Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, Ukrainian forces reportedly kicked off their counteroffensive with the aim of retaking Russian-occupied territory, according to Russian sources, as reported by Newsweek. The offensive allegedly involved a ground attack toward Zaporozhzhia but was repelled by Russian troops. Russian media reported increased fire and assaults on positions in the region, while Ukrainian officials denied the claims. The success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive is key to winning the war.

Meanwhile, the reported offensive comes days after the destruction of a large dam in the Russian-controlled area of southern Ukraine, the BBC reported. The Kakhovka dam is crucial for water supply and cooling purposes, serving communities downstream and a nuclear power station in Russian-controlled territory. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the affected areas, and the floodwaters are expected to peak soon. The consequences of the dam’s destruction include contaminated water, loss of agricultural land, and disruptions to water supplies in Russian-occupied Crimea. Both Russia and Ukraine have previously accused each other of plotting to sabotage the dam but no independent investigation is currently possible because of military activity in the vicinity. Engineering and munitions analysts suggested that the destruction resulted from an internal explosion, but the evidence is lacking, according to the New York Times. This incident adds to a series of attacks on dams in Ukraine since the Russian invasion, resulting in flooding and power disruptions.

Also this week:

  • Russian occupying forces in Ukraine are being accused of employing starvation tactics on civilians, according to an investigation by international lawyers, CNBC wrote. The tactics include targeting food lines, agricultural harvests, and water infrastructure. The investigation detailed specific incidents, including strikes in areas where civilians gathered to receive humanitarian aid and food supplies. The lawyers believe these actions violate international humanitarian law. The Kremlin has denied the accusations.
  • Germany is organizing the largest air deployment exercise in NATO’s history, aiming to showcase its military capabilities and deter potential adversaries like Russia, the Associated Press noted. The Air Defender 23 exercise will involve 10,000 participants and 250 aircraft from 25 nations, simulating a response to an attack on a NATO member country. The United States is contributing 2,000 Air National Guard personnel and around 100 aircraft. The exercise seeks to show the agility and swiftness of NATO forces and send a strong message of strength and unity to world leaders, especially Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Iran has sold $1 million worth of weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine, according to security sources and an alleged arms contract seen by Sky News. The document, dated Sept. 14, 2022, appears to outline the sale of artillery, tank shells, and rockets. While the authenticity of the document has not been independently verified, the source asserts that they believe it to be genuine. The Russian and Iranian embassies in the UK have not responded to requests for comment on the alleged arms deal or the documents’ authenticity. Both the Ukrainian government and UK officials have expressed their intention to investigate and take appropriate action if the report is found to be credible.
  • Meanwhile, the Swiss parliament has rejected a proposal to exempt the transfer of arms to Ukraine. The majority of lawmakers voted against the proposal, known as the “Lex Ukraine,” which would have allowed other countries to supply Swiss-made war material to the country, according to Anadolu Agency. Swiss law prohibits support for countries engaged in acts of war. Germany and Spain had requested permission to supply Swiss-made ammunition and anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine, but opponents argued that such a move would violate Swiss neutrality and draw the country closer to NATO.

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