Russo Ukrainian War. Day 220: Ukraine applies for fast track NATO membership

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Russia annexed occupied Ukrainian territories. A deadly attack on a humanitarian convoy in Zaporizhzhia kills 30, injures 88. Russian missile attacks kill civilians in Mykolaiv and Dnipro. Zelensky holds Security Council. Ukraine applies for NATO membership. NATO’s Stoltenberg promises unending support to Ukraine, says NATO is not a part “of this conflict.” The US prepares a new sanctions package. Russian invaders abduct the director of Zaporizhzhia NPP. Lithuania acquires kamikaze drones for Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, October 1

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, September 31, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below.

Situation in Ukraine. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW.

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Donetsk Battle Map. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW.

“Russian forces continue to focus their efforts on attempts to fully occupy the Donetsk oblast and hold the temporarily captured territories, as well as to disrupt the active actions of the Defence Forces in certain areas. Russian forces are shelling the positions of our troops along the contact line, conducting aerial reconnaissance. Attacks civilian infrastructure and civilian homes, violating International Humanitarian Law, laws and customs of war.

Over the past day, Russian forces launched 4 missile strikes, 15 airstrikes, and more than 85 MLRS attacks at military and civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine.

[In the morning of September 30, the Russian occupiers committed another act of terrorism, launching a rocket attack on a convoy of civilian vehicles moving for humanitarian purposes through the territory of the Zaporizhzhia oblast. The strikes were made by S-300 air defence missiles. According to preliminary information, at least 25 people were killed, and many more were injured.]

[In addition, Russian forces continue to use Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack UAVs to destroy the civil infrastructure of cities.]

More than 50 settlements were affected by enemy strikes. In particular, Bilohorivka, Novomykolaivka, Blahodativka, Sukhyy Stavok and Odradivka.

The situation in the Volyn and Polissia directions has not changed significantly.

In other directions, Russian forces shelled populated areas with tanks, mortars, artillery and MLRS, namely:

  • in the Slobozhanskyy direction – in the areas of the settlements of Strilecha, Ridkodub, Kuchkivka, Okhrimivka and Vilkhuvatka;
Kharkiv Battle Map. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Kramatorsk direction – in the areas of Hryhorivka, Bilohorivka, Ivano-Daryivka, Zakytne, Rozdolivka and Spirne settlements;
  • in the Bakhmut direction – in the areas of the settlements of Bakhmut, Zaitseve, Mykolayivka Druha and Paraskoviyivka;
  • in the Avdiivka direction – in the areas of Maryinka, Vodyane and Oleksandropil settlements;
  • in the Novopavlivka direction – in the areas of Novosilka, Novopil, Prechystivka and Pavlivka settlements.
  • In the Zaporizhzhia direction, shelling was recorded in the areas of Mala Tokmachka, Zaliznychne, Hulyaipole and Novoandriivka settlements.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. September 30, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Pivdennyy Buh direction – Areas of more than 25 settlements along the contact line were shelled by tanks, mortars, and barrel artillery. Among them are Stepova Dolyna, Myrne, Sukhyy Stavok, Olhyne and Arkhangelsk.

Due to the significant lack of human resources, primarily officers, the Russian military leadership is forced to prematurely engage cadets of military schools. Early graduation of cadets will be held at the Tiumen Military School. Graduates are planned to be assigned to primary officer positions in military units equipped with a mobilization reserve. The cadets of the final courses of the Riazan Airborne Training School are sent to train mobilization reserve regiments, which is carried out on the basis of training fields near Riazan, Omsk, Pskov, Tula and other cities. For the specified units, they are planning preparation and coordination activities for no more than one month, with subsequent deployment to the area of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine.

[Partial mobilization continues in the Russian Federation. In the Khabarovsk Krayi, officials responsible for the selection and preparation of mobilization resources have established new corruption “tariffs”. Thus, a postponement of mobilization costs 100 thousand rubles, which is an almost unattainable amount for the majority of the local population.]

[The occupation command is trying to implement forced mobilization measures in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Cases of detention of local men of draft age have become more frequent in Kherson. After a superficial determination of suitability for military service, they are sent to equip units that are planned to be used in the area of ​​hostilities. In Berdyansk, employees of some enterprises that remained working in the occupied territory were forcibly demobilized. In addition, reinforced units of the Russian guard arrived in the city in order to suppress the possible resistance of the local population.]

Over the past day, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks near New York, Zaytseve, and Soledar. [Yesterday, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Mayorsk, Zaytseve, Odradivka and Bakhmutske settlements.]

During the past 24 hours, the aviation of the Defence Forces has carried out eleven strikes. It was confirmed that a Russian stronghold, 6 areas of accumulation of weapons and military equipment, as well as 4 enemy anti-aircraft missile systems were hit. In addition, our air defence units shot down 3 UAVs and 1 Ka-52 helicopter.

Missile troops and artillery hit 11 control and command points of various levels and 8 areas of accumulation of manpower, weapons and military equipment. Also, 14 more enemy military objects – warehouses with ammunition, anti-aircraft missile complexes, crossings, electronic warfare and intelligence stations – were hit in the affected area.”

