Russo Ukrainian War. Day 244: Russia intensifies allegations that Ukraine prepares dirty bomb attack

 

Daily review

Kremlin intensified its information operation to accuse Ukraine of preparing to conduct a false-flag attack using a dirty bomb for the second day in a row. US says Russia would face consequences for using ‘dirty bomb’ or other nuclear bomb. No indications Russia has decided to employ a nuclear weapon. Russia is still failing to maintain adequate air superiority. Blowing up the Kakhovka dam would only slow Ukrainian advance by two weeks in the south. It would, however, flood territory occupied by Moscow and lose a vital water canal for annexed Crimea. The evidence for Russian genocide intent is very clear by historical standards. US considers HAWK air defense equipment for Ukraine. 

Daily overview — Summary report, October 25

A map by War Mapper of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 25/10/22. ~

A map by War Mapper of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 25/10/22.

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

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“Russian forces are trying to hold the temporarily captured territories, improve the tactical position, concentrate efforts on restraining the actions of the Defence Forces in certain directions, and at the same time conduct offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions.

Over the past 24 hours, the Defence Forces of Ukraine have repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of the settlements of Bilohorivka, Luhansk oblast, and Bakhmut, Bilohorivka, Verkhnyokamianske, Ivanhrad, Klishchiivka, Spirne, Soledar, Maryinka, and Nevelske, Donetsk oblast. [Yesterday, the Defense Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Spirne, Soledar, Bakhmut, Andriivka, Maryinka and Pervomaiske settlements. Thanks to successful actions, our troops pushed Russian forces out of the settlements of Karmazynivka, Myasozharivka and Nevske in the Luhansk oblast and Novosadove in the Donetsk oblast.]

Et bilde som inneholder kart Automatisk generert beskrivelseRussian forces are shelling the positions of our troops along the contact line and conducting aerial reconnaissance. Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces have launched missile and air strikes on the infrastructure and homes of the civilian population, violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, the laws, and customs of war.

In general, during the previous day, the occupiers launched 3 missile strikes, 12 airstrikes, and more than 60 MLRS attacks.

Objects of civil infrastructure in the settlements of Vuhledar and Neskuchne of the Donetsk oblast, Nova Kamianka of the Kherson oblast, and Mykolaiv were hit by enemy attacks.

The situation in the Volyn and Polissya directions has not changed significantly. There is still a threat of missile and air strikes against the critical infrastructure of our State from the territory of the Republic of Belarus, including the use of Iranian-made attack UAVs.

Russian forces shelled in such directions:

  • In the Siversky direction – from mortars and artillery, in the areas of Senkivka settlements of Chernihiv oblast and Rozhkovychi, Sosnivka, and Velyka Pysarivka of Sumy oblast.
  • in the Slobozhansky direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery, and MLRS, in the areas of Veterynarne, Vilkhuvatka, Vovchansk, Dvorichna, Kamyanka, Krasne, Starytsa, Strilecha, Khatne and Chuhunivka settlements of the Kharkiv oblast;
  • on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions – from tanks and artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Kislivka in the Kharkiv oblast, Nevske, and Stelmakhivka in the Luhansk oblast, Berestove, Zarichne, Terny, Torske and Yampolivka in Donetsk oblast;
  • in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery, and MLRS in the areas of Andriivka, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Bilohorivka, Vesele, Ivanhrad, Kurdyumivka, Mayorsk, Opytne, Soledar and Yakovlivka settlements of the Donetsk oblast;
  • in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks and artillery of various calibres, in the areas of Vodyane, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, and Pervomaiske settlements;
  • in the Novopavlivka and Zaporizhzhia directions – from tanks, mortars, artillery, and MLRS, in the areas of the settlements of Vremivka, Vuhledar, Neskuchne, Novosilka, Pavlivka of the Donetsk oblast and Zeleny Hay, Novoandriivka, Olhivske, Stepove, Chervone and Shcherbaki of the Zaporizhzhia oblast.
  • In the Pivdennyy Buh direction, more than 20 settlements were damaged by fire. Among them are Bilohirka, Davydiv Brid, Myrne, Sukhyi Stavok and Ternovi Pody.

According to available information, Russian forces are setting up defensive positions on the left bank of the Dnieper in the Kherson oblast. For example, in the area of ​​the settlement of Hornostayivka, engineering and sapper units of the Russian occupying forces mine the coastline, leaving small passages for a potential retreat of their troops from the right bank.

[In order to slow down the counteroffensive of our units, the occupiers continue to mine bridges and crossings on the retreat routes in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions.]

To replace the evacuated collaborators, servicemen from among the mobilized persons are transferred to the settlement of Lvove.

[In order to replenish current losses, the Russian occupying forces continue to actively recruit prisoners both on the territory of Russia and in the temporarily occupied territories. Thus, most of the criminals were released from correctional colony No. 90 in the city of Kherson, after the so-called talks with representatives of the federal security service of the Russian Federation. At the same time, the occupiers continue to evacuate the wounded to the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.]

[According to available information, the Russian Federation continues the training of a part of the mobilized persons at the combined military training grounds and in the training units of specialists of certain specialities. During the implementation of the mentioned training activities, Russian forces have significant problems due to the shortage of officer and sergeant positions in the instructor-teaching staff of training units (training grounds, training centres). This is caused by the death of most of such specialists during hostilities, as well as due to the excessive number of those mobilized. There are quite a few cases of the appointment of rank-and-file members who have just signed a contract and have at least some combat experience in similar positions.]

[The command of the Russian occupying forces is trying to raise the level of morale and psychological state of servicemen by sending ministers of the Russian Orthodox Church from the Samara region to combat units on the territory of Ukraine. But most of them refuse to travel to the war zone due to the danger and lack of protective equipment.]

Measures to evacuate local residents from temporarily occupied Kherson are underway. From the right bank of the city to the settlements of Henichesk and Skadovsk, the equipment and personnel of all banks and the occupation administration were taken out. The equipment of Internet providers was stolen. Emergency services and medical personnel are subject to evacuation. Funding of schools and provision of food for children in schools has been stopped. The number of robberies of local residents and cases of looting has increased.

