Updated September 17, 2023 at 2:53 p.m. EDT|Published September 17, 2023 at 1:52 a.m. EDT
“That’s a very high bar,” Milley said. “It’s going to take a long time to do it.”
Zelensky is set to travel to Washington this week to appeal for more assistance, The Washington Post has reported. His visit to Capitol Hill is tentatively expected Thursday, when — backed by the Biden administration — he will try to persuade members of Congress to vote for Ukraine aid. The trip would be his second to the United States since the war began.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
Zelensky’s visit to the Hill will be “very, very persuasive” in getting members to vote for Ukraine aid, Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told “Face The Nation” on CBS. “Zelensky is a great spokesperson. He really makes the case better than anyone that this is a fight for democracy.” Turner said Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) would have preferred the White House had come to them before proposing the last Ukrainian aid package. “The House and certainly the Republican caucus overwhelmingly supports aid for Ukraine. There will be issues over what the administration has asked for and what Congress ultimately gives,” Turner said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un concluded his trip to Russia, boarding a specially equipped armored train to the fanfare of a military orchestra in the far-eastern city of Artyom on Sunday, Russian state news outlet RIA Novosti reported. Kim’s visit has drawn attention in Washington and beyond over a possible arms deal between Moscow and Pyongyang, as Russia seeks artillery for its waning stockpiles.
In Russia, Kim viewed aviation equipment and missile systems in the city of Vladivostok, where he was met by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, state media outlet Tass reported. Over the weekend, the leader of North Korea attended “The Sleeping Beauty” ballet on the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. Kim also visited an aquarium, where he watched marine animals perform, Russian media reported.
Kim was gifted five kamikaze drones, a reconnaissance drone and a bulletproof vest by the governor of the Primorsky region, which borders China and North Korea, Tass reported Sunday.
Two merchant ships approached Ukrainian ports on Saturday, the first civilian vessels to travel through a temporary shipping corridor in the Black Sea since the collapse of a grain deal with Russia in July. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the Palauan-flagged ships, Resilient Africa and Aroyat, are headed to Chornomorsk, where they will load nearly 20,000 tons of wheat for Africa and Asia.
Jewish pilgrims gathered in central Ukraine to mark Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish new year, which began at sunset Friday and ended at sundown Sunday. More than 35,000 pilgrims — mostly from the United States, Israel and Europe — gathered in the city of Uman, which holds historical significance for the Hasidic community, according to the regional governor, Ihor Taburets. Ukrainian and Israeli police were patrolling the area, which was under air raid alerts Sunday morning.
An apartment in occupied Crimea owned by Zelensky is among 100 properties on the peninsula that Russian authorities there plan to sell, according to an announcement Saturday by Volodymyr Konstantinov, the speaker of Crimea’s parliament. He wrote on Telegram that eight auctions had concluded, generating about $8.8 million. The other sales will take place soon, he added. Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine.
There will be no swift end to Russia’s war in Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told German media in an interview published Sunday. “Most wars last longer than expected when they first begin,” he told the Funke media group. “There is no doubt that Ukraine will eventually be in NATO,” he said, adding, “We are all wishing for a quick peace.”
The war in Ukraine was a topic of conversation between national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, according to a U.S. readout of their Sunday conversation. “The two sides discussed key issues in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship, global and regional security issues, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and cross-Strait issues, among other topics,” per the readout.
Poland will ban Russian-registered cars from entering its borders starting Sunday, Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski announced. Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have imposed similar restrictions. An update to European Commission guidelines asked member states to stop Russian citizens from bringing cars and other goods into the European Union in an effort to prevent sanctions-dodging.
Defense firms from 21 countries will participate in Ukraine’s Defense Industries Forum, Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday. The event, which is set to take place this fall, is the first of its kind to be held in Ukraine, he said. “Our task is absolutely clear — to provide Ukraine with all the opportunities to produce weapons and ammunition, to provide modern technology to have reliable protection against any form of aggression,” Zelensky said. Ukraine’s foreign minister previously said top defense industry firms in France and the Czech Republic have been invited to the forum.
U.K. officials are supporting the family of a British man who reportedly died in Ukraine and are in contact with local authorities, a British Foreign Office spokesman told The Post. Daniel Burke, 36, a former British soldier, was reported missing by his family on Aug. 16 after traveling to the Ukrainian front to fight against Russian forces, according to BBC News. Burke’s family told the outlet that Ukrainian authorities recently recovered the former paratrooper’s body in the Zaporizhzhia region.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said he was skeptical that any munitions North Korea might provide to Russia would be decisive in Moscow’s war against Ukraine. “Would it have a huge difference? I’m skeptical,” Milley said following Kim’s rare trip outside his nation to meet with President Vladimir Putin in Russia. “The impact, I wouldn’t want to downplay it too much, but … I doubt that it will be decisive,” Milley told reporters traveling with him overseas.
Ukrainian forces have taken the village of Klishchiivka near Bakhmut, ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrsky posted on Telegram. This comes after the recent capture of nearby Andriivka, which Russia disputed. The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday that Ukraine was “unsuccessfully trying to oust Russian troops” near Bakhmut. The Post has described the area as a landscape dotted with abandoned coal mines and giant slag piles grown over with trees.
Even if successful, Ukraine’s counteroffensive has limited objectives, Milley said Sunday on CNN. “Even if they are fully achieved, they don’t completely kick out all the Russians, which is the broader strategic objective that President Zelensky had,” Milley said. “It’ll take a considerable length of time to militarily eject all 200,000 or plus Russian troops out of Russian-occupied Ukraine. That’s a very high bar.”
A 45-year-old farmworker died and another person was injured when a tractor hit a mine while plowing a field in Beryslav, Kherson Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin posted Sunday on Telegram. The survivor was a 26-year-old man, Prokudin said. The governor stressed that farmers shouldn’t resume work in their fields until they are cleared of mines by authorities. A local prosecutor’s office said Sunday that it was investigating shelling in Kherson that killed a 69-year-old man. Additionally, prosecutors are investigating artillery fire that struck a civilian building, killing a man and injuring a woman.
Two Ukrainian drones were shot down by Russia’s air defense forces over the Moscow region during the night, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Sunday. The first drone was downed in the district of Istra, the second in the Ramensky district, he said. No casualties or damage were reported.
Russia launched drone and missile attacks on southern parts of Ukraine’s Odessa region, striking an agricultural facility, Ukraine’s air force said Sunday on Telegram. Russia launched six Iranian-made Shahed drones and 10 cruise missiles, the air force said, noting that 12 projectiles were destroyed before they hit their targets.
Russian forces have “likely reinforced” their defenses around the occupied town of Tokmak in southern Ukraine, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Sunday. Moscow is probably deploying additional checkpoints in the area, which is about 10 miles behind the current front line, the ministry said. Bolstering the town’s defenses could hint at “Russia’s growing concern about Ukrainian tactical penetrations of the first main defensive line to the north,” according to the update.
Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky under pressure in criminal cases: The war in Ukraine has greatly curtailed the influence of the country’s oligarchs, but perhaps none more so than Ihor Kolomoisky, an oil, banking and media mogul who was once valued at $2 billion.
Kolomoisky is behind bars, facing legal troubles including allegations that he skimmed assets from Ukraine’s richest bank, which he once owned, as David L. Stern reports from Kyiv. Kolomoisky also owned a television channel that carried the popular show “Servant of the People,” about an unlikely president, played by Zelensky, the onetime actor turned wartime president who is now spearheading the country’s campaign against alleged corruption among its oligarchs.