Military Updates

Encirclement of Russians near the city of Lyman is “at the final stage”, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the Eastern group of troops, reported by Suspilne and hromadske. “The encirclement of the Russian troops near Lyman in the Donetsk region is “at the final stage”. Measures are continuing to complete the encirclement of Russian troops in the area of Lyman, and almost all logistics routes are under the fire control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukrainian defenders published a video of the Russian invaders fleeing in the direction of Lyman and called such a “retreat” –  “tactical regrouping“.”

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

  • On 30 September 2022, Russian forces almost certainly struck a convoy south-east of the town of Zaporizhzhia. Local authorities report 25 civilians killed. The munition involved was likely a Russian long-range air defence missile being used in a ground attack role.
  • Russia’s stock of such missiles is highly likely limited and is a high-value resource designed to shoot down modern aircraft and incoming missiles, rather than for use against ground targets. Its use in ground attack role has almost certainly been driven by overall munitions shortages, particularly longer-range precision missiles.
  • On the same day, President Putin signed annexation agreements for Zaporizhzhia and other parts of occupied Ukraine. Russia is expending strategically valuable military assets in attempts to achieve tactical advantage and in the process is killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens.
  • Medical provision for Russian combat troops in Ukraine is probably growing worse. Some newly mobilised Russian reservists have been ordered to source their own combat first aid supplies, with the advice that female sanitary products are a cost-effective solution.
  • Medical training and first-aid awareness is likely poor. Some Russia troops have obtained their own modern, Western-style combat torniquets but have stowed them on their equipment using cable-ties, rather than with the Velcro provided – probably because such equipment is scarce and liable to be pilfered. This is almost certain to hamper or render impossible the timely application of torniquet care in the case of catastrophic bleeding on the battlefield.
  • Russian troops’ lack of confidence in sufficient medical provision is almost certainly contributing to a declining state of morale and a lack of willingness to undertake offensive operations in many units in Ukraine.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Saturday 1 October, 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 59610 (+530),
  • Tanks – 2354 (+16),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 4949 (+17),
  • Artillery systems – 1397 (+6),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 336 (+3),
  • Air defence means – 176 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 264 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 226 (+1),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3786 (+18),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1009 (+6),
  • Special equipment – 131 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 246 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Kramatorsk and Bakhmut directions.

Russian Lend-Lease: abandoned ammunition storage site found in Izium, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing press service of the State Investigation Bureau of Ukraine. “Members of the State Investigation Bureau of Ukraine found an abandoned ammunition storage site in the city of Izium (Kharkiv Oblast), where the occupiers had kept a big arsenal and propagandist leaflets.

The storage site was organised on the territory of the Izium forestry where the 1st Tank Division of the Russian army was based while the city was under siege. […] The occupiers retreated, leaving behind a big arsenal in the storage, including projectiles for multiple-launch rocket systems. These ammunition loads were handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Humanitarian 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1575760583651373061

Attack on a humanitarian convoy in Zaporizhzhia: Russia kills 30 people, injures 88 more, Ukrinform reports. “Russia’s missile attack on a humanitarian convoy in Zaporizhzhia is a terrorist attack, as a result of which 115 people, including children, were killed or injured.

About 50 cars gathered here today, and their number kept growing every minute. At 07:12, S-300 missiles slammed. Three arrivals within a short interval claimed the lives of 26 people, including two children: 11-year-old Maksym and 14 -year-old Valeria. […] Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Denys Monastyrskyi said.

Monastyrskyi added that Ukrainian citizens had gathered every day at 07:00 to go to the captured territory to their homes, their parents and children. So these strikes were deliberately launched today. There is no military object here, only civilians. This strike was absolutely clearly planned. Now the main terrorist of the world, Putin, is speaking, declaring the annexation of these areas. Yes, this is a response to the success of our troops in the Kharkiv region, today’s success of our troops near Lyman, this is the Russian army’s impotent response to the civilized world, Monastyrskyi added.

[…] As reported, on the morning of September 30, Russian troops hit a convoy of cars with civilians trying to leave for the temporarily occupied territories for humanitarian purposes. Sixteen missiles were launched with the use of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.»

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is working with the Government and oblast authorities to repair and insulate damaged homes of Ukrainians before the winter comes, Ukrinform reports. “UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is working with the Government and oblast authorities to repair and insulate damaged homes of Ukrainians before the winter comes. In close coordination with the Ukrainian government, its local authorities and communities, UNHCR identifies families with specific vulnerabilities, like older age, disability or low income, who need support to repair their homes. This is part of UNHCR’s contribution to the collective effort to provide people with access to dignified and warm housing during the winter, the statement says.

It is reported that since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February, almost 14 million people fled their homes in search of safety, and more than 800,000 families have had their homes destroyed or damaged in missile attacks and shelling.

As part of its winterisation response, UNHCR aims to repair and insulate 8,200 houses through its programme of light and medium repairs, to create or improve 14,400 sleeping spaces in collective centres for IDPs who cannot return home and do not have the means to secure private accommodation. Some 337,000 people will receive cash support to cover increased costs associated with the winter period and 567,000 people will receive essential items like thermal blankets, thermoses and heaters. Overall, UNHCR aims to reach more than 940,000 vulnerable individuals in the winterization response to complement the Government’s efforts.”

Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighbouring countries, and many more have been forced to move inside the country. The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance the UNHCR reports. As of 30 September:

Individual refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe: 7,536,433
Hungary, Republic  of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia 1,707,455
Russian Federation, Belarus 2,786,229
Other European countries 3,042,749
Refugees from Ukraine registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe: 4,183,841
Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia 1,601,382
Other European countries 2,582,459
Border crossings from Ukraine (since 24 February 2022): 13,379,780
Border crossings to Ukraine (since 28 February 2022): 6,256,558

Environmental 

50 countries call on Russia to withdraw its troops from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “50 participating countries of the IAEA General Conference have signed a joint statement calling on Russia to withdraw its troops from the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and stop the nuclear blackmail.

Thus, fifty states participating in the 66th IAEA General Conference strongly condemned Russia’s actions against nuclear facilities in Ukraine and called on the Russian Federation to immediately stop any interference at Ukrainian nuclear sites. The document emphasises that the seizure of the ZNPP by Russian troops is the root cause of the existing threats to nuclear safety and physical protection in Ukraine. The plant should stay connected to the Ukrainian power grid as an integral part of the Ukrainian energy system, the statement reads. 

The conference participants also noted that “any rigged referendums held by the Russian Federation within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine will not have a legal or political impact on the status of the nuclear power plant or the surrounding territories.

We once again call on the Russian Federation to immediately stop all actions against nuclear facilities and at nuclear facilities in Ukraine so that the Ukrainian competent authorities can restore full control over all nuclear facilities within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine to ensure their safe and reliable operation, as well as to ensure that the IAEA safely and fully carries out its activities to verify guarantees in Ukraine, the joint statement reads.

The document was signed by several countries, including the EU member states, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Australia, Ukraine, Africa and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).”

Russian invaders abduct director of Zaporizhzhia NPP – Energoatom, Ukrinform reports. “Russian occupiers have detained Ihor Murashov, the general director of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). Petro Kotin, the president of the state-owned energy company Energoatom, said this in a statement.

According to the statement, on Friday, September 30, 2022, at around 16:00, Russian forces detained Murashov on his way from the station to Enerhodar. His car was stopped, and he was forcibly detained and taken away blindfolded. Currently, there is no information about Murashov’s whereabouts and fate.

The statement added that the plant’s general director bears the main and exclusive responsibility for nuclear and radiation safety at the plant. His detention poses a danger to the operation of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”

Nord Stream rupture may mark biggest single methane release ever recorded -UN, Reuters reports. “The ruptures on the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline system under the Baltic Sea have led to what is likely the biggest single release of climate-damaging methane ever recorded, the United Nations Environment Programme said on Friday.

A huge plume of highly concentrated methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent but shorter-lived than carbon dioxide, was detected in an analysis this week of satellite imagery by researchers associated with UNEP’s International Methane Emissions Observatory, or IMEO, the organization said. This is really bad, most likely the largest emission event ever detected, Manfredi Caltagirone, head of the IMEO for UNEP, told Reuters. This is not helpful at a moment when we absolutely need to reduce emissions.

Researchers at GHGSat, which uses satellites to monitor methane emissions, estimated the leak rate from one of four rupture points was 22,920 kilograms per hour. That is equivalent to burning about 630,000 pounds of coal every hour, GHGSat said in a statement. This rate is very high, especially considering its four days following the initial breach, the company said.”

US does not believe pipeline leaks were work of any NATO ally -Sullivan, Reuters reports. “The United States does not believe that any members of NATO were involved in causing leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines that run from Russia to Europe, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday.

We do not believe that this was the work of any NATO ally, Sullivan told reporters at the White House. Russia has blamed the West for the leaks. European Union states say they believe the damage was caused by sabotage.”

Legal

399 children were killed, 783 children injured, 7,894 deported by foe forces, and 237 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of October 1. 2,562 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 295 of them are destroyed fully. In the period of 23-30 September, 37,306 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 16,628 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

Ukraine is gaining the upper hand. But it needs more help, Euromaidan Press reports. “The dynamics of the balance of power in the Russo-Ukrainian war are gradually changing in favour of Ukraine. But Ukraine needs more help, writes Ukrainian analyst Volodymyr Dacenko. At the beginning of the war, Russia had a total advantage in all parameters:

1.5 times more soldiers – 4 times more tanks – 6 times more armoured vehicles – 2 times more artillery – at least 10 times advantage in aviation, navy and long-range missile systems. […]

But the number of Ukrainian troops is constantly growing. Currently, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine claims about 700,000 military personnel (obviously this figure includes support personnel and those who have not yet finished training).

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 220: Ukraine applies for fast-track NATO membership ~~

Now we can talk about a twofold superiority in the number of Ukrainian troops at the front line.

