Zelensky uses COP26 to discuss security, environmental concerns in occupied territories; Ukraine commits to phasing out coal by 2035

Zelensky uses COP26 to discuss security, environmental concerns in occupied territories; Ukraine commits to phasing out coal by 2035

Between October 31st and November 6th, the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) reported 57 ceasefire violations on the part of Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, and 3 injured, as a result of these ceasefire violations.

Last week, the Ukraine Crisis Media Center published a tribute to the two Ukrainian soldiers killed in the war in Donbas during the month of October: Heorhii Khalikov, 51, and Viktor Rachuhin, 36.

This past week was marked by reports responding to the October 30th Washington Post article that quoted US and European officials saying renewed Russian military movements on Ukraine’s border (i.e., the amassing of nearly 90,000 forces) had ignited concerns in the West. On November 1st, Ukrinform reported that the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry had not recorded any additional movements of Russian weaponry and sees military movement as an element of psychological operations. That same day, the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announcedthe Pentagon is closely monitoring the situation on the Ukraine-Russian border, saying “any escalatory or aggressive actions would be of great concern to the United States.”

On November 2nd, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) published a report asserting that a large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine is not imminent. That same day, former Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin commented that while he believes there is no immediate threat of a Russian invasion, Ukraine needs to be prepared for an escalation. The JFO quoted Lieutenant General of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Alexander Pavlyuk saying that “Ukraine is ready for escalation,” citing the “decommunization” of the armed forces and implementation of reforms.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow kicked off on October 31st and will run until November 12th. The conference welcomed over 120 world leaders on November 1st and 2nd, and President Zelensky used his two days in Glasgow to direct international attention to the continued Russian occupation of Ukrainian territories. Zelensky metwith the leaders of the US, UK, Germany, and Canada to discuss the conflict in Crimea and Donbas, highlighting environmental concerns such as the flooding of coal mines (which could contaminate the region’s two largest rivers), the erosion of fertile soil, and the lack of drinking water. Zelensky also met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on November 2nd to discuss the “tense security situation in Donbas,” defense cooperation, and energy challenges.

On November 4th, Ukraine joined more than 40 countries at COP26 in pledging to phase out coal. Ukraine – the third biggest consumer of coal in Europe – committed to end coal power by 2035. Kyiv also joined 27 other countries in becoming the newest members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA).