Russo Ukrainian War. Day 238: Russia hits Ukraine’s energy infrastructure again

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Ukrainian army repelled the attacks of the Russian troops in Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk oblast. Russian troops conducted a limited ground attack in northern Kharkiv Oblast. Russian forces continued ground attacks near Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Russian troops launched 10 missile and 18 air strikes, carrying out more than 76 MLRS attacks. Russia hit Ukraine’s energy infrastructure again: explosions heard in Kyiv, air defense deployed in Brovary. The Russian troops continue to destroy Ukrainian cultural heritage in the temporarily occupied territories, loot museums, burn Ukrainian literature and textbooks printed in Ukrainian. Russia war commander admits Kherson situation ‘very difficult. Russia destroys warehouses with humanitarian aid during morning attack on Kharkiv. UN Commission has found an array of war crimes, violations of human rights, and international humanitarian law have been committed in Ukraine.  Belarus continues to provide its territory and airspace to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, October 19

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, October 19, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below

Situation in Ukraine. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two hundred-thirty-eights (238) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
The enemy is trying to keep the temporarily captured territories, concentrates efforts on restraining the actions of the Defence Forces in certain directions, at the same time, it does not abandon attempts to conduct offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions.
During the day, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the Ohirtseve and Dvorichna settlements of the Kharkiv oblast; Bilohorivka in Luhansk oblast; Novokalynove, Mayorsk, Odradivka, New York, Novomykhailivka, Nevelske, Opytne and Maryinka of the Donetsk oblast.

Donetsk Battle Map. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW.

The enemy is shelling the positions of our troops along the contact line, carrying out engineering equipment of defensive positions and lines in separate directions and conducting aerial reconnaissance. Violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war, it continues to strike critical infrastructure and the homes of the civilian population.
During the day, the enemy launched 10 missile and 18 air strikes, carried out more than 76 MLRS attacks.
Areas of more than 10 settlements were hit by the enemy. Among them are Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Zaporizhzhia, Kurakhove of the Donetsk oblast, Trykhaty of the Mykolaiv oblast and Mykolaiv.
For this, the enemy used cruise, aviation and anti-aircraft guided missiles. In addition, the occupiers used 14 Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, 10 of which shot down units of the Defence Forces.
The situation in the Volyn and Polissya directions has not changed significantly. The republic of belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine, the threat of missile and air strikes, as well as the launch of “Shahed-136” attack UAVs from its territory remains.
The enemy fired in other directions:
in the Siversky direction – from mortars and barrel artillery, within the settlements of Hai of Chernihiv oblast and Yunakivka, Khotyn, Tovstodubov and Demchenkove of Sumy oblast;

Kharkiv Battle Map. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Slobozhanskyi direction – from mortars, barrel and jet artillery, in the areas of Vovchanski Khutory, Volokhivka, Hatyshche, Krasne, Ohirtseve, Starytsa, Strilecha and Khatne settlements;
in the Kupyansk direction – from tanks, barrel and jet artillery, in the areas of Berestove, Dvorichna, Hryanikyvka, Kamianka, Kyslivka, Kotlyarivka and Stelmakhivka settlements;
in the Lyman direction – from artillery of various types, in the areas of Hrekivka, Zarichne, Novoyehorivka, Serebryanka, Terny, Torske and Yampolivka settlements;
in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery, in the areas of Andriivka, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Bilohorivka, Zvanivka, Kurdyumivka, Mayorsk, Opytne, Rozdolivka, Soledar, Spirne and Yakovlivka;
in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks and artillery of various calibers, in the areas of the settlements of Avdiivka, Pervomaiske, Karlivka, Krasnohorivka, Mariinka and Novomykhailivka.
On the Novopavlivskyi and Zaporizhzhia areas, the areas of the settlements of Velyka Novosilka, Vuhledar, Vremivka, Mykilske, Neskuchne, Pavlivka, Olhivske, Stepove and Prechystivka came under fire.

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 18, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the South Buh direction, the enemy is trying to improve logistical support, is carrying out artillery fire in the areas of more than 20 settlements along the contact line. The infrastructure of Vyshchetarasivka, Dnipropetrovsk oblast, suffered the most from enemy fire.
The occupiers are taking measures to covertly move military equipment and personnel. For this purpose, in the settlements of Tavriysk and Nova Kakhovka of the Kherson oblast, the enemy is blocking the work of mobile operators and the Internet.
The invaders continue to destroy Ukrainian cultural heritage in the temporarily occupied territories, loot museums, burn Ukrainian literature and textbooks printed in Ukrainian.
According to the available information, there are significant problems in the russian federation with financial payments to military personnel participating in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine. Financial payments allowances for participation in hostilities are being delayed for this category. Relatives of the dead cannot receive the promised compensation.
Aviation of the Defence Forces of Ukraine carried out 24 strikes during the previous day. It was confirmed that 16 areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment, a support point, as well as 8 positions of the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile systems were hit. In addition, air defence units shot down 5 cruise missiles and a Su-25 aircraft.
Warriors of missile troops and artillery hit 4 control points, 5 areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, 2 air defence facilities and 1 – artillery, 2 ammunition warehouses, an electronic warfare station, as well as other military targets of the enemy.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russia war commander admits Kherson situation ‘very difficult’, Aljazeera reports. “The new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine has said the situation in the Kherson region has become “very difficult” as Ukrainian forces push ahead with an offensive to take back southern and eastern areas of the country, and that Moscow was preparing to evacuate civilians weeks after annexing the area. Sergei Surovikin, a Russian air force general appointed on October 10 to lead the invasion, said the situation in Kherson was “very difficult” for both civilians and Russian soldiers.