You can often come across the phrase: “Ukraine lacks troops,” but in reality, there is a lack of heavy weapons. […] The situation with tanks is the best for Ukraine because Russia has already lost from 30 to 50% of all the tanks it had at the beginning of the war. Ukraine managed to capture a large number of tanks, as well as receive 300-400 T-72 tanks from Poland and the Czech Republic.

In terms of the number of armoured vehicles and the number of artillery, Russia still has a total advantage. First, Russia has significant reserves that are easier to mobilize than tanks Second, Ukraine is losing more artillery systems than it is gaining.

Of the 1,500 Soviet artillery systems that Ukraine had at the beginning of the war, more than half were lost. First of all, due to the lack of Soviet-caliber projectiles and extensive wear and tear of old systems. The Allies compensated only 25-30% of these losses.

Ukraine has a significant advantage in the quality of intelligence. But reconnaissance alone is meaningless if the artillery does not have time to destroy the targets. In one of the reports from advanced positions, a Ukrainian scout complains that Ukrainian artillery does not have time to destroy all the targets found by the scout. Howitzers move quite slowly along the front line and do not always manage to arrive in time for a counterattack

Ukraine is also forced to use non-typical methods. For example, mortars instead of artillery. We approach Russian forces at 2-3 km and shoot at their rear at 4-5 km, instead of using self-propelled guns, because there are not enough of them, and that’s why we are forced to substitute our mortars, said scout Sviat from a mortar squad. Unfortunately, he died during the counterattack on Kherson.

Unfortunately, the lack of heavy weapons forces Ukrainian troops to take risks. This risk brings greater losses than if the Ukrainian army had enough armoured vehicles and artillery. Now Russia is at a dead end or on the way to it. But if this moment is missed and Russia can regain its strength in the winter and spring, everything can change.”

Lithuania acquires kamikaze drones for Ukraine, LRT.lt reports. “The Lithuanian Defence Ministry on Friday signed a contract with a Polish company for the acquisition of kamikaze drones for Ukraine. The ministry has said Lithuania will use funds raised in a crowdfunding campaign to buy Warmate drone systems from Poland’s WB Group and hand them over to Ukraine.

Deputy Defence Minister Vilius Semeška said that two complete sets, including the launching system and 37 units of loitering munitions, will be purchased from Poland. The so-called kamikaze drones are capable of carrying explosives and destroying tanks and command posts, and the need for these drones has been coordinated with the Ukrainian military, according to the deputy minister.”

Biden signs bill providing over $12B in aid to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing a White House statement. “US President Joe Biden has signed a bill that allows avoiding a government shutdown in the United States and provides a multibillion-dollar package of new security and economic assistance to Ukraine. The President signed into law H.R. 6833, the ‘Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023,’ which provides the fiscal year 2023 appropriations to Federal agencies through December 16, 2022, for continuing projects and activities of the Federal Government and includes supplemental appropriations to respond to the situation in Ukraine, the statement said.

The document is primarily aimed at continuing the financing of US federal institutions in the absence of an approved state budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The document also provides $12.35 billion in assistance related to Ukraine, including training, equipment, weapons, logistics support, and direct financial support for the government of Ukraine.”

Pentagon plans to set up a new command to arm Ukraine, officials say, The New York Times reports. “The mission in Germany would streamline a training and assistance system that the United States and its allies created on the fly after Russia’s invasion, officials said. The Pentagon is preparing to overhaul how the United States and its allies train and equip the Ukrainian military, reflecting what officials say is the Biden administration’s long-term commitment to support Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The proposal would streamline a training and assistance system that was created on the fly after the Russian invasion in February. The system would be placed under a single new command based in Germany that would be led by a high-ranking US general, according to several military and administration officials.

Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, the top American officer in Europe, recently presented a proposal outlining the changes to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, the officials said. Mr. Austin and his top aides are reviewing the plan and are likely to make a final decision in the coming weeks, senior US officials said, adding that the White House and the Pentagon favoured the approach. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe confidential discussions.

Just as the Pentagon has committed more than $16 billion in military aid to Ukraine — a combination of immediate shipments from stockpiles as well as contracts for weapons to be delivered over the next three years — the new command signals that the United States expects the threat from Russia to Ukraine and its neighbors to persist for many years, current and former senior US officials said. […]

The new command, which would report to General Cavoli, would carry out the decisions made by the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a coalition of 40 countries that the Defense Department created after the Russian invasion to address Ukraine’s needs and requests. Senior military officials from the member nations met in Brussels this week.

About 300 people would be dedicated to the mission, which would be in Wiesbaden, Germany, the US Army’s headquarters in Europe. Much of the training of Ukrainian soldiers on US weapons systems is already taking place there or nearby. The changes, which aim to give a formal structure to what has been improvised since the war’s onset, are roughly modeled on US train-and-assist efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades. […]

Still, the Pentagon has taken steps to begin the expected consolidation of the train-and-equip duties. Over the summer, a cell of logistics specialists that matches Ukraine’s requests with military donations from more than 40 nations moved to Wiesbaden from Stuttgart, Germany. The little-known group — formally called the International Donor Coordination Center, along with officers from more than two dozen countries — is playing a pivotal role in supporting Ukraine’s military as its battlefield needs become more complicated. […]”

New Developments 

  1. Defiant Putin proclaims Ukrainian annexation as military setback looms, ReutersA defiant Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russia’s annexation of {Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts of] Ukraine in a pomp-filled Kremlin ceremony, promising Moscow would triumph in its “special military operation” even as he faced a potentially serious new military reversal. The proclamation of Russian rule over 15% of Ukraine– the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two – was roundly rejected by Ukraine and Western countries as illegal. The United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions.”

