The scarcity of shells in Russia may be overshadowed by the potentially adverse impact of Israel’s military actions in Gaza on US foreign policy initiatives.
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has further exacerbated the existing divisions in the international community, much like the tensions that arose during Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine war. Both parties are striving to solidify their increasingly divided network of global alliances as the Ukraine war enters its 87th week.
After his visit to Israel on October 18, US President Joe Biden likened Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Hamas, a group that the United States and the European Union view as a terrorist organization, in the same manner.
In a televised address from the Oval Office, President Biden highlighted the menacing intentions of Hamas and Putin, despite their distinctive ideologies. Both entities harbour a desire to obliterate a democratic neighbour, a notion that is deeply concerning for global stability and peace. This speech, which was viewed by 20 million people, emphasized the importance of addressing these threats to ensure the preservation of democratic values and international relations.
European allies of Washington, who have shown support for Ukraine, also made trips to Israel to demonstrate solidarity and strengthen their geopolitical alliance.
Biden recently showed his support for Ukraine and Israel by advocating for $105 billion in additional funding for these countries in a single piece of legislation. He believes that this investment will yield long-term benefits for American security.
“It’s amusing how they once touted their actions as a struggle for liberty and democracy,” Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, retorted via Telegram. “But now it’s clear it’s all about crunching the numbers.”
China and Russia have also sought to strengthen their cooperation, with a focus on closely coordinating their efforts to address crises in the Middle East. During a meeting between Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and China’s Special Envoy for the Middle East Zhai Jun in Doha on October 20, the same day as Biden’s speech, they discussed ways to enhance their collaboration in the region.
Russia has been strengthening its ties with Iran, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visiting President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran on October 24 to enhance their multifaceted partnership, according to a statement released by Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday.
Iran, which backs Hezbollah in Lebanon – an adversary of Israel, not only provides Shahed kamikaze drones to Russia for their conflict in Ukraine but also reportedly supplies a new variant of Iranian drone called Italmas. This drone, known for its extended range and improved stealth capabilities, might have been deployed by Russia starting from October 23, as per sources from Russian news outlets.
Ukraine has been bolstering its military capabilities with cutting-edge hardware, thanks to substantial assistance from the West. The relationship between diplomacy, military innovation, and financial support is closely intertwined, and Ukraine has been relyings heavily on aid from Western nations.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, the US has allocated nearly $77bn to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia between February 24 last year and July 31 this year. President Biden is seeking approval from Congress for an additional $60bn in aid. Meanwhile, the EU has provided 82 billion euros ($86.7bn) in support since the start of the war.
Ukraine has received some assistance in the form of cutting-edge military technology, which has provided them with a strategic advantage.
In the current month, Ukraine commenced the utilization of Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) sourced from the United States’ collection of weapons. Putin disregarded it as a tool that merely extends the suffering, however Ukraine employed it to inflict harm on a minimum of five Russian helicopters at the airfield in Luhansk city and also caused additional damage at an airfield situated in the occupied territory of Berdyansk.
Putin is facing growing financial challenges as well. According to Britain’s military intelligence on Monday, he has augmented the defense budget for the upcoming year by 68 percent, amounting to $82 billion or 6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This move is believed to be an attempt to address the rising expenses related to healthcare and retirement benefits for soldiers.
According to the head of Estonia’s military intelligence, Russia has approximately four million shells of artillery ordnance. This quantity would enable them to sustain a “low intensity” war for an additional year. Ants Kiviselg, the intelligence chief, mentioned that Russia’s current firing rate ranges from 10,000 to 15,000 shells per day, which is significantly lower than the average of 45,000 to 80,000 shells per day observed last year.
Hungary has been the outlier in the Western alliance, with its prime minister, Viktor Orban, recently visiting China to commemorate the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and meeting with Russian leader Putin to reinforce ties between their nations. Following his return, Orban drew parallels between Hungary’s EU membership and the country’s previous Soviet occupation.
Hungary cannot be governed by the liberal democratic model used in Brussels, Orban stated. Unlike Moscow, which was a tragic scenario, Brussels is merely a poor imitation of a contemporary democracy, Orban explained to his audience in Veszprem.
In December, Hungary was the European Union member state most resistant to eliminating its imports of Russian oil.
The US envoy to Hungary, David Pressman, expressed worry about the ties between Hungary and Russia in a statement released on October 20, indicating that the United States is watchful of the situation.
The conflict in Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian forces has escalated in its 87th week, with a concentrated attack by Russian troops on the town of Avdiivka and Ukrainian soldiers making discrete gains along the front. The fight for control of the village continued two days later, according to the BBC’s Russian service.
On October 20, the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s General Staff announced that their soldiers successfully defended against attacks near Avdiivka on the eastern front, resulting in the destruction of approximately 50 Russian tanks and around 100 armored fighting vehicles. Several Ukrainian soldiers claimed that the number of destroyed Russian vehicles reached 200, a significant loss acknowledged by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as being “extremely shocking” towards the end of last week.
According to Oleksandr Shtupun, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s forces in the south, Russia is being compelled to send new soldiers directly from their own country to replenish the Avdiivka front. Reuters news agency reported on October 24 that the casualties have led Moscow to change its strategy and resort to air strikes.
As stated by Gudmundsson, who monitors Russian casualties using publicly available information, the most severe day of the conflict for Russia in terms of losses occurred on October 20, with a reported 1,380 casualties, significantly higher than the daily average of approximately 500 in 2023.
On October 21, video footage with location data appeared to indicate that Russian troops had made small progress in the landfill region northwest of the city. Two days later, they seemed to have moved forward again in that area. However, the military of Ukraine reported that another 20 attempts to attack had been unsuccessful.
On October 23, Ukrainian forces were steadily advancing approximately 45km to the north, implementing a pincer strategy around the occupied Bakhmut. They successfully crossed an important railway line near Klishchiivka.
In the 87th week of Russia’s ongoing conflict, Ukraine successfully established a new offensive position on the left bank of the Dnipro river in Kherson, expanding the battlefront to a total distance of 1,500km (932 miles).
According to a military journalist from Russia, Ukrainian teams involved in sabotage and intelligence work successfully established a presence in the village of Krynky, which is situated 2km away from the Dnipro shoreline. This information has been validated by footage that has been geolocated.
The Defence Ministry of Russia announced that it had successfully prevented multiple efforts by reconnaissance teams to cross the Dnipro, without providing any details about the specific location.
According to a think tank called the Institute for the Study of War, which is located in Washington, DC, Ukrainian forces have already secured positions on certain areas of the coastline and close to the Antonivsky bridge.
Last Updated: 30 October 2023