Russo Ukrainian War. Day 183: Biden announces $3 billion military aid package on Ukrainian Independence Day

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

At least 15 killed, 50 wounded in Russian missile strike on Chaplyne railway station. Biden announces $3 billion Ukraine military aid package on its Independence Day. Russia maintains the military occupation of ZNPP, the principal risks to reactor operations are likely to remain disruption to the reactors’ cooling systems, damage to its backup power supply, or errors by workers operating under pressure. ECHR obliges Russia to ensure the rights of captured Azovstal defenders. Zelensky addresses UN Security Council: Russia must be held accountable for crime of aggression. Ukraine calls on the world to create special tribunal for Russia’s crimes.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 24

A report by military expert Stanislav Haider on the situation in Ukraine as of the morning of August 25.

Weapon supplies. Slovakia is going to send 30 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Norway and Britain will donate micro-drones PD-100 Black Hornet Nano with night vision capabilities. New supplies from the US and allies suggest that the West is preparing the Ukrainian army for closer contact combat.

Donetsk Oblast. The direction of Bakhmut saw heavy fighting going on near Kodema, Dachi with no Russian advance in this area as Russia’s Wagner units are “being systematically eliminated east of Bakhmut.” Yakovlivka remains under Ukrainian control. The Ukrainian Armed Forces also didn’t allow the Russians to advance at Soledar. There also were no changes at Siversk where battles are taking place in the areas of Hryhorivka and up to Ivano-Dariivka. The Russians also built an additional pontoon crossing across the Siverskyi Donets River near the village of Snizhkivka.

donetsk oblast north map 25 aug 2022

Situation in the north of Donetsk Oblast as of 25 August 2022. Map: DeepState

Avdiivka saw no change in the situation as all Russian attacks were repelled. A Russian assault on the eastern outskirts of Avdiivka was unsuccessful for the Russian troops. Near Volnovakha, the Russians brought artillery to the high points. Russians have “captured Pisky” some 50 times according to them, but as always without success as Ukraine still has a bridgehead in this town and controls its northern part while no one controls the center of the settlement and the south is controlled by Russians.

Situation in the south of Donetsk Oblast as of 25 August 2022. Map: DeepState ~

Situation in the south of Donetsk Oblast as of 25 August 2022. Map: DeepState

Kharkiv Oblast. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are conducting offensive actions near Izium, “a couple of kilometers have been liberated.” The Russians did not manage to recapture their lost positions near Izium, so they received reinforcements (3 battalion-tactical groups or BTGs) at the expense of their reserve: they moved up to 200 units of military equipment through Lohachivka while units of the Rosgvardia up to 1,800 strong were moved to Vesele.

Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Inhulets bridgehead holds up well. Blahodatne is the gray area today, but the situation changes every hour. In the direction of Kryvyi Rih, the Russians advanced towards Mykolaivka, but the Ukrainian forces pushed them back to their starting positions. Russians built some 350 meters of the pontoon bridge near the Antonivskyi bridge.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. There is a partial Ukrainian advance in the Dorozhnianka area. Most of the other sectors of the front see artillery duels and local battles.

The Ukrainian artillery destroyed:

  • Russian ammunition warehouses at Tokmak (Zaporizhzhia Oblast) and Chaplynka (Kherson Oblast);
  • Russian military bases in Rovenki (Luhansk Oblast), Kakhovka district (Kherson Oblast), Chaplynka (Kherson Oblast).

Also, so far there is no information on what was targeted in Beryslav district (Kherson Oblast).

 

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 24, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

Situation in Ukraine. August 24, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. August 24, 2022. Source: ISW.

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“[Air and missile strikes on military and civilian targets in Ukraine continue. Wednesday 24 August was a day especially rich in air alarms.]

The situation remained unchanged in the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky directions.

