Military course of war:
In his video address, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy warned of Russian fighter jets over the Black Sea. Accordingly, a fighter jet of the Russian occupiers fired two marching bodies over the grain export corridor. This happens every day, says Zelenskyj, explaining that Russia is threatening food exports.
In the south of the country, the Ukrainian army has destroyed four ammunition depots owned by the Russian occupying forces. This is reported by the “Kyiv Independent” and refers to statements by the Ukrainian Southern Command. According to the report, Ukraine carried out 150 fire sorties and one air raid on Russian positions, destroying four Russian ammunition dumps and fuel tankers. In addition, the Southern Command reported that Russia now has seven ships in the Black Sea, including a warship and a surface-to-surface missile carrier carrying eight Kalibr cruise missiles.
Ukraine reports intense fighting with Russian units in the Donbass around the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar. “Dozens of attacks in one day” were repelled, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar said on Ukrainian television on Wednesday. If the Russian army advances, Ukraine will immediately respond with a counterattack. According to the General Staff in Kyiv, Russia continued to attack infrastructure in several regions with missiles and Iranian drones. The information from the combat area could not be independently confirmed.
Voices and political developments:
Russian mobilization for aggressive war in Ukraine and Western sanctions will have long-term damaging effects on Russia’s economy, the Institute for the Study of War predicted. A Reuters report also confirms these forecasts. Accordingly, financial experts told the news agency that due to Western sanctions, mobilization costs and falling energy revenues, the Kremlin expects a budget deficit that “will take Moscow’s reserves to their lowest level in years.”
The cost of the mobilized men alone, including welfare payments, could cost the Kremlin anywhere from $14.6 billion to $32.4 billion over the next six months. This calculation does not include the payments for soldiers who are not part of the mobilization but are assigned to other armed forces groups.
After speculation about a possible nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war, Russia has underlined the purely defensive character of its nuclear doctrine. In the current turbulent situation, the most important task is “to avoid any military confrontation between nuclear powers,” the Foreign Ministry said in Moscow on Wednesday. In its policy of deterrence, Russia adheres to the fact that nuclear war is inadmissible. There are no winners in such a war and it must never be unleashed. Russian doctrine is deeply defensive.
As expected, Russia failed at the UN Security Council with a resolution on bioweapons directed against the USA and Ukraine. The text, which is based on unsubstantiated Russian allegations that the United States is producing biological weapons in Ukraine, received only two votes on Wednesday – from Moscow itself and from China. The United States, Great Britain and France voted against the draft resolution. The remaining 10 countries on the 15-member council abstained. At least nine votes would have been required for acceptance. The resolution was seen as a renewed attempt by Moscow to enforce its unsubstantiated claims.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sees the resumption of the grain agreement as a partial success in the war with Russia. “The Russian blackmail has led to nothing,” said Zelenskyj in his evening video address on Wednesday. In particular, he praised UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other key partners as mediators. “Once again, everyone has seen that in our region there is only one threat to global food security, and that is the Russian Federation and nobody else,” he said after more than eight months of war.
Despite the resumption, the Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin did not rule out a new exit from the grain agreement with Ukraine, should there be violations from the Russian point of view. “Russia reserves the right to withdraw from these agreements in the event that the guarantees are violated by Ukraine,” Putin told a video conference with the National Security Council on Wednesday. Even if the agreement is withdrawn, Russia is prepared to allow grain deliveries intended for poorer countries to pass through the agreed corridor. Russia had previously informed about the resumption of the grain agreement.
According to Western officials, an estimated 400,000 Russians have fled their homes as a result of the partial mobilization. The number does not include those who had already left the country because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. In addition to fleeing abroad, many Russians have also gone underground in their own country to avoid being drafted into the armed forces, representatives of a Western government said in an interview with journalists on Wednesday. When you add that to the number of people who were actually conscripted, the decline in the working population is “a significant additional burden on Russia’s economy and public finances,” they said.
What will be important on Thursday:
The foreign ministers of the G7 countries are meeting in Münster to discuss the consequences of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is on a three-day visit to Turkey. The topics of the meetings planned there are likely to be the Ukraine war and Turkey’s position on NATO’s northern expansion to include Sweden and Finland.
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