According to detailed information, the destruction of five units of weapons and military equipment and up to 110 servicemen of the occupation forces in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts has been confirmed in recent days.

During the past 24 hours, the aviation of the Defence Forces has carried out more than 30 strikes. It was confirmed that 22 areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment of Russian forces, 5 ammunition warehouses, and positions of 9 anti-aircraft missile systems of Russian forces were destroyed. In different directions, our air defence units shot down 3 Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopters, a Su-24M bomber, 2 “Orlan-10” UAVs, and “Shahed-131” UAVs of Russian forces.

Over the past day, missile forces and artillery hit 6 areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, 2 ammunition depots, an anti-aircraft missile complex, the “Zoopark” radar station, and 2 other important enemy objects.“

Military Updates

Two Alligator helicopters are shot down in half an hour in Kherson Oblast, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the press service of the Air Force Command. “On 24 October, between 13:00 and 13:30, units of the Odesa- and Kherson-based anti-aircraft missile brigades of Air Command Pivden (South) shot down two Ka-52 attack helicopters in the Beryslav district, Kherson Oblast.

Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defence forces shot down the third Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter today, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Air Force Command. “Around 21:30 [on 24 October], a unit of the Kherson anti-aircraft defence brigade of the Air Command South of the Ukrainian Air Force shot down the third Russian Ka-52 helicopter today, possibly with Ukrainian-made engines.”

Russia withdraws submarine missile carriers from the Black Sea, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Two surface missile carriers armed with 16 Kalibr [cruise missiles] are currently [in the waters of the Black Sea]. Last week there were five missile carriers there, including two submarine missile carriers which entered the area and were used to carry out attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

There are currently no submarine missile carriers there, only the two surface ones. It is precisely because they carried out such a large-scale missile strike on Ukraine last week that some of the missile carriers have returned to their bases, apparently in order to replenish their supplies of missiles, among other things.”

90 settlements were liberated in Kherson Oblast, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. “The defence forces of Ukraine’s south have liberated more than 90 settlements in Kherson Oblast with a total population of 12,000 people.

On 21 October, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, reported that Ukraine’s defence forces have liberated 551 cities, towns and villages in Kharkiv Oblast and 88 in Kherson Oblast.”

Railway tracks leading to Belarus blown up in Russia’s Bryansk Oblast, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing RIA Novosti. “An explosive device went off on a railway track between the towns of Novozybkov and Zlynka in Bryansk Oblast of the Russian Federation.

Belaruski Hajun, has posted photos showing the damaged rail and several sleepers. They also noted that this track is actively used for military logistics between Russia and Belarus“.

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

  • There have been at least 23 verified losses of Russia’s Ka-52 HOKUM attack helicopter in Ukraine since the invasion. This represents over 25% of the Russian Air Force’s in-service fleet of 90 Ka-52s and nearly half of Russia’s total helicopter losses in Ukraine.
  • Russian attack helicopters have likely suffered particular attrition from Ukrainian man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), while the helicopters frequently operate with less consistent top cover from combat jets than they would expect under Russian military doctrine.
  • Russia is still failing to maintain adequate air superiority in order to reliably carry out effective fixed-wing close air support near the front line, and its artillery ammunition is running low. Russian commanders are likely increasingly resorting to conducting high-risk attack helicopter missions as one of the few options available to provide close support for troops in combat.
  • Russia continues to use Iranian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) against targets throughout Ukraine. Ukrainian efforts to defeat the Shahed-136 UAVs are increasingly successful. Official sources, including President Zelenskyy, claim that up to 85% of attacks are being intercepted.
  • These UAVs are slow, noisy and fly at low altitudes, making lone aircraft easy to target conventional air defences.
  • Russia is likely expending a high number of Iranian Shahed-136 UAVs in order to penetrate increasingly effective Ukrainian air defences. It is likely using them as a substitute for Russian-manufactured long-range precision weapons which are becoming increasingly scarce.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 26 October, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

As of Tuesday 25 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 68420 (+480),
  • Tanks – 2611 (+21),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5321 (+26),
  • Artillery systems – 1674 (+1),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 377 (+2),
  • Air defence means – 190 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 271 (+1),
  • Helicopters – 248 (+3),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4054 (+10),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1372 (+2),
  • Special equipment – 149 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 350 (+0)

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 244: Russia intensifies allegations that Ukraine prepares dirty bomb attack ~~

Air Force: Russia used a large stockpile of missiles in two weeks, switching to kamikaze drones, Ukrinform reports. “The shortage is already observed. But they still launch missile attacks on us at about one-week intervals. First, they launched 84 missiles, then 28… So in two weeks, Russian forces used a fairly large stockpile of missile weapons. In addition, we see threatening information from Iran that surface-to-surface missiles may be provided to Russian forces. This is another challenge, another threat, and we get ready for it, Yuriy Ihnat, Spokesperson for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said.

Russian forces are now actively using kamikaze drones, and we shoot down 10-15 or even more such UAVs daily, he emphasized.”

Mobilized soldiers of the Russian Federation began to be provided with body armour and helmets of Iranian production, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) reports. “Mobilized soldiers of the Russian Federation began to be provided with body armour and helmets of Iranian production. Due to the inability to provide a new wave of mobilisation with the necessary ammunition of its own production, Russia is beginning to use Iranian-made equipment. Shortly, it is planned to transfer 3,000 units of armour protection – 1,500 body armour, and 1,500 helmets manufactured by “Milad” (Iran). Currently, Iranian ammunition is in the warehouse of the 1061 logistics centre of the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division (Soloti/Valuvaika, Belgorod Region).

The Iranian authorities plan to send a new group of advisers to assist the Russian Federation in the combat use of a new type of UAV – “Arash-2” and Iranian surface-to-surface missiles. Their deliveries are planned to start in the near future.

