Day 532 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russia is increasing its Military Presence on its Western Border
Day 532 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Russia is increasing its military presence on its western border
- The delayed offensive could become a huge political problem for Zelensky in the US
- A huge black mushroom after an explosion near Moscow
- Exposing the Generals: The Prigozhin Rebellion - a special operation approved by Vladimir Putin
- Ukrainian landing on the eastern bank of the Dnieper, drones shot down again over Moscow
- Drones over Moscow again, Zelensky announced that 9 people died in the attack on Pokrovsk
- Berlin is ready to deploy the "Patriot" in Poland until the end of the year
- Denis Pushilin reported three dead and 11 wounded in Ukrainian shelling of civilian objects in Donetsk
Russia is increasing its military presence on its western border
Moscow will amass forces on its western borders after Finland joins NATO, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told the ministry's management board, quoted by TASS and Reuters.
In opening remarks to the panel, he also explained that Poland had already announced plans to strengthen its military and that it expected significant NATO forces and weaponry to be stationed in Finland, whose inclusion almost doubled the length of Russia's land border with NATO.
Moreover, Poland had a plan to create a security alliance with Ukraine, which was essentially an "occupation of western Ukraine", and this was an example of one of the risks of Warsaw's militarization.
"The collective West is running a proxy against Russia," Shoigu says, "unprecedented support" for Ukraine in supplying weapons worth tens of billions of dollars to help Kyiv repel Russian forces. Accordingly, the minister defines the integration of Sweden and Finland as a "serious destabilizing factor".
He also claims that it is possible to deploy "additional NATO military contingents and strike weapons" in Finland to strike critical targets in northwestern Russia. Therefore, at the meeting of the collegium, it is planned to consider the creation of the Leningrad (around St. Petersburg) and Moscow military districts, along with the strengthening of the groupings on the western borders.
The delayed offensive could become a huge political problem for Zelensky in the US
One of Ukraine's greatest tragedies, as it mounts a critical offensive that has so far failed to meet its own and Western expectations, is that it will not be able to decide its own destiny, writes a CNN analysis today.
The government of President Volodymyr Zelensky is dependent on a huge influx of American and Western arms. And Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose historical obsessions and personal power calculations have drawn Ukraine into this horrific war, will also have a heavy say in whether and when it ends, writes author Stephen Collinson.
So while casualties on the battlefield will decide how much seized territory Ukraine will recover, the outcome of the war will also be shaped by external factors, including shifting political forces in the US, Moscow and European capitals.
A delayed offensive and winter stalemate, for example, would have particular consequences in the United States, as they could heighten questions about US support for the war, which would be pushed into a tumultuous election year.
Americans are bracing for a potential showdown between President Joe Biden, who has revived the Western alliance and is Ukraine's most important foreign backer, and former President Donald Trump, a NATO skeptic who admires Putin and has vowed to end the war in 24 hours, possibly on Putin's terms. And even if Trump is not the GOP nominee in 2024, declining public support for the war could hurt Biden.
Therefore, for political as well as strategic reasons, there is enormous pressure on Ukraine's much-anticipated counteroffensive this summer to produce significant breakthroughs on the battlefield.
But for now, the offensive is more of a slogan than a blitzkrieg, raising the possibility that the war will continue at least until late next year.
If so, the elastic equation underlying the entire conflict — involving Ukraine's ability to fight back, the American appetite for multibillion-dollar aid packages and Putin's tolerance for horrific casualties — will be strained even more.
A huge black mushroom after an explosion near Moscow
A huge explosion occurred at the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant in Sergiyev Posad, Moscow Oblast.
As a result of the explosion, a huge mushroom of thick smoke was formed over the plant, which is located 73 kilometers from the capital of Russia. The windows of hundreds of nearby buildings were broken. Others are partially destroyed.
According to Russian media, it is an "exploded warehouse of pyrotechnics".
Streets near the plant are closed to traffic. According to initial data, 22 people were injured in the explosion, but it is possible that there are buried people at the scene of the accident, the clearing of which has not yet begun. There are dozens of ambulances at the scene, but according to the medics, their number is not enough, writes the BAZA Telegram channel.