[In the Siversky direction, Russian forces yesterday shelled the Tovstodubove, Shevchenkove, and Zapsillia settlements of the Sumy oblast with barrel artillery.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction:]

Kharkiv Battle Map. August 24, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. August 24, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Kharkiv direction, Russian forces fired from tanks, combat vehicles, artillery and MLRS along the contact line. [Yesterday, Russian forces shelled the districts of Kharkiv, Svitlychne, Slatyne, Ruski Tyshky and twenty more settlements with artillery and MLRS. Used aviation for strikes near Verkhniy Saltiv, Pryshyb, Rubizhne and Odnorobivka.]
  • In the Sloviansk direction, the areas of the settlements of Velyka Komyshuvakha, Nova Dmytrivka and Brazhkivka came under the influence of artillery and MLRS fire. Russian forces carried out assaults in the direction of PasikaDolyna, had no success, and retreated. [Yesterday, Russian forces affected the areas of Sloviansk, Dolyna, Brazhkivka, Bohorodychne, Krasnopilla, Kostyantynivka, and Dibrivne with the fire of artillery and MLRS. Made an unsuccessful attempt to attack in the direction of Nova Dmytrivka.]
Donetsk Battle Map. August 24, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. August 24, 2022. Source: ISW.

[In the Donetsk direction:]

  • In the Kramatorsk direction, shelling from tanks, barrel artillery and MLRS was recorded near Spirne, Ivano-Daryivka, Zvanivka, Serebryanka and Siversk. [Yesterday, artillery shelling was recorded near Siversk, Hryhorivka, Spirne, Ivano-Daryivka, and Verkhnyokamyanske.]
  • In the Bakhmut direction, the areas of the settlements of Bakhmut, Soledar, Vesela Dolyna, Mayorsk, Shumy, Zaytseve, Bilohorivka, Kodema and Yakovlivka were attacked by Russian forces. Russian forces used aircraft for strikes near Soledar and Zaitseve. [Yesterday, the areas of Kostyantynivka, Bakhmut, Soledar, Vesela Dolyna, Bakhmutske, Mayorsk, Shumy, Zaitseve, Vasyukivka, Kodema, Bilogorivka and Yakovlivka were hit by Russian artillery and MLRS. Russian forces tried to destroy important objects in the areas of the cities of Soledar and Bakhmut with air strikes.]
    • [Yesterday, the occupiers tried to improve the tactical position in the direction of the settlements of Soledar, Bakhmutske and Kodema. They were repulsed and retreated.]
    • They unsuccessfully tried to conduct an offensive in the direction of Travneve – Kodema.
  • In the Avdiyivkja direction, Russian forces inflicted fire damage on the Pokrovsk, Netaylove, Pervomaiske, Orlivka, Vodyane, Novobakhmutivka, Shumy, and New York districts. Enemy aircraft operated near Maryinka, Krasnohorivka, and Nevelsky. [Yesterday, Russian forces used artillery and MLRS for shelling in the vicinity of Avdiyivka, Alexandropil, Opytne, Vodyane, Novobakhmutivka, Krasnohorivka, and Nevelske. The areas of Mar’inka, Oleksandropil and Vodyane settlements were hit by enemy airstrikes.]
    • [Yesterday, the occupiers once again tried to establish control over the settlements of Pisky and Nevelske through offensive and assault actions. They did not have success, traditionally suffered losses and retreated.]
    • Russian forces tried to launch an offensive in the direction of Piska – Pervomaiske, but were unsuccessful and retreated.
  • In the Novopavlivka direction, Russian forces fired from tanks and artillery of various types near Pavlivka, Yelyzavetivka, Kostyantynivka, Vuhledar, Volodymyrivka, Novomykhailivka, Novoukrainka, and Velyka Novosilka. Russian forces also used aviation near Volodymyrivka, Vugledar and Pavlivka to carry out strikes. [Yesterday, enemy aircraft strikes were recorded near Volodymyrivka, Pavlivka and Novomayorskyi.]
    • [Yesterday, the Defense forces of Ukraine repelled a Russian offensive in the direction of the settlements of Pobieda, Novomykhailivka, Pavlivka, and Velyka Novosilka.]
  • In the Zaporizhzhia direction, Russian forces fired at the positions of our troops in the areas of Komyshuvakha, Hulyaipilske, Chervone, Charivne, Vremivka, Orihiv, Shcherbaky, Zaliznychne, Novosilka, Burlatske, Vilne Pole, Shevchenko and Novodanylivka. It carried out airstrikes near Orikhiv, Hulyaipilske and Shcherbaky. [Yesterday, Russian forces shelled the areas of Novopole, Mali Shcherbaky, Orichiv and fifteen other settlements with artillery and MLRS. Areas near Novosilka, Poltavka, Novopole and Dorozhnyanka were hit by enemy aircraft.]

