Overview:

  • Chaos in US Congress as nominees for speaker fail, newest name is no friend to Kyiv
  • Ukrainian troops hold grip on portions of Dnipro River’s east bank
  • Latest Russian strikes in Kherson target medical staff and first responders, injure two
  • AFU chalks up “partial” success in Zaporizhzhia region
  • Russians inch closer to closing in on Avdkiivka
  • Watch a great video of Ukraine’s new tank-busting ‘bot

US Republicans field fourth nominee for speaker, going from bad to worse for Ukraine

The US House of Representatives remained without a leader on Tuesday, and still unable to pass legislation or approve international aid, as the candidate who emerged from the last field of eight Republican hopefuls for Speaker dropped out because he would have fallen short in the final voting.

After hours of deliberation late Tuesday night, the name of Mike Johnson (R-LA) was floated by conservatives after a series of secret ballots. He may be one of the least likely Republicans to approve of new aid to Ukraine.

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, a moderate Republican from Minnesota, became the third nominee to withdraw his name in less than three weeks on Tuesday, ever since a faction of far-right Republicans ousted the similarly centrist Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the position. 

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A small but increasingly powerful fringe of hardline Republicans – whose platform is mostly to (1) punish moderates for constitutionally validating Democratic president Joe Biden’s victory after former Republican president Donald Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen; and (2) to stop aid to Ukraine, which the Democratic president has championed for a long time – have managed to keep the House leaderless.

One of the consistent holdouts was Trump cheerleader Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who laid out her fringe caucus’ complaints in a Facebook post on Tuesday and lamented that Emmer voted for “every penny” sent to Ukraine.

‘Super-Powerful’ Russian Tyulpan Mortar Taken Out by Ukrainian Drone
Other Topics of Interest

‘Super-Powerful’ Russian Tyulpan Mortar Taken Out by Ukrainian Drone

Fighters from Ukraine’s Third Assault Brigade hit a mortar system capable of destroying the most fortified defenses and entire buildings with an FPV drone.

Johnson, another rabid Trump ally, was among those Republicans who supported the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2022 election results. He was also one of just 57 out of 435 representatives in May to vote against a bill to fund Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

“We should not be sending another $40 billion abroad when our own border is in chaos, American mothers are struggling to find baby formula, gas prices are at record highs, and American families are struggling to make ends meet, without sufficient oversight over where the money will go,” Johnson said at the time.

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The House will hold a public roll-call vote on Wednesday to see if Johnson has the requisite 217 votes to become leader.

Amphibious troops maintain hold on village on Dnipro’s east bank, reserves coming to islands

Kyiv Post reported on Tuesday afternoon that Ukrainian forces were digging in at positions along the east (left) bank of the Dnipro River, nearly a week after the first amphibious troops had crossed over covertly from the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU)-controlled west (right) bank. It was noted that a Ukrainian detachment was controlling the village of Krynky (2 km / ~1 mile in from the river) at the time, with few Russian troops in the immediate area so Moscow’s forces were focusing on aerial attacks and shelling that 20-man group in the village.

On Tuesday evening, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported, citing Russian military bloggers, that the Ukrainians still controlled at least part of Krynky, holding positions by the long-contested Antonivsky bridge over the river, as well as railway bridges.

Russian bloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces have been shuttling reinforcements to the islands in the Dnipro River delta and are attempting to break through to Poima (10 km / ~ 6 miles southeast of Kherson City and 4 km / ~3 miles from the Dnipro River) and Pishchanivka (14 km / ~ 9 miles east of Kherson City and 3 km / ~2 miles from the Dnipro River). Many Russian observers have witnessed Ukrainian forces continue transporting small groups of personnel across the Dnipro River in boats at various locations.

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More Russian strikes in Kherson area injure two, target a fire station and a hospital

Russia’s forces continue to bombard civilian targets in the Kherson region as they have for several consecutive days, this time blowing up a fire station and hospital, according to the nation’s Emergency Services.

Two people in their 60s were injured when artillery rained down on the village of Kozatske on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, strikes blew out the windows and roof of a fire station in Kherson, but the fire trucks and other equipment housed there were not damaged. No one inside was injured. The other Russian target was a hospital in the village of Bilozerka, according to Kherson's regional military administration. There were no reported injuries there.

Moscow has mercilessly targeted civilian homes and infrastructure throughout the Kherson region since the capital city and surrounding towns were liberated by the AFU in November. 

Operations: Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions

Geolocated footage published to social media on Tuesday appears to show that AFU forces “marginally advanced” west of Robotyne, a town in the Zaporizhzhia region liberated by AFU troops in August, the outskirts of which continue to be a fiercely contested front.

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The General Staff of the AFU on Tuesday also claimed that its troops continued offensives and repelled Russian attacks just south of Bakhmut, in the areas around Bodhanivka, Khromove, Klishchiivka, Andriivka, in the Donetsk region. The ISW confirmed that geolocated footage posted on Tuesday indeed shows marginal advances by the AFU around Andriivka.

Operations: Avdiivka

Russian forces attacked near Avdiivka on Tuesday and made confirmed advances, the ISW reported. Geolocated footage published on Tuesday “indicates that elements of the 114th Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st Donetsk People's Republic [DNR] Army Corps) advanced to part of the waste heap (northeast of Avdiivka) and that Russian forces advanced southwest of Krasnohorivka (20 km / ~12 miles southwest of Avdiivka) and north of the railway line near Krasnohorivka.”

Other Russian sources continue to claim that Russian forces completely captured the waste heap or “slag heap”, though geolocated footage only confirms that Russian forces have advanced to the northwestern area of the infamous dump.

Tech minister posts great video of Ukraine’s newest unmanned weapon 

As reported in Kyiv Post Tuesday, Ukraine’s Minister for Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Federov, announced that day that a new kamikaze robot called the Ratel S is set to roll out of factories and onto battlefields. Produced by the Brave1 domestic defense-tech incubator, the overland drone reportedly can carry anti-tank mines and can fire warheads from a range of six kilometers. It is billed as having a battery charge of about two hours and reaches speeds up to about 24 kilometers (14 miles) per hour.

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The 32-year-old politician, whose full title is Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology – Minister for Digital Transformation, posted a great video on Tuesday of the remote-controlled tank-killer in trials:

 

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