Sustained Russian aggression, including push to complete Nord Stream 2 pipeline before Ukraine’s Independence Day

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Sustained Russian aggression, including push to complete Nord Stream 2 pipeline before Ukraine’s Independence Day

The Joint Forces Operation reported that between August 12th and 18th, Russian forces committed 29 ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine, including firing anti-tank grenade launchers at Ukrainian positions. As a result, 4 Ukrainian soldiers were injured and on August 16th, Senior Soldier Artem Mazur was killed by a sniper.

The JFO also announced that on August 12, the Ukrainian Security Service detained a Russian military intelligence officer in the Luhansk region. The Russian agent was reporting on the positions and quantity of Ukrainian military equipment and personnel.

On August 13th, the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered over 56 tons of humanitarian aid to areas in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Two days later, repair crews from the Ukrainian Armed Forces helped restore the power lines of settlements in eastern Ukraine that were damaged by artillery shells from Russian forces.

On August 14th, Ukraine convened a Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) meeting to work toward the peaceful settlement of the war in Donbas after a civilian was killed last week in the Donetsk region. The Russian side refused to meet. On August 15th, the JFO reported that over the last week, the Russian army placed 419 units of military equipment in the occupied Donbas region, including several tanks and a large quantity of arms near civilian settlements.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported on August 19 that the Biden-Zelensky summit was postponed to August 31st, a day later than previously planned. Kuleba stated that the format of the summit was expanded to include a one-on-one meeting between Biden and Zelensky. After meeting with a US Congress delegation on August 16th, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Andriy Taran announced that he expected bilateral agreements on defense cooperation to be signed during the presidential summit.

Ukraine is eagerly preparing for the August 23rd Crimean Platform summit – aimed at coordinating an effective international response to Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea and ultimately achieving the de-occupation of the Peninsula – as well as the 30-year anniversary of Ukrainian independence on August 24th. Meanwhile, the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline is set to be completed on August 23rd, right before Ukraine’s Independence Day. The gas pipeline, which runs directly from Russia to Germany, could deprive Ukraine of billions of dollars in transit revenue and increase the Kremlin’s ability to manipulate Kyiv.