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CDS Daily brief (25.09.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

Russia holds 2,500 Ukrainians captive, including many civilians, said Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, in an interview with BBC News Ukraine. “Civilians have not been released for several exchanges in a row,” she said. At the same time, she stresses that Russia should return civilians, not exchange them. She also emphasized that there are many women in Russian captivity.

Nine border guards released from Russian captivity as part of the exchange on September 21 are undergoing the necessary rehabilitation and treatment. “Doctors have already examined them. Their physical and psychological state of health is difficult. After all, every case confirms that the conditions in which the Russian Federation keeps our prisoners of war are terrible and inhumane,” the State Border Service noted.

A paramedic from Azovstal, Maryana Mamonova, recently released from Russian captivity, gave birth to a daughter, reported the Association of Families of Azovstal Defendersin on its telegram account.

The head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak, spoke with the released commanders from Azovstal, who are currently in Turkey. The defenders are undergoing medical examinations and will soon see their families.

According to the morning round-up of the regional military administrations, eight Oblasts of Ukraine were under shelling by Russian troops last night.

On Sunday morning, Odesa was again attacked by kamikaze drones. Drones hit the administrative building in the city center three times. One of the four drones was shot down by air defense. The rescue operation and fire extinguishing are ongoing.

During the day, two civilians were killed in the Donetsk Oblast, and eight civilians were injured. The mandatory evacuation of the population continues. The entire Oblast remains without gas and partially without water and electricity.

In the Zaporizhzhya Oblast, rocket strikes by Russian troops were recorded at midnight on several districts of Zaporizhzhya and the territory of a nearby village. According to preliminary data, there were ten strikes. According to the preliminary information, three people are wounded. In addition, infrastructure objects were destroyed due to enemy strikes. In one of the districts, a power substation was cut off.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, the Russians once again hit Mykolaiv with rockets at night. Residential buildings and water supply were damaged. In the Bashtan district of the Oblast, 2 residential

buildings and non-residential utility facilities were damaged. Bereznehuvate station was also under fire. In addition, the enemy struck the Ochakiv coastal zone.

During September 24, the Russian troops shelled the Kupyanskyi (7 wounded), Bogodukhivskyi, Chuguyivskyi, and Krasnogradskyi districts of Kharkiv Oblast. An educational institution and an agro-industrial enterprise were damaged. In the Kharkivskyi district, a man blew up on a landmine.

In the Dnipropetrovsk region, Russian troops shelled the Nikopol district five times during the night, using heavy artillery and Grad rocket launchers. The communities of Nikopol, Marganets, and Chervonogrigorivka were under enemy fire, and more than 170 “Grad” shells were recorded. In Nikopol, houses and an electric substation were damaged. In the Chervonogrigorivka community – private houses, shops, a kindergarten, an outpatient facility, cars, a pharmacy, a club, a stadium, and a gas station. In Marhanets a gas line and electricity grid were damaged. Due to enemy shelling, more than 6.5 thousand households remained without electricity in three communities. Emergency crews are already working on restoration.

Occupied territories

Today, September 25, Ukrainian traitor and former MP from the Party of Regions Oleksiy Zhuravko died while staying in a hotel in the Russia-occupied Kherson. Allegedly, the hotel was hit by a Ukrainian artillery projectile. First, this information is being disseminated by the Russian media. Later, Yuriy Sobolevskyi, the first deputy chairman of the Kherson Regional Council, wrote about this on Facebook, reports Ukrinform. Oleksiy Zhuravko represented the Party of Regions in the 5th and 6th convocations of the Ukrainian parliament. In 2014 he moved to Russia; in 2022, he returned to Kherson and began cooperating with the invaders.

In the Donetsk Oblast, the Russian invaders are trying to form a “Cossack battalion” from Ukrainian prisoners of war held in the Olenivka colony. Also, as reported by the Disinformation Counteraction Center under the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on Telegram, 57 Ukrainian prisoners of war registered in the Donetsk Oblast were forced to vote in a pseudo- referendum for the Obast’s accession to the Russian Federation. It is emphasized that such steps on the part of the invaders are another manipulation aimed at spreading the Kremlin’s narrative in the occupied territories about the alleged large number of “supporters” of the idea of joining the Russian Federation among the captured Ukrainian military.

In occupied Luhansk, no free beds are left in Luhansk hospitals; all wards are filled with wounded invading forces personnel. According to the head of the Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, Serhiy Gaidai, the situation is the same in other occupied cities. Ordinary citizens are hospitalized only for emergency surgical interventions.

