The Armed Forces of Ukraine have, by destroying two Russian Tu-22M3 bombers and delivering a devastating blow to the Crimean Bridge, demonstrated their ability to deliver devastating blows to strategic well-guarded military facilities deep behind enemy lines.

This is a clear sign of a turning point in the military situation in favor of Ukraine. In this traditional weekly review prepared by  Information Defense experts you will read about the following:

Will it be possible to liberate Kherson before the end of the year?

Will new Central Bank Governor Andriy Pyshny be able to restart cooperation with the IMF?

Will Europe freeze this winter?

The brilliant counteroffensive operations carried out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Kharkiv Region continued in two directions at once. And Ukrainian defenders enjoyed significant success on both of them.

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The Ukrainian military managed to liberate Lyman in Donetsk Region on Sep. 30, which became a symbolic “gift” to Putin to the propaganda show of new annexation of our territory. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are currently continuing their counteroffensive operation on Svatove and Kreminna, threatening the Lysychansk-Severodonetsk enemy group with operational encirclement.

As a result of counterattacks carried out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine along the right bank of the Kakhovsky Reservoir and a counter-attack in the direction of Beryslav in Kherson Region, it was possible to liberate about 1,710 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory and eight settlements.

Russian Missile Attack on Chernihiv Leaves 18 Dead, 77 Injured
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Russian Missile Attack on Chernihiv Leaves 18 Dead, 77 Injured

An 8-story civilian multi-purpose building was directly hit during the Russian missile strikes, according to the acting mayor of Chernihiv.

The main goal during this operation is the liberation of Kherson. Let’s hope that this task will be completed. The latest hostilities give great hope for further  extraordinary success by our defenders.

Attempts by the enemy to advance on Bakhmut in Donetsk Region, concentrating their most combat-capable units there, including the Wagner private military company and a large amount of artillery, have so far been fruitless.

Putin, having recently announced mobilization, tried to change the situation on the front at the expense of so-called “Chmobiki” (partially mobilized Russian citizens). However, most of the Rashists from the first wave of mobilization went straight to the “front” without any retraining, with rusty sub-machine guns and other Soviet-era weapons dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.

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Such replenishment and such armaments cannot change the situation on the front. Fighting against the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in its contemporary form, is hopeless and doomed to failure in advance. But the Russian authorities, despite everything, continue to stubbornly use methods and slogans used in the past : “we throw our hats to our enemies” and “our women will give new births”.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have resolutely mastered the strategic initiative and are imposing their will on the enemy on the battlefield. Undoubtedly, the main task of the Armed Forces of Ukraine before the beginning of the new year will be to liberate Kherson and to continue counteroffensive operations in the Donbas region.

Since the start of full-scale Russian aggression in February, the Ukrainian economy has been in dire need of foreign currency infusions. In order to merely maintain macroeconomic stability, Kyiv needs USD 3-5 bn a month, which is currently provided through aid from the U.S. and the EU.

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At the same time, cooperation with the IMF failed to develop, and Ukraine has been unable to receive significant USD-denominated tranches. |Dissatisfaction with the head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Kyrylo Shevchenko, was growing in the Office of the President of Ukraine, even though part of the blame for the cooling of relations is directly connected to the Office of the President of Ukraine. The dismissal of the previous head of the National Bank, Yakiv Smoliy in July 2020 was accompanied by a big scandal. Before he resigned Smoliy accused the Office of the President of Ukraine of exerting political pressure on him on a permanent basis.

Money loves calm but not politics, and the incoming  head of the NBU, Kyrylo Shevchenko, despite his own promises and powerful connections, was unable to achieve the final approval of the new cooperation program with the IMF. Shevchenko’s rather independent behaviour also irritated the Office of the President of Ukraine, as he often tried to make decisions for financial reasons, rather than the political instructions of the authorities. He failed to establish normal cooperation with the Cabinet of Ministers.

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All of this led to the Office of the President of Ukraine deciding that Kyrylo Shevchenko would have to resign. At the same time, the process of his dismissal was accompanied by the exertion of serious pressure on him, because on the very day he resigned the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine announced he was suspected of alleged wrongdoing in another post.  Some coincidence of circumstances in this case is, in the opinion of the author,  unlikely.

President Zelenskyy nominated a competent professional by the name of Andriy Pyshny for the post of National Bank of Ukraine chief. He had earlier headed the Oschadbank and significantly improved its operations. He proved his competence by taking part in the development of sanctions against |Russia within the auspices of the Yermak-McFaul group.

Parliament voted to approve Pyshny as the country’s chief banker on Oct. 7. It is noteworthy that the President’s proposal was supported not only by the pro-presidential Servant of the People faction and by MP groups that traditionally vote together with the government, but also by some lawmakers from the opposition Batkivschyna and Holos factions.

Information Defense experts are convinced that Pyshny will be able to establish the uninterrupted work of the NBU in difficult wartime conditions, restore cooperation with the IMF, and ensure the stability of the Ukrainian hryvnia.

The supply of Russian gas to Europe was halted on Sep. 26 as a result of explosions at Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines. According to experts, it will not be possible to restore gas pipelines in the near future. Currently, gas is being transported to Europe through the two remaining routes – through the Ukrainian Gas Transmission System and the Turkish route.

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However, the transiting of energy sources through Ukraine’s gas pipeline network is already in doubt . Russia’s Gazprom announced the application of sanctions against Ukrainian energy giant Naftogaz and the probable termination of gas supplies through Ukrainian gas pipelines to Europe. Only the Turkish stream remains, which is quite small in terms of its capacity.

It seems that one of the biggest nightmares for European politicians is coming true: the complete blockading of Russian gas supplies to the EU. However, not everything is so simple. European gas storage facilities in various countries are 86-92% full. The new Norway-Poland gas pipeline became operational on Oct. 1. All this gives Europeans the opportunity to get through winter without significant economic and social losses.

At the same time, the question arises: who’s behind this sabotage?

There is no direct evidence of the involvement of any country in the act of sabotage. So, we will use a proven method: who will benefit from this?

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The EU is clearly not interested in sabotage. There won’t be really significant losses, but there will be problems with heating and there will be some negative impact on European voters.

The U.S. and Ukraine also have no interest in sabotage.

At first glance, Russia has no such interest either. But this is only at first glance.

Since Russia began its full-scale invasion, it has constantly issued threats to Europe about halting gas supplies and is gradually reducing the volume of gas it supplies. That is why the acts of sabotage carried out on Nord Stream-1 and 2 represents Russian blackmail of European countries, and the creation of a critical situation in winter – especially since Gazprom also plans to stop supplying gas to the Ukrainian gas pipeline system.

Why was such an unusual way of stopping supplies chosen – sabotage to one’s own gas pipelines?

The answer is simple: in any other case of termination of gas supplies, Gazprom would be subject to multi-billion fines. In the case of sabotage, Gazprom can always refer to the situation as one of force majeure.

But the Kremlin’s next plan is doomed to fail and will lead to completely opposite results.

Thus, the EU will finally realize that the supply of Russian energy sources  to Europe is not a banal trade, but a tool for exerting political pressure and earning geopolitical, rather than financial, gains, and will forever cross off the aggressor from the list of countries with which it is possible to do business.

 Ihor Zhdanov, Information Defense Project, The “Open Policy” Foundation

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of the Kyiv Post

 

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