Ukraine war: Zelenskyy replaces head of regional defense forces

Zelenskyy replaces head of regional defense forces

4:05 p.m.: In Ukraine, the commander of the territorial defense forces has been replaced for the second time since the start of the Russian invasion. On Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree appointing Major General Anatoly Barhylevych as the new chief. Ihor Tanzjura had previously been discharged with the same military rank. Tanzjura had held the position since May last year. The reasons for the dismissal were not known until the afternoon.

Ukraine has been defending itself against Russian invasion for more than 19 months. As a sub-structure of the army, the area defense forces are primarily responsible for organizing defense in the regions. Barhylewytsch had already been involved in setting up the regional defense forces since 2020.

US Institute: Kremlin will use attacks on Israel for war in Ukraine

11.35 a.m.: From the perspective of US experts, Russia will also exploit the attacks by the Islamist Hamas against Israel for its war against Ukraine. In an information campaign, the Kremlin is accusing the West of neglecting the conflicts in the Middle East in favor of supporting Ukraine, the Institute for War Studies (ISW) in Washington wrote in an analysis on Saturday (local time).

The experts pointed out, for example, that the Russian Foreign Ministry had accused the West of recently blocking the efforts of the Middle East Quartet, which includes Russia, the USA, the EU and the United Nations.

According to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia also has contacts with the Islamist Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip and is classified as a terrorist organization by the USA, the EU and Israel. For example, the Kremlin’s Middle East representative, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, held discussions with Hamas representatives several times this year – on the phone and in personal meetings. According to the ministry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again pointed out Moscow’s initiative for a two-state solution on Saturday.

Former Kremlin chief Dmitry Medvedev, who is deputy head of the Russian National Security Council, said on the Telegram news channel that the violence between Hamas and Israel was to be expected. “Washington and its allies should have dealt with this,” Medvedev wrote. The USA is a key player in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Ukrainian army speaks of successes in the south

Sunday, October 8th, 5:12 a.m.: According to information from Kiev, Russian losses have increased significantly in the fighting in southern Ukraine. The Russian occupiers lost 338 fighters and dozens of units of combat equipment within 24 hours, said the commander of the southern sector of the “Taurien” front, Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavsky. Accordingly, Ukrainian troops are making progress in the Zaporizhia region. There was “partial success” north of the villages of Kopani and Novoprokopivka, he said.

In this region, Ukrainian troops have been fighting their way through heavily fortified Russian defense lines with minefields, anti-tank barriers and trenches for weeks. The fighting at Kopani and Novoprokopivka suggests that the Ukrainians are widening their penetration point into the Russian defenses.

In its evening situation report, the Ukrainian General Staff reported, among other things, a total of twelve Russian attacks repelled in the Donetsk region in the east of the country. In total there were 50 battles in the war zone on Saturday. The Ukrainian armed forces have been conducting a counteroffensive for months to liberate the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as well as the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, each of which is partly occupied by Russian troops.

There were also “partial successes” in the village of Andriyivka south of the city of Bakhmut in the east, it was said in Kiev. While Bakhmut in the Donetsk region itself is in Russian hands, the Ukrainians have recaptured a strategically important railway line south of it in recent weeks. They now extend their positions on the other side of the track.

The military information is often not independently verifiable. However, the Institute for War Studies ISW in the USA also mentioned this Ukrainian advance in its new report. At the same time, the experts wrote that the Russian army had managed to exchange troops in the south despite Ukrainian pressure.

According to Ukrainian information, attacks by Russian ground troops were concentrated on the Kupyansk and Lyman front sectors in the east as well as Avdiivka and Mariinka near Donetsk. But they were repelled, it was said. The front is about 1000 kilometers long.

NATO Secretary General praises German arms supply to the Ukraine

Saturday, October 7th, 10:49 a.m.: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has praised Germany’s announced delivery of another Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. Stoltenberg told “Welt am Sonntag” that he welcomed this announcement. “We can expect more Russian attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid. Air defense is crucial to saving Ukrainian lives.” Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) promised the delivery on Thursday on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit.

At the same time, Stoltenberg told the newspaper: “I understand the concerns that our support for Ukraine carries the risk of escalation, but the risk pales in comparison to allowing Putin to win this war.” If Russian President Vladimir Putin If he wins the war of aggression in Ukraine, he will probably use violence again.

Stoltenberg also commented on the ongoing threats from Moscow to possibly use tactical nuclear weapons against the background of the war in Ukraine. “Russia’s nuclear rhetoric is completely irresponsible, but the risk that Russia will use nuclear weapons remains low.” Moscow knows that a nuclear war can never be won and should never be waged. “Of course, we continue to monitor Russian activities very closely. NATO is a nuclear alliance and nuclear deterrence has worked for 75 years.”

The NATO chief assessed Kiev’s counter-offensive in the war against Russia, which has been ongoing since the beginning of June, positively: “The Ukrainian armed forces have regained territory and they have the momentum. Progress is more important than speed. Ukraine is moving forward, slowly but surely.” Every meter that Ukraine gains is a meter lost for Russia, said the former Norwegian prime minister. Stoltenberg emphasized: “Russia has lost military prestige, the country is economically weaker and politically isolated.”

Putin on Western arms deliveries: “Then Ukraine will only survive for a week”

8.40 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he does not expect Western aid to Ukraine to stop. The support will continue and lead to a further deterioration of the economy and living standards in Western countries, Putin said on Thursday in Sochi on the Black Sea at the international Valdai discussion forum. According to Putin, there is already a recession in Europe. Without the Western billions in aid and arms deliveries, Ukraine would not be able to survive. “Imagine if the deliveries end tomorrow, then she will only survive for a week.”

At the same time, Putin emphasized that the Russian economy would be able to cope with the economic pressure caused by its own defense spending. “We are coping, and I have reason to believe that we will continue to do so in the future,” Putin told experts from around 40 countries. He described Russia’s state budget as “healthy.”

Scholz is pushing for EU reforms before accepting new members

Friday, October 6th, 10:45 a.m.: Before the informal EU summit in Granada, Chancellor Olaf Scholz once again pushed for a reform of the EU in order to make it fit to accept additional countries. “We must then be able to make decisions with qualified majorities so that the sovereignty and ability of the European Union to act is guaranteed,” he said before the meeting. Currently, many decisions can only be made with the consent of all 27 member states, including in foreign and security policy.

You also have to think about the number of members of the EU Commission, said Scholz. “You can’t just keep expanding the government and inventing new ministries.” It’s also about the number of seats in the European Parliament and the financing of the community of states. A decision will be made in December as to whether accession negotiations will begin with Ukraine and Moldova and whether Georgia will be granted accession candidate status.

EU Council President Charles Michel recently said that the EU must be ready to accept countries like Ukraine by 2030. President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen supports rapid enlargement, but does not give a date. Ukraine’s accession is considered tricky, for example because the war-torn country is comparatively large and would probably have to receive subsidies for the foreseeable future. In addition, the huge agricultural sector would make a comprehensive reform of EU agricultural subsidies necessary.

The EU is also conducting accession negotiations with the Balkan states of Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and North Macedonia. In addition to Ukraine, Kosovo as well as Moldova, Georgia and Turkey are also applicant countries. There have been long-standing accession negotiations with Turkey, but they have been on hold for years due to constitutional deficits.

Hank Peter

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