US “evidence” of Russia’s efforts to annex more Ukrainian countries

New security aid for Kiev and efforts to train Ukrainian pilots on US planes

The United States has confirmed that it has “a lot of evidence” that Russia intends to annex more of the Ukrainian lands it has occupied. The Russian president’s visit to Tehran has also been seen as evidence of the extent of isolation his country is experiencing as a result of its war against Ukraine. This was stated by the coordinator of strategic communications in the National Security Council, John Kirby. Kirby said in a press conference at the White House last night (Tuesday) that Russian-appointed officials in some of the territories occupying it in Ukraine plan to hold “false referendums” on joining Russia, to base it use. for the annexation of Ukrainian territory. Kirby compared the “evidence of annexation” to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014; This has resulted in a spate of international sanctions. With this new announcement of those plans, the United States may have announced more sanctions against those involved in those efforts, but there were no immediate announcements of those sanctions. Kirby said the efforts also include the establishment of Russian banks in those occupied territories, to make the Russian ruble the “virtual currency” of those territories. He added that the timetable for the annexation plans was not clear, but Moscow could start implementing it later this year, coinciding with the regional elections. He said Russia was preparing to focus its efforts on the cities of Kherson and Zaporizhia and all Donetsk and Luhansk regions, confirmed on Wednesday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in response to Ukraine’s provision of longer-range defense weapons.

The Biden administration has repeatedly declassified information about Russian plans in Ukraine in an attempt to disrupt or deter it. Kirby stressed that the new assessment is based on open source information in the public domain and intelligence. Russia has already appointed officials in the territories it controls in Ukraine, including in Kherson and Zaporizhia, with rumors that Russia may move to annex Donetsk and Luhansk, where it is currently focusing its military operations. The new information came shortly after President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden met with Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska, who is embarking on a rare trip to Washington. After Biden welcomed her, Biden described in a tweet on “Twitter” Zelenska, “the personification of the same spirit of perseverance and flexibility enjoyed by the country she comes from.” Zelenska also met with a number of U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and delivered a speech to U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, calling for greater support for her country. Kirby said the Biden administration plans to announce another portion of military aid to Ukraine later this week, which will include additional HIMARs missile systems and other multiple launch missile systems, which he did not specify. The United States provided several billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine to help it repel a continuing Russian offensive, and shared intelligence with it.

Putin’s isolation and lack of weapons

On the other hand, Kirby believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran shows the extent of isolation in Russia. He said he “has three points about this visit”: first, it shows how isolated Putin and Russia are; Forcing him to go to Iran for help. The second point is that the Russian defense industry is experiencing problems, and it is unable to meet the needs of the war in Ukraine. The third point is that this trip is a sign that Vladimir Putin has no intention of ending the war in Ukraine, and does not want to enter into good faith negotiations to reach an agreement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Kirby said Russian military equipment, including tanks and aircraft, is having difficulty hitting precision targets, and Russia has a shortage of precision electronic components and is unable to import them due to sanctions. “In return, he (Putin) will buy hundreds of drones from Iran, in order to continue killing Ukrainians,” he added.

And Washington had earlier revealed that Russia had tried to buy Iranian drones because of the huge losses it had suffered in this field. Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser, said on July 11 that Russia had asked Iran to supply “hundreds of drones” that could carry weapons for use in military attacks against Ukraine. And he presented satellite imagery taken last month, showing rallies inspected by the Russian delegation. Although the Iranian Foreign Ministry denied these reports, Sullivan confirmed that Washington had confirmed information showing that Tehran was ready to train Russian forces to use these marches.

Russia’s efforts to acquire Iranian drones have raised questions about the reality of the status of the Russian military machine, and whether Iranian weapons are advanced and reliable on the battlefield. Nearly 6 months after the start of the war in Ukraine, Western military reports indicated that Russia had lost a large number of T-90, T-80 and T-72 tanks as it faced shortages in their production as due to sanctions. on electronic chips; This forced him to use his old retired T-62 tanks. It also faces a shortage of precision assault missiles; This was confirmed by Pentagon officials and said that Russia has started using old and “stupid” ballistic missiles, and even air defense missiles, such as the “S-300”, in attacks on land targets, as well as naval anti-ship missiles on land targets.

As for Russian drones, a technology that Russia acquired from Israel, Moscow lost more than 100 aircraft; This prompted him to use civilian marches and other marches dedicated to the police, border guards, firefighters and emergency services. With the increase in Ukrainian attacks, which now have HIMARS precision missiles, and the growth of the Ukrainian marching force, which Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered yesterday to focus on confronting them, the Russian military is urgently more marches needed, from which Iran manufactures combat, reconnaissance and suicide types, no matter how accurate they are. Russia will try to develop it from different sources, despite sanctions that prevent it from acquiring its own micro-electronics.

American planes instead of Russian

As for the Russian Air Force, although its losses are limited, its failure to ensure air control for ground operations has raised several questions about the reality of the “development” of this weapon, in light of the defense weapons that Ukraine now has from the West, which enabled it to prevent Russia from using its power.The most advanced air force to establish supremacy in the air since the Russian invasion began on 24 February. No. In fact, Kiev’s efforts to change its dependence on “Soviet” aircraft make it more difficult for the Russian Air Force to keep up with the ongoing Russian military “operation”.

In this context, Reuters quoted the commander of the US Air Force, General Charles Brown, as saying that the United States and its allies had begun studying the possibility of training Ukrainian pilots as part of a long-term effort to help build Kiev. a future air force. Ukraine is also seeking to reduce its dependence on Russian aircraft by acquiring US fighter jets and training its pilots to fly them. The Ukrainian air force announced its hope to acquire F-15 and F-16 aircraft. Speaking at a security symposium, Brown said talks between the U.S. military and its allies were ongoing. “We want a long-term plan for how to build their air force and the air force they will need in the future,” he added, without confirming any decisions in this regard. Brown’s remarks came days after a move by members of the US House of Representatives would provide $ 100 million to train Ukrainian pilots on US fighter jets. Brown did not comment on the move and did not want to speculate on timetables or what kind of Western aircraft might best suit Ukraine.

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