Also, a group of advisors of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps arrived in Jankoy from Iran to provide assistance in the combat use and improvement of the “Shahed-136” and “Mohajer-6” UAVs.”

Russia may get a new type of drone from Iran, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “The Air Force of Ukraine expects that the Russian Federation will receive a new type of kamikaze drone from Iran — “Meraj – 521”. […] The Ukrainian military blog “Militarnyi” reported that Meraj-521 has a range of five kilometres, and can carry three types of warheads weighing from 500 to 1,000 grams.

“Partial mobilization” continues in the capital of the Russian Federation, DIU reports. “Partial mobilization” continues in the capital of the Russian Federation. Despite the public statements of Moscow Mayor Sobyanin about the end of “partial mobilization”, summonses continue to be issued to conscripts at their place of residence and work. Currently, the authorities have stopped the work of only the so-called “mobile mobilization points” and suspended the practice of “round-ups” of conscripts in public places. […]

Currently, the training of mobilized military personnel continues at the training grounds of the Moscow region. After training, it is planned to send units to the combat zone in Ukraine. Due to the lack of officers and non-commissioned officers, servicemen who signed a contract with the military rank of “private” and have combat experience on the territory of Ukraine are appointed to the positions of platoon instructors and training instructors.

The number of people mobilized into the ranks of the “first wave” of the Russian Federation is confirmed – at least 200,000 people. Further mobilization will continue in the “classic” version of the Second World War. The first part of the mobilized sent to Ukraine with minimal training (or without it at all) is intended to stabilize the front line. The next units of the mobilized will be sent taking into account the development of the operational situation and, if possible, depending on the readiness of the personnel. According to a similar principle, the mobilized people of the second, third and other waves of mobilization will be involved in the conduct of hostilities against the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Up to 500,000 people may have already been conscripted in Russia, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Russian private news outlet Mediazone. “Following the announcement of Putin’s “partial mobilisation” on 21 September, up to 500,000 people may have already been drafted into the military.”

Humanitarian 

Russia carried out 85 strikes on Ukraine’s energy facilities, including 51 in October, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. “The Office of the Prosecutor General said that Russian forces carried out 85 attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure targets, including 51 in October.

Dnipropetrovsk Oblast sustained the highest number of attacks (8), followed by the following oblasts: Lviv (6), Vinnytsia (5), Sumy (4), Kharkiv (4) and Kyiv (4).

[Russia’s] politics is to destroy Ukrainian people by creating conditions incompatible with life. With the approach of winter, the Russian leadership is deliberately depriving people of the essentials: water, electricity, and heat. Just as it has deliberately condemned [Ukrainian people] to death from hunger during the Holodomor in 1932-1933. This is an act of terror and a war crime.”

Ukrainian ombudsman: Russia should be expelled from the International Red Cross Movement

Ukraine calls on the world to demand Russia stop artificial delays in inspections of grain ships, Ukrinform reports, citing the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. “Starting from October 14, 2022, Russia’s inspectors assigned to the Istanbul Joint Coordination Centre have been significantly prolonging the inspection of vessels, which are heading to Ukraine’s ports for grain loads, or have already been loaded and are on their way to the final destination. As a result, more than 165 vessels have been stuck in a queue near the Bosporus Strait, and this number continues to grow daily, the statement said.

We have reason to believe that the delays in Russia’s inspections of the grain initiative’s vessels are politically motivated. Recently, the Russian leadership tried to question the grain corridor without any legitimate grounds, demanding new benefits for Moscow’s consent to renew the deal, the ministry said.

It also emphasized that Russia’s actions undermine global food security, in particular in the Global South. According to the ministry, the inspection delays have already prevented Ukraine from exporting an additional three million tonnes of grain, and ten million people across the world have not received food in time because of Russia’s political agenda.

We call on the international community, in particular African and Asian states who rely on Ukraine’s grain exports, to demand that Russia immediately stops these artificial delays in the inspections of the grain corridor vessels. We must not allow the Kremlin to keep millions of people hostage to its hunger games, the ministry said.”

OHCHR recorded 16,150 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of October 24. 6,374 were killed (including 402 children) and 9,776 injured (including 735 children).

Environmental 

Kuleba and IAEA discuss mission to refute Russian lies, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “I officially invited [the] IAEA to urgently send experts to peaceful facilities in Ukraine which Russia deceitfully claims to be developing a dirty bomb. He agreed. Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been and remains transparent. We have nothing to hide, [Dmytro Kuleba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine] emphasised. He reported this on Twitter after talking to Rafael Grossi, the director of the IAEA.

On 23 October Russian propaganda media outlets simultaneously started to spread disinformation, claiming that Ukraine is getting ready to “set off a nuclear bomb” in its own territory in order to then accuse Russia of using a weapon of mass destruction and turn the whole world against Moscow. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu called at least three defence ministers of NATO member states (France, Turkey and the United Kingdom) last week to tell them about the “dirty bomb”. The US, UK and France have jointly rejected these claims as false.

Dmytro Kuleba called Russia’s claims dangerous and absurd and has had several discussions on this issue with his foreign counterparts.

IAEA preparing to inspect two sites in Ukraine over ‘dirty bomb’ claims, Reuters reports. “The U.N. nuclear watchdog is preparing to send inspectors in the coming days to two Ukrainian sites at Kyiv’s request, it said on Monday, in an apparent reaction to Russian claims that Ukraine could deploy a so-called dirty bomb, which Ukraine denies.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is aware of statements made by the Russian Federation on Sunday about alleged activities at two nuclear locations in Ukraine, the IAEA said in a statement, adding that both were already subject to its inspections and one was inspected a month ago. 

The IAEA is preparing to visit the locations in the coming days. The purpose of the safeguards visits is to detect any possible undeclared nuclear activities and material, it added.”

Ukraine has lost 90% of wind energy, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Herman Halushchenko, Ukraine’s Energy Minister. “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 90% of the country’s wind energy and nearly 40-50% of its solar energy are no longer operating. Most of the green energy sources were located in the south of Ukraine, the region that is currently sustaining the greatest losses. 90% of wind energy and 45-50% of solar energy have been lost.

