Russo Ukrainian. Day 193: Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant loses power line again

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

The Antonivka Bridge hit again. Enemy ammunition depot exploding in Kherson region. Bayraktar drones destroy $26.5M worth of Russian equipment in three days. Six million Ukrainians leave for Poland in the past six months. Ukraine’s agricultural exports grow 66% in August. Zaporizhzhia Nuclear plant loses power line as Moscow, West energy row escalate. “Filtration” and the Crime of Forcibly Transferring Ukrainian Civilians to Russia. Ukraine war is depleting US ammunition stockpiles, sparking Pentagon concern.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 26, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

Situation in Ukraine. September 4, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. September 4, 2022. Source: ISW.

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Russian forces continue to focus their efforts on establishing full control over the territory of Donetsk oblast, maintaining the captured districts of Kherson, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv oblasts.

Offensive actions continue in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions. Russian forces continue to actively use anti-aircraft defences to cover their troops. Conducts aerial reconnaissance with high intensity using UAVs. It is trying to improve the logistical support of its troops.

Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces have launched more than 10 missiles and more than 24 airstrikes on military and civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine. In particular, civilian infrastructure was affected in the areas of Peremoha, Husarivka, Novomykhailivka, Bilohirya settlements.

The threat of systematic massive air and missile strikes on military and critical infrastructure facilities throughout Ukraine continues to persist.

Due to the lack of high-precision weapons, Russian forces began to use outdated S-300 anti-aircraft-guided missiles more often. More than 500 such missiles were launched on the territory of Ukraine, some of which did not reach the target. The occupiers are armed with several thousand such missiles, but most of them are unusable.

[Feeling danger, the occupiers strengthened the administrative and police regime in the settlements located on the banks of the Dnipro River and the protection of the coastline in the temporarily captured areas of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts. In addition, state companies of the Russian Federation have been presented with new norms for the selection of “volunteers” for the war. Thus, the Russian Railways company received an order to search for up to 10,000 new candidates for a short-term contract among civilian employees.]

In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the situation remains without significant changes. [The Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus are conducting a check of the readiness of field communication systems as part of preparations for the command and staff exercises.]

In other directions, Russian forces attacked military and civilian infrastructure using tanks, combat vehicles, artillery and MLRS, namely:

in the Siversky direction – settlements of Mykhalchyna Sloboda in Chernihiv oblast and Stukalivka in Sumy oblast;

Kharkiv Battle Map. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Kharkiv direction – Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv, Slatyne, Sosnivka, Udy, Petrivka, Velyki Prohody, Stary Saltiv, Andriivka;

in the Sloviansk direction – Bohorodychne, Dolyna, Krasnopillya;

in the Kramatorsk direction – Sloviansk, Siversk, Raihorodok, Donetske, Ivano-Daryivka, Vesele;

in the Bakhmut direction – Zaytseve, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Bakhmut, Bilohorivka, Viymka, Rozdolivka;

in the Avdiyivka direction – Avdiyivka, Novokalynove, Berdychiv, Vodyane, Pervomaiske;

in the Novopavlivskyi direction, Russian forces did not carry out active offensive actions, but shelled the regions of Krasnohorivka and Orlivka settlements;

In the Zaporizhzhia direction, Russian forces shelled the areas of the settlements of Bilohirya, Olhivske, Zelene Pole, Novopil, Novosilka, Vremivka;

Kharkiv Battle Map. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Pivdenny Buh direction, Russian forces carried out shelling along the entire line of contact. There were attempts to provide logistical support for the troops. [Russian forces conducted reconnaissance with the active use of UAVs, in total – more than 30 sorties.]

Units of the Defense Forces hold their positions and prevent Russian forces from advancing deep into the territory of Ukraine. The defence forces managed to successfully repulse Russian attacks in the areas of the settlements of Bohorodychne, Pasika, Dolyna, Bakhmut, Pokrovske, Bakhmutske, Pisky, and Pervomaiske. [Yesterday, the defence forces successfully repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Dolyna, Soledar, Novobakhmutivka, Kodema, Zaytseve, Avdiivka, and Maryinka settlements.]

During the day, in order to support the actions of the ground groups, the Ukrainian Air Force carried out 6 strikes aimed at destroying Russian manpower, combat and special equipment, means of radio-electronic warfare, air defence and logistical support facilities. Information on losses is being clarified. [Yesterday, Ukrainian aviation carried out more than 5 strikes during which combat equipment, electronic warfare equipment, anti-aircraft defense and a significant number of personnel were destroyed in the Donetsk and South Buh directions.]

[Yesterday, air defence units of our troops destroyed one helicopter, three UAVs and five Kalibr cruise missiles in various directions.]

Missile troops and artillery of land troops continue to perform tasks of counter-battery combat, disruption of Russian force’s control system and logistical support. As a result of the impact of fire during the past day, damage was inflicted on a Russian command post, areas of concentration of military equipment and personnel of the tank battalion. The “Zoopark” counter-battery radar station, the “Zhitel” electronic warfare station and a large number of the occupants’ manpower were destroyed.”

