World

UKRAINE UPDATE: 16 SEPTEMBER 2022

Putin tells Xi he understands China’s ‘concerns’; Russian forces strengthen defence in Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia

Putin tells Xi he understands China’s ‘concerns’; Russian forces strengthen defence in Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, 15 September 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Sergey Dolzhenko)

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan, as Moscow struggled with significant military setbacks in Ukraine. Putin promised a briefing on China’s ‘concerns’, while Xi said the allies could bring ‘stability and positive energy’ to the world.

Group of Seven trade ministers, after meeting in Germany, pledged to “maintain and expand” efforts to stop Russia from profiting from its invasion of Ukraine and to curtail Putin’s ability to wage war.

Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Union’s executive, arrived in Kyiv for her third visit since Russia invaded Ukraine. She said €5-billion in financial assistance for Ukraine could be disbursed in October.   

Key developments 

On the ground

Russian forces were strengthening the first line of defence in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions in Ukraine’s east and south by moving reserves and deploying remnants of units withdrawn from the Kharkiv axis, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook. Ukrainian troops repelled several attacks in the vicinity of the eastern city of Bakhmut, according to the statement. 

The situation in liberated settlements in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine was “extremely difficult” amid vast damage, and authorities called on civilians to evacuate immediately as Russian troops shell the areas. Russia struck the cities of Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia overnight. In Kryvyi Rih, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s home town, eight missiles hit the water system on Wednesday night, causing flooding and prompting temporary evacuations of citizens. 

European Investment Bank gives Ukraine €500m 

The European Investment Bank disbursed €500-million for Ukraine as the first part of its €1.59-billion “urgent response package,” the bank said on its website. 

The funds are intended to help the government repair roads, bridges and infrastructure and support state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya and road operator Ukravtodor. An earlier €668-million support package was given to Ukraine within a month of Russia’s invasion.

EU can disburse €5bn for Ukraine in mid-October – Von der Leyen 

The EU Parliament approved €5-billion in macro-financial assistance for Ukraine and the amount can arrive next month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a joint press conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. 

Ukraine expects more funds under the EU assistance programme to be provided this year, Zelensky said. Reconstruction of Ukraine will be a topic of a special European congress in Berlin on October 25, where experts from around the world will discuss the best approaches, Von der Leyen said.  

She pledged the “simplest” access for Ukraine to the European market and said she would “work as much as possible” for that goal.

Germany to send more rocket launchers, armoured vehicles  

Germany will send Ukraine two more Mars II rocket launchers and 50 Dingo armoured transport vehicles, the defence ministry in Berlin said. Ukrainian troops will travel to Germany this month for training. 

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been under pressure in recent days to supply more heavy weapons to help Kyiv continue its counterattacks against Russia, with some members of his ruling coalition urging the government to send Leopard 2 battle tanks. 

 

 

 

Angolan president calls for Russia to end conflict 

João Lourenço, the president of long-time Russian ally Angola, called for Moscow to put an end to the war in Ukraine. 

“We consider it important that the Russian authorities take the initiative to end the conflict,” Lourenço said in Angola’s capital, Luanda, as he was sworn in for a second term. 

A cessation of hostilities could create “a new environment for negotiating a new peace architecture for Europe, and opening the way for the much-desired and necessary reform of the United Nations Security Council,” said Lourenço, who studied military strategy in the Soviet Union in the late 1970s.  

Russian convicts offered freedom for signing up for war 

Convicts in Russian prisons are being offered an early release in exchange for signing up for a stint fighting at the front in Ukraine. 

The move comes as the Kremlin struggles to fill ranks among widespread combat losses and Ukrainian counterattacks, and President Vladimir Putin resists a politically unpopular mass mobilisation.  

Read more: Russian convicts offered freedom if they join war in Ukraine

G7 vows to impede Russian war machine 

Group of Seven trade ministers pledged to “maintain and expand” efforts to stop Russia from profiting from its invasion of Ukraine and to curtail President Vladimir Putin’s ability to wage war. 

“We discussed potential further trade-related steps to aid the Ukrainian economy,” the ministers said in a joint statement after a meeting in Neuhardenberg, Germany, attended by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko. 