Halushchenko added that in 2019 and 2020, Ukraine saw rapid growth in green energy. Therefore its share in the country’s energy system was approximately 10-11%. We had a strategy which predicted that by 2030, the share of ‘green’ energy in Ukraine would be at least 25%. I think that after our victory, taking into account the damage caused by Russia [sic], we will possibly review this strategy and increase the percentage”, the Minister stated.”

Legal 

Russia Intends to Commit Genocide in Ukraine, Six Ways to Prove It. Lecture by Timothy Snyder, European Pravda reports. The key is to prove a genocidal intention. This is a requirement of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In a conference in Berlin called “International Law Against Genocide”, the American historian, professor Timothy Snyder, addressed genocidal intention.

“In my view, the genocidal intent of this war has been clear even before the war began. The proclamations that Mr Putin issued in July of 2021 were openly genocidal and the language that he used in the days right before the war was also clearly genocidal. […]

As a historian, I want to make the point that we, historians, arrive at judgments about intent [using] the contexts, the discourses, and the circumstances. […] 

How to prove the crime of genocide through Putin’s intentions? The first one is a denial that the state is a state. Putin has been denying that Ukraine is a state very clearly since at least 2011 (EP NOTE: first known Putin’s denials of Ukraine’s sovereignty are dated back in 2008, he said that at the Bucharest NATO Summit). He repeated that in 2013, before the 2014 war. And there was an onrush of such rhetoric in 2021, including a very long and specific essay signed by Putin. And now, during the war, there’s a systematic refusal to recognize the Ukrainian state as such, the Ukrainian government or Ukrainian officials. There’s a systematic practice of applying abusive language to all institutions that might be Ukrainian.

The second is the denial of the Ukrainian people, as a people. […] Generally, the notion is that in Ukraine there are real people, and those real people are Russians. But somehow they’re governed by a thin layer of exotics people from elsewhere. Propagandists refer to these people variously: as Poles or “Habsburgs” or Nazis, or Jews or Europeans – and it doesn’t really matter. The key is that those people don’t really belong on the land. They are servants of an international conspiracy, loyal to someone elsewhere. And therefore, if these people can be exterminated, then the natural order will be restored. The right people will be on the land, and they will understand themselves as Russians.

That is the logic of Mein Kampf, and it’s the logic on Russian television today. I’ll point to the recent appearance of Pavel Gubarev when he spoke of exterminating as many Ukrainians as had to be exterminated. This is the logic. We exterminate all the ones who think they’re Ukrainians until we get to the point where the remaining people understand: they are Russians.

The third indicator is the denial that people are human. Here I’ll stay with that same clip from Pavel Gubarev, or a recent propaganda program by Solovyov. Here we’re confronted with the idea that Ukrainians are possessed. And the reason why there is Ukraine is that people are possessed by the devil. This might seem like something that can be easily dismissed as laughable, but it is pretty widespread in Russian discussions of Ukraine.

One can find it in the fascist theory of Ivan Illin, a thinker whom Mr. Putin has cited consistently over the last decade or more and most recently on September 30th in his speech about the referenda. In this idea, Ukrainians are “servants of Satan”. This notion is very deeply rooted in Russian Christian nationalism or Russian Christian fascism, where of course Satan is associated with the Jews. So, we get an actual nazi idea.

The Fourth criterion is a denial that other genocides took place in the past. There was abundant evidence of this, like the memory loss in the USSR which forbade people from Speaking of the 1939 alliance with Hitler, and it was strengthened in Russia right before this war began. Also, it is the official Russian policy on the Holodomor, committed by the Soviet Union in Ukraine, which has been strengthened as this war. A monument to Holodomor was brought down in occupied Mariupol. Russians say there couldn’t have been a political motive behind Holodomor, “it was simply a natural disaster”.

And saying this, Russians are trying to cut off water supplies and cut off power supplies so millions of Ukrainians will suffer and die. That illustrates: when you deny a political motive for genocide in the past, you’re also denying that there’s a political motive in the future. You’re just saying that everything is natural and going the way that it should be.

Indicator number five is the contemporary replacement theory. The idea is that Russians are being replaced by other races, and they’re fighting back. And I should note that in this replacement theory mode, the genocide that we’re talking about is not limited to Ukrainians. Throughout this war, males from the indigenous peoples in the Eastern and Southern parts of the Russian Federation are sent in hugely disproportionate numbers to die on the front.

Meanwhile, women and children from Ukraine have been deported to Russia’s territory, because they are white and they can be assimilated into the Russian population. There’s an attempt to implement what fascists see as a replacement, and not only with Ukrainians.

A specific example of this is the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula, who used to suffer from many waves of deportation. In the spring of 1944 under Stalin, every single Crimean Tatar was deported. Since 1991, many have returned, but now, under the Russian occupation, they’re specifically targeted for oppression and right now specifically targeted for mobilization so they can die elsewhere. This is a genocidal element which goes beyond the Ukrainians.

The 6th, the final element is a “postmodern”. Russia is deliberately overloading the system, trying to make things hard to understand it. For instance, when Russians claim that Ukrainians are Nazis, this is just confusing. It’s a fascist practice in the sense that it is simply hate speech when Russians refer to Ukrainians as Nazis.

Or when they claim that Ukrainians are non-human, and deserve whatever they get. There’s so much of it that we become jaded. Over weeks and months, our sensibility is dulled and we just expect more and more.

Therefore we have to be very careful that we’re not falling into some kind of perverse cycle. The evidence for intent here is very clear by historical standards. It’s very clear, unusually clear. The danger is that because there’s so much evidence of intent, we can start expecting, even more, even clearer proof. But in my view, genocidal intent by Putin has been very clear for a very long time.”

Et bilde som inneholder tekst Automatisk generert beskrivelse430 children were killed, 821 children injured, 8,732 deported by foe forces, and 238 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of October 25. 2,677 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 331 of them are destroyed fully. 41,664 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 18,339 crimes against national security were registered as of October 24.

