Last week (August 7–13), the Russian ruble continued to devalue, entering the top of the weakest currencies in the world, and the number of the killed Russian soldiers reached 250,000 people.
Russia also continued its attempts to dominate the Black Sea but the war keeps returning to the aggressor's territory, which has economic and political consequences for the Putin regime.
Ukraine strengthens diplomatic work to implement its own peace plan and rejects the possibility of negotiations with Russia lest the troops from Ukrainian lands are withdrawn. At the same time, Ukraine's allies are consistent on the subject of military assistance, which range may expand in the near future.
Russia Is Losing The Naval Blockade Of Ukraine, And The War Is Increasingly Moving To The Aggressor’s Territory
After withdrawing from the “grain deal,” the Russian Federation decided to restrict free navigation in the Black Sea, threatening all ships bound to the ports of Ukraine. Thus, the Kremlin is trying to arrange a naval blockade despite the free trade navigation guaranteed by international law of the sea.
However, according to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, “it takes two to this game” having previously declared the water area of Russian ports a zone of war risks. Thus, in early August, surface drones damaged the large landing ship Olenegorsky Gorniak in Novorossiysk Bay, as well as the Russian chemical tanker SIG, near the Kerch Strait.
Such developments near the Black Sea ports of the Russian Federation boosted a peak in insurance premiums for the transportation of Russian grain. Additional premiums run into the tens of thousands of dollars each day, according to Reuters, and shipowners who still agree to work with Russian Black Sea ports have sharply raised prices for their services. Moreover, the transportation of Russian cargo is offered at $10,000 more per day than for the same cargo from the ports of Bulgaria and Romania.
The disruption of the “grain deal” and a number of Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports also affected the rise in the price of insurance payments. However, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky warned the occupiers that if the attacks continue, Russia will eventually be left without ships.
“If Russia continues to dominate the Black Sea and blocks it by firing missiles, then Ukraine will do the same, which is a fair protection of our capabilities,” Zelensky said.
After all, Ukraine has something to respond to russian actions. British intelligence reported that operations with sea drones are becoming an increasingly important component of the war, in particular because of attacks on the weakest points of Russian maritime logistics.
At the same time, Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podoliak, reported that drones change the rules of the game and return the water area to full-fledged external jurisdiction. The next illustrative example of the success of Ukraine’s actions was the announcement of temporary corridors for merchant ships in the Black Sea.
In addition, despite Russia’s ongoing threats, the Ukrainian Naval Forces organized the departure of civilian vessels that have stayed in Ukrainian ports since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. Of course, the Navy provided that the only vessels to be allowed would be ships where owners or captains officially confirmed their readiness to work in the current conditions.
To demonstrate its “strength” in the Black Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said on August 13 that the Russian ship opened “warning” fire at the Sukru Okan dry cargo ship bound for the port of Izmail, and the military on a helicopter boarded the ship and conducted a “surveillance”. However, the Ukrainian side did not confirm this, and the international intelligence community InformNapalm said that the Russians lied about the incident.
At the same time, explosions and fires are becoming more frequent every week on Russian territory or deep in the rear of the occupied parts of Ukraine. The Russians announced a number of downed drones near Moscow and Kursk, as well as in the occupied Crimea.
In addition, on August 12, according to the Russian side, the Crimean bridge was attacked once again by S-200 guided missiles . The Kremlin said that the bridge is an object of civilian infrastructure pure, but such statements are rather aimed at the domestic audience: via this illegal construction, the occupiers keep transferring the personnel, ammunition, and equipment.
However, even here Ukraine has something to respond to Russian terror. NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov emphasized that Ukraine has weapons of its own production for attacks on Russia. According to Mykhailo Podoliak, the transfer of the war to the aggressor’s territory will draw the Russian Federation into a saving political restructuring and accelerate the destruction of the “chauvinist clan”.
“An unidentified drone over Russia is a perfect symbol of today,” Podoliak said.
Ukraine Denies The Possibility Of Negotiations With Putin And Can Get New Types Of Weapons
Last week, new ideas for a peaceful settlement of the war in Ukraine appeared in the public space. UAE President Muhammad bin Zayed plans to start a dialogue on a ceasefire at the UN climate change conference this November. In particular, he proposes to organize a meeting between Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin.
However, the Ukrainian side remains unbending in its positions. Kyiv is promoting its own peace plan based on the 10-point Formula for Peace. Through meetings with national security advisers and political advisers of country leaders, for example, during negotiations in Denmark and Saudi Arabia, as well as representatives of foreign diplomatic institutions, Ukraine is increasing its support for the organization of the Global Peace Summit.
On August 11, Andriy Yermak held the fifth meeting with representatives of foreign diplomatic missions on the implementation of the Peace Formula, which has already been joined by 58 countries. The meeting was about the two points therefrom – “Energy Security” and “Preventing the escalation of the war and the recurrence of aggression”. However, according to Yermak, separate groups have already been established for each item of the peace plan.
The Ukrainian side does not deny the possibility of direct negotiations with Russia, but argues that they are possible other than with Putin and only after the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said that it is impossible to negotiate with the current President of the Russian Federation because he had committed too many crimes.
“There are other diplomatic ways to manage the matters indirectly. But it is clear to us that we will never be able to see Putin and Zelensky at the same table,” Kuleba said.
On the other hand, the Kremlin has not abandoned imperialist ideas. They keep declaring that Ukraine must come to terms with the current territorial realities. The US State Department also believes that the main obstacle to the meeting of the presidents is Putin’s belief that Ukraine is not a real country, and unwillingness to withdraw the troops.
Oleksiy Danilov believes that Putin, making a decision to include the sovereign territories of Ukraine into Russia, has driven himself into a trap of self-destruction, blocking any opportunities to end the war. After all, in order to fulfill the conditions of Ukraine, the Kremlin will need to amend the Constitution of the Russian Federation and recognize the complete illegality of the decisions taken.
“The Kremlin has created a situation with its own hands where there is no alternative to destroying the Putin regime (or replacing it) and finding candidates with whom to conduct a substantive dialogue,” Danilov said.
Currently, Ukraine is no longer considering any other peace initiatives other than its own peace formula because any scenarios of a ceasefire and a frozen conflict at the current disposition will only mean an actual victory for Russia and a personal triumph for Putin.
“International law will totally lose any force, instead, the “law of the jungle” will be introduced – war will become a tool for achieving political goals, and the number of conflicts and chaos in the world will increase dramatically,” Mykhailo Podoliak believes.
At the same time, the military support that the Allies continue to provide to Ukraine remains an important issue on the agenda for the liberation of the occupied territories.
On August 11, US President Joe Biden’s Administration submitted a request to Congress for more than $22 billion by the end of the year, of which more than $13 billion is the military assistance and $8 billion is the humanitarian support.
US National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby emphasized that the White House would not hesitate to go to Congress again with a request for additional funds to further support Ukraine.
“I think it’s important to remember that if we just sit back and we let Putin win, we let him take over Ukraine, where does it stop next?” said Kirby.
Such news did not go unanswered from the Russian side, who confidently stated that those funds would not help Ukraine.
“New billions of US dollars of military aid will lead to a prolongation of the conflict and new casualties among Ukrainians, the continuation of the agony of the Kyiv gang. But the outcome will not be affected in any way,” said State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky.
However, such narratives of the Kremlin have already become common. At the same time, the United States sent the first batch of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, and also plans to increase the production of 155 mm shells. Meanwhile, Germany provided Kyiv with two additional launchers of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system.
A controversial issue was the transfer to Ukraine of German Taurus missiles capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 500 km. And although the Bundestag supports the supply of such weapons, the German government has not yet prepared an appropriate decision.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz dismissed accusations of hesitancy but does not want to be rushed into the matter. One of the reasons for the delay in decision-making may be Germany’s fears for an escalation of the war, and Scholz is even considering making technical modifications to the missiles to prevent strikes on Russian territory.
However, in the case of other heavy weapons, the German government took a long time to make decisions but in the end provided the necessary weapons to Ukraine. Regarding the attacks on Russian territory, Dmytro Kuleba assured that long-range missiles have proved their critical significance, so they will be used exclusively within Ukrainian borders.
