The NY Times does a piece that paints a much more questioning look at the coming Ukraine Spring counter-offensive….
Political dancing at the UN where Russia chairs the Security Council and their Foreign Minister is in attendance ….
Russia bombs around Kherson, an area that the Ukraine Spring offense may be operating close to…..
Arms spending internationally HAS gone thru the roof due to the Ukraine conflict……
Some European countries say a peace deal must be the Ukraine’s terms…..
Ukraine is preparing to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces as early as next month, American officials say, in the face of immense risks: Without a decisive victory, Western support for Ukraine could weaken, and Kyiv could come under increasing pressure to enter serious negotiations to end or freeze the conflict.
American and NATO allies have supplied Ukraine with extensive artillery and ammunition for the upcoming battle, and officials now say they are hopeful the supplies will last — a change from two months ago when weapons were only trickling in and U.S. officials were worried that the supplies might run out.
At the same time, 12 Ukrainian combat brigades of about 4,000 soldiers each are expected to be ready at the end of April, according to leaked Pentagon documents that offer a hint of Kyiv’s timetable. The United States and NATO allies are training and supplying nine of those brigades, the documents said.
Although Ukraine shares few details of its operational plan with American officials, the operation is likely to unfold in the country’s south, including along Ukraine’s coastline on the Sea of Azov, near the Russian-annexed Crimea….
The U.S. and European members of the Security Council had declined to send their foreign ministers to the meeting chaired by Sergey V. Lavrov, which was a key event for Russia’s rotating presidency. Here is what we’re covering:
As Russia’s Security Council presidency winds down, Lavrov casts blame on the West.
A Chinese ambassador’s comments on ex-Soviet states draw ire.
The U.N. proposes extending and expanding the Black Sea grain deal to a reluctant Russia.
The Kremlin’s spokesman says his son fought in Ukraine.
Battlefield update: Russian forces have hit civilian areas around the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine says.
How the officials who guide Russia’s economy are enabling Putin’s war.
A drone was shot down over Crimea, Russian authorities say….
China’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that it “respects the sovereign status of the former Soviet countries after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” A ministry spokeswoman was responding to growing backlash in Europe to remarks by Beijing’s ambassador to France that questioned the legitimacy of former Soviet states.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- In February, with the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine days away, officials in Kyiv were busy making plans to attack Moscow — an effort Washington worked to head off, according to leaked documents, The Washington Post reports.
- “Why would there be a need for us to do this? What task would such a one-time action solve?” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter in a statement that sought to cast doubt on the information in the documents.
- When asked about The Post’s report about planned Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to comment on “any purported intelligence documents.” But “when it comes to what Ukraine does to defend itself against Russian aggression, these are decisions for the Ukrainians to make,” he said.
- Europe reported the biggest year-on-year defense spending increase, according to the Stockholm institute, although the United States maintained the world’s biggest military budget, spending $877 billion in 2022. In Western and Central Europe, military spending exceeded equivalent levels in 1989 — when the Cold War was drawing to a close — for the first time.
- European countries including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania condemned comments by the Chinese ambassador to France, in which he questioned the legitimacy of former Soviet states. Last week,Ambassador Lu Shaye said on France’s LCI news channelthat the states “don’t have actual status in international law because there is no international agreement to confirm their sovereign status.”
- A discussion between France’s Foreign Ministry and Lu is expected Monday, after European lawmakers urged France’s foreign minister to declare the Chinese ambassador persona non grata over his remarks. In an open letter published by Le Monde, the signatories called the comments a threat to the security of France’s European partners. China and Russia are close allies.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the global situation had become “possibly even more dangerous” than during the Cold War. The top Russian diplomat, speaking at the U.N. Security Council on Monday, said the problem was a loss of trust in multilateralism, and accused a “Western minority” of trying to speak for all mankind. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, seated next to Lavrov as Russia holds the council’s rotating presidency for April, said risks of conflict were at a “historic high” and criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Russia accused the United States of violating its obligations by not issuing visas to journalists planning to cover Lavrov’s trip to the United Nations in New York. The State Department declined to offer details about the visas, citing privacy issues. “The United States takes seriously its obligations as a host country of the U.N.,” the State Department said in a statement. It added that hundreds of Russian visas are approved each year and that the expulsion of U.S. diplomats by Russia has slowed visa adjudication efforts at the embassy in Moscow.
- “Peace can come only on Ukraine’s terms,” wrote the prime ministers of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in a letter published in Foreign Affairs urging Western leaders to continue supporting Ukraine. “Accordingly, defeating Russia now, in Ukraine, will reduce the chances of Ukraine’s backers’ having to spill their own blood and further treasure later,” the three heads of state wrote. “It will send a clear message that frozen conflicts and endless wars have no place in our region.”
- The Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group is making aggressive moves to bring together an anti-Western coalition of states in Africa, according to leaked U.S. government documents reviewed by The Post. Alarmed U.S. officials have rushed to target the group’s network and businesses with sanctions and cyberoperations, the documents suggest.
- Europe’s relationship with China will be on the agenda at June’s European Council summit, Council President Charles Michel said in a tweet Monday. The meeting of European leaders comes as the war in Ukraine places further pressure on strained ties with Beijing.
- South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said that Seoul has to consider its “many direct and indirect relationships” with Russia and Ukraine when deciding what assistance to supply Kyiv. Yoon was speaking to The Postahead of a trip to the United States this week, where he is expected to come under pressure for his country’s reluctance to supply lethal aid to Ukraine.
- The Kremlin could end the Black Sea grain deal, which facilitates the export of Ukrainian grain, if the Group of Seven industrialized nations imposes a blanket ban on exportsto Russia, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday on Telegram. Medvedev now has a senior security role. The G-7 consists of the United States, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada. Japan holds the G-7 presidency this year, and Kyodo News reported last week that such a step is being considered.
- Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday that it repelled an overnight attack by unmanned speedboats on a naval base in the port city of Sevastopol, in Crimea. A handful of such attacks have been reported.
- Russia is using passports as a tool in the “Russification” of occupied areas in Ukraine, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Monday, noting that authorities “are almost certainly coercing the population to accept Russian Federation passports.” In Kherson, a partially occupied region visited by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, residents have been warned that if they do not accept a Russian passport by June 1, they will be deported, British officials said.
- Ukraine has probably set up military positions on the eastern side of the strategically important DnieperRiver in the Kherson region, according to a battlefield assessment published by the Institute for the Study of War, which cites geolocated footage shared by Russian military bloggers. The Washington-based think tank said it was the first time it has observed reliable imagery of a continued Ukrainian presence in the area, which the Kremlin has illegally claimed to annex but does not fully control….
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