian drone strikes have also reached deeper and deeper into Russia in recent months. Over one week in August, a series of attacks targeted six Russian regions and set a military airfield ablaze. Ukraine has proved that it is willing and able to extend the range of its military operations, and Ukrainian officials have warned that as the war continues they will take more of the fight to Russian territory.
For now, drones are most heavily concentrated along the frontlines in eastern Ukraine. When asked to identify the best tank-killing weapon in their arsenals, Ukrainian commanders of all ranks give the same answer: first-person-view drones, which pilots on the ground maneuver while watching a live feed from an onboard camera. These drones have made tank-on-tank engagement a thing of the past. A Ukrainian battle commander also told me that FPV drones are more versatile than an artillery barrage at the opening of an attack. In a traditional attack, shelling must end as friendly troops approach the enemy trench line. But FPVs are so accurate that Ukrainian pilots can continue to strike Russian targets until their fellow soldiers are mere yards away from the enemy.
In other ways, however, Kyiv has lost its advantages in the drone war. Russian forces have copied many of the tactics that Ukraine pioneered over the summer, including waging large coordinated attacks that use multiple types of drones.
… Russia has also resumed regular drone attacks on Ukraine’s capital. So far, Ukrainian forces have managed to detect and shoot down nearly all the incoming aircraft, but this protection will be difficult to sustain as Moscow introduces technological upgrades to drones, increases domestic production, develops new ways to evade detection, and launches high-volume attacks that simply overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses. Here, too, Ukraine is at an economic disadvantage—one of Russia’s drones of choice, the Shahed, is far less expensive than the air defense systems required to neutralize it.
Even though Russian cyberwarfare has had relatively little effect so far, the Ukrainian military’s reliance on mobile data and smartphones to coordinate operations leaves it vulnerable to future attacks. A recent uptick in Russian attempts to shut down cellular networks across Ukraine could have severe consequences.
Russia-Ukraine war: ‘Don’t worry,’ EU foreign affairs chief tells Ukrainians as ministers focus on Middle East – as it happened
‘Looking for a solution in the Middle East doesn’t mean that we are not continuing supporting Ukraine,’ says Josep Borrell
How the best chance to win the Ukraine war was lost
By Yaroslav Trofimov, the chief foreign affairs correspondent of the Wall Street Journal. This article is adapted from his new book, “Our Enemies Will Vanish: The Russian Invasion and Ukraine’s War of Independence.”
(WaPo) All the hardware that Ukraine was begging for in 2022 — Leopard and Abrams tanks, Bradleys and Strykers, and Patriot batteries — was eventually provided the following year. “A mountain of steel,” is how U.S. officials termed it.
But, by then, it was a different war. The Ukrainian offensives of 2023 gained little ground against an entrenched, prepared and more numerous enemy. Putin’s nuclear brinkmanship had gained him time — not just to prevent a military collapse, but also for indispensable military aid to Ukraine to get caught up in the United States’ own domestic politics.
The West Must Face Reality in Ukraine
Nina L. Khrushcheva
US President Joe Biden argues that Russia lacks the “resources and capacity” to sustain a long war in Ukraine. But whereas Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to throw everything he has at this war – a stance that has won him strong popular support – Ukraine’s Western backers are losing their resolve.
(Project Syndicate) The decline in foreign aid is already weakening Ukraine’s position on the battlefield, after a year of few tangible gains by Ukrainian forces. Meanwhile, a rift seems to be growing between Zelensky and the Ukrainian military’s commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny. There are three plausible scenarios. First, the West recommits to supporting Ukraine. But the political hurdles – Republican opposition in the US, and a Hungarian (and now Slovak) veto in the EU – are high. Even if they are cleared, Ukraine will struggle to recruit enough new soldiers.
In the second scenario, NATO puts boots on the ground in Ukraine. Though Putin has never had any intention of invading a NATO member country, the narrative that a Russian victory in Ukraine would lead to more Russian invasions could be used to justify committing Western troops. The risk is that the Stalingrad effect would be turbocharged, Russians would rise up to defend the Motherland, and instability would engulf Europe.
In the third scenario, the West finds ways to communicate with the Kremlin. Russia is far from invulnerable, but it is not on the brink of collapse, and Putin probably has several years ahead of him as president. Even if he were removed from power, Russians’ deep mistrust of the West would persist. Given this – and the harsh reality that Ukraine is unlikely to reclaim all of its territory – the West should focus on bolstering Ukraine’s defenses, while preparing to seize any opportunity to engage in realistic talks with the Kremlin.
Yes, Ukraine can still defeat Russia – but it will require far more support from Europe
By finally delivering on their promises, Kyiv’s European allies will find the benefits extend to them, too
Jack Watling, senior research fellow for land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute
(The Guardian) Here is one fact that sums up the gap between the promises that Kyiv’s European partners have made to Ukraine and the reality. In March 2023, the EU made the historic decision to deliver a million artillery shells to Ukraine within 12 months. But the number that has actually been sent is closer to 300,000. For all the rhetorical commitments to support Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s invasion “for as long as it takes”, Europe has largely failed.
Ukraine ends year disappointed by stalemate with Russia, and anxious about aid from allies
The year started with high hopes for Ukrainian troops planning a counteroffensive against Russia. It ended with disappointment on the battlefield, an increasingly somber mood among troops and anxiety about the future of Western aid for Ukraine’s war effort.
In between, there was a short-lived rebellion in Russia, a dam collapse in Ukraine, and the spilling of much blood on both sides of the conflict.
Twenty-two months since it invaded, Russia has about one-fifth of Ukraine in its grip, and the roughly 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line has barely budged this year.
Stalled deal on US border security leaves Ukraine in the lurch
(GZERO) Forget sleighbells – those are alarm bells ringing on Capitol Hill as time winds down for senators to strike a deal on immigration reform that would free up more funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan before the holiday break.
How’d we get here again? The White House has asked for $110 billion in aid for those three countries. Republicans – shrewdly linking voters’ growing concern about record-high undocumented migration and softening public support for Ukraine – are demanding tighter US border security as part of the bill.
But with just days until Senators head home for the holidays, talks are stalled because of political disagreements and the complexities of writing immigration legislation. Even if Senators do strike a deal, nothing would get passed until January at this point.
The biggest loser in all of this, for now, is Ukraine. Kyiv is on the brink of losing support from its biggest military backer, the US, while funding from its other main supporter, the EU, is in limbo too.
Without a Senate deal, the White House has warned that Washington will run out of fresh funds for Kyiv entirely within days, leaving the Pentagon with extremely limited options to continue supplying weapons to Ukraine.
EU vows Ukraine to get aid despite veto by Hungary’s Orban
By Jan Strupczewski, Krisztina Than and Ingrid Melander
(Reuters) – European Union leaders expressed confidence on Friday that they would clear a large package of aid for Ukraine early in 2024, despite a veto by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Ukraine gets EU membership boost, but no new European aid, after setback in US
(AP) — The European Union failed to agree Thursday on a 50 billion-euro ($54 billion) package in financial aid that Ukraine desperately needs to stay afloat, even as the bloc decided to open accession negotiations with the war-torn country.
The start of accession talks was a momentous moment and stunning reversal for a country at war that had struggled to find the backing for its membership aspirations and long faced obstinate opposition from Orban.
Ukraine’s a step closer to joining the EU. Here’s what it means, and why it matters
(AP) — To join the EU, candidate countries must go through a lengthy process to align their laws and standards with those of the bloc and show that their institutions and economies meet democratic norms. Launching accession talks requires approval by consensus from the current member nations.
Ukraine is one of several countries that have long wanted to join the EU, seeing it as a path to wealth and stability. While the EU is not a military alliance like NATO, membership in the bloc is seen by some as a rampart against Russian influence.
Ukraine officially applied for EU accession less than a week after Russia invaded in February 2022. Its capital, Kyiv, faced the threat of capture, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government faced the threat of collapse.
The start of membership talks less than two years later is only one step in a long journey. But it sends a strong signal of solidarity with Ukraine just as U.S. support for Ukraine’s military is faltering and a Ukrainian counteroffensive is stalled — and as Putin appears increasingly emboldened.
A very long, detailed analysis
The Most Consequential Act of Sabotage in Modern Times
The sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline was an unprecedented attack on a major element of global infrastructure.
By Mark Bowden
(The Atlantic) The attack on the pipeline—without loss of life, as far as we know—was one of the most dramatic and consequential acts of sabotage in modern times. It was also an unprecedented attack on a major element of global infrastructure—the network of cables, pipes, and satellites that underpin commerce and communication. Because it serves everyone, global infrastructure had enjoyed tacit immunity in regional conflicts—not total but nearly so. Here was a bold act of war in the waters between two peaceful nations (although Sweden and Denmark both support Ukraine). It effectively destroyed a project that had required decades of strenuous labor and political muscle and had cost roughly $20 billion—half of that money coming from Gazprom, the other half from European energy companies. The attack was a financial blow to Russia and upended the EU’s energy planning and policy. …
There are ample reasons why no one is eager to assign blame—even if, in the end, investigators will have to come to a conclusion.
The Washington Post and Der Spiegel added weight to a possible Ukraine connection in November, when they coordinated the publication of separate articles that told the same broad story, based on shared reporting. The articles named a central player in the sabotage mission—a Ukrainian colonel, Roman Chervinsky. The authors based their stories on “officials in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, as well as other people knowledgeable about the details of the covert operation.” Chervinsky, who denied his involvement in a statement from his lawyer, is a decorated veteran of his country’s special-operations forces who, the reporters said, “is professionally and personally close to key military and security leaders.” He reported to Major General Viktor Hanuschak, who “communicated directly” with Ukraine’s top military commander, General Zaluzhny. The article said that Chervinsky handled “logistics and support” for a six-person team that dove from a rented sailboat to place the explosives. The mission was undertaken, the reporters said, on orders from senior Ukrainian military officers who report to General Zaluzhny. This did not necessarily mean that Zaluzhny himself gave the order. Chervinsky is currently under arrest for allegedly abusing his military authority by conducting an unauthorized mission, different from the Nord Stream one (an allegation that he also denies).
Article 5: NATO’s common defense pledge that stands in the way of Ukraine’s admission while at war
(AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may have gotten support and vague assurances from NATO leaders in Vilnius this week, but he ultimately returns home without a clear commitment that his country will be joining the club any time soon.
Instead, the alliance leaders said they were removing obstacles on Ukraine’s membership path so that it can join more quickly once the war with Russia is over. (12 July 2023)
Ukraine Aid Falters in Senate as Republicans Insist on Border Restrictions
Legislation to send military aid to Ukraine and Israel was on the brink of collapse, after a briefing devolved into a screaming match one day before a critical test vote in the Senate.
The year now stands to end with Russian President Vladimir Putin more certain than ever that he can wait out a fickle West and fully absorb the Ukrainian territory already seized by his troops.
(NYT) The planned vote, coming just days after the White House warned that the United States would soon run out of money to send weapons to Ukraine, comes at perhaps the most uncertain moment for the beleaguered nation since the first chaotic months of the war.
