Ukraine steps up diplomacy amid fighting, power outages
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a working session of G7 leaders via video link, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 27, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters
The United States is prioritising efforts to boost Ukraine’s air defences, President Joe Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart on Sunday, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stepped up efforts to secure international assistance over the Russian invasion that is dragging into a 10th month.
Heavy fighting in the country’s east and south continued unabated, while drone and missile strikes on key power infrastructure, notably in the Black Sea port city of Odesa, kept many Ukrainians in the cold and dark.
There are no peace talks and no end in sight to the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation” and Ukraine and its allies call an unprovoked act of aggression.
“We are constantly working with partners,” Zelenskyy said after talking to Biden and the leaders of France and Turkey, adding that he expects some “important results” next week from a series of international events that will tackle the situation in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold on Monday an online meeting with Group of Seven (G-7) leaders and the European Union foreign ministers will to try to agree on further sanctions on Russia and Iran and on additional aid or arms deliveries to Ukraine.
While Zelenskyy has held numerous talks with Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan since Russian forces invaded in late February, the accumulation of discussions in just one day is not a regular event.
Russia unlikely to be able to fully occupy ‘annexed’ parts of Ukraine, UK says
Cadets attend an event in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Sept. 30, 2022, marking the declared annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, after holding what Russian authorities called referendums that were condemned by Kyiv and governments worldwide.
Sergey Pivovarov | Reuters
Russia’s apparent war aims of “liberating” eastern Ukraine and extending control over the southern regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are likely to fail, Britain’s Ministry of Defense stated Monday, with little gains expected over the winter.
“Russia is likely still aiming to extend control over all of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson Oblasts [regions]. Russian military planners likely still aim to prioritise advancing deeper into Donetsk Oblast,” the defense ministry said on Twitter.
“However, Russia’s strategy is currently unlikely to achieve its objectives: it is highly unlikely that the Russian military is currently able to generate an effective striking force capable of retaking these areas,” the U.K. added.
“Russian ground forces are unlikely to make operationally significant advances within the next several months.”
Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov rearticulated the main goals of the “special military operation” (as Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine) last week, stating that these were to fully occupy the four regions of Ukraine that Russia declared it had annexed back in September.
Peskov stated there was “a lot of work ahead” to “liberate” these territories that were “occupied” by Ukrainian forces.
— Holly Ellyatt
1.5 million people left without power in Odesa after drone strike
Zelenskyy said the Odesa region is still among the regions with the largest number of energy shutdown.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Energy operators are working to restore the power supply to the southern port city of Odesa after its energy network was targeted by Russian drones over the weekend.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 1.5 million people were left without power after Russia launched drones strikes on the city. The president said Ukraine had managed to shoot down 10 of 15 Iranian drones used to target Odesa.
Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Sunday that “restoration work continues in the south of our country – we are doing everything to restore the light supply to Odesa.”
“As of this time, we managed to partially restore the supply in Odesa and other cities and districts of the region. We are doing everything to achieve the maximum possible after the Russian hits,” he said.
He said the Odesa region is still among the regions with the largest number of energy shutdowns, and that the situation remains “very difficult” in Kyiv, the capital’s surrounding region, as well as Lviv, Vinnytsia, Sumy and Dnipropetrovsk, among others.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russian mercenaries suffered ‘very significant’ losses in Luhansk, official says
A mural praises the Russian Wagner group and its mercenaries fighting in Ukraine on March 30, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia.
Pierre Crom | Getty Images
Russian mercenaries fighting in eastern Ukraine suffered heavy losses after the hotel they were using as their headquarters was hit by Ukrainian forces this weekend, according to an official.
There were “very significant” losses after the guest house in Kadiivka in Luhansk was hit, the head of the Luhansk Military Administration Serhiy Haidai said on his Telegram account on Sunday.
Haidai claimed the hotel was being used as the headquarters of the private military force, the “Wagner Group,” a state-sanctioned group founded by an ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Wagner soldiers, widely seen as mercenaries, are fighting alongside the regular Russian army in Ukraine, particularly in the east of the country, where fighting is intense as Russian forces try to occupy more of the region and Ukrainian forces try to reclaim more territory.
Haidai said Russian forces are looking to mobilize all the men in the region and that age or health is no barrier to being forcibly mobilized. CNBC was unable to immediately verify Haidai’s claims.
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