USA vs Russia...Because Ukraine can't defend itself.

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Opening Remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the 15th Ukraine Defense Contact Group (As Delivered)


Good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us for the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. And it’s great to see both new and familiar faces here today. And I want to start with a word of thanks to Oleksii Reznikov for his hard work and dedication—and for everything that he did for a free Ukraine in a secure world. I’d like to welcome Ukraine’s new Minister of Defense, Rustem Umerov. And Rustem, it’s great to have you here. I thoroughly enjoyed our call a couple of days ago, and certainly enjoyed the meeting we just concluded. I look forward to working with you and your team closely. And I know that everyone else here does as well. Now, even as we’re meeting here, Ukrainian troops are in a hard fight to reclaim their sovereign territory from dug-in Russian invaders. Ukraine’s counteroffensive continues to make steady forward progress. And brave Ukrainian troops are breaking through the heavily fortified lines of Russia’s army of aggression. Ukraine’s progress is a testament to the fighting spirit of its people. But Ukraine’s recent gains also hinge on the crucial capabilities provided by the members of this Contact Group. And our shared commitment will be vital during the current battles—and for the long road ahead.

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Russia's war in Ukraine


  • Traffic on Kerch bridge linking Crimea with Russia has been suspended, according to local authorities, as a smokescreen — used for disrupting drone attacks — appeared on the occupied peninsula.
  • A cargo ship in the Black Sea hit a sea mine, according to Romanian authorities. At least 12 crew members were taken to a port near the Ukrainian border following an explosion about 25 miles offshore, Romania's sea rescue agency said.
  • President Volodymyr Zelensky urged a global front against Russian aggression in a dramatic speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. Moscow's aim was "to turn our lands, our people, our resources into a weapon against you, against the international rules-based order," he said.
  • Ukraine’s special services were "likely" behind strikes on Wagner-backed forces in Sudan, a Ukrainian military source told CNN.
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Zelenskyy delivers upbeat message to US lawmakers on war progress as some Republican support softens


President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a whirlwind return visit to Washington on Thursday to shore up U.S. support for Ukraine, delivering an upbeat message on the war’s progress while facing new question about the flow of American dollars that for 19 months has helped keep his troops in the fight against Russian forces. The Ukrainian leader received a far quieter reception than the hero’s welcome he got last year, but also won generally favorable comments on the aid he says he needs to stave off defeat. Zelenskyy, in long-sleeve olive drab, came to the Capitol with a firm message in private talks with Republican and Democratic leaders. The Ukrainians have a solid war plan, and “they are winning,” lawmakers quoted him as assuring them, at a time that the world is watching Western support for Kyiv. Zelenskyy also spoke with military leaders at the Pentagon and was meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin greeted Zelenskyy at the Pentagon without the usual ceremonial band or fanfare that is typical of a high-level visit.

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jack

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Russia-Ukraine war: Russian lines breached, says Ukraine; Zelenskiy to meet Brazil’s president – as it happened​


It's 11pm in Kyiv. Here's where things stand:
  • Ukraine said it has filed lawsuit at the World Trade Organization against its three EU neighbours – Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – over their bans on Ukrainian grain imports.
  • A top Ukrainian general hailed the recent recapture of two eastern villages, Andriivka and Klishchiivka, as an important breakthrough on Monday, saying it had enabled Kyiv's troops to breach Russian lines near the shattered city of Bakhmut.
  • The Russian foreign ministry said it summoned French ambassador Pierre Levy to protest over what it called the “discriminatory and openly Russophobic” actions of French authorities against Russian journalists at the recent G20 summit in New Delhi.
 

jack

The Legendary Troll Kingdom
"Elon is saying he did not turn off access to Starlink. He only refused the government's request to extend Starlink's service area into Crimea. That seems to make a huge difference. If the US government wants GPS and Internet services in a place Starlink does not offer services than they can allow them access to the US government owned sat network.
They don't seem to want to do that though."

Elon is lying through his teeth. He should be brought to the Hague for war crimes.
 

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How Norway outstrips US on Ukraine spending


The United States has poured more than a hundred billion dollars into Ukraine's effort to repel Russia's invasion, spending far more than any other nation. But as President Volodymyr Zelensky comes to Washington to ask for more, there is growing Republican scepticism about funding the war effort.


In his Tuesday speech to the UN, Joe Biden made a passionate plea for the global community to not turn its back on Ukraine.
"Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalise Ukraine without consequence," he said. "But I ask you this: If we abandon the core principles of the United States to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they're protected?"
For more than a year and a half, the US president has followed up that tough talk with American dollars. The US Congress has now authorised more than $110bn (£89bn) in aid to Ukraine. That includes:
  • $49.6bn in military assistance
  • $28.5bn in economic support
  • $13.2bn in humanitarian aid
  • $18.4bn to boost US defence industry capacity
As of 9 August, the White House said it had spent 91% of the allocated funds. The administration is currently asking Congress for an additional $24bn in aid, including $14bn in military support.
However, polls suggest support among Americans for further spending has declined, especially among conservatives.