Ukraine urgently needs more ammunition and other weapons to try to turn the tide on the battlefield. The country’s counteroffensive against entrenched Russian forces in southern Ukraine has so far failed to meet its objectives, and Moscow’s forces have been going on the offensive in the east.
Under pressure from the House, Republicans have twice refused to include military aid for Ukraine in stopgap spending bills to keep the government funded this autumn. …
In remarks at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential office of Ukraine, said on Tuesday that if Congress fails to approve military assistance for Ukraine swiftly, there is a “very high possibility” that Ukraine will lose the war.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive and what’s next
(The World) It’s been about six months since Ukraine launched its counteroffensive. Its aim was to recapture large swaths of territory occupied by Russian forces. However, as we enter the cold winter months, most military experts believe that the war in Ukraine is now entering a new phase.
Why U.S. aid for Ukraine is a bargain
At nearly $70 billion in less than two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion, the direct U.S. military, financial and humanitarian commitment to Ukraine is unquestionably significant. In just 21 months, Washington’s direct aid to Ukraine comes to more than one-fifth of its inflation-adjusted funding for Israel since its founding 75 years ago.
Yet by other measures, the pot of money approved by Congress to resist Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression looks modest. That’s important to bear in mind as future funding for Kyiv is mired on Capitol Hill, with some Republicans asserting that Americans have done enough, and with funding increasingly also at risk in Europe, where ascendant right-wing populists oppose it.
… If Russia were to move against NATO allies such as the tiny Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia, let alone Poland or some other large NATO ally — hardly a far-fetched scenario, given 20th-century history — Washington would be obligated by its treaty commitments to send troops to defend them.
The cost of deploying U.S. troops to defend vulnerable NATO allies against a nuclear-armed power is imponderable. It would surely be huge, judging by the price paid for other U.S. wars in this century, which dwarf Congress’s appropriations for Ukraine.
Miscalculations, divisions marked offensive planning by U.S., Ukraine
As winter approaches, and the front lines freeze into place, Ukraine’s most senior military officials acknowledge that the war has reached a stalemate.
This examination of the lead-up to Ukraine’s counteroffensive is based on interviews with more than 30 senior officials from Ukraine, the United States and European nations. It provides new insights and previously unreported details about America’s deep involvement in the military planning behind the counteroffensive and the factors that contributed to its disappointments. The second part of this two-part account examines how the battle unfolded on the ground over the summer and fall, and the widening fissures between Washington and Kyiv. Some of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations. …
Ukrainian, U.S. and British military officers held eight major tabletop war games to build a campaign plan. But Washington miscalculated the extent to which Ukraine’s forces could be transformed into a Western-style fighting force in a short period — especially without giving Kyiv air power integral to modern militaries.
Key elements that shaped the counteroffensive and the initial outcome include:
● U.S. and Ukrainian officials sharply disagreed at times over strategy, tactics and timing. The Pentagon wanted the assault to begin in mid-April to prevent Russia from continuing to strengthen its lines. The Ukrainians hesitated, insisting they weren’t ready without additional weapons and training.
● U.S. military officials were confident that a mechanized frontal attack on Russian lines was feasible with the troops and weapons that Ukraine had. The simulations concluded that Kyiv’s forces, in the best case, could reach the Sea of Azov and cut off Russian troops in the south in 60 to 90 days.
● The United States advocated a focused assault along that southern axis, but Ukraine’s leadership believed its forces had to attack at three distinct points along the 600-mile front, southward toward both Melitopol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov and east toward the embattled city of Bakhmut.
In Ukraine, a war of incremental gains as counteroffensive stalls
This account of how the counteroffensive unfolded is the second in a two-part series and illuminates the brutal and often futile attempts to breach Russian lines, as well as the widening rift between Ukrainian and U.S. commanders over tactics and strategy. The first article examined the Ukrainian and U.S. planning that went into the operation.
This second part is based on interviews with more than 30 senior Ukrainian and U.S. military officials, as well as over two dozen officers and troops on the front line. Some officials and soldiers spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe military operations.
Russia says ‘hell’ awaits Ukrainians after confirming they’ve crossed the Dnieper River into occupied territory
(CNBC) Russian forces are pummeling Ukrainian units that have crossed over the Dnieper River to the Russian-occupied left (or eastern) bank of the river in Kherson, an official said Wednesday.
The Kherson area, in southern Ukraine, is partially occupied by Russian forces after an offensive to take the city of Kherson last year prompted Russian forces to withdraw to the eastern bank of the river.
Ukraine reported Tuesday that its forces had established a foothold on the eastern bank of the river. The announcement could herald the start of an advance toward Russian-occupied Crimea, with Ukraine saying on Wednesday that it was starting to push back against Russian forces on the eastern bank.
Ukrainian group says more than 30,000 troops have died in Russia’s invasion
(Reuters) – A Ukrainian civic group said it has confirmed the deaths of nearly 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers since Russia’s February 2022 invasion by using open sources, and puts the total toll at more than 30,000.
Ukrainian military officer coordinated Nord Stream pipeline attack
Roman Chervinsky, a colonel in Ukraine’s special operations forces, was integral to the brazen sabotage operation, say people familiar with planning
By Shane Harris and Isabelle Khurshudyan
(WaPo) A senior Ukrainian military officer with deep ties to the country’s intelligence services played a central role in the bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year, according to officials in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, as well as other people knowledgeable about the details of the covert operation.
