Russia and Ukraine News – Russian troops are pulling out of fortified positions in southern Ukraine. There are also reports of Russian military reservists mobilizing for war. Gas supplies from Russia to Europe pass through Ukraine. Meanwhile, military aid is being sent to Ukraine. The world is watching these events with growing concern. The Ukrainian government is doing everything it can to stop Russian aggression.
Russian troops withdrew from fortified positions in southern Ukraine.
Despite ongoing large-scale Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, the Russians are not likely to be able to erode the Ukrainian will to fight. Still, the current operations will likely pose economic and humanitarian challenges throughout the winter.
The Russians have also been attempting to evacuate civilians from western Kherson Oblast, which they hope will delay the arrival of Ukrainian forces. The evacuees are likely to include civilians cooperating with the Russians and those in the path of the Kakhovka dam’s flooding.
The timing of the Russian withdrawal depends on the actions taken by the Ukrainian side. The aggressor will most likely defend its position against the risk of enemy forces crossing the river and retaking the area.
The Ukrainian side will probably use civilians as human shields to escape the attack, so the Russian withdrawal could be delayed. In addition, the Ukrainian side is continuing to attack Russian military hardware and troops.
On October 22, Russian forces continued their offensive operations in Donetsk Oblast. The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that its troops repelled an attack on the Ukrainian positions near Kuzymivka, a town located 13km northwest of Svatove near the N26 highway. Fighting also continued north of the city in Novovodiane and Chervonopopivka. In the north, the Ukrainians are expected to counterattack.
The Russian withdrawal from Kherson is a significant political setback for the Kremlin, as it is a complete discredit to the September 30 annexation. It will also weaken the state’s authority and lower the confidence of its collaborators. The Kremlin is trying to portray the withdrawal as a well-thought-out military operation. Still, it is unlikely to be that simple.
Although Russia has used its numerical advantages to overwhelm Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainian military has been attacking Russian positions on the west side of the Dnipro River and bridges and pontoons. The International Atomic Energy Agency has called for the demilitarisation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The Russian military took over the Zaporizhzhia power plant in early March, but it still has Ukrainian staff.
The Russian military’s withdrawal from Lyman is not the first step toward reunifying the country. Still, it represents a critical strategic decision for Moscow. While this might be the best course of action, there is no guarantee that Russian troops will completely evacuate their positions. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has already said that he will make any such withdrawal look like an evacuation.
Russia and Ukraine News – Russian military reservists mobilize for war in Ukraine.
The mobilization of Russian military reservists will make it easier for Russian forces to defend Ukraine if the conflict continues. Russia currently has over 200,000 troops on the ground in Ukraine, including Russia-aligned separatists, private security firms, and volunteers.
A partial mobilization could double that number, making defending Ukraine easier. Though most high-ranking military personnel have already been deployed, new recruits must be trained and provided with weapons. Meanwhile, some Russians have fled the country in response to Putin’s order, which may have weakened the Russian military.
The mobilization process will be lengthy and resource-intensive. Since Russia has not mobilized in many years, it will be challenging to train tens of thousands of reservists quickly. Moreover, it is unlikely that the mobilization will result in an immediate impact on the battlefield. Besides, the march is likely to be a piecemeal operation if Russia wants to preserve its territory in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to mobilize military reservists has prompted protests across the country. Many Russians are attempting to escape conscription. The mobilization is drawing closer to the doorsteps of ordinary Russians. However, the government still needs to stop the reservists from fleeing the country.
Despite the mobilization, some analysts argue that it will not change the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine. While the Russian military may be able to sustain a war longer with more reservists, mobilizing them for war does not help the country in the long run.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has intensified his war effort in Ukraine and warned that if necessary, Russia may use nuclear weapons against the West. Human rights advocates are also concerned about arresting foreign nationals and protecting foreign fighters in Ukraine. Some of the prisoners who were released in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine were sentenced to death.