Military Updates 

South: Armed Forces eliminate almost 140 invaders, many units of enemy equipment, Ukrinform reports. “The aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched 24 strikes on strongholds, areas of concentration of manpower and equipment, command posts and transport routes of Russian troops in the south of Ukraine on September 3. According to the Operational Command South, the Ukrainian forces eliminated 138 Russian troops and their equipment.

The Ukrainian defenders destroyed an ammunition depot in the Bashtanka district of the Mykolaiv region and struck a ferry crossing near Beryslav in the Kherson region. In the southern regions, the Russian occupying forces lost 9 tanks; Msta-B howitzer; Uragan MLRS, S-300 launcher; 152 calibre howitzer gun; 18 units of armoured vehicles.”

The Antonivka Bridge hit again, Ukrinform reports. “In the Kherson region, the Antonivka Railway Bridge was hit again. Antonivka Railway Bridge. Someone smokes cigars” the Strategic Communications Department of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted on Telegram.”

Ukraine’s Marines eliminate 250 invaders, and destroy seven ammo depots in the past week, Ukrinform reports, citing the Navy press service. “According to an update, in the period from Aug 26 to Sep 2, our troops took out more than 260 personnel, seven tanks, 25 armoured combat vehicles (IFVs, APCs), 17 self-propelled guns, two towed artillery units, three MLR systems, two mortars, five vehicles, including four carrying ammo, three observation points, as well as seven ammunition depots, the statement reads.”

Enemy ammunition depot exploding in Kherson region, Ukrinform reports, citing Oleshky Mayor Yevhen Ryshchuk. “In Oleshky town of Kherson region, an ammunition depot of Russian invaders is exploding. An ammunition depot has been exploding in the area of an industrial zone for about 30 minutes, the report reads.”

 

https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/reporting/dfbcec47-7b01-400e-ab21-de8eb98c8f3a/page/p_q301bo7axc?s=rMOfNWpFEGk*

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

  • Russian forces continue to suffer from morale and discipline issues in Ukraine. In addition to combat fatigue and high casualties, one of the main grievances from deployed Russian soldiers probably continues to be problems with their pay.
  • In the Russian military, troops’ income consists of a modest core salary, augmented by a complex variety of bonuses and allowances. In Ukraine, there have highly likely been significant problems with sizeable combat bonuses not being paid. This is probably due to inefficient military bureaucracy, the unusual legal status of the ‘special military operation’, and at least some outright corruption amongst commanders.
  • The Russian military has consistently failed to provide basic entitlements to troops deployed in Ukraine, including appropriate uniforms, arms and rations, as well as pay. This has almost certainly contributed to the continued fragile morale of much of the force.
  • Since 29 August 2022, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been conducting renewed offensive operations in the south of Ukraine. One element of this offensive is an ongoing advance on a broad front west of the Dnipro River, focusing on three axes within Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast.
  • The operation has limited immediate objectives, but Ukraine’s forces have likely achieved a degree of tactical surprise; exploiting poor logistics, administration and leadership in the Russian armed forces.
  • With fighting also continuing in the Donbas and Kharkiv sectors, a key decision for Russian commanders in coming days will be where to commit any operational reserve force they can generate.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Sunday 26 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 49500 (+450),
  • Tanks – 2049 (+15),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 4430 (+27),
  • Artillery systems – 1147 (+13),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 294 (+1),
  • Air defence means – 156 (+3),
  • Aircraft – 236 (+1),
  • Helicopters – 206 (+1),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3276  (+8),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 864 (+0),
  • Special equipment – 106 (+1),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – – 203 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Donetsk and Kryvyi Rih directions.

Bayraktar drones destroy $26.5M worth of Russian equipment in three days — Ukraine Army chief, Ukrinform reports, citing Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces. “Over the past three days, from August 31 to September 2, a pair of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles destroyed enemy equipment worth a total of about $26.5 million. These are eight T-72 tanks (estimated cost of one tank is $3 million), an Akatsiya self-propelled gun ($1.6 million), an IFV ($0.6 million) and howitzers ($0.3 million), he wrote.”

40% of Russian military equipment received by its new units is not combat-ready, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) reports. “40 percent of the equipment with which the new Russian units are equipped is not combat-ready. Having experienced military failures and catastrophic losses of personnel and equipment, Russia is trying to create new military units and units. Russia will be able to form a new army corps only by the end of November. Vadym Skibitskyi, a representative of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, stated this on the air of the Military Television of Ukraine.

“The story with the Third Army Corps will stretch until November. The problem is human resources. Staffing by specialists. It takes 3-4 months to train a normal specialist.

Equipment and weapons are also a problem. All the latest equipment was in the arsenal of those battalion-tactical groups that entered our territory in February-March. Now we see that all units being formed are equipped with Soviet-style weapons, which are removed from storage bases and arsenals and given to the troops. According to our estimates, 40 percent of military equipment is not combat-ready. It needs to be repaired and put in order,” concluded the representative of military intelligence of Ukraine.”

Undermanned: Russia can deploy no more than 350,000 troops in Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Vadym Skibitskyi, the representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU). “In the Russian army, many units only act as guards, defending facilities both on the territory of the Russian Federation and beyond its borders. In addition, Russia has a powerful contingent in Syria. Russia has an extensive network of military bases on the territory of the former Soviet Union; these are [in] Armenia and Tajikistan, [and there’s] a contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, [and] a contingent in Kazakhstan. According to him, that is why Russia can send only 300,000 to 350,000 of its troops to Ukraine.

