The Ukrainian counteroffensive has Russia prioritizing defensive positions. Meanwhile, the EU’s visa agreement allowing Russians relatively easy access to visit the Schengen area was fully suspended on Monday.
Russia is struggling to get reinforcements to the frontline after the recent Ukrainian counteroffensive and is being “forced to prioritize emergency defensive actions,” according to the latest UK military intelligence report.
The report said Russia had likely ordered the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the entirety of Kharkiv adding that “Russia is likely struggling to bring sufficient reserves forward across the Dnipro River to the front line” in the south, near Kherson.
Ukrainian long-range artillery is reportedly hindering Russia from carrying out repair works on crossings across the Dnipro.
The intelligence report added that with the significant success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive Russia has been forced to “prioritize emergency defensive actions,” thereby restructuring its overall operation plan. This has also contributed to eroding the troops faith in the military leadership.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday thanked the Ukrainian forces who “liberated hundreds of our cities and villages” in a video address on Sunday. Ukraine has recaptured Balakliya, Izium and Kupiansk in its latest counteroffensive.
EU suspends easy visa agreement with Russia
The European Union’s visa agreement with Russia, which allowed its citizens relatively easy access to visit the Schengen area, was fully suspended on Monday.
The European Council last week adopted the proposal to suspend the visa agreement with Russia, in place since 2007.
The suspension means that Russians will be issued significantly fewer visas. There will be restrictions on multiple-entry visas, as well as an increase in fees from €35 ($35) to €80. The visa processing time will also increase.
Some applicants might have their applications rejected, while others might see current visas revoked because of the tightening of the rules.
West increases weapons production
Western governments are moving to replenish their weapons stockpiles depleted by the supply to Ukraine.
Ukraine is heavily dependent on its Western allies for arms — especially crucial artillery and missile systems — in its war against Russia.
The supply of the munitions to Ukraine also drawn from reserves kept for their own defense.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a meeting of senior national armaments directors from allied countries to “discuss how our defense industrial bases can best equip Ukraine’s future forces with the capabilities that they need” and at the same time rebuild their own reserves.
Since the beginning of the war the US has supplied Ukraine weaponry worth $15.2 billion.
In July, European Commissioner Thierry Breton warned EU countries about drawing from on their stocks of weapons. “This has created a de facto vulnerability that now needs to be addressed urgently,” he had said.
Emergency IMF funding to tackle food price shocks
The International Monetary Fund is exploring options to provide emergency financial aid to countries facing food price shocks, especially caused by war, according to an exclusive Reuters report.
The measures will be discussed during an IMF executive board meeting on Monday.
One of the beneficiaries of this funding will be Ukraine, and will come without imposing conditions required in a regular fund program. At the same time, IMF officials admit that Ukraine needs a “full-fledged” financing package.
Food prices around the world have surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with sanctions and blocked shipping routes playing a big part.
Even though the resumption of export of grains from Ukraine has helped lower prices in recent weeks, many African and other poor nations suffering food shortages.
ss/aw (dpa, AFP, Reuters)