Support 

US considers HAWK air defence equipment for Ukraine, say US officials, Reuters reports. “The United States is considering sending older HAWK air defence equipment from storage to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian drone and cruise missile attacks, two US officials told Reuters. […] The Biden administration would use the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to transfer the HAWK equipment which is based on Vietnam-era technology but has been upgraded several times. The PDA allows the United States to transfer defence articles and services from stocks quickly without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

Reuters was unable to determine how many HAWK systems and missiles the United States has available to transfer. The White House declined to comment. The HAWK system is the predecessor to the PATRIOT missile defence system made by Raytheon Technologies which remains off the table for Ukraine, US officials have told Reuters. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Spain intends to send four HAWK launchers. 

The United States would likely initially send interceptor missiles for the HAWK system to Ukraine because it was unclear if enough US launchers were in good repair, one US official told Reuters. The US systems have been in storage for decades.

A PDA is being considered for later this week, US officials have said. One US official said it would likely be about half the size of the recent security assistance packages which have been around $700 million.”

Survey finds 86 percent of Ukrainians ready to resist Russia despite bombardments, only 10% in favour of talks, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing   Kyiv International Institute of Sociology survey conducted on 21-23 October. “The study has shown that 71% of respondents strongly agree that Ukraine should offer armed resistance, despite the ongoing massive bombardment of Ukrainian cities and destruction of infrastructure. Another 15% of respondents also somewhat agree with this. Only 10% of respondents answered that it was necessary to move to negotiations to stop the bombardment as soon as possible, even if concessions had to be made to the Russian Federation.

According to the results of the survey, respondents tended to have this opinion even in Ukraine’s east, including the residents of Kharkiv and Donetsk oblasts, which suffer from constant rocket and artillery fire.

The vast majority of Russian-speaking respondents (66%) also believe that armed resistance should be offered, even if bombardment continues. About 29% of Russian-speaking respondents are in favour of starting negotiations, even if concessions have to be made.”

Ukraine’s ‘Marshall Plan’: Berlin gathering weighs $750 billion rebuilding, Reuters reports. “National leaders, development experts and CEOs gather in Berlin on Tuesday for a conference on what its hosts say must be a “Marshall Plan” to rebuild Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, now entering its ninth month.

The conference, hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the European Commission, will not involve concrete pledges of cash towards the estimated $750 billion reconstruction cost, a task the hosts compared in scale to the United States Marshall Aid programme for rebuilding Europe after World War Two.

“The form of the reconstruction will shape the kind of country Ukraine will be in future,” the two hosts wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper. “A law-governed state with strong institutions? An agile and modern economy? A lively democracy that belongs to Europe? While one should always be cautious with historical comparisons, this is no less than a Marshall Plan for the 21st century,” they wrote.”

New Developments 

  1. Russia’s Defence Ministry claims forces are on standby in preparation for a “dirty bomb”, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing RIA Novosti. “Forces and resources have been put on standby to perform their tasks under conditions of radioactive contamination. The press secretary for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, stressed that it is up to the West to decide whether to believe the allegations about a “dirty bomb” following a series of calls made by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to his counterparts in Europe and the US. […] Russia’s Ministry of Defence explained that were such a bomb to be detonated, its fallout would contaminate several thousand square metres with radiation. The Ministry also claimed that European countries would see an influx of refugees following such an explosion. [It] also said [that Russia might] be accused of “nuclear terrorism” following the deployment of a “dirty bomb“.
  2. Lavrov says there will be more lies about the “dirty bomb”, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing TASS. “Lavrov said that the possibility that Ukraine may use a “dirty bomb” (a lie spread by Russia) will be discussed at the UN Security Council today or tomorrow. Lavrov said that the West’s rejection of Russia’s lies about the possibility of Kyiv using “dirty bomb” is not serious. The US, UK and France have jointly rejected these claims as false. Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, commenting on Russia’s accusations against Ukraine of creating a “dirty bomb”, warned Moscow against using false statements as a pretext for escalating the war.”
  3. The US says Russia would face consequences for using ‘dirty bomb’ or other nuclear bomb, Reuters reports. “There would be consequences for Russia whether it uses a so-called “dirty bomb” or any other nuclear weapon, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday. Washington and other Western countries have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of plotting to escalate action in Ukraine based on a pretext that Moscow believes Kyiv will use a “dirty bomb,” a device laced with nuclear material.”
  4. US liberal Democrats urge Biden to seek negotiated Ukraine settlement, Reuters reports. “Given the destruction created by this war for Ukraine and the world, as well as the risk of catastrophic escalation, we also believe it is in the interests of Ukraine, the United States, and the world to avoid a prolonged conflict, the 30 Democratic members of the House of Representatives said in a letter to Biden. For this reason, we urge you to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire, the Democrats’ letter said.”
  5. Kyslytsia’s response to Macron: no one is manipulating the Russian Orthodox Church, it’s part of a criminal regime, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing European Pravda. “Serhii Kyslytsia, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, has responded to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that the Russian Orthodox Church is allowing itself to be manipulated by the state. Speaking at an international conference, Macron said the Russian Orthodox Church is allowing itself to be manipulated by the country’s authorities to justify the war in Ukraine, and he urged the Church to resist such pressure.
  6. Ukraine should be an EU member – Scholz, Ukrinform reports. “Germany supports Ukraine’s full membership of the EU in the future, and the country should be rebuilt, taking into account this perspective. “Ukraine is part of the European family. I am speaking very seriously and I understand all the consequences of this – we want Ukraine to become part of the European Union,” Scholz said. He added that this decision is a signal to private investors: whoever invests in the reconstruction of Ukraine today will invest in a country that will be part of the EU and part of the common European market. According to Scholz, this also affects the very process of rebuilding Ukraine, which must be carried out keeping in mind that Ukraine will one day become a full member of the EU.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Monday 24 October:

Eastern Ukraine: (Oskil River-Kreminna Line)

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations in the direction of Kreminna and Svatove on October 23 and 24.[…] Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces continued striking objects in Luhansk Oblast with M142 HIMARS rocket artillery […]. Russian proxy officials in Luhansk Oblast reported that Ukrainian forces fired several HIMARS rounds at Novoaidar, Zorynsk, Rubizhne, Popasna, Starobilsk, and Svatove.[…]

The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed that Ukrainian forces liberated Karmazynivka, Miasozharivka, and Nevske in Luhansk Oblast and Novosadove in Donetsk Oblast on October 24. Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Ukrainian forces captured Nevske and its surrounding settlements on October 10.