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Chart comparing overall funding commitments to Ukraine by various countries
 

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Ukraine: The soldiers who can’t leave the front line until the war is over


Open-ended service, just 10 days' leave a year and a high casualty rate - for Ukrainian soldiers in one unit, life on the front line is far from easy, as BBC Newsnight witnessed up close. Standing among some flattened buildings, "Jimmy", a Ukrainian officer who's been on active service for years, reflected on his survival: "I'm a lucky man… as I see it, war can either love people or not." His soldiers think the fact Jimmy's still with them, despite multiple wounds, means he lives a charmed life. His unit, the 24th Mechanised Brigade, has a long history, and is part of the old regular Ukrainian army, fighting the Russians from 2014. But since the invasion of February 2022, the army has more than trebled in size, the nation mobilised and Jimmy's unit changed out of all recognition. We spent two weeks in August with the 24th, which now serves in the Donbas, that old centre of smokestack industries in the east, occupying a section of the front between Bakhmut and Horlivka. In the run-up to war, the 24th Brigade was just over 2,000 strong, rotating its three battalions to the front line in eastern Ukraine for occasional tours of duty. Although the Ukrainian army rarely discusses numbers, sources told me it has now swelled to more than 7,000, with a total of five infantry battalions, four of artillery, a tank battalion and numerous other supporting elements. As that mobilisation happened, the old regular soldiers were joined by thousands of volunteers and conscripts. "Yurii," a twenty-something venture capitalist from Kyiv, is one of the talented incomers.

Map of the area around Bakhmut and Horlivka in eastern Ukraine, with the latest areas of control by Russian and Ukrainian forces


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‘Turning point’: Milley steps down as chair at a crucial moment for Ukraine


Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attends an interview with the Associated Press at the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach, Monday, June, 6, 2022. Army Gen. Mark Milley, said that the United States and the Allied countries must "continue" to provide significant support to Ukraine out of respect for D-Day soldiers' legacy, as commemorations of the June 6, 1944 landings were being held Monday in Normandy.


Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley is handing the reins over to his replacement on Friday. It couldn’t come at a more precarious time, as the West show signs of running out of weapons — and out of patience — with Ukraine. As the top military adviser to the president, Milley has weighed in on every major decision in the Ukraine conflict, from what weapons to send Kyiv to how to best train its forces. He has a longstanding relationship with Ukrainian Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as other chiefs of defense around the world. He and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a former four-star general, have led the charge in rallying the West to support Ukraine with modern arms and equipment. But the war is far from over, and Milley is leaving his successor, Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown, an array of challenges. As Ukrainian forces push for a breakthrough before winter sets in, there is a growing sense in Washington and Europe that the West may be weary of the fight. While Biden approved the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in August, Washington has yet to greenlight the donation of long-range Gray Eagle drones, which Kyiv has sought for surveillance and air-to-ground strike.


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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 582 of the invasion


  • The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, on an unannounced visit to Kyiv, said Ukrainian forces were “gradually gaining ground” in their counteroffensive against Russian forces. Speaking at a joint press conference with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Stoltenberg said “every metre that Ukrainian forces regain is a metre that Russia loses”. He added “And there is a stark contrast: Ukrainians are fighting for their families, their future, their freedom. Moscow is fighting for imperial delusions.”
  • As part of the visit, Stoltenberg said Nato has framework contracts in place for €2.4bn (£2bn) of key ammunition for Ukraine, including €1bn (£864m) in firm orders.
  • Russia is set to hike defence spending by almost 70% in 2024, a finance ministry document published on Thursday showed. Since invading Ukraine last year, Russia has ramped up arms manufacturing and pumped funds into its military machine, despite contending with persistently high inflation and a weaker rouble.
  • Ukraine’s air force claimed on Thursday its air defence systems shot down 34 of 44 Shahed drones that Russia launched overnight, while a regional official said no casualties were caused by the attack. “Fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft missile units and mobile fire groups were engaged to repel the attack,” the military said on the Telegram messaging app.
  • Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper said his region was the main target, but the attack left no casualties. “Our air defence forces did an excellent job,” Kiper said on Telegram.
  • There were also strikes on Kirovohrad oblast and an infrastructure object was hit in Mykolaiv. One man was killed and another was injured in Kherson overnight. Three people have been hospitalised after a strike on Antonivka, near the Dnipro River.
  • British defence secretary Grant Shapps discussed how to bolster Ukraine’s air defences during talks in an unannounced visit to Kyiv to meet Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president’s office said on Thursday. The visit was Shapps’ first trip to Kyiv since he became defence secretary last month. “On behalf of the whole nation, I thank you for everything you are doing for us. We are grateful for your help – military, financial, humanitarian. We greatly appreciate that we can rely on you,” a statement released by Zelenskiy’s office quoted the president as saying.

