Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaks to press after his removal as House Speaker, US Capitol, Washington, October 3, 2023 (NBC)
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1732 GMT:
The US is reportedly planning to transfer thousands of seized Iranian weapons and rounds of ammunitions to Ukraine.
The Biden Administration has been considering if it has legal authority tommake the transfer. Currently, the UN mandates that seized weapons must be destroyed or stored.
UPDATE 1649 GMT:
Reports are circulating that Ukrainian drone attacks have destroyed another Russian S-400 Triumf air defense system.
The Russian Defense Ministry made its regular claim early Wednesday that 31 drones had been downed.
But Ukraine government advisor Anton Geraschenko posted that the S-400 system had been hit in Russia’s Belgorod region near the border.
Reportedly, in a drone attack on Belgorod region of Russia, an S-400 Russian Triumf air defense system was destroyed. It costs about $1.2 billion.
Russian Telegram channels reported that about 20 explosions were heard in the area where the system was located. There was a power… pic.twitter.com/0ajuB8HnpS
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) October 4, 2023
Geraschenko added that Russian-occupied Crimea “and the Black Sea near Crimea are now the most important area where a turning point in the war may take place”.
Ukraine's systemic attacks on Crimea's military infrastructure, logistics centers, Black Sea Fleet command centers, and Black Sea Fleet ships led to gradual relocation and withdrawal of the Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol. Some ships were relocated to Feodosia, many to… pic.twitter.com/6VYLXXhTrX
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) October 4, 2023
Journalist Oz Katerji notes that the S-300 would be the third destroyed since August, in addition Ukraine to a Kilo class submarine, and a Ropucha class warship —- the second landing craft lost by the Russians this summer. In addition, the Sevastopol headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet was damaged and Russian officers killed.
The three air defense systems alone were worth more than $3.5 billion.
UPDATE 1232 GMT:
Russian attacks on the Kherson region in southern Ukraine on Tuesday killed a 54-year-old man and wounded eight other residents of Antonivka.
Ukrainian police said they recorded 15 Russian war crimes with the strikes.
Russian airstrikes on Beryslav and Kakhovka damaged a village club and an educational institution. Among the injured was an 81-year-old woman.
UPDATE 0550 GMT:
The European Union will fulfil Ukraine’s wish for accession talks by the end of 2023, according to “three diplomats with knowledge of the plans“.
The diplomats said the formal announcement is expected as soon as December.
The EU granted Ukraine candidate status in June, and the European Commission is scheduled to issue a “progress report” in November on the extent to which Kyiv is meeting conditions.
A diplomat said that as soon as the progress report is, a Commission statement will make it “very hard for member states not to say let’s open negotiations”: “The political push around that will just be too big for individual member states to resist.”
Hungary, whose leader Viktor Orbán is close to Vladimir Putin, has threatened to block the talks. Budapest has proposed cutting a €50 billion EU funding package in half, with re-evaluation of the additional €25 billion halfway through the 2024-2027 disbursement cycle.
However, at Monday’s European Union Foreign Ministers meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said:
We are moving forward, we expect a decision to start negotiations on membership by the end of the year.
We have not been offered anything, but Ukraine is a first-class state and we are not satisfied with anything but first-class membership.
It’s just a matter of time.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Chaos in the US Congress, fuelled by a faction of Republican extremists and Trumpists in the House, is raising uncertainty over the future of American aid for Ukraine’s resistance against Russian invasion.
For the first time in history, the House removed its leader on Tuesday, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy toppled in a 216-210 vote. Eight of McCarthy’s Republican colleagues ensured his departure by joining 208 Democrats.
Republicans said they will seek to name a new Speaker on October 11.
McCarthy toppled after he supported a bipartisan compromise funding measure, adopted on Saturday and keeping the Government open until November 17. While extremists and Trumpists failed in their blockade, they forced McCarthy to remove authority for $24 billion in aid to Ukraine from the package.
The Biden Administration said last weekend that it was working with McCarthy on a separate bill for the assistance. President Joe Biden said he expected the Speaker “to keep his commitment to secure the passage and support needed to help Ukraine as they defend themselves against aggression and brutality”.
The White House expressed confidence earlier on Tuesday that the effort would succeed, whether or not the California Republican remained in the Speaker’s chair.
From A to F: Possible Speakers on Support of Ukraine
The “Republicans for Ukraine” campaign of Defending Democracy Together has rated all House members over their record of support for Ukraine during the 19-month Russian invasion.
McCarthy is rated B-. Among his possible successors, Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, is given a B, and House whip Rep. Tom Emmer is even higher with an A.
However, Rep. Matt Gaetz, who led the effort to remove McCarthy; House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jim Jordan; and Rep. Byron Donalds are all rated F.
NATO: “Ramp Up Production” of Ammo for Ukraine
On Tuesday, the chair of NATO’s Military Committee said governments and defence manufacturers must “ramp up production in a much higher tempo” to maintain Ukraine’s resistance.
Adm. Rob Bauer told the Warsaw Security Forum:
We need large volumes. The just-in-time, just-enough economy we built together in 30 years in our liberal economies is fine for a lot of things – but not the armed forces when there is a war ongoing.
He cautioned that “the bottom of the barrel is now visible”, as Ukraine pursues a counter-offensive to liberate territory in the east and south of the country.
UK Armed Forces Minister, James Heappey said western military stockpiles are “looking a bit thin”, echoing Bauer’s assessment that the “just-in-time” model “definitely does not work when you need to be ready for the fight tomorrow”.
Biden addressed the situation in a call with the leaders of allied countries.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda told a press conference, “[Biden] assured us of support for aid given to Ukraine continues, especially military aid. He said he would secure this support in Congress.”