  1. Russia flouts UN principles, resorts to dangerous escalation – Guterres, UkrinformUnited Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned Russia’s attempts to annex the captured territories of Ukraine and said that the Kremlin is resorting to a dangerous escalation that will dramatically affect the whole world. This is said in an official statementby the UN general secretary. Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned. It cannot be reconciled with the international legal framework, he said.”

  1. G7 calls on all countries to reject Russia’s expansionism, UkrinformBy attempting to annex further Ukrainian territories, Russia has constituted a new “low point” in its blatant flouting of international law, which should receive a proper assessment of the entire international community. This is said in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ statementon the illegal annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territory, which was published on the website of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.”
  2. Russia vetoes the UN resolution on proclaimed annexations, China abstains, ReutersRussia on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United States and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine, with Russia’s strategic partner China abstaining from the vote. US Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield introduced the resolutionthat called on member states not to recognize any altered status of Ukraine and obliged Russia to withdraw its troops.”
  3. CoE leaders condemn the illegal annexation of occupied territories of Ukraine, UkrinformIreland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Simon Coveney, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Tiny Kox, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, have condemned the illegal annexation of captured Ukrainian territories by Russia. That’s according to a joint statement, released by the CoE press service, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.”
  4. Putin claims the West is envious of Russia’s grandeur, Ukrainska Pravda Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, claimed that civilised Western countries are envious of the grandeur of Russia and its natural resources in his address on 30 September. “The West was seeking and is still seeking a new chance to weaken and destroy Russia. The fact that such a huge country exists is bothering them. The West cannot sit with the fact that there is such a big country [that is as] rich in natural resources as Russia“.
  5. Putin claims he wants to resume negotiations with Ukraine, Ukrainska PravdaRussian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that he wants to stop military action and for Ukraine to return to the negotiating table. We are calling upon the Kyiv regime to cease fire immediately, to stop all military action, stop the war it started back in 2014 and return to the negotiating table. We are ready to do this. It has been stated numerous times.”
  6. Ukraine ready for negotiations with Russia, but not with Putin – Zelenskyy, Ukrainska PravdaUkraine was and remains a leader in negotiation efforts. It is our state that has always offered to negotiate with Russia on coexistence on equal, honest, dignified and fair terms. It is obvious that with the current Russian president, this is impossible. He has no idea what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another Russian president.”
  7. Ukraine applies for accelerated NATO membership, Ukrainska PravdaDe facto, we have already worked our way to NATO. De facto, we have already proven our compatibility with the standards of the Alliance. They are real for Ukraine; real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction. We trust each other, we help each other and we protect each other. This is what the Alliance is. De facto, [President Zelenskyy said]. Today Ukraine is submitting an application to do this de jure. Following a procedure which will correspond to our significance and will help us protect our community. At an accelerated rate. We are taking a decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated NATO membership.”
  8. Zelenskyy urges Western partners to give security guarantees before Ukraine joins NATO, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing European Pravda. “We understand that this [Ukraine joining NATO] requires the consensus of all members of the Alliance. We understand that it is necessary to reach such a consensus. And therefore, while this is happening, we propose the implementation of our proposals regarding security guarantees for Europe and Ukraine in accordance with the Kyiv Security Compact developed and presented to our partners, President Zelenskyy said in his address on 30 September. There are no alternatives to security. However, we need determination to guarantee it by signing Ukraine’s application to join NATO on an accelerated basis, he added.”
  9. Putin signed decrees recognising “independence” of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing RIA Novosti. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed decrees recognising the “independence” of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, according to the official legal information portal of the Russian Federation.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 31 September, 2022:

Ukrainian Counteroffensives (Ukrainian efforts to liberate Russian-occupied territories)

Eastern Ukraine: (Vovchansk-Kupyansk-Izium-Lyman Line)

Ukrainian forces will likely capture or encircle Lyman within the next 72 hours. Russian forces continued to withdraw from positions around Lyman on September 30 as Ukrainian forces continued to envelop Russian troops in the area. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) officials and Russian war correspondents stated that Russian forces still control Lyman but have withdrawn from their positions in Drobysheve (around 6km northwest of Lyman) and Yampil (about 13km southeast of Lyman). Russian sources claimed that Russian forces still control one road from Lyman to Torske, while Ukrainian forces have cut off the Drobysheve-Torske road in the Stavky area. Russian sources also noted the increasing activity of Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage groups on the Svatove-Torske highway northeast of Lyman after reportedly crossing the Zherebets River. Geolocated footage also showed Ukrainian artillery striking withdrawing Russian forces near Torske. Some Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces have crossed the Siverskyi Donets River in Dronivka and are now operating in the forests south of Kreminna. Russian sources uniformly noted that Ukrainian artillery continues to interdict Russian forces’ single remaining egress route on the Kreminna-Torske road.