The plant in Sergiyev Posad is part of the Rostec consortium and produces equipment for the Russian army. It produces infrared night vision devices for soldiers, optical sights, binoculars and other precision equipment.
In June of last year, there was another inexplicable explosion at the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant.
⚡️Moscow region this morning; video from the explosion at a mechanical plant.— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) August 9, 2023
Looks like a…u know. pic.twitter.com/L13vAGqG6i
Exposing the Generals: The Prigozhin Rebellion - a special operation approved by Vladimir Putin
The rebellion of "Wagner" PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin was a special operation approved by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to uncover disloyal generals. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said this on the air of the public Ukrainian television "Suspilne".
Danilov commented on the riot in response to a question about why Prigozhin was not punished after the rebellion, since in a country with a dictatorship rebels are not usually forgiven.
"As of today, it can already be said that this was a special operation coordinated with Putin. To identify those generals who were not entirely favorable to Putin and his entourage," Danilov noted. As the secretary of the NSDC added, all this can be seen by the number of generals removed from office, some of them have been arrested
The "Wagner" rebellion lasted for less than a day on June 23 and 24, 2023. On the evening of June 23, the leader of PMC "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin stated that the troops of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation struck the location of the "Wagner" deployment and allegedly killed many mercenaries there.
Prigozhin announced a "march of justice" and added that there were 25,000 "Wagner" fighters and "things will be fixed". And he also called on all those who want to "end the chaos" to join them.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation called the statement about the shelling "informational provocation", at the same time, criminal proceedings were opened against Prigozhin for the fact of "organizing a military rebellion", which provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
On the morning of June 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a video message that the Russian armed forces had been ordered to eliminate the "rebels" and called the events a "stab in the back".
During the day, "Wagner" fighters marched through Rostov and Voronezh Oblasts. Prigozhin said that PMC representatives had reached 200 km from Moscow.
The press service of the president of Belarus, Lukashenko, announced a little later that Prigozhin had agreed to end the rebellion, and soon after that, Prigozhin himself confirmed the news.
Oleksiy Danilov's words are confirmed by other analyses, in particular by the Wall Street Journal, which reported that dozens of high-ranking military personnel were detained in Russia within hours of the uprising. 13 senior officers have been detained for questioning and about 15 have been suspended or dismissed from service. Among them were, for example, General Sergey Surovikin, General Mikhail Mizintsev and Lieutenant General Vladimir Alekseev. Surovikin was suspected from the beginning of knowing about the mutiny and was blamed for the lack of reaction. The general has not appeared in public since the beginning of the "Wagner" march, when he was shown, along with Mizintsev, calling on Prigozhin's fighters to stop the rebellion. According to opposition media, the general is currently under house arrest. There is no news about General Valery Gerasimov or, for example, Yunusbek Evkurov.
Ukrainian landing on the eastern bank of the Dnieper, drones shot down again over Moscow
The Institute for the Study of War reported about a Ukrainian landing on the left bank of the Dnieper River. The information is also confirmed by Russian military bloggers. And Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin reported at least two unmanned aerial vehicles that were shot down over the Russian capital.
The Ukrainian military made a successful landing on the left bank of the Dnieper in the Kherson region and probably broke through the defenses there to a depth of 800 meters, the Washington Institute for the Study of War writes. According to the analysis, seven boats, each carrying about six to seven people, reached the eastern bank of the Dnieper near the village of Kozachi Laheri.
Earlier, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote on Telegram that there was an attempt to fly over the city by two combat drones. Both were shot down by the Air Defense Forces - one drone near Domodedovo, and the other in the area of the highway to Minsk. No casualties were reported. The information was also confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
After Poland, Latvia is taking increased security measures along its eastern border with Belarus. President Edgars Rinkevics visited the border and called for the construction of the fence to be sped up. On Monday, Latvian border guards announced that Belarusian authorities had helped illegal migrants cross into Latvia. It is assumed that the nearly 4,000 fighters of the Russian mercenary army "Wagner" in Belarus will try to transfer to the territory of the EU, presenting themselves as refugees.