The Russian army will above all ensure the safe evacuation of the population of Kherson, Surovikin told state television Rossiya 24. Russian forces is not abandoning its attempts to attack Russian troop positions, he added. Russian forces in the region have been driven back by between 20 and 30 kilometres (13-20 miles) in the last few weeks and are at risk of being pinned against the western bank of the 2,200-kilometre-long (1,367-mile-long) Dnieper River that bisects Ukraine.”

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

  • Eight months into the invasion, major elements of Russia’s military leadership are increasingly dysfunctional. At the tactical level, there is almost certainly a worsening shortage of capable Russian junior officers to organise and lead newly mobilised reservists.
  • Eyewitness testimony suggests that the shooting of 11 Russian soldiers near Belgorod by a fellow recruit on 15 October 2022 occurred after an officer’s abusive comments towards ethnic minority recruits. Poor lower-level leadership is likely worsening the low morale and poor unit cohesion in many parts of the Russian force.
  • Four of the five generals with direct operational command of elements of the invasion in February 2022 have now been dismissed. Their replacements have so far done little to improve Russia’s battlefield performance. The lack of command continuity will likely be more disruptive than in a Western military because under Russian doctrine the development of plans sits largely with the commander personally, rather than as a collective effort across a broader staff.
  • Since 10 October, Russia has maintained a heightened tempo of long-range strikes against targets across Ukraine. These have been conducted by cruise missiles, air defence missiles in a surface-to-surface role, and Iranian-provided Shahed-136 one way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles.
  • It is highly likely that a key objective of this strike campaign is to cause wide-spread damage to Ukraine’s energy distribution network.
  • As Russia has suffered battlefield setbacks since August, it has highly likely gained a greater willingness to strike civilian infrastructure in addition to Ukrainian military targets.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Wednesday 19 October, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel – more than 66280 (+430),
  • Tanks – 2554 (+6),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5235 (+16),
  • Artillery systems – 1637 (+15),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 372 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 189 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 269 (+1),
  • Helicopters – 242 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3999 (+14),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1286 (+10),
  • Special equipment – 146 (+2),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 323 (+5)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) at the Bahmut and Kramatorsk directions.

1,750 Iranian-made drones ordered by Russia, but Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners shoot down 70% of everything that flies, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Kyrylo Budanov, Head of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU). “The first batch ordered consisted of 1,750 drones, followed by new orders; however, their production and delivery to Russia, you must understand, is not an instant process.

They are gradually running out of them, and the Iranians are making new ones, but there is another side to this issue: we consistently shoot down an estimated 70% of all drones. According to Budanov, the Kremlin is facing missile shortages. As the Head of Ukrainian Intelligence says regarding Iskander missiles, the stock of Russian missiles available is now down to 13%.”

Half of Wagner PMC consists of prisoners – General Staff of Ukrainian armyIran agrees to ship missiles, more drones to Russia, Reuters reports. “Iran has promised to provide Russia with surface to surface missiles, in addition to more drones, two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats told Reuters, a move that is likely to infuriate the United States and other Western powers. […] The Russians had asked for more drones and those Iranian ballistic missiles with improved accuracy, particularly the Fateh and Zolfaghar missiles family, said one of the Iranian diplomats, who was briefed about the trip.

A Western official briefed on the matter confirmed it, saying there was an agreement in place between Iran and Russia to provide surface-to-surface short range ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar.

One of the drones Iran agreed to supply is the Shahed-136, a delta-winged weapon used as a “kamikaze” air-to-surface attack aircraft. It carries a small warhead that explodes on impact.

Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar are Iranian short-range surface to surface ballistic missiles capable of striking targets at distances of between 300 km and 700 km (186 and 435 miles).”

Russian commanders use convicts to reconnoitre Ukrainian positions on front lines – SBU, Ukrinform reports, citing the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). “During an interrogation by SBU operatives, one of the captured convicts said he “fought” in Ukraine for two days – deployed on September 21, he was taken prisoner the very next day.

We are being used as cannon fodder. Our commander sent us forward, at first we were walking alongside, but when we looked back, they were very far behind. Usual cannon fodder: they wanted us to scout their positions, to see who’s where… We’re like cannon fodder… When they were recruiting us, they told us a completely different story, the invader said.

According to the POW, they were personally recruited by the leader of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin. He claimed that the convicts would be fighting side by side with “experienced” soldiers who would train them, and that they wouldn’t be deployed in the front lines.”

Half of Wagner PMC consists of prisoners – General Staff of Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Despite the preliminary reservation of the list of employees of the critical infrastructure of the Russian Federation, the heads of such companies still receive plans that they are forced to carry out. That’s why they send their employees to the military enlistment offices.

The replenishment of losses by Russian units at the expense of prisoners continues. As of early October, more than half of the total number of 8,000 fighters of the Wagner private military company are mercenaries of the mentioned category“.

Humanitarian 

Russia destroys warehouses with humanitarian aid during morning attack on Kharkiv, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Suspilne and the press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. “On the morning of 18 October, Russia launched six S-300 missiles in Kharkiv, as a result of which warehouses with humanitarian aid were destroyed. There were no military facilities on this territory. Humanitarian aid warehouses are located there. This is all we need to know about the Russians, who did not hesitate to launch six S-300 missiles to hit humanitarian aid needed by civilians.”

Russia has launched about 190 strikes on Ukraine since Oct 7, Ukrinform reports. “According to operational information, from October 7 to 18, Russia launched about 190 massive strikes on 16 regions of Ukraine and Kyiv city, using missiles, kamikaze drones and artillery. The biggest number of strikes during October 10, 11, 17, and 18 was launched on Kyiv region and Kyiv city,” Colonel Oleksandr Khorunzhyi, Spokesperson for the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said.

