Last week (July 31 — August 6), a discussion of the Ukrainian “peace formula” took place in Saudi Arabia, attended by representatives from about 40 countries. The participants supported the central points of the peace plan such as respect for the sovereignty and inviolability of the territorial integrity of states.

However, Russia is not going to end the hostilities and publicly states that it claims Ukrainian lands, which have even been “included” in the Russian constitution. Russia has allocated a third of state budget spending for defense; it builds armed self-defense units in the regions bordering Ukraine, and keeps increasing the mobilization resources.

At the same time, the war is shooting back to the aggressor's territory more and more, where military facilities and logistics arteries of the occupiers keep exploding. To justify its own failures, the Kremlin accuses Ukraine of terrorism, simultaneously attacking the civilian and critical infrastructure of our state.

Ukraine Raises Global Support For a Just Peace

On July 5–6, Saudi Arabia hosted a meeting of national security advisers and political advisers to leaders from about 40 countries to discuss the Ukrainian peace formula. The Office of the President of Ukraine reported that the meeting’s intention is to find the best formulations and mechanisms for the implementation of the Ukrainian peace plan.

A propos, at the G20 summit last November, Volodymyr Zelensky presented a 10-step peace plan. It provides, among other things, for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Russia’s responsibility for war crimes. The plan should lay the basis for the Global Peace Summit, and last week Ukraine intensified the preparations for it.

Thus, the meeting participants in Jeddah, as reported by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, citing sources in the European Union, reached an understanding on respect for Ukraine's territorial integrity, which should be reflected in the scope of any peace agreement. The German newspaper Spiegel subsequently reported on the agreements reached on the central points of a peaceful solution.

Also at the meeting, it was decided to make working groups on key topics of the 10 points of the Ukrainian Peace Formula and discussed the timing of the meetings of the heads of state.

Following the meeting, the Office of the President of Ukraine confirmed that the countries expressed support for the principle of inviolability of the territorial integrity of states, and also characterized the consultations as productive and effective.

“The meeting in Jeddah was a step towards the practical implementation of the peace initiatives proposed by Ukraine. Each state participating in the consultations has the opportunity to show leadership in global efforts for peace. Most of them have already determined their role in the implementation of certain provisions of the Formula. The parties agreed to continue working at various representative levels in order to establish a just and comprehensive peace,” reads the website of the Office of the President.

The meeting in Saudi Arabia was the second event following a similar meeting of senior officials in Copenhagen in late June. However, more countries joined the negotiations in Jeddah, in particular, a number of countries of the Global South with a neutral position on the Russian-Ukrainian war, which support the Ukrainian side is trying to enlist.

“It is especially critical to work with the countries of the Global South, who Russia is constantly trying to manipulate. The aggressor state should not even have the opportunity to make it look like some significant part of the world supports the aggressor and supports Russian terror,” Volodymyr Zelensky said at a meeting with the heads of foreign diplomatic institutions of Ukraine.

An important news was the participation in the negotiations of China, which Russia considers their strategic partner. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba called this event a “super breakthrough” because no representative of China attended the recent meeting in Copenhagen. Now, the country’s leader Xi Jinping delegated to the meeting Li Hui who had already visited Kyiv with an initiative to resolve the war.

Brazil can also play a significant role in the implementation of the Peace Formula. Volodymyr Zelensky believes that Brazilian President Lula da Silva could contribute a lot to end the war in Ukraine, in particular, to help implement one of the items of the peace plan. Therefore, on the eve of the meeting, the Office of the President of Ukraine aimed at dividing responsibility between countries on certain points of the Ukrainian “formula”.

At the same time, the Russian Federation was not invited to the talks, although on the eve of the event, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for the inclusion of representatives of the aggressor in the event in Saudi Arabia. However, other participants of the meeting were not happy about that. Ukraine stated that the event is a forum of responsible states that respect international law and the UN Charter, and the United States stressed that Russia is not ready for “genuine diplomacy”.

However, the Kremlin masters were not happy about the decisions. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev said that any proposals to end the war had a chance of success, but only in the case of participation in the negotiations of the two parties to the “conflict”. In addition, in the imperialist delusion, Medvedev said that Ukraine had not existed before 1991, and that the mediators of peace initiatives should recognize the fact of the disintegration of Ukraine and the return of its part of the territory to Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also repeated in a comment to The New York Times that Russia allegedly did not seek to seize new territory but wants to control Ukrainian regions “included in the Russian constitution.”