Russian sources claimed that Russian forces are bringing additional reserves to reinforce Russian positions near Lyman, but some milbloggers criticized the Russian military command for failing to learn from its mistakes in Kharkiv Oblast. […] Russian milbloggers also reported that Russian forces deployed elements of the 503rd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 58th Combined Arms Army near Torske in an effort to break the encirclement in the area, noting that the unit is at least in part composed of newly-mobilized men. Other milbloggers noted that elements of the Western and Central Military districts (WMD and CMD) are operating in the Lyman area alongside the Russian proxy Republic units. Many milbloggers claimed that the Russian withdrawal from Lyman resembles the chaotic retreat from Balakliya, Kharkiv Oblast, in its poor coordination and lack of artillery support. Others stated that the Russian military command did not send necessary reinforcements and are instead firing rockets at Mykolaiv Oblast rather than helping the defense of Lyman. […] 

Ukrainian forces likely continued to make incremental advances around Kupyansk on the eastern bank of the Oskil River on September 30. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces shelled Petropavlivka (seven kilometers east of Kupyansk), which may indicate that Ukrainian forces are operating in the area. […]

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)

Ukrainian military officials maintained their operational silence regarding the progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in southern Ukraine on September 30. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces are continuing to force Russian troops to defend their positions. The Ukrainian General Staff added that Russian forces are continuing to evict civilians in Kherson City to quarter additional Russian reinforcements. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command noted that Russian forces are attempting to restore the operations of the Antonivsky Bridge and are bringing additional construction materials and repair equipment to the bridge.

Ukrainian forces continued their interdiction campaign on September 29 and September 30, primarily striking Russian ground lines of communications (GLOCs), positions, and ammunition depots in northern and central Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that Ukrainian forces struck Russian military convoys in Nova Kakhovka, a command post in Beryslav Raion, and six Russian concentration areas in Kherson City, Nova Kakhovka, Dariivka, and Nova Kardashinka. Ukrainian military officials added that Ukrainian forces targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) control center in Davydiv Brid on the eastern bank of the Inhulets River. […] 

Ukrainian and Russian sources identified two areas of kinetic activity on September 30: south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast border and around the Ukrainian bridgehead over Inhulets River. […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin did not threaten an immediate nuclear attack to halt the Ukrainian counteroffensives into Russian-occupied Ukraine during his speech announcing Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory. ISW analysts broke down Putin’s speech in a separate September 30 Special Report: “Assessing Putin’s Implicit Nuclear Threats after Annexation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the illegal Russian annexation of four Ukrainian territories on September 30 without clearly defining the borders of those claimed territories. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to specify the borders of the newly annexed territories in a September 30 conversation with reporters: “[the] Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics [DNR and LNR] were recognized by Russia within the borders of 2014. As for the territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, I need to clarify this. We will clarify everything today.” DNR head Denis Pushilin added that even the federal district into which the annexed territories will be incorporated remains unclear: “What will it be called, what are the borders—let’s wait for the final decisions, consultations are now being held on how to do it right.” Russian officials may clarify those boundaries and administrative allocations in the coming days but face an inherent problem: Ukrainian forces still control large swathes of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia and some areas of Luhansk and Kherson oblasts, a military reality that is unlikely to change in the coming months.

Putin likely rushed the annexation of these territories before making even basic administrative decisions on boundaries and governance. Russian officials have therefore not set clear policies or conditions for proper administration. Organizing governance for these four forcibly annexed oblasts would be bureaucratically challenging for any state after Russian forces systematically killed, arrested, or drove out the Ukrainian officials who previously ran the regional administrations. But the bureaucratic incompetence demonstrated by the Kremlin’s attempted partial mobilization of Russian men suggests that Russian bureaucrats will similarly struggle to establish governance structures over a resistant and unwilling population in the warzone that is Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

Putin announced that Russia’s usual autumn conscription cycle will start a month late on November 1, likely because Russia’s partial mobilization of Russian men is taxing the bureaucracy of the Russian military commissariats that would usually oversee the semi-annual conscription cycle. Putin’s September 30 decree calls for 120,000 Russian conscripts—7,000 fewer than in autumn 2021. Neither Putin’s decree nor subsequent official statements clarified whether Ukrainian civilians of conscription age (18-27) in Russia’s newly-annexed occupied Ukrainian territories will be liable for conscription. A representative of Russia’s Main Organizational and Mobilization Directorate, Rear Admiral Vladimir Tsimlyansky, claimed that no autumn 2022 conscripts would fight in the “special operation” in Ukraine, a promise Putin also made (and broke) about the autumn 2021 and spring 2022 conscripts. Russian conscripts are not legally deployable overseas until they have received at least four months of training unless Putin were to declare martial law. Russia’s illegal annexation of occupied areas in Ukraine likely removes this problem within the framework of Russian Federation law, which may be part of the reason for Putin’s rush in announcing the annexation.