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Russia pardoned a murderer who put his girlfriend through a meat grinder because he agreed to fight in Ukraine, his mom says


A Russian convicted murderer who was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he killed his girlfriend and put her body through a meat grinder has been pardoned after fighting against Ukraine, his mother said. The mother of Dmitry Zelensky told the Russian media news outlet 59.RU that her son was pardoned after serving less than half of his sentence. Zelensky, a veteran of the Second Chechen War, confessed to the 2018 murder of his 27-year-old girlfriend, Tatiana Melekhina, in 2019, 59.RU reported. He admitted to strangling her to death after a quarrel, before disposing of her body in a horrific way to try to cover up his tracks, the media outlet said. According to 59.RU, Zelensky told investigators during an interrogation that he dismembered her body, processed it in a meat grinder, collected the bones in three bags, and threw them into the river. In 2019, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison, but he was released around November last year to fight in Ukraine, according to his mother, Galina Zelenskaya, per 59.RU. She told the news outlet that she had received a call from her son late last year in which he said he had signed a six-month agreement with the Wagner Group to fight in Ukraine.

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Russia says no new mobilization planned, claims 335,000 entered military service this year alone


Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military has no plans for an additional mobilization of citizens to fight in Ukraine, claiming 335,000 had entered military service this year alone. “The armed forces have the necessary number of military personnel to conduct a special military operation,” Shoigu said, claiming that in September alone, more than 50,000 citizens had signed a contract with the defense ministry. Since the beginning of the year, he claimed, more than 335,000 people had entered military service and volunteer groups. The call comes at a tricky moment in U.S.-Ukrainian relations. Over the weekend, the U.S. Congress passed a stopgap funding bill that introduced a 45-day pause on new financial assistance for Kyiv. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine, the U.S. has pledged more than $43 billion in security assistance to Kyiv.

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Russia-Ukraine war live news: US to transfer Iran weapons to Kyiv – Reports


The US is planning to plug the shortage in Ukraine’s weapons stocks by transferring thousands of seized Iranian weapons and ammunition to its military, Reuters and CNN report. Both news organisations reported that American officials told them the US military is to announce the policy this week. It remains unclear how the US would legally transfer the weapons to Kyiv because United Nations regulations require seized weapons to be destroyed or stored. The US and other countries, including the UK, regularly seize what they say are Iranian weapons carried by smugglers in the waters around the Arabian Peninsula, usually believed to be on their way to Houthi rebels in Yemen. But most of the weapons to be transferred to Ukraine will be small, rather than the heavy weaponry Ukraine needs to fight Russia. That’s a worry for Kyiv, particularly when the US Congress is showing few signs that it will be able to move forward with more spending for Ukraine in the short term.

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Ukraine says Russian missile strike on village grocery store kills at least 49 civilians


Ukraine said Thursday that at least 49 people were killed in a Russian strike on a grocery store in the Kharkiv region, reflecting one of the worst attacks on civilians since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion last year. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attack as “demonstrably brutal” and said “Russian terror must be stopped.” In other news, the Kremlin refused to answer questions about Russian naval operations Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that Russia had withdrawn the bulk of its Black Sea Fleet from its main base in annexed Crimea. The WSJ said the move had been a response to Ukrainian attacks but the Kremlin’s press secretary directed questions on the matter to the defense ministry.

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Ukraine is ‘freaking out’ as McCarthy chaos threatens US aid


After a year and a half of war, Ukraine’s leaders now have a new reason to worry: Mounting political chaos in America is threatening to derail their supply of money and weapons. Days after lawmakers shelved a vital U.S. plan to send billions of dollars in aid to Kyiv, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by his own Republican Party colleagues. Aid to Ukraine was named as one of the reasons. In Kyiv, officials are at a loss as to what might happen next. Their staunchest military ally suddenly looks unreliable, despite assurances from President Biden and others the U.S. will remain steadfast until Ukraine’s invaders are defeated. McCarthy’s historic ousting — no other U.S. House speaker has been deposed before — after Congress voted through an emergency domestic funding package to avert a government shutdown. That deal, a stop-gap 45-day budget to keep the government running, featured no aid to Ukraine. In public, the Ukrainian government tried to play down the impact of the disarray in Washington on its war effort. “Until a new speaker is elected, the House cannot vote on laws, but all other work, including in committees, continues,” Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said in a statement.

