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August 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

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What we covered here

  • The EU and 42 countries urged Russia to immediately withdraw forces from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The UN nuclear watchdog has warned that attacks on the plant risk a potential radiation leak.
  • Ukraine’s President Zelensky called for strict sanctions against Russia for “nuclear blackmail” around the plant, with a Ukrainian official saying Moscow continues to take key administration buildings near the site.
  • Ukrainian officials have said that Russia’s presence in the southern Kherson region and parts of Zaporizhzhia is becoming more tenuous as supply lines are targeted daily by Ukrainian long-range systems, many of them supplied by Western allies.
  • A cargo ship carrying 23,000 metric tons of wheat is ready to set sail from Ukraine to Ethiopia, Ukrainian officials said Sunday. The UN says the “ripple effect” of the war in Ukraine threatens to worsen a food crisis sparked by conflict and drought in the East African country.
18 Posts

Zelensky calls for strict sanctions against Russia for "nuclear blackmail" around Zaporizhzhia plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during a press conference in Kyiv on July 28.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the world to introduce tough sanctions as a response to Russia’s “nuclear blackmail” around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. 

“Provocative shelling of the territory of the plant continues. Under cover of the plant, the invaders are shelling nearby towns and communities. The Russian military hides munitions and equipment at the facilities of the plant. The station is de facto mined,” Zelensky said during his evening video address on Monday.

“It is necessary to move from discussions and calls to new tough sanctions against Russia, against ‘Rosatom’ and the entire nuclear industry of the terrorist state. All Russian forces must immediately withdraw from the territory of the station and neighboring areas without any conditions,” he added.

Ukraine’s president claimed that Russia “ignores” the security demands of 42 countries that called on it to withdraw its forces from the station.

“Any radiation incident at the Zaporizhzhia NPP can be a blow to the countries of the European Union, and to Turkey, and to Georgia, and to countries from more distant regions. Everything depends on the direction and strength of the wind. If a catastrophe occurs due to Russia’s actions, the consequences can hit even those who remain silent for the time being,” Zelensky said.

“And if now the world lacks the strength and determination to protect one nuclear plant, it means that the world will lose. Lose to terrorists. Yield to nuclear blackmail,” he added.

Putin says attempts to abolish Russian culture are futile

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony opening the international military-technical forum Army-2022 in the Moscow, Russia on August 15.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called attempts to cancel Russian culture and Russia itself “futile” in a video address to the Tavrida.ART festival held in Crimea on Monday. 

“It is just stupid. And those who think otherwise, unfortunately for them, have not learned the lessons of history,” Putin added.

Putin noted that this year the festival team also includes people from the “liberated territories” — from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

“Today, you are together, ready to join efforts to achieve common goals, and it means that you know that to be strong, you need to be together. The entire rich, thousand-year history of Russia teaches this,” he said.

He thanked for the support to the “Russian heroes” — volunteers and fighters in Donbas. 

“We know all difficulties and trials are a time of new opportunities, and we often talk about it. It is a time to be daring, it is true, and you are just that,” said Putin.

More background: Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and considers Crimea part of its territory. Kyiv and its allies do not recognize the annexation and consider the peninsula Ukrainian territory under Russian occupation.

Donbas blankets much of eastern Ukraine, and has been the front line of the country’s conflict with Moscow since 2014. The city of Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics are territories currently under Russian control.

CNN’s Petro Zadorozhnyy, Vasco Cotovio and Josh Pennington contributed to this report.

A Schengen visa ban for Russians is "not a black and white issue," European leaders say

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz holds a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Norway in Oslo, Norway on August 15.

European leaders on Monday discussed a potential Schengen or European Union visa ban for Russian citizens.

It was important to impose sanctions on “those who are responsible for the war, and a lot of oligarchs and those who are financially and economically profiting from this Putin regime, and we will continue to do so,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters at a joint press conference in Oslo.

However he urged that leaders should “also understand that there are a lot of people fleeing from Russia because they disagree with the Russian regime. … And all the decisions that we make should not make it more complicated for them to go for freedom and to leave the country, to get away from their leadership and the dictatorship in Russia.”

