Hi everyone. Today our news comes from the World page at Google News. The main stories for today focus on this week’s developments in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the recent US airstrikes on Syria.
The Russian assault on Bakhmut has largely stalled, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. The ministry said that Russian forces had made “limited progress” in the past 24 hours, and that Ukrainian forces were continuing to hold their positions. The ministry also said that Russia was continuing to use indiscriminate weapons, including heavy artillery and airstrikes, in populated areas. This is causing significant civilian casualties, and is also preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. The UK Ministry of Defence also said that Russia was continuing to suffer heavy losses in the fighting and that its morale was low. The ministry said that there were reports of Russian soldiers refusing to fight, and that some were even deserting. The UK Ministry of Defence said that the situation in Ukraine was “extremely challenging”, but that the Ukrainian forces were continuing to fight bravely. The ministry said that the UK would continue to provide Ukraine with military and humanitarian assistance and that it would work with its allies to hold Russia to account for its actions – Russia-Ukraine war live: Russian assault on Bakhmut has ‘largely stalled’, says UK ministry (The Guardian UK edition ~ News – Europe – Ukraine war live – Ukraine)
The battle for Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine, is stabilizing, according to Ukraine’s commander-in-chief. Russian forces have made little progress in the past few days, and Ukrainian forces are holding their positions. Russia has suffered heavy casualties in the fighting around Bakhmut, and its morale is low. This has led to tensions between Russian forces and the Wagner Group, a private mercenary company that is fighting on Russia’s behalf. The capture of Bakhmut would be a significant victory for Russia, but it is unlikely to change the overall course of the war. Ukraine is still fighting fiercely, and Russia is struggling to make progress – Ukraine war: Battle for Bakhmut ‘stabilising’, says commander (BBC News ~ World – Europe)
As the weather warms in Ukraine, both sides are preparing for a spring offensive. Russia has been massing troops and equipment in the eastern Donbas region, while Ukraine has been receiving new military aid from the West. The Ukrainian military has suggested that it may launch a counterattack near the city of Bakhmut, which is currently under Russian control. This would be a risky move, as Bakhmut is a strategically important city. However, it could also be a way for Ukraine to regain the initiative in the war. Russia has been struggling to maintain its supply lines in the Donbas, and a Ukrainian counterattack could further disrupt them. This could force Russia to withdraw its troops from the region, or at least make it more difficult for them to continue their offensive. A Ukrainian counterattack would also be a morale boost for the country’s military and civilians. It would show that Ukraine is still capable of fighting back against Russia, and that it is not willing to give up without a fight. However, it is important to remember that a Ukrainian counterattack would be a risky move. If it fails, it could lead to heavy casualties for the Ukrainian military. It is also possible that Russia could respond with a major offensive of its own. The decision of whether or not to launch a counterattack near Bakhmut will be a difficult one for the Ukrainian military. However, it is a decision that could have a major impact on the course of the war – Ukrainian top brass stirs the pot with talk of Bakhmut counterattack (The Guardian UK edition ~ News – World – Europe – Ukraine – Analysis)
A suspected Iranian-made drone strike killed a US contractor and wounded six other Americans in Syria, prompting a US retaliation in the form of airstrikes on sites in Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The incidents threaten to upend recent efforts to de-escalate tensions in the area, whose rival powers have made steps toward easing hostilities. The US Defence Secretary said the American intelligence community had determined the drone was of Iranian origin, but offered no other immediate evidence to support the claim. Iran relies on a network of proxy forces through the Middle East to counter the US and Israel, its arch-regional enemy. The US airstrikes hit targets in three towns in eastern Syria, according to activists – US launches airstrikes in Syria after ‘Iran-made drone’ kills worker (itvx ~ ITV News)
The US carried out air strikes against Iran-linked groups in eastern Syria on Thursday night, following a drone attack that killed a US contractor. The US intelligence believed the drone was “of Iranian origin”. US bases in north-east Syria have been targeted before, with the US responding with air strikes. President Biden authorized Thursday night’s air strikes, which targeted “facilities used by groups affiliated with… [the] IRGC”. Fourteen pro-Iran fighters were killed, according to a monitoring group. On Friday morning, rockets targeted another US base, Green Village, in north-eastern Syria, but no injuries were reported. About 900 US troops are operating out of bases in southern and eastern Syria as part of the US-led global coalition against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) – US bombs Syria targets after deadly drone attack (BBC News ~ World – Middle East)