This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (September 29)

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

ATACMS fired from an M270 MLRS launcher at White Sands Missile Range.  Photo Source: U.S. Army

Political Developments

During a visit to Germany, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev reiterated Astana’s willingness to mediate a political solution to the war in Ukraine. The Kazakh leader was in Germany discussing increasing oil exports to the European country as Berlin seeks alternatives to Russia.

We need to find a basis for peaceful negotiations acceptable to both sides. Kazakhstan supports all efforts made by relevant states and groups of states that are proposing various options for resolving the Ukrainian conflict. On our part, we will make every effort. – Kazakh President Tokayev

Military Assistance to Ukraine

The United States has changed direction and decided to approve the delivery of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) to Ukraine. The ATACMS can be fired from HIMARS platforms, which have already been delivered to Kyiv. Moscow said it would respond to the delivery of ATACMS to Ukraine.

Ukraine has taken delivery of its first U.S. M1 Abrams tanks, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on Monday. The new tanks are the first of 31 donated by the Biden administration. Additional tanks will be delivered in the coming months. It could still be some time before the tanks appear on the battlefield. Ukrainian officials said the Abrams tanks need to be used only in “well-crafted operations” to reduce the risk of losing them on the battlefield.

Ukrainian pilots have arrived in the U.S. to begin initial training on F-16 fighter jets. Several pilots are now at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and they are starting with English language training. U.S. officials said they expected to see up to around 10 pilots at first, followed by dozens of maintenance personnel.

Sweden recently confirmed the transfer of 10 Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks to the Ukrainian armed forces.

Germany has approved a joint venture between Rheinmetall and Ukraine aimed at servicing armored vehicles.

Up to 100 Polish Rosomak armored personnel carriers have been delivered to Ukraine, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted in a recent statement. A spat between Kyiv and Warsaw over grain imports has threatened the latter’s military aid to Ukraine.

Lithuania announced the transfer of military radars to Ukraine’s navy to aid the service in maritime surveillance. A Ministry of Defense statement added that Lithuania plans to provide EUR200 million worth of military assistance to Kyiv from 2024 to 2026.

The British government said on Monday that it had provided 1,500 mine detectors to Ukraine, and trained Ukrainian service personnel on carrying out demining operations.

Bulgaria greenlighted the delivery of aging S-300 missiles to Ukraine, which were apparently unserviceable in Bulgaria. Following the announcement, Moscow issued a complaint, arguing that the transfer violates the bilateral military-technical cooperation agreement inked between the two in 2002.

Ukraine has moved part of its domestic missile production facilities abroad.  This move comes after Russian strikes on Ukrainian assembly plants.  Specifics on Ukraine’s missile program are not available.

Battlefield Updates

Wagner fighters have returned to the battlefield in Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian official told Politico this week. The paramilitary outfit began redeploying to Belarus after the late Yevgeny Prigozhin conducted a mutiny in June 2023; Prigozhin’s plane crashed, with him on board, under mysterious circumstances last month near Moscow.

Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, appeared in a meeting of Russian defense officials, dispelling claims that he was killed in a Ukrainian strike last week on the fleet’s headquarters in Crimea.

Russia continues to hit targets in Ukraine using missiles and attack drones.  The recent Russian attacks included 19 Shahed-131/136-type attack drones and two Onyx supersonic missiles.

In a recent attack, Ukraine claims its air defense forces intercepted 26 of 38 Russian drones.  The attack took place during the night of September 25-26.

The recovered wreckage of Russian missiles in Ukraine contained large numbers of foreign-made components.  According to Ukrainian officials, the Russian missiles included between 30 and 50 parts produced outside Russia.

Ukrainian authorities say that unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) sold to Russia by Iran include components built in Europe.  A confidential document shared with Western allies included information on this issue.

The Russian government is considering the purchase of additional armaments from Iran.  Potential weapons Iran could provide to Russia include the Paveh cruise missile, the 358 surface-to-air missile (SAM), the Ababil, and the Fattah missile.






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