A reasonable amount of conflicting information and fake news was circling the internet on day 30. Ukraine appears to have made a successful push against Russian forces near Kherson, clearing the countryside around Mykolaiv. However, an ‘unnamed Pentagon official’ stated that the Ukrainian conuterattack had captured Kherson, which appears to be untrue, and is denied by the Ukrainians. Conversely, some pro-Russian accounts were claiming that Mariupol had finally surrendered, which also appears not to be the case.
Russian missile strikes reportedly struck military targets in Zhytomyr and the Armed Forces Command in Vinnytsia, with some missiles downed by air defence. In Odessa, three missiles were intercepted, while a village was shelled by naval forces. An oil terminal near Kiev was also destroyed by missiles, according to Russian claims.
Large pro-Ukrainian rallies took place in Warsaw today. Germany reportedly sent additional supplies and weapons to Ukraine, including 1,500 Strela missiles and 150,000 ration packs.
According to Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, peace talks have reached a consensus on several points. Turkish President Erdogan, hosting the negotiations, has stated that ‘the only official language in Ukraine is and will be Ukrainian’. This has been a particular bone of contention between the two countries for many years, with Ukraine possessing a large ethnic Russian population (17%, in the 2000 census).
Belarus claims that it has ‘no plans to fight in Ukraine’. During the first week of the conflict, it was widely reported that Belarussian troops were fighting near Kiev, which subsequently appeared to be false information (we questioned those reports here at Ukraine Observatory). However, Belarus is deeply implicated in the conflict due to the Russian use of its airbases, as well as allowing military access to Russian troops and vehicles. Russia’s main axis of attack against Kiev comes from Belarussian territory, as does the axis against Chernihiv.
President Biden visited US troops stationed at Rzeszow in Poland. His speech appeared to imply that the soldiers he was speaking to would be going into Ukraine and ‘seeing women standing in front of tanks with their arms outstretched’, while some had ‘already been there’. Whether this reveals US military involvement or is simply a ‘Bidenism’, i.e. an expression of alternative reality whose coherency could be unfavourably compared to the utterances of senile dementia, remains to be seen.
Russian President Putin made statements on his regular public appearances that concerned ‘the cancelling of children’s author Joanne (J K) Rowling’ for ideological heterodoxy on Twitter concerning the transgender question. Statements such as these reveal the potential for culture wars in the West to affect international politics by conveying an impression of decadence and weakness.
Sanctions against Russian businesses, people, and products continue following the recent NATO summit.
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the Starlink telecommunications systems operating in Ukraine have resisted all hacking and jamming attempts so far during the conflict.
China’s state-run energy company Sinopec Group has suspended talks with Russia concerning a proposed oil and gas investment in the country. The Chinese leadership will want to take advantage of Russian products and raw resources that are off-limits to Western buyers, but will also be wary of the potential politico-economic contagion that may emerge from aligning itself too blatantly with Vladimir Putin during this unpopular conflict.
Iranian officials have stated they are considering using the Russian payment system ‘Mir’ following Russia’s cancellation from SWIFT. Outside the former Soviet Union, Mir is currently accepted in Cyprus, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.
Photo Credit: Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. CC-SA-2.0.