Russian officials could re-mobilize last year’s conscripts when their terms expire on October 1. Tsimlyansky emphasized on September 30 that all Russian conscripts whose terms have expired—meaning those conscripted in autumn 2021—will be released from service and returned to their residences “in a timely manner.” Once released, autumn 2021 conscripts will technically become part of the Russian reserves, making them legally mobilizable under Putin’s September 21 partial mobilization order.

Putin invited some Russian milbloggers and war correspondents who have previously criticized the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) for a lack of transparency about Russian progress in Ukraine to attend his annexation speech in Moscow. Russian state media has been increasingly featuring some milbloggers on federal television channels as well, which likely indicates that Putin is attempting to secure the support of these nationalist and pro-war figures rather than censor them. The milblogger presence in Moscow may also explain why several prominent Telegram channels had limited or no coverage of daily frontline news on September 29.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the illegal Russian annexation of four Ukrainian territories on September 30 without clearly defining the borders of those claimed territories.
  • Putin announced that Russia’s usual autumn conscription cycle will start a month late on November 1, likely because Russia’s partial mobilization of Russian men is taxing the bureaucracy of the Russian military commissariats that would usually oversee the semi-annual conscription cycle.
  • Russian officials could re-mobilize last year’s conscripts when their terms expire on October 1.
  • Ukrainian forces will likely capture or encircle Lyman within the next 72 hours.
  • Ukrainian military officials maintained operational silence regarding Ukrainian ground maneuvers in Kherson Oblast but stated that Ukrainian forces continued to force Russian troops into defending their positions.
  • Russian troops continued ground assaults in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian authorities continued efforts to coerce Russian participation in mobilization efforts, but will likely struggle to coerce participation as Russians continue to flee Russia for border states who welcome them.
  • Russian officials are accepting bribes and engaging in other preferential treatment to prevent or ease the economic burden of mobilization on the wealthy.
  • Russian authorities are continuing to deploy mobilized personnel to Ukraine without adequate training or equipment, and personnel are unlikely to be able to afford to provide their own supplies.

Russian forces conducted a missile strike on a Ukrainian humanitarian convoy and attempted to blame the Ukrainian government.

Kremlin Denies Nuclear Threats: “We Do Not Want to Pursue This Matter Any Further”, European Pravda reports. “The Kremlin avoided answering whether they would consider the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the occupied territories the Russian Federation is preparing to annexe as an “attack on Russia.”

Only people who behave irresponsibly talk about nuclear escalation. We do not want to pursue this matter any further. We call on everyone to behave responsibly, “Interfax” quotes Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman of the President of the Russian Federation.

When asked whether Russia will extend its nuclear doctrine to the occupied Ukrainian territories, which it is preparing to annexe, and whether it will consider a counterattack on them as an “attack on territorial integrity,” Peskov advised to re-read the document. You quoted the doctrine completely incorrectly. The correct wording is very important there. I advise you to read it again carefully, Putin’s spokesman replied.

The US has much to gain from Nord Stream damage, Russia alleges at the UN, Reuters reports. “The Russian ambassador to the United Nations on Friday told the Security Council that the US has much to gain in gas trade from damage to the Nord Stream pipeline system under the Baltic Sea but stopped short of blaming Washington for this week’s explosions.

A council meeting convened at Russia’s request addressed leaks discovered on Tuesday on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines on which Russian-controlled Gazprom and its European partners spent billions of dollars. A main question about the blasts was whether the United States could gain from the destruction of the pipelines, ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said. The answer is undoubtedly. American liquefied natural gas suppliers should be celebrating the manifold increase in LNG supplies to Europe, Nebenzia said.

Earlier on Friday Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States and its allies blew up Nord Stream. The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved onto sabotage, he said. The United States and other countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia since Putin sent his forces to invade Ukraine in late February.

The White House has dismissed the accusation it was responsible. Let me be clear, the United States categorically denies any involvement in this incident, and we reject an assertion saying the contrary, Richard Mills, the US deputy representative to the United Nations, said at the meeting. Mills added that the United States has boosted LNG exports in recent years because Russia has long not been a reliable supplier of energy to Europe. Russia has in years past cut off gas supplies to Eastern Europe in winter during gas pricing disputes.

Russia, which slashed gas deliveries to Europe in response to the sanctions, has also said sabotage was a possibility and said accusations by some that it perpetrated the damage were “stupid”.

The leaks have raised concerns about the safety of other energy systems in Europe and investigations about who was to blame. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday discussed protection of critical infrastructure in the wake of the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the White House said.

Analysts say it is possible the damage was inflicted by devices that are available on the commercial market but that given the scale and precision, it was more likely carried out by an actor with access to more sophisticated technology. The magnitude of the explosions probably corresponded to an explosive load of several hundred kilos, the permanent missions to the U.N. of Denmark and Sweden said in a letter dated Thursday to the French U.N. Mission, which holds the presidency of the 15-member council for September.”