He added that in March and April, the military leadership of the Russian Federation decided to involve only professional soldiers in the war. But the number of people willing to sign contracts and go to war has decreased significantly after the number of dead and wounded among the occupiers had grown considerably.”

Humanitarian 

Six million Ukrainians leave for Poland in the past six months, Ukrinform reports, citing the Polish border guards. “Since the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, some 6 million people have crossed out of the country toward Poland.

Since February 24, Polish border guards have cleared 6 million people through checkpoints from Ukraine and into Poland,” the report says. At the same time, in the opposite direction, over 4.2 million people crossed the border throughout the same period. According to tentative estimates, there may be more than 3 million Ukrainian citizens remaining in Poland as of today. At the same time, 185,000 Ukrainian children went to Polish schools at the start of the academic year on September 1.”

Ukraine’s agricultural exports grow 66% in August, Ukrinform reports. “In August, Ukraine’s exports of agricultural products increased by 66% – up to 4.5 million tonnes, according to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. In the first six months of the current year, Ukraine exported 12.5 million tonnes of agricultural products, compared with 26.4 million tonnes in the relevant period in 2021.”

️️Environmental 

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear plant loses power line as Moscow, West energy row escalates, Reuters reports. “Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant — the largest in Europe — saw its last remaining main external power line cut off even as a reserve line was able to continue supplying electricity to the grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. Only one of the six reactors remained in operation at the station, the agency said in a statement posted on its website. The plant, controlled by Moscow since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in late February, has become a focal point of the conflict, with each side blaming the other for nearby shelling.

Meanwhile, the standoff over Russian gas and oil exports ramped up this week as Moscow vowed to keep its main gas pipeline to Germany shuttered and G7 countries announced a planned price cap on Russian oil exports. The energy fight is a fallout from President Vladimir Putin’s six-month invasion of Ukraine, underscoring the deep rift between Moscow and Western nations as Europe steels itself for the cold months ahead.

“Russia (is) preparing a decisive energy blow on all Europeans for this winter,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Saturday, citing the Nord Stream 1 pipeline’s continued closure.”

Legal 

“Filtration” and the Crime of Forcibly Transferring Ukrainian Civilians to Russia, HRW reports. “Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russian and Russian-affiliated officials have forcibly transferred Ukrainian civilians, including those fleeing hostilities, to areas of Ukraine occupied by Russia or to the Russian Federation, a serious violation of the laws of war amounting to a war crime and a potential crime against humanity.

Russian and Russian-affiliated authorities also subjected thousands of these Ukrainian citizens to a process referred to by Russia as “filtration,” a form of compulsory security screening, in which they typically collected civilians’ biometric data, including fingerprints and front and side facial images; conducted body searches, and searched personal belongings and phones; and questioned them about their political views. Ukrainian civilians were effectively interned as they waited to undergo this process, with many reporting that they were housed in overcrowded and squalid conditions, for periods as short as several hours for up to almost a month.

Forced transfers and the filtration process constitute and involve separate and distinct abuses against civilians, although many Ukrainian civilians experienced both.

[A HRW] report documents the forcible transfer of Ukrainian civilians from Mariupol and the Kharkiv region to Russia and Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. Unlike combatants who, once captured, are held as prisoners of war (POWs) and may be moved to enemy territory, the forcible transfer of civilians is prohibited under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, and can be prosecuted as a war crime and a crime against humanity. The report describes various kinds of pressure the Russian military and other Russian and Russian-affiliated officials used to make Ukrainian civilians fleeing hostilities go to Russia or the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR), an area of the Donetsk region controlled by Russian-affiliated armed groups and currently occupied by Russia. The report also describes the many challenges Ukrainian civilians faced and the abuses they suffered as they attempted to flee Mariupol for Ukrainian-controlled territory and avoid going to Russia, or as they tried to leave Russia for a third country.

On June 20, Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, claimed that 1.2 million Ukrainians had been forcibly taken to Russia, including 240,000 children. In late July, the Russian News Agency (TASS) reported that over 2.8 million Ukrainians had entered the Russian Federation from Ukraine, including 448,000 children. […] Although the total number of Ukrainian civilians transferred to Russia – either voluntarily or involuntarily – remains unclear, many were transported to Russia in organized mass transfers, even though they were hoping to go to Ukrainian-controlled territory, in a manner and context that renders them illegal forcible transfers.”