[In the Pivdenny Buh direction, Russian forces, to deter our troops, yesterday shelled the territory along the contact line from the available means of fire damage. Used aviation for strikes on the areas of Trudolyubivka, Andriyivka, Potyomkyne, Oleksandrivka, Lozove, Velike Artakove and Bila Krynytsia settlements.] The occupiers fired at our positions and civilian infrastructure from tanks, artillery and MLRS along the line of combat engagement. An airstrike was carried out in the area of ​​the settlement of Bila Krynytsia.

  • [Yesterday, they made an unsuccessful attempt to attack in the direction of Mykolaivka. Ukrainian soldiers inflicted losses on Russian forces and pushed them back.]

[Russian forces naval group in the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov continues to perform the task of blocking civilian shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea and damaging military facilities and infrastructure elements in the depths of the territory of Ukraine.]”

Military Updates 

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 24,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 24,2022. Source: ISW.

Ukrainian troops hit the Kakhovka Bridge, enemy air defence systems, Ukrinform reports, citing Operational Command South. “On August 24, Ukrainian troops hit the Kakhovka Bridge, Russian air defence systems, a command and observation post, and an ammunition depot.”

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

  • In early March, Russian ground forces assaulted and seized Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). On 21 August 2022, imagery indicated that Russia maintained an enhanced military presence at the site, with armoured personnel carriers deployed within 60 metres of reactor number five.
  • Russian troops were probably attempting to conceal the vehicles by parking them under overhead pipes and gantries. Russia is probably prepared to exploit any Ukrainian military activity near ZNPP for propaganda purposes. While Russia maintains the military occupation of ZNPP, the principal risks to reactor operations are likely to remain disruption to the reactors’ cooling systems, damage to its backup power supply, or errors by workers operating under pressure.
  • Today marks the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. Since 2014 President Putin has sought to use a mix of force and coercive diplomacy to increase and solidify Russia’s influence in Ukraine and interfere in its sovereign affairs.
  • Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine six months ago, with the aim of toppling the government and occupying most of the country. By April, Russia’s leaders realised this had failed, and reverted to more modest objectives in eastern and southern Ukraine.
  • The Donbas offensive is making minimal progress and Russia anticipates a major Ukrainian counterattack. Operationally, Russia is suffering from shortages of munitions, vehicles and personnel. Morale is poor in many parts of its military and its army is significantly degraded. Its diplomatic power has been diminished and its long-term economic outlook is bleak. Six months in and Russia’s war has proven both costly and strategically harmful.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Thursday 25 August, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

  • Personnel – more than 45850 (+150),
  • Tanks – 1929 (+5),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 4245 (+2),
  • Artillery systems – 1037 (+1),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 272 (+6),
  • Air defence means – 148 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 234 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 202 (+3),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3160 (+0),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 828 (+9),
  • Special equipment – 99 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – – 196 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Donetsk direction.

Occupying forces lack rocketeers and Marines, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU). “It is reported that units of the strategic missile forces of the Russian Federation are recruiting personnel who will voluntarily go to fight against Ukraine. As of 22 August, only 1% of servicemen from the total number of required personnel expressed such a wish.

Similarly, commanders of Marine units complain that the misuse of their troops causes them to lose the combat capability they need to perform missions during naval landing operations. As they are used as motorised rifle units, they suffer significant losses. Among them are many soldiers who have the experience of landing and conducting combat operations on raw coastline. The additional staffing is carried out at the expense of military personnel of the crews of ships of the fleets and flotillas, who undergo only a basic two-week training course before being sent to the combat zone. This further reduces the combat effectiveness of units

Humanitarian 

ECHR obliges Russia to ensure the rights of captured Azovstal defenders, Ukrinform reports, citing the press service of Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) urgently considered Ukraine’s petition regarding Russia’s observance of the rights of captured Ukrainian defenders and extended the application of urgent measures in the interstate case “Ukraine v. Russia (X)” regarding prisoners of war.

On August 23, 2022, the ECHR urgently considered Ukraine’s petition regarding Russia’s observance of the rights of captured defenders of Ukraine and extended the application of urgent measures in the interstate case “Ukraine v. Russia (X)” regarding prisoners of war. Having considered Ukraine’s petition, the ECHR noted that in the case of ‘Oliynychenko v. Russia and Ukraine,’ it issued urgent measures to the Russian Federation to immediately ensure the rights enshrined in the Convention, including medical assistance, covering any requests on behalf of Ukrainian prisoners of war, in which sufficient evidence was provided regarding the serious and imminent risk of causing irreparable damage to their physical integrity (Article 3 of the Convention) and/or the right to life (Article 2 of the Convention), the ministry said.”

