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War to stretch into 2023, top commander warns

War to stretch into 2023, top commander warns

5 min. 08.09.2022 From our online archive
Ukrainian forces launched counterattacks in the northern Kharkiv region and have retaken several settlements
ocal residents stand amid the rubble of an apartment after it was hit by a missile strike in Kharkiv, on September 6, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
ocal residents stand amid the rubble of an apartment after it was hit by a missile strike in Kharkiv, on September 6, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Photo credit: AFP

Russia’s war on Ukraine will likely stretch into next year, Ukraine’s top army commander, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, warned in an article, where he pleaded for allies to send longer-range weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote in a guest article for the Financial Times that the war in Ukraine is “entering a critical phase” and warned of a tough winter ahead for members of the military alliance that could include “energy cuts, disruptions and perhaps even civil unrest.” 

The US accused Russia of detaining hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians. Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed accusations that he’s using energy as a weapon and said his country would emerge stronger from the invasion of Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier accused the Kremlin leader of seeking to blackmail Germany and its European partners by shutting off gas deliveries and highlighted the importance of ending imports of Russian fossil fuels. 

Key developments

Ukrainian forces launched counterattacks in the northern Kharkiv region and have retaken several settlements, according to the latest report from the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. 

Russian redeployment of forces from the area to defend against a counteroffensive in Kherson in the south likely prompted and facilitated the counterattacks, the Institute said. Ukraine’s General Staff reported steady Russian missile and air strikes on military and civilian targets in the east and south of the country.

 According to its regular update on Facebook, Ukrainian troops are holding their positions and preventing Russian forces from advancing deeper into the country.

The US called on Russia to stop what it said was a systematic campaign to imprison hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, including children, deemed a threat to its invasion of the country.

The administration has evidence that officials in Putin’s administration are overseeing what it calls “filtration operations.” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield presented that evidence to a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Ukrainian citizens, adults and children, have been “interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported, and some of them sent to very remote areas,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters at the UN in New York. She said some had been harassed or tortured. “They’ve had their biometric data captured, identification documents confiscated, and all means of communication cut off,” Thomas-she added.

Officials from the United Nations and Russia met in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss eliminating bottlenecks to food and fertilizer trade from Russia and fully implementing an agreement previously signed in Istanbul, a spokesperson for the UN secretary-general said at a media briefing.

Alongside the Ukraine grain-export deal that was signed in late July, the UN also pledged to facilitate Russia’s crop and fertilizer trade to help relieve global shortages. Russia is collecting a bumper wheat harvest this year, but its export pace lags the prior season.

Russian-occupied provinces in Ukraine can hold referendums on joining Russia on 4 November, according to Andrey Turchak, a top official at the country’s ruling party. That’s Unity Day in Russia, a public holiday that “unites all of us in the space of Russia world,” he said in a party press release. 

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the local Russian occupation administration in Kherson region. said the territory will be preparing for the referendum on this date, according to the Tass news agency. The referendums, originally targeted for September, were postponed because Russian troops haven’t yet been able to take full control of the areas. Ukrainian officials have called the planned referendums bogus.

Scholz told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Germany would “not let up” in its aid to Kyiv, in terms of military assistance, but also political, financial and humanitarian aid. The two spoke by phone about the reconstruction conference to be hosted by Scholz in Berlin on 25 October. Zelenskiy said he stressed to the German leader the need for a “full-fledged” financial aid program from the International Monetary Fund.

Ukraine received five Gepard anti-aircraft systems from Germany this week, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a government meeting on Wednesday. He said Berlin will also soon send the first of three IRIS-T air defence systems to help protect Ukrainian cities from Russian missiles.

The active war with Russia will in all likelihood stretch into next year, Ukrainian army commander in chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi wrote in an article for Kyiv-based news agency Ukrinform.

Russia may still try to capture Kyiv again via neighbouring Belarus, Zaluzhnyi wrote, as well as push deeper into country’s territory toward the cities of Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia or seek gains in the south. Ukraine would need several simultaneous counter-offensives next year to change the situation, he wrote.

But Zaluzhnyi suggests that even a hypothetical liberation of Crimea by Ukraine won’t make a significant change to the way Russia wages the war. He urged allies to provide Ukraine with long-range weapons to match Russia’s ability to hit targets at 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) versus the maximum range of 100 kilometres with Ukraine’s current weapons. 

Recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency can be fulfilled only if Ukraine fully regains control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Facebook. 

“Only we can guarantee implementation of all components of secure operation and we are interested in that, unlike the Russians,” Halushchenko said.

The European Union formally proposed releasing €5 billion of aid for Ukraine, part of a larger €9 billion package pledged last May, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

The European Union’s Baltic members reached a deal to restrict Russian citizens from entering the bloc at land crossings and will aim to pass national measures by mid-September.

The move would further complicate entry for Russian holders of Schengen visas for travel throughout the EU’s visa-free travel zone. Latvia and Estonia - both of which share a border with Russia - are finalising the details of the restrictions for government approval as early as this week, foreign ministers for both nations said on Wednesday in Kaunas. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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