Russia’s unrelenting shelling of eastern Ukraine killed at least nine people and wounded six others in the last day, Ukraine officials said Thursday.
At the same time, Moscow appears to have given its soldiers a break to regroup, analysts say.
After 133 days of war in Ukraine, Russia’s legislators are looking at the long-term economic impacts and putting the economy on wartime footing. The Duma on Thursday passed the first reading of a law to address “special economic measures.”
“The legislation is likely an attempt by the Kremlin to put into place economic measures to support the ‘special military operation’ without a formal declaration of state mobilisation, which remains politically sensitive,” the British Defense Ministry said in a tweet on the action.
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Where is Russia attacking Ukraine?
Cities and villages in seven Ukrainian regions were shelled in the past day, Ukraine’s presidential office said in its Thursday morning update. Most of the civilian deaths occurred in Donetsk province, where fighting is ongoing. Seven civilians died, including a child, the presidential office said.
In Donetsk, Russians shelled 10 municipalities, destroying 35 buildings, including a school, a vocational college and a hospital, officials said.
The Ukrainian military said Thursday that Russian forces also carried out shelling and helicopter strikes in the Sumy region in the northeast.
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Why is Russia pausing its ‘special operation’?
While Russian troops continue their assaults on Ukrainian sites, the Kremlin has made no gains in territory for the first time since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the think tank Institute for the Study of War said Wednesday in its latest assessment of the situation, saying “Russian forces have largely initiated an operational pause.”
“The Russian Defense Ministry claimed territorial gains every day from the start of the war but has not claimed any new territory or ground force movements since completing the encirclement of Lysychansk on July 3,” the think tank posted on its website.
The pause is meant to reset the battlefield, allowing for the military to regroup for “more significant offensive operations.”
Kremlin confirms this break, sort of
A Thursday statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry seemed to confirm that assessment. It said Russian military units involved in combat in Ukraine had been given time to rest.
“The units that performed combat missions during the special military operation are taking measures to recover their combat capabilities. The servicemen are given the opportunity to rest, receive letters and parcels from home,” read the statement, quoted by Russian state news agency Tass.
Russia’s Duma passes economic legislation
Russian lawmakers took action Wednesday on proposed legislation sent to the Duma by the Kremlin to address the economic conditions resulting from over four months of war.
“Russia has been conducting a special military operation for four months now under enormous sanctions pressure,” said deputy prime minister Yuri Borisov, as reported in the Financial Times.
The legislation allows for some workers to work more overtime and for businesses to be mobilized for wartime use.
According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, it has another purpose: “It also allows Russia to avoid acknowledging that it is engaged in a war or its failure to overcome Ukraine’s military that was outnumbered and outgunned.”
Polish, Lithuanian leaders meet with NATO troops
The presidents of Poland and Lithuania planned to meet NATO troops on both sides of their border Thursday to demonstrate the alliance’s defense readiness at a location regarded as a strategically important bottleneck.
The 43-mile Suwalki Gap is wedged between Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus, a Russia ally. It also links Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia to other NATO members and has drawn special attention during Russia’s war in Ukraine since several NATO nations border Ukraine.
Polish President Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, accompanied by their countries’ defense ministers, planned to observe an exercise in Szypliszki, Poland, by a mobile command unit of the US-led Multinational Division North East.
Contributing: Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism