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Russia expands Ukraine war goals as fighting toll mount...

Newsdeck

Russia extends war goals

Russia expands Ukraine war goals as fighting toll mounts

epa10059230 A handout photo made available by via the official Telegram channel of the President of Ukraine on 08 July 2022 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) during a visit to advanced positions in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine. Zelensky held a meeting on the situation in the region and the state of affairs in military units, he said in a post on his channel. EPA-EFE/TELEGRAM/V_Zelenskiy_official / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
By Reuters
21 Jul 2022 2

July 21 (Reuters) - Ukrainian armed forces said on Thursday they had killed 111 Russian soldiers in the south and east over the past day, as comments from Russia's foreign minister showed the Kremlin's goals had grown during the five-month war.

  • Moscow says southern Ukraine is also in focus now
  • U.S. says any annexations would not go unchallenged
  • Europe braces for restart of Nord Stream gas link

US estimates 15,000

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that Russia’s military “tasks” in Ukraine now go beyond the eastern Donbas region.

Lavrov also said Moscow’s objectives will expand further if the West keeps supplying Kyiv with long-range weapons such as the U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

“That means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line,” he said. Read full story

The Russian-installed administration in the partially occupied Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia said Ukraine had conducted a drone strike on a nuclear power station there, but the reactor was not damaged. Read full story

Reuters could not independently verify the report. Ukrainian officials had no immediate comment.

The Ukrainian military reported heavy and sometimes fatal Russian shelling amid what they said were largely failed attempts by Russian ground forces to advance.

In the previous 24 hours, Ukrainian forces said they had destroyed 17 vehicles, some of them armoured, as well as killing more than 100 Russian soldiers.

In a Facebook post, the forces said they saw no signs the Russians were creating special strike groups to push a new offensive.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

 

US OPPOSES ANNEXATIONS

Russia’s invasion has killed thousands, displaced millions and flattened cities, particularly in Russian-speaking areas in the east and southeast of Ukraine. It has also raised global energy and food prices and increased fears of famine in poorer countries as Ukraine and Russia are both major grain producers.

The United States estimates that Russian casualties in Ukraine so far have reached around 15,000 killed and perhaps 45,000 wounded, CIA Director William Burns said on Wednesday.

Russia classifies military deaths as state secrets even in times of peace and has not updated its official casualty figures frequently during the war. Read full story

The United States, which had said on Tuesday that it saw signs Russia was preparing to formally annex territory it has seized in Ukraine, promised that it would oppose annexation. Read full story

“Again, we’ve been clear that annexation by force would be a gross violation of the UN Charter, and we would not allow it to go unchallenged. We would not allow it to go unpunished,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a regular daily briefing on Wednesday.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and supports Russian-speaking breakaway entities – the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) – in those provinces, together known as the Donbas.

 

SHELLING

Lavrov is the most senior figure to speak openly of Russia’s war goals in territorial terms, nearly five months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Feb. 24 invasion with a denial that Russia intended to occupy its neighbour.

Then, Putin said his aim was to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine – a statement dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a pretext for an imperial-style war of expansion.

Lavrov told RIA Novosti geographical realities had changed since Russian and Ukrainian negotiators held peace talks in Turkey in late March that failed to produce any breakthrough.

“Now the geography is different, it’s far from being just the DPR and LPR, it’s also Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and a number of other territories,” he said, referring to territories well beyond the Donbas that Russian forces have wholly or partly seized.

 

ENERGY ‘BLACKMAIL’

Meanwhile, concern that Russian supplies of gas sent through the biggest pipeline in Europe could be stopped by Moscow prompted the European Union to tell member states to cut gas usage by 15% until March as an emergency step. Read full story

“Russia is blackmailing us. Russia is using energy as a weapon,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, describing a full cut-off of Russian gas flows as “a likely scenario” for which “Europe needs to be ready”.

Putin had earlier warned that gas supplies sent to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has been closed for 10 days for maintenance, were at risk of being reduced further. The pipeline is due to restart on Thursday. Read full story

Russia, the world’s largest gas exporter, has denied Western accusations of using its energy supplies as a tool of coercion, saying it has been a reliable energy supplier.

As for its oil, Russia will not send supplies to the world market if a price cap is imposed below the cost of production, Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Wednesday.Read full story

EU diplomats meeting in Brussels agreed a new round of sanctions against Moscow, including a ban on importing gold from Russia and freezing the assets of top lender Sberbank. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed the sanctions as inadequate.

“Russia must feel a much higher price for the war to force it to seek peace,” Zelenskiy said in a late-night video address.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Writing by Grant McCool and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Stephen Coates)


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  • These comments by the Russians are really amusing – but I get the feeling that the USA and Biden takes it far too seriously, that is why the Russians keep going on with these arrogant statements. The fact is that if the USA gives Ukraine enough of the long-range weapons, Russia is likely to be forced back out of all the territories, or else risk their forces in Ukraine to be forced to surrender to the Ukrainians. I see many news reports indicating even the Russians admitting that they are experiencing a shortage of weapons because of all their losses, so the west/Ukrainian strategy of a war of attrition seems to be working for the moment. The question is if the western countries are willing to go on long enough, because they are also paying a high price. I would say that the USA should speed up the supply of weapons – at the moment Russia is able to prepare for more and more sophisticated assaults on their weapons and infrastructure; it must be sped up to the extent that they lose that advantage.

  • At some point the West has to draw the line with the despicable monsters and mass-murderers in the Kremlin. Putin is a cowardly KGB thug, a depraved bully and a vicious murderous dictator meaning that he only understands strength and steel. He wants the whole of the Ukraine as in his sick twisted mind, it is not a country. It has no right to exist. He has said so himself. His reasons for launching his unprovoked and brutal war as a special operation to de-nazify and take the “Russian” Donbas was simply a red herring to con the world. If he is not stopped dead in his tracks, this is only the beginning of invading other neighbouring countries. His mission is to restore his warped view of the old and frankly, useless Russian empire. And what was it? What did it add to humanity? Nothing but mass killings, dispossession, gulags, beatings, torture, rape, murder, depravity, gross violations of human rights and outright exploitation – all held in check by the barrel of the gun and state-sponsored terror and violence. His strategy is to outlast and divide the West and slowly grinding and destroying Ukraine. The only hope is to destroy his army piecemeal, given that the long suffering and highly abused Russian population is too cowed to resist him and his health seems to be better than originally thought. If necessary, threaten him with nuclear obliteration as well. He hasn’t got sole rights on this and he is not that stupid to understand this reality.

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