Russian Defense Ministry responds to casualty allegations

Russia’s Defense Ministry has responded to allegations by Russia’s 155th Pacific Fleet Marine Infantry Brigade in a rare response Nov. 7. In a letter, they strongly criticized the actions of their commanders. Her unit is said to have lost 300 soldiers within a few days because of a “nonsensical offensive” in Pavlivka. The ministry said less than 1 percent of the brigade had been killed and less than 7 percent wounded in the past 10 days, according to The Institute for the Study of War (ISW). In addition, Moscow pointed to the allegedly high Ukrainian losses.

Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of Primorsky Krai and addressee of the letter, also referred to the allegations. The reported losses of the brigade are greatly exaggerated. He could imagine that Ukrainian secret service agents wrote the letter of complaint. Nevertheless, Kozhemyako contacted the brigade command and forwarded it to the Russian military prosecutor’s office.

It is highly unusual for the Defense Ministry to respond to military bloggers’ criticism of failed offensives by the Russian army. The response to the milbloggers’ outcry may prove that some of them have now had an impact on the ministry’s communications policy. On the other hand, the situation in Pavlivka seems so bad that an answer seems warranted.

Also Read: Elite Unit Loses 300 Soldiers in 4 Days, Blames Russian Leadership

ISW: The “Siloviki” are about more than the war

According to an analysis by ISW, leading figures in Russia’s pro-war faction, the “Siloviki”, are operating behind the backs of Russian officials in order to expand their influence in Russia and the occupied territories of Ukraine. As an example, the “ISW” cites the establishment of an official office in Russia by Wagner financier Prigozhin, the establishment of the “Wagner Line”, a line of defense in Belgorod, and the constant criticism of the governor of St. Petersburg. According to military experts, Prigozhin is trying to improve his business relations in Russia. According to the “ISW”, Prigozhin regularly appears as one of the candidates for a possible successor to Putin in the Kremlin – which shows how successful his attempts to build his influence in Russia are, even if a presidential candidacy is considered rather unlikely.

It is similar with Putin’s bloodhound, the Chechen leader Kadyrov. He is also trying to make financial profit from the invasion and to establish business relationships in the occupied territories.

Ukrainian state takes over five major wartime companies

In order to further support the war against the Russian invaders, Ukraine has also placed five important large companies under the direct control of the Ministry of Defence. Those affected include the previously partially state-owned oil producer Ukrnafta and the oil processor Ukrtatnafta, as Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal explained. The transformer manufacturer ZTR, the truck manufacturer Kraz and the aircraft engine company Motor Sich will also be expropriated. In the future, the companies will now work around the clock for the defense needs of the state.

North Korea denies arms sales to Russia

North Korea has meanwhile denied information from the US government that the internationally largely isolated state is secretly supplying ammunition to Russia. The Defense Ministry in Pyongyang accused the US of making “hostile attempts” to damage North Korea’s reputation. “We reiterate that we have never had ‘arms trade’ with Russia,” a deputy director for foreign affairs at the ministry was quoted as saying by state media on Tuesday. It is also not planned to do so in the future.

Baerbock: Must invest in Franco-German trust

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) underlined the importance of close Franco-German cooperation for Europe – both in supporting Ukraine against Russia and in the fight against climate change. “We have shown that together we are stronger than this terrible war,” said the Green politician at the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly in Berlin, with a view to the EU. “We wouldn’t have been able to do that without a strong Franco-German alliance.”

Selenskyj praises international helpfulness

In view of the violent Russian attacks on his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised the international willingness to help. “The current escalation of Russian missile and drone terror has only resulted in the world (…) responding with new aid for Ukraine,” Zelenskyj said in his video speech on Tuesday night.

Zelenskyj also reported successes in pushing back Russian troops in the occupied areas in southern and eastern Ukraine. According to him, hundreds of Russians die every day in the Donetsk region in particular. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow, on the other hand, denies such high losses in its own ranks. The information provided by both sides can hardly be verified independently.

What will be important on Tuesday

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday in the dispute over NATO’s northern expansion. Turkey has so far refused to clear the way for Sweden and Finland to join NATO by ratifying the so-called accession protocols. The country justifies this with the alleged Swedish and Finnish support of the Syrian Kurdish militia YPK. Of the 30 NATO member states, 28 have already ratified the Swedish and Finnish applications to join, only Turkey and Hungary are still missing.

Also Read: The Ukraine Update of November 7th