The officer’s role provides the most direct evidence to date tying Ukraine’s military and security leadership to a controversial act of sabotage that has spawned multiple criminal investigations and that U.S. and Western officials have called a dangerous attack on Europe’s energy infrastructure.
Ukraine Should Postpone Its Election
Voting amid a raging war would carry too many risks. But the government can still strengthen democracy in the meantime.
(Bloomberg Editorial Board) If these were normal times, Ukraine would be preparing to hold presidential elections in March. But with war raging and parts of the country under Russian occupation, that looks increasingly infeasible. Delaying the vote makes sense — so long as the government commits to strengthening democracy in the meantime.
The practical challenges of holding an election in wartime are immense. Even if a semblance of campaigning were possible, the mere act of voting could pose unacceptable risks. Russian forces have no qualms about attacking civilian infrastructure, and landmines make travel to polling booths hugely dangerous. The safety of election monitors can’t be guaranteed. And securing election documents and transporting them to voting stations would strain scarce military resources.
A possible compromise on Ukraine
Michael E. O’Hanlon
(Brookings) Although compromise may be a dirty word in Washington these days, I would like to propose one for the question of how the United States should support Ukraine going forward.
The essence of the compromise would not be simply to split the difference on funding for Kyiv — somewhere between the $60 billion that President Joe Biden wants (on top of the more than $70 billion from the United States to date over the last two years) and the zero preferred by much of the GOP in the House of Representatives. Rather, it would attempt to take the best idea from each side and build a new policy approach on top of that foundation.
… The United States should fund the Ukraine effort at Biden’s requested level of just over $60 billion and provide virtually all the types of weaponry Ukraine may request over the next 18 months, in the hope that Ukraine can break the stalemate sometime in 2024 or early 2025. But by the winter/spring of 2025, a newly elected American president should ask his or her national security team to conduct a thorough review of Ukraine policy — and if the war still remains largely stalemated at that point, the United States should seriously consider a Plan B while encouraging its allies and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to do the same.
… a U.S. policy that planned on a major review after 18 months would merely recognize that any newly elected president would inevitably be expected to direct a review of a policy as important as that for Ukraine. Furthermore, it would also provide a more satisfying answer to the issue of expected war duration than Biden’s slogan that we will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” Surely, reinforcing stalemate indefinitely, at huge cost in blood, cannot be a basis for long-term U.S. policy, if that is where we still find ourselves in early 2025. By that point, the deadlock might have lasted more than two years.
Moreover, there is a Plan B that while being far from optimal is acceptable for core U.S. and NATO interests — and for most of Ukraine’s interests as well. It is not perfect, but neither is today’s world in general. At some point, it would become preferable to open-ended conflict of indeterminate duration.
The War in Ukraine is Entering a New Phase
A conversation with war correspondent Tim Mak
(Global Dispatches) The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point — at least from the perspective of Ukraine’s top military commander Valery Zaluzhny. In wide ranging remarks last week in The Economist, Zaluzhny described the war as as stalemate, likening it to the trench warfare of World War I. “The war is now moving to a new stage: what we in the military call ‘positional’ warfare of static and attritional fighting, as in the first world war, in contrast to the ‘manoeuvre’ warfare of movement and speed,” he wrote. “This will benefit Russia, allowing it to rebuild its military power, eventually threatening Ukraine’s armed forces and the state itself.”
These remarks come on the heels of a disappointing counter-offensive that began in earnest in June. The counter-offensive certainly made some gains, but nothing approaching expectations. Meanwhile, the Israel-Palestine crisis has sucked up international attention — and potentially diverted arms intended for Ukraine’s defense. And here in the United States, the determination of many Republican members of Congress to block further US aid for Ukraine also adds a challenging variable to Ukraine’s future success.
All of this suggests that we are entering a new phase in the conflict, so for today’s Global Dispatches podcast episode I wanted to get a sense of how these changes are being felt in Ukraine.
Ukraine hails ‘historic step’ as EU takes Kyiv closer to membership
By Gabriela Baczynska and Marine Strauss
Ukraine clears key milestone as Russia war drags into 21st month
Recommendation will inform December decision by EU leaders
Conditional backing for talks with Moldova and Bosnia as well
Commission proposes EU candidate status for Georgia when ready
(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy praised as a “historic step” a recommendation by the European Union executive on Wednesday to invite Kyiv to begin membership talks as soon as it meets final conditions, even as it fights to repel Russia’s war.
Ukraine, Canada and the ‘Call of History’
(Policy) … If the war in Ukraine has given new meaning to NATO, bringing in Ukraine [to the EU] continues Europe’s move eastwards.
Invoking the “call of history” in her annual address to Parliament in September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Ukraine’s future is “in the Union”. The EU’s 27 foreign ministers met recently in Kyiv to demonstrate, as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna put it, “our resolute and lasting support for Ukraine, until it can win. It is also a message to Russia”, continued Colonna, “that it should not count on our weariness. We will be there for a long time to come.”
Accession talks could begin as soon as December. Ukraine is required to meet seven conditions laid out by the European Commission, including judicial reforms and anti-corruption measures. In 2022, Transparency International scored Ukraine near the bottom in its corruption index, only a couple of points ahead of Russia. Ukraine currently meets only two of the EU conditions. Both financial and technical support from Canada and the allies is essential, especially when it comes to transparency and good governance.
The war in Ukraine is challenging the EU and rekindling debate on core values such as an independent judiciary and a free press while underlining the importance of collective security. It is also pointing to the backsliders — Viktor Orban in Hungary and the Law and Justice government in Poland — that defy these values with little sanction.
Then, there is the cost. Ukraine would be the first new EU member since Croatia joined in 2013. Accession would entitle Ukraine to about €186 billion over seven years, according to internal estimates of the Union’s common budget.
