September 25, 2023

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Internal Divisions Emerge Among Pro-Russian Commentators Over Ukraine War

Internal Divisions Emerge Among Pro-Russian Commentators Over Ukraine War

Here’s what we are covering in this article:

  • Pro-Russian Military Bloggers Upset Over Reporting on Attacks Within Russia, Questioning Each Other’s Loyalties.
  • Blinken Calls on International Community to Stand Up to Russia’s Actions and Say ‘Enough is Enough’
  • Russia Using Cheap Grain Exports to Foster Economic Reliance, Claims EU’s Top Diplomat.
  • Poland and Lithuania Warn of Potential Provocations by Russian Wagner Forces in Belarus Near NATO’s Eastern Border.
  • Russian Forces Shell Church in Kherson City.

  • Ukraine Seeks to Increase Domestic Ammunition Production.

  • Brazil Remains Open to Brokering Peace in Ukraine Conflict Despite Challenges.

Pro-Russian Military Bloggers Upset Over Reporting on Attacks Within Russia, Questioning Each Other’s Loyalties.

The online community of pro-Russian military bloggers, who have staunchly supported Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine, has erupted into infighting over the past two days. Some bloggers have accused others of secretly working for the Ukrainian government.

Since the war started in February 2022, these pro-war bloggers – some of whom are embedded with military units and work for state media – have become major sources of information, often providing more details about the Russian military’s movements to their hundreds of thousands of followers than the Russian authorities do.

The bloggers’ close ties to the military had granted them widespread immunity, until last month when Igor Girkin, an ultranationalist commentator who called President Vladimir Putin a “nothingness” in a Telegram post, was arrested.

Blinken Calls on International Community to Stand Up to Russia’s Actions and Say ‘Enough is Enough’

Speaking at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the weaponization of food in wartime and said conflicts and climate change were the root causes of global food insecurity and hunger. He called on all nations to confront Russia, which has carried out near-daily attacks on Ukrainian Black Sea ports in recent weeks, and tell them “enough is enough.”

“Enough using the Black Sea as blackmail,” said Blinken, who chaired the meeting as the U.S. holds the Council’s rotating presidency in August. “Enough treating the world’s most vulnerable people as leverage. Enough of this unjustified, unconscionable war.”

The Council, in a rare show of unity, also issued a statement denouncing the weaponization of food. And 91 countries signed a separate brief joint statement initiated by the U.S. condemning the use of starvation against civilians as a wartime tactic. Russia and countries aligned with it politically and economically, including China, India, Iran, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, did not sign the document.

Russia Using Cheap Grain Exports to Foster Economic Reliance, Claims EU’s Top Diplomat.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s top diplomat, has accused Russia of attempting to expand its global influence by offering developing countries discounted grain shipments. In a letter to leaders of developing nations and the G20, Borrell urged united opposition to Moscow’s unilateral withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal.

“As the world faces disrupted supplies and higher prices, Russia is now approaching vulnerable countries with bilateral offers of cheap grain, pretending to solve a problem of its own making,” Borrell wrote. “This is a cynical policy of deliberately using food as a weapon to create new economic dependencies.”

The letter, viewed by the New York Times, was sent Wednesday, ahead of a UN Security Council meeting led by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken focused on global food security. The U.S. has circulated a statement condemning the use of food as a weapon of war, signed by around 75 countries, though not explicitly naming Russia.

Poland and Lithuania Warn of Potential Provocations by Russian Wagner Forces in Belarus Near NATO’s Eastern Border.

The leaders of NATO members Poland and Lithuania warned on Thursday about potential “provocations” and “sabotage actions” by Russian Wagner mercenaries recently relocated to neighboring Belarus. The warning comes after two Belarusian helicopters violated Polish airspace earlier this week, heightening tensions in the region.

“Our response to the provocation is to boost the size of the Polish army on the eastern border by moving troops from the west,” said Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at a televised meeting with commanders in Bialystok near the Belarus border. “According to the law, soldiers can use weapons in a specific situation. They are not defenseless.”

Belarus, a staunch Russian ally, shares significant borders with both Poland and Lithuania, who support Ukraine.

Russian Forces Shell Church in Kherson City.

Russian shelling struck a church in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Thursday morning, injuring three people on a trolley bus, according to Ukrainian officials.

One of the injured sustained life-threatening wounds, said Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the regional military administration.

Russian forces withdrew from Kherson in November but have continued shelling the city and surrounding region from positions across the Dnipro River.

St. Catherine’s Cathedral in central Kherson was targeted multiple times Thursday.

As emergency workers put out a fire at the church, it was struck again, injuring four first responders, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said on social media.

The church crypt was home to the remains of Prince Grigory Potemkin, an 18th-century Russian aristocrat and lover of Catherine the Great considered the founder of modern Kherson. Russian forces removed his bones before retreating from the city.

Ukraine Seeks to Increase Domestic Ammunition Production.

Ukraine’s need for ammunition has become increasingly urgent as it wages a counteroffensive now in its 18th month of war with Russia.

The United States and its allies have sent millions of rounds of ammunition to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion began last year. But facing dwindling stockpiles and a Western defense industry struggling to meet demand, officials in Ukraine and across the Biden administration, NATO, and the EU are looking for new ammunition sources to deliver quickly.

One source is Ukraine itself. According to a top Ukrainian official, the country’s fledgling weapons industry produced twice as many mortars and artillery rounds last month compared to all of 2022, with the counteroffensive against Russia dependent on sufficient ammunition to continue fighting.

Brazil Remains Open to Brokering Peace in Ukraine Conflict Despite Challenges.

Although eager to broker peace, Brazil now acknowledges challenges in ending the Ukraine conflict as neither side appears ready to compromise.

President Luiz In├ício Lula da Silva has promoted Brazil as a potential peacemaker amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. However, Lula conceded both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin remain entrenched in their positions, saying “For now, both are in that ‘I will win’ phase.”

As Latin America’s largest country with a history of neutrality, Brazil believes it is well-positioned to facilitate peace talks. Lula said Brazilian officials have engaged counterparts in China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Latin America, and Africa about possible negotiations. But with attitudes hardened on both sides, Brazil admits brokering peace currently appears distant.

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Jhon Steve