Commenting on the sham “referendum,” Gaidai noted, “if on the first day of the so-called “referendum” the armed [Russian] military only made rounds of apartments and forced people to vote in the yards, now, on weekends, people with assault rifles inspect places of mass gathering. In particular, markets; they check documents and direct them to the “polling station.

Operational situation

It is the 214th day of the strategic air-ground offensive operation of the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine (in the official terminology of the Russian Federation – “operation to protect Donbas”). The enemy continues to concentrate its efforts on establishing full control over the territory of Donetsk Oblast and maintaining control over the captured territories, disrupting the Ukrainian troops’ intensive actions in certain directions.

The enemy fired at the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces along the contact line. The Russian military tries to restore their lost positions and constantly conducts aerial reconnaissance.

The Russian military continues destroying Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. The threat of Russian air and missile strikes persists throughout the entire territory of Ukraine.

Over the past day, the Russian forces launched 7 missile and 22 air strikes, and fired more than 67 MLRS rounds at military and civilian targets on the territory of Ukraine, violating the norms of international humanitarian law, the laws, and customs of war.

More than 35 Ukrainian towns and villages were affected by enemy strikes, including Zaporizhzhya, Ochakiv, Mykolaiv, Myrolyubivka, New York, Bilohorivka, Krasnohorivka, Pavlivka, and Mayorsk, and the border areas of Huta-Studenetska in Chernihiv Oblast and Bachivsk in Sumy Oblast were shelled.

Aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces carried out 26 strikes, hitting 20 enemy manpower and equipment concentration areas and 6 positions of anti-aircraft missile systems.

Ukrainian missile troops and artillery hit 5 enemy command and control points, 13 enemy manpower and equipment concentration areas, 3 positions of anti-aircraft missile systems, 3 guns and MLRS, among them “Uragan,” and 2 warehouses with ammunition.

The morale and psychological state of the personnel of the invasion forces remain low. Because of the partial mobilization announced by the military-political leadership, the Russian command in the temporarily occupied territories is trying to limit the rights of servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces who have signed short-term contracts. For example, it was announced to the enemy units deployed in the Zaporizhzhya Oblast that the contract term would not matter, and the time of stay in the combat zone would depend on the command’s decision. In addition, “partial mobilization” was named the reason for the delay of vacations and cash payments, which already led to a significant deterioration of the morale in the enemy’s units.

Kharkiv direction
  • Zolochiv-Balakleya section: approximate length of combat line – 147 km, number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 10-12, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 13.3 km;
  • Deployed enemy BTGs: 26th, 153rd, and 197th tank regiments, 245th motorized rifle regiment of the 47th tank division, 6th and 239th tank regiments, 228th motorized rifle regiment of the

90th tank division, 1st motorized rifle regiment, 1st tank regiment of the 2nd motorized rifle division, 25th and 138th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 6th Combined Arms Army, 27th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 1st Tank Army, 275th and 280th motorized rifle regiments, 11th tank regiment of the 18th motorized rifle division of the 11 Army Corps, 7th motorized rifle regiment of the 11th Army Corps, 80th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 14th Army Corps, 2nd and 45th separate SOF brigades of the Airborne Forces, 1st Army Corps of so-called DPR, PMCs.

The enemy continues shelling from tanks, mortars, and barrel artillery in the areas of Strilecha, Huryiv Kozachok, Dvorichne, Kupyansk, and Kucherivka.

The efforts of the command of the 20th Army of the Russian Armed Forces to stop the advance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Svatove area are not successful; the enemy situation is deteriorating every day. The enemy’s attempts to push Ukrainian forward units beyond the Oskil River in the Kupyansk region and to hold Lyman and Yampil at any cost led to the depletion of enemy reserves in this direction. In fact, during the week of fighting, the enemy lost the replenishment that arrived from the 1st and 2nd Army Corps (from among the mobilized residents of Donbas).

The remnants of two BTGs of the 144th motorized rifle division lost two-thirds of their personnel and combat equipment and now amount to no more than 2- 3 companies of shortened composition. They had to withdraw from the Pechihy reservoir to the northern part of the Luhansk Oblast as a result of several days of intensive counterattacks on the Ukrainian bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Oskil River.