There will be strong pressure from the other states awaiting membership: Turkey (since 1999), North Macedonia (2005), Montenegro (2010), Serbia (2012), Albania (2014), Moldova (2022), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2022). Georgia also wants in.
Adding all nine would cost €256.8 billion. “All member states”, the EU study concluded, “will have to pay more to and receive less from the EU budget; many member states who are currently net receivers will become net contributors.” As Canadians know, redistribution — or what we call equalization — is controversial, both politically and economically.
Born in the Bloodlands
Ukraine and the Future of the European Project
By Michael Kimmage
(Foreign Affairs September/October 2023) Europe’s first major war since 1945 has arisen between two nation-states that were carved from the Soviet Union. Russia and Ukraine have demonstrated in different ways that Europe never became a postnational paradise. The continent is once again being shaped by conflict among nations. As the historian Serhii Plokhy writes in The Russo-Ukrainian War, his masterful new book, war has “been the main instrument used to create the European system of nation-states.” The war raging in Ukraine is merely the latest chapter in a “long history of wars of national liberation, which can be traced back to the American Revolution” and runs through the hot and cold wars fought against the Russian and the Soviet empires.
The Russo-Ukrainian War offers insights for Ukrainian policymakers as well. As they shepherd their country into European institutions, which is clearly their goal, they will have to balance two competing realities. The war will situate a Ukrainian nation in the West, with borders that will be set on the battlefield. This nation will derive strength from the wartime heroism of Ukrainians. The echoes of the American Revolution will make Ukraine’s story intuitively comprehensible to Americans, deepening Ukraine’s most important strategic partnership. It will take diplomatic finesse, however, to reconcile Ukraine’s national strength with the postnational spirit of the EU. Created to tame European nationalism, the EU now finds itself on the fault line of an epic conflict between two nation-states, as does the United States. As they make their way into Europe, Ukrainians should avoid the temptations of an ethnonationalism forged in war and should instead hold fast to the civic patriotism Zelensky has championed
Andrew Potter: Canada’s shame is Ukraine’s disaster
There’s no question that everyone is getting tired of this war. The blanket solidarity and unity that held over the last year is starting to unravel. Inevitably, politics has started to intervene.
(The Line) All told, a decently successful tour for a man who has managed to maintain his stature as a statesman and wartime leader, even as his most stalwart allies grow visibly weary of the conflict. While everyone continues to say the right things about supporting Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” it is hard to ignore how much has changed in the year and a half since Russia launched the so-called “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine.
Zelenskyy seeks to rebuild bridges with Poles amid dispute over grain and weapons
Eschewing political confrontation, Ukrainian president gives awards to two volunteers, thanking ‘all of Poland’ for its support for Kyiv.
Although Poland was a die-hard ally of Ukraine in the early days of the Russian invasion, the conservative, nationalist government of the Law and Justice (PiS) party has taken an unexpectedly hard line against its war-torn neighbor in the past days, largely for reasons related to the impending election on October 15.
In order to protect Polish farmers — crucial to the ruling party’s electoral prospects next month — Warsaw has blocked agricultural imports from Ukraine, in a protectionist move that Kyiv says is illegal and has referred to the World Trade Organization.
Poland will no longer send weapons to Ukraine, says PM, as grain dispute escalates
Comments by Polish PM follow Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s accusation that some in Europe are in effect aiding Russia
(The Guardian) Poland, one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, has announced an end to its arms transfers to the country, a day after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Warsaw of playing into Russia’s hands by banning Ukrainian grain imports.
Poland is one of Kyiv’s main weapons suppliers and has been one of the loudest cheerleaders for the Ukrainian cause since the full-scale invasion began in February 2022, but relations have soured over recent days amid the growing row over grain.
The argument has led to heated rhetoric between the two countries on the sidelines of the UN general assembly, with the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, comparing Ukraine to “a drowning person clinging to anything available”.
Feud Between Friends Spells Danger for Ukraine
(Bloomberg) It’s never easy to see friends fight. Especially when there’s a war on.
That’s what makes the dispute between Ukraine and Poland so worrying: The latter is a crucial ally to Kyiv and the key gateway for economic and military aid aimed at stopping Russia’s invasion. … While Poland appeared to be seeking to calm the situation today, the dispute cast doubt over Europe’s commitment to Ukraine over the long haul. And the once-strong friendship between allies may never be the same.
Ukraine calls for return of ‘abducted’ children as more arrive in Belarus
Ukraine says Russia taking its children is an attempt to deprive them of their national identity as Ukrainians
(Al Jazeera) Ukraine says more than 19,000 children have been taken illegally by Russia since it began its full-scale invasion.
Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska has called on world leaders to help ensure the return of thousands of Ukrainian children forcibly taken by Russia as Belarusian state media published photos of dozens of Ukrainian children arriving in Belarus from Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Zelenska said more than 19,000 Ukrainian children had been forcibly transferred or deported to Russia or the territories it has occupied.
Russian ‘evil cannot be trusted’, Zelensky tells UN
Ukrainian President Zelensky has addressed the UN General Assembly in New York, seeking further support in the war against Russia
(BBC) He urged the gathering of nearly 200 world leaders to unify, and not to discuss matters behind closed doors
Zelensky spoke next about his peace formula, which he says will end the war in Ukraine.
There is also a peace summit in the works, he says, and invited his audience to attend once confirmed.
He says unity should be discussed openly, not behind closed doors.