Zelensky: We must expand grain export initiative in coming weeks, Ukrinform reports. “Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council via video link, president Zelensky emphasized that the Russian Federation has put the world on the brink of an unprecedented famine. In particular, as a result of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov the deficit in the already destabilized food market has increased.

Fortunately, we managed to achieve such conditions under which Russia was forced to accept the terms of the international community, and thanks to this, grain exports from three Ukrainian ports were resumed. This already relieves part of the tension in the food market, but does not remove the threat completely, he said.

According to him, only the full recovery of Ukrainian agricultural exports without any obstacles can be a guarantee that tens of millions of people around the world will have something to eat. […] And in the coming weeks, we must do everything to expand the existing grain export initiative, he said.

As reported, on July 22 in Istanbul, at the suggestion of the United Nations, Ukraine, Turkey, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres signed the Initiative on the safe transportation of grain and food products from the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi.

️️Environmental 

The German government sees problems with coal and oil supplies, Reuters reports. “Germany’s government is concerned about possible problems with the coal supply for power plants in the autumn and winter due to low water levels on the river Rhine and the oil supply in eastern parts of the country, a document seen by Reuters said.

Europe’s biggest economy is trying to cut its dependence on Russian energy. However, weeks of critically low water levels on the Rhine river have disrupted logistics and added to Germany’s energy headache as industry temporarily switches to more coal and oil due to a steep fall in Russian energy imports.

Due to very reduced domestic shipping, accumulated coal stocks could quickly fall, a document entitled “Energy Supply Assessment,” drawn up by the Economy Ministry and seen by Reuters, said. Additional storage sites which have been and are being procured in southern Germany will probably not be filled by winter, said the paper, referring to the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to power plant operator EnBW. […]

The document also said that oil supply could become a problem in northeastern areas. The Schwedt and Leuna refineries will forego oil from Russian pipelines from the end of the year due to an EU oil embargo and this will lead to higher prices at the very least, said the paper.

Both the Leuna and Schwedt refineries could run at 75% capacity, said the document. Schwedt supplies large parts of eastern Germany, including Berlin airport. Efforts to supply that area with refinery products from western regions could also encounter transport problems due to rail bottlenecks, said the document. High demand and scarce transport capacity in rail freight are leading to a challenging situation in oil logistics. Some products from refineries cannot be moved, said the document.”

Legal 

Zelensky addresses UN Security Council: Russia must be held accountable for crime of aggression, Ukrinform reports. “Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council via video link, the president said that there is no war crime that the Russian occupiers have not yet committed on the territory of Ukraine.  Zelensky reminded about the deliberate creation of the threat of a radiation disaster, food crisis, violation of all international statutes and conventions. Separately, he focused on the murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian war criminals in the temporarily occupied Olenivka.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as of August 23 expressed concerns by reports that the Russian Federation and affiliated armed groups in Donetsk are planning – possibly in the coming days – to try Ukrainian prisoners of war in what is being labelled an ‘international tribunal’ in Mariupol.

“While there are few details available, photos and video footage published in the media and on social media appear to show metal cages being built in Mariupol’s philharmonic hall, apparently to restrain prisoners of war during proceedings.

Under international law, individuals entitled to prisoner-of-war status have combatant immunity and cannot be prosecuted for having participated in hostilities, or for lawful acts of war committed in the course of the armed conflict, even if such acts would otherwise constitute an offence under domestic law.”

Ukraine calls on the world to create special tribunal for Russia’s crimes, Ukrinform reports. “The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has called on all states and organizations to support the creation of a special tribunal for Russia’s crimes in Ukraine. […] According to diplomats, all nations, interested in the restoration of stable peace and rule-based international order, should put their efforts to bring all Russian war criminals and Russia’s political leaders to justice for committing terrifying war crimes that brought suffering to the Ukrainian people and threatened global security.

