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This week, a Ukrainian counteroffensive near the northeastern city of Kharkiv appeared to be proving difficult for Russian forces to contain on Thursday, amid reports that Kyiv’s forces had advanced more than 30 miles in a breakthrough involving tanks and artillery, the Moscow Times reported.
Ukrainian military officials added that Ukraine had retaken about 700 square kilometers of territory in both the east and south of the country. Analysts explained that if the claims are confirmed, the Ukrainian advance towards Kharkiv would be the swiftest and most successful onslaught by either side in the previous six months of fighting.
Meanwhile, on the political front, Russia’s ruling party suggested holding referendums on Nov. 4 to annex territory seized by Russian forces in Ukraine, according to Agence France-Presse. The United Russia party said on its website that “Donetsk, Lugansk and many other Russian cities will finally return to their home port,” adding that “the Russian world …will regain its integrity.” Earlier in the week, the Russia-appointed administration in Ukraine’s Kherson region said a September referendum on joining Russia has been “paused” due to the security situation, Al Jazeera added.
Also this week:
- According to recently declassified US intelligence, Russia is purchasing millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, a hint that international sanctions have severely constrained its supply chains and driven Moscow to turn to pariah states for military supplies, the New York Times wrote. Meanwhile, a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air think tank found that Russia sent more oil and coal to China and India over the summer, while European countries that long relied on Russian energy have cut back sharply in response to the war in Ukraine, the Associated Press noted.
- Russian public support for the war against Ukraine, while remaining high, is less solid than statistics normally show, and has dropped in recent months, with some supporters indicating they are indifferent, concerned, startled, or scared about the ongoing military operation, according to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report, the Washington Post reported.
- Poland and the Baltic states will temporarily limit entry to Russian citizens with EU visas beginning Sept. 19 at the latest, AFP added. The prime ministers of the four countries warned “about the substantial and growing influx of Russian citizens” into the European Union.