“Evil cannot be trusted, just ask Prigozhin,” Zelensky said, referring to the former ally of Vladimir Putin who died last month in a plane crash
Zelensky warned of the threat of Russia’s nuclear weapons, as well as the threat posed by the weaponisation of food and AI
He also accused Moscow of carrying out “genocide” by abducting Ukrainian children.
In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the alleged unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly denied Ukraine’s accusations – but a number international experts and organisations point to a growing evidence that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.
Zelensky Cleans House in Corruption-Plagued Defense Ministry
Ukraine dismissed all six of its deputy defense ministers as Mr. Zelensky headed to the United States, where he is scheduled to address the United Nations on Tuesday.
(NYT) The shake-up in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wartime leadership team came as he headed to the United States, keen to demonstrate to American officials and other Western leaders that his government is not squandering — on either graft or mismanagement — the tens of billions of dollars in aid they have sent to Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in person on Tuesday in New York, and later in the week to meet with President Biden and members of Congress in Washington in his ongoing efforts to shore up support for military aid. He is expected to argue that defending Europe’s borders from an expansionist Russia in Ukraine serves Western interests in preventing a wider war and the destabilization of the European Union.
China to attend talks on Ukraine in Saudi Arabia that exclude Russia
Ukraine hopes to leverage Saudi diplomatic reach
(Reuters) Ukrainian and Western diplomats hope the meeting in Jeddah of national security advisers and other senior officials from some 40 countries will agree on key principles for a future peace settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday he hoped the initiative will lead to a “peace summit” of leaders from around the world this autumn to endorse the principles, based on his own 10-point formula for a settlement.
Zelenskiy’s formula includes respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Russian troops, anathema to Moscow which claims to have annexed occupied Ukrainian territory forever.
Ukrainian, Russian and international officials say there is no prospect of direct peace talks between Ukraine and Russia at the moment, as the war continues to rage and Kyiv seeks to reclaim territory through a counter-offensive.
But Ukraine aims first to build a bigger coalition of diplomatic support beyond its core Western backers by reaching out to Global South countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa, many of which have remained publicly neutral.
Officials say Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-organized peace summit over Russia’s war in August
(AP) — Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-organized peace summit in early August seeking to find a way to start negotiations over Russia’s war on the country, officials said Sunday.
The summit will be held in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, said one official. Russia was not invited, the official added. Hours later, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, confirmed the talks would be held in Saudi Arabia, without naming Jeddah as the location.
‘We Can Never Forgive This’: In Odesa, Attacks Stoke Hatred of Russia
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia views Odesa as a culturally important part of his nation. But many in the Ukrainian city reject the connection and view the country that has been attacking it with loathing.
(NYT) … The House of Scientists, one of the Ukrainian city’s best-loved buildings, was in shambles. … a series of missile strikes damaged the city’s port and 29 historic buildings in its Belle Époque city center, including the Transfiguration Cathedral, one of Ukraine’s largest.
Odesa plays an important role in the mind of imperial Russians, and especially President Vladimir V. Putin, who views it as an integral part of Russian culture. … Moscow’s attachment to Odesa owes to the Ukrainian city’s literary tradition. Prominent Russian-language authors wrote some of their most important works here. Aleksandr Pushkin, Russia’s beloved poet, spent 13 months in Odesa writing “Eugene Onegin,” his novel in verse, during a period of exile from Moscow.
Historic Ukrainian cathedral badly damaged in Russian strikes
(CNN) Russian missiles badly damaged dozens of Ukrainian architectural landmarks, including a historic Orthodox cathedral in the southern port city of Odesa, sparking outrage and prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to vow retaliation.
The strikes – the latest in a wave of attacks on Odesa – killed at least one person and injured several others, Ukrainian officials said. At least 25 architectural monuments were destroyed, a regional military official said.
“Russians deliberately aimed their missiles at the historic city center of Odesa, which is under the UNESCO protection. Everything that was built with hard work by great architects is now being destroyed by cynical inhumans,” Oleh Kiper said.
Zelensky’s angry tweet on NATO membership nearly backfired
The Ukrainian president’s fiery response to NATO’s conditions-based pledge in Vilnius touched off a scramble — and brief consideration of watering down what Kyiv would be offered, officials said
(WaPo) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s confrontational tweet this week challenging NATO leaders on the glacial pace of his war-torn country’s admission into the alliance so roiled the White House that U.S. officials involved with the process considered scaling back the “invitation” for Kyiv to join, according to six people familiar with the matter.
G7 countries sign declaration outlining long-term security guarantees for Ukraine
(CNBC) The Group of Seven (G7) coalition on Wednesday revealed a long-term security framework for Ukraine.
“We consider Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to be a threat to international peace and security, a flagrant violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and incompatible with our security interests,” the G7 said in a joint declaration of support.
Moscow sharply criticized the G7’s security pledges to Ukraine.
Biden, U.S. leaders insist war with Russia must end before Ukraine joins NATO
Ahead of this week’s NATO summit in Lithuania, U.S. leaders are insisting that the war with Russia must end before Ukraine is invited to join the powerful military alliance.
President Biden said during an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday that he doesn’t believe there will be “unanimity” on the issue of Ukraine’s membership while the nation remains “in the middle of a war.”
“We’re determined to [protect] every inch of territory that is NATO territory,” Biden said, noting that if Ukraine were part of NATO, it would put the alliance at war with Russia.
Allies Pledge Billions for Ukraine’s Recovery as Zelensky Stresses Urgency
The price tag for reconstruction has soared, driving debate among U.S. and European officials, legal experts and others about using frozen Russian assets to pay for it.
