Ukraine needs more means to destroy Russian missiles, drones and aircraft, Kyiv says
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told international partners that its armed forces need more weaponry in his nightly address Wednesday.
“Our warriors need more means of destroying Russian missiles, [Iranian-made] ‘Shaheds’ and other combat drones, as well as Russian aircraft,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.
The president added that he was “grateful to everyone in the world who is already helping and is willing to ramp up assistance to our country with the means that can provide more protection against Russian terror.”
There are concerns that the appetite among international allies to continue supplies of weaponry is waning. Elections in Slovakia, Poland in the next week, and in the U.S. next year, could herald seismic political shifts that change how much weaponry Ukraine receives, threatening its ability to fight back against Russia’s invasion.
A Ukrainian soldier of the 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade, named after King Danylo, operates the test flight a new FPV drone in the training area as soldiers test their new military equipment as Russia-Ukraine war continues in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on August 03, 2023.
Wojciech Grzedzinski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
So far, Ukraine’s allies have remained steadfast in their commitment to help Ukraine with financial, military and humanitarian aid, saying they will do so for “as long as it takes.” Nonetheless, questions are also being asked over depleted NATO weapons stocks.
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith told Voice of America‘s Ukrainian service Wednesday that the alliance will increase the production of ammunition both for Ukraine and for NATO member states that have donated a significant share of their weaponry to Ukraine.
“We’ve seen cases where NATO allies have provided the Ukrainians with everything they can, bilaterally, which has created some shortages in their own stocks,” she said, according to comments translated by Ukrinform.
“So NATO has started what we call the Defense Production Action Plan, focusing on munitions shortages, both for Ukrainians and for some NATO members who provided aid to Ukraine, which led to their own shortages,” Smith said.
— Holly Ellyatt
How surging trade with China is boosting Russia’s war
A Ukrainian serviceman of an air reconnaissance squad of the 45th Brigade prepares to launch a Leleka reconnaissance UAV on a position in Donetsk region on June 27, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Genya SAVILOV / AFP via Getty Images
Chinese firms are playing an increasingly critical role in supplementing Russia’s war-torn economy and boosting its military capabilities, new analysis by CNBC shows.
Russian customs data filed as recently as August 2023 point to the import of drones, helmets, vests and radios from China, providing a lifeline for President Vladimir Putin’s over 18-month war of attrition.
At the same time, the emergence of “underappreciated” trade flows are providing direct and indirect support to Russia’s offensive, according to analysts.
Read more on the story here: How surging trade with China is boosting Russia’s war
— Karen Gilchrist
‘We will do whatever is necessary’ to win the war: Kremlin
A pedestrian walks past a New Year decoration stylised as the “Kremlin Star”, bearing a Z letter, a tactical insignia of Russian troops in Ukraine, in Moscow on January 02, 2023.
Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images
The Kremlin told CNBC Wednesday it will do “whatever is necessary” to win the war in Ukraine.
When asked specifically if it would look to exploit divisions that have emerged between Ukraine and its global allies recently — and particularly ahead of potential political shifts with elections in eastern Europe and the U.S. on the horizon — the Kremlin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said:
“We continue [the] SVO,” referring to the “special military operation” as Russia describes its invasion of Ukraine.
“We need to achieve our goals. To achieve this, we will do whatever is necessary,” he said in written comments to CNBC, translated by Google.
Ukraine is trying hard to keep its international backers close as diplomatic gaffes, war fatigue and elections threaten to upset its alliances and damage public support for its cause.
Recent awkward moments with its NATO allies, and most recently with close ally and neighbor Poland, have threatened to upset its international partners while opinion polls show support for continued military funding for Ukraine is declining.
There are fears that Russia is smelling blood as it watches the public’s attitude toward the war shifting, and could look to exploit weaknesses and fractures in Ukraine’s partnerships.
Analysts believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing a “waiting game” and hoping that Donald Trump, or at least a Republican administration, will enter the White House after elections next year. Republican opposition to continued and increasing funding for Ukraine has become more vocal in recent months.
— Holly Ellyatt
Pro-war Russian journalists reportedly sent severed pigs’ heads
At least three pro-war Russian journalists have received severed pigs’ heads from unknown senders over the past week, the Moscow Times reported Wednesday, citing various media sources.
