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Why the HIMARS won’t help Ukraine retake its territory and whether Russia abides by the grain deal

Ukraine is ready to export grain through the Black Sea. Photo: president.gov.ua

Ukraine is ready to export grain through the Black Sea. Photo: president.gov.ua

Russia loses the initiative in the war as Ukraine prepares to ship grain from three demined ports, while the US Senate presses the Biden administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The U.S. once again warned China about Taiwan, and Beijing responded with threats. Meanwhile, in the U.K., Conservatives tumbled in polls after the resignation of Boris Johnson.

The Page offers a digest of news that came out in Western mass media at the end of the July 25–29 business week.


Ukraine is ready to ship grain from its ports

Zelensky arrived in Chornomorsk to observe the preparations for shipments. Photo: president.gov.ua

Zelensky arrived in Chornomorsk to observe the preparations for shipments. Photo: president.gov.ua

Ukraine says it is ready for grain ships to travel through its waters but is waiting for the go-ahead from the United Nations, The Guardian wrote on July 29.

Quote"We hope to receive approval today from the UN confirming the corridors we have proposed the ships take in the Black Sea," said Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov.

He expressed hope that, by the end of the week, the first ships would leave Ukrainian ports.

The Page earlier wrote that Ukraine has signed a deal with the UN and Turkey, which guaranteed Kyiv safe passage for ships loaded with grain.

On its part, Russia signed a mirror agreement with Turkey and the UN, guaranteeing that the ships won’t carry weapons for Ukraine.

However, there’s little hope that Russia won’t break this deal, since in less than 24 hours, Moscow struck the Odesa port with two missiles.

On July 29, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the ambassadors of the G7 countries to Ukraine visited the port of Chornomorsk to watch preparations for the shipments.

The grain exports are being organized with the help of the UK: in particular, the Lloyd’s of London insurer Ascot and broker Marsh have launched insurance for grain and food products shipped from Ukraine.

The British ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, said that London was also helping Ukraine to understand how much grain Russia had stolen from its occupied territories.

Russia is losing momentum because of the HIMARS

Ukraine takes out Russian officers who could fight HIMARS

Ukraine takes out Russian officers who could fight HIMARS

Russian troops have made no significant territorial gains since July 2, when the Ukrainians retreated from Lysychansk, The Washington Post writes.

Full control over the Luhansk region has become the Kremlin's only meaningful strategic success since February 24.

The official end of the operational pause on July 16 has brought no noticeable increase in the intensity of invaders’ assaults, said George Barros, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War.

Along with other Western analysts, he suspects that Russian forces may soon have to acknowledge their inability to conquer the entirety of Donbas.

Barros says that Russia may be able to conquer one or two more cities on the frontline, such as Siversk and Bakhmut, but it’s unlikely that its army will advance farther than that.

Quote"It does seem the Russians’ ability for forward movement is petering out," said Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

However, analysts advise against dismissing the Russian force since a massive recruitment campaign is underway across Russia (The Page earlier wrote why it's hard for Russia to carry out mass mobilization).

The Russians are losing the initiative, and the Ukrainians either have it or are about to have it, Barros points out.

Quote"The HIMARS are key to that."

One example of the Ukrainian counteroffensive gathering momentum is the third attack on the Antonivskyi Bridge on Tuesday, the British Defense Ministry says.

Why the HIMARS won’t help to retake territory

By themselves, HIMARS will not help Ukraine regain territory. Photo: Wikipedia

By themselves, HIMARS will not help Ukraine regain territory. Photo: Wikipedia

The biggest effect of the HIMARS so far has been to erode the Russians’ overwhelming artillery advantage, both in terms of the number of guns and the rounds they can fire, said Rob Lee of the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute.

He said that Ukraine has forced the Russians to move ammunition depots farther away from the front, complicating the logistics of delivering artillery shells:

Quote"Russia doesn’t have a good automated logistical system; it requires a lot of manual labor, and that means it’s not very efficient."

Ukraine is also taking out the officers and commanders who would issue the orders to mitigate the impact of the HIMARS.

However, the HIMARS won’t help Ukraine retake territories, said Lee, a former infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. This would require sufficient manpower, conventional artillery, and ammunition. There are concerns about whether the West will be able to supply Ukraine with the required amount.

The U.S. Senate called for labeling Russia as a sponsor of terrorism

The US Senate calls to recognize the Russian Federation as a sponsor of terrorism. Photo: Wikipedia

The US Senate calls to recognize the Russian Federation as a sponsor of terrorism. Photo: Wikipedia

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism for actions in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, and Ukraine, The New York Times reported.

The resolution, though, is nonbinding. A similar measure has been introduced in the House; however, the power to designate a state sponsor of terror resides with the State Department.

Nevertheless, the Senate’s passage of the resolution puts yet more pressure on the Biden administration, so that Russia may eventually get on the list, which already includes Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

The State Department’s spokesman, Ned Price, said that the Department is in the process of comparing the criteria for designating a country as a sponsor of terrorism that Congress has written into law with Russia’s actions.

Biden warned Xi about Taiwan

Biden and Xi discussed Taiwan. Photo: The Page collage

Biden and Xi discussed Taiwan. Photo: The Page collage

President Joe Biden held a lengthy discussion with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about Taiwan on Thursday, CNN reported.

The two leaders agreed to start arranging the possible in-person meeting, the opportunity for which could arise in November, when a series of summits will occur in Asia (the G20 in Bali and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Bangkok).

The U.S. fears that China’s infringement on the self-governing of Taiwan is imminent, which is confirmed by Beijing's statements.

Quote"If the US insists on taking its own course, the Chinese military will definitely take strong actions to thwart any external force's interference and separatist's schemes for 'Taiwan independence'," Chinese Ministry of Defense Spokesperson Tan Kefei said.

According to China's state news agency, Xi offered an ominous warning to Biden during the phone call:

Quote"Public opinion shall not be violated, and if you play with fire, you get burned."

The White House reported that Biden reminded Xi that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Tories are losing to Labor

Johnson's resignation further reduced Tory ratings. Photo: Getty Images

Johnson's resignation further reduced Tory ratings. Photo: Getty Images

In the United Kingdom, the Conservatives, whose leader Boris Johnson is set to step down on September 6, have lost a significant portion of their support, and Labor is now on track to win the next general election.

It seems, the Independent writes, that the prime minister’s resignation has accelerated the Tory plunge in the polls: support for Conservatives has now dropped to 29%, while Labor scored 42%.

Quote"This week’s results appear to reflect voters turning away from the party amid the vicious infighting of the battle to replace the PM," the newspaper points out.

Conservative voters are switching to Labor, Lib Dems, and Reform UK (the successors to the Brexit Party).

However, Labor’s victory wouldn’t mean the British support for Ukraine will wane, said their leader Sir Keir Starmer in March, as cited by the Daily Mail.

Quote"Labor stands shoulder to shoulder with the Government in our support for the Ukrainian people in the face of the barbaric and senseless Russian aggression," he underscored, while calling Putin a brutal dictator, a thug, and a war criminal.


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