Biden approves biggest ever aid package, Shoigu admits Russia’s pace has slowed, and a look back at six months

25 August, 03:00 PM

This newsletter was compiled by Romeo Kokriatski, Managing Editor of the  New Voice of Ukraine, August 25, 2022.

•   U.S. President Joe Biden approves the largest-ever aid package for Ukraine.

$3 billion has been allocated for Ukraine’s military, the U.S. President said, during an address congratulating Ukrainians on their Independence Day. “Over the past six months, Ukrainians have inspired the world with their extraordinary courage and dedication to freedom,” Biden said. “They have stood resolute and strong in the face of Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine. And today is not only a celebration of the past, but a resounding affirmation that Ukraine proudly remains – and will remain – a sovereign and independent nation.”

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•   Russian Defense Minister Shoigu admits that the pace of Russian offensives have slowed.

During a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Shoigu blamed the “slowed pace” on Russia’s supposed avoidance of civilian casualties, despite the fact that Russia is deliberately bombing Ukrainian civilian structures and gathering points in order to sow terror throughout the country. "Everything is being done to avoid casualties among civilians,” the Russian minister lied.

•   Zelenskyy blames the tepid response to Russia’s 2014 invasion for its full-scale follow up.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s closing remarks at the Crimea Platform summit criticized the lack of a harsh response to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, which led to an emboldened Russia gaining confidence in continued territorial expansion. “[The Russians] made that decision (to invade and annex Crimea) in 2014, and the world didn’t punch them in the face for it – so they pressed on,” said Zelenskyy.

•   Russia claims an ammunition dump in Belgorod caught fire because of “hot weather.”

That’s the excuse the governor of Belgorod Oblast, Vyacheslav Gudkov, used after the ammunition exploded – saying that it was the result of a “lensing effect”. Small children often use magnifying glasses to replicate the lensing effect on small insects and plants, but it is unknown if a large enough magnifying glass happened to be near the munition storage area, which, in most militaries, is a closed, windowless warehouse.

•   Moscow confirms that it is keeping noted Ukrainain human rights defender Maksym Butkevych in captivity.

Smearing Butkevych as “a propagandist,” “a Nazi,” and “a commander of a punitive death squad,” the Russians nonetheless claim he is in “satisfactory” health, though no independent confirmation was offered for that claim. Butkevych is known in Ukraine for his tireless work in promoting anti-fascist and anti-racist values, identifies politically as a left-wing anarchist, and has led initiatives fighting discrimination against transgender journalists in Ukraine.

•   Russia’s military capabilities have significantly declined after six months of war in Ukraine.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense made the assessment after analyzing Russian performance on the battlefield after half a year of combat, saying that “The Donbas offensive is making minimal progress and Russia anticipates a major Ukrainian counterattack.” The assessment further suggests that troop morale is “poor” in much of Moscow’s forces, with the Russian army “significantly degraded,” its diplomatic reach diminished, and its economic prospects, as a result of sanctions, are bleak.

•   A Russian-installed puppet head of a town in Zaporizhzhia Oblast has been killed in a car bombing.

Ivan Sushko, head of the occupied town of Mykhailivka, had been installed by the Russian occupiers to act as a puppet in the occupied portion of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Before being appointed as a local “authority”, Sushko worked as a toastmaster at weddings, and as a Santa Claus during the winter holidays.

•   The day’s long read: Ukraine’s army, politics, economy, and citizenry have all been transformed by six months of war.

The New Voice looks back at the past half year, and speaks to experts about how they’ve seen Ukraine and its people change – and what further changes may lie in store.

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