Wednesday, September 14
Russia’s war against Ukraine
Ukrainian forces have liberated over 300 settlements in Kharkiv Oblast since Sept. 6, including Vovchansk on Russian border. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Sept. 13 that 3,800 square kilometers of Kharkiv Oblast had been liberated during Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive, online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported. “More than 150,000 of our people have been liberated from (Russian) occupation, during which they were, in fact, hostages,” Maliar said.
Governor: Russian army leaves key town of Kreminna. The city is “completely empty,” and the Ukrainian flag raised by local partisans still flies high, Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai said on Telegram. Kreminna lies only 25 kilometers northwest of Sievierodonetsk, which Russian forces occupied over a month of fierce fighting in May-June.
Kharkiv Oblast without electricity again after Russian shelling. Power was cut off to the city and surrounding region when a backup power line failed, according to Deputy Head of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko. Kharkiv’s electricity infrastructure remains under great strain after it was targeted by Russian strikes on the evening of Sept. 11.
General Staff: Russian troops loot homes in the east, south of Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s General Staff, Russian soldiers stole hundreds of civilian cars, loaded with other looted goods, from Kharkiv Oblast. The military said that Russian troops continue to steal civilian cars and loot homes in the southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts.
Ukraine’s military strikes Kakhovka bridge in Kherson again, halting Russian forces’ repairs. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported on Sept. 12 that they also struck nine Russian positions and three groupings of personnel and equipment. The command also said it destroyed one Russian Mil Mi-8 helicopter, one Su-24 aircraft, and one pontoon crossing in Darivka in Kherson Oblast.
Kuleba: Peace talks with Russia are being held only on the battlefield. Ukraine doesn’t reject the idea of peace talks in principle, but will only partake as far as they concern the complete restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with RBC Ukraine. Kuleba added: “The more victories Ukraine achieves, the more attention will be paid to our efforts and the more motivated our partners will be to support Ukraine.”
Ukrainian intelligence: Russian occupiers begin leaving Crimea, southern Ukraine with their families. An “urgent evacuation” of Russian proxies, intelligence officers, and military commanders is undergoing despite their assurances given to the population that the area is safe, according to Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate. The developments are a direct result of successful Ukrainian counteroffensives, the report said.
UK intelligence: Russia has highly likely deployed Iranian drones in Ukraine for first time. In its latest intelligence update, the U.K. Defense Ministry said that on Sept. 13, Ukraine reported its forces had shot down an Iranian Shahed-136 UAV near Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast during Ukraine’s successful counter-offensive in the area. “Russia is almost certainly increasingly sourcing weaponry from other heavily sanctioned states like Iran and North Korea as its own stocks dwindle,” the ministry wrote.
Document on security guarantees for Ukraine presented in Kyiv. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen presented the first document with recommendations on international security guarantees for Ukraine on Sept. 13. According to Yermak, it envisages creating the Kyiv Security Compact, which is a “joint document on a strategic partnership that will unite Ukraine and the guarantor states.” Ukraine’s guarantors are expected to include the US, the UK, Canada, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, and other countries.
Podolyak: Ukraine needs more air defense to protect critical infrastructure from Russia. Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the President’s Office, called for an overall increase in weapons deliveries after repeated Russian shelling of the nuclear power plant territory in Zaporizhzhia and the targeting of Kharkiv’s electricity infrastructure on Sept. 11.
Government approves draft budget for 2023, 50% of expenditures on defense, security. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that the draft budget’s expenditures on security and defense are four times bigger compared to the previous year, amounting to Hr 1.136 trillion ($30.7 billion). The deficit is set at over $3 billion per month. The draft budget is yet to be approved by the Ukrainian parliament.
Russian forces damage 252 cultural institutions in Donetsk Oblast. The Russian military also destroyed 64 cultural institutions, according to the Donetsk Regional State Administration. The damaged and destroyed facilities include 115 clubs, 108 libraries, 56 religious buildings, 22 art schools, 13 museums, one art college, and one theater.
Read our exclusives
With successful Kharkiv operation, Ukraine turns the war in its favor. Ukraine’s offensive operation has done more than liberate most of Kharkiv Oblast, as Ukrainian units approach the Russian border. It has exceeded the most optimistic of expectations and rendered one of Russia’s strongest military groupings disorganized and combat ineffective.