Two regiments of the mobilization reserve of the 2nd Army Corps (1.5-2 combat-capable battalions) are advancing to the Maliivka – Karpivka – Seredne – Shandrigolovo frontier to counterattack and push back the Ukrainian Armed Forces to the Rubtsi – Krymka – Oleksandrivka

– Yarova frontier. However, this maneuver would not solve the tactical problem and would significantly weaken the ability of the Russian command to organize defenses in the northern part of the Luhansk Oblast.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine carried out several effective strikes with long-range, high-precision weapons in the areas of Svatovo, Novoaidar, northwest of Starobilsk, in the Kreminna – Ridkodub

– Svatovo – Starobilsk strip on targets of the enemy’s rear infrastructure, command and control system, warehouses, accumulations of weapons and military equipment.

Kramatorsk direction
  • Balakleya – Siversk section: approximate length of the combat line – 184 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 17-20, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 9.6 km;
  • 252nd and 752nd motorized rifle regiments of the 3rd motorized rifle division, 1st, 13th, and 12th tank regiments, 423rd motorized rifle regiment of the 4th tank division, 201st military base, 15th, 21st, 30th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 2nd Combined Arms Army, 35th, 55th and 74th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 41st Combined Arms Army, 3rd and 14th separate SOF brigades, 2nd and 4th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 2nd Army Corps, 7th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 1st Army Corps, PMCs.

The enemy fired at the Ukrainian Defense Forces with tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of Sloviansk, Koroviy Yar, Bohorodychne, Yarova, and Ozerne.

During the day of combat, the enemy left Pisky, Podoly, Karpivka, Ridkodub, Katerynivka, Lypove, and Nove.

In Lyman, the enemy concentrated units of the 222nd rifle battalion and 208th rifle regiment of the mobilization reserve of the 2nd Army Corps, the 16th and 20th “BARS” detachments; in Drobyshev – the 13th “BARS” detachment. The Russian troops are trying to regain their lost position. With units from the 200th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 14th Army Corps of Nothern Fleet, the enemy carried out offensive actions in the north of Petropavlivka; had no success, and retreated.

Units of the 244th artillery brigade (Kaliningrad) of the 11th Army Corps of Baltic Fleet were transferred to the operational subordination of the 1st Tank Army of the Western Military District to strengthen fire capabilities in the Kramatorsk direction.

In Makiivka (Luhansk Oblast), the command post of the 20th Army of the Western Military District has been deployed. As a result of fire damage on this post, the commander of the 144th motorized rifle division of the 20th Army, Major General Tsokov, was seriously injured (multiple shrapnel wounds) and is currently in intensive care at one of the St. Petersburg medical institutions.

Donetsk direction
  • Siversk – Maryinka section: approximate length of the combat line – 235 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 13-15, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 17 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 68th and 163rd tank regiments, 102nd and 103rd motorized rifle regiments of the 150 motorized rifle division, 80th tank regiment of the 90th tank division, 35th, 55th, and 74th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 41st Combined Arms Army, 31st separate airborne assault brigade, 61st separate marines brigade of the Joint Strategic Command “Northern Fleet,” 336th separate marines brigade, 24th separate SOF brigade, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 15th, and 100th separate motorized rifle brigades, 9th and 11th separate motorized rifle regiment of the 1st Army Corps of the so-called DPR, 6th motorized rifle regiment of the 2nd Army Corps of the so-called LPR, PMCs.

The Russian military shelled the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces near Soledar, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Opytne, Yakovlivka, Nelipovka, Yuryivka, Bilohorivka, Rozdolivka, Avdiivka, Vodyane, Maryinka, and Paraskoviivka.

Over the past day, units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Soledar, Vyimka, Kurdyumivka, Zaitseve, Novomykhailivka, and Pervomaiske. They struck with an army aircraft in the Pivdenne area.

Enemy 6th separate motorized rifle regiment of the 2nd Army Corps, in cooperation with the “Wagner” PMC, attacked in the direction of Nova Kamianka, Soledar; with no success. A separate “Akhmat” regiment attacked the area of Mykolaivka, Vyimka, and PMC “Wagner” in Vershyna, Zaitseve; Mykolayivka, Kurdyumivka; Kodema, Odradivka; the battles continue.

The 100th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 1st Army Corps attacked in the direction of Staromykhailivka, Pervomaiske; and the 39th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 68th Army Corps of the Eastern Military District – in Solodke, Novomykhailivka. The enemy did not succeed in any of the directions and retreated.

