Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday that although he knew about the likelihood of a Russian invasion, the Ukrainian government did not make the news public to avoid causing panic. “We knew about the war, but we could not warn the Ukrainians about it, otherwise, we would have lost immediately.”
CIA Director William Burns had visited Zelensky in mid-January to warn of a planned Russian attack. But Zelensky stated that informing the Ukrainian public would have made a Russian victory more likely:
"If we had communicated that … then I would have been losing $7 billion a month since last October, and at the moment when the Russians did attack, they would have taken us in three days. I’m not saying whose idea it was, but generally, our inner sense was right: If we sow chaos among people before the invasion, the Russians will devour us. Because during chaos, people flee the country.”
Zelensky was also asked whether he had thought that such large-scale escalation was possible at the time: “Look, how can you believe this? That they will torture people and that this is their goal? No one believed it would be like this. And no one knew it.”
From Odessa To Kharkiv, A Night Of Shelling Across Ukraine
Shelling in Odessa
Russia launched an attack on the southern city of Odessa last night injuring at least four people. Serhii Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odessa military administration, said in a Telegram post that a recreational center and several buildings had been destroyed. Rescue operations are ongoing.
Meanwhile, the Dnipropetrovsk region in south-east Ukraine was hit three times during the night. During the day, the Russian army fired artillery and rockets at the region of Kharkiv in the north-east of the country. Meanwhile, shelling continues in Kherson.
Russia Shifting Army Recruitment To Neighboring States
Russian servicemen march during the opening of the 2022 International Army Games at the Patriot military park.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has reported on Russia’s efforts to attract more foreign citizens to the country’s armed forces. The Russian army has struggled with a drawn-out battle, as some reports suggest that 500 Russian troops are killed or injured every day.
As Russian residents try to avoid going to war and no official nation-wide mobilization announced, the Russian army is shifting its recruiting focus to prisoners and citizens from neighboring states in Central Asia.
"For the formation of new army units, the local leadership instructed the employees of military commissariats and police departments to ‘conduct campaigning activities’ with citizens of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan," the Ministry statement reads.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian intelligence states that in Chechnya, men are being kidnapped and forced to join the army: "A significant part of the ‘volunteers’ in the formed battalions are local young men kidnapped by Chechen security forces, mostly from rural areas."
Russia Launches “Banned Content” Hunting Machineflat screen computer monitors on tablePhoto by Kaur Kristjan on Unsplash
Russia has allocated 57.7 million rubles (€940,000) to the creation of a system capable of analyzing texts, photos, and videos on websites and social networks. Planned for launch in December, Oculus is reported to be able to examine 200,000 images per day.
Since the beginning of the war, the use of phrases such as "no to war" and symbols of peace, such as pictures of doves, have been forbidden in Russia and led to arrests in Moscow.
The list of banned content also includes any signs of disrespect toward the authorities, as well as gay propaganda.
German Gas Giant Uniper Blames Losses On Russian Supply Cuts
Uniper facility in the port of Rotterdam
German energy giant Uniper has blamed Russian supply cuts for the €12.3 billion ($12.5 billion) net loss it recorded in the first six months of 2022.
The German state is putting a €12.3 billion rescue package in place to support Uniper and taking a 30% stake in the company, German daily Die Welt points out that Uniper does not expect a return to profitability before 2024.
Ukraine’s State Nuclear Power Company Accuses Russian Hackers Of Attack
Energoatom, Ukraine's state nuclear power company, accused Russian hackers of launching a “powerful” attack on the company’s website for a couple hours on Tuesday. The attack did not “significantly” affect the operations of the site.
"The most powerful hacker attack since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation took place on the official website of the state-owned enterprise NAEK Energoatom. The attack was carried out from the territory of the Russian Federation," the company said in a Facebook post.
The statement blamed the Russian group "People's Cyber Army" for the attack, which it said used an estimated 7.25 million bot users to overload the company’s website.
Russian Soldiers Used Prisoner’s Social Media For Propaganda
Screenshot of Tik Tok video featuring Igor Kurayan that the Russian captors posted
Before the war started, Igor Kurayan, a 55-year-old from the southern Ukrainian port city of Kherson, used social media to share updates of his garden. The day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he posted a selfie on Instagram with a rifle announcing he was going to fight in the reserve units of Ukraine's military.
He was abducted in early April when Kherson was captured by Russian troops. After he was kidnapped, his social media pages, including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, were changed to display pro-Russian posts and propaganda. His captors tortured him and wanted to depict him as traitor to his country.
Kurayan was freed in a prisoner exchange in late April after being detained for almost a month, but his story is far from unique. Many prisoners have been forced to participate in the Kremlin's propaganda machine. Their social media pages are used to promote the war, while others are forced to appear in staged TV interviews.
Estonia Removes Soviet-Era Monument
Removing Narva's Soviet-era monument
The Estonian government announced on Tuesday that it had decided to remove a Soviet-era monument in a border town in the country's Russian-speaking region.
Engineers began removing a tank at one memorial in the town of Narva yesterday, with police and security forces standing guard, Estonia's public broadcaster ERR reported.
“Today’s decision helps to keep our focus on our most important tasks: ensuring Estonia’s security and helping all the people of Estonia weather the crises caused by the war in Ukraine,” Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was quoted as saying. The Soviet tank will be moved to a war museum north of the capital, Tallinn.
Russian media reported that the Kremlin considers the removal of the monument to be "a scandal". Dmitri Peskov, spokesman for the Russian presidency, also commented on the recent events: "They are fighting history, and moreover, common history, and are getting rid of the monuments of those who saved Europe from fascism.”