(NYT) Western countries pledged tens of billions of dollars to rebuild war-torn Ukraine on Wednesday, as leaders gathered at a two-day conference convened by the British government in the shadow of Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia.
But with the total cost of reconstruction projected to spiral into the hundreds of billions of dollars, the prospect of using confiscated Russian assets to pay for it emerged as a potent, if problematic, theme at the gathering.
Britain and the European Union are both exploring legal mechanisms to divert frozen Russian assets to Ukraine. Globally, these public and private assets are estimated to be worth at least $300 billion, a sizable chunk of the total reconstruction cost, which the World Bank currently estimates at more than $411 billion.
Ukraine Appears to Make a Small Gain in the South as Counteroffensive Continues
A Russian official and military bloggers said Sunday that Kyiv’s forces had retaken another village in their fight to recapture territory, a claim the Russian Defense Ministry denied.
Those gains so far have come at the cost of Ukrainian lives and advanced Western equipment, but military analysts caution that it could take weeks or months to gauge the success of the counteroffensive.
Zelenskyy urges African leaders to press Putin on release of political prisoners
(AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to a group of African leaders to ask his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to free political prisoners from Crimea and beyond — saying it could be an important part of their trip to Russia on Saturday.
Seven African leaders — presidents of Comoros, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia, as well as Egypt’s prime minister and top envoys from the Republic of Congo and Uganda — visited Ukraine on Friday as part of a self-styled “peace mission” to both Ukraine and Russia to try to help end their nearly 16-month-old war.
The African leaders were traveling to meet with Putin on Saturday in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
US lawmakers hope Ukraine can fight Russia with Russian assets
(Reuters) – Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Congress introduced legislation on Thursday that would make it easier for Ukraine to fund its fight against Russian invaders by using seized and frozen Russian assets.
The U.S. Congress has approved more than $100 billion in military, humanitarian and economic aid for Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. While leaders of both parties insist U.S. support for the Kyiv government remains strong, some members of Congress have questioned how long that level of aid can continue amid calls to clamp down on government spending.
C.I.A. Told Ukraine Last Summer It Should Not Attack Nord Stream Pipelines
Dutch intelligence officials shared information with the C.I.A. in June 2022 that they had learned the Ukrainian military had been planning an operation using divers to blow up one of the pipelines.
(NYT) …the original tip by the Dutch, according to U.S. officials, was that Ukraine had already reconsidered and canceled the operation. In reality, American officials now believe, the operation was not aborted but delayed, potentially with a different Ukraine-aligned group carrying out the attack.
Explosions destroyed parts of the pipelines, which carry natural gas from Russia to Europe, in September. The Ukrainian government has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack.
Nord Stream: Zelenskiy rejects claim of Ukraine plot to destroy pipeline
US media has reported that the White House was briefed about a Ukrainian plot to blow up the pipeline months before it occurred
(The Guardian) Kyiv knew nothing about a plan to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said, amid growing speculation that Ukraine was behind the blast.
In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, Zelenskiy said that as president, he had the power to give orders, but that he would “never do that”, referring to the attack on the pipeline.
Biden ‘knew of Ukrainian plan to attack Nord Stream’ three months before explosion
Washington Post reports that European intelligence service told CIA Ukrainian military was planning attack
A European intelligence service told the CIA that the Ukrainian military was planning an attack using a small team of divers who reported directly to the commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, the paper reported. The six-person team reported directly to General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the report claimed, so that president Volodymyr Zelenskiy would not know about the operation.
The Washington Post report was based on a larger leak of secret documents that was shared by a a US armed services member on the chat platform Discord.
Kyiv says it intercepted call showing Russia blew up Kakhovka dam
(Reuters via CTV) Ukraine’s domestic security service said on Friday it had intercepted a telephone call proving a Russian “sabotage group” blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric station and dam in southern Ukraine.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) posted a one-and-a-half-minute audio clip on its Telegram channel of the alleged conversation, which featured two men who appeared to be discussing the fallout from the disaster in Russia.
UN aid chief says Ukraine faces `hugely worse’ humanitarian situation after the dam rupture
(AP) — The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is “hugely worse” than before the Kakhovka dam collapsed, the U.N.’s top aid official warned Friday.
Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths said an “extraordinary” 700,000 people are in need of drinking water and warned that the ravages of flooding in one of the world’s most important breadbaskets will almost inevitably lead to lower grain exports, higher food prices around the world, and less to eat for millions in need
“This is a viral problem,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But the truth is this is only the beginning of seeing the consequences of this act.”
The rupture of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and emptying of its reservoir on the Dnieper River on Wednesday added to the misery in a region that has suffered for more than a year from artillery and missile attacks.
Ukraine holds the Dnieper’s western bank, while Russian troops control the low-lying eastern side, which is more vulnerable to flooding. The dam and reservoir, essential for fresh water and irrigation in southern Ukraine, lies in the Kherson region that Moscow illegally annexed in September and has occupied for the past year.
Evidence grows of explosion at collapsed Ukraine dam
By Dan Peleschuk
Ukraine’s SBU: Rcording shows Russian sabotage blew up dam
Norway seismic data show signals of blast
US spy satellite detects explosion
(Reuters) – Evidence was growing on Friday that there was an explosion at the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine around the time it collapsed, according to Ukrainian and U.S. intelligence reports and seismic data from Norway.
Ukraine’s security service said it had intercepted a telephone call proving a Russian “sabotage group” blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric station and dam early on Tuesday in the Kherson region.