Zaporizhzhya direction
  • Maryinka – Vasylivka section: approximate length of the line of combat – 200 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 17, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 11.7 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 36th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 29th Combined Arms Army, 38th and 64th separate motorized rifle brigades, 69th separate cover brigade of the 35th Combined Arms Army, 5th separate tank brigade, 37 separate motorized rifle brigade of the 36th Combined Arms Army, 135th, 429th, 503rd and 693rd motorized rifle regiments of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58th Combined Arms Army, 70th, 71st and 291st motorized rifle regiments of the 42nd motorized rifle division of the 58th Combined Arms Army, 136th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 58 Combined Arms Army, 46th and 49th machine gun artillery regiments of the 18th machine gun artillery division of the 68th Army Corps, 39th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 68th Army Corps, 83th separate airborne assault brigade, 40th and 155th separate marines brigades, 22nd separate SOF brigade, 1st Army Corps of the so-called DPR, and 2nd Army Corps of the so-called LPR, PMCs.

The enemy shelled the positions of Ukrainian troops with tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Mykilske, Vuhledar, Zolota Nyva, Shevchenko, Novoukrainka, Velyka Novosilka, Bohoyavlenka, Novodonetske, Yehorivka, Pavlivka, Novoandriivka, Nesteryanka, Novopavlivka, Zatyshshia, Novosilka, Olhivske, Zaliznychne, Novopil, Biloghirya, Velykomykhailivka, Orihiv, Malynivka, Chervone, Temyrivka, Vremivka. In addition, they carried out an air strike at the Pavlivka area (with a pair of Su-25s).

The starting positions of the S-300/400 anti-aircraft missiles, which launched strikes on Zaporizhzhya and the Zaporizhzhya Oblast, were identified. In particular, up to three launchers in the Vladivka area, two in Tokmak, and up to four in Kutuzivka. After completing tasks in the Vladivka area, they are moved to the territory of an agricultural enterprise in the Sofiivka district (Zaporizhzhya Oblast), where a point for repairing and restoring damaged equipment and a warehouse for anti-aircraft missiles for the S-300 is deployed.

An advanced airfield of enemy army aviation (up to six helicopters are periodically based) has been deployed in the Mykhailivka area (Zaporizhzhya Oblast). They provide fire support to units of the Russian Armed Forces in the Orihiv direction.

In the area of Novooleksandrivka (Zaporizhzhya Oblast), the 1096th separate logistics battalion (from Vladikavkaz) of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58th Army of the Southern Military District is equipping a field depot of aviation weapons.

The enemy command has finished deploying two sufficiently effective tactical groupings in the Melitopol and Mariupol directions.

Melitopol grouping, consisting of 8-9 BTGs, concentrates in the triangle Vasylivka – Pology – Tokmak. It consists of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58th Army of the Southern Military District (four BTGs), the 29th and 36th Armies of the Eastern Military District (two BTGr from each), and at least 2 “assault battalions” from the composition of the PMC and the mobilization reserve of the 1st Army Corps.

The Mariupol grouping with forces of up to 4-5 BTGs from the 42nd motorized rifle division of the 58th Army (two BTGs) and the 37th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 36th Army of the Eastern Military District (two BTGs) is concentrated in the Staromayorske – Makarivka – Urozhaine area.

The troops of the 41st Army (up to three BTGs) and the 3rd Army Corps (up to three BTGs from the 54th and 55th motorized rifle regiments of the 6th motorized rifle division) are concentrated in the operational rear of the 58th Army, mainly in the Mariupol direction.

In the Volnovaha direction, the 8th Army grouping of the Southern Military District is actively increasing its combat capability (approximately up to three BTGs), preparing for active actions in the direction of Kurakhovo from the south and east through Maryinka. In recent days, the grouping has been reinforced by two battalions of the 11th separate motorized rifle regiment and two “infantry-artillery” groups of the “Kalmius” artillery brigade of the 1st Army Corps.

Along the front line from Verkhnia Krynytsia to Volodymyrivka, there are at least three enemy joint tactical groups of the Russian Guard, mainly from the operational units and units from the North Caucasus, with the task of ensuring the stability of the defense (i.e., “Barrier” troops).

