#UkraineWar News (Day 148)

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US may send fighter jets to Ukraine; 15,000 Russian soldiers killed, 45,000 wounded, CIA estimates: Live Ukraine updates

July 21st 2022

A top U.S. military general says the United States and its allies are considering providing Ukraine with fighter jets, a decision that would sharply escalate the level of weaponry being sent to Kyiv. Gen. Charles Brown, Air Force chief of staff, said the jets could come from the U.S. or its allies.

“I can’t speculate what aircraft they go to,” Brown said in an interview at the Aspen Security Forum. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded for fighter jets for months, saying Russia’s air supremacy has been a major stumbling block in his country’s efforts to repel the invasion. In March, the U.S. and NATO scuttled Poland’s proposal to send its Russian-built MiGs to Ukraine. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said at the time the proposal might be “mistaken as escalatory” and could provoke a Russian military confrontation with NATO.

Brown said Wednesday that Russian MiGs won’t be sent to Ukraine, saying with a laugh that it will “be tougher to get parts” from the Russians. “It’ll be something non-Russian,” he said. “I could probably tell you that, but I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be.” 15,000 Russians killed, 45,000 wounded in Ukraine, CIA estimates. Russian President Vladimir Putin is “entirely too healthy” but the Russian military already has taken “significant” casualties in Ukraine, CIA Director William Burns said at the Aspen Security Forum. Burns dismissed persistent rumors that Putin, who traveled to Iran this week, is gravely ill from cancer or some other malady as unlikely.

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SOURCE = USA Today

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Ukrainian military says Russian assaults in 3 regions were unsuccessful

July 21st 2022

The Ukrainian military has reported another day of heavy artillery and rocket fire by Russian forces in both Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, accompanied by air strikes. But it says the Russians have failed to gain ground in either region, nor in the south. In Kharkiv, “the enemy unsuccessfully tried to advance in the direction of Velyki Prohody – Pitomnyk with assault actions,” the military’s general staff said. The area is about 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) north of Kharkiv. In one of the most intense current battles in Donbas, the General Staff said that another attempt to break through Ukrainian lines along the Luhansk-Donetsk border had failed. “Ukrainian soldiers repulsed the offensive in the direction of the Lysychansk refinery – Ivano-Daryivka. The enemy suffered losses and retreated,” it said.

In the Sloviansk direction, Russia launched artillery fire in areas to the north of the city, The General Staff said. “The Russians have been constantly shelling the city for 20 days now. As a result of today’s shelling, two people were injured,” The mayor of Sloviansk, Vadym Liakh, told Ukrainian television. “There has been no water supply in the city for two months, and 15% of residents do not have electricity due to shelling.” “22,000 people remain in the city. If the shelling increases, more people will want to evacuate,” Liakh added. The area around the town of Bakhmut was also shelled again Thursday, and there were also air strikes, the General Staff said. In the south, the Russians had tried to launch an assault along the border of Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, it said, but had been repelled. This area, around Andriivka, has seen an increase in combat in recent days but no shift in current positions. 

SOURCE = CNN

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Russia ‘about to run out of steam’ after ‘epic fails’ in Ukraine, MI6 chief says

July 21st 2022

Russia is “about to run out of steam” in Ukraine, the head of MI6 has said. Richard Moore said President Vladimir Putin’s soldiers will “have to pause” as they find it hard to find more troops and equipment to send to the frontline in eastern Ukraine in the coming weeks. This will enable the Ukrainian military to “strike back” in what the UK spymaster said is a “winnable war”. Russia warns Ukraine will ‘disappear from world stage’ – latest war updates

Speaking at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado, Mr Moore also commented on the state of Mr Putin’s health amid rumours he had been suffering serious sickness such as cancer. “There is no evidence that Putin is suffering from serious ill health,” he said. Speaking at the same security forum on Wednesday, William Burns, the director of the CIA, also played down speculation about Mr Putin being ill, saying he is “entirely too healthy”. Turning to China – the country which has become MI6’s greatest focus, Mr Moore said a key reason why Ukraine must prevail against Russia is because Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching what happens “like a hawk”.

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SOURCE = SKY News

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Ukraine’s first lady pleads with US for more weapons: ‘Help us stop this terror’

July 21st 2022

The Ukrainian first lady, Olena Zelenska, appealed to US lawmakers on Tuesday to provide more help to her country as it struggles against a five-month-long Russian invasion she called “Russia’s Hunger Games”, saying US weapons could help assure a “joint great victory”. “We remain completely broken when our world is destroyed by war. Tens of thousands of such worlds have been destroyed in Ukraine,” she said, through a translator, in an emotional 15-minute speech to members of the House and Senate. The wife of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, showed videos of children she said had been wounded or killed, including a three-year-old boy now learning to use prosthetic limbs.