The ministry called on all states and organizations to support the establishment of the Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine. “Together, we should ensure that the Putin regime loses all its influence in the world and its ability to wage brutal wars against sovereign states. Thus, we call on our partners to introduce a full oil and gas embargo, expand sectoral and individual sanctions against Russia, Russian elites and state-owned enterprises, as well as completely cut off Russia from the Western banking system, the statement said.

According to diplomats, the lesson of 2014 when Russia occupied Crimea and waged war in Donbas is clear: any compromise with the Kremlin today will turn into even more brutal aggression tomorrow. Setting the defeat of the aggressor as the ultimate goal is the best investment in lasting sustainable global peace under the rule of international law.  We believe that with this wide and dedicated international support, Ukraine will celebrate the next Independence Day in peace and within its internationally recognized borders, the ministry said.”

At least 15 killed, 50 wounded in Russian missile strike on Chaplyne railway station, Ukrinform reports. “Russian forces launched a missile strike on the Chaplyne railway station in Dnipropetrovsk region. At least 15 people were killed, about 50 were injured.

According to Ukrinform, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced this when speaking via video link at a meeting of the UN Security Council. Just as I was going to deliver this address, I received information that four passenger railway cars caught fire as a result of a Russian missile strike on Dnipropetrovsk region, on the railway station, directly on railway cars at the Chaplyne station… As of now, at least 15 people were killed, about 50 wounded, the Head of State said.”

376 children were killed, 733 children injured, 7,013 deported by foe forces, and 224 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of August 25. 2,328 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 289 of them are destroyed fully. 30,097 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 14,038 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

We must not lose the support of the societies of different states – Zelensky, Ukrinform reports. “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has emphasized the importance of not losing support from different countries for Ukraine despite Russia’s information attacks. We must not lose the support of the societies of different states in any way, and it is very important. It will be difficult, and Russia’s information attacks on certain states, on certain societies, are difficult, Zelensky told.

Biden announces $3 billion Ukraine military aid package on its Independence Day, Reuters reports. “US President Joe Biden marked Ukraine’s Independence Day on Wednesday with $3 billion in security assistance, Washington’s largest aid package since Russia’s invasion six months ago but one that could take months or even years to arrive in Kyiv.

The United States of America is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty,” Biden said in a statement announcing the package, noting Kyiv’s “bittersweet” anniversary of independence from Russian-dominated Soviet rule 31 years ago.

The new package uses funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) appropriated by Congress to allow the Biden administration to procure weapons from industry, a process that can take time, rather than from existing US weapons stocks. The speed depends on whether defence companies have assembly lines already working on the weapon, how much capacity they have and how long it could take to adjust schedules if needed.

White House Spokesman John Kirby said the range of weapon systems would take different amounts of time to reach Ukraine, with the surface-to-air and radar systems taking longer.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said that in some instances it would take one, two or even three years to get the weapons into Ukraine. The package of capabilities here are really aimed at getting Ukraine what they’re going to need in the medium to long term, so it’s not relevant to the fight today, tomorrow, next week, Kahl told reporters. It is relevant to the ability of Ukraine to defend itself and deter further aggression a year from now, two years from now, he added.”

Pentagon reveals details of additional security assistance for Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder. “The United State in the framework of the biggest tranche of security assistance for Ukraine, worth $2.98 billion, will send, in particular, six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS).

This announcement [of assistance] represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine in the mid- and long-term to ensure Ukraine can continue to defend itself as an independent, sovereign and prosperous state, he said.

As noted, it is the biggest tranche of security assistance for Ukraine to date, which includes six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) with additional munitions for NASAMS; up to 245,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition; up to 65,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition; up to 24 counter-artillery radars; Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and support equipment for Scan Eagle UAS systems; VAMPIRE Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems; Laser-guided rocket systems; funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment. 

The United States has committed more than $13.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since January 2021. In total, the United States has committed more than $15.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014.

Norway and Great Britain to donate micro-drones Black Hornet to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports. “Norway and Great Britain are joining forces to acquire the Norwegian micro-drones Black Hornet as a donation to Ukraine. The purchase of drones will be financed by the British-led fund to which Norway has contributed NOK 400 million, the Ministry of Defence of Norway informs.

The Norwegian-developed drone is a global market leader. It is used in a number of allied countries, including the United States and Great Britain. The drone is used for reconnaissance and target identification. It is easy to operate, robust, difficult to detect and particularly well suited for combat in urban areas,” says Norway’s Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram. In addition, the anti-drone system Nightfighter from British SteelRock Technologies will also be purchased for approximately 100 million of the Norwegian funds for the fund.”

