Ukrainian Defense Minister Reznikov dismissed by Parliament
Tuesday, September 5, 1:35 p.m.: As expected, the Ukrainian parliament formally dismissed Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov. A large majority of MPs voted in favor of this decision on Tuesday. The minister’s dismissal was announced on Sunday by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Resnikov has held the post since November 2021. The delivery of arms by the western allies, which took place more than 18 months ago after the Russian invasion, were also attributed to the lawyer’s negotiating skills.
Scandals surrounding corruption in the army supply and in the military replacement offices are said to have contributed to his dismissal. Resnikov has always denied allegations against him. The designated successor is the previous head of the State Assets Fund, Rustem Umerow. His appointment is expected on Wednesday.
The photo that emerged is said to show missing “General Armaggedon”.
10:02 p.m.: Russian media are currently circulating a photo of General Sergey Surovikin and state that it is a recent photo. It is said that he was “released”. In the picture, Surovikin is seen arm in arm next to a woman. According to the media, the head of the Russian aerospace troops, who was important in the war against Ukraine, was removed from office two months after the uprising of the Wagner mercenary group. From October 2022 to January 2023, Surovikin was the supreme commander of Russian units in Ukraine. In the fall, he ordered the occupation troops to withdraw from the southern Ukrainian city of Cherson.
Surovikin, also known by the nickname “General Armageddon”, was considered one of the most important allies of mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in the regular Russian army in his power struggle with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov. Although Surovikin publicly condemned the uprising of Prigozhin’s Wagner troupe at the end of June, according to political observers he was subsequently sidelined.
Zelenskyj visits soldiers at the front in Donetsk
9:39 p.m.: According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he has visited the front in the contested Donetsk region in the east of the country. He released a video on Monday showing him meeting commanders and soldiers. Where exactly the recordings were made remained unclear.
“We are visiting combat brigades defending Ukraine as part of the Donetsk operational and tactical group,” Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram. He named “problematic issues”, securing supplies and “increasing the motivation of our fighters” as topics of conversation.
Zelensky announced on Sunday the dismissal of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who took office a few months before Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began in February 2022. Most recently, however, the Defense Ministry led by Resnikov was shaken by corruption scandals.
Ukraine began its large-scale counteroffensive against Russian troops in June, but initially made slow progress in the east and south. Most recently, however, she reported progress against Russian forces along the southern front.
Kim Jong-un plans trip to see Vladimir Putin
8:21 p.m.: As the “New York Times” reports, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to travel to Russia later this month to meet with President Vladimir Putin to discuss the possibility of supplying Russia with more weapons for the war in Ukraine and a to arrange other military cooperation, according to US and allied officials.
In a rare excursion from his country, Kim would likely travel from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, by armored train to Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast, where he would meet with Putin, officials said. Kim could possibly travel to Moscow, but that is not certain.
Ukraine reports evidence of Russian drone strikes on Romanian soil
8:07 p.m.: According to the Interfax news agency, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reports that there are photos “that prove” that Russian drones had landed in the territory of NATO member state Romania. Previously, Romania itself has denied such incidents and has opposed statements made by Ukraine.
According to Kuleba, it is because there is “a tendency in Romania” to “play down certain events so as not to be involved in a direct conflict”. However, in this case it is “pointless” to deny the impacts of Russian drones. Because the Ukrainian-owned photos would clearly prove this.
No new grain agreement for Ukraine – Putin and Erdogan cannot agree
4:44 p.m.: Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on reviving the Turkey-UN brokered grain deal have collapsed.
There will be no new agreement to transport Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea until the West has met its conditions, Putin said after the Sochi meeting. Putin demands that restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products be lifted before an agreement is reached.
Turkey helped mediate the grain agreement in the summer of 2022, which ended the Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports, also in its own interest. Russia suspended the agreement in mid-July.
Putin said that this year, even because of a good harvest, Russia wants to export 60 million tons of grain. Ukraine, on the other hand, risks losing its role as a supplier due to the lack of a grain agreement. Putin once again announced free Russian grain supplies to the poorest countries.
EU condemns Russian attacks ahead of grain deal meeting
4:20 p.m.: The EU has condemned recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and called for the country’s immediate return to the agreement to ship Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea. The fact that facilities for the export of Ukrainian grain were being attacked shows once again how Russia’s actions are heating up global food prices and endangering millions of vulnerable people worldwide, said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels on Monday. The action is despicable. On the one hand, Russia benefits from the increased world market prices and, on the other hand, from the fact that it is currently exporting more grain.
The spokesman commented on the EU’s expectations for negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the grain agreement this Monday. At the meeting, Erdogan wanted to promote a revival of the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain. Turkey helped broker the agreement in the summer of 2022 that ended the Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports. In mid-July, Russia then suspended the agreement, although the United Nations believes it is important for the secure supply of food to the world.
During the Russian attacks in the Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk regions on Sunday evening and on Monday night, facilities for the export of Ukrainian grain were targeted, according to the EU. This is said to have included port infrastructure in the Danube Delta.
Expert expects the Ukrainian offensive to peak soon
3.40 p.m.: Military analyst Franz-Stefan Gady expects the Ukrainian counter-offensive to culminate in the coming weeks. “Ultimately, this attrition campaign is about which side has more reserves,” wrote Gady, who works for the Institute for International Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, among others, on Platform X (formerly Twitter) on Monday. According to today’s, albeit incomplete, data, it seems possible that the offensive will reach its peak in the coming weeks.
So far, the focus has been far too much on Ukrainian breakthroughs through Russian defenses and far too little on whether Ukraine will have enough forces after breaking through the defenses to penetrate deep into the occupied territories, Gady said on Deutschlandfunk on Monday. “And here we don’t really know whether Ukraine would still have enough forces, even if they were to break through the individual defense points very quickly now.”
According to Gady, in the next three to four weeks it will be decisive to what extent Ukraine can strategically exploit the successes of the past few days. “After that, ammunition consumption and slow wear and tear of the troops will probably lead the armed forces to the culmination point of this offensive,” he wrote on X.
Ukraine has been repelling a Russian invasion for over 18 months with massive Western aid. About three months ago, Kiev launched a counteroffensive that progressed slowly. Kiev has reported successes in recent days. Accordingly, the first Russian line of defense in the Zaporizhia region has been breached.
Commenting on recent Ukrainian victories, Gady wrote that it had always been clear that sooner or later Russian defenses would be breached. They are designed to wear down Ukraine, not repel it. “In a battle of attrition like the one taking place now, the exact ratio of losses on both sides is more important in the long term than gains in territory,” Gady continued. Here, however, the data is too incomplete for a conclusion, he assumes “significant losses” on both sides.
According to the military expert, the conflict will continue even after the offensive. “This war will definitely continue into the next year and this war will continue to be very bloody,” said Gady on Deutschlandfunk.