Last week (August 14–20), an important news was the decision of Denmark and the Netherlands to transfer 61 F-16 aircraft to Ukraine. Also, Ukrainian pilots have already begun testing on Swedish Gripens aircraft, which in the future will make it possible to get these 4th generation fighters.

Meanwhile, the Russian Federation continued the missile terror of Ukraine by shelling a number of settlements. Cynical strikes by Russian terrorists indicate that the fight against circumvention of sanctions should be intensified, since Russia uses missiles for shelling produced this year.

The Kremlin cannot achieve the goals of the so-called “special operation” but they are still trying to demonstrate the power of their army. The Russian Federation organized an exhibition of new weapons of their own production. They declare the imperfection of Western equipment against the background of the allegedly unsuccessful counteroffensive of the Defense Forces of Ukraine.

At the same time, russians complain about long-range missiles and cluster munitions transferred to Ukraine. They call on the Ukrainian military to surrender, and also strengthen mobilization measures to compensate for losses at the front.

Ukraine is given F-16 aircraft and systems to combat enemy drones

Last week, the United States, as a manufacturing country, approved the transfer of F-16 aircraft from Denmark and the Netherlands to Ukraine. The fighters will arrive after Ukrainian pilots complete the training. The training itself has already begun. It was announced by Volodymyr Zelensky.

In addition, on August 20, following the negotiations with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte , the head of the Ukrainian state announced that the official Amsterdam would transfer 42 U.S. aircraft fighters to Ukraine.

"Today we are taking another step to strengthen the air shield of Ukraine. F-16 The planes we will use to keep Russian terrorists as far away from Ukrainian cities and villages as possible. Mark Rutte and I have agreed on the quantity of F-16s to be provided to Ukraine – after training of our pilots and engineers. 42 aircraft. And this is only the beginning, "Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the results of the meeting in his Telegram.

At the same time, Mark Rutte said that the transfer of the F-16 is the next long-term step to support Ukraine. The head of the Dutch government also said that the linguistic training of Ukrainian pilots is currently underway, "in the future, military training will begin as soon as possible, and then it will shift to Romania." Mark Rutte stressed that the F-16 “will not be able to help the military effort immediately, but will generally be part of Ukraine's defense system.”

Subsequently, the President of Ukraine visited Denmark, where he met with the head of the country's government, Mette Frederiksen. Following the meeting, it became known that the official Copenhagen will transfer another 19 F-16 aircraft to Ukraine. Thus, our country will receive 61 aircraft from Denmark and the Netherlands.

Mette Frederiksen hopes that by the end of the year there will be up to 6 F-16 aircraft available in Ukraine. Other fighters will arrive later. "I hope that next year another 8 aircraft will also go from Denmark to Ukraine, and in another year – another 5," the Danish Prime Minister said.

At the same time, on August 19, the President of Ukraine visited Sweden. The topic of airplanes became central during a meeting with Prime Minister Ulf Christensen. In particular, Ukraine expects to receive Swedish 4th generation Gripens fighters in the future. Also , the head of the Ukrainian state said that "test trials of Gripen with Ukrainians pilots have already begun."

On the other hand, Christensen did not mention the planes in his speech. In June, the Swedish government said that they would give Ukrainian pilots the opportunity to test the Gripen, but the country needs all its aircraft to protect the territory. Whether this position has changed remains unknown.

Last week, it was reported that Germany would transfer two additional IRIS-T launchers to Ukraine, and also they plan to provide our country with 5 billion euros of military support annually by 2027. The United Kingdom also plans to strengthen Ukraine's air defense (AD). The UK⁠Ministry of Defense signed three contracts worth $115 million, which will allow sending air defense systems to Ukraine. In particular, we are talking about the CORTEX TYPHON anti-drone system produced by the Norwegian defense company Kongsberg. This is especially true in the context of reports that Russia had established the production of an analogue of Iranian shaheds on their territory.

In addition, last week North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Netherlands joined the G7 initiative of "security guarantees". According to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, 25 states have already joined this declaration.