Behind the smoke and mirrors of Russia’s resilient wartime economy. Russia is officially the world’s most sanctioned country. But while figures of a robust Russian economy have quickly racked up headlines, experts studying Russia’s apparent economic miracle stress that these early reports may not be genuine.
Ukraine war latest: Intelligence points to potential turning point in war as Ukraine liberates over 300 settlements. Almost exactly 200 days into Russia’s all-out war, the world’s top diplomats, politicians, economists, and political scientists gathered in Kyiv for a discreet and heavily guarded event.
The human cost of Russia’s war
General Staff: Russia has lost 53,300 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on Sept. 13 that Russia had also lost 2,175 tanks, 4,662 armored fighting vehicles, 3,466 vehicles and fuel tanks, 1,279 artillery systems, 311 multiple launch rocket systems, 163 air defense systems, 244 airplanes, 213 helicopters, 901 drones, and 15 boats.
Governor: 1 killed in Russian shelling of Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. According to the oblast’s governor Oleksandr Starukh, Russian forces shelled the city of Orikhiv with multiple launch rocket systems on Sept. 13, completely destroying one house. Under its rubble, rescuers found the body of an 84-year-old woman.
Financial Times: US, allies discuss providing Ukraine with fighter aircraft. The U.S. and its allies have been discussing Ukraine’s longer-term needs, such as air defenses, and “whether it might be appropriate” to provide Ukraine with fighter aircraft in the “medium to longer-term” perspective, the Financial Times reported, citing an anonymous senior U.S. defense official.
The Guardian: EU unlikely to cap price of Russian gas. A draft regulation on the “electricity emergency tool” seen by the Guardian contains neither a price cap on Russian gas nor a cap on all imported gas. But the EU is still “expected to levy windfall taxes on the high profits of fossil fuel companies, with a separate cap on revenues of low-carbon electricity producers,“ the Guardian reported. Even though it could still change, the draft reveals the European Commission’s “doubts over gaining enough support from EU member states for its preferred option of putting a cap on Russian gas,” according to the Guardian.
Zelensky: IMF allocates additional $1.4 billion to support Ukraine. On Sept. 13, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had a phone conversation with Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and discussed “future cooperation to increase Ukraine’s financial stability.”
German government: Scholz told Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine. According to a press release by the German government, during a 90-minute phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 13, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Putin to reach a diplomatic solution as soon as possible based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian troops, and respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Scholz stressed that any further Russian annexation steps “would not go unanswered and would not be recognized under any circumstances.”
Pentagon: Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive only surprised Russia. Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia in Kharkiv Oblast was not a surprise to its allies and partners, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Sept. 13. “I think if anyone was surprised, just based on the reports that we’ve seen in terms of the Russian military’s response, it was probably the Russians,” Ryder said.
In other news
CNN: Blinken concerned Russia might ‘stir the pot’ with Armenia, Azerbaijan as a distraction from Ukraine. According to CNN, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he spoke with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan and “urged them to do everything possible to pull back from any conflict and to get back to talking about building a lasting peace between their countries.” Overnight the renewed fighting broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Russia-led military alliance holds meeting to discuss renewed clashes between Azerbaijan, Armenia. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an alliance between Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Tajikistan, held an extraordinary meeting on Sept. 14 via video conference following renewed fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that broke out on Sept 13. During the meeting, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said Russia will take “additional steps” to “de-escalate the situation” without providing details of what the response will be. Earlier on Sept. 13, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke with Putin and requested military assistance from the CSTO.
CNN: US officials say Russia has spent over $300 million on influencing foreign elections since 2014. Citing a review by the U.S. intelligence community, a senior U.S. official told CNN that “Russia has covertly transferred over $300 million dollars, and planned to covertly transfer at least hundreds of millions more” to influence foreign political parties in over 20 countries across four continents. The official said Russia transferred the money “to advantage specific political parties and undermine democracy.” The review was ordered by the U.S. government earlier this summer.
Bloomberg: Russia’s energy revenues shrink to 14-month low. Russian energy revenues fell to $11.1 billion in August, the lowest they have been since June 2021, as Western sanctions and European clients’ refusal to buy Russian oil have forced Russia to sell oil at cheaper rates in Asian markets, Bloomberg reports.
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