According to his data, more than 70 Ukrainians were killed, more than 240 people were injured, and more than 380 objects were damaged as a result of Russia’s massive attack during this period.

As noted, those strikes were mostly launched on critical infrastructure facilities, in particular energy facilities, and civilian objects: both private houses and apartment blocks. […] More than 140 private residential houses, apartment blocks and, of course, other buildings came under Russian fire, said the State Emergency Service spokesperson.

He noted that 4,000 settlements in 11 regions of Ukraine, particularly, in Poltava, Sumy, Lviv, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, and Donetsk regions had been left without power as a result of Russian shelling of energy facilities during this period.”

Gauleiter Volodymyr Saldo announced an “organised movement” of the population to the left bank of the Dnipro River, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Volodymyr Saldo, gauleiter [Russian-appointed puppet leader/governor; a term that referred to German governors of territories occupied by the Nazis in WWII] of the occupied part of the Kherson Oblast, announced the “organised movement of the civilian population” of a part of the population from the right bank of the occupied Kherson Oblast to the left.”

US working hard for extension of grain agreement – State Department, Ukrinform reports. “The United States is making efforts to extend an agreement on the provision of “grain corridors” for the export of grain through the Black Sea and hopes that all parties, including Russia, will agree to the extension of the agreement.

On October 16, Ukraine and Turkey at the intergovernmental level expressed their support for the extension of the grain agreement after November 22 this year, when the current agreement expires. Ankara on Tuesday said the agreement on grain exports from Ukraine should be extended for six months or a year.”

OHCHR recorded 15,908 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of October 17. 6,306 were killed (including 397 children) and 9,602 injured (including 723 children).

Environmental 

Russia hit Ukraine’s energy infrastructure again on Tuesday: explosions heard in Kyiv, air defence deployed in Brovary, Ukrainska Pravda reported. “Russian troops once again attacked the energy infrastructure of Ukraine on the morning of 18 October. There are strikes in DniproKharkivZaporizhzhia and Zhytomyr. Some of those cities have been left without electricity or they are experiencing shortages of electricity supply.

Thermal power plants hit, causing significant damage, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “A Russian attack on Ukrainian energy infrastructure targets on 18 October has resulted in significant damage, injuries and a death at two thermal power plants (TPPs). The damage is significant. Facilities critical to the operation of our stations were damaged, and without them, TPPs cannot work normally. […] It will take a long time to restore normal operation. DTEK’s Executive Director said that the nature of the Russian strikes on energy facilities in Ukraine indicates that information on where to strike and why came from Russian energy workers, without whom military personnel would not have figured it out.”

Zelenskyy: Russians have destroyed 30% of Ukraine’s power plants, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Another type of Russian terrorist attack: targeting the Ukrainian energy sector and critical infrastructure facilities. Since 10 October, 30% of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country. No space left for negotiations with Putin’s regime, [President Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.]

Russians attacked more than 400 infrastructure facilities in a week, Ukrinform reports. “From October 10 to 18, the Russians attacked and damaged 408 infrastructure facilities, including more than 45 energy infrastructure objects. In addition, 180 residential buildings were damaged.

According to Minister Oleksiy Chernyshov, Russian forces attacked and destroyed 408 infrastructure facilities, including more than 45 energy infrastructure objects, by launching missile and kamikaze drone attacks on the regions of Ukraine from October 10 to 18,” Ukrinform learnt from the press service of the Ministry of Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine. In addition, there are data on the damage to more than 180 residential buildings.”

Legal 

UN Commission has found an array of war crimes, violations of human rights, and international humanitarian law have been committed in Ukraine, OHCHR reports. “Based on its investigations of the events in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy regions in late February and March 2022, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine has found reasonable grounds to conclude that an array of war crimes, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have been committed in Ukraine. Given the gravity of the identified violations, there is an undeniable need for accountability, the Commission said on the day of submitting a detailed written report to the UN General Assembly.

“The impact of these violations on the civilian population in Ukraine is immense. The loss of lives is in the thousands. The destruction of infrastructure is devastating,” said Chair of the Commission Erik Møse. The Commission documented attacks where explosive weapons were used indiscriminately in populated areas that were under attack by Russian armed forces. The Commission also found that Russian armed forces attacked civilians attempting to flee. There are also examples of both parties to the armed conflict, although to different degrees, failing to protect civilians or civilian objects against the effects of attacks, by locating military objects and forces within or near densely populated areas.

Russian armed forces are responsible for the vast majority of the violations identified, including war crimes. Ukrainian forces have also committed international humanitarian law violations in some cases, including two incidents that qualify as war crimes.

The Commission documented patterns of summary executions, unlawful confinement, torture, ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence committed in areas occupied by Russian armed forces across the four regions on which it focused. People have been detained, some have been unlawfully deported to the Russian Federation, and many are still reported missing. Sexual violence has affected victims of all ages. Family members, including children, were sometimes forced to witness the crimes.

These violations continue to have a devastating effect on civilians. Significantly, victims emphasised the essential role of justice and accountability. […]The Commission recommends enhanced coordination of international and national accountability efforts to improve effectiveness and prevent harm to victims and witnesses. The Commission, consistent with its mandate, will seek to contribute to the identification of those responsible. […] The full report as submitted to the UN General Assembly can be found here.”

428 children were killed, 815 children injured, 8,709 deported by foe forces, and 249 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of October 19. 2,663 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 326 of them are destroyed fully. 40,843 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 18,070 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

Ukraine to get anti-drone systems in coming days, NATO’s Stoltenberg says, Reuters reports. “NATO will deliver air defence systems to Ukraine in coming days to help the country defend itself against the drones, including those from Iran, that Russia is using to target critical infrastructure, the alliance’s secretary-general said on Tuesday.”