Kursk Oblast Governor Roman Starovoit announced the completion of the construction of two reinforced defense lines on the border with Ukraine on October 23 — likely an act of security theater designed to target a domestic Russian audience. Starovoit reported that the Russian Ministry of Defense and the regional Kursk Oblast border guard department built two defense lines and plan to complete a third line by November 5. Creating such defensive lines does not serve a practical military purpose and, if confirmed, would be a waste of Russian resources. Ukrainian forces in Sumy Oblast do not pose and never have posed a military threat to Kursk Oblast.

The Ukrainian General Staff reported Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in northern Kharkiv Oblast along the Kharkiv-Belgorod Oblast border near Zemlyanky and Chuhunivka on October 24.

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)

Russian forces are likely attempting to establish fallback positions closer to the Dnipro River and are reportedly setting conditions to defend Kherson City. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are continuing to mine bridges and crossings on retreat routes in unspecified locations in Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command added that Russian forces are maintaining their defensive positions amid the evacuation of civilian-occupation institutions and management staff. Russian milbloggers also claimed that Russian forces are creating territorial defense units with Kherson City residents, but these units are unlikely to be an effective defensive force. The Ukrainian General Staff added that Russian security forces released most inmates from Kherson City’s prison and that Russian forces may use these men for the defense of Kherson City.

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued to conduct counter-offensive operations in northwestern Kherson Oblast between October 23 and 24.[…] A Russian source also claimed that Ukrainian forces attempted to gain a foothold north of Ishchenka, a settlement just east of Davydiv Brid. Ukrainian military officials stated that Russian forces continued to shell and launch airstrikes in northwestern Kherson Oblast along the line of contact.

Ukrainian forces continued their interdiction campaign in central and northern Kherson Oblast on October 23 and 24. Geolocated footage showed the aftermath of Ukrainian strikes on an electric machine-building plant in Nova Kakhovka — a strike Russian sources used to accuse Ukrainian forces of hitting the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant 4km northwest of the electric machine-building plant. Other geolocated footage reportedly showed the aftermath of a Ukrainian strike on an area of Russian manpower concentration in Kairy, about 27km northeast of Nova Kakhovka. The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that a Ukrainian strike on a Russian manpower concentration point in Nova Kakhovka on an unspecified date wounded about 150 Russian servicemen and destroyed six unspecified pieces of military equipment. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command added that Ukrainian forces destroyed four ammunition depots in Pervomaisk and Beryslav raions.

The Kremlin intensified its information operation to accuse Ukraine of preparing to conduct a false-flag attack using a dirty bomb for a second day in a row on October 24. Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov separately called his counterparts from the United Kingdom and United States about the “situation connected with Ukraine’s possible use of a dirty bomb” (a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material that is not a nuclear weapon) on October 24. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made similar calls with his counterparts from the United State, United Kingdom, France, and Turkey on October 23. The Chief of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces, Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, gave a lengthy briefing accusing Ukraine of planning a dirty bomb false-flag provocation to accuse Russia of detonating a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine on October 24. Russian military bloggers are amplifying this information operation. ISW assesses the Kremlin is unlikely to be preparing an imminent false-flag dirty bomb attack.

Russians likely prepares Kherson City defense, not fully withdraws from upper Kherson Oblast – ISW

Russian forces conducted air, missile, and drone strikes against targets in Ukraine at a markedly slower tempo than in previous days. […] The slower tempo of Russian air, missile, and drone strikes possibly reflects decreasing missile and drone stockpiles and the strikes’ limited effectiveness of accomplishing Russian strategic military goals.

[Defence Intelligence of Ukraine] (DIU) Chief, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, stated on October 24 that the impact of Russian terrorist strikes against critical Ukrainian infrastructure is waning as Russian forces further deplete their limited arsenal of cruise missiles. Budanov stated that Russian forces have stopped targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure, instead aiming for civilian infrastructure to incite panic and fear in Ukrainians. Budanov noted, however, that Russian forces will fail as Ukrainians are better adapted to strategic bombing than at the beginning of the war. Budanov claimed that Russian forces have used most of their cruise missile arsenal and only have 13 percent of their pre-war Iskander, 43 percent of Kaliber, and 45 percent of Kh-101 and Kh-555 pre-war stockpiles left.[…] Budanov noted that Russian cruise missiles lack precision, as a missile likely intended to hit the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) building in Kyiv missed its target by 800 meters. Budanov stated that Russia’s dwindling supply of cruise missiles is forcing the Russian military to rely on Iranian drones but that Iranian suppliers only send 300 drones per shipment and that the drones take a long time to manufacture. Budanov stated that Ukrainian air defenses shoot down 70 percent of all Shahed-136 drones, including 222 of the 330 Russia has used so far. It is impossible to assess the degree to which ongoing unrest and growing strikes in Iran might interfere with Tehran’s ability to manufacture and ship drones to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts on September 30 ignited a schism within the Kremlin, which will likely intensify as Ukraine liberates more territories, according to Budanov. Budanov stated that Kremlin elites largely did not support Putin’s decision to annex Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk Oblasts prior to securing those territories, prompting many officials to contact their Western counterparts to express their disinterest in continuing the war in Ukraine. Budanov claimed that some Kremlin officials began advocating for negotiations with Ukraine to their Western counterparts while the Russian military-political command plotted missile strikes to scare Ukrainians into negotiations. Budanov‘s statement is consistent with the influx of Western reports about direct criticism of Putin within the Kremlin less than a week after the annexation announcement around October 6. Wagner Group­–affiliated Telegram channels also noted the emergence of the pro-war and pro-negotiations factions within the Kremlin within the same timeframe. Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin has been consistently referencing the factionalization within the Kremlin since, even explicitly stating that he is part of the “war until victory” faction. These observations raise the possibility that hints from insiders of a Kremlin readiness to engage in serious negotiations may not reflect Putin’s own views or any decisions he has taken but may instead be part of efforts by those who have lost the internal argument with him to persuade the West and Ukraine to offer concessions in hopes of bringing him around to their point of view.