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The Ukraine war is in a new phase. Biden must rethink the US position


Scrambling to avoid a government shutdown, the US Congress last week refused to approve a new $6bn aid package for Ukraine. Nearly half of the Republicans in the House of Representatives also voted to srip Ukraine money from a must-pass military spending bill. The Republican revolt comes as Ukraine’s counteroffensive, launched this summer, has garnered lackluster results. Russia has actually gained more territory in this calendar year than Ukraine has, despite the immense quantity of advanced weaponry that the US and Europe have supplied to Ukrainian forces. Together, these two developments mark a new phase of the war that calls for new thinking. The political support of Ukraine’s largest international backer, the US, is no longer assured in the near term, let alone if Donald Trump returns to power in next year’s election. For Joe Biden, it is a time for choosing. His administration and its allies will be tempted to double down on the approach they have taken of late: cast the war in near-existential terms, vow to arm Kyiv “as long as ot takes” and castigate opponents as extremists indifferent to Ukraine’s plight and reckless with American national security. Preserving Ukraine’s sovereignty matters: the United States helps the victim of blatant aggression (tragically underscored by Russia’s missile strike in Kharkiv on Thursday that claimed 51 lives), keeps Russian forces away from Nato territory, defends international law, and shows would-be invaders that crime doesn’t pay.​


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Ukraine live briefing: U.S. mulls joint funding package for Israel and Ukraine; Zelensky in Romania


The White House is considering attaching a request for Congress to approve additional funding for Ukraine to a separate request for urgent aid to Israel, The Washington Post reported, citing several people familiar with the deliberations. One official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said such a move could make sense because it “jams the far right” in Congress, where some Republican lawmakers oppose more Ukraine aid but support aid to Israel. Russian President Vladimir Putin, making his first comments Tuesday on the war between Israel and Hamas, blamed Washington. “Many will agree with me that this is a vivid example of the failure of U.S. policy,” he said. The Kremlin has stopped short this week of condemning the Palestinian militant group Hamas, referring instead to the developments as “a spiral of violence. ” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday: “We have long-standing ties with the Palestinians. We continue our contacts. … But at the same time, we have our relations with Israel.”

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Ukraine war: Russia attacks Avdiivka stronghold in eastern Ukraine


The General Staff of Ukraine says they have managed to repel dozens of attacks in Avdiivka and nearby areas since Tuesday. "They launched their offensive on a wide front," Serhiy Tsekhovsky, an officer from the 59th brigade, told the BBC. "Since the beginning of the invasion, we haven't dealt with such an intensive attack [in the area near Avdiivka]. They are using multiple rocket launchers, artillery, tanks and infantry - all at the same time." Avdiivka is described as a gateway to the city of Donetsk, the capital of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region. Although Russia and its proxy forces have occupied Donetsk city since 2014, they have been unable to use its resources as a key military communications hub because it is too close to the front line. By capturing Avdiivka, the occupying force could push the front line away. But Avdiivka is important not just because of its strategic role. This town has been right on the front line since Moscow annexed Crimea nine years ago and the conflict in eastern Ukraine began. As a result, the town of Avdiivka has turned into a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and resilience. Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has shared photos of Avdiivka on social media saying: "We are holding our ground. It is Ukrainian courage and unity that will determine how this war will end."

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Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 598


Fighting
  • A battle is continuing in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, with Russia attacking it for a fourth straight day. Vitaliy Barabash, head of the city’s military administration, told Ukrainian national television that the city, which is known for its large coking plant, is “completely ablaze” and that its hospital, administrative buildings and volunteer centre are under attack.

Politics and Diplomacy

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently made his first forrign trip since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes, is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he has called a “dear friend”. Beijing is hosting 130 countries on October 17-18 to mark a decade of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but the two world leaders are likely to discuss the war as well.
Weapons

  • The White House has claimed that North Korea has delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia to be used in the war. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the US believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who traveled to Russia to meet with Putin and visit key military sites last month, is seeking sophisticated Russian weapons technologies in return for the munitions to boost North Korea’s military and nuclear programme.
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North Korea may be sending arms to Russia for Ukraine war, images suggest


Russian ships linked to military transport networks have collected cargo from North Korea and delivered it to an apparent Russian military port on multiple occasions over the past two months, according to new satellite images providing the clearest evidence yet that Pyongyang may be helping Moscow’s war effort. U.S. intelligence assessments at the time suggested that Russia was looking to get North Korean weaponry to replenish its dwindling supplies for the war in Ukraine. White House officials said Friday this now appears to be happening and named one Russian vessel, alleging that North Korea has transported as many as 1,000 containers with “equipment and munitions” from North Korea to Russia “in recent weeks.” Although it is impossible to tell what is being transported, the new images show ships linked to the Russian military logistics network, which strongly suggests these commercial vessels are carrying military equipment, RUSI analysts and U.S. officials say.

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