Ukraine to ask Israel for the urgent provision of air defence systems, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing an announcement by Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. “Today [18 October – ed.], Ukraine will send an official note to the government of Israel with a request to urgently provide Ukraine with air defence systems and to start high-quality cooperation on obtaining appropriate technologies for Ukraine, the Minister said. If Israel’s policy is really to consistently counter Iran’s destructive actions, then it is time for Israel to openly side with Ukraine“.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1582401127089217536

German IRIS-T already integrated into Ukraine’s air defence, Ukrinform reports. “The system has been successfully integrated into Ukraine’s air defence. It has good tactical and technical characteristics, so we hope to receive more IRIS-T systems from Germany. In addition, we are waiting for NASAMS which will also strengthen the air defence of our country,” Yuriy Ihnat, Spokesperson for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said.”

Ukraine receives EUR 2B in macro-financial assistance from the EU, Ukrinform reports, citing Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal. “Ukraine received EUR 2 billion in macro-financial assistance from the EU. Today, our state received another tranche from the European Union aimed at supporting the economic stability of Ukraine. Additional financial resources will help to cover urgent budget expenses, in particular, in the social and humanitarian spheres, Shmyhal wrote.

According to the prime minister, these funds are the first part of a EUR 5 billion package. In total, this year, Ukraine received EUR 4.2 billion in macro-financial assistance from the EU, which significantly helped to strengthen the economic front of the state and withstand the fight against the aggressor.”

Background: the US grows frustrated over Europe’s delayed economic aid to Ukraine. The Washington Post reported on 15 October. “Tensions are rising between the United States and its Western allies over Ukraine’s deteriorating economy, as American officials increasingly prod the European Union to ramp up financial assistance to the war-torn country.

On several occasions this week during meetings of global financial leaders in Washington, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen called on her international counterparts to accelerate both the speed and amount of money going to Ukraine. […]

New projections from the World Bank last week suggest that Ukraine’s economy will contract by 35 percent this year, and the country’s financial officials say inflation could hit 40 percent early next year — close to economists’ definition of “hyperinflation.” Even as the situation on the battlefield has turned in Ukraine’s favor, the nation’s exports have plummeted, tax revenue has crumbled, millions of people have fled and Russian attacks have pulverized critical infrastructure, including the electrical grid. […]

The United States has disbursed $8.5 billion in economic aid and will disburse another $4.5 billion by the end of the year, while US officials say the European Union has pledged 11 billion euros but only disbursed about 3 billion in loans.”

US working swiftly to disburse $4.5B in budget support to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing the US Department of the Treasury. “Secretary Yellen reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting Ukraine’s brave resistance against Russia’s illegal war, including Russia’s latest barbaric attacks on civilians, and noted the United States is working swiftly to disburse $4.5 billion in recently-approved budget support, bringing total US economic assistance to $13 billion, all in grants, the statement said.

In addition, Yellen acknowledged Ukraine’s significant financing needs next year for critical government services and urgent recovery projects. She also emphasized the need for inclusive coordination across international partners to help Ukraine begin to rebuild and recover.”

Most Ukrainians want to keep fighting until Russia is driven out, poll finds, The Washington Post reports. “Seventy percent of Ukrainians are determined to keep fighting until their country wins the war against Russia, according to a Gallup poll conducted in early September, amid counteroffensives that retook swaths of land in the country’s south and east. Nearly all who supported continuing the fight defined victory as retaking all territories seized by Russia since 2014, including Crimea, Gallup said. The survey, published Tuesday, was conducted by telephone last month and preceded Russia’s barrages last week and this week against Kyiv and energy facilities across Ukraine, as well as deadly drone strikes this week in the capital. […]

Ukrainian officials greeted the Gallup poll results as a sign that the country has the appetite — and stamina — to continue the fight. “It’s a choice between either a fight or a genocide,” Ukrainian lawmaker Maryan Zablotskyy, a member of Zelensky’s party, told The Washington Post.

Support for the war effort is so high, Zablotskyy said, because Ukrainians know the alternative is the horrors inflicted by Russian troops in cities they have captured. “We have seen what Russia does in places where there is no fighting. Any sort of resistance is better than the fate of the people who have been conquered by Russia,” he said. “This is existential.”

Support for Ukraine’s military registered at nearly universally high levels, with 94 percent reporting they had confidence in their armed forces. Despite fears of worsening economic conditions and degraded quality of life, the data showed public confidence in the national government, led by Zelensky, to be at the highest level recorded in 17 years of Gallup polls.

Rather than exacerbating long-standing divisions among Ukrainians concerning Russia and the West, the poll found, President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has given the country a common sense of purpose and boosted hopes of closer ties with the E.U. and NATO.

A majority of Ukrainians think that within 10 years their country will be a member of the E.U. (73 percent) and NATO (64 percent), according to Gallup, reflective of a broader optimism among the country’s population about Ukraine’s future.”

New Developments 

  1. We are not at war with the Russian regime, but with the Russian people – Head of Ukrainian Intelligence, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Kyrylo Budanov, the Head of DIU. “Unfortunately, 82% [of Russians – ed.] support hostilities in Ukraine. Unfortunately, we have to face the truth: we are not at war with the Russian regime, as many believe, but, unfortunately, with the Russian people. 82% is an overwhelming majority.”