Prigozhin continues to accrue power and is setting up a military structure parallel to the Russian Armed Forces, which may come to pose a threat to Putin’s rule — at least within the information space. […] Prigozhin holds a uniquely advantageous position within the Russian state structure and information space that allows him to expand his constituency in Russia more readily than the disgraced Russian higher military command. Prigozhin can freely promote himself and his forces while criticizing Kremlin officials or the Russian Armed Force without fear of pushback. Putin depends on Wagner forces in Bakhmut and is likely attempting to appease Prigozhin despite the fact that Prigozhin is undermining the conventional Russian military. Prigozhin, for example, sarcastically stated in an interview that he is constructing the “Wagner Line” in an effort to make Russian Armed Forces that “hide behind Wagner’s backs” feel safe. Prigozhin also frequently levies his critiques of the Russian military in interviews with Russian online publications and among Wagner-affiliated Telegram channels, which allow him to reach and interact with audiences inaccessible to the Russian MoD, which is restricted in its public statements and means of communication. […]

Prigozhin has seemingly distanced himself from a fellow strongman, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, after their joint critiques of the Russian higher military command on October 1 drew much attention. This rhetorical shift may indicate that Kadyrov is losing influence and standing and may fear losing his control over the Republic of Chechnya amid the Chechen public’s growing disapproval of his demands in support of Putin’s war.

Racism and bigotry continue to plague the Russian Armed Forces, increasing the likelihood of ethnic conflicts. Russian social media footage showed a Russian officer beating a Muslim soldier for attempting to pray at a certain time. While Russian milbloggers denied the authenticity of the footage, previous instances of violence along religious or ethnic lines, such as the shooting on a Belgorod Oblast training ground on October 15, indicate that such problems will intensify throughout time. Racial and religious tensions may also help explain Kadyrov’s relative quieting and Prigozhin’s apparent separation from him.

Russian forces are likely preparing to defend Kherson City and are not fully withdrawing from the upper Kherson Oblast despite previous confirmed reports of some Russian elements withdrawing from upper Kherson. Budanov stated on October 24 that Russian forces are not retreating from Kherson City but are instead preparing the city for urban combat. […] Russian forces have begun a partial withdrawal from northwestern Kherson Oblast even while preparing to defend Kherson City. They have not launched into a full withdrawal from the city or the oblast as of this report.

The Russian position in upper Kherson Oblast is, nevertheless, likely untenable; and Ukrainian forces will likely capture upper Kherson Oblast by the end of 2022. A Russian milblogger stated that Russia’s surrender even of Kherson City is overdue, as an attempt to hold the city will likely result in defeat. This milblogger argued that if Russia’s military command decides to wage the war in Ukraine to a successful end, then the surrender of Kherson City is “nothing terrible” in the long run. The Russian military likely has not prepared the information space for a military defeat in Kherson Oblast […]. A Russian milblogger wrote that his Russian military contacts in Kherson Oblast do not want to nor plan to retreat. […]

Key Takeaways

  • The Kremlin intensified its information operation to accuse Ukraine of preparing to conduct a false-flag attack using a dirty bomb for a second day in a row.
  • Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Chief Major General Kyrylo Budanov stated on October 24 that the impact of Russian terrorist strikes against critical Ukrainian infrastructure is waning.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts on September 30 ignited a schism within the Kremlin, which will likely intensify as Ukraine liberates more territories according to Budanov.
  • Prigozhin continues to accrue power and is setting up a military structure parallel to the Russian Armed Forces, which may come to pose a threat to Putin’s rule – at least within the information space.
  • Russian forces are likely preparing to defend Kherson City and are not fully withdrawing from upper Kherson Oblast despite previous confirmed reports of some Russian elements withdrawing from upper Kherson Oblast.
  • The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed that Ukrainian forces captured Karmazynivka, Miasozharivka, and Nevske in Luhansk Oblast and Novosadove in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Kursk Oblast Govenor Roman Starovoit announced the completion of the construction of two reinforced defense lines on the border with Ukraine on October 23 — likely an act of security theater designed to target a domestic Russian audience since there is no danger whatsoever of a Ukrainian mechanized invasion of Russia.
  • Wagner Group financer Yevgeny Prigozhin acknowledged the slow pace of Wagner Group ground operations around Bakhmut as Russian forces continued to lose ground near the city.
  • Ukrainian forces continued targeting Russian force concentrations near the Zaporizhzhia Oblast front line on October 23–24 and struck a Russian force and equipment concentration in the vicinity of Enerhodar on October 22.
  • Hurried Russian mobilization efforts to fix personnel shortages on the front lines have cannibalized the Russian force-generation staff and diminished Russia’s ability to effectively train and deploy new personnel and to staff domestic industries.
  • Occupation administration officials have taken down communications systems in Kherson City in an attempt to limit civilian reporting on Russian positions to Ukrainian forces ahead of anticipated Ukrainian advances.“

The majority of Ukrainians do not believe Russia will use nuclear weapons, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Rating sociological group. “47% of Ukrainians believed that the Russian Federation would rather not use nuclear weapons in early October. Another 18% supposed that the aggressor country would definitely not do it.  2% of respondents stated that Russia would definitely launch a nuclear strike, 24% considered this as a possible step.