Kherson direction
  • Vasylivka–Nova Zburyivka and Stanislav section: approximate length of the battle line – 252 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 27, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 9.3 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 114th, 143rd, and 394th motorized rifle regiments, 218th tank regiment of the 127th motorized rifle division of the 5th Combined Arms Army, 57th and 60th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 5th Combined Arms Army, 135th, 503rd and 693rd motorized rifle regiments of the 19th motorized rifle division, 70th, 71st and 291st motorized rifle regiments of the 42nd

motorized rifle division, 51st and 137th parachute airborne regiments of the 106th parachute airborne division, 7th military base of the 49th Combined Arms Army, 16th and 346th separate SOF brigades.

The operational situation is unchanged. The enemy intensified the use of the “Shahed-136” UAV for striking civilian and military infrastructure.

On September 23, the enemy used four UAVs in Odesa (two against the “Pivden” headquarters, one against a civilian building, one was shot down) and one at the crossing over the Ingulets River in Velyka Artakove.

However, due to the lack of proper interaction between enemy units, the enemy lost three aircraft due to a “friendly” fire.

In the Tavriysk area, the enemy concentrated motorized rifle and tank companies (10 BMPs, 10 T-72 tanks, five trucks), probably in anticipation of a further crossing to the right bank of the Dnipro River, and established a pontoon crossing across the canal in the Ridne area (Kherson Oblast). More than 50 units of equipment, mainly anti-aircraft guns, are concentrated on the eastern bank.

Kherson-Berislav bridgehead
  • Velyka Lepetikha – Oleksandrivka section: approximate length of the battle line – 250 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 22, the average width of the combat area of one BTG –11.8 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 108th Air assault regiment, 171st separate airborne assault brigade of the 7th Air assault division, 4th military base of the 58th Combined Arms Army, 429th motorized rifle regiment of the 19th motorized rifle division, 33rd and 255th motorized rifle regiments of the 20th motorized rifle division, 34th, and 205th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 49th Combined Arms Army, 224th, 237th and 239th Air assault regiments of the 76th Air assault division, 217th and 331 Air assault regiments of the 98th Air assault division, 126th separate coastal defense brigade, 127th separate ranger brigade, 11th separate airborne assault brigade, 10th separate SOF brigade, PMC.

Over 25 Ukrainian towns and villages along the contact line suffered fire damage. The enemy made more than 30 UAV sorties to conduct reconnaissance, adjust fire and launch strikes on civilian infrastructure objects.

Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:

The forces of the Russian Black Sea Fleet continue to project force on the coast and the continental part of Ukraine and control the northwestern part of the Black Sea. The ultimate goal is to deprive Ukraine of access to the sea and connect unrecognized Transnistria with the Russian Federation by land through the coast of the Black and Azov seas.

Currently, there are 14 enemy warships at sea providing reconnaissance and blocking navigation in the Azov-Black Sea waters. Up to 24 Kalibr missiles can be ready for a salvo.

All four submarines of project 636.3, which are in the Black Sea, are in the port of Novorossiysk.

The combat coordination of ground units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet continues: 126th separate mechanized brigade, 810th marine infantry brigade. Their use in amphibious operations is not excluded.

Enemy aviation continues to fly from Crimean airfields Belbek and Gvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Over the past day, 9 Su-27, Su-30, and Su-24 aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were involved.

The enemy continues aerial reconnaissance and attempts to attack using unmanned aerial vehicles. Two UAVs of the Orlan-10 type were destroyed in the Beryslavsk district of the Kherson Oblast and the Bashtansk district of the Mykolaiv Oblast.

The Russian occupiers continue to carry out intensive missile, artillery, and air strikes on the objects of the civil and military infrastructure in the seaports of Ukraine. Information was received on the enemy shelling of Ochakiv (25.09 at 01:20, rocket strikes on the coastal zone), and Mykolaiv (4 explosions on 25.09 at 01:25).

Over the past week, the enemy has been systematically using Shahid-136 kamikaze drones in the coastal zone of Ukraine, including Odesa. The drones are launched from the occupied areas of the Kherson Oblast, particularly Skadovsk. There is information that Iranian instructors are training Russian operators there. Kamikaze drones are launched from vehicle trailers in pairs. One goes at a low altitude and acts as a decoy to find out the location of Ukrainian air defense systems. The second flies at a high altitude observes, and broadcasts the picture to the base. If the lower drone is affected, the upper one changes its trajectory.

On the morning of September 25, several drones struck and damaged a military administrative building in the center of Odessa. There is an assumption that later (after exposing the location of Ukrainian air defense systems), the enemy will practice more massive drone raids in the composition of up to 10 units simultaneously.