  1. Russia says seized Ukrainian lands are under its nuclear protection, ReutersRussia said on Tuesday that four Ukrainian regions whose annexation it proclaimed last month are under the protection of its nuclear arsenal. Asked by reporters if the regions were under Moscow’s nuclear umbrella, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: All these territories are inalienable parts of the Russian Federation, and they are all protected. Their security is provided for at the same level as [it is for] the rest of Russia’s territory.”
  2. S., U.K., and France to raise Iran arms transfers to Russia at U.N., Reuters reports. “The United States, Britain and France plan to raise the issue of Iranian weapons transfers to Russia during a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, diplomats said without providing details.”
  3. Ukraine’s foreign minister suggests that Zelenskyy terminate diplomatic relations with Iran, Ukrainska PravdaDmytro Kuleba, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, has submitted for the President’s consideration a proposal to terminate diplomatic relations with Iran because of the Iran-made drones that Russia uses against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. During his address to the foreign ministers of EU member states, Kuleba also called upon the global community to impose sanctions on Iran.”
  4. Ukraine lawmakers brand Chechnya ‘Russian-occupied’ in a dig at Kremlin, ReutersUkraine’s parliament voted on Tuesday to declare the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria “temporarily Russian-occupied” land in a resolution certain to anger Moscow, which takes a zero-tolerance line on any talk of separatism inside its borders. Ichkeria is the historical name of Russia’s southern region of Chechnya that was devastated by two bloody wars between Russian troops and Chechen separatists after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 18 October, 2022:

Eastern Ukraine: (Oskil River-Kreminna Line)

Russian sources claimed that Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast to regain lost positions on October 18. […]. The Ukrainian General Staff and Russian sources notably stated that Russian forces shelled Kotlyarivka, just south of Kyslivka, indicating Ukrainian forces have advanced southeast of Kupyansk up to the Kotlyarivka area.

Russian forces likely continued defensive operations west of the Svatove-Kreminna line on October 18. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian troops repelled Ukrainian attempts to cross the Zherebets River around Stelmakhivka and Andriivka, both about 14km west of Svatove. A Russian milblogger also reported that Russian troops stopped Ukrainian forces from advancing directly on Svatove. The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attack on Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast (10km south of Kreminna), which suggests that Russian troops continue to conduct limited ground attacks in western Luhansk Oblast to regain ground near the Sievierodonetsk-Lysychansk area. Russian sources indicated that Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) troops are focusing on defensive operations and attempting to regain ground west of Lysychansk.

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)

Russian sources stated that Ukrainian forces continued to conduct counteroffensive operations across the entire frontline in Kherson Oblast on October 18. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces defeated a Ukrainian offensive in the direction of Kherson City near Zelenyi Hai (20km northwest of Kherson City) on October 18. […] Different Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces attempted to break through Russian lines near Mylove (north of Beryslav) and are accumulating forces to launch a new counteroffensive toward Beryslav within the next 24 hours. ISW offers no assessment of these claims. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces defeated a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance platoon attempting to bypass Ukrainian positions near Nova Kamyanka (about 40km northeast of Beryslav).

Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) and ammunition depots in Central Kherson Oblast on October 18. Ukraine’s Southern Operational command reported that Ukrainian forces conducted about 100 fire missions and destroyed two Russian ammunition depots near or around Beryslav on October 18. A local Kherson Telegram channel reported explosions in Russian-occupied Muzykivka (4km north of Kherson City), Kakhovka (6km east of Nova Kakhovka), and Nova Zburivka (approximately 47 km southwest of Kherson City).

Russian forces continued to target critical Ukrainian civilian infrastructure with air, missile, and drone strikes on October 18. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched 19 missile strikes and 68 air strikes against over 10 areas, including Kyiv, Zhytomyr City, Kharkiv City, Dnipro City, Kryvyi Rih, Zaporizhzhia City, Mykolaiv City, Odesa City, and other areas in Donetsk, Kherson, and Mykolaiv Oblasts. The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian forces targeted unspecified areas with 43 kamikaze drones, 38 of which Ukrainian forces shot down. […] 

Current and former US officials confirmed to the New York Times on October 18 that members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are in Russian-occupied Crimea to train Russian forces on how to use the Iranian drones they purchased, thereby enabling likely Russian war crimes. […] The New York Times reported that it remains unclear whether Iranian trainers are flying the drones themselves, or merely teaching Russian forces how to do so. Russian forces have directed dozens of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones against civilian targets in Ukraine since mid-September, prioritizing creating psychological terror effects on Ukrainian civilians rather than achieving tangible battlefield effects.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unequal implementation of partial mobilization is causing social fractures that are driving the Russian information space to further marginalize ethnic minority communities. As ISW has previously reported, an October 15 shooting at a Belgorod Oblast training ground was likely a natural consequence of the Kremlin’s continued policy of using poor and minority communities to bear the brunt of force generation efforts while protecting ethnic Russians and wealthier Russian citizens. Russian sources blamed that shooting on two ethnically Tajik Russian citizens who had been forcibly mobilized. The Russian information space has largely responded with virulently xenophobic rhetoric against Central Asian migrants and other peripheral social groups. “A Just Russia” Party Chairperson Sergey Mironov posted a long, xenophobic critique of Russia’s migration policy on October 18, claiming that mobilization exposed systemic fractures within the Russian immigration system. Mironov blamed military commissars for allowing people who pose a threat to Russian security into the Russian Armed Forces and accused military commissariats of keeping their doors wide open for individuals from Central Asia. Mironov proposed a moratorium on granting Russian citizenship to citizens of Tajikistan. Mironov’s calls for immigration reform demonstrate the role that partial mobilization has seemingly played in catalyzing ethnic divisions, racism, and xenophobia in the Russian domestic space, especially against ethnic minorities.