Russo-Ukrainian. Day 193: Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant loses power line again ~~

382 children were killed, 740 children injured, 7,297 deported by foe forces, and 232 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of September 2. 2,328 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 289 of them are destroyed fully. 31,871 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 14,812 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

Ukraine war is depleting US ammunition stockpiles, sparking Pentagon concern, WSJ reports. “The war in Ukraine has depleted American stocks of some types of ammunition and the Pentagon has been slow to replenish its arsenal, sparking concerns among US officials that American military readiness could be jeopardized by the shortage. […] One of the most lethal weapons the Pentagon has sent are howitzers that fire high-explosive 155mm ammunition weighing about 100 pounds each and able to accurately hit targets dozens of miles away. As of Aug. 24, the US military said it had provided Ukraine with up to 806,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition. The US military has declined to say how many rounds it had at the start of the year. […]

The Army said the military is now conducting “an ammunitions industrial base deep dive” to determine how to support Ukraine while protecting “our own supply needs.” The Army said it also asked Capitol Hill for $500 million a year in upgrade efforts for the Army’s ammunition plants. Meanwhile, the service is relying on existing contracts to increase production of ammunition, but it hasn’t signed new contracts to account for the higher amounts it will need to replenish its stocks, according to Army officials.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley has been conducting monthly reviews of the US arsenal to determine whether the readiness levels are still appropriate given the needs for the ammunition in Ukraine, according to US military officials. The US last week provided Ukraine with a different size howitzer ammunition, 105mm, a reflection, in part, of the concern about its stocks of 155mm ammunition, the officials said. [….]

Dormant supply lines often can’t be switched on overnight, and surging production of active lines can take time. Companies are already producing 155mm ammunition, but not at the capacity yet that the Pentagon will need to replenish its stocks.

In the US, it takes 13 to 18 months from the time orders are placed for munitions to be manufactured, according to an industry official. Replenishing stockpiles of more sophisticated weaponry such as missiles and drones can take much longer.

Even a yearlong delay is a problem precisely because ammunition shortages can pop up quickly given the rate they can be drawn down in a conflict.

“Nations assume the risk that war is not going to take place, and have the assumption they can react when they need to,” said Brad Martin, director of the Institute for Supply Chain Security at the Rand Corp. “It simply might not be true that you can ramp up” production quickly, he added.”

Pentagon aims to speed arms sales to allies to better compete with China- WSJ, Reuters reports. “The Pentagon has launched a comprehensive push to accelerate sales of US arms to foreign allies, to better compete with China and replenish arsenals of friendly nations that have given military gear to Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The Pentagon last month created a task force to examine longstanding inefficiencies in US sales of billions of dollars of weaponry to foreign countries, according to the newspaper. The “tiger team” will look at ways for the Defense Department to streamline parts of the program, the WSJ said, citing a senior defense official. The aim of the task force is to make coveted American drones, guns, helicopters, tanks and other weaponry available to partners and allies faster, according to WSJ.”

Ukraine called on US and Germany to provide Abrams and Leopard 2: How realistic it is, Defense Express analysis. “We expect the United States to supply us with its Abrams tanks, and from Germany, we expect Leopard 2. These are modern tanks that Ukraine needs on the battlefield,” Denys Shmyhal said in an interview, Deutsche Welle reports. But when it comes to the provision of Western tanks, a certain taboo allegedly emerged, which is quite difficult to explain. The fact that there is a certain agreement not to supply tanks has been known for a long time, since approximately May. Then the existence of such an agreement was either confirmed or denied at various levels. But the outcome is – Ukraine has not yet received a single Western tank, only Soviet machines in a variety of modernization levels. […]

The problems with the German Leopard 2 tanks may, first of all, manifest in the situation when Germany cannot restore the tanks in its storage at an adequate pace. We can find evidence of this in the thwarted delivery of Leopard 2 to Poland, despite promises made; as well as in the extremely low pace of delivery of these tanks to the Czech Republic; and efforts to replace tanks with BMPs when it comes to the fulfilment of other “ring exchange” obligations before multiple countries.

Moreover, Ukraine has already seen some “advances” in Berlin in regard to the provision of the Leopard 2, but the process has stalled, once again, because of the delivery deadlines. In particular, there was information that some 20 tanks were ready to go to Ukraine, but in 2023 only, at the rate of 2 to 3 vehicles per month.

Also, due to the unsatisfactory condition of the Leopard 2, Spain refused to receive them, this fact alone already demonstrates how impossible it is to refit them in an adequate time frame. It makes an impression that the problems with Leopard 2 definitely do not lie in the plane of political decisions. […]

Considering that, we can make a cautious assumption that Germany and the Leopard 2 are simply not the right country and the wrong tank, which can be provided to Ukraine in the foreseeable future and sufficient quantities, despite all its advantages. However, it is a different matter when it comes to Abrams because there are already 3,700 units of Abrams M1A1/A2 tanks in the US stockpile.

But their delivery tempo can be far from what could be described as “a lot and tomorrow”. We can see it in the example of Poland since Warsaw is to receive 116 Abrams M1A1 SA in 2023 under the “ring exchange” procedure for the vehicles it provided to Ukraine, and has additionally ordered 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks, which it expects in 2025. And this, by the way, will make the Abrams the most common tank in the Polish Armed Forces, which will help in the process of future unification between the Polish and Ukrainian armed forces.

Yet even despite the logistical problems, Abrams is a more optimal choice for Ukraine. Although it will call for solving a rather large spectrum of tasks – not only to create stocks of ammunition and necessary materiel in general, train respective tankers and technicians, but also some global logistical issues. Because even when Ukraine does receive Abrams weighing more than 60 tons each, there may be problems with its delivery to the frontline – Ukraine lacks railway platforms, road trawlers and other infrastructural capacities for transporting heavy armoured vehicles of NATO countries.