84% of respondents did not believe in the possibility of a nuclear strike on NATO countries. The confidence of Ukrainians that Russia will not launch a nuclear strike on Ukraine has increased by 13% since April.”

No indications Russia has decided to employ a nuclear weapon, US official, Reuters reports. “The United States has no indications that Russia has decided to employ a nuclear weapon, biological weapon or chemical weapon, a US military official told reporters on Monday, despite US concerns about false Russian warnings of a Ukrainian dirty bomb plot.

The remarks followed calls between the US defence secretary and his Russian counterpart on Sunday and a call on Monday between the top US and Russian generals.”

Blowing up dam would only slow Ukrainian advance by two weeks in the south – spy chief, Reuters reports. “Russia will slow Ukrainian troops’ advance in the south by just two weeks if it blows up the vast Kakhovka dam, but such a move would flood territory occupied by Moscow and lose it a vital water canal for annexed Crimea, Kyiv’s military spy chief said. […]

Russia, whose troops are on the back foot in the occupied Kherson region which Kyiv is trying to recapture, has itself accused Ukraine of plotting to blow up the dam, a step that would unleash a devastating flood. Budanov, head of the Defence Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, said the dam had been only partially mined by Russia and that destroying it completely would require many tonnes of explosives.

Such a move would create an environmental catastrophe and also cause new headaches for Russia, whose forces would have to retreat to Crimea, he said. They will get a total flooding of the (Russian-occupied) left bank of Kherson. They will lose even theoretically the possibility of supplying water to the North Crimean Canal, to Crimea…, he said.

Of course, they would complicate our advance for a certain period of time. And this, by the way, is not a very long period of time, around two weeks or thereabouts, Budanov said. […] Only partially destroying the dam would still complicate Ukraine’s advance, lead to a partial water spill but maintain water supply via the North Crimean Canal, Budanov said.

Budanov said blowing up the dam would also “destroy the possibility of the existence of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant because this facility is inextricably linked to it”. The nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, has been occupied by Russia for months and is located near the reservoir.

Budanov said he expected Ukraine to recapture the city of Kherson – the only Ukrainian city Russia has captured intact since launching its invasion eight months ago – by the end of this year.”

Belarusian troops will conduct military exercises in Brest near the border with Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Belaruski Hajun. “Belaruski Hajun quotes Alexander Rogachuk, Head of the Brest City Executive Committee, who said that “gunfire and the movement of various types of equipment” will be heard in Brest during this week.

Rogachuk said that the military exercises will be conducted by the 38th Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade at the Brest training ground in accordance with the training plan for the year.”

  1. Hans Peter Midtun: Consequences and what to do?

Given the destruction created by this war for Ukraine and the world, as well as the risk of catastrophic escalation, we […] believe it is in the interests of Ukraine, the United States, and the world to avoid a prolonged conflict, the 30 Democratic members of the House of Representatives said in a letter to Biden.

The 30 democrats make the same argument I have made since 24 February. I have long argued that the fall-outs of a prolonged war are unacceptable. I have highlighted the costs of the Russian atrocities and war crimes; the massive suffering and destruction in Ukraine; the Russian attempt to change the demography and undermine the Ukrainian nation; the “tsunami of ripple effects” from the war, including the loss of energy and food security, increased poverty and hunger, recession, inflation and increased costs of living; as well as the potential repercussions, including the increased risk of demonstrations, riots, extremism and social unrest at the cost of global political stability.

A prolonged war is unacceptable for everyone but the Russian Federation, which is why it remains convinced that victory is within reach.

That’s why I struggle to understand a NATO strategy that ensures a prolonged war. The present strategy only makes sense if the Alliance has found itself military incapable of acting according to the level of ambition as laid down in its previous strategic concept: “to stop ongoing conflicts where they affect Alliance security; and to help consolidate stability in post-conflict situations where that contributes to Euro-Atlantic security”.

I have previously argued why I don’t buy into the argument of a nuclear holocaust if NATO intervenes militarily.

The last 8 months have revealed many structural problems within the Alliance lending credit to the concern over its ability to protect its one billion citizens and defend its territory. It has stepped away from past commitments. NATO is running out of weapons it can supply Ukraine. Nine years after the war started, the member states find themselves unable to provide Ukraine with Air Defence means it desperately needs to protect the civilian population and critical infrastructure, indicating a wider critical vulnerability within the Alliance itself. The military shortcomings are increased by the defence industries’ short-term inability to reorient and ramp up their production.

Additionally, the Alliance is split between the countries that have experienced the consequences of recent occupation and repression and those that have not. The minority that knows Russia by heart are actively arguing for NATO to do far more than it is presently doing. The Alliance has also stepped away from its past commitment to upholding international freedom of navigation.

This is also why the letter from the 30 democrats might find support among many European leaders when they urge President Biden “to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.

There is, unfortunately, only one way to end what has been a protracted war since 2014, and it is not a ceasefire. The war can only be ended through humanitarian intervention, fundamentally changing the military balance in favour of Ukraine and ensuring a Russian defeat.

The international community has tried negotiations for nearly 9 years. The effort turned a low-intensity war into a full-scale war for the simple fact that Russia sees negotiations as a sign of weakness. Western inaction and stated fear of a military confrontation helped reinforce the assessment.

Besides being highly immoral, concessions at the cost of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty, will both reward the aggressor and undermine Ukraine, as well as create a brilliant launch-pad for Russia’s next full-scale invasion.

More crucially – and for those who still suffer the misconception that this is a “Russia-Ukraine War” only – this has always been a broader confrontation between Russia and the West. Any kind of concessions will, therefore, undermine international law, our core values and principles, the international security architecture our common security, stability and prosperity are based on, and not least, the credibility of NATO.

Russia will forever remain an aggressive nuclear power with Great Power ambitions. Destroying its conventional forces in Ukraine might be the only way to deny it the opportunity to act upon its increasingly belligerent foreign policy in the future. I fear the next confrontation will be in the High North.

We need to acknowledge that we are involved in a clash between civilization and the Russian World. We cannot negotiate with terrorists.

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