Ukraine is now deploying captured Russian tanks to solidify its gains in the northeast amid an ongoing counteroffensive, a Washington-based think tank said yesterday, as Kyiv vowed to push further into territories occupied by Moscow.
The Institute for the Study of War, citing a Russian claim, said that Ukraine had been using left-behind Russian T-72 tanks as it tries to push into the Russian-occupied region of Luhansk.
“The initial panic of the counteroffensive led Russian troops to abandon higher-quality equipment in working order, rather than the more damaged equipment left behind by Russian forces retreating from Kyiv in April, further indicating the severity of the Russian rout,” the institute said.
Earlier this month, Ukraine launched its counteroffensive, pushing into territory around its second-largest city of Kharkiv. Videos and photos showed Ukrainian troops seizing tanks, ammunition and other weaponry left behind by Moscow in an apparently chaotic withdrawal.
A Ukrainian push continues in the south of the country. The institute, citing the Ukrainian military, said Kyiv had destroyed ammunition depots, two command posts and an electronic warfare system.
Ukraine’s southern military command early yesterday said that its troops had sunk a Russian barge carrying troops and weapons across the Dnipro River near the Russian-occupied city of Nova Kakhovka.
It offered no other details on the sinking of the barge in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Kherson region, which has been a major target as part of Kyiv’s ongoing counteroffensive in the country.
In other news, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev yesterday said that if Ukraine’s breakaway regions vote to join Russia, it would allow Moscow to utilize its full military capability in the Donbas region.
Medvedev, who is also a former prime minister, said that ballots in the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk republics to integrate into Russia would help protect residents of the east Ukraine region by expanding Moscow’s military mandate.
“Encroachment into Russian territory is a crime and if it is committed, that allows you to use all possible force in self-defense,” Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, said on social media.
He said the votes would correct “historical justice” and be irreversible.
“That is why these referendums are so feared in Kyiv and in the West. That is why they need to be carried out,” he added.
Large parts of the industrial Donbas area have been controlled by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014, after nationwide demonstrations ousted Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly president.
Russia at the time annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine with a vote that was criticized by Kyiv and the West, which imposed sanctions in response.
The leader of the Donetsk rebel group Denis Pushilin yesterday said that a vote on joining Russia was overdue.
“I think that people have long been waiting for a referendum here and it will probably be a political move that will help ensure the safety of civilians,” Russian news agencies quoted him telling state television.
Pushilin said he had been in touch with the leader of the Lugansk rebels to coordinate and that since Monday, officials of the separatist administration had begun working out details.
Officials in the Russian-controlled region of Kherson in southern Ukraine yesterday also urged Moscow-installed authorities to hold a vote on joining Russia.
AT WASHINGTON SUMMIT: The agreement between the US and 14 Pacific nations came half a year after the Solomon Islands struck a security deal with China The Solomon Islands has joined 13 other Pacific nations in signing a wide-reaching US-led partnership agreement, after early indications it would refuse. The 10-point US-Pacific Partnership deal was announced by the White House on Thursday evening, following the first-ever meeting between a US president and the leaders of every major Pacific nation. It includes commitments for increased action on climate change, economic development and security cooperation. Earlier, US President Joe Biden committed more than US$810 million to a new Pacific initiative. “A great deal of the history of our world is going to be written in the Indo-Pacific over the coming years
‘DEVOTED GUARDIANS’: A Chinese foreign affairs official said his nation’s diplomats would not ‘sit and do nothing while our country’s interests are being harmed’ China yesterday signaled no letup in its combative approach to foreign policy in a third term for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) as leader despite criticism from many Western diplomats that the so-called “wolf warrior” stance has been counterproductive. As relations with the West have soured over issues from trade and human rights to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese diplomats have often been confrontational on the public stage, including on social media, a stridency that some critics see as intended for a domestic audience that nonetheless hurts its foreign ties. “We Chinese will not capitulate. We will not sit and do nothing while
LANDING INCIDENT: A plane with 63 passengers was shot at by ‘terrorists’ from an ethnic minority militia, state news reported, although militants denied responsibility Myanmar’s military government accused rebel forces in the eastern state of Kayah of firing at a passenger plane as it was preparing to land on Friday, wounding a passenger who was hit by a bullet that penetrated the fuselage. Rebel groups denied the allegation. Myanmar state television MRTV said the Myanmar National Airlines plane, carrying 63 passengers, was hit as it was about to land in Loikaw, the capital of the eastern state of Kayah, also known as Karenni. It cited junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun as saying the shooting was carried out by “terrorists” belonging to the Karenni National
FAMILY OUTING: The president, his wife and two sons went to Singapore on a military plane to watch an F1 race as the Philippines grapples with the aftermath of a typhoon A trip by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to Singapore over the weekend to watch Formula One races has come under attack from critics who described it as “utterly callous” while thousands of Filipinos remain displaced due to a recent typhoon. Marcos Jr confirmed his trip to Singapore for the Grand Prix event in a brief statement and pictures he posted on Facebook on Monday night after a flurry of online criticism. “They say that playing golf is the best way to drum up business, but I say it’s Formula 1,” Marcos Jr said. “What a productive weekend.” He said without elaborating that