The intensity of the enemy moving its military equipment by road and rail transport from Crimea to the Kherson region remains active. Trains with tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other armored vehicles regularly move from Crimea.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 25.09

Personnel – almost 56,700 people (+400);

Tanks – 2,275 (+13);

Armored combat vehicles – 4,832 (+25);

Artillery systems – 1,368 (+7);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 328 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 171 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 3,701 (+20); Aircraft – 259 (+4);

Helicopters – 220 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 966 (+10); Intercepted cruise missiles – 241 (+1);

Boats / ships – 15 (0).

Ukraine, general news

The Ukrainian energy industry is capable of compensating the EU for 5-6 billion cubic meters of Russian gas. The Minister of Energy of Ukraine, Herman Galushchenko, held a bilateral meeting with the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol while on a working trip to the USA. During the discussion, the minister noted that after synchronization with ENTSO- E, the Ukrainian energy system demonstrates its stability, despite more than 200 days of operation in wartime conditions.

International diplomatic aspect

“Russia’s referenda are a sham – a false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force in flagrant violation of international law, including the United Nations Charter. We will work with our allies and partners to impose additional swift and severe economic costs on Russia,” stated the POTUS.

The Kremlin doesn’t care about the international recognition of the so-called “referenda” in the Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine and their following annexation. This time, Russia didn’t bother to create even the slightest appearance of international legitimacy, bringing “observers” from Belarus, Venezuela, Egypt, Brazil, and a couple of other countries. Even Russia’s closest ally, Serbia, signals that it has no intention to recognize the annexation, for it would be in contradiction to its national interest on the issue of Kosovo. Still, one shouldn’t be surprised if the annexation is recognized by Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela.

The reason for such negligence on the Kremlin’s part is that the main goal is to challenge the Biden Administration’s core principles in its support of Ukraine, which is avoidance of a direct clash between the US and its allies and Russia and deter Russia from going nuclear. “The entire territory of the Russian Federation, which is enshrined and can be additionally enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, is certainly under the full protection of the state; this is absolutely natural. All laws, doctrines, concepts, strategies of the Russian Federation apply to its entire territory,” Sergey Lavrov answered the question of whether the nuclear doctrine of Russia will be extended to new regions if they vote in favor of joining Russia during referenda.

“We have communicated directly, privately, to the Russians at very high levels that there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia if they use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. We have been clear with them and emphatic with them that the United States will respond decisively alongside our allies and partners,” said POTUS national security adviser.

The Kremlin likely aims to play a Caribbean missile crisis’ moment precisely sixty years to the date. The thirteen days in October of 1962 were the most dangerous moment in humankind’s history. So, Putin might calculate that such an escalation might get him out of the zugzwang.

Failing to achieve anything that might appear as a military victory, Putin may well choose to freeze the situation on the ground and buy some time to prepare for the next assault. It would be a challenge for the US and its allies, given the Biden Administration’s self-restraining policy on the supply of specific weapon systems and German’s cautious approach to help as little and as late as possible with the aim not to provoke a third world war. It appears that the West has reached its psychologically comfortable level of support. At the same time, Russia is set to escalate on the ground with a vast mobilization effort (way more than the stated 300,000) and nuclear blackmail.

Russia’s Foreign Minister once claimed that Zelenskiy is a Nazi, and the Kremlin’s propaganda has insisted that the Nazis have run Ukraine for years. However, the Jerusalem Post named President Volodymyr Zelensky the most influential Jew of 2022. The paper put him event before the current Israeli and French Prime Ministers. But whatever influence he enjoys, it falls short of granting tangible support to Ukraine from Israel itself. “I don’t know what happened to Israel. I’m honestly, frankly – I am in shock because I don’t understand why they couldn’t give us air defenses,” he said. He went on to say that his conversations with the Israeli leadership “have done nothing to help Ukraine.” Jews survived the Holocaust and several attempts by their belligerent neighbors to destroy their state. Now, Russia is waging a genocidal war and wiping off Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages daily. Though Russia doesn’t pose a direct threat to Israel, it supports the most dangerous enemies of Israel. Iran provided Russia with kamikaze drones, which is a significant security risk for Ukraine, and Teheran’s operating Hezbollah and backing Hamas. Moreover, with the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia could reestablish its foothold in the Middle East and increase its harmful activities there. Therefore, Russia’s defeat and following changes in the Kremlin would also serve the Israeli interest.

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