War Update #3 – February 25, 2022 – Evening Report

Ukraine Warplanes
Ukraine Warplanes

The Latest on the War Front

  • Anti-war protests in Russia: Russian Police have arrested over four hundred anti-war demonstrators at protests across the country on Friday.
  • International event cancelations: Russia has been booted from the Eurovision Song Contest; the UEFA Champions League soccer competition has been moved from St. Petersburg to Paris; and the 2022 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi has been canceled.
  • Negotiations with Kyiv: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claims that Ukrainian officials are ‘taking a break’ from preparations for negotiations. The Putin administration previously reported that Kyiv and Moscow were ready to begin a dialogue to reach a ceasefire
  • Airspace closures: Russia has closed its airspace to British, Czech, and Polish aircraft, Poland and the Czech Republic have banned Russian flights, and the UK has banned Aeroflot from Great Britain
  • President Putin targeted with financial sanctions: Great Britain and the European Union have both imposed personal sanctions on President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The United States says it will do the same.
  • The Battle of Hostomel Airport: Russian Defence Ministry claims Russian forces have captured the Hostomel Airport just outside Kyiv. The Defence Ministry further claims that the battle resulted in the deaths over 200 Ukrainian soldiers, and that over 150 Ukraine soldier surrendered.
  • The war according to the Ukraine: The Ukrainian military reports that they have destroyed 80 Russian tanks, along with over 500 infantry fighting vehicles, shot down seven attack helicopter, and 10 aircraft
  • The Ukraine Defence Ministry says that their forces have killed over 2,800 enemy soldiers.
  • War on Facebook: In retaliation for content-moderation policies that flagged false reporting by Russian media outlets, Russia’s federal censor announced that it will start reducing access to Facebook in Russia.

There are concerns that a Russian Offensive will be launched overnight. Here is live video from DW the German State broadcaster of downtown Kyiv.

Russian Loses Appear to be Mounting

The Ukraine Defence Ministry is reporting that “After heavy battles and significant losses, the Russian invaders are stopped near Konotop. They have a problem with fuel and supply. Tankists walk with canisters and try to buy fuel. Soldiers of the occupation forces are demanding food from the local population. There are cases of looting of trade institutions on the side of Russian occupiers which have been recorded”.

The Ministry says that “On the outskirts of the town there are about 40 units of burnt Russian equipment”.

Those words are being echoed by the Pentagon.

“Ukrainian service members are fighting bravely — and effectively — for their country against the massive Russian onslaught”, a senior defence official said at the Pentagon today.

The official, speaking on background, said Russian forces attacking toward the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv are going slower than they anticipated. “They are meeting more resistance than they expected,” according to the official.

The invasion, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 23, is designed to “decapitate” the Ukrainian government so Russia can install its own puppet regime, DOD officials said.

The official added, “The attack on the Ukraine capital is just one of three axes that the Russians are attacking through. The second one is aimed at Kharkiv in the northeastern part of the country and fighting continues in that region. A third attack in the south seems to be splitting with Russian forces aiming northwest toward Kyiv and northeast toward Mariupol west of that city, Russian amphibious ships are landing naval infantry”.

“The general assumption is that they will move … towards the northeast towards Mariupol and the Donbass region. What we’ve seen over the last 24 hours, we do assess that there is greater resistance by the Ukrainians than the Russians expected,” the official said.

“We also assess over the last 24 hours that in general … the Russians have lost a little bit of their momentum,” he said. “They are not advancing as far or as fast as we believe they expected they would do. A good indicator of that is no population centers have been taken.”

The official said that Russia has yet to achieve air superiority over Ukraine. “Ukrainian air missile defense systems are still working, though they were degraded by strikes,” he said.

This includes Ukrainian aircraft that continue to engage and deny air access to Russian aircraft.

Russia continues to fire missiles into Ukraine with the total number up to around 200 since the invasion began. These are a combination of ballistic and cruise-launched missiles from land, sea and air.

Officials estimate the Russians have about a third of the forces they amassed on Ukraine’s borders and in Belarus inside Ukraine now.

Finally, he noted that Ukrainian command and control of its military is still working and that officials are still able to coordinate movements, get supplies where they are needed, target the enemy and so on.

There have certainly been casualties, but the official would not hazard a guess to the extent. “While I can’t give you exact numbers, we certainly don’t think that it has been bloodless,” the official said. “In just the last 24 hours that there have been, there has been loss of life. There have been casualties, and each and every one of them could have been avoided if Mr. Putin had taken advantage of the diplomatic options he still had available to him. his war, his choice and these are on his hands, and I think that’s important to continue to remember.”

Sanctions Against Russia

In Canada, the sale of Russian Vodka is coming to an end in many provinces. In Ontario bottles are being pulled from the shelves. That move is being done in other provinces.

While that move is largely symbolic, Canada and the European Union and the United States has announced a wider range of sanctions designed to hamper Russia financially.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) is the system used by over 11,000 financial institutions in order to send and receive secure payment orders.

One move being considered is removing Russia from access the SWIFT. Doing so would financially cripple the Russian economy. Financial experts have called that move the equivalent of a financial nuclear bomb.

Germany seems a bit more hesitant to support banning Russia from Swift.

Removing Russia from the system would make it basically impossible for financial institutions to send money in or out of Russia with consequences for both the country’s oil and gas sector and for European customers who are dependent on Russian oil and natural gas.

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