Jul 20 Buonasera Mag
Day 147: Antonovskiy Bridge, Lavrov, Shoigu, Draghi, Sweden, Ireland, EU sanctions package, Wagner, business in Russia, Chefs for Ukraine, Mariupol survivor, Applebaum, Niland, Sweeney, Lukashenko
EA Worldview’s Ukraine Up-date- hop over to Scott’s amazing hourly Ukraine up-date page. I’ll fill in with some bits and bobs.
Stories we’re following…
Lavrov: "The geographical objectives of the "special operation" have changed, now it is not only the "DPR" and "LPR", but also a number of other territories".
The Antonovskiy Bridge in Kherson was struck by Ukrainian artillery fire yesterday. This is the main bridge across the Dnipro river linking Kherson city with the rest of the Oblast.
Putin told officials during a video conference on strategic development goals that Russia is facing "colossal problems" in the high-tech sector due to sanctions.
Leonid Slutsky, head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament, said on July 19 that the tougher demands would be about “demilitarization" and “de-Nazification."
John Kirby, chief U.S. National Security Council spokesman, said Russia is “laying the groundwork” to annex Ukrainian territories it controls, including Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts.
"Shoigu 'instructed the commander to give priority to the enemy's long-range missile and artillery weapons,' the defence ministry said.”
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave President Vladimir Putin a full-throated endorsement yesterday of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Greek tankers are carrying record levels of Russian seaborne oil cargoes to China and India. Greek owners control nearly a third of the global tanker fleet, moved about half of Russian crude volumes in May and June.
The EU will amend sanctions on Russian banks to allow food and fertilizer exports. (I can’t believe they’re doing this.)
According to Swedish television broadcaster SVT, a 28-year-old volunteer from Sweden was killed after being hit in the chest by a grenade.
Bill Browder: The Irish government has rejected a unanimous cross party parliamentary proposal to pass an Irish Magnitsky Act. This opens the door for Ireland to become a soft target as Putin’s cronies look for safe places to keep their money. Very bad news indeed.
Just Security, Putin Eyes Italy’s Political Crisis for Potential Benefits in Peeling Away Support for Ukraine
Prime Minister Mario Draghi, a political independent, is considering whether to proceed with the resignation he offered to President Sergio Mattarella last week, after the populist Five Star Movement political party boycotted a Senate vote on an economic package and withdrew from the coalition. Draghi’s government has acted as a sort of Euro-Atlanticist buffer to Italian public opinion, which largely supports Russia.
Mo’s comment on the Italian political crisis:
I’m watching the live feed on several channels as my government, headed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Atlanticist and arch supporter of the EU and Ukraine, will most likely fall in the next few hours.
Personally, I cannot express the level of frustration that I feel at this moment. I have watched and tried to write about foreign influence in Italy by Russian malign actors and how they have found Italian allies and how dangerous this is for Italy, the EU and our Transatlantic relationship.
The downfall of the Draghi government was orchestrated by these powers and it’s clear what the objectives are: weaken Italy, weaken the EU, weaken NATO and begin to bolster an anti-western front within Europe against support for Ukraine. It’s already started.
It doesn’t look much better for Italian domestic affairs either. The forces that will bring down Draghi are the same forces that were unable and unwilling to undertake the reforms that are necessary to fight corruption and build the economy in Italy in the past. They use the information space as does Russia— a tool for controlling consensus and disseminating misinformation and disinformation.
I hope I’m wrong.
We’ll be talking about this tomorrow evening on EuroFile@6 Spaces on Twitter. I hope you will join us.
Kyiv Indy, Inside Ukraine’s covert operation to take out elite Wagner Group mercenaries in Donbas
Some Ukrainians who remained in Russian-occupied territories have been helping to identify Russian troops, equipment, bases, and depots, Anton, a member of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces, told the Kyiv Independent. (Editor’s note: The name has been changed to protect his identity.)
The Special Operations Forces is a branch of Ukraine’s Armed Forces that conducts reconnaissance missions and covert operations behind enemy lines.
How’s business going in Russia?
Business in Russia is decreasing at an astonishing pace: from March- June 2022, more than 113,500 thousand commercial businesses have closed in the Russian Federation: that's 930 companies per day.
War against Ukraine, Western sanctions and shrinking demand are creating the deepest holes in the Russian economy, Russian media reports: 30% more companies have closed in the RF than the newly created ones, and the total debt of companies to the state, including payments to the Pension Fund, the Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund and to the Social Security Fund, reached 101.9 billion rubles.
Applebaum, Russia’s War Against Ukraine Has Turned Into Terrorism
Red Cross packages are lined up along the sidewalk in Serhiivka, a small town in the southwestern corner of Ukraine. A man is unloading plastic bags stamped world central kitchen from a truck whose front windshield has been completely shattered.
Helping out in the kitchen in Ukraine
Euronews, I was praying we would die quickly', Mariupol survivor says
When Lia and Alex woke up in Mariupol to the loud booms of explosions and shrieks of car alarms on 24 February, the young Ukrainian couple did not expect they would soon have to bury their loved ones in their own garden and fend off cold and starvation as Russian troops pounded the southern port city into dust.
Melkozerova, The Hate I Feel
In early June, I met Natalya with her husband and stepdaughter in downtown Kyiv. The family had arrived the day before from Dnipro but had been living in Mariupol, which by then had been destroyed and occupied by Russian forces, and were spending a few days in the capital before heading on to western Ukraine, where they had been promised jobs and a new life. She had gotten in touch after reading some of my stories about evacuees from Mariupol, and we planned a day together in Kyiv before they continued on their journey.
Niland, ‘Ukraine Fatigue’ Will be Vladimir Putin’s Biggest Ally in the Months Ahead
Every voice from Ukraine has been telling the same story since 2014: they know they are not fighting ‘separatists’ but forces deployed by the Kremlin. This fact is important because is the weak response to Russia’s 2014 invasion was the result of some people tending to believe that there is a shred of truth in the notion that the people of eastern Ukraine, being Russian speakers, have an affinity to Russia and are different from other Ukrainians. The conflict that started in 2014 wasn’t locally initiated but it led to Ukrainian citizens in 7.2% of the country becoming Russian hostages. Now, residents of 20% of Ukraine are hostages.
The Atlantic Council, Killer in the Kremlin: New book explores Vladimir Putin’s bloody reign- John Sweeney
Twenty-two years ago, I walked into a hospital and saw an eight-year-old Chechen girl with a horribly burnt face, the only survivor of seven people in a car blown up in a Russian army attack on a refugee column.
Weiss, Estonia: Warning the World About Russia
I have been coming to Tallinn almost as long as I’ve been coming to Kyiv and nearly as often: at least once or twice a year. There’s an eloquent symmetry in that fact, I think, given that my latest visit to Estonia was about trying to understand its outsized contribution to the ongoing defense of Ukraine. Another way to state the purpose of my trip is to say that without Tallinn, there might not be a Kyiv left to visit, or one still worth visiting at any rate.
Lukashenko following in Russia’s footsteps when it comes to changing history to fit its needs
Signing off for the day…thanks for reading…