“How many children like him are there in Ukraine? How many families like this may still be destroyed by war? These are Russia’s Hunger Games,” she said, in reference to a series of novels and movies in which people hunt one another. “I am asking for weapons, weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else’s land, but to protect one’s home and the right to wake up alive in that home. “The answer is right here in Washington DC. Help us to stop this terror against Ukrainians and this will be our joint great victory in the name of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.” The US has provided $8bn in security assistance to Ukraine since the war began, including $2.2bn in the last month, the Biden administration says.

Members of Congress responded warmly on Wednesday and said they were ready to authorize more. “They’re not asking for US soldiers,” the Republican South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham said after the speech. “They are asking for US weapons. I think now’s the time to put together another aid package to go into 2023 with a supply of advanced weapons and economic assistance to stay in the fight.

SOURCE = The Guardian

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UK boosts arms supply to Ukraine with more anti-tank weapons

July 21st 2022

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – Britain will send scores of artillery guns and more than 1,600 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine in the latest supply of Western arms to help bolster the country’s defence against Russia, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Thursday. The boost comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month promised another 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion) of military support, bringing total UK support to Ukraine since the start of the war, which Russia calls a “special operation”, to 2.3 billion pounds.

“Together with our international partners, we will ensure Ukraine has the tools to defend their country from Putin’s illegal invasion,” Wallace said in a statement.

Wallace said Britain would also provide counter-battery radar systems, hundreds of drones and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition. The UK has already supplied Ukraine with a range of military equipment including almost 7,000 anti-tank weapons, hundreds of missiles and armoured fighting vehicles, and has also been training Ukrainian soldiers.

SOURCE = REUTERS

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Russia Sends Army Recruits to Fight in Ukraine After Just Days of Training

July 21st 2022

Less than two weeks after joining the army, Ivan was on the frontlines of Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine and taking part in attacks on Ukrainian positions. Ivan, 31, who requested anonymity to protect his safety, said he received just five days of training before being transferred to Ukraine and flung into combat. “There was a soldier in our company who didn’t know how a machine gun works. So I taught that guy how to disassemble and assemble a machine gun. I wouldn’t want to be next to him in battle. How can you fight like that?” he told The Moscow Times. 

Providing minimal training to new recruits appears to be increasingly common in the Russian army as the war in Ukraine approaches its sixth month and high casualty rates combine with a lack of general mobilization to generate serious manpower shortages. A lack of knowledge leaves soldiers without the necessary combat skills to survive on the battlefield, according to military analysts and human rights activists.

“A week [of training] is nothing — for a soldier, it is a direct path to a hospital or a body bag,” independent military analyst Pavel Luzin told The Moscow Times.

According to Russia’s Defense Ministry website, an intensive four-week combined arms training with a “survival” course is “essential” for anyone who signs a contract with the Russian army. The program takes a total of 240 hours and includes shooting, throwing grenades and a study of military tactics. 

SOURCE = The Moscow Times

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EU imposes more sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine invasion

July 21st 2022

BRUSSELS — The European Union imposed more sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine on Thursday after the bloc’s 27 members backed measures that include a ban on gold imports and tighter export controls on some high-technology goods. European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the “reinforced, prolonged EU sanctions against the Kremlin” send “a strong signal to Moscow: we will keep the pressure high for as long as it takes.” The EU has described the new round of sanctions as minor adjustments and intended to align its actions with commitments from global partners. Any ban on Russian gas imports, which are still a lifeline to many of the EU’s juggernaut industries, is not under consideration. EU officials worked all week to tighten the bloc’s extensive package of sanctions on Russia and looked at ways to add a ban on gold exports, hoping the measures might start to have a decisive impact on the war in Ukraine.

On Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was able to say, “We are effectively banning Russia’s most significant export after energy – Russian gold.” The Group of Seven leading industrial nations committed to a gold ban last month, arguing that Russia has used its gold to back up its currency and circumvent the impact of earlier sanctions nations around the world imposed after the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. The EU also tightened the noose on sanctioned individuals, often oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They now have to officially declare where they have assets in the EU so the holdings can be frozen. The EU said refusing to do so could lead to criminal charges and confiscation of the assets. On Monday, the EU decided to boost military aid to Ukraine by 500 million euros.