Belarus continues to provide its territory and airspace to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine but remains highly unlikely to enter the war on Russia’s behalf. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on October 18 that Belarus continues to allow Russia to use Belarusian military infrastructure and airspace to launch missile, air, and Shahed-136 drone attacks on Ukraine. Geolocated social media footage shows Russian military hardware moving through Belarus by rail, which is consistent with ISW’s previous assessments that Belarus will continue to engage in the war as a co-belligerent without Belarusian forces directly participating in combat operations. The Russian Armed Forces are almost certainly too degraded to reopen a northern front against Ukraine from Belarusian territory in the coming months. The Ukrainian General Staff also noted that Belarusian Armed Forces are conducting covert mobilization under the guise of training sessions, although mobilization in Belarus is likely an attempt by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to demonstrate his support to Putin rather than a tangible indicator of Belarusian military involvement in Ukraine.

Russian troops conducted a limited ground attack in northern Kharkiv Oblast on October 18, seemingly suggesting that Russian forces may retain territorial aspirations in Kharkiv Oblast despite massive losses during recent Ukrainian counteroffensives. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attack on Ohirtseve, a settlement 2km south of the international border and about 50km northeast of Kharkiv City. The nature of this limited incursion is unclear, but it may suggest that Russian troops are continuing offensive operations near the border. Considering the current, constantly degrading state of Russian offensive capabilities in Ukraine, Russian troops are very unlikely to make any gains in this area.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces continued to target critical Ukrainian civilian infrastructure with air, missile, and drone strikes.
  • Russian troops conducted a limited ground attack in northern Kharkiv Oblast, seemingly suggesting that Russian forces may retain territorial aspirations in Kharkiv Oblast despite massive losses during recent Ukrainian counteroffensives.
  • Current and former US officials confirmed that members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are in Russian-occupied Crimea to train Russian forces on how to use the Iranian drones they purchased, thereby enabling likely Russian war crimes.
  • Belarus continues to provide its territory and airspace to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine but remains highly unlikely to enter the war on Russia’s behalf.
  • Russian sources claimed that Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast to regain lost positions.
  • Russian sources stated that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations across the entire frontline in Kherson Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) and ammunition depots in central Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks near Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Russian authorities are struggling to cope with their reduced logistics capacity through Crimea following the attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge.
  • Russian occupation authorities kidnapped Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) personnel, likely to strengthen physical control over the ZNPP’s operations.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that mobilization ended on October 17 in Moscow Oblast, and Russian civilians continue to express their dissatisfaction with Russian mobilization.

Russian occupation officials are attempting to incentivize Ukrainian citizens under Russian control in northern Kherson Oblast to flee to Russia as Ukrainian forces advance, and occupation authorities may increasingly force Ukrainian civilians to relocate further behind the frontlines or to Russia in the coming days.

Chief of Ukrainian Intelligence predicts “big victories” by end of year, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Obozrevatel. “Kyrylo Budanov, the Head of the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, believes that the Ukrainian forces will advance significantly by the end of this year. He has said that “big victories” await Ukraine. By the end of the year, we will have advanced significantly. There will be big victories, you will see it soon…I hope it can be [the liberation of] Kherson.

It all must end by late spring. By the beginning of the summer, it all must end. First, we will restore the 1991 borders [i.e., liberate Crimea and four Russian-annexed oblasts].

After the war ends, a very serious political process connected with the changes in what we now call Russia will begin. Certain regions will separate from Russia… Moscow will start paying us reparations; that’s what awaits them, and it will lead to a shift of Russia’s economic centre to our territory…so a lot of steps will be taken.

Budanov believes that nations of Caucasus will be the first to separate from Russia, but they will not be the only ones. He also thinks that there are a lot of territorial problems in Russia: the “Russian Federation” is the only thing that’s left of federalism [in that country]”. This huge territory has somehow existed within these borders for a long time. Faith in the regime is the only thing that has kept it together. As soon as the regime collapses, all of this [the Russian Federation] will crumble“.

Risk of Russian nuclear attack against Ukraine low, but NATO preparing for any scenario – Stoltenberg, Ukrinform reports. “NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this during a virtual speech at the Koerber Stiftung’s Berlin Foreign Policy Forum on Tuesday, October 18. We are very closely monitoring what they [the Russians] are doing. We are vigilant, especially when they now are going to conduct a nuclear exercise. The risk of any nuclear attack or use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine is low, but, of course, the potential impact, the consequence is so big. So this is a risk that we have to take seriously. And we do so by conveying to Moscow that there will be severe consequences for Russia if they use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. […] So far, we haven’t seen any changes in their nuclear posture or nuclear readiness. But, of course, we are constantly monitoring this, Stoltenberg said.

He said the alliance should be prepared for any scenario. Currently, the Kremlin uses its nuclear rhetoric to intimidate allies and blackmail them to stop providing support to Ukraine so that Putin could win in Ukraine, he said.

We cannot be intimidated or accept blackmailing from Russia because, I think, this nuclear rhetoric. […] If he [Putin] wins in Ukraine, that will send a very dangerous message to all authoritarian leaders that when they use military force in a brutal way, violating international law, they will be able to achieve their goals. That will make us more vulnerable and the world more dangerous. And therefore, yes there are risks with all options in this conflict, but the risk of letting President Putin win is much higher than to continue to support Ukraine as we do, Stoltenberg said.”

Vladimir Putin is safe in power for now, but risks lie ahead, sources say, Reuters reports. “Vladimir Putin’s grip on power in Russia remains firm despite military setbacks in Ukraine, a botched mobilisation, and political infighting, eight well-informed sources said, but some said that could change fast if total defeat beckoned. Most of them said the Russian president was in one of the tightest spots in his more than two decades in power over Ukraine, where his invading forces have been pushed back in places by a Western-armed Kyiv.

But the sources, including current and former Western diplomats and government officials, said no imminent threat was apparent from his inner circle, military or intelligence services. For the moment, Putin is hanging in there,” said Anthony Brenton, a former British ambassador to Russia.

