Ukraine Monitor Articles
Moscow is not ready to accept Kyiv’s terms for negotiations over Ukraine, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Russia is ready to discuss Ukraine in its absence, with just Western nations. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine is entering its twelfth month, Ukraine aims for a February peace summit to present a peace formula. Neither warring party is now seeking peace as Ukraine is willing to strengthen its negotiating position through battlefield gains and Russia is making no further concessions.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church affiliated to Moscow could no longer be allowed to lease Kyiv Pechersk Lavra churches, including the Church of the Assumption, according to Pavlo, head of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. This could be another step towards curbing the influence of churches affiliated to Moscow.
First the Russian assault on Bakhmut lost momentum and then rumors were that Russian troops made a retreat from the area. All eyes are now on Bakhmut while Ukrainian forces managed to advance towards Luhansk along the Svatove-Kreminna line after a weeks-long standstill. This could prompt a major Ukrainian assault in Donbas. Perhaps this could serve to distract Russian forces from the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, where Russia has expected a Ukrainian attack for weeks now.
Volodymyr Zelensky’s historic visit to the United States and remarks by the Ukrainian and U.S. leaders on that delivered a powerful message to Russia. Kyiv, which enjoys support from the United States and other Western nations, is making no concessions to Russia. Ukraine would sit at the negotiating table only after the invader leaves its territory. Washington will be sending Patriots missiles to Ukraine while it has rebuffed the ATACMS request. Joe Biden said some NATO states refuse strong support to the Ukrainian offensive potential.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on December 13 announced a snap military inspection, the latest in a burst of exercises that have prompted concern from neighboring Ukraine. Yet this is unlikely to happen now. Such alarming reports have proliferated in recent months.
A new Ukrainian ground assault is just a matter of time. The coming winter may provide Ukraine with more opportunities to retake land from Russia, with more matériel to be sent to the front. Concerns are mounting that Belarusian troops could join Russia’s forces in Ukraine from the north. But it is just a bluff, according to the United States, NATO, and Ukraine. Ukraine has more efficient air defense systems to shoot down Russian drones and missiles.
Russia has thrown many troops and matériel into battle for a mid-sized city in the Donetsk region, an effort that resembles its strategy a couple of months ago in Severodonetsk. Ukraine has seemingly put a lot of effort into defending Bakhmut to involve as many Russian troops as possible. Losing a strategically insignificant city could be worth further advances, also in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Occasional high-level contacts between the United States and Russia are essentially due to Washington’s concerns over Moscow’s far-reaching movements in its war with Ukraine. The meeting between the director of the CIA and the head of the SVR foreign intelligence agency is part of the U.S. policy alongside the talks that took place beforehand between the U.S. national security advisor, the secretary of defense, and their Russian counterparts.
Western media recently reported that the United States exerted growing pressure on Ukraine to enter negotiations with Russia. This narrative is yet gone now. The government in Kyiv has adopted a firm stance on peace talks with Russia. Thus Washington must have revised its policy so far. Many signs are that the U.S. administration deemed it better to continue a Ukrainian offensive than to enter ceasefire talks with Russia.
Throughout the war, Pope Francis has been criticized by Ukraine for not directly condemning Moscow and Putin as well as not naming directly the invader and somewhat suggesting that Kyiv make concessions to appease the Kremlin. It is hence vital to emphasize the stance of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church whose followers are in communion with Rome.
The nature and tempo of the Russian war have not changed in recent weeks. The last major operation was the retreat of Russian forces from the western bank of the Dnieper River. Now wintry warfare looms in Ukraine while soaked steppes prevent both sides from launching an assault. But as winter is approaching, where potential attacks could now take place?
The process of deoligarchization, as it has become known, was already one of the biggest issues in Ukrainian politics long before the Russian invasion. It was, however, somewhat of a losing battle. Then came the war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared a fightback against oligarchs and claimed their assets under the pretense of the ongoing war.
Fractures within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church aggravated shortly after the Russian invasion as more and more parishioners and clergymen are joining the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate.
All of Ukraine’s operating nuclear power plants were automatically disconnected from the power grid for the first time in the country’s history following a barrage of Russian missile attacks. Since early October the Russian military has destroyed enough of Ukraine’s infrastructure to make life intolerable.