And only after these problems are solved, we can discuss and compare the combat characteristics of Abrams and Leopard 2, the complexity of maintaining gas turbine engines, the length of the barrels and the levels of reservation and mobility. Because everything relies on the weapons’ accessibility and at least the theoretical possibility of obtaining them in the foreseeable future in required quantities.”

Biden to request $11.7 bln in Ukraine aid, Reuters reports. “US President Joe Biden will request $11.7 billion in emergency funding from Congress to provide lethal aid and budget support to Ukraine, […], the White House said on Friday.

The emergency funding request will also include $2 billion to address the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on US energy supplies, Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), wrote in a blog post.

The Biden administration has received bipartisan support in giving Ukraine more than $13.5 billion in security assistance since January 2021. Young said around three-quarters of Congress-approved aid for the country has been committed or disbursed.”

Ukraine’s reconstruction may cost €1T, and it should start immediately, Ukraine Business News reports. “Ukraine may need as much as €1T in outside assistance to repair the damages inflicted by Russia’s invasion, according to European Investment Bank chief Werner Hoyer during his speech at the Forum 2000. “I’ve put the trillion out there because I saw figures in the public space that I consider completely unrealistic when I look at the level of destruction (in Ukraine),” said Hoyer. He also said that the international community should deal with the Ukraine’s reconstruction now, without waiting for a “great peace” to arrive.

According to him, the main burden of reconstruction will fall on those territories in Ukraine that are free or have been liberated, and that now support the functioning of Ukraine’s economy. Hoyer also said he’s currently seeking to re-assign EIB commitments worth €1 to €1.5B for the Ukraine reconstruction effort. He may get approval for that as early as this week, reported Bloomberg.”

New Developments 

  1. China’s top legislator to visit Russia, attend Eastern Economic Forum, ReutersChina’s top legislator Li Zhanshu will attend the seventh Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok this week, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday, becoming the most senior Chinese official to visit Russia since the Ukraine war began.”
  2. The US has no hopes that Putin is prepared to end the war, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing John Kirby, the US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications. “This is not a war with the US, not a war with NATO. Putin has decided to start a war with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. And unfortunately, nothing that we’re seeing today allows us to hold out any hope that he is prepared to end this war, and stop the murders of peaceful Ukrainians. In a comment about statements by Russian officials that the West’s supply of weapons to Ukraine is only prolonging the conflict, Kirby said: This conflict is only being prolonged by Putin’s desire to continue it.”
  3. Only Ukraine will decide when it is time for the war to end – Advisor to Office of the President, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Mykhailo Podoliak, Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President. “Russian government officials keep repeating a strange mantra: ‘The Special Military Operation will be completed on time, the West is delaying the completion of the Special Military Operation’. Looks like they still fail to understand. Only Ukraine will decide when it is time to end the war, [as it is] gradually liberating its territories.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1566168907592917001

  1. Turkey can be a facilitator on Ukraine nuclear plant, Erdogan tells Putin, ReutersPresident Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that his country can play a facilitator role regarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, his office said on Saturday. Erdogan and Putin agreed to discuss the issues in detail when they meet in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for a summit on Sept. 15-16.”
  2. EU ready if Russia cuts off gas deliveries – European Commissioner, Ukrinform reports, citing the EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni. “We are well prepared to resist Russia’s extreme use of the gas weapon. We are not afraid of Putin’s decisions, we are asking the Russians to respect contracts, but if they don’t, we are ready to react, the official said. According to Gentiloni, in the European Union, “gas storage is currently at about 80 percent, thanks to the diversification of supplies, even if the situation varies from one country to another.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1566329248708706304

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 3 September:

Ukrainian officials directly stated on September 3 that the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive in southern Ukraine is an intentionally methodical operation to degrade Russian forces and logistics, rather than one aimed at immediately recapturing large swathes of territory. Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovych told the Wall Street Journal on September 3 that the current goal of Ukrainian forces in the south is the “systemic grinding of Putin’s army and that Ukrainian troops are slowly and systematically uncovering and destroying Russia’s operational logistical supply system with artillery and precision weapon strikes. Arestovych’s statement echoes ISW’s assessment that the ongoing counteroffensive will likely not result in immediate gains and that Ukrainian forces seek to disrupt key logistics nodes that support Russian operations in the south and chip away at Russian military capabilities.

Ukrainian military officials reported that Ukrainian forces continued positional battles along the Kherson-Mykolaiv frontline on September 3. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that Ukrainian troops conducted positional battles and artillery strikes against Russian positions in unspecified areas. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that in response to recent Ukrainian attacks, Russian forces have strengthened the administrative and police regime in occupied areas around the Dnipro River and continued shelling Ukrainian positions and conducting reconnaissance sorties. Ukrainian officials maintain their calls for operational silence surrounding the progress of Ukrainian attacks in the south.