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin disagreed. She noted that while it is “not a black and white issue,” she understood “the frustration that people have now in Europe about Russians traveling like nothing has happened.”

“I think it’s not right that Russian citizens can travel, enter Europe, enter the Schengen area, be tourists, see the sights while Russia is killing people in Ukraine. It’s wrong,” she said, adding that leaders would need to discuss the matter in the European Council and amongst Schengen area — which is a zone where 26 European countries — members.

The Prime Minister of Norway — a Schengen member but not, however, in the European Union — pointed that Russians have “limited” opportunity to travel because of severe air restrictions imposed by Europe.

He also added that travel allowed Russians to gain a different perspective on the war in Ukraine.

“They get a black and white picture in Russia because of the propaganda. So Russians being in other parts of the world, seeing this conflict from the other side, getting other information is also a perspective that needs to be taken into account,” Jonas Gahr Støre told reporters. 

UN denies Russian claims that it blocked nuclear watchdog agency visit to Zaporizhzhia plant

The United Nations has denied allegations by Russians it blocked or canceled a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine. 

Here is the full statement by Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general: 

“In the past few days, there have been repeated comments by various Russian officials accusing the United Nations Secretariat of having either cancelled or blocked a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. 
I want to clarify a few points. First, the IAEA is a specialized agency that acts in full independence in deciding how to implement its specific mandate. 
Second, the UN Secretariat has no authority to block or cancel any IAEA activities. 
Third, in close contact with the IAEA, the UN Secretariat has assessed that it has in Ukraine the logistics and security capacity to be able to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Kyiv, should both Russia and Ukraine agree.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a phone call with UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday, when the two discussed conditions for safe operation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to the statement published by the Russian defense ministry. 

According to the statement, Shoigu and Guterres also spoke on the functioning of the “fact-finding mission” regarding the attack on a pre-trial detention center in Olenivka. They also discussed UN initiatives to simplify conditions for export of Russian food products and fertilizers. 

Ukrainian official: Russia keeps taking key administration buildings near Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

A view shows the Zaporizhzhia power plant on August 4.

The Russian military took over key administration buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar on Monday, Enerhodar Mayor Dmytro Orlov posted to telegram.

Thirty-three workers refused to cooperate with the Russian military and will not go to work tomorrow, he said. 

“The occupiers continue to seize objects and enterprises in Enerhodar, establish their own rules, and pressure workers,” Orlov wrote.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest nuclear power facility in Europe, is located in the town of Enerhodar.

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief warned that the fighting near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant “could lead to very serious consequences.”

Ukraine says it has defused 180,000 explosive devices since the beginning of the war

The Ukrainian government says its demining forces have detected and defused more than 180,000 explosive devices since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February.

Yevhenii Yenin, the first deputy interior minister, said on Ukrainian television Monday that “one-fifth of the territory of Ukraine was contaminated with shells, mines and aerial bombs that did not explode. “

“Since the beginning of the war, our services have detected and defused more than 180,000 explosive devices. Over 68,000 hectares have already been surveyed.”

Yenin said technicians were surveying about 500 hectares every week.

“In the Kyiv region, 1,000 explosive objects are still being defused every day,” he said.

Russia ready to supply military equipment to allies and train foreign soldiers, Putin says

Participants listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a ceremony opening the international military-technical forum Army-2022 at Patriot Congress and Exhibition Centre in Moscow on August 15.

Russia is ready to supply military equipment to allied countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa and Moscow is open to training foreign fighters, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the “Army-2022” opening ceremony on Monday.

“Russia sincerely cherishes historically strong, friendly, truly trusting ties with the countries of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. (We) are ready to offer our allies the most modern types of weapons, from small arms to armored vehicles and artillery to combat aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles,” Putin said during opening remarks.

“We highly value the fact that our country has many allies, partners, like-minded people on different continents,” Putin said.

Putin also stressed the advantages of training foreign soldiers in Russia and said Russia invites allies to do joint military exercises.

