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⇒ US Secretary of Defense visits kyiv
⇒ Ukraine claims an important advance near the Dnieper
⇒ A Russian ultranationalist blogger running for president
US Defense Secretary visits kyiv
US Defense Secretary makes surprise visit to Ukraine on Monday aimed at assuring kyiv of Washington’s “unwavering” support in the face of Russian invasion, Pentagon said in a press release.
Lloyd Austin “traveled to Ukraine today to meet with Ukrainian leaders and reinforce the unwavering support of the United States in Ukraine’s fight for its freedom”, explains Washington, although the visit had not been announced in advance for security reasons. “Discussions will focus on strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and Ukraine, including ensuring that the Ukrainian armed forces have the combat capabilities they need for winter and to defend their country against future Russian threats,” the Pentagon continues.
Ukraine claims significant advance near the Dnieper
Ukraine claimed on Sunday to have pushed back the Russian army “from 3 to 8 kilometers” deep on the left bank of the Dnieper occupied by the army of Moscow, the first numerical estimate of the advance of Kiev’s troops in this area, after months of unsuccessful counter-offensive. “Preliminary figures vary from 3 to 8 kilometers, depending on the specifics, geography and topography of the left bank,” army spokesperson Natalia Goumeniouk told Ukrainian television.
If this advance is confirmed, it would be the biggest push by the Ukrainian army against the Russians in several months. Natalia Goumeniouk did not, however, indicate whether Ukrainian forces completely controlled this area of the Kherson region (south) or whether the Russian army had withdrawn in the face of attacks by Kiev troops. “The enemy continues its artillery fire on the right bank,” she detailed, estimating the number of Russian soldiers present in this area at “several tens of thousands”.
Russian ultranationalist Igor Guirkin candidate for the 2024 presidential election
Former Russian ultranationalist blogger Igor Guirkin, imprisoned since July 2023 for “extremism”, announced this Sunday on Telegram that he would be a candidate in the Russian presidential election in March 2024, reports the BBC.
Former colonel of the FSB intelligence services who played a key role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea, separatist commander of the Donbass region, Igor Guirkin has been imprisoned in Russia since July 2023 for “extremism”. Although very clearly in favor of the military invasion in Ukraine, he was particularly critical of the military and political administration in the way it was carried out. Enough to get him arrested by Moscow.
An influential blogger before his imprisonment, Igor Girkin declared that he wanted to unite patriotic forces “in the face of external and internal threats”, and said he hoped that his attempt could disrupt the Kremlin’s plans for the 2024 presidential election, of which “the only winner is known to in advance”, even though Vladimir Putin has not yet officially run as a candidate.
Thousands of Ukrainian trucks blocked on the border with Poland
According to the Reuters news agencynearly 3,000 trucks, mainly Ukrainian, transporting fuel and humanitarian aid in particular, were stuck this Sunday on the Polish side of the border due to a blockade of more than ten days put in place by Polish truckers, Ukrainian authorities said.
Earlier this month, Polish truckers blocked roads leading to three border crossings with Ukraine to protest what they see as government inaction over the loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“For more than ten days, Ukrainian drivers have been stuck at the Polish border. Thousands of people are forced to live in difficult conditions, with little food, water and fuel,” said the Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov on X (ex-Twitter).
Zelensky dismisses army medical force commander
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday demanded rapid changes in the operations of the Ukrainian army and announced the dismissal of the commander of the medical forces of the Armed Forces Tetiana Ostashchenko, reports the Reuters news agency.
⇒ Russian ultranationalist blogger Igor Guirkin, candidate for the 2024 presidential election and Defense Minister Roustem Oumierov. It coincided with a debate on the conduct of the war against Russia which has now lasted 20 months, with questions about the progress of the counter-offensive in the east and south of the country.