February 7, 2023

The latest news from Russia and the war in Ukraine

The latest news from Russia and the war in Ukraine

As the destruction spreads, one of the ongoing battles in Ukraine is reminiscent of World War I

The spectacle of trenches, endless mud and mass destruction – with only logs emerging from swampy, overgrown ground – is associated with World War I but one part of Ukraine is seeing the same kind of devastation and ruin.

For several months now, Russian and Ukrainian forces have been fighting for control of the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine – in what is essentially a key part of a larger battle for control of Donbass. Donbass is a region in eastern Ukraine that contains two pro-Russian states, the so-called “republications” that Russia says it wants to “liberate”.

Ukrainian soldiers from an artillery unit fire at Russian positions outside Bakhmut on November 8, 2022.

Bulent Kilik | AFP | Getty Images

Some analysts published pictures comparing the area’s destruction to the “Battle of Verdun” in World War I, a bloody and violent battle between French and German forces that lasted from February to December 1916.

One of the longest and fiercest battles of the war, it is also seen as one of the most costly in terms of life; It is estimated that both France and Germany have seen hundreds of thousands of casualties. In the end, the French forces won the battle but it came to symbolize the massive destruction and human cost of the war.

Read the full story here: Trenches, mud and death: the Ukrainian battlefield looks like it came out of World War I

– Holly Ellytt

Russia is promoting an engineer to fill the vacant post of head of the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant

Moscow said on Wednesday it had promoted the chief engineer of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear plant to become its chief, to fill a position vacant since October when Kyiv said Russian authorities had kidnapped the head of the plant.

Russian forces occupied the nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, since March. It has not produced electricity since September, but it is still run by its Ukrainian employees to keep it safe. Moscow said in October it would bring the plant under the control of Russia’s nuclear authorities, a move Kyiv says is illegal.

Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rosenergoatom has announced that chief engineer Yuriy Chernyshuk will become the plant’s director. Ukraine says the head of the factory, Ihor Murashov, was kidnapped by Russian forces on his way from the factory in October.

This photo taken on September 11, 2022 shows a security person standing in front of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia, in the middle of the Ukraine war.

stringer | Afp | Getty Images

Murashov was later released after Russian state television broadcast a videotape in which he appeared to confess to “communicating with the Ukrainian secret service”.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said he was allowed to join his family in Ukrainian-controlled territory.

“The new director of the Zaporizhzhia NPP and first deputy general director of the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant Operating Company is Yuriy Chernichuk,” Rinat Karcha, advisor to the CEO of Rosenergoatom, said, hailing him as a “courageous” successor.

Chernychuk could not be reached for comment.

Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power company Energuatom said in May that Russia had prevented Chernychuk from leaving the city of Innerhodar, where the plant is located, and had taken him and other employees “hostage”.

Since then, the six-reactor plant has been repeatedly bombed, drawing condemnation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has called for the creation of a safety zone around it, a proposal Moscow has so far resisted.

Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the bombing of the factory, which lies on the bank of the Russian-controlled Dnipro River across from Ukrainian-controlled territory. Kyiv also accuses Moscow of hiding military equipment at the factory, which Russia denies.

– Reuters

“It looks like Russia is planning some big air strikes,” says a defense expert.

Russia is planning “some very large air attacks” in Ukraine, according to a senior security and defense analyst.

“It looks like the Russians are preparing for some big air attacks. There’s a lot of chat on Twitter and satellite imagery at the air bases…so there could be a lot of air activity,” said Michael Clarke, professor and former general director of RUSI. Sky News Late Tuesday.

“The Russians are really digging for the winter and preparing trenches. In Kherson they have huge defenses,” Clark added.

A Ukrainian soldier in Pakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on November 23, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The analyst pointed out that Russian forces appear to be advancing in Donetsk, around the city of Bakhmut, where fighting has been going on for weeks.

He added, “The Russians have been bombing Bakhmut for about four weeks and are trying to attack it from the east and north, and it seems that they have made some progress from the south of Bakhmut.”

He said the fighting there would continue to be “very fierce” and that it was “the only place they are making headway”.

– Holly Ellytt

The situation at the front is tough, Zelensky says, and Russia is ‘planning something’

Ukrainian tanks line the front line at Pakhmut in Donetsk, Ukraine, on November 27, 2022. Intense military activities around the city include warplanes from both sides, artillery systems, tanks and other heavy weapons being used day and night.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation on the front as difficult, with heavy fighting in eastern, northeastern and southern Ukraine, where he said Russian forces were “planning something”.