“We also see great prospects in the training of foreign servicemen and their advanced training. Thousands of military professionals from around the world are proud alumnus of the military universities and academies of our country,” Putin said.

Russia will continue to work energetically in this important area, he said.

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

The EU and 42 countries, including the United States, have called on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are evacuating to the left bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region after Ukrainian strikes made a third key bridge in the area impassable, according to Ukrainian officials.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Calls for Russian withdrawal from nuclear plant: The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant — the largest nuclear complex of its kind in Europe — is the focal point of growing global concern following days of increased shelling. This has triggered calls for international experts to visit the facility and ratcheted fears of a potential nuclear accident.
  • Russian presence in south complicated by Ukrainian attacks on supply lines, officials say: Ukrainian officials have said that Russia’s presence in the southern Kherson region and parts of Zaporizhzhia is becoming more tenuous as supply lines are targeted daily by Ukrainian long-range systems, many of them supplied by Western allies. Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of occupied Melitopol, said that the destruction of a railway bridge south-west of the city at the weekend had further complicated Russian resupply routes.
  • Spike in Russian attacks in Kharkiv region: Russian forces have increased shelling in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, bombarding Ukrainian units trying to challenge their supply lines running into Donetsk, according to Ukraine’s military. Ukrainian officials on Monday reported rocket and artillery attacks against the Chuhuiv district south of the city of Kharkiv. Oleh Synyehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said five people were injured in the shelling, which saw at least 10 missiles fired from the Russian city of Belgorod.
  • Third key bridge destroyed, impedes Russian forces: The destruction of the three bridges — including the Kakhovka bridge this weekend — has impeded the movement of heavy military equipment and the supply of ammunition to the Russians on the right bank of the Dnipro River, making it ”extremely complicated to the point of being impossible,” Ukrainian military spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk said Sunday. 
  • Griner’s legal team files appeal: Brittney Griner’s legal team has filed an appeal against a Russian court’s verdict sentencing the WNBA basketball player to nine years in prison for smuggling drugs into Russia, Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina told CNN on Monday. Meanwhile, a Russian official confirmed names are being discussed in potential prisoner swap talks between Moscow and Washington.
  • Wagner base in Luhansk hit: Social media videos geolocated to the Russian-occupied town of Popasna show that a base used by the Wagner military contractors was hit by artillery or rocket fire at the weekend. The Wagner group of private military contractors has played an active role in the fighting in Donbas, often deployed as infantry to advance on towns from which Ukrainian forces have withdrawn. The paramilitary group is sponsored by Russia.
  • Grain ship ready to set sail to Ethiopia: A cargo ship carrying 23,000 metric tons of wheat is ready to set sail from the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi to Ethiopia, the Ukrainian infrastructure minister said Sunday. The Liberian-flagged Brave Commander cargo ship arrived in Pivdennyi Friday, according to Oleksandr Kubrakov, and will be the first UN-chartered ship to head for an African nation, Reuters reported.

Russian presence in south complicated by Ukrainian attacks on supply lines, officials say

Ukrainian officials have said that Russia’s presence in the southern Kherson region and parts of Zaporizhzhia is becoming more tenuous as supply lines are targeted daily by Ukrainian long-range systems, many of them supplied by Western allies.

Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of occupied Melitopol, said that the destruction of a railway bridge south-west of the city at the weekend had further complicated Russian resupply routes.

Fedorov said on Ukrainian television that “the enemy uses Melitopol as a logistics center for the transportation, trans-shipment of ammunition and heavy weapons. The enemy transports most of the ammunition by rail. On the night August 13 - August 14, a railway bridge was blown up. The enemy still cannot restore it; the rubble is being dismantled.”

Fedorov, who is not in Melitopol, also claimed: “We see the migration of military personnel from Kherson to Melitopol. Military personnel take their families out of Melitopol.”

He said the Russians had stepped up security in Melitopol, which is in Zaporizhzhia region, checking the local population. “Mass filtering of local civilians continues in Melitopol, in people’s homes, on the streets,” he said.