Kakhovka dam: first flooding deaths reported as Ukraine criticises global aid response
Volodymyr Zelenskiy says its impossible to predict how many people will die in Russian-occupied areas as he appeals for international assistance
(The Guardian) In an address on Wednesday evening, Zelenskiy said it was impossible to predict how many people would die in Russian-occupied parts of Kherson due to the flooding, urging a “clear and rapid reaction from the world” to support victims.
“Our military and special services are rescuing people as much as it is possible, despite the shelling. But large-scale efforts are needed,” he said. “We need international organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to immediately join the rescue operation and help people in the occupied part of Kherson region.
Ukraine dam: Floods devastate tracts of rich farmland
(BBC) The immediate humanitarian consequences, in flooded homes and displaced civilians, are dramatic enough.
But Ukrainian officials are now warning of serious long-term consequences for agriculture across one of the country’s most fertile areas.
The agriculture ministry on Wednesday predicted that fields in southern Ukraine could “turn into deserts as early as next year”, as vital irrigation systems, which depend on the vast Kakhovka reservoir, cease to function.
The reservoir is fast disappearing, sending an estimated 4.4 cubic miles of water roaring down the Dnipro River towards the Black Sea.
Apart from its famous watermelons, the rich farmland either side of the Dnipro River produces a host of different crops, from onions and tomatoes to sunflowers, soybeans and wheat. Dairy farms are also likely to be affected.
Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, may see some of the worst impacts.
The flooding along the Russian-controlled southern shore of the Dnipro is significantly worse than on the Ukrainian-held northern side.
Ukraine dam’s destruction could ‘forever’ change ecosystems, officials say
The destruction of a major dam and hydroelectric power plant on the front lines of the war in Ukraine may dry up the rich agricultural region of southern Ukraine, sweep pollutants into waterways and upend ecosystems that had developed around the massive reservoir whose waters are now rapidly flooding downstream, although the full impact could take months or even years to understand, officials and experts said.
The escape of the huge store of water from the reservoir will reshape Ukraine’s map, its habitats and its livelihood, endangering communities that depend on the water for drinking and growing crops, forcing farmers out of business, pushing towns to relocate and unsettling delicate ecological balances. Ukrainian officials warned that at least 150 tons of oil stored inside the hydroelectric power plant in the dam were washed into the waterway. Water from the reservoir also fed the cooling ponds of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, in Zaporizhzhia, although nuclear experts said there was no immediate threat.
The damage to the Russian-controlled dam would make it difficult for Ukrainian troops to cross into Crimea and other Russian-occupied cities in the south. On the other hand, it could eventually cut water off from Crimea and other parts of Russian-held territory. Flooding in the region could also affect Russian defenses and supply routes.
Zelenskyy calls for international aid as waters rise, Ukrainians flee homes after dam break
“It is necessary for international organizations, like the International Committee of the Red Cross, to get immediately involved in the rescue operation and help people in the occupied part of Kherson region,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address.
“If an international organization is not present in the disaster zone, it means it does not exist at all or is incapable.”
Ukrainians abandoned their inundated homes as floodwaters crested across a swath of the south on Wednesday after the destruction of a vast dam on the front line between Russian and Ukrainian forces that each blamed on the other.
Tens of thousands at risk from flooding after Ukraine dam collapse
Russia, Ukraine blame each other for collapse of dam
Residents wade through floodwaters to evacuate
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has enough water to cool – UN
(Reuters) – About 42,000 people were at risk from flooding in Russian and Ukrainian controlled areas along the Dnipro River after a dam collapsed, as the United Nations aid chief warned of “grave and far-reaching consequences.”
Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the collapse of the massive dam on Tuesday, which sent floodwaters across a swathe of the war zone and forced thousands to flee.
Ukraine said Russia committed a deliberate war crime in blowing up the Soviet-era Nova Kakhovka dam, which powered a hydroelectric station. The Kremlin blamed Ukraine, saying it was trying to distract from the launch of a major counteroffensive Moscow says is faltering.
Ukraine’s troops attack along front in apparent precursor to counteroffensive
Russian forces driven back in at least two areas as Zelenskiy hails advances by his country’s ‘warriors’
(The Guardian) Ukrainian troops went on the attack at multiple points along the frontline in the Donetsk region on Monday, driving back Russian forces in at least two areas in what appeared to be the preliminary stages of Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive.
Ukraine’s Zelenskiy welcomes ‘the news we have been waiting for’
(Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed on Monday what he called “the news we have been waiting for” from troops fighting in and around the shattered eastern city of Bakhmut, but gave no further details.
At Normandy D-Day celebrations, echoes of Ukraine’s looming fight
(AP) — While U.S. military officers caution against too direct a comparison between the 1944 D-Day landings and Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, the echoes of what Kyiv faces today are a dominant theme of this year’s commemorations of the young U.S. soldiers who died on the Normandy beaches nearly 80 years ago.
The celebration is taking place as Ukraine prepares to launch its own counteroffensive against Russia — an impending fight for which many of those same allied forces have now provided billions of dollars in weapons and training to Kyiv’s soldiers to best prepare them to win
‘We will succeed’: Zelenskiy says Ukraine ready to launch counteroffensive
Ukraine’s president hints at concern over a possible Trump return in 2024 in Wall Street Journal interview
(The Guardian) Volodymyr Zelenskiy, giving an interview to the Wall Street Journal, suggested that a significant attack could come soon and said he hoped a change in the US presidency would not impact military aid to Kyiv.
“We strongly believe that we will succeed,” Zelenskiy told the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, although he acknowledged he did not know how long the counteroffensive would take or how well it would go. “To be honest, it can go a variety of ways, completely different. But we are going to do it, and we are ready,” Zelenskiy said, after months of troop training and significant arms donations from the west.