SOURCE = ABC News

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Ukraine News: Kyiv Intensifies Attacks on Russian Positions in South

July 21st 2022

A critical bridge shelled. A fighter jet shot out of the sky. Ammunition depots destroyed. A cluster of soldiers attacked. Ukraine’s intensifying attacks on Russian forces in just the last 48 hours in Kherson Province are raising a question: Is the ground being laid for a broad counteroffensive? The southern city of Kherson fell to Russian forces in early March, and Moscow is now trying to absorb the province. Kherson, a port and shipbuilding center, is also a staging ground for Russia’s military operations across southern Ukraine. That means any attempt to recapture the city would have immense strategic and symbolic value for the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky. A counteroffensive also would signal a significant shift in the war, and the timing is critical. A Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday that Russia planned to annex territories it has captured, including Kherson.

“Ukraine and its Western partners may have a narrowing window of opportunity to support a Ukrainian counteroffensive into occupied Ukrainian territory before the Kremlin annexes that territory,” said the spokesman, John Kirby. Since April, Ukrainian forces have effectively been locked into a defensive posture as they gradually retreated from an onslaught of Russian artillery in the eastern Donbas region. The Russians have not seized new territory in weeks, and the Ukrainians say their defensive positions have stabilized. But the purpose of the longer-range missile systems that Ukraine has been pleading for, and that Western countries have increasingly started to supply to its government, is not just to forestall Russia’s advance, but also to win back lost territory.

“We all strive to liberate Ukraine from the enemy,” the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern forces, Natalia Humeniuk, said on Tuesday. “We have a single goal.” Ukraine used a HIMARS artillery weapon, newly supplied by the United States, to hit the Antonivsky bridge in Kherson on Tuesday, an adviser to country’s interior minister said. The bridge has been the main transit route for Russian supplies coming in from Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Eleven more missiles hit the bridge on Wednesday, according to the deputy head of the pro-Russia administration in Kherson. The bridge is a “key vulnerability for Russian forces,” a British intelligence report said.

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SOURCE = The New York Times

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U.S., allies weigh providing Ukraine fighter jets to counter Russia

July 20th 2022

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, said that although he would not speculate what type of aircraft might be transferred, discussions are ongoing about how to reinforce Ukraine’s fleet, including with new planes. The Ukrainian air force has been outgunned by Russia since the invasion began Feb. 24, sparingly flying an assortment of MiG jets and other Cold War-era planes. Brown said there are several possibilities, including American-made fighters or some made in Europe. Options include the Gripen fighter made in Sweden, the Rafale made in France, and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is built by a consortium of companies in several countries.

“It’ll be something non-Russian, I can probably tell you that,” Brown said during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. “But I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be.”

The discussion marks a departure from earlier in the war, when the Biden administration ruled out facilitating a deal what would have sent some of Poland’s MiG fighters to Ukraine in exchange for U.S.-manufactured F-16s. Pentagon officials said in March that such a proposal was not “tenable” and raised the possibility that participating in the swap could exacerbate tensions. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that European allies had a “green light” to send planes to Ukraine, but that the United States wanted to avoid direct conflict with Russia.The prospect of training Ukrainian pilots to operate new aircraft already has traction in Congress; last week the House voted to dedicate $100 million to the endeavor as part of its version of the annual defense authorization bill. Thus far, however, Pentagon leaders have declined to endorse such a plan.

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SOURCE = The Washington Post

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Putin has suffered ‘epic fail’ in Ukraine, head of MI6 says

July 21st 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered an “epic fail” in Ukraine and his forces may have to “pause” in the coming weeks, the head of MI6 has said. Richard Moore, the chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), said the war was “obviously not over” but the Russian invaders may be starting “to run out of steam”. Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in the US, he said: “I think he has suffered a strategic failure in Ukraine. It is obviously not over. “He has obviously made, and the Russian forces have made, some incremental progress over recent weeks and months but it is tiny amounts. “We are talking about a small number of miles of advance. When they take a town, there is nothing left. It is obliterated.

“And I think they are about to run out of steam. I think our assessment is that the Russians will increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower over the next few weeks. “They will have to pause in some way and that will give Ukrainians opportunities to strike back. Their morale is still high. They are starting to receive increasing amounts of good weaponry.” With winter coming and the pressure on gas supplies, “we are in for a tough time”, according to Mr Moore, who believes a Ukrainian fightback could spread benefits across Europe. He said: “It is important I think to the Ukrainians themselves that they demonstrate their ability to strike back. I think that will be very important for their continuing high morale. “I also think, to be honest, it will be an important reminder to the rest of Europe that this is a winnable campaign by the Ukrainians.”

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SOURCE = Bicester ADvertiser

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