“The situation at the front is difficult. Despite the very large Russian losses, the occupiers are still trying to advance in the Donetsk region, gain a foothold in the Luhansk region, move to the Kharkiv region, and they are planning something in the south,” Zelensky said. he said on Telegram Tuesday night.

He said the Ukrainian defenses were holding, however, preventing Russia from advancing.

“They said that they would take the Donetsk region – in the spring, summer and autumn. Winter has already begun this week. They put their regular army there, lose hundreds of recruits and mercenaries there every day, and use the barricades there.”

He said that Russia would lose 100,000 additional soldiers and mercenaries, while “Ukraine will stand firm”.

– Holly Ellytt

Russia says nuclear talks with the United States have been delayed amid disagreements

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the 10th National Congress of Judges in Moscow, Russia on November 29, 2022. Sputnik/Valery Sharifalin/Pool via Reuters Attention Editors – This photo was provided by a third party.

Valerie Shrivelin | Sputnik | Reuters

A senior Russian diplomat said on Tuesday that Moscow has delayed a round of nuclear arms control talks with the United States that were scheduled for this week due to glaring differences in approach and tensions over Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the decision to postpone the talks, which were scheduled to start on Tuesday in Cairo, was taken at the political level. The delay marks another low point in deeply strained US-Russian relations and has raised concerns about the future of the last remaining nuclear arms control agreement between the two powers.

“We were faced with a situation in which our American colleagues not only showed reluctance to listen to our signals and calculate our priorities, but also acted in the opposite way,” Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow.

Ryabkov alleged that the US only wanted to focus on resuming inspections under the New START treaty and blocked Moscow’s request to discuss details regarding the number of weapons under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

This week’s meeting of the Treaty Bilateral Advisory Committee was the first in more than a year. The timing of the talks was intended to show that Russia and the United States remain committed to arms control and to keeping lines of communication open despite escalating tensions over Ukraine.

– News agency

Western governments are struggling to agree on a ceiling for Russian oil prices

This photo taken on May 13, 2022 shows a view of the Russian oil company Lukoil’s fuel tank in Brussels.

Kenzo Tripuillard | AFP | Getty Images

Western governments want to cap the purchase price of Russian oil on the global market to limit Moscow’s ability to raise funds for its war on Ukraine.

The plan aims to punish Russia while at the same time maintaining the flow of its huge oil exports to energy-hungry global markets to curb inflation.

But so far, countries have failed to agree on what the price limit should be, reflecting divisions over how badly the scheme is trying to hurt Moscow.

If they cannot reach a deal by December 5th, a total ban on Russian imports into the EU will take effect, limiting supplies to the peak winter heating season.

– Reuters

The United States announced an additional $53 million in power grid assistance to Ukraine

LIMAN, UKRAINE – NOVEMBER 27: A view of damaged electrical wires after the Ukrainian military retook control from Russian forces in Liman, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on November 27, 2022.

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new $53 million aid package from the United States to help repair the electrical grid in Ukraine, which has been devastated by Russian bombing.

The package will include distribution transformers, circuit breakers, surge arresters, disconnectors, vehicles and other major equipment, according to a State Department fact sheet.

The announcement comes as millions of Ukrainians remain without electricity, many without water, as a result of Russia’s coordinated bombing campaign.

The new US assistance adds to the $55 million already allocated to support the emergency energy sector.

Christina Wilkie

Analysts note that anxiety is mounting in Moscow about the war and how it might end

Russian President Vladimir Putin grimaces during the World Trade Organization summit on November 23, 2022 in Yerevan, Armenia.

contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Political analysts from Russia say anxiety is mounting in Moscow as the country’s forces face what is likely to be more months of fighting and military losses, and even begin to contemplate the possibility of their defeat.

Analysts said that this would be disastrous for Putin and the Kremlin, who deducted global capital for Russia to win the war against Ukraine, noting that anxiety is mounting in Moscow about how the war will progress.

“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] There are a lot of concerns,” Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founder and president of the political analysis firm R Politics, told CNBC.

“For the first time since the start of the war, people began to think about the worst-case scenario that Russia could lose, and they do not see and do not understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. Those worried think what is going on is a catastrophe,” she said on Monday.

Read the full story here: ‘Losing is not an option’: Russian analysts fear ‘desperate’ Putin as Ukraine war drags on

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