He said he believed the Russian leader hoped to negotiate over Ukraine, probably with the Americans, and hoped Moscow’s flagging battlefield fortunes would pick up despite what the West says is a lack of manpower, hardware and even missiles.”

Russia is giving a master class in how not to fight a war, Max Boot argues in The Washington Post. “Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine will be studied for centuries by military historians — as a master class in how not to fight. His latest tactic — bombing Ukrainian cities — is yet another desperate and despicable gambit that is likely to backfire.

The war began Feb. 24 with a pell-mell rush to Kyiv that ended in a 40-mile traffic jam of Russian vehicles. The Russian military showed itself unable to synchronize or supply fast-moving air and ground operations. It never even managed to secure air supremacy — the sine qua non of military effectiveness since roughly 1939. The Ukrainians, on the other hand, proved themselves masters of hit-and-run tactics utilizing portable Western missiles such as the Javelin and Stinger.

By mid-April, Putin had abandoned his ill-fated assault on Kyiv and concentrated his forces in the east. This was the one time when anything went right for the Russians: They managed to use their advantage in artillery to slowly push the Ukrainians out of Luhansk province by early July.

But then the Ukrainians started receiving the US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and everything changed. The Ukrainians were able to stop the relentless rain of Russian shells by targeting ammunition dumps and command posts. The Russians never adjusted; there is no indication they have taken out a single HIMARS.

In early September, the Russians made another major blunder: Having shifted forces from the east to defend against a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south, they were caught unprepared when the Ukrainians launched a surprise attack around Kharkiv. The Ukrainian army liberated thousands of square miles of territory and sent Russian forces reeling.

In desperation, Putin ordered a “partial mobilization” of military manpower on Sept. 21. It has been another fiasco: In all likelihood, more Russian men have fled the country (at least 300,000) than joined the army. The government has been reduced to sending police and soldiers to hunt down potential recruits as if they were an 18th-century press gang.

Little wonder that so few Russians want to serve: The zinc coffins are already coming home with bodies of untrained conscripts rushed to the front lines to face the battle-tested Ukrainians. Russian draftees might as well report straight to the morgue. As with the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the drip-drip of casualties will likely further undermine support for the “special military operation” — and the dictator who ordered it.

Putin continues to blunder on. On Sept. 30, he announced the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces that his forces do not fully control and threw out threats of nuclear war if the West does not let him get away with it. That hasn’t stopped the Ukrainian offensive or Western support for it.

On Oct. 10, following an explosion that heavily damaged the bridge linking Crimea with the Russian mainland, Putin began using missiles and drones to attack Ukrainian cities. On Monday, a swarm of Iranian-made kamikaze drones hit Kyiv.

This recalls Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein’s “War of the Cities” against Iran beginning in 1984. Having launched a war of aggression that went badly for him (sound familiar?), Hussein turned to bombing cities in the hopes of breaking Iran’s will to fight. But the “War of the Cities” failed; it simply led to Iranian retaliation in kind. So, too, the German bombing of London in 1940-1941, and in 1944-1945 with V-1 and V-2 rockets, only hastened Hitler’s downfall.

There is, in fact, virtually no evidence from the past 100 years that terror bombing has been a war-winning tactic. The usual result is to unite the population in defiance of the attackers. Even in World War II, when Allied bombers dropped millions of tons of bombs on Germany and Japan, winning the war still required defeating Axis armies.

Unless Putin uses nuclear weapons, there will be sharp limits on how much destruction he can inflict, because Ukrainian air defenses remain operational and are being beefed up with Western systems such as the German IRIS-T. The new Russian commander in Ukraine will soon discover that this isn’t as easy as bombing helpless Syrian rebels. If Putin grows truly desperate, he might resort to tactical nuclear weapons, but this is a high-risk option that could backfire if it results in a NATO military response.

Unfortunately, despite all of the setbacks that Russia has suffered, there is no indication that Putin is willing to pull back. No doubt he is still hoping that resistance will crumble over the winter. In an attempt to ratchet up the pressure, he is targeting electrical infrastructure in Ukraine and interrupting Russia’s natural gas sales to Europe.

But eight months into the war, there has been no sign of faltering in either Ukraine or the West. The combination of Russian barbarism and Ukrainian military success is keeping the anti-Putin coalition united. The Ukrainian military has shown itself to be far more capable and nimble than the lumbering Russian military, and that won’t change no matter how many conscripts the Kremlin sends to an early grave. No one can say for sure how this war will end — but with each passing day, it looks more likely that Putin won’t be happy with the outcome.”

 

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

Strikes Spread in France, Piling Pressure on Macron, The New York Times reports. “It started several weeks ago at refineries. Then it spread to nuclear plants. And finally, on Tuesday, railway and postal workers, nurses, some teachers and even high school students across France, at least for the day, joined a snowballing strike that has become the biggest test so far of President Emmanuel Macron’s second term.

The widening strike came on the heels of a large march against rising costs of living held in Paris on Sunday, and it increases pressure on Mr. Macron’s government, which is already embattled in Parliament, where opposition parties are refusing to pass the budget. Mr. Macron is now struggling to mollify anger on three different fronts — in factories, on the streets and in Parliament — before it coalesces into major social unrest.”

Strikes and protests in Europe over the cost of living and pay, Reuters reports. “European countries are facing more strikes and protests due to high energy prices and mounting costs of living.

FRANCE: Regional train traffic in France was cut by about half on Tuesday as several unions called a nationwide strike. They are seeking to capitalise on anger with decades-high inflation to expand weeks of industrial action at oil refineries to other sectors. There was also some disruption to schools as the strike primarily affected the public sector.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to protest against soaring prices.

UK: About 1,000 GXO drivers in Britain will take strike action over five days from the end of the month in a dispute over pay, the Unite union said on Tuesday, warning of disruption to beer deliveries.

