The grim assessment is based on Russia’s brutal proficiency in defending occupied territory through a phalanx of minefields and trenches, and is likely to prompt finger pointing inside Kyiv and Western capitals about why a counteroffensive that saw tens of billions of dollars of Western weapons and military equipment fell short of its goals.
Ukraine’s forces, which are pushing toward Melitopol from the town of Robotyne more than 50 miles away, will remain several miles outside of the city, U.S. officials said. U.S., Western and Ukrainian government officials interviewed for this report spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations….
U.S. officials said the Pentagon recommended multiple times that Ukraine concentrate a large mass of forces on a single breakthrough point. Though Ukraine opted for a different strategy, officials said it was Kyiv’s call to make given the profound sacrifice Ukrainian troops were making on the battlefield….
U.S. officials said Washington was still open to Kyiv surprising skeptics and overcoming the odds. One defense official said it is possible that Ukraine could buck historical norms and continue the counteroffensive through the winter, when everything including keeping soldiers warm and stocked with food and ammunition becomes much more difficult.
The area around Kupiansk, in northeastern Ukraine, is the only part of the front line where Russia is making noticeable gains.
Here’s what we’re covering:
Battlefield Update: Russia pushes on with concerted attacks in northeastern Ukraine.
The first civilian cargo ship to leave Ukrainian waters in a month arrives off Istanbul safely.
Turkey offers a mild warning to Russia over its boarding of a cargo ship in the Black Sea.
Russian media reports that a U.S. citizen of Russian origin was taken into custody on espionage charges.
Putin didn’t disclose his plans until a ‘few days’ before Russia invaded Ukraine, Lukashenko says.
Ukraine says it will not receive F-16 jets from its NATO allies this year.
NATO leader, clarifying stance, says only Ukraine can set terms of peace negotiations…..
Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone to Paul Whelan, an American jailed in Russia, CNN reported. Whelan, a Marine turned corporate security executive, was convicted of espionage and sentenced in 2020 in what he said was a case of political hostage-taking. Whelan had a “long, frank conversation” with Blinken on Wednesday, his brother David Whelan told CNN.
Russia and Iran are working to expand the Kremlin’s drone program, according to leaked documents seen by The Washington Post. The documents indicate that Moscow has made steady progress toward its goal of manufacturing a variant of the Iranian Shahed-136 attack drone. The Russian program aims to domestically build 6,000 drones by summer 2025 — enough to reverse the Russian military’s chronic shortages of uncrewed aerial vehicles, or UAVs, on the front line.
NATO official Stian Jenssen apologized and withdrew his suggestion that Ukraine cede land to Russia to make peace and join the military alliance, Dutch media outlets reported. His comments drew anger from Kyiv; Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the idea of ceding land to Russia was “ridiculous.”
A U.S. citizen in Russia, Gene Spektor, was taken into custody over espionage charges on Thursday, according to reports in Russian state media. Spektor had previously been convicted of bribery. A State Department spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic issue said officials were “aware” of the charges and “monitoring” the situation. “When a U.S. citizen is detained overseas, the Department works to provide all appropriate assistance,” the spokesperson said.
The head of the Russian-owned Tactical Missiles Corp. has been put on the Czech Republic’s sanctions list along with his daughter and son-in-law after a campaign by Russian anti-corruption activists. Boris Obnosov, whose company produces missiles and aerial bombs that have been destroying Ukrainian cities for more than a year, continued to live in Prague, the Czech capital, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He and other family members reportedly own real estate in Prague worth more than $8 million. In May, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation published an investigation into Obsonov’s family and urged the E.U. to put them on sanctions lists. Last month, 15 members of the European Parliament also urged the European Commission to impose sanctions on Obnosov’s close family members.
Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is in Belarus for a three-day visit, Belarusian news agency BelTA reported. Cooperation between the two countries is getting stronger, the agency quoted Li as saying. Belarus is a close Russian ally and has supported the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.