The Ukrainian army reclaimed most of the territory occupied by the Russian military. This includes the city of Kharkiv, which was taken over by Russian troops in the early weeks of the conflict. Meanwhile, Russian forces occupied the Kherson region in the southern part of the country. Meanwhile, the partly occupied Zaporizhzhia region is voting to become a part of Russia.
Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine
Gazprom, the European monopoly gas supplier, will continue shipping natural gas via Ukraine. Though volumes have dropped significantly since the start of the conflict, the company is still supplying Europe with gas. Earlier this month, Gazprom announced a leak at its Nord Stream 1 transit point but gave no timeframe for fixing the problem. In response, the company has signed an agreement with China to switch payments for gas from rubles to yuan.
European countries rely on gas supplied by Russia for power generation and domestic heating. Currently, about 40% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia. If it were to cut off supplies, Europeans would be unable to heat their homes and operate their factories. This is especially problematic because the United States has imposed heavy economic sanctions on Russia in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As of this writing, the Russian president has yet to decide how to respond to the sanctions.
There are two significant pipelines connecting Russia and Europe. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline is located under the Baltic Sea and borders Germany and Russia. The second pipeline, TurkStream, runs under the Black Sea. Together, these pipelines can deliver 31.5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually to Europe.
As a result, the EU has become increasingly dependent on Russian gas supplies, which have already become volatile in recent months. The escalating conflict in Ukraine has worsened the situation. As a result, Europe has been scrambling to fill up its gas inventories ahead of winter. It is imperative to maintain these underground supplies to keep European homes warm during the cold months.
The dispute between Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz has put the gas supply through Ukraine at risk. The Russian gas giant has threatened to interrupt the supplies to Europe if Ukraine fails to fulfill its obligations regarding transit fees. The dispute has led to a legal dispute between the two companies. Gazprom is threatening to sanction Naftogaz, which would mean that all Russian gas transit through Ukraine would cease.
Since the February Ukrainian invasion, the amount of Russian gas consumed by EU nations has dropped dramatically. As of the autumn, the share has fallen to just 9 percent of its normal levels. As a result, the price of natural gas has risen. At the same time, the EU has stepped up sanctions against Russia for its illegal war in Ukraine. It has also shut down its Nord Stream-1 gas pipeline into Europe, making it difficult for the EU to receive gas from Russia.
Russian military aid rush to Ukraine
The Russian military has been sending troops into Ukraine since February 24. They claim they are de-Nazifying the country, but they’ve been met with a barrage of international sanctions in the past two weeks. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on the West to provide more military aid to his country.
Still, the US and NATO have refused to do so. Meanwhile, Russia is shipping a barrage of weapons to Ukraine at a breakneck pace, including susceptible items and shoulder-fired missiles called MANPADS. These missiles are designed to bring down aircraft and can target air and land targets.
It is still being determined whether Russia will successfully achieve its stated goals. While Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the war in Ukraine will end peacefully, the purposes of the operation remain vague.
It may be possible for Russia to limit its military aid to Ukraine’s south and east, as they have done in the past, or Russia may restrict itself to merely occupying the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In either case, Russia is taking control of a large portion of the country’s territory, enhancing its status as a war spoil.
The US government has also stepped up its military aid to Ukraine. Last week, the administration announced $2.9 billion in assistance to Ukraine. Still, this amount was lower than it had been pledged in late August. The aid package includes the same types of equipment and ammunition that the Ukraine military has been using against Russian forces. This new funding will ensure that Ukraine is prepared to defend itself against the Russian invasion.
The Russian military has been invading Ukraine for almost six months, and it is still unsure whether it will succeed in its goal. Western military assistance remains the key to Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression. In the end, the Ukrainian military has shown that it can defend itself against the Russian army and utilize Western weapons effectively. The next step is to strengthen the Ukrainian military with more modern weaponry.
Putin has re-mobilized troops and has escalated his threat to use nuclear weapons. The Russian government also recently increased the penalties for surrendering and refusing to fight in the Ukraine conflict. If Russia continues to push ahead, it may even target military sites in the Ukrainian region.