It needs to be reminded that at the NATO summit in Vilnius, the G7 countries agreed on a document on "security guarantees" for Ukraine. However, the leaders agreed not on the specific parameters of the guarantees but on their framework. Specific bilateral agreements are to be signed later. Currently, Ukraine has started such negotiations with the United States and the United Kingdom.

Russian escalation in the Black Sea and the need to strengthen sanctions against the Kremlin

Last week, Russia continued their terrorist activities and shelled civilian facilities and infrastructure in multiple cities of Ukraine. On August 14, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia district and Kherson were affected. On the morning of August 15, russians launched a massive missile attack on Lutsk, Lviv, Dnipro, Smila and other cities, and a russian drone destroyed 3 to 5 tons of agricultural products in Odesa region. On August 19, Russian troops cynically hit the center of Chernihiv with a ballistic missile. As a result, 7 people were killed, and another 144 were injured. Thus, the Kremlin once again proved that the objective of the war in Ukraine is the genocide of Ukrainian people.

Unfortunately, for some of the shelling, the Russians used rockets produced this year. This was stated by the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak: "The X-101 missiles launched in April included about 30 foreign chips." The same situation is about other Russian military equipment. In particular, Ka-52 helicopters could not fly without foreign components. It proves that combatting the circumvention of anti-Russian sanctions is one of the most important areas.

However, new attacks do not imply that no work on strengthening sanctions is done. Thus, at least 30 companies of the Russian military-industrial complex fell under the new restrictions imposed by Switzerland – it was  recommended by the McFaul-Yermak group. Furthermore, in the context of increasing military cooperation between Russia and the DPRK, the United States imposed sanctions against three companies from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Slovenia that contribute to the arms trade between Moscow and Pyongyang. In addition,  sanctions against Turkish companies that help the Kremlin might be coming .

A propos, private companies are also introducing their own restrictions. Thus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have disconnected Russian dealers from their software, Microsoft will not renew software licenses for Russian companies from October, Google has begun to block Google Workspace corporate services to sanctioned companies from the Russian Federation.

Also on August 13, the Kremlin went for another escalation in the Black Sea. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Russian ship opened the "warning" fire on the dry cargo ship "Sukru Okan" under the flag of Palau, heading to the port of Izmail, when the ship did not respond to requests to stop for inspection. Although the international intelligence community InformNapalm said that the Russians lied about the inspection of the vessel and warning shots, yet the new escalation caused an international response.

Thus, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry condemned the provocative actions against the bulk carrier heading to the port of Izmail. The US State Department called such actions of the Russian Federation "an unacceptable escalation, which once again demonstrates Moscow's responsibility for the fact that grain does not get where it needs to go." The reaction of Turkey was not quite harsh because the ship, although owned by a Turkish company, was under the flag of Palau. The Turkish administration claims that “after interfering with the movement of the vessel, interlocutors in the Russian Federation were properly warned to avoid such attempts to escalate tensions in the Black Sea.”

It is noteworthy that Bulgaria also reacted to the tension. The Minister of Defense of this country emphasized that "the protection of the Black Sea is a strategic priority for NATO," and also added that "Russia is constantly provoking the Alliance."

Moreover, despite Russia's provocations, Ukraine has announced temporary corridors for ships going to and from the Black Sea ports. In particular, on the morning of August 16, the first ship left the port of Odessa without a "grain initiative" and later arrived in Istanbul. More than 30,000 tons of cargo (2,114 containers), including food, were sent on board the container ship "Joseph Schulte".

Interestingly, while Russia is trying to prevent the export of Ukrainian agricultural products in the Black Sea, the Kremlin may have problems in another region. Thus, according to Bloomberg, Iran began to displace Russian oil from China. In particular, the demand for Iranian oil increased by half again as in January-July. In the future, this may seriously affect the budget revenues of the Russian Federation.

At the same time, the self-proclaimed president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said that Putin allegedly achieved the goals of the war against Ukraine because "Ukraine will never act so aggressively against Russia after the end of this war." Joe Biden disagreed with this reasoning. Although he did not directly comment on Lukashenko's words, he highlighted that Russia had already lost because it could not achieve its original goal.

