Over the past day, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has destroyed one Russian helicopter, two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), platoon and company strong points and armored fighting vehicles.
The relevant statement was made by the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“On August 31, 2022, in the Eastern direction, the air-defense missile units of the Air Force destroyed an enemy helicopter (presumably, Ka-52) of Russian occupiers. In addition, two operational tactical level UAVs were shot down,” the report states.
Over the past day, Ukraine’s air forces have completed more than 70 air missions in different directions. Ukrainian fighters, bombers and attack aircraft launched missile and air strikes on the ground targets of Russian occupation troops, having hit enemy ammunition depots, platoon and company strong points, armored fighting vehicles, air-defense missile system positions, multiple launch rocket systems and personnel.
“A substantial, sustained degradation of Russia’s radars with HARMs would be a major set-back to Russia’s already troubled situational awareness.”
Britain, the US, Ukraine and their allies are fighting an information war against Russia so briefings need to be treated with caution, although claims by the Kremlin are often far less believable.
Ukraine’s operational command South said its forces had destroyed a pontoon bridge near the town of Daryivky in the Kherson region, which had been used by the Russian troops to bring in equipment and ammunition.
Click here to see ISW interactive map, updated daily: arcg.is/09O0OS
An expert team from the United Nations nuclear agency plan to stay at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after gaining long-awaited access to the site on Thursday. “We are not going anywhere. The IAEA is now there, it is at the plant and it is not moving – it’s going to stay there,” the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, told reporters after returning to Ukrainian-held territory. He said a group of IAEA experts had stayed behind at the plant in south-eastern Ukraine and would provide an impartