Russia out of steam in the east, Partisan group takes responsibility for Dugina, and outcry at proposed Dovzhenko Center closure

23 August, 03:39 PM

This newsletter was compiled by Romeo Kokriatski, Managing Editor of the New Voice of Ukraine, August 23, 2022.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, while small advances may continue, Russia’s momentum from territorial gains around Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in late July is tapped out. While Russian forces have announced the capture of of Ukrainian fortifications around the Butivka Coal Mine, ISW analysts note that Ukraine was able to successfully withdraw with minimal losses. “Russian forces’ failure to capitalize on prior gains around Bakhmut and Avdiyivka is an example of a more fundamental Russian military problem – their demonstrated inability to translate tactical gains into operational successes,” the ISW says.

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Kherson regional governor Serhiy Khlan noted that no proper preparations, in terms of staffing and scheduling, have been laid down - even in the town of Henichesk, which serves as “an experimental platform for the invaders.” Three weeks remain before the planned referendum date, but recent intelligence reports have indicated that Russia’s plans have been thrown into chaos by Ukrainian offensives in the region.

The group, Pyatnashka, is believed to be composed of nationals from the Russian client pseudo-state of Abkhazia in Georgia, and has fought on the side of the Luhansk puppet authorities since 2014. Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Hayday noted that the Ukrainian strike has resulted in a significant number of casualties for the armed group, likely with the use of a HIMARS artillery platform.

The National Republican Army, heretofore unknown to the public, revealed themselves via an announcement by Russian oppositionist Ilya Ponomarev in Kyiv. “This action (the assassination of Dugina), like many other direct partisan actions carried out on the territory of Russia in recent months, was carried out by the National Republican Army (NRA),” said Ponomarev. The group posted their supposed manifesto on a Telegram channel called Rospartizan, and have promised further attacks against Russian officials and propagandists. In a commentary to Ukrainian web site Ukrainska Pravda, Ponomarev said that he has been in contact with representatives of the organization since April 2022.

The agency, Derzhkino, had initially penned a plan for the center’s “reorganization” – de facto, a plan to shut it down, claims Derzhkino’s Public Council, a non-governmental oversight committee. The Public Council further alleges that they were not properly informed of Derzhkino’s plans, calling them “dubious and non-transparent.” While Derzhkino head Marina Kuderchuk has said that the closure of the popular cultural center was due to its “financial unviability”, the Public Council noted that that logic could apply to a large range of state-financed cultural institutions across the country. Both ordinary Ukrainians and experts have stood up in defense of the Dovzhenko Center. In particular, the Docudays UA film festival called on Derzhkino to withdraw the order, and the Mystetsky Arsenal, the Ukrainian Institute, and the Ukrainian PEN appealed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to stop the  reorganization.

An audio message posted to a Kherson local Telegram channel revealed that the bridge has been heavily damaged, and may no longer be a complete structure in places. “And she lives not far from the Antonivskyi Bridge. She says they f*cked it up in half! Get it? It’s f*cking gone. The bridge is no more. Basically, it just shattered into pieces there. There, in the middle of the bridge... Well, basically, there is no bridge... It’s no longer connected at all,” the message says, supposedly as part of a phone call between local Kherson residents. There is no official confirmation of this information yet, however, a photo circulating on social media that captures the moment one of the missiles hit shows an explosion of such power that it could well have lead to the destruction described.

Media Group Ukraine of Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov will fire all key employees by the end of August, while the company's assets will be sold or leased, SCM director of communications Natalya Yemchenko said in a post on Facebook on Aug 22. The company will sell part of its assets at market prices, and lease out part of it. “Under equal conditions, we will give preference to former employees, if one of them decides to start something of their own,” added Yemchenko.

In the first official confirmation of Ukrainian losses, Ukraine’s top general Valery Zaluzhny released this information during a military forum. “Their father went to the front and, perhaps, he is among those 9,000 heroes who died,” Zaluzhny said, referencing the children killed by Russian attacks over the course of the full-scale invasion.

Butusov dives into the meaning of Dugina’s death, and the role her father, fascist ideologue Alexander Dugin, played in modern Russia, and in Russia’s current war on Ukraine.

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