Fedorov added that the Russian security service (FSB), the Russian reserve guards and special Chechen units were present in Melitopol.

He said that up to 6,000 people were waiting in line for evacuation.

“People wait for five to seven days, spend the night on the roadsides. It is faster to leave through the Crimea, people use this route as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Serhii Khlan, advisor to the head of Kherson Civil Military Administration, told Ukrainian television on Monday that continuing attacks by Ukrainian forces on bridges across the river Dnipro had caused serious difficulties for Russian forces.

“The impossibility of (the Russians) supplying ammunition allows us to say that if they cannot resolve the issue of crossing to the Dnipro right bank in the next two weeks, then they will have no other opportunity than to leave their positions.”

A substantial part of the Russian occupying force is on the right (northern) bank of the Dnipro, in Kherson city and further upstream.

Khlan claimed that the Russians had moved their command headquarters to the southern bank of the Dnipro.

Operational Command South said on Sunday that the main highway connection – the Antonivskyi bridge – was hit again. Social media video showed a series of detonations at one end of the bridge, which links southern Kherson with the region’s capital city.

Khlan said Ukrainian civilians continue to leave Kherson, even though travel has become more difficult.

He said 40% of the Ukrainians trying to get through the only official transit point to Ukrainian-held territory (at Vasylivka) were residents of the Kherson region. “Every day, between 700 and 2,000 people leave the occupied territories,” he said.

Russian official confirms names discussed in prisoner swap talks

Victor Bout, left, Paul Whelan, center and Brittney Griner.

The director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North American Department has addressed the names being discussed in the potential prisoner swap talks between Moscow and Washington.

Talking to Russian state media TASS on Saturday, Alexander Darchiev said Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence, and US citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan imprisoned in Russia, were all part of the conversation.

TASS said Darchiev was responding to a request to comment on US media reports that US officials had sent a proposal to Moscow on swapping Bout for Griner and Whelan. 

Darchiev confirmed the names had been mentioned in bilateral talks, according to TASS. 

“This quite sensitive issue of the swap of convicted Russian and US citizens is being discussed through the channels defined by our presidents. These individuals are, indeed, being discussed. The Russian side has long been seeking the release of Viktor Bout. The details should be left to professionals, proceeding from the ‘do not harm’ principle,’” Darchiev said to TASS.

Brittney Griner’s legal team files appeal against verdict

WNBA star Brittney Griner is seen during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4.

Brittney Griner’s legal team has filed an appeal against a Russian court’s verdict sentencing the WNBA basketball player to nine years in prison for smuggling drugs into Russia, Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina told CNN on Monday. 

On August 4, Judge Anna Sotnikova of the Khimki city court delivered the sentence and fined Griner 1 million rubles (about $16,400).

The judge said the court took into account Griner’s partial admission of guilt, remorse for the deed, state of health and charitable activities.

Griner was detained in February for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

The two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist pleaded guilty to drug charges last month and said she accidentally packed the drugs while in a hurry.

The US State Department maintains Griner is wrongfully detained, and US officials have offered a potential prisoner swap with Russia in an attempt to bring her home safely.

Casualties reported as Wagner base in Luhansk hit by Ukrainian strike

Social media videos geolocated to the Russian-occupied town of Popasna show that a base used by the Wagner military contractors was hit by artillery or rocket fire at the weekend.

The Wagner group of private military contractors has played an active role in the fighting in Donbas, often deployed as infantry to advance on towns from which Ukrainian forces have withdrawn. The paramilitary group is sponsored by Russia.

Serhiy Hayday, the Ukrainian official who is head of the Luhansk region military administration, said on his Telegram channel Monday that “the Armed Forces of Ukraine once more successfully worked on the enemy headquarters.”

“This time it was yesterday in Popasna, where the headquarters of PMC ‘Wagner’ was smashed with a well-aimed hit,” Hayday said.

“The number of dead is being clarified,” he added.

Over the weekend, pro-Russian Telegram accounts associated with the Wagner group showed extensive damage to a building in Popasna and said there had been casualties.

