#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Zelenskyj: the Ukrainian counter-offensive is “very difficult”. Moscow: Afzalov in place of Suvrokin


The United States does not believe that the conflict in Ukraine has reached a stalemate, the White House said, but many say that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is too slow. Not only that, the Pentagon accuses Russia of trying to disrupt Starlink in Ukraine

In an interview with the Washington Post, the commander of the US space forces, General Bradley Chance Saltzman, said that the United States is trying to place a large constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit for the needs of the US military. It can include up to 1000 devices. According to Saltzman, “the Russians are trying to block it.” As appears from the publication, these attempts would be fruitless.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on August 22: “I believe that Ukraine has the right to self-defense, as Russia attacks civilian targets.” You expressed this opinion at a press conference in Berlin after a meeting with your Estonian colleague Margus Tsahkna.

The minister was asked if she thinks drone attacks on Russian cities could increase. “Russia attacked Ukraine, so Ukraine has the right, enshrined in the UN Charter, to defend its territory and its people,” Baerbock said. You also stated that “Russia is bombing civilian targets”. “Ukraine is protected under international law,” she later said.

Volodimyr Zelenskyj, in a joint press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo in Kiev, said that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is “very difficult”. […] but the most important thing is the trend that the soldiers report to me, which I receive on a daily basis. We are moving, but little by little,” Zelensky said.

A large number of reconnaissance aircraft were spotted over Romania and the Black Sea yesterday, reported the Romanian publication Adevarul. According to Adevarul, the flights were performed by two Boeing E-3 Sentry, Lockheed EP-3E Aries II, Bombardier Challenger 650 ARTEMIS and an RQ-4B Global Hawk drone. Flights that in Russia correlate with the statements of the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Kirill Budanov,

Budanov admitted Kiev’s involvement in attacks on Russia, and threatened new attacks on Crimea. Which happened on August 23rd. According to Budanov, the Kiev government wants to destroy everything Russian in Crimea. “What you will in principle see and still see in the coming days,” Budanov said, quoted by UNIAN.

The day of August 23 saw a Ukrainian attack on Cape Tarkhankut on the Crimean peninsula. At Cape Tarkhankut there are several military facilities and which the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been actively monitoring for several weeks, including with the help of NATO satellites.

In this particular attack the Armed Forces of Ukraine changed tactics: first, two drones, probably Mugin-5, which took off from Krivoy Rog, approached the peninsula at a distance of 30-40 km and engaged in air defense fire the. The drones were shot down, but almost immediately after the anti-aircraft missiles were fired, three Ukrainian missiles were launched from the sea.

Just yesterday, 40 km from Tarkhankut operated a group of boats with reconnaissance teams of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, which, probably, conducted visual observation of objects near the Crimea. The Russian pilots destroyed one of the boats, as well as two others near Snake Island, but the others, operating 5-10km away, were gone.

The attack itself would be carried out by missiles. According to Russian social media sources, for two weeks, Ukrainian sailors actively transported unidentified weapons to the island of Zmeiny and to an empty gas production facility east of the island. “And the threat posed by boats cannot be erased.” It reads in the social post of pro-Russians.

From the Ukrainian side, the publication of footage of the attack in the area of the air defense position at Cape Tarkhankut came out. Only the S-300 air defense system, and not the S-400, as well as a fuel truck, was attacked. Judging by the footage, the drone was located northwest of the impact site, that is, in the Black Sea, somewhere south of the Tendrovskaya Spit.

According to the Russians, “it has been at least a month and a half since the Ukrainian armed forces began testing the Tekever AR5 UAV together with V-BAT also for reconnaissance of the situation on the Kinburn peninsula. Considering that the Portuguese drone is equipped with the latest technology, it was not difficult to capture the moment of arrival as they flew over the Black Sea. And it is very likely that it took off from Vilkovo or Odessa, which again raises the question of attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure along the coast”.

During the night the Russian armed forces attacked infrastructure in Odessa. Russian “Geran” drones hit production facilities and granaries in the Odessa region, explosions were heard in Reni and Izmail, according to local sources. The Odessa region was allegedly attacked for three hours by the RF Armed Forces. Local authorities announced explosions in a production and transshipment complex near the Danube, as well as in a granary.

From Ukrainian sources, RBC-Ukraine, we learn that searches are underway in the military registration and enlistment offices of Odessa and Rivne in connection with the work of military medical commissions to find out who paid commissions not to leave the military.

According to Ukrainian sources Russian army general Sergei Surovikin was relieved of his post due to a transfer to another job and is at the disposal of the defense ministry, a source familiar with the situation told RBC and a source confirmed to knowledge of the Defense Ministry personnel decision, while RIA Novosti said that General Viktor Afzalov was appointed acting commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces in place of Sergei Surovikin. “Currently Surovikin is on vacation,” one of the sources said.

While Sergei Surovikin served as the commander-in-chief of the Joint Forces Group in the Special Operations Zone, Afzalov was already the commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces. It is not known whether he commanded any operations, but in December 2022 he became a general by order of Vladimir Putin. He was born on June 9, 1968. Victor Afzalov graduated from the Pushkin Higher Military School of Radio-Electronics in 1989 and in 2000 from the Military Air Defense University. Already in 2010 he graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces. In 2017, Afzalov became commander of the Air Force and Army Air Defense of the Eastern Military District. As of 2018, he already held the posts of Chief of the General Staff and First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces. Nothing is known about the family and other details of Afzalov’s life.

While waiting to know Surovikin’s new destination, the rumors say on the one hand that the general is paying for the failure to report Wagner’s rebellion, on the other he is allegedly paying for his immense popularity among the Russian military. Certainly no one has questioned the fact that he is a Putin loyalist.

And now a look at the front line

Kherson direction updated at 24.00 on August 22, 2023: the Armed Forces of Ukraine, after artillery preparation, again attempted to land on the island zone on the Dnieper River. In the Hola Prystan sector, the Ukrainians tried to advance on Bilohrudove Island in two boats.

Heavy artillery fire of the Russian armed forces destroyed one boat with a landing party, on which there were five people, and the other went back. Immediately after the attacks by Russian troops, Ukrainian formations fought back against the alleged firing points. A little east of the formation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, two boats landed on Melkiy Island southwest of Kherson, where the Ukrainians set up an observation post, which was destroyed by the Russians.

In the north-east of the Kherson region, in the vicinity of Mikhailovka, two high-speed boats will be delivered in the near future. At the same time, in Novovorontsovka and Apostolovo, the preparation of an assault detachment of 121 arr. Judging by the renewed activity, the Armed Forces of Ukraine intend to re-attack the defense line of the Russian army on the left bank of the Dnieper. This time, special attention is paid to the Hola Prystan sector, where the shelling does not subside and the Ukrainian Armed Forces are conducting counter-battery combat.

Bachmut direction updated at 09.00 on August 23: The Russian army repels the attacks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and counterattacks in the direction of Bachmut. The Russian army counterattacked the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near the southern part of Kleshcheevka, in the area of which battles for high ground are now underway. Ukrainians tried to break through to Andreevka with the support of armored vehicles, but Russian soldiers repulsed the attack.

In the Zaporozhzie direction, battles are going on for Rabotino. The Armed Forces of Ukraine use heavy armored vehicles, but this does not bring them success – the Russian units hold their positions. Ukrainians are trying to increase their presence in the village. On the Vremevsky ledge, the Ukrainians continue their unsuccessful attempts to break through the Russian defenses.

Graziella Giangiulio

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