Germany has offered to extend the deployment of its three “Patriot” air defense systems in Poland until the end of the year, the defense ministry in Berlin said. About 300 German servicemen are stationed along with the three missile complexes in the Polish town of Zamosc, about 50 km from the border with Ukraine. They have been based there since the beginning of the year, and their task is to guard the settlement in southern Poland and the railway connection to Ukraine that passes through it.
Ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's announced visit to Turkey at the end of August, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said resuming a deal with Russia to allow Ukrainian grain exports "depends on Western countries who must keep their promises." "I think a solution can be found," added Erdogan, who recently held a phone conversation with Putin.
US President Joe Biden has given the "green light" for training Ukrainian pilots to fly US F-16 fighter jets. This was confirmed by a Pentagon spokesman. "Denmark and the Netherlands are taking the lead in training," said Sabrina Singh.
Drones over Moscow again, Zelensky announced that 9 people died in the attack on Pokrovsk
The Russian capital Moscow has been attacked by drones again. The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, announced that Russian air defense systems shot down two combat drones on the territory of the Moscow region, which were headed for the capital.
There are no reports of casualties. Later, the Russian Ministry of Defense specified that drones tried to attack objects in the Moscow region and were destroyed.
On May 3, Moscow reported that the Kremlin had been attacked by two drones. A video has emerged showing drones exploding over the dome of the Senate Palace.
On May 30, explosions were heard again in Moscow. It was reported that homes of people close to Putin were attacked.
At the end of July, a drone struck the tower of the Moscow International Business Center Moscow City. On August 1, the attack was repeated, the drone crashed into the same tower. It houses the Ministry of Digital Development, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced today that the number of people killed in Monday morning's attack on the city of Pokrovsk is now nine, and 82 people are injured.
Berlin is ready to deploy the "Patriot" in Poland until the end of the year
Germany has offered to extend the deployment of its three Patriot air defense systems in Poland until the end of the year, the defense ministry in Berlin said, as quoted by Reuters.
The agency clarified that some of Germany's Patriot systems will be needed by NATO's rapid response forces in 2024, and others will need to be overhauled. Therefore, the complexes in question are not expected to remain in Poland after the end of this year.
About 300 German servicemen are stationed along with the three missile complexes in the Polish city of Zamosc, located about 50 km from the border with Ukraine. They have been based there since the beginning of the year, and their task is to guard the settlement in southern Poland and the railway connection to Ukraine that passes through it.
The reason for their deployment was the errant Ukrainian missile that hit the Polish border village of Przewodow in November. The case raised fears that the war in Ukraine could spread to Polish soil.
During a visit to Zamosc in July, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius initially did not respond to his Polish counterpart's request to extend the mission of the Patriot systems.
Relations between Berlin and the ruling Warsaw nationalist party "Law and Justice" are not flourishing, notes "Reuters". They are at loggerheads over a range of issues, from arms supplies to Kyiv to the European migration deal that Poland has rejected.
The "Patriot" complexes are designed to shoot down missiles. However, NATO countries do not have enough such systems because after the end of the cold war, many of them decided to reduce their air defense forces.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has forced alliance allies to frantically replenish stockpile gaps while providing Kyiv with air defense systems to repel Russian attacks.
Denis Pushilin reported three dead and 11 wounded in Ukrainian shelling of civilian objects in Donetsk
Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian armed forces fired 362 rounds of ammunition at populated areas in Donetsk, killing three civilians and injuring 11 people, including an 11-year-old child, TASS reported.
"Donetsk was subjected to intense shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces throughout the day. Three people are currently known to have died in Kyivskyi region. 11 people were injured in Kyivskyi, Voroshilovsky and Kuibyshev regions, including a child born in 2012. The doctors are providing the necessary assistance to all the victims," Denis Pushilin, head of the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), wrote on "Telegram".
He specified that a team of electricians was also among the injured. One of them received shrapnel wounds and was hospitalized in serious condition.
24 residential buildings in Donetsk and Yasinova and 10 civil infrastructure sites were damaged, including a school in Donetsk, a kindergarten in Makiivka and a factory in Shakhtyorsk.
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