This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (September 8)

A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Ukraine will also receive HIMARS ammunition, 105mm and 105mm artillery rounds, 81mm mortar rounds, and Javelin and AT-4 anti-tank weapons under a $175 million U.S. assistance package. Photo Source: U.S. Army

Political Developments

Ukraine replaced its defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, who had been in the position since November 2021. On Wednesday, the Verkhovna Rada confirmed Rustem Umerov, a former lawmaker, as the new Minister of Defense.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, arriving by train to the city on Wednesday. He said that Washington was “determined to continue to walk side-by-side” with Ukraine, pledging another $1 billion in assistance to the embattled country.

Military Assistance to Ukraine

The U.S. said it will supply depleted uranium rounds to the Ukrainian military for use with the Abrams main battle tank, announcing the aid in a press release that coincided with Secretary of State Blinken’s visit to Kyiv. Ukraine will also receive HIMARS ammunition, 105mm and 105mm artillery rounds, 81mm mortar rounds, and Javelin and AT-4 anti-tank weapons under the $175 million assistance package.

Canada has completed delivery of CAD59 million ($43 million) worth of rifles and ammunition to Ukraine that was announced back in April. The rifles, which include various types, were procured from Colt Canada, owned by the Colt CZ Group in the Czech Republic. Ottawa also says it plans to contribute to a broader effort to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s.

U.S. officials said North Korea would “pay a price” in the international community if it supplies weapons to Russia. Discussions between Pyongyang and Moscow about supplying arms are believed to be ongoing.

Germany has begun delivering Gepard anti-aircraft ammunition to Ukraine. The 35mm ammo is manufactured by Rheinmetall. The company recently received a $181 million contract to produce 300,000 rounds of ammunition, half of which is intended for Ukraine. Of those, 40,000 round will be delivered by the end of the year. Germany provided Ukraine with 46 Gepard systems, each of which has two 35mm guns. Another six systems will also be delivered.  The Gepard was retired from German service 15 years ago.

With German financing, Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks delivered over 100 Zetros trucks to Ukraine to support the country’s military logistics.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said he reached a “very important agreement on training our pilots in France” in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on September 3. It is not immediately clear which aircraft the Ukrainian pilots will train on.

BAE Systems announced it has established a local legal entity and signed agreements with the Ukrainian government to ramp up the company’s support to Ukraine’s armed forces and to explore the supply of light guns to Ukraine.  BAE Systems originally manufactured much of the equipment that governments have provided to Ukraine.

Electro Optic Systems (EOS), an Australian company, will provide defense systems to counter Russian attack drones.  The company is to deliver 160 Slinger C-UAS (counter – unmanned aircraft system) units.

The Ukrainian government could procure a new robotic missile launcher known as the Funnel Web.  This unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) is controlled by a handheld device.  Black Sky Aerospace and Funnel Web Systems are working on this robotic system.

Battlefield Updates

Businessman Elon Musk confirmed in a post on X that SpaceX refused to turn on Starlink to Sevastopol, in occupied Crimea, earlier in the war, following a Ukrainian request that would have supported a military operation there. Sevastopol is the home port for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Russian state media outlet TASS reported on Monday that an Su-34 combat jet performed a strike using the Kinzhal missile, the first time the weapon has been fired from that model of aircraft.

The Russian military conducted air raids on Kyiv and Odesa overnight on Tuesday. Ukraine’s air force claimed in a statement that it shot down 23 of the 33 incoming targets, which included seven cruise missiles, an Iskander missile, and 25 Shahed drones.

Further Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian cities occurred overnight on Thursday, killing four.

Some Russian soldiers have complained of lack of ammunition and other challenges on the battlefield, according to Ukrainian intelligence intercepts shared with Reuters.

Ukrainian forces have launched repeated drone attacks against targets within Russia in the past few days.  The Ukrainian drones have attacked targets in Moscow, Bryansk, Ryazan, and the Pskov air base (the latter is near the border with Estonia).

The Ukrainian government is using the Vampire system to defend itself against Russian drone attacks.  Moscow is increasing the number of drone attacks it launches against Ukrainian targets.


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