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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 855: US considers sending contractors to Ukraine for faster weapons repairs

Meanwhile, Spain has delivered Patriot missiles and Leopard tanks to Kyiv.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 855: US considers sending contractors to Ukraine for faster weapons repairs

Exclusive

Kurt Volker: If Ukraine can’t join NATO until war ends, Putin will continue war. Former US diplomat Kurt Volker warns that delaying Ukraine’s NATO membership only invites Putin to prolong the war. He outlines a bold strategy, including immediate NATO membership for Ukraine and a $500 billion lend-lease program to ensure uninterrupted support.

Military

Ukraine destroys three Russian artillery systems, four vehicles, and eliminates 124 invaders on Kharkiv front. The intensity of clashes has surged to 99 incidents along the entire frontline, with fierce engagements reported on the Pokrovsk and Kharkiv fronts.

Dozens of Russian soldiers trapped in Kharkiv’s Vovchansk factory. Earlier reports claimed that up to 200 Russian troops were surrounded there.

ISW: Russian forces capture positions along Ocheretyne-Pokrovske Road and near Siversk. Meanwhile, the ISW also reported that Ukrainian forces had made marginal advances in central Vovchansk, northeast of Kharkiv City.

Frontline report: Russia deploys blocking units to prevent increasing desertions in Kharkiv direction by force. As the number of surrenders and desertions of Russian forces on the frontlines increased, the elements of the Chechen ‘Akhmat’ Spetsnaz were transferred to Kharkiv Oblast to serve as blocking units, tasked with firing on their own troops to prevent unauthorized retreats.

As of 26 June 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel: 538060 (+1220)
  • Tanks: 8039 (+4)
  • APV: 15450 (+19)
  • Artillery systems: 14321 (+40)
  • MLRS: 1108
  • Anti-aircraft systems: 863
  • Aircraft: 359
  • Helicopters: 326
  • UAV: 11435 (+22)
  • Cruise missiles: 2324
  • Warships/boats: 28
  • Submarines: 1
  • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 19407 (+45)

Intelligence and technology

Russia used a modified KAB-250 bomb to strike Kharkiv in June. Russian airstrikes in Kharkiv have severely impacted Ukrainian frontline positions and critical infrastructure.

CNN: US considers sending American contractors to Ukraine to speed up weapons repairs. Damaged US-provided military equipment currently requires transportation to NATO countries for repairs, but officials familiar with the matter told CNN that the US government is considering allowing US military contractors in Ukraine to enable faster maintenance of weapons.

Spanish arms manufacturer proposes to produce 50 infantry fighting vehicles for Ukraine. The proposal, supported by the Spanish armored vehicle manufacturer Santa Bárbara Sistemas, aims to bolster Ukraine’s military capabilities.

International

Newly elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe Alain Berset: Ukraine and its citizens are main priorities for EU. Alain Berset was a member of the Swiss Government from 2012 to 2023. During this time he held the office of President of the Confederation twice, in 2018 and 2023.

Spain delivers Patriot missiles and Leopard tanks in latest aid to Ukraine. Spain has shipped a comprehensive military aid package to Ukraine, including Patriot missiles and Leopard tanks, as part of a billion-euro commitment for 2024.

Ukraine and Canada strengthen economic ties with updated trade agreement. The updated Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Canada, effective 1 July, aims to bolster economic cooperation while addressing unique regional concerns.

Estonian PM Kallas will take over as next EU foreign policy head. In a major reshuffle of EU leadership, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is to become the EU’s foreign policy chief, replacing Josep Borrell.

Ukraine’s EU membership possible by 2030, says EU ambassador. In an interview for RBC-Ukraine, the EU ambassador to Ukraine Katarína Mathernová claimed that Ukraine could join the European Union by 2030, however it depends on how successfully Ukraine accomplishes each step of the process.

Pentagon monitors potential North Korean troop involvement in Russia-Ukraine War. Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder cautions North Korea against becoming “cannon fodder” in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Appointment of new NATO Secretary General signals continued support for Ukraine. All 32 NATO member countries approved the appointment of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as the alliance’s next Secretary General, set to take office on 1 October and known for its pro-Ukrainian stance.

EU Council extends protection for Ukrainian refugees until 2026. With the extension of the temporary protection directive, Ukrainian refugees will continue to legally stay in EU countries and access basic social services.

Humanitarian and social impact

Ukraine records highest number of children’s deaths in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. The most child casualties have been recorded in Donetsk and Kharkiv oblasts.

Ukraine returns 90 more prisoners of war from Russian captivity, including defenders of Mariupol. Among the released Ukrainian servicemen are 59 defenders of Mariupol, particularly from Azovstal, and five National Guardsmen of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.

Ukraine urgently needs distributed generation facilities to counter Russian energy terror. CEO of Ukrenergo, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, emphasizes the immediate need to build a network of small power plants to protect Ukraine’s energy systems from continuous Russian missile attacks as winter approaches.

Ukrainian ombudsman: Russia is silent on journalist Khiliuk’s whereabouts since 2022. Ukraine has called on the international community to pressure Russia and force it to release the journalist.

The Moscow Times: Russian oligarch purchases Airbus jet from EU through shadow schemes. Zarah Iliev, co-founder of “Kyivska Ploshcha,” allegedly owns a new Airbus A320neo business jet that arrived in Russia despite international sanctions.

Conscripting the critics: Ukrainian authorities accused of using draft as political weapon. Ukrainian investigative journalist Yevhenii Shulhat claims he was targeted with a draft notice after pursuing a corruption story involving the Security Service of Ukraine.

Ukraine proves decade-long pattern of Russian human rights abuses in occupied Crimea. The European Court of Human Rights validated Ukraine’s assertions of systematic human rights violations committed by Russia against Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, effectively dismissing Russia’s narrative of Crimea’s “voluntary” accession, as the court acknowledged evidence of forced citizenship changes, unlawful detentions, and the illegal imposition of Russian legislation.

New developments

The Academy invites two Ukrainian filmmakers to join the organization. Mstyslav Chernov, the creator of the Oscar-winning documentary “20 days in Mariupol,” and Serhiy Loznytsia, the director of “Babyn Yar. Context” and “Mr. Landsbergis” are among the 487 distinguished artists and executives invited to join The Academy in 2024.

Read our earlier daily review here

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