EU working on EUR 8B macro-financial aid package for Ukraine – Borrell, Ukrinform reports, citing website of the European External Action Service. “The EU has been on the side of the Ukrainians, right from the start of the war, aware that our shared security is at stake. We have adopted six packages of ever more significant sanctions. We have, for the first time ever, financed the delivery of military support to a country under attack, to enable Ukraine to fight back. We are providing humanitarian support and macro-financial assistance, to keep the Ukrainian state afloat. In total, €9.5 billion have been mobilised by Team Europe so far, with up to €8 billion in additional macro-financial assistance in the pipeline, [Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security wrote this in his blog.]”

TotalEnergies co-owned venture helped fuel the Russian military, Reuters reports, citing Le Monde report. “TotalEnergies is involved in supplying gas condensate to make jet fuel that may have been used by Russia’s military in Ukraine, via the French firm’s stake in a venture with Russia’s Novatek, Le Monde newspaper reported on Wednesday. […] The fuel was produced from gas condensate supplied by Terneftegaz, in which Totalenergies holds 49%.

Totalenergies, which unlike major Western rivals has held on to its assets in Russia despite criticism, said it did not operate infrastructure that would have supplied the Russian military but acknowledged its shareholding in Terneftegaz. It said all the gas condensate produced by Terneftegaz was supplied to Novatek, in which TotalEnergies also holds 19.4%, adding: TotalEnergies has no information on, or control over, Novatek’s independent sales to the Russian market.

Le Monde was able to trace the supply chain from the Termokarstovoye gas field in Siberia to two military air bases (Morozovskaya and Malchevo), each of which houses a squadron of multirole fighter aircraft, the newspaper reported. Amnesty International and other rights groups have said air strikes against civilians, including the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol, were likely carried out with warplanes from bases in the region, including Morozovskaya and Malchevo. […] The campaign group said between February and July enough jet fuel to fill the internal tanks of a Su-34 bomber several thousand times had been shipped to the bases from a refinery in Omsk, where gas condensate from a Novatek facility made up around 8% of the feedstock.

TotalEnergies has faced criticism in the West for not following the lead of other energy majors such as Shell and BP, which have said they would divest their Russian assets. […]  TotalEnergies has a range of multibillion-euro investments in Russia, including stakes in the Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2 projects, the latter of which is not yet operational. The projects are part of the firm’s strategy to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).”

Just over half of Americans say the US should back Ukraine until Russia withdraws, Reuters reports. “After half a year of war in Ukraine, a slim majority of Americans agree that the United States should continue to support Kyiv until Russia withdraws all its forces, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Wednesday.

The polling suggests continued support for President Joe Biden’s policy of backing Ukraine, despite economic worries and domestic political developments grabbing Americans’ attention in recent months. […] Out of 1,005 people in the United States who took part in an online poll last week, 53% expressed support for backing Ukraine “until all Russian forces are withdrawn from territory claimed by Ukraine.” Only 18% said they opposed.

That support came from both sides of the political divide, although Democratic voters were more likely to back the position, with 66% of Democrats in support compared to 51% of Republicans.”

New Developments 

  1. Russian Defence Minister Shoigu: military campaign in Ukraine ‘deliberately’ slowed to reduce civilian casualties, ReutersRussian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that the slowing pace of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine was deliberate, and driven by the need to reduce civilian casualties.”

Hans Petter Midttun: Russia’s disregard for international law, a long list of documented atrocities including executions and torture, arbitrary air and missiles attacks on civilian residential areas, massive artillery attacks against cities, forced displacement of Ukrainians, use of concentration camps, and more, proves this statement to be false. Russian advance is slow due to tough resistance and consequential, huge Russian losses.

