Missiles and demining systems in the new US package for Ukraine

Washington announces a new $775 million defense package for kyiv on the 177th day of the conflict, while a key pipeline bringing Russian natural gas to Europe is to be closed for three days for “maintenance”.

More than 5,000 civilians have been killed and more than 7,000 injured since the Ukrainian conflict erupted on February 24, according to UN estimates. (AFP)

Friday, August 19, 2022

US announces new $775 million arms package for Ukraine

The United States will supply Ukraine for the first time with Scan Eagle surveillance drones, mine-resistant vehicles, anti-armour shells and howitzers to help Ukrainian forces regain territory and mount a counteroffensive against the Russian soldiers.

A senior defense official tells reporters that a new $775 million aid package will include 15 Scan Eagles, 40 mine-resistant and ambush-protected vehicles known as MRAPs with mine rollers , and 2,000 anti-armour shells that can help Ukrainian troops advance. to the south and east, where Russian forces have placed mines.

The official said the United States was seeking to help shape and arm Ukraine’s future force as the conflict drags on. The package also includes more precision-guided missiles for HIMARS systems that have enabled Ukrainian forces to strike Russian command centers and munitions depots far behind the front lines.

Maintenance work to stop Nord Stream gas for three days: Gazprom

Deliveries of Russian gas to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline will cease from August 31 to September 2 for “maintenance”, Russian energy giant Gazprom said, citing the prospect of energy shortages in Europe.

“It is necessary to carry out maintenance every 1,000 hours” of operation, specifies Gazprom in a press release. “On August 31, 2022, the only Trent 60 gas compression unit will be shut down for three days for maintenance” involving technicians from German Siemens, Gazprom said.

As a result, “gas transport via the Nord Stream pipeline will be suspended for three days”. At the end of this period, deliveries will be restored at a rate of 33 million cubic meters of gas per day, Gazprom said.

Since Western countries imposed sanctions on Moscow after it launched its offensive against Ukraine, Moscow has repeatedly cut off gas supplies to Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian supplies.

Xi Jinping plans to visit Central Asia to meet Putin next month: report

Chinese leader Xi Jinping plans to travel to Central Asia to meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other leaders at a regional summit next month, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The tentative addition of a trip to Xi’s schedule comes after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan raised fears in Beijing of an accidental military encounter, the report said, citing people close to planning.

Zelenskyy appreciates Erdogan for supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appreciated his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“I had long conversations today with Erdogan, the Turkish President. I appreciate President Erdogan’s constant support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state. We talked about cooperation in the sectors of the economy, energy and defence,” Zelenskyy said in a video message.

On Thursday, Erdogan traveled to the Ukrainian city of Lviv and met with Zelenskyy and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Russian forces show ‘total lack of progress’: Pentagon official

Ukrainian forces have halted the Russian advance in recent weeks and Russian military positions on the ground have weakened, a senior US defense official said.

“You see a complete and utter lack of progress by the Russians on the battlefield,” the official said, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity.

Half of Russian Black Sea Fleet fighter jets out of service (Western official)

Explosions at the Saky air base in the annexed Crimean peninsula earlier this month knocked out more than half of Russian Black Sea Naval Aviation’s fighter jets, a Western official said.

The air base near Novofedorivka on the west coast of the peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, suffered multiple explosions on August 9.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ukraine was now constantly getting “kinetic effects” far behind Russian lines, which had a material impact on Russia’s logistical support and “a psychological effect important on the Russian leadership”.

Ukraine’s economy could shrink by 35-40% by year’s end: minister

Ukraine’s economy could contract by 35 to 40 percent by the end of the year, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said. Hit by the Russian offensive, the economy contracted by 15.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022.

Russian watchdog plans action against IT companies

Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said it was taking punitive action against a range of foreign IT companies, including TikTok, Telegram, Zoom, Discord and Pinterest.

In a statement, Roskomnadzor said the measures respond to companies’ failure to remove content they have flagged as illegal and will remain in place until they comply. He did not specify what action would be taken.

Russia has repeatedly threatened to fine sites, including Google, that violate tough new laws criminalizing the dissemination of “false information” about the Russian military.

The Swiss prosecutor’s office in charge of investigating the attack on a journalist in Ukraine

A rights group has asked Switzerland to investigate an alleged assault on a Swiss photojournalist by Russian troops in Ukraine earlier this year, prosecutors have confirmed.

Ukrainian NGO Truth Hounds has asked the Swiss public prosecutor to investigate an attack on Swiss freelance journalist Guillaume Briquet in southern Ukraine in March, according to Swiss group Civitas Maxima which helped it file the complaint. .

The MPC confirmed to the AFP news agency that it had received the complaint, which it said “will now be examined according to the usual procedure”.

Briquet suffered head and arm injuries when his car, which had Geneva and PRESS plates written on both sides, was ambushed by Russian troops near Mykolaiv on March 6, according to Civitas Maxima.

Moscow: Russian military control of the Zaporizhzhia plant does not guarantee the “Chernobyl scenario”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia’s military presence at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is a safeguard against what he called a ‘Chernobyl scenario’ , referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster.

Yesterday Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechaev said a UN proposal to demilitarize the area around the nuclear power plant was “unacceptable”.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, was occupied by Russia in March. It remains close to the front line and has been the target of repeated fire in recent weeks, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.

Vessel with more than 11,700 tons of Ukrainian corn docks in Türkiye

A ship carrying more than 11,700 tons of corn from Ukraine has reached its destination in Turkey, the Ministry of National Defense announced.

The Fulmar S, flying the flag of Barbados, docked in Alsancak, an Aegean port in the western province of Izmir.

It sailed from Chornomorsk on August 13, one of more than two dozen ships that have been able to sail from Ukrainian ports under the historic grain export deal signed in Istanbul last month.

UK: Russia bombs Kharkiv to prevent Ukraine from using its forces elsewhere

Russia is maintaining a regular bombardment of the front northeast of Kharkiv to pin down Ukrainian forces and prevent them from being used for counterattacks in other areas, the UK Ministry of Defense said.

Kharkiv, about 15 km (9 miles) from the Russian front lines, has been constantly bombarded since the start of the Russian offensive against Ukraine because it is within range of most Russian artillery, said the ministry in a daily intelligence bulletin.

Seventeen people were killed and 42 injured in two Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, on Wednesday and Thursday, the Ukrainian regional governor announced. Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

UK spy chief: Putin loses ‘information war’ in Ukraine

Russia has failed to gain ground in cyberspace against Ukraine nearly six months after its attack on the country, the head of Britain’s intelligence service GCHQ has said.

Jeremy Fleming, the head of intelligence, in an editorial by The Economistwrote that both countries used their cyber capabilities in the fighting in Ukraine.

“So far, President Putin has completely lost the information war in Ukraine and the West. While this is cause for celebration, we should not underestimate how Russian disinformation is playing out elsewhere in the world. the world,” Fleming wrote.

Fleming said Russia deployed WhisperGate malware to destroy and deface Ukrainian government systems. He also said that Russia had already used the same playbook on Syria and the Balkans and said online disinformation was a major part of Russian strategy.

For live updates from Wednesday, August 17, click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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