Russian officer addresses mobilized men in Volzhsky in the Volgograd region, Russia. September 28, 2022 (Reuters)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 2313 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called out Iran’s falsehood that it is not supplying attack drones to Russia.
Zelenskiy noted that Ukrainian forces downed 11 drones on Friday.
If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means the world will make even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia pays Iran for such cooperation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian acknowledged on Saturday that Tehran has delivered “a small number” of drones to Russia, but said it was months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine (see 1055 GMT).
The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, noted that Iran “transferred dozens just this summer and have military personnel in occupied Ukraine helping Russia use them”.
UPDATE 1526 GMT:
The Russian proxy occupiers in Melitopol in southern Ukraine have re-erected a statue of Vladimir Lenin, seven years after it was taken down following the Maidan Revolution in 2014.
In contrast, the residents of Odesa — have resisted being overrun by the Russian invasion — have voted to take down a statue of Catherine the Great.
The monument was doused in red pain in September and October, and an executioner’s hat put on it.
Odesa’s city council will now vote to confirm the removal.
UPDATE 1055 GMT:
For the first time, Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia.
However, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian continued to lie that Tehran has not sent attack or surveillance drones to Moscow during Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Amir-Abdollahian said a “small number” of drones were supplied to Russia a few months before the February 24 invasion.
This fuss made by some Western countries that Iran has provided missiles and drones to Russia to help the war in Ukraine – the missile part is completely wrong.
The Foreign Minister insisted, “If it becomes clear Russia has used Iranian drones in the Ukraine war, we won’t remain indifferent.”
Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko responded:
Ukraine is taught to trust only facts. Therefore, the foreign ministry led by Dmitry Kuleba, as well as in close coordination with Ukrainian involved agencies, will continue to take maximum strict measures to prevent Russia’s use of Iranian weapons to kill Ukrainians and destroy our of critical infrastructure.
Tehran should realize that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support.
UPDATE 0954 GMT:
The Russian proxy administration in occupied Kherson city has withdrawn an order for a 24-hour curfew.
Kirill Stremousov, the deputy administrator for the Kherson region, issued the order on Friday because of the Ukrainian advance towards the city.
However, last night he posted on Telegram that there are “no restrictions for residents of the city”, and he edited his original video message to remove the reference to the curfew.
No explanation was given for the reversal.
Meanwhile, amid signals that Russian forces might withdraw from the city, troops are looting the Kherson Art Museum, according to the facility’s administration.
Armed men dressed in civilian clothing carried out “everything they saw, everything they could reach”, without properly packaging the works for transport, between October 31 and November 3.
UPDATE 0953 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed at least three civilian and wounded eight.
UPDATE 0938 GMT:
A judge in the Russian proxy administration in the Donetsk region was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt on Friday night.
Alexander Nikulin imposed death sentences on Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoune in June. The three men were freed in a prisoner exchange on September 21.
UPDATE 0918 GMT:
The US has announced another $400 million in military aid for Ukraine.
The package included missiles for Hawk air defense systems and refurbishment of T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic.
The Biden Administration has authorized more than $18.2 billion in military support for Ukraine during the Russian invasion.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday. He spoke at a press conference of the “acute need for air defense in this critical moment”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday after G7 Foreign Ministers met in Germany, “President Putin seems to have decided that if he can’t seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it into submission.”
UPDATE 0906 GMT:
The Indian IT services company Infosys is still operating in Russia, eight months after the firm said it was leaving.
Infosys has retained a staffed office and is paying subcontractors in Moscow to carry out IT services for a global client.
A spokesperson said they were now looking to end the contract.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Seeking to hold back Ukrainian counter-offensives in the east and south of Ukraine, Russia is struggling to train and deploy newly-mobilized men.
UK military intelligence assesses in its latest report that the men, hastily and haphazardly called up by Vladimir Putin’s order on September 21, are providing “little additional offensive combat capability”.
Putin declared on Friday that 318,000 men had been mobilized. But the British analysts say the men are being deployed with “little or no training” as many experienced officers and trainers have been killed in Putin’s 8 1/2-month invasion.
The difficulty will be compounded by Russia’s annual autumn conscription drive, which began on November 1 and is seeking an additional 120,000 personnel.
Little Impact on Battlefield in East
The Ukrainian military reported that Russia is using the newly-mobilized men to carry out assaults on the eastern front, with up to 80 daily attacks.
The Russians have been trying to seize the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka for weeks, as a counter to Ukraine’s advance since early September.
Ukrainian troops say they are inflicting heavy losses on the Russians: “Last week there was very intense fighting … there are a lot of them [lost], both people and equipment.”
Reuters journalists saw the Ukrainian forces using a captured Russian T-80 tank and a 2S23 Nona SVK self-propelled mortar. The Ukrainian military said both were seized in March and took months to be refitted.
The Institute for the Study of War assessed that Russian commanders “prematurely impaled an insufficient concentration of mobilized personnel on offensive pushes near Bakhmut and Vuhledar” in the Donetsk region on Thursday.
The increased quantity of personnel at frontline positions may allow Russian forces to achieve some gains in Donetsk Oblast, but poor training, logistics, and command will continue to prevent Russian forces from making operationally significant gains that would materially affect the course or outcome of the war.
Zelenskiy: Kremlin’s “Insane Stubbornness”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke of the Russian losses in his nightly address to the nation:
The fiercest battles this week are ongoing in Donbas – Bakhmut and Soledar. We hold our positions. In these and some other directions in Donetsk region, the Russian army has already lost as many people and weapons as it probably did not lose in the two Chechen wars combined.
They even conceal their mobilization now and are simply lying to people that the alleged mobilization task has been completed. In fact, they continue to gather people in the regions of Russia and on our occupied territory to send them to death.
He concluded, “This absolutely insane stubbornness of the owners of today’s Russia is the best indicator that everything they tell some foreign leaders about their alleged readiness for negotiations is just as false.”