Hundreds of workers at the port of Liverpool, one of Britain’s largest container ports, are due to take two more weeks of strike action over pay and jobs from Oct. 24. The Communication and Workers Union, representing 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers, held strikes in September and early October, and have threatened more strikes after months of failed negotiations over pay and operational changes.

More than 300,000 members of Britain’s largest nursing union have begun voting over a strike to demand a pay rise. Junior doctors and ambulance workers also plan to ballot over pay disputes. Rail workers have also walked out over disputes over pay and job security.

GERMANY: Pilots at Lufthansa’s Eurowings began a three-day strike over working hours on Monday, their union said, affecting tens of thousands of the budget airline’s passengers. The walkout is due to end at 2159 GMT on Oct. 19.

HUNGARY: Thousands of Hungarian students and parents protested on Oct. 14 in the second major rally in two weeks to support teachers who have been fired for joining strike action for higher wages, and more teachers being warned of dismissal.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Tens of thousands of Czechs protested in Prague on Sept. 28 against the government’s handling of soaring energy prices and the country’s membership of NATO and the European Union. The demonstration was organised by far-right and fringe groups and parties including the Communists.

BELGIUM: Thousands took to the streets in Brussels on Sept. 21 to protest at soaring energy prices and the cost of living. A similar protest in June drew around 70,000 Belgian workers.”

A new cost of living tracker reveals the extent of the crisis in Western Europe, YouGov reports. “There is widespread dissatisfaction across Western Europe with governments’ handling of the cost of living. Overwhelmingly, Europeans are unhappy with how their government is managing the cost of living – across all countries polled at least six in ten say the government is doing badly. The picture is particularly stark in Italy (82%), where Italians will be keen to see how Giorgio Meloni’s new government will address this issue, and Britain (82%), where new prime minister Liz Truss’s attempts to deal with the situation are proving hugely unpopular.

There is slightly more satisfaction with the government’s approach to the rising cost of living in the Nordics, but even here, just a quarter (27%) of Danes and Swedes say the government is doing a good job.

The large majority of Europeans surveyed have had to cut their household spending, and most expect to have to cut it still further

While different governments have taken very different approaches to the rising cost of living, it seems that none of these approaches has quite had the desired impact yet – a majority of adults polled across all seven countries say that they have already had to make cuts to their usual spending as a result of the rising cost of living. Italians are most likely to be feeling the pinch, with 69% saying they have already made cuts.

In fact, most of those who have made cuts already expect that they will need to make further reductions in time. There is a further quarter or so of people in each country who have yet to make cuts but anticipate having to do so. All told, no fewer than 80% of people in each country have either made cuts or believe they will have to do so, rising as high as 93% in Italy.”

 

Hans Petter Midttun: I have long argued that the so-called “Russian war in Ukraine” was always an element of a broader confrontation between Russia and the West. The defeat of Ukraine is for various reasons – spanning from Russian demographic challenges and geostrategic considerations to economic and industrial necessities – an essential element of its drive for great power status. The latter comes, however, at the cost of the EU and NATO.

This is a confrontation between two incompatible world orders: that of the autocratic Russian World which puts the state before the individual, and the West founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.

On 14 September, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stated that “This is not only a war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine. This is a war on our energy, a war on our economy, a war on our values and a war on our future. This is about autocracy against democracy.” The statement was based on a European Parliament assessment from 16 September last year concluding that Russia is waging a Hybrid War against the EU member states.

While the realisation is slowly dawning on Europe, it is still acting as a generous benefactor of Ukraine instead of a defender of European security and stability.

Its previous lack of situational awareness is coming at a high cost. Europe failed to act resolutely when the war started in 2014, leaving NATO unprepared to meet the new security situation. While we might have grossly overestimated Russia’s military powers, we have very likely made the same mistake when assessing  NATO’s military capabilities.

The countries failed to rebuild their armed forces. Its member states are slowly running out of weapons and ammunition. Several have accepted strategic risks while supporting Ukraine. The inflow of weapons and equipment comes in low numbers. Europe lacks Air Defence. It lacks the means to sustain an Air Campaign. The maritime capacity of the Alliance has been reduced during the last decades. Member states lack sustainability and resilience. NATO is meeting the biggest threat against Euro-Atlantic security, divided. It has stepped away from past commitments and has agreed to provide non-military support to Ukraine only.

The defence industries are struggling to ramp up their production to meet the newfound Western resolve.

Even the information space is found lacking. Russian disinformation is still not being countered effectively. More importantly, the population of the west has not yet been prepared for the potential consequences of the broader confrontation.

This is why Russia still may suffer the delusion of a possible victory.

It knows it will not be able to break the will of a country fighting for its right to exist, and a nation that sees the continued fight for its freedom as a far better alternative than suffering Russian repression.

Russia is instead targeting the weakest link: Western Europe. It is targeting the cognitive space of the population and key policy- and decision-makers. It is utilising existing friction within both the EU and NATO. It is exploiting the protest potential of the European population, waging an energy war with far-reaching consequences.

As the “tsunami of ripple effects” are increasingly taking hold, we will see a growing level of frustration in populations, and consequently, the risk of demonstrations, riots, increasing extremism and potentially, the fall of governments. The political landscape in both Europe and the USA is likely to change at the cost of democracy. Our ability to meet common challenges is being constantly undermined.

I am in no doubt Ukraine will defeat Russia as long as the West can uphold its support. I am far more concerned by the West’s ability to do the same in the face of winter, lack of energy security and accelerating costs of living.

At one stage – due to its flawed narrative of a so-called “Russian war in Ukraine” instead of the broader confrontation between Russia and the West – Europe might find itself forced to prioritise internal problems when it should be mobilising its citizens for the defence against autocracy.

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