Spike in Russian attacks in Kharkiv region, Ukraine's military says

Russian rockets launch against Ukraine from Russia's Belgorod region are seen at dawn in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Monday, Aug. 15.

Russian forces have increased shelling in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, bombarding Ukrainian units trying to challenge their supply lines running into Donetsk, according to Ukraine’s military.

Ukrainian officials on Monday reported rocket and artillery attacks against the Chuhuiv district south of the city of Kharkiv. Oleh Synyehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said at least 10 missiles had been fired from the Russian city of Belgorod.

One of the towns hit was Merefa, at least 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the front lines.

According to Synyehubov, five people were injured in the shelling, four of whom have been hospitalized, with two in a critical condition.

There were also rocket attacks on a residential area of Kharkiv, Synyehubov said.

In the eastern city of Donetsk — the focus of the Russian offensive —  the Ukrainian general staff on Monday reported continued artillery fire and airstrikes but said several ground assaults by Russian forces had been repelled. Ukrainian officials reported shelling of the cities of Sloviansk and Kostiantynivka, as well as Bakhmut and surrounding villages. 

Geolocated videos show Russian forces moving through an industrial plant on the edge of the town of Soledar, a target of Russian attacks for many weeks.

In the far north of Ukraine, the Sumy regional military administration reported a sharp uptick in cross-border shelling of the town of Seredyno. 

Overall, Russian forces persist with heavy indirect fire in much of Donetsk but have made only marginal territorial gains, the Ukrainian military said.

Southern battles: Across the Dnipro River from the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the towns of Nikopol and Marhanets were again hit by Russian rocket fire, according to the general staff.

Meanwhile, Russian shelling of Ukrainian positions behind the front lines in the Mykolaiv region persists, the general staff added.

In the south, much of the Russian fire is defensive, as they try to disrupt Ukrainian attempts to move forward into Kherson, the general staff said.  

EU and more than 40 countries urge Russia to withdraw forces from Ukrainian nuclear power plant

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is seen from Nikopol, Ukraine across the Dnipro River on April 27.

A joint statement from the European Union and 42 countries including the United States has called on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned last week that parts of the plant had been knocked out due to recent attacks, risking an “unacceptable” potential radiation leak.

“We urge the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other unauthorized personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant,” said the joint statement, dated August 12 and published Sunday to the website of the EU Delegation to the International Organizations in Vienna.
The withdrawal must take place “so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can resume their sovereign responsibilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and the legitimate operating staff can conduct their duties without outside interference, threat, or unacceptably harsh working conditions,” the statement said.
This would also “enable the IAEA to carry out its verification pursuant to Ukraine’s safeguards obligations under safe and secure conditions and in a timely manner.”

Nuclear watchdog’s warning: On Thursday, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said the “alarming” situation at the plant had reached a “grave hour,” as he called for an immediate inspection of the facility by international experts.

The joint statement expressed support for the work of the IAEA and emphasized that “the deployment of Russian military personnel and weaponry at the nuclear facility is unacceptable and disregards the safety, security, and safeguards principles that all members of the IAEA have committed to respect.” 

Russian forces retreating in southern Ukraine after third key bridge destroyed, Ukrainian military says

Russian forces are evacuating to the left bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region after Ukrainian strikes made a third key bridge in the area impassable, Ukrainian officials said.

“We are watching how the leadership of the Russian forces uses the remains of transport routes to evacuate to the left bank of Dnipro in order to feel safe,” Ukrainian military spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk told the country’s media on Sunday. 

The destruction of the three bridges — including the Kakhovka bridge this weekend — has impeded the movement of heavy military equipment and the supply of ammunition to the Russians on the right bank of the river, making it ”extremely complicated to the point of being impossible,” she added.

Attacks along southern frontline: Meanwhile, heavy Russian shelling continued in the south of Ukraine along the occupied line of defense over the weekend, Ukraine’s military said.