ME: I have previously explained why Russia has no credibility.  Disinformation is a virus that spread, festers and ultimately, kills. It undermines the very foundation of democracy. Russia has weaponised information to destabilise countries, create discord and undermine both the EU, NATO and the transatlantic link. When Russia presents its claims and allegations, we must remember its lies and disinformation in connection with its downing of MH-17 in 2014.  The EUvsDisinfo database contains over 300 cases of disinformation on MH17.

In a resolution on 22 June, PACE said that “instead of providing reliable information to the competent investigative bodies, the Russian authorities spread disinformation, including successive contradictory versions of the events designed to create confusion. As demonstrated by open-source intelligence published in numerous reports, the Russian authorities even went so far as to submit manipulated radar, satellite, and other data in order to obfuscate the truth”.

The latter is, however, the outcome of 8 years of work. In the middle of a Russian instigated hybrid war against the Ukraine and the West we do not have the luxury of establishing conclusive evidence at every turn of events. We know who our friends are and who to trust. We already know Russia: A country without any shred of credibility. An aggressor that has weaponized information to manipulate and create confusion.

 

 

 

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

Russians are feeling anxious after mobilisation was announced – survey, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Obshchestvennoe Mnenie (Public Opinion) fund, the main client of which is the administration of the President of Russia. “According to the survey, on 25 September, when asked how their family and friends are currently feeling, 69% of Russians responded that they are feeling anxious. A week before, on 18 September, only 35% of participants responded this way. 26% of respondents reported feeling calm (a week ago this number was 57%).

Another survey showed that after mobilisation was announced, the number of Russians who are in favour of starting the negotiations increased.”

Hans Petter Midttun: The West and the Russian Federation have not been in the same “room” for years.

  • While NATO acknowledged that “The Euro-Atlantic area is not at peace”, Russia is claiming to be at war. It has publically declared that the West is waging an information war, economic war, acts of aggression, war with Russia through a proxy and a total war.
  • While the Alliance declares that it will not engage militarily in Ukraine to avoid escalating the war into a broader confrontation and a nuclear war, Russia wages a hybrid war against the member states while openly threatening nuclear war.
  • While the West seeks a diplomatic solution to the war, Russia offers a peace plan (that cannot possibly offer peace) that stops the NATO members from delivering defence aid to Ukraine and starts preparing for the invasion.
  • When the international community call for de-escalation and withdrawal, President Putin escalates and invades.
  • While the West took all military options off the table, Russia chose the military option and attacked Ukraine in 2014.
  • When the USA restricts Ukraine from attacking legal targets on Russian territories, Russia illegally annexes Ukrainian territories to turn them into “Russian”.
  • Since NATO does not accept countries with ongoing territorial disputes, Russia creates the territorial disputes needed to stop countries from becoming NATO members.
  • When we thought globalisation and the mutual dependency it created would make war impossible, it only stopped us from supporting Ukraine when Russia ignored the benefits of international trade (knowing that most sanctions are only temporary).
  • When Europe struggle to unite over sanctions on energy, Russia cuts energy deliveries knowing very well that this will cause further discord and political turmoil.

All of the above underlines the differences between two fundamentally conflicting worlds: the Russian authoritarian world and the western liberal democracies. It proves that all of our efforts to build trust, cooperation and partnership have dramatically failed because of Russian Great Power aspirations at the cost of its neighbours.

We have been reasonable beyond recklessness and irresponsible. Upholding a policy of de-escalation as Russia is waging war against democracy – in Ukraine, the EU and the USA – and inflicting global costs – deaths, suffering, destructions, hunger, poverty, energy insecurity and political upheaval – at a scope we have not seen since the second world war, is outright irresponsible.

It is time to derive from the script of dialogue, negotiations, compromise, diplomatic solution, sanctions, de-escalation and not least, confidence-building measures only. These efforts will not work unless supported by military power.

A Western strategy without military options is utterly useless when facing an opponent who has integrated military power as a part of its foreign policy.

Putin has had the initiative and has been shaping the international security and defence environment for years. It is time to re-establish the initiative and start using a language Russia understands. Strength. Military power. Resolve. It’s time to tear down the perception of weakness and substitute it with strength and determination.

The West needs to start acting outside the script.

The Russian illegal annexation of Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts is designed to secure a Russian victory by extending its nuclear doctrine to cover parts of Ukraine. It is a part of its everlasting nuclear blackmail. Having succeeded in deterring NATO from responding to its hybrid war and keeping the West disengaged from the war in Ukraine, it has long concluded that its nuclear “fait accompli” strategy works. It is crucial to shatter this perception.

The quickest possible acceptance of Ukraine’s accelerated NATO membership request would render Russia’s aggressive foreign policy useless. If threats trigger the opposite effects than it aims for, it might realize that war and blackmail run counter to its interests.

Humanitarian intervention in Ukraine – in line with the logic of NATO’s past strategic concepts and the UN “Responsible to Protect” doctrine – would further signal that we are no longer “playing according to the script”. It would be a powerful statement of intent allowing the West to regain the initiative.

More importantly: It would offer Russia a way out. Being defeated by Ukraine is not an option. Being forced to stand down and withdraw by a united international community at the promise of gradual normalisation might prove more acceptable.

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