Winter is coming to the Ukraine….
Zelensky keeps begging for money and support with the world attention focused on the Middel East at a NATO meeting…..
A look at a Ukraine fighting unit…
Ukrainian pilots will train in F-16’s in Moldova…..
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine made a surprise visit to NATO headquarters on Wednesday, urging the military alliance to maintain its flow of weapons to his country for its war against Russia, even as much of the West turns its attention to the brutal outbreak of violence in Israel.
Top NATO officials sought to reassure Mr. Zelensky, pledging more than $2 billion in additional military aid to be delivered before Ukraine’s winter sets in.
“Your fight is our fight, your security is our security, and your values are our values,” Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said at the start of two days of meetings among the alliance’s defense chiefs. “And we will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
But Mr. Zelensky later said that “of course, everybody’s afraid” that Western assistance would dwindle as the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza continues….
The 79th was dispatched to stabilize the defense of a crucial sector of the front around the city, Marinka, more than a year ago. It has been there ever since. The outfit along with other air assault brigades — elite units — are constantly engaged in skirmishes with Russian forces on a front line that stretches hundreds of miles.
The motto of the assault brigades — “always first” — is testament to the fact that they are often assigned the most challenging and deadly jobs.
In the forest belts of eastern Ukraine, the Russian forces continue to mount relentless assaults in a maze of scorched pines.
“Russians use almost the entire nomenclature of its weapons in these forests,” said Evgeny, a 45-year-old unit commander in the 95th Air Assault Brigade. Whether it’s grenades launched from trenches a few hundred yards away or 1,100-pound bombs dropped from warplanes, the bombardment rarely lets up.
While attention has shifted to the south, where Ukrainian forces have been battling since June to break through heavily fortified Russian lines and divide the occupation forces, furious fighting rages on the eastern front, too.
Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia is preparing “again to use winter as a weapon for war,” adding in a tweet that the alliance is “committed to stepping up & sustaining our support for Ukraine.” Ukrainian and Western officials have been making preparations to reinforce the national energy grid and secure crucial equipment ahead of a change in weather. Last winter, Ukraine experienced rolling blackouts across the country, with hospitals, schools and homes without electricity or forced to rely on power generators.
U.S. officials downplayed the impact that the Israel-Hamas war may have on war efforts in Ukraine. Ambassador Julianne Smith, the U.S. permanent representative to NATO, said in a briefing that the risk that the crisis in Israel will distract the United States, or the alliance, was negligible. “I suspect the United States will be able to stay focused on our partnership and commitment to Israel’s security, while also meeting our commitments and promise to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends its territory,” she said.
Russia failed in its bid to rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council. The council consists of 47 member states elected via secret ballot, with a prescribed number of seats for geographic regions. Russia lost out to Bulgaria and Albania in Eastern Europe, but did receive 83 votes in its favor from the General Assembly member nations. Russia was suspended from the council last April after evidence of atrocities emerged in Bucha, Ukraine.
Damage to a natural gas pipeline and a communications cable in the Baltic Sea is raising alarm in Europe, with Finnish officials suggesting sabotage as the most likely explanation, though they held back from identifying any potential culprits, The Washington Post reported. The Baltic connector pipeline, which runs between Finland and Estonia and can send gas in either direction, was shut down early Sunday. On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia does “not have technical information” about the incident and “will await more details.”
Putin weighed in on the Israel-Hamas war on Wednesday. “What’s happening is terrible. … Whatever the level of aggravation on both sides, we should strive to minimize or reduce to zero, to minimize losses among the civilian population — among women, children, the elderly,” he said, speaking at a plenary session of Russian Energy Week forum. He said the United States “neglected the mechanisms of settlement in the Middle East” and “tried to substitute the solution of fundamental political problems with some material giveaways” for Palestinians.
Russia launched an offensive toward the town of Avdiivka, in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, according to an analysis from the Institute for the Study of War. Avdiivka has been held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014, and this week’s offensive was probably intended to pull Ukrainian forces away from their southern counteroffensive, ISW wrote. A Russian operation near Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region on Monday probably had the same purpose, the institute said Tuesday. No civilians were killed or injured in the attacks, the head of the Avdiivka city military administration, Vitaliy Barabash, told Ukrainian media, but he urged residents to evacuate.
Ukraine’s state security service said it identified two Ukrainian “traitors” who gave intelligence to Russian forces to direct a missile attack on a funeral reception in the village of Hroza last week. The Oct. 5 attack killed at least 55 people — roughly one-sixth of the village’s population — including one young boy. Ukraine retook control of the village from Russian forces during a surprise counteroffensive last fall. Suspicions were rife in Hroza following the attack, with many villagers saying they had no doubt that locals had tipped off Russian forces about the gathering.
Germany will supply Ukraine with a new “winter package” that includes air defenses worth about $1 billion, its Defense Ministry said Tuesday. Patriot and an IRIS-T air defense systems make up the centerpiece of the package, which will also include vehicles and weapons worth about $21 million, as well as ammunition supplies, the ministry said. Britain also said it would be sending additional military support aimed at helping Ukraine defend critical infrastructure and clear minefields.
Russia struck a school in the southern Ukrainian city of Nikopol, destroying a gymnasium and killing four people on Wednesday, Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram. He said the four people killed, all of whom were aged 60 and above, included school employees.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend an event in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, the country’s presidential office said, according to Reuters. It would be Putin’s first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest in March, though Kyrgyzstan is not a member of the ICC. The Russian leader is also expected to travel to China, also not an ICC member, next week, said Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov, according to Russian outlet RT. Late last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the dates of Putin’s visit to China had been determined, but were to be released “in due time.”
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said a price cap, led by the Group of Seven, on Russian oil “significantly reduced Russian revenue over the last 10 months.” Speaking Wednesday at International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco, Yellen said the Ukraine war remains a major headwind for the global economy. But she added: “We must continue to impose severe and increasing costs on Russia and continue efforts to ensure Russia pays for the damage it has caused.”
A grain corridor from Ukraine through Moldova to Romania, which has a Black Sea coast and port infrastructure, will soon be operational, Zelensky said Tuesday after meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest. Ukrainian F-16 pilots will also be trained at the newly established Pilot Training Center in Romania, Zelensky added. The two nations signed an agreement in August to work together on grain exports, following Russia’s departure from a U.N.-backed deal that had allowed for the safe wartime transport of grain exports over the Black Sea.
Putin repeated that Russia has always advocated to create an independent Palestinian state, citing the “decisions of the U.N. Security Council.” His position is well known by Israel and “our friends in Palestine,” Putin said Wednesday, speaking at a session of Russian Energy Week. Putin also said he didn’t understand why the Untied States is bringing the Ford carrier strike group to the Mediterranean Sea. “What are they going to bomb — Lebanon or what? What are they going to do? Or are they just trying to scare somebody? There are people there who aren’t afraid of anything anymore. This is not the way to solve problems, you have to find a compromise solution.”
In Ukraine, Russia’s winter attacks on infrastructure have started: After an initially balmy fall, temperatures are dropping in Ukraine — and Russia has already begun pummeling Ukraine’s energy system, David L. Stern reports from Kyiv. The attacks are a reprise of Russia’s brutal attempt last autumn and winter to demoralize Ukrainians by plunging them into darkness and cold.
Last winter, there were “a lot of difficult nights” when Russian forces sent waves of missiles and drones in a bid to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, said Fox, one of three soldiers manning a German-made mobile antiaircraft system at a position not far from Kyiv. “One time, they sent 20 drones together at a position,” said Fox, who is being identified only by his call sign in keeping with Ukrainian military protocol. “But this winter will be a lot worse,” he added…..