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  • Borislav Ivanov

War Updates: Counteroffensive in Kherson region

Massive counter-offensive in southern occupied Kherson region launched

Ukraine’s southern military command announced Monday that the much-anticipated counter-offensive to retake Kherson, which Russia conquered in the days following the February 24 invasion, has begun. According to Ukrainian state station Suspline, southern command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk informed them that “offensive activities in several directions,” including “in the Kherson area,” had begun.

After successfully resisting much of Russia’s first invasion, with the exception of the south and east, Ukraine is now attempting to reclaim territory lost in the southeast in order to trap Russian soldiers in the east. Recent strategic strikes by Ukrainian forces on Russian fortifications, arsenals, and supply lines, such as strategically positioned bridges, have laid the groundwork for the current operation. Humeniuk, on the other hand, would only affirm that the onslaught had begun.

Ukrainian servicemen inside a Polish howitzer. Credit: Anatolii Stepanov; Getty Images

International Atomic Energy Agency

The International Atomic Energy Agency will send a delegation to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station this week, according to IAEA head Rafael Grossi.

The facility, Europe's largest nuclear reactor, is now controlled by Russian forces and has been the focus of recent airstrikes. Both Moscow and Kyiv have repeatedly exchanged blame for the complex's bombardment.

Grossi has been requesting permission to visit the site for months, warning of "the very real potential of a nuclear accident" while tensions stay high. The Group of Seven's Non-Proliferation Directors' Group welcomed the visit but expressed worries about the plant's safety while under Russian administration.

Sweden has pledged $50 million in military assistance to Ukraine

Sweden will offer an additional 500 million crowns ($46.75 million) in military support to Ukraine in response to Russia's incursion, according to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

"We will continue to help Ukraine as long as the war continues," added Andersson.

Andersson made the statement during a meeting with Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba. It proposed a total increased aid package of one billion crowns in military and civilian support.

Kuleba urged Sweden to supply Kyiv with weaponry, including howitzers and shells, saying, “Every euro, every bullet, every shell matters.”

"As long as the battle goes on, we will be requesting additional weaponry," he told reporters.

Olaf Scholtz – “Russia’s invasion is an attack on Europe’s security order”

Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, laid forth a new vision for Europe, explaining how the European Union and its neighbors may respond to Russia's assault against Ukraine.

"Putin's Russia wants to redraw boundaries with violence — something that we in Europe never wanted to experience again. The brutal attack on Ukraine is therefore also an attack on Europe's security order."

Olaf Scholtz in Prague. Credit: Martin Divisek

EU is discussing a visa ban for Russians & training of Ukrainian troops.

The European Union's defense and foreign ministers will meet in Prague this week to discuss the establishment of an EU military training mission for Ukrainian soldiers.

Ukrainian forces have been trained in numerous locations to use weaponry supplied by Western nations. While the location and scope of the EU training program are unknown, the EU's foreign policy leader, Josep Borrell, has stated that it would take place in neighboring nations rather than Ukraine.

High-level officials will also investigate requests from several EU nations to prohibit Russian tourists from entering the bloc. The Czech Republic, which now holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and the Baltic states are pressing for an EU-wide ban on visas for Russian visitors. However, Germany, several other EU member states, and Borrell have consistently resisted such a step, claiming that it would violate EU laws and jeopardize Russian dissidents' escape routes.


Joint military drills between Russia & China

Russia is planning a large-scale military maneuver this week that will involve the deployment of more than 50,000 soldiers, 5,000 weapons, and pieces of military equipment, as well as 140 aircraft, 60 warships, and other vessels, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The drill, dubbed “Vostok 2022,” is scheduled to begin on Thursday and go through Wednesday the following week. It will take place in military training areas in eastern Siberia, Russia’s Far East, and the Sea of Japan.

According to sources, Russian forces stationed across the world, including Belarus, China, and India, have already arrived at the training grounds.

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