Russia wants to appear as a “superpower” and calls on the Armed Forces of Ukraine to surrender

The Russian Federation is trying to demonstrate to the world that they have a powerful army, and Russian weapons are high-tech and in high demand. On August 14–20, the Kremlin held the Army 2023 forum that also included a display of new Russian weapons. However, the demonstration of samples does not mean their adoption into service, because the full-scale functioning of the Russian military-industrial complex under the current sanctions remains in question.

In the Kremlin, this measure was used to promote narratives that world sanctions allowed to significantly increase the production of weapons, and generally strengthened Russia.

"The Russian military-industrial complex not only quickly adapted to function in the conditions of severe sanctions pressure but also grew its capacity in certain areas in increments," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the opening of the forum.

In addition, at the exhibition, the Russians wanted to prove that their weapons prevail over the Western samples. Shoigu lied that the "advertised" NATO equipment actually turned out to be far from flawless. The "proof" was the display of seized weapons that Russia presented in a park near Moscow. However, the photos shared on the website of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation demonstrate an exaggeration of their own greatness because the list of seized weapons turned out to be quite small.

In their review, analysts of the Institute for the Study of War said that Russia failed to mobilize its military-industrial complex to adequately support the military effort, although at the forum, Dmitry Medvedev repeated as a mantra that "The military-industrial complex copes with the tasks of ensuring the needs of special forces".

Another reason for manipulation was the Moscow Conference on International Security on August 15, which the Russians turned into hackneyed monologues accusing the "collective West" of provoking world crises and undermining global stability.

"In order to ensure the political and ideological cover for their neo-colonial racist line, to consolidate their own hegemony, Western capitals are persistently striving to replace international law, which they violate every hour with a "rule-based order, " said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The events organized by the aggressor state to discuss global security a priori cannot provide meaningful solutions for a just peace, so only two defense ministers attended the event, from Belarus and China.

The Russians did not forget to blame the West for unleashing the war in Ukraine. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin emphasized the need to consolidate the efforts of the world community to reduce confrontation at the global and regional levels.

"Pumping billions of dollars into the neo-Nazi regime, providing it with equipment, weapons, ammunition, sending its military advisers and mercenaries - all is done to further fuel the conflict, to draw other states into it," the dictator said in a video message to the event participants.

At the conference, Shoigu also said that "SMO" put an end to the dominance of the collective West in the military area, and reiterated the message about the advantages of Russian weapons, even Soviet-style, over Western weapons.

On the other hand, Russian situation at the front look somewhat different. To compensate for the huge losses, the Kremlin forcibly mobilizes up to 20,000 Russians every month. In addition, the Center for National Resistance reported that the occupiers do not neglect the mobilization at TOTs. Thus, in Horlivka alone, about 20,000 mobilized people have already been killed but the occupiers are still preparing for a new mobilization, which increases social tension.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova even called on the Ukrainian military to turn weapons round against the "gangster junta" or surrender to Russian troops. But Ukrainian troops continue to advance deep into the occupied territory. According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, over the past week, Ukrainian troops liberated Urozhayne and had gains near Robotyne.Instead, Russian counterattacks in the Kharkiv region were unsuccessful .

However, Russian statements about low-quality Western weapons look manipulative – Russia has already convened the UN Security Council once again to discuss the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine.

At the August 17 meeting, Russia lamented Biden's decision to ask Congress for $24 billion for additional support for Ukraine, and expressed dissatisfaction with long-range missiles, depleted uranium munitions, and cluster munitions.

"There is no doubt that in its" proxy war "with Russia to the last Ukrainian person, the West is purposefully turning Ukraine into a deserted landfill, contaminated with radioactive elements and unexploded ordnance," Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said at the meeting.

Thus, unable to change the situation at the front to their favor, Russia is trying to portray the weakness of the Ukrainian army and Western weapons. At the same time, they demonstrate the effectiveness of their own armed forces and the capacity of the Russian military-industrial complex to implement technological projects. However, russian capabilities are decreasing every day affected by international pressure and the systematic work of the Defense Forces of Ukraine.