A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
The Russian court system upheld jailtime for Igor Strelkov, a former leader of the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Strelkov, known for his involvement in the MH-17 shoot-down in 2014, has been critical of the Russian military’s performance in the war in Ukraine, arguing that the government has not gone far enough to win the conflict. He has criticized President Vladimir Putin directly for his “cowardly mediocrity.” Strelkov was jailed last month on charges of extremism.
A paper published by The International Working Group on Russian Sanctions highlighted Russia’s continuing reliance on foreign components for its military systems, particularly the micro-electronics used by several of its drones. The Working Group examined the Iranian-origin Shahed-131/136 (Russian designation: Geran-1/2) drones, as well as Russia’s Orlan-10 reconnaissance drone and the Lancet loitering munition. One of the report’s findings pointed to China as a substantial source of the electronics for these drones:
China emerges as the primary conduit for the supply of critical components, accounting for an extensive portion of deliveries to Russia. Since the commencement of the full-scale invasion, China contributed to 67% of these foreign components, with a noteworthy subset of 17% channeling through Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, Germany announced that it had charged a dual German-Russian national with illegally exporting electronics to Russia for use in the Orlan-10. The prosecutor’s office alleged the individual had exported the components from January 2020 to March 2023.
Military Assistance to Ukraine
The U.S. plans to begin training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets in October. Training will take place at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona. A U.S. official said it could take several years for pilots to become proficient with the aircraft.
Speaking on Saturday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said he is “really optimistic” that Berlin may approve the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.
Ukraine will set up a plant to manufacture the Swedish CV90 infantry fighting vehicle. President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday, “We will get the armored vehicle and the technology. And then it depends on our partners when we will be able to implement these technologies in Ukraine. There will be a lot of such technologies in our country, I am sure of it.” The president added that Ukraine is ramping up production of domestic Neptune anti-ship missiles, as well as the Corsar and Stugna anti-tank missile systems.
Ukraine is also aiming to produce British L119 light guns. On Thursday, President Zelensky inked a framework agreement with BAE Systems regarding production of the system.
The U.S. State Department announced more security assistance for Ukraine on Tuesday. The $250 million package will include AIM-9M missiles, HIMARS ammunition, 105mm and 155mm ammunition, Javelin and other anti-armor systems, and small arms rounds.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell reiterated his proposal this week that the European Union provide up to EUR5 billion in military assistance annually to Ukraine over the next few years.
Ukraine’s foreign minister has publicly pushed back on criticism of his country’s counteroffensive, saying that critics should “shut up.” Western officials have recently raised concerns with Kyiv privately and have anonymously voiced frustrations with the pace of the offensive to Western newspapers.
“Criticizing the slow pace of (the) counteroffensive equals … spitting into the face of (the) Ukrainian soldier who sacrifices his life every day, moving forward and liberating one kilometer of Ukrainian soil after another. I would recommend all critics to shut up, come to Ukraine and try to liberate one square centimeter by themselves,” Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said, according to comments quoted by Reuters.
Ukrainian troops positioned around the village of Robotyne have pushed up against Russia’s primary defensive line along this section of the front, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Russian shelling struck a cafe in northeast Ukraine Saturday, killing two civilians and wounding a third.
Early on Wednesday, Russia conducted a series of drone and missile attacks on Kyiv. Two people were reported killed in the attack on the Ukrainian capital. Ukrainian officials said that larger destruction was avoided thanks to the city’s air defense systems, which reportedly intercepted over 20 incoming targets.
Ukraine conducted its own attacks on military targets in several Russian regions this week, in particular carrying out a drone attack on Russian military aircraft parked at Pskov Airport, damaging up to four Il-76 transports. Satellite imagery appears to confirm that two of those Il-76s were completely destroyed.
A Ukrainian defense official told The Drive that last week’s strike on an S-400 surface-to-air missile system was carried out using a modified version of the Neptune, an anti-ship cruise missile. Kyiv aims to field more of the land attack variant of the missile.
President Zelensky said on Thursday that Kyiv has successfully used a Ukrainian-made system with a range of 700 kilometers. He did not identify the weapon in his comments.
Two Ukrainian L-39 training aircraft collided during a combat mission, killing three pilots, including Andriy Pilshchykov, who had regularly appeared on American media to request the delivery of F-16 combat aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force. President Zelensky said that Pilshchykov was “a Ukrainian officer, one of those who greatly helped our state.”
Two Ukrainian Mi-8s crashed near Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast this week, killing six officers.
Ukraine has developed a long-range missile capable of striking targets far behind the battlefield frontline. This missile has already attacked a Russian-operated S-400 Triumf air defense system deployed in occupied Crimea.
The Ukrainian government is boosting production of locally designed missiles. As indicated above, Kyiv has significantly increased production of the Stugna and Corsar anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and the Neptune subsonic anti-ship cruise missile.
The Ukrainian military has conducted another attack on Russian territory using drones. The attack drones struck on the night of August 28. The operation targeted a Russian military airfield in the Bryansk region.
Russia is investing more in attack drones. A new version of the Lancet loitering munition has entered service and has been used in combat. Zala Aero Group builds this attack drone series. At the same time, Russia is purchasing large numbers of attack drones from Iran.
Russia scrambled fighter aircraft to intercept a U.S.-operated unmanned air vehicle (UAV) flying over the Black Sea. Moscow is attempting to discourage U.S. reconnaissance flights in this area.
Ukrainian intelligence says Moscow is working to build up its missile inventory. Kyiv says Russia is holding back on missile attacks and expanding factory production rates.
The United States continues to refuse to provide long-range strike missiles to Ukraine. Kyiv repeatedly asked the United States for the ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System). The Pentagon is against approving this request.
The Ukrainian military has developed new unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for use in combat. Tests have been performed on 25 locally designed robots. Some of these robots are designed to perform suicide attacks.