Ukrainian military officials reiterated that Ukrainian forces are continuing to focus on striking Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs), equipment concentrations, and logistics nodes on September 3. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces conducted over 22 airstrikes and 400 artillery missions on September 3. These strikes reportedly hit a command and observation post of the Russian 205th separate motorized rifle Cossack brigade in Snihurivka (about 60km east of Mykolaiv City near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border), a Russian pontoon crossing near Kozatske (about 55km east of Kherson City and across the Dnipro River from Nova Kakhovka), three ammunition warehouses throughout the Kherson and Beryslav districts, and two ammunition supply points in unspecified locations. The Ukrainian General Staff also noted that Ukrainian aircraft conducted over 40 sorties to support ground elements that destroyed an unspecified number of Russian command and control points, ammunition warehouses, logistical support systems, and areas of concentrated manpower. The Ukrainian General Staff notably posted footage of Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2s destroying Russian T-72 tanks in an unspecified location along the Southern Axis, which may be indicative of overall insufficient Russian air defence capabilities in Kherson Oblast.

Nova Kakhovka Planet Labs image. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Nova Kakhovka Planet Labs image. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW.

Nova Kakhovka Planet Labs image. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Nova Kakhovka Planet Labs image. September 3, 2022. Source: ISW.

Social media footage from residents of Kherson Oblast provides visual evidence of Ukrainian strikes in western and central Kherson Oblast. Geolocated footage shows the aftermath of a Ukrainian strike on the “Lost World” hotel and sports complex in Kherson City on September 3. Ukrainian sources claimed that the complex belonged to the Russian-backed head of the Kherson occupation administration, Volodymyr Saldo. The Ukrainian General Staff noted on September 2 that the Russian company that was based in the ”Lost World” sports complex previously looted the property and fled to occupied Crimea. Elements of the Russian-backed occupation regime likely used the ”Lost World” complex as some sort of headquarters. Local residents additionally posted footage of the aftermath of a Ukrainian strike on a Russian ammunition depot in Oleshky, about 8km southeast of Kherson City across the Dnipro River. Geolocated footage also shows a destroyed Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense system in Oleshky. Social media footage of explosions in Nova Kakhovka (55km east of Kherson City) supports satellite imagery from September 2 depicting that the Nova Khakovka dam bridge has partially collapsed due to Ukrainian strikes. The satellite imagery shows a roughly 20m-by-9m segment of the bridge has fallen into the river, which has likely rendered this section of the dam bridge inoperable.]

The Kremlin could intensify its efforts to promote self-censorship among Russian milbloggers and war correspondents who cover the war in Ukraine. Russian authorities arrested and later released prominent Russian milblogger Semyon Pegov (employed by Telegram channel WarGonzo) in Moscow on September 2, due to what WarGonzo described as Pegov drunkenly threatening a hotel administrator. Pegov is an experienced military journalist and WarGonzo has extensive links to the Russian military and access to Russian military operations in Donbas in 2014, Syria in 2015, and Ukraine in 2022. ISW continues to track anomalous activity regarding Russia’s milbloggers. We cannot confirm the circumstances of Pegov’s arrest, but WarGonzo’s explanation may be correct.

However, ISW previously assessed in July that the Kremlin seeks to promote self-censorship among milbloggers who have undermined Kremlin efforts to portray the war in Ukraine as a decisive Russian victory, and the Kremlin may seek to amplify this censorship. Russian military bloggers have candidly reported on Russian forces‘ poor performance in Ukraine and have discussed how the Kremlin has attempted to censor their coverage in Ukraine. Prominent milblogger Rybar noted that the relationship between the Russian military command and war correspondents particularly soured after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with war correspondents during the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on June 17, during which Putin likely tried to defuse milbloggers’ discontent. The Kremlin later likely intensified efforts to promote self-censorship among milbloggers by using a leaked letter from mothers of Russian soldiers who demanded the ban of journalist activity on the frontlines in July.  

The Kremlin so far has not escalated to detaining milbloggers for their coverage. Pegov’s arrest—if connected to his coverage in Ukraine—would be a significant development in Russian efforts to control the Russian information space. ISW forecasted that the Russian information space would change significantly if the Ministry of Defense cracked down on milbloggers and stopped them from operational reporting since ISW uses milbloggers and Russian war correspondents as sources of Russian claims on a daily basis. We will continue to observe and report on milblogger and war correspondent behavior and will flag significant changes in the Russian information space as we observe them.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian officials directly stated that the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive is a methodical operation to intentionally degrade Russian forces and logistics in the south, rather than one aimed at immediately recapturing large swathes of territory.
  • The Kremlin may be intensifying efforts to foster self-censorship among Russian milbloggers and war correspondents who are covering the war in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian military officials reported that Ukrainian forces continued positional battles along the Kherson-Mykolaiv frontline and that Ukrainian troops are focusing on striking Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs), equipment and manpower concentrations, and logistics nodes along the Southern Axis.
  • Social media footage shows evidence of effective Ukrainian strikes in western and central Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian mibloggers continue to claim that Ukrainian forces are fighting in western Kherson Oblast, along the Inhulets River, and in northern Kherson south of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast border.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks northeast and south of Bakhmut and north and southwest of Donetsk City.
  • Ukrainian forces may be conducting localized attacks along the line of contact in Western Zaporizhzhia Oblast to disrupt ongoing Russian troop deployments.
  • Russian authorities continue to generate combat power from recruitment through state-owned enterprises and prisons to circumvent general mobilization.