“The longer the range of missiles, the shorter the war,” the Ukrainian minister said.
Russia Intensifies Censorship, Loses A Quarter Of A Million Soldiers And Says That Ukraine And Georgia Are Aggressors
15 years ago, in August 2008, the Russian Federation invaded Georgia and occupied part of its territory. The anniversary of the Russian aggression made this topic relevant this week in the public statements of Ukrainian and Russian politicians.
Thus, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky expressed solidarity with the Georgian people. He thanked the citizens of Georgia who are fighting against the Russian aggressor and helping to protect freedom, as part of the Ukrainian defense forces.
“When Ukraine wins this war, it will not only stop the expansion of Russian aggressive appetites, it will not only save other peoples from what we are experiencing – Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. Our victory will restore normality to everyone – it will remove the Russian occupation,” the head of state said .
Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podoliak, stressed that since in 2008 the world did not properly respond to the aggression of the Russian Federation, subsequently the aggressor country annexed the Crimea, and later, even decided on a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the politician, that is why any proposals to “freeze the war” and reset relations with Russia are unacceptable.
“This time we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. Ukraine must win. The evil empire must lose and go to the backyard of history with all its servants,” the politician wrote on Twitter and added that “Georgia will be free.”
At the same time, Russian politicians, within the narratives of official propaganda, said that in 2008 and 2022, the aggressor was not Russia, which invaded the territory of independent states, but Georgia and Ukraine, respectively. Similar messages were disseminated by the speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, the leader of the LDPR Leonid Slutsky, and the former Russian president under the tenure of whom the Russian aggression against Georgia took place, Dmitry Medvedev.
Meanwhile, while Russia shifts responsibility for its actions to Georgians and Ukrainians, its national currency continues to fall. Thus, on August 12, the Russian ruble fell to 100 units per dollar. Since the beginning of 2023, the Russian currency has lost 57% against the dollar. Now the Russian ruble is among the three weakest currencies in the world.
According to investment banker Serhiy Fursa, the pressure on the ruble is associated with the sanctions imposed on the Russian economy, the loss of the trade surplus (Russia buys more than sells, so less currency enters the country – ed.), as well as a significant outflow of capital, such as the withdrawal of money by foreign companies.
While the ruble is falling and the number of soldiers killed in the war against Ukraine has reached 250,000, Russia decided to tighten control over its own information space. In particular, they went for closing access to a VPN that allows its citizens to receive data from alternative sources, bypassing state censorship. According to British intelligence, in addition to technical counteraction, Russia also launched a public information campaign to scare citizens away from VPNs by claiming that these services jeopardize users’ personal data.
At the same time, Russia presented a new textbook on the national history which contains lies about the war with Ukraine. The book contains all the messages of russian state propaganda about the war: they say that neo-Nazis are in power in Ukraine, that they bombed the Donbas for 9 years and used civilians as a “human shield,” etc. The textbook is intended for 11th grade pupils and will be distributed, among other places, in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories.
As for Russia’s influence on the international situation, it is known that in the African country of Niger, at the end of July, the military committed a coup d’état, removed from office and detained President Mohamed Bazoum. Russia’s position is that Moscow is allegedly against coups d’état, but in fact supported the “new government.” In particular, the Kremlin considers the intervention of troops of the Economic Society of West African States (ECOWAS), which also includes Niger, to restore the constitutional order in the country, inappropriate, “because representatives of civil society were included in the transitional government.”
This position of Russia is explained by their desire to take advantage of the situation in Niger and, with the help of the terrorist organization “Wagner PMC” ( which is active in Africa) take custody of the junta that committed the coup d’état. President Mohamed Bazoum, who is being held by the rebels, called for preventing such a development. Niger’s leader called his country a “bastion of respect for human rights” against the backdrop of authoritarian movements that engulfed neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso and are supported by Moscow through the hands of Wagner mercenaries. The President of Niger also called on the international community to help restore constitutional order in the country.
Niger’s neighbors in ECOWAS responded to this call, concerned about the wave of military coups in the region (the seventh in the last three years – author). On August 10, the countries decided to “activate” and “deploy” the “reserve forces” in order to involve them in the restoration of constitutional order in Niger, if necessary.