At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke about the need to safeguard the rights of national minorities. They say that if Ukraine returns its territories, it will destroy everything Russian, and therefore Russia cannot abandon millions of Russians whose ancestors have lived on those lands for centuries. As to the leaders of states promoting the Peace Formula, Lavrov encouraged them to realize that “the fate of these people whom the Kyiv regime openly promises to destroy” is at stake.

His colleague, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, told reporters at a briefing that the event in Saudi Arabia was not a search for political solutions but rather an attempt to take advantage of the genuine intentions of a number of states to build an anti-Russian coalition.

It is obvious that Russia is nervous about yet another opportunity to convey the truth about the war to the countries of the Global South and hold bilateral negotiations on the “sidelines” of the meeting. Analysts at The New York Times believe that the meeting in Saudi Arabia could weaken Russia and become a starting point for Ukraine’s main diplomatic move in the coming months to try to “undermine” the Russian Federation.

Ukraine continues its diplomatic struggle to build up global support for the organization of the Global Peace Summit. The Ukrainian side emphasizes that the proposed Peace Formula fully complies with the UN Charter and the appropriate resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

“Supporting the Formula means supporting not only a just and lasting peace in Ukraine, but also international law,” said Dmytro Kuleba.

The Kremlin Does Not Abandon the Aggressive War

The past week also produced a number of statements and events. They imply that the Kremlin is not going to withdraw from their plans to seize Ukraine, and will not abandon the efforts to continue a full-scale invasion.

Thus, the Chief Intelligence Department representative, Andriy Chernyak, said that Russia forcibly mobilized about 60,000 men in the occupied territories of Ukraine: “It is a violent mobilization: the occupiers caught people in the street, they came to those small enterprises that were still functioning, and forcibly took people away – they just changed their clothes and sent them to the front.”

Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, said that since the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation had recruited more than 231,000 people for the contract service, and boasted that Russia managed to “successfully adapt” the system of selection for contract service before the war with Ukraine.

British intelligence reports that the Russian Federation has been forming new large units over the past two months to reinforce its ground forces. However, “without a new large wave of mandatory mobilization, Russia is unlikely to find enough new troops to equip even one new army.” The Institute for the Study of War emphasizes that the Kremlin is "trying to create favorable conditions for attracting additional volunteers to serve in the Russian armed forces.”

Interestingly, the Russian authorities do not hesitate to introduce additional control and surveillance of russians, which may well be “useful” for mobilization. From now on, all railway tickets purchased with a passport, regardless of the user’s desire, are displayed on the State Services portal, where more than 100 million Russians have confirmed their accounts. In addition, from September 1, the Kremlin will have round-the-clock access to databases of taxi aggregators, which will be required to provide information about customers’ trips to the FSB and law enforcement agencies.

It should be added that the Russian Federation has sharply increased spending on the army. The British edition of Reuters writes that Russia has doubled its defense spending target for 2023 to more than $100 billion — a third of all government spending.

Some of these funds could potentially be used to purchase sanctioned goods for the military-industrial complex. China is called the key hub for such illegal supply. In particular, one of the Reuters materials states that in the first half of 2023 alone, Russia imported sanctioned chips, which are used, among other things, for the production of missiles, for a total of more than $502 million.

Recently, the CID representative Andriy Yusov reported that Russia keeps replenishing stocks of missiles for attacks on Ukraine but production pace is slow. In fact, Russian terrorists immediately shoot everything they produced to strike Ukraine.

Russia is also strengthening the regions bordering Ukraine by distributing weapons and military equipment to the so-called self-defense units. Such measures were taken in the Kursk and Belgorod regions. In particular, the governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, reported: “Almost every day, the Kursk region feels the terrorist attacks from the territory of Ukraine,” therefore, a voluntary people's squad was established to “protect the region.”

Russia’s preparation of provocations can be no less dangerous. Last week, the SBU released intelligence data indicating that the Russians were preparing a large-scale provocation under the false flag at the Mozyr Oil Refinery in order to draw Belarus into a full-scale war against Ukraine.

Another method of aggressive war and the outflow of the Kremlin is constant blackmail and threats. They are often voiced by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev. This time, he said that Russia’s enemies should pray for Russian soldiers because “they do not allow the world nuclear fire to break out.” The Russian official once again threatened with the potential use of nuclear weapons in the event of a “successful offensive by NATO supported Ukrainian Defense” and “the seizure of part of our land.”