Russian occupation authorities are increasingly struggling to provide basic services in occupied areas of Ukraine.”

Russia is deploying the recently formed 3rd Army Corps to the front, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Conflict Intelligence Team. “During the past few days, our volunteers discovered photos and videos of Russian military equipment by railway. A full Buk missile system can be seen on the video, and the photo shows T-80BV and T-90M tanks. According to the Russian railway database, both echelons are headed from Mulino in Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast heading towards the Neklinivka railway station in Rostov Oblast (Russia), near the border with Donetsk Oblast (Ukraine).

They were departed from Mulino on 22 and 24 August respectively, which more or less corresponds to the time tof deployment of the 3rd Army Corps, as reported by Kostiantyn Mashovets, a Ukrainian analyst, and confirmed by other sources”

The investigators remarked that the transportation of Buk missile systems indicates that a large unit, such as the army, is being deployed. In this case it can be assumed that the whole of 3rd Army Corps is being deployed, or at least the combat-ready part of it, the report states.”

How the West is racing to stop Ukraine’s guns from falling silent, The Telegraph reports. “[Ukrainian] ability to continue fighting back rests on the steady supply of Western arms, ammunition and materiel. Yet a problem has begun to emerge which threatens that steady supply. Most Western weaponry supplied to Ukraine has either come from ready-use war stockpiles or from long term stores of vehicles and materiel that is obsolete by NATO standards. After six months of full intensity war fighting – and with winter on the horizon – those stocks are starting to run low.

Earlier this week The Wall Street Journal reported that much American military aid “has come directly from US inventory, depleting stockpiles intended for unexpected threats”. An unnamed US defence official told the newspaper that reserves of 155mm artillery shells were running “uncomfortably low” after the supply of 806,000 rounds to Ukraine. Production, inevitably, now needs to rise.  […]

The military-industrial complex – Dwight Eisenhower’s description of the manufacturers and suppliers to the world’s armed forces – must step up to the mark. A debate is now under way between NATO governments, their own militaries and their treasuries about not only the quantity of materiel they want to supply to Ukraine, but the knock-on effect on their own nations of emptying their stockpiles.

Trevor Taylor, a research fellow from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), says the biggest challenge for Ukraine’s Western supporters is placing fresh contracts with defence suppliers, especially as Ukraine starts mounting full-scale counterattacks to regain lost territory. Offensive actions require more munitions and effort than do defensive actions, says Taylor. But the military intent, what they can realistically think about mounting, is a function of the supplies they can get from outside.

Two key factors for keeping a military offensive going are the rate at which army units consume ammunition and the speed with which their comrades can resupply them. Ukraine’s artillery regiments are firing around 6,000 shells a day, according to estimates from Rusi. Even the simplest artillery ammunition needs time to make, and lead times for the increasingly complex weapon systems employed by modern militaries make forward planning to head off a supply crisis ever more important.

Nicholas Drummond, a defence industry analyst and former British Army officer, thinks part of the supply problem lies with politicians and generals who embraced post-Cold War peace dividend-driven thinking for far too long. Essentially, the Russo-Ukrainian war has exposed years of under-investment across many areas of defence, but particularly in war stocks of ammunition, he says.

There is a collective realisation that this conflict will not finish quickly and, worse, if Russia escalates, NATO armies could be drawn into it. So, without fanfare, huge efforts are being made to rebuild gifted ammo stocks and to build up our own contingency holdings. […]

While production in the US is quicker to restart for artillery shells than for more complicated weapons like rockets and missiles, it can still take up to 18 months from order to delivery of the munitions. Insiders at some of the UK’s arms companies say it takes about 10 years to commission, design and deliver a new missile, while restarting an old production line can take up to two years, depending on the complexity of the weaponry. Anti-aircraft weaponry is harder to make, because of the extreme performance needed from missiles capable of destroying supersonic fighter jets.”

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

G7 finance chiefs agree on Russian oil price cap but the level is not yet set, Euronews reports. “Group of Seven finance ministers agreed on Friday to impose a price cap on Russian oil aimed at slashing revenues for Moscow’s war in Ukraine while keeping crude flowing to avoid price spikes, but their statement left out key details of the plan.

The ministers from the club of wealthy industrial democracies confirmed their commitment to the plan after a virtual meeting. They said, however, that the per-barrel level of the price cap would be determined later “based on a range of technical inputs” to be agreed by the coalition of countries implementing it.

The provision of maritime transportation services, including insurance and finance, would be allowed only if the Russian oil cargoes are purchased at or below the price level “determined by the broad coalition of countries adhering to and implementing the price cap.”

The ministers said they would work to finalize the details, through their own domestic processes, aiming to align it with the start of European Union sanctions that will ban Russian oil imports into the bloc starting in December. The ministers said they would seek a broader coalition of oil importing countries to purchase Russian crude and petroleum products only at or below the price cap, and will invite their input into the plan.”

In a Surprise, Russia Says the Gas Pipeline to Germany Will Remain Closed, The New York Times reports. “Nord Stream 1, operated by state-owned Gazprom, won’t reopen Saturday as expected, heightening fears Russia will step up its use of energy to pressure Europe. Gazprom said on Friday that it would postpone restarting the flow of natural gas through a closely watched pipeline that connects Russia and Germany, an unexpected delay that appeared to be part of a larger struggle between Moscow and the West over energy and the war in Ukraine.

Russo-Ukrainian. Day 193: Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant loses power line again ~~

The Russian-owned energy giant had been expected to resume the flow of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Saturday after three days of maintenance. But hours before the pipeline was set to reopen, Gazprom said that problems had been found during inspections, and that the pipeline would be closed until they were eliminated. It did not give a timeline for restarting.

The announcement had the hallmarks of a tit-for-tat move. Earlier on Friday, finance ministers for the Group of 7 countries said that they had agreed to impose a price cap mechanism on Russian oil in a bid to choke off some of the energy revenue Moscow is still collecting from Europe.

European officials said Russia was cutting back its gas deliveries to punish Europe for its opposition to the war in Ukraine. Many have accused the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, of seeking to rattle energy markets with threats of ever-diminishing gas supplies.

Russia using energy as a weapon, White House says about Nord Stream shutdown, Reuters reports. “Moscow is using energy as a tool to pressure Europe, the White House said about the delayed return of Gazprom’s Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline, as Europe gets closer to a ban on oil imports from Russia. It is unfortunately not surprising that Russia continues to use energy as a weapon against European consumers, a National Security Council spokesperson told Reuters in an email about the shutdown of the pipeline that sends gas to Europe.

Russia scrapped a Saturday deadline to resume flows on the line, deepening Europe’s problems in securing fuel for the upcoming winter.

In punitive measures against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the European Union expects to ban crude oil exports from Russia in early December and refined products two months later. On Friday, the Group of Seven formally agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil, aimed at slashing revenues for Moscow’s war while keeping oil flowing to global markets.”

Explainer: Why Europe faces climbing energy bills, Reuters reports. “Prices started to rise above historically normal levels last September and have soared further following supply disruption linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24. Just before the war started, the German government halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would have doubled the amount of Russian gas shipped to Europe. In July, Russia cut volumes pumped through Nord Stream 1 to 20% of capacity, citing maintenance issues, in what the German government said was a pretext used by Moscow to hit back against Western sanctions.

On Friday, Russia scrapped a Saturday deadline to resume flows via Nord Stream 1 to Germany, deepening Europe’s difficulties in securing winter fuel, after saying it had found faults in the pipeline during maintenance. Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea, had been due to resume operating after a three-day halt for maintenance.

French nuclear outages and a heatwave across Europe this summer have also boosted demand.

Benchmark European gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub have risen by nearly 350% year on year, while German and French front-year power contracts have leapt by 540% and 790% respectively.

Many gas market analysts expect prices to remain elevated for the next two years or more. Global competition for gas and coal this winter is expected to prevent prices from falling. Any more disruption to the Russian gas supply, such as a full stoppage through Nord Stream 1, would support prices. Although European countries are on track to refill gas storage sites to a minimum level of 80% by Oct. 1, an extra cold winter could deplete those reserves quickly.”

 

Hans Petter Midttun: The summer is officially behind us and Europe is facing winter.

For Ukraine, this means that the challenge of subzero temperatures comes on top of all the other difficulties it is facing. This includes – but by no means limited to – lack of energy security for most, and in many places, lack of heating altogether. More than 17 million are already in need of humanitarian aid and protection. These numbers will increase as the temperature decreases. Europe might very well face yet another wave of refugees in the months to come.

One million Ukrainian men and women in uniform are facing multiple shortcomings trying to stay alive and vigilant in temperatures down to minus 30 degrees. Winter will impede transportation. Western supplied weapon systems will face the ultimate test. The ground will freeze, making it more difficult to dig in but easier to traverse for heavy armour. It will bring a new dynamic to an already brutal war.

The upcoming winter is, however, also a reflection of time. February will mark 9 years of war and 1 year since the full-scale invasion started. It will not least, reflect a year of comprehensive defence, humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine as the West is facing increasing problems of its own.

While minuscule in comparison to what Ukraine is facing daily, they are still on a scale that might potentially change the political landscape of both Europe and the USA. With higher costs of living, lack of energy and food security, inflation, and recession, the West is facing a “tsunami of ripple effects” that will increase in severity with both time and low temperature.

The member states of the Alliance are also facing logistical shortcomings limiting their ability to uphold the support to Ukraine in the months to come. Unless they prioritise the efforts of the defence industry to meet the operational needs on the battlefield in Ukraine, NATO will soon be forced to deploy its Air and Maritime forces to Ukraine due to a lack of defence support options.

The inevitability of it makes NATO’s present strategy even harder to understand.

If it had acted according to its past strategic concepts already in 2014 – or on 24 February 2022 – Ukraine would have avoided the suffering and destruction, the global famine would have been less severe and we would never have experienced the consequences of the “tsunami of ripple effects” from the war. The West would not have faced the present logistical challenges. Most importantly, NATO deterrence would not have been compromised.

A continuation of the same strategy makes even less sense.

Brace yourselves. Winter is coming.

 

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