Wednesday, 22 November 2023 04:45

What to know after Day 636 of Russia-Ukraine war

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Ukraine has lost over 13,000 troops this month – Moscow

Ukraine has lost over 13,700 troops and approximately 1,800 tanks and other heavy weaponry so far this month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told his government colleagues on Tuesday during a ministerial meeting.

Russian forces have been actively thwarting Kiev’s attempts to breach their defensive lines and continue to reduce Ukraine’s military capacity, the senior official said. He claimed that Ukrainian soldiers were surrendering in droves after realizing the futility of their counteroffensive.

The minister issued his last assessment of Ukrainian casualties in late October, when he said they had surpassed 90,000 since the start of Kiev’s ill-fated counteroffensive in early July. During this week’s meeting, Shoigu described the cost paid by Ukrainian soldiers in the conflict as “colossal.”

Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, previously said that the conflict with Russia had reached a “stalemate” and that his armed forces would likely not achieve a breakthrough in the confrontation anytime soon. President Vladimir Zelensky has disputed the assessment, claiming that progress was still being made in his nation’s attempt to return Ukraine to its pre-2014 borders.

On Monday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kiev to meet Zelensky and announce Washington’s latest package of military assistance, worth some $100 million. The Pentagon, however, has warned that it is running out of money authorized by Congress to be spent on Ukraine.

The funding has become contentious on Capitol Hill; the conservative wing of the Republican party opposes further aid. Critics of the White House’s pledge to support Kiev for “as long as it takes” have complained about a lack of transparency and argued that the US has more important priorities.

Some GOP lawmakers have described the Zelensky government as a problematic recipient of aid, in light of a string of graft scandals this year, including in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. 

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian leader welcomed more foreign dignitaries in the capital, including German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, European Council President Charles Michel and Moldovan President Maia Sandu. The country is commemorating the 10th anniversary of what Kiev calls the “Revolution of Dignity,” the mass protests and armed overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically-elected government that ultimately led to the current confrontation with Russia.

Moscow has described the Ukraine conflict as part of a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which Ukrainians are used as “cannon fodder.” Anatoly Antonov, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, called the latest package of aid “a sedative pill” for the Zelensky government, as it edges closer to complete collapse.



Ukraine's tank repairmen deal with damage inflicted by Russian drones, artillery and mines

Reuters) - In a nondescript warehouse in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, a crew of repairmen work tirelessly to fix Ukrainian tanks damaged by Russia's vast arsenal of mines, drones and artillery.

“The most common causes why vehicles are brought here are because they either drove over an enemy mine or came under artillery shelling,” said 30-year-old Oleksandr Fedorenko, the deputy head of weaponry of the 4th Tank Brigade.

Another problem are Lancets, the Russian kamikaze drones that Ukrainian soldiers say has been a menace on the battlefield this year.

“We get vehicles that were hit by Lancet or by unmanned guided rockets. It happens often. On average there are five to ten vehicles brought in here each month,” Fedorenko said.

Throughout the war, hundreds of videos online show Ukrainian and Russian tanks being struck by shells or drones, or being incapacitated by landmines. Both sides have lost significant amounts of machinery.

Although exact numbers are kept secret, Ukraine started the war with fewer tanks than Russia, which invaded 21 months ago and has a vast military-industrial complex.

"We have no time to relax, we understand very well the enemy's forces by far exceed ours," Fedorenko said.

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