  1. Zelensky addresses UN Security Council: Russia must be held accountable for crime of aggression, UkrinformUkraine will submit for consideration by the 77th session of the UN General Assembly a resolution on holding the Russian Federation accountable for the crime of aggression.
  2. Russia’s attempt to change Ukraine’s borders by force will never be recognized – United States at UN, UkrinformThe international community will never recognize Russia’s attempt to change Ukraine’s borders by force. The relevant statement was made by US Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the UN Security Council meeting. According to her, Russian disinformation campaigns are increasingly being weaponized to prepare for further attempts to annex Ukrainian territory. Thomas-Greenfield recalled that Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov had publicly acknowledged this as one of the Kremlin’s objectives.
  3. EU Ambassador: Ukraine Already Fulfilled Main Political Requirements for EU Membership, European PravdaThe European Commission, in its opinion on Ukraine’s application, has made it clear it should meet big political conditions. Otherwise, no European perspective at all. Adoption and implementation of the EU law will be a huge challenge. Ukraine is now in a better situation than Estonia was 25 years ago. Because Ukraine covered many legal aspects under the Association agreement, it is not only the legislation. You should also adopt EU standards and regulations. They are very high. Some of these standards are very costly. It will be a big challenge for Ukraine. All the countries that joined the EU had GDPs lower than the EU members. They also faced EU environmental standards that were very costly, Matti Maasikas, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine.
  4. Former Russian mayor detained for criticising Ukraine invasion, ReutersRussian opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman was shown being detained at his home in a video published on social media on Wednesday, in the latest move by authorities to punish critics of the war in Ukraine. “In principle, the essence is that I called the war a war. That’s it. Unfortunately, I have no defence.” State news agency TASS cited Yekaterinburg security services as confirming the reason for the arrest, saying Roizman was being investigated for “discrediting the Russian army”. The offence, newly introduced after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-august-24

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Sunday 24 August:

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated on August 24 that Russian forces are slowing down the overall pace of their offensive operations in Ukraine while reaffirming that Russia’s objectives in the war have not changed. At a meeting with defense ministers from member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Shoigu stated that Russian troops will be slowing down the pace of offensive operations in Ukraine in a conscious effort to minimize civilian casualties. Shoigu also reiterated that operations in Ukraine are going according to plan and that Russian forces will accomplish all their objectives, supporting ISW’s assessment that Russia’s maximalist strategic war aims in Ukraine have not changed. The Russian MoD has previously issued similar statements to account for the pace of operations in Ukraine.

Shoigu’s statement may also represent an attempt by the Russian MoD to set information conditions to explain and excuse the negligible gains Russian forces have made in Ukraine in the last six weeks. Since Russian forces resumed offensive operations following a pause on July 16 Russian forces have gained about 450.84 km(roughly 174 square miles) of new territory, an area around the size of Andorra.  Russian forces have lost roughly 45,000 kmof territory since March 21 (the estimated date of Russian forces’ deepest advance into Ukraine), an area larger than Denmark. As ISW has previously assessed, Russian forces are unable to translate limited tactical gains into wider operational successes, and their offensive operations in eastern Ukraine are culminating. Shoigu’s statement is likely an attempt to explain away these failings.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces have lost an area larger than Denmark since the high-water mark of their invasion of Ukraine in mid-March and gained an area the size of Andorra (one percent of what they have lost) in the last 39 days
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reaffirmed that Russia has not changed its maximalist strategic war aims.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks southwest and southeast of Izium, northeast and south of Bakhmut, and west and southwest of Donetsk City.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack in northwestern Kherson Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian military assets and ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue to face partisan and internal challenges to the administration of occupation agendas.

Russian proxy leadership is continuing efforts to oversee the legislative and administrative integration of occupied territories into Russian systems.

2. Consequences and what to do? 

It is practically impossible to replace equipment provided to Ukraine with a new one in a short period of time, Ukrinform reports. “[Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas] noted that it is practically impossible to replace the equipment provided to Ukraine with a new one in a short period of time. According to him, this is due to the fact that now, against the background of Russia’s all-out aggression, democratic countries have increased military orders. Therefore, everyone is waiting for their turn when this equipment arrives. And we are also standing in line to receive our ordered equipment. But I think that this situation will practically be resolved in a year or two, Anusauskas said.”

Hans Petter Midttun:

It is practically impossible to replace equipment provided to Ukraine with a new one in a short period of time, Ukrinform reports. “[Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas] noted that it is practically impossible to replace the equipment provided to Ukraine with a new one in a short period of time. According to him, this is due to the fact that now, against the background of Russia’s all-out aggression, democratic countries have increased military orders. Therefore, everyone is waiting for their turn when this equipment arrives. And we are also standing in line to receive our ordered equipment. But I think that this situation will practically be resolved in a year or two, Anusauskas said.”

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