On Sunday night, Smerch multiple rocket launchers targeted Mykolaiv and the settlement of Bereznehuvate, killing one person and injuring another, according to Ukraine’s Operational Command South (OC South).

In the city of Mykolaiv, residential areas and port infrastructure were shelled, and communication lines and industrial facilities were damaged, leaving one civilian wounded, OC South added.

The city of Nikopol was shelled twice on Sunday night with heavy-barreled artillery, destroying five high-rise buildings, six houses, a kindergarten and other civilian infrastructure. No casualties were reported.  

Also on Sunday, the city of Marhanets was struck by Grad rockets. One civilian was hospitalized and a dozen homes and a power grid were destroyed.

Enerhodar also came under shelling on Sunday. One person was killed and two people were wounded, OC South said. 

The Ukrainian military said it destroyed two “enemy” ammunition depots in in Muzykivka and Nova Kakhovka on Saturday.

CNN cannot independently confirm all the incidents.

Grain ship to Ethiopia ready to set sail from Ukraine

The Liberian-flagged Brave Commander cargo ship is seen in Yuzhne, Ukraine east of Odessa on the Black Sea coast on August 14.

A cargo ship carrying 23,000 metric tons of wheat is ready to set sail from the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi to Ethiopia, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov announced Sunday.

The Liberian-flagged Brave Commander cargo ship arrived in Pivdennyi Friday, according to Kubrakov, and will be the first UN-chartered ship to head for an African nation, Reuters reported. It is currently moored at Pivdennyi port, according to ship tracking website Marine Traffic.

“It is the supply of grain, in particular for Ethiopia, where the situation with hunger is particularly severe,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday.
“In less than two weeks, three of our ports — Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi — managed to export such a volume, which is equal to the entire agricultural export by road for July and more than two-thirds of the export by rail for the past month.”

Analysis: The tide of the war is unlikely to turn any time soon

Shelled shops in Siversk, eastern Ukraine.

There are many observations to be made about Ukraine. But on a recent road trip, one sticks out — just how vast the country is.

Three weeks of driving from south to east in this sprawling country through front line villages, towns, past trenches and along hedgerows which are this war’s strategic equivalent of high ground, is an education, and one that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use.

Almost six months on, the disastrous war that he launched is stagnating. Scenes reminiscent of World War I trench warfare and its associated incremental gains and death are taking hold.

The almost 1,000-mile-long battle front Putin opened has hardened, but the country behind is deep, and for the most part unscathed.

Thirty miles from the front, city lawns are still being mowed, while many hundreds of miles away in the capital Kyiv, fancy restaurants have reopened, where fine wines and chilled champagnes are available, and fresh caught Mediterranean fish is on the menu.

This is a fat land, with fertile farms and proud crops rich from rain and sun. If strategic depth is what’s behind the front lines, Ukraine has an untapped wealth available.

Perhaps most striking is the number of military age males across the country who are not yet committed to the fight. Ukraine is at war, but not yet it seems, all in. Only some of Ukraine’s potential fighting force are in bunkers buried in tree lines overlooking Russian forces.

Cobblers, authors, artists, teachers, businessmen, journalists, even a former McDonald’s franchise CEO, are holding back Putin’s push, but when the government needs it there are many more who can be called on.

The big takeaway is, that this is not a war that’s going to be over fast, not is even clear yet if the real defining fight has begun.

Read the full analysis here.

Go Deeper

A three-week drive around Ukraine's front lines taught me this: The tide of the war is unlikely to turn any time soon
Inside the Ukraine power plant raising the specter of nuclear disaster in Europe
It's not yet clear what caused blasts at a Crimea air base. But analysts say Russia suffered a significant loss
Ukrainian nuclear plant facing 'grave hour,' UN watchdog says

Go Deeper

A three-week drive around Ukraine's front lines taught me this: The tide of the war is unlikely to turn any time soon
Inside the Ukraine power plant raising the specter of nuclear disaster in Europe
It's not yet clear what caused blasts at a Crimea air base. But analysts say Russia suffered a significant loss
Ukrainian nuclear plant facing 'grave hour,' UN watchdog says