Overview

  • Zelensky’s remarks about grain exports infuriate Poland
  • $325M military package will not include ATACMS
  • US Secretary of State recounts the horrors of Yahidne
  • Russians shell Toretsk in the Donetsk region, killing two civilians
  • VIDEO: See a burning Russian “Akatsiya” cannon struck in Zaporizhzhia region
  • Ukraine launches relentless attacks near Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk border, but no gains

US aid package will not include ATACMS

The much-anticipated $325 million aid package from Washington will not include the long-range missiles that Kyiv insisted it desperately needed, an unnamed American source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The latest round of military aid does include:

·      Advanced air-defense systems (notably, the Avenger system)

·      A second delivery of cluster munitions

·      HIMARS rockets and Javelin anti-tank projectiles

·       TOW anti-tank weaponry

US President Joe Biden hinted last week that he might have a change of heart about not sending Ukraine the ATACMS missiles, which the US feared would be too provocative for the Kremlin due to their ability to reach well into Russian territory. Kyiv insisted that they were essential to reach the rear positions of Russia’s forces within occupied territories.

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Blinken tells UN, including his Russian counterpart, about the horrors of Yahidne

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken opened his remarks at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday by describing the “horrific abuses” of Russian soldiers in the town of Yahidne, where they imprisoned the village’s entire population in a school basement one week into the invasion.

“It’s really easy to lose sight of what it’s like for the Ukrainian victims of Russia’s aggression,” Blinken said in his opening remarks, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in attendance.

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“Russia’s forces went door to door, rounding up residents at gunpoint, and marching them to the local elementary school,” where more than 300 civilians, mostly women and children, were forced into confinement for more than a month. Many of them died in the windowless basement rooms with little running water.

“Children, parents, husbands, and wives were forced to spend hours next to the corpses of their loved ones,” Blinken said. “It’s hard to imagine a country demonstrating more contempt for the United Nations and all that it stands for, and this from a country with a permanent seat on this council,” he said.

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Russian mortars kill and wound civilians in small mining town

On Wednesday, Russian mortars rained down on the small mining town of Toretsk and its vicinity in the Donetsk region, killing two people.

A 19-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man died in the attack, while explosions and shrapnel also wounded an 84-year-old woman and her 60-year-old son, according to the office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, which is investigating the incident. The two people killed were in a residential building in Toretsk, while the mother and son were walking on a nearby street.

The shells were reportedly launched from a Soviet-era Tyuplan 2S4 system, whose 240mm caliber rounds are the largest mortars used in warfare today.

The Prosecutor’s office said it had started a criminal investigation for “violation of the laws and customs… of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Operations: Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions

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Regular attacks from the Armed Forces (AFU) of Ukraine continue to be reported along fronts in the eastern part of the Zaporizhzhia region and the western part of neighboring Donetsk region on Wednesday. Both Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Ukrainian forces launched numerous offensives in that area but made no significant gains.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that elements of the Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces repelled a Ukrainian attack in the vicinity of Pryyutne (16 km southwest of Velyka Novosilka) and stopped a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group near Novodonetske (12 km southeast of Velyka Novosilka), the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported.

A Russian blogger’s video on Telegram purports to show members of the Russian 14th Guards Spetsnaz Brigade firing at Ukrainian troops near Vuhledar (about 30 km southeast of Velyka Novosilka):

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian General Staff of the AFU posted on Wednesday that its forces in western Zaporizhzhia, while not claiming any new ground, continued to inflict significant losses on Russian troops and equipment near the city of Melitopol.

Watch a Russian “Akatsiya” gun burn roadside in Zaporizhzhia

A passerby films the burning remains of a Russian self-propelled howitzer by the roadside in this social media post on Wednesday. The blogger identified the destroyed equipment as a 2S3 Akatsiya, struck by Ukrainian forces in the occupied city of Tokmak, in the Zaporizhzhia Region.

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Escalating grain dispute with Poland results in stoppage of military aid

Poland will stop sending military aid to Ukraine, the country’s Prime Minister said on Wednesday as a result of an ongoing grain dispute, AFP reported.

The two countries have been engaged in a kerfuffle about grain imports ever since Poland and four other nations lobbied to protect their farmers by blocking the westward flood of Ukrainian produce resulting from the Russian invasion.

Throughout the invasion, Poland has been indisputably one of Ukraine’s strongest supporters, taking in more than a million of its refugees and routinely directing military aid to its defense. But the agricultural tensions came to a tipping point when Ukrainian President Zelensky called out “some in Europe” for being disingenuous about their support for Ukraine.

“Alarmingly, some in Europe play out solidarity in a political theater — turning grain into a thriller. They may seem to play their own roles, but in fact, they’re helping set the stage for a Moscow actor,” Zelensky said on Tuesday at a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The comments came just a few days after the European Union announced it was ending its ban on Ukrainian grain imports to Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, but Polish announced it would continue the embargo.

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The Foreign Ministry in Warsaw was quick to take offense at Zelensky’s remarks.

When reporters asked Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki if the escalating dispute would affect military aid to Ukraine, he replied, “We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” according to a quote from AFP.

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