The recipients, who include state media columnist Timofey Sergeitsev, military expert Konstantin Sivkov and TASS news agency photojournalist Mikhail Tereshchenko, have previously reported receiving death threats, according to the report.
Sergeitsev, who last year wrote an article calling for the murder of Ukrainian civilians, was said to have found the pig’s head inside a black bag on his doorstep on Tuesday evening.
No suspects were named in the report and CNBC was unable to independently verify the claims.
— Karen Gilchrist
Russia accuses U.S., UK agencies of helping to plan attack on Black Sea Fleet
Russia accused American and British intelligence services of helping Ukraine to plan and conduct last Friday’s missile strike on the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea.
“On September 22, Sevastopol came under attack again; there is not the slightest doubt that this attack was pre-planned using Western intelligence assets, NATO satellite equipment, reconnaissance aircraft and was carried out at the instigation and in close coordination with the American and British intelligence services,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing in comments published by Russian news agency TASS.
“The actions of the Ukrainian regime will not go unpunished,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, according to comments published by state news agency Tass.
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images
“The obvious goal of such terrorist acts is to divert attention from the failed attempts of a counter-offensive by the Ukrainian armed forces and to intimidate people and sow panic in our society,” Zakharova said.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine’s NATO allies of actively participating in the war by supplying intelligence to Kyiv as well as weaponry that is used to attack Russia.
The U.K. and U.S. have not commented on the most recent attack on Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea last Friday.
— Holly Ellyatt
Second video emerges showing Russian naval commander alive
A television station run by Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday published a video interview with Black Sea Fleet commander Viktor Sokolov, whose status is unknown after Ukraine claimed he had been killed in a strike on Russian naval base in Crimea.
The channel, Zvezda, posted the video on Telegram Wednesday, calling it an “exclusive.” Posting an excerpt from the interview and attributing the comments to Sokolov, it said:
“The Black Sea Fleet is successfully carrying out the tasks the command has set to us, this includes the surface and underwater forces, the sea aviation, the coastal troops. You know these reports which are almost constantly on TV telling about the heroic deeds of our marines.” The post was translated by NBC.
It is the second video the ministry has released now purportedly showing admiral Sokolov alive after Ukraine claimed on Monday that he was killed in a missile strike on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea last Friday.
It’s unclear from the clip when it was filmed — before or after Ukraine’s strike on the headquarters.
Ukraine said it was trying to clarify information on the attack last Friday, conceding on Tuesday that Sokolov’s death had not been confirmed.
— Holly Ellyatt
Video showing ‘dead’ Russian naval commander ‘alive’ puts Kyiv in a tricky position
The emergence of the video purportedly showing a Russian naval commander alive after Ukraine said he had died in a strike on Russia’s naval headquarters in Crimea is an awkward moment for Kyiv.
The video, released by Russia’s Ministry of Defense, appeared to directly contradict Ukraine’s claims on Monday that its strikes on the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol Friday had killed the commander, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, and 33 other naval officers, as well as injuring over 100 other personnel.
Still, we don’t know when the video was filmed or when the meeting took place. Questions have also been asked as to why Ukraine’s claims over Sokolov’s apparent death were not referenced in the meeting, given that it would have been a ripe opportunity for Russia to do so.
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Viktor Sokolov (Bottom L), who has been claimed to be killed in the September 22 strike on the Navy headquarters in the city of Sevastopol, appears on the screen at the meeting that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu holds with Ministry officials in Moscow, Russia on September 26, 2023.
Russian Defense Ministry | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Close followers of the war say the episode could reflect badly on Ukraine because it could cast doubts on other information it publishes or claims it makes in the war.
Sam Ramani, a geopolitical analyst and associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, noted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that while many Ukrainian sources claimed that Sokolov was dead, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kirill Budanov had been more cautious in his analysis “and focused on injuries to other key personnel.”
It now looked “like Budanov’s cautious approach was correct,” Ramani said.
The Institute for the Study of War said in analysis Tuesday that “the situation remains unclear at this time” and that it was “unprepared at this time to make an assessment about the authenticity of the Russian MoD’s footage of Sokolov or about Sokolov’s status on Earth.”
Read more on the story here: Dead or alive? Mystery surrounds the fate of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet commander
— Holly Ellyatt