Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, the Ukrainian army successfully liberated the village of Urozhaine in the Donetsk region, advancing into Russian defenses on the southern front, Politico reported. The victory is part of the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, which aims to breach heavily mined Russian defense lines. The village’s recapture will now help minimize the risk of Russian flanking attacks and allow for faster progress toward the village of Staromlynivka.

Also this week:

  • The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that 9,444 Ukrainian civilians, including 545 children, have died as a result of Russia’s invasion, Radio Free Europe noted. Additionally, the office said 16,940 individuals were injured, including 1,126 children, since the invasion began in February 2022. However, it is believed that the actual number of casualties is likely significantly higher because some information needed to tally the casualties is missing from conflict-heavy regions among other issues, the UN said.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired all 24 regional military recruitment chiefs to combat corruption undermining draft efforts to counter the Russian invasion. Recently, the government said they found officers accepting bribes from recruits to evade conscription. Following the firings, Zelenskyy said he wants to restore public trust, address corruption, and maintain support from Western backers.
  • The Russian ruble rose two percent against the dollar to about 93 rubles per dollar following an announcement that Russia won’t implement outright capital controls, the Guardian wrote. An emergency 350-basis-point interest rate hike by the Bank of Russia had limited impact on stabilizing the rubble: It recently traded at almost 102 rubles per dollar. Financial analysts suggested further measures might be needed to bring the ruble back to the acceptable 80-90 range.
  • Two Russian citizens have been detained for distributing propaganda materials of the Wagner Group in Warsaw and Krakow, the Moscow Times reported. Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said the detainees were charged with espionage but did not provide further details about the individuals. Stickers with the Wagner logo and slogans have been appearing in Polish cities, but it’s unclear if the arrests are directly related to the distribution of those materials. Poland has expressed concerns about potential provocations from the Wagner group from its base in Belarus and has announced plans to increase troops at the border. Meanwhile, Latvia’s State Security Service (VDD) said that the Kremlin-funded mercenary group has also initiated recruitment efforts in the country, with “direct and indirect invitations” on social media platforms, Newsweek added.
  • British firms trading with Ukrainian companies are having their bank accounts forcibly closed due to concerns about Russian sanctions and money laundering, business leaders told This is hindering efforts to support Ukraine’s war-affected economy. The British-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (BUCC) said it has received complaints from companies whose accounts have been closed or who have been denied accounts due to dealings in Ukraine. Despite banks’ claims of legal and regulatory obligations, this cautious approach has been harming economic ties between the two nations, the newspaper wrote.

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