“We will continue to coordinate future trade and investment measures to support Ukraine’s recovery efforts and call on all partners to join our efforts, and engage with us to help Ukraine to rebuild its future,” the ministers added. 

Putin says he understands China’s concerns 

President Vladimir Putin told his counterpart Xi Jinping that he understands China’s “questions and concerns” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the leaders began their first in-person talks since the war began.

Hailing China’s “balanced position” on the “Ukraine crisis”, Putin offered to explain the situation “in detail”. In brief televised comments at the start of the meeting, the Russian leader also blasted what he called “provocations by the US and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait”. 

The pair were meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a Beijing-led group seen as a counter to US-dominated alliances. Putin is expected to meet there on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Read more: Putin tells Xi he understands China ‘concerns’ on Ukraine war

Zelensky’s home town targeted by multiple cruise missiles  

Cruise missiles aimed at Kryvyi Rih caused “serious destruction” at an industrial enterprise in Kryvyi Rih on Thursday, regional governor Oleksandr Vilkul said on Telegram. 

The city is still recovering from flooding in the aftermath of eight Russian Kinzhal and Iskander missiles that hit its water system on Wednesday night. People from several municipal districts were evacuated and more than 100 buildings were flooded after river levels rose following a missile hit on a major dam. Rescue teams had to demolish two other dams downriver to release excess water.  

 

 

 

Russia says long-range missiles would cross ‘red line’, IFX reports 

Supplying long-range missiles to Ukraine would cross a “red line” and make the US a part of the conflict, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to Interfax.  

The Pentagon has sent Ukraine its most accurate artillery shell, the GPS-guided Excalibur, according to budget documents seen earlier this month. 

Read more: Most accurate US artillery shell is added to Ukraine’s arms 

Ukraine says army liberated 400 settlements 

Troops have liberated 400 settlements in several days of the counteroffensive, most of them in east Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily statement on Wednesday night. 

About 150,000 people were no longer living under Russian occupation, and were enjoying “normal and safe” lives, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk said one million to 1.2 million Ukrainians remain in territories still occupied by Russian troops. 

Germany pushes global fund for rebuilding Ukraine  

The Group of Seven wants to take the lead in setting up a global fund that would raise money from investors such as banks and hedge funds for the reconstruction of Ukraine, according to German Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

Habeck told reporters at a meeting of G7 trade ministers that a “gigantic sum” would be required to reverse the damage caused by Russia’s invasion, saying that it’s “more money than public money can cover alone”.

“Let’s not debate if it’s only 330 or 400 billion,” said Habeck, who is hosting the meeting at a castle near the Polish border as part of Germany’s G7 presidency. “It’s about creating a big, global fund with a lot of money to be raised from private investors, banks, hedge funds or whatever, to really build up Ukraine.”

Zelensky’s motorcade involved in car crash 

A passenger car collided with a vehicle carrying the Ukrainian president as his motorcade was returning to Kyiv from the Kharkiv region, Serhiy Nykyforov, a spokesman for the president, said in a post on Facebook, without indicating what sort of injuries the president may have received. 

“Doctors who accompany the president checked him, no serious injuries were detected,” Nykyforov wrote, adding “doctors accompanying the head of the state provided emergency aid to the driver of the car and transferred him to an ambulance.”

Read more: Ukrainian President Zelensky in car crash, no major injuries

Pentagon to replace Javelins sent to Ukraine 

The US Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, Douglas Bush, said the service plans to have $1.2-billion in contracts in place by next September to replace Javelin anti-armour missiles that have been supplied to Ukraine.

As part of that effort, Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin, the joint makers of the Javelin, received a $311-million contract on Tuesday. That was on top of a $309-million order in May, Bush said, adding “There’s more coming.” 

More than 6,500 Javelin anti-armour systems have been committed to Ukraine from Defense Department stocks. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johan Buys says:

    By Putin’s logic (that US longrange weapons if supplied to Ukraine would draw the US into the war), North Korea is also now part of the Ukraine special military embarassment. Anyway, last thing Putin wants is war with America. Other than going nuclear, his forces would not survive a month.

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