Weekly roundup. Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion. Days 733-737

This week, the situation on the frontlines has been difficult. After retreating from Avdiyivka two weeks earlier, Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the villages of Severne and Stepove near Avdiyivka to new defensive lines. Russia continues offensive operations along the frontlines, but Ukrainian troops forced the Russians out of the outskirts of Orlivka. The Ukrainian military command has allocated additional ammunition and material resources to the Avdiyivka direction.

In an unprecedented achievement, Ukraine has shot down five Russian Su-34 jets this week. Ukraine has caught up with Russia on production of suicide drones resembling the Iranian-made Shaheds, Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries, Oleksandr Kamyshin said on Monday.

A string of positive news marked the week on diplomatic fronts. French President, Emmanuel Macron, convened a conference of over 20 European heads of state and government in Paris on Monday, calling for western countries to step up their support for Ukraine. Macron made headlines by saying that sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine is not “ruled out” in the future, stirring a debate among the allies. President Zelenskyi welcomed Macron’s idea of the west sending troops to Ukraine, saying: “If any initiatives in Europe and in the world strengthen Ukraine, they are good for the entire world.”

The self-proclaimed pro-Russian authorities of Transnistria on Wednesday asked Moscow to implement measures to protect the region and its economy against an alleged threat from Moldova. Putin delivered his annual address to Russia’s parliament, reviving his nuclear threats. He also said the consequences of possible deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine “will be tragic”. 

According to a recent survey, the vast majority of Ukrainians (84 per cent) assert support for joining the EU.

It is critical that U.S. continue at speed with modernization of its nuclear triad, senior U.S. military officials say

Air Force Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, U.S. Strategic Command commander, and Space Force Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, U.S. Space Command commander, said recent investments by Russia and China underscore the imperative to maintaining the United States’ strategic edge, the U.S. Department of Defense said on Thursday.   

The 2022 Nuclear Posture Review identified the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal as a top priority in maintaining a strong nuclear deterrence. That modernization effort, which is being carried out over the next two decades, includes initiatives to modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad, the Pentagon said.

Senior military officials told lawmakers today that the United States remains ready to deter strategic and space-based threats, but continued investment is critical amid increasing competition.