The White House called Medvedev’s rhetoric “reckless and irresponsible”: “The use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine or anywhere would be catastrophic for the world and would have serious consequences for Russia.” In turn, United States Senator from the Republican Party, Lindsey Graham, emphasized that Russia should understand that the use of nuclear weapons would be an attack on NATO itself, given Ukraine’s proximity to the Alliance’s territory.

Double Standards: Russia Is Happy About the Attacks on Ukraine But Not Delighted When It “Impacts” Them

Last week was alarming in Moscow. First, on the night of July 30, and then on the night of August 1, the Russian capital was attacked by drones. They hit a business center in the Moscow City business district twice. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the drones were certainly Ukrainian, and did not target the business quarter but were shot down by air defense forces and allegedly fell down for that reason.

However, the Russian Foreign Ministry voiced another version. It is based on the fact that Ukraine deliberately attacked civilian skyscrapers. Thus, with the usual drama, the spokeswoman of the department Maria Zakharova called the events in the center of Moscow a terrorist act, which, according to the methodological approach, can be compared with the terrorist attack in the United States on September 11, 2001, when two twin towers in New York were destroyed.

“No one is trying to compare the scale. It is blasphemous to compare terrorist attacks to the extent that people are harmed, defeated, or killed. But it is impossible to ignore the obvious: the same methods for such acts which pursue a number of tasks, such as to destroy civilian infrastructure, to pose threat to the life of the civilian population and, of course, the psychological factor. This methodology is usually used by terrorists, and now these terrorist methods have been picked up by Kyiv,” Zakharova commented.

Two points should be emphasized here. First, the damaged buildings house the Ministry of Industrial Trade of the Russian Federation, which manages the production of drones and military communications equipment by the Russian military-industrial complex. In particular, it is engaged in the serial production of reconnaissance drones “Outpost” and their combat modifications “Outpost-RU.” And the hold all the necessary technologies. Therefore, according to the Defense Exspress, it is likely that the Moscow City Tower could be the target of an attack as a military significance facility. The statements of the Ministry of Defense from the aggressor country “about the suppression of the attacking UAVs by means of electronic warfare” and their shooting down are only an attempt to justify their own reputation and prevent panic.

Secondly, Russia is trying to present drone attacks in Moscow as an attack on civilian targets, although this is not the case. At the same time, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Russian Federation has been regularly attacking the civilian and critical infrastructure of Ukraine with missile and artillery strikes, and with drones. For example, at the beginning of last week alone, on the morning of July 31, russians attacked Kryvyi Rih, where two rockets hit a residential building and an educational institution, killing 6 people and injuring another 75. As soon as on August 1, Russia shelled the city hospital in Kherson with artillery, and killed a young doctor Dmytro Bilyi who had his first working day in the medical facility.

On the other hand, the Kremlin decided not to share the drama of Maria Zakharova. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that he did not see any similarities between the attack on Moscow City and the terrorist attack in the United States in 2001. At the same time, Peskov believes that the attacks on Moscow are supposedly an act of desperation. In fact, these events are in line with the approach of transferring the war to the territory of the aggressor country, which Ukraine has been persistently trying to implement.

Obviously, as part of some strategy, on the night of August 4, in the bay of the Russian port of Novorossiysk, a Ukrainian surface drone damaged a large landing ship of the occupiers “Olenegorsky Gorniak.” According to media reports, the vessel has suffered a serious breakdown and is unable to perform its combat missions. Also, Ukrainian sea drones in the Kerch Strait attacked the Russian tanker “SIG” which, according to the Security Service of Ukraine, transported fuel for the occupation forces.

According to Advisor to the Head of the President’s Office Mykhailo Podoliak, Ukraine is trying to regain control over its maritime borders by its actions in the Black Sea. “Drones change the rules of the game, return the waters to full external jurisdiction, and eventually destroy the value of the Russian fleet. In fact, they return everyone to the international law of the sea...” the politician wrote in his Telegram.

Instead, Russia did not like this policy of Ukraine. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, commenting on the events in the Black Sea, confirmed that his country deliberately attacked the port infrastructure of Odessa and Izmail in order to disrupt the export of Ukrainian grain after Moscow withdrew from the “grain deal”. In addition, Medvedev threatened to brew a new environmental disaster — somewhere in the West of Ukraine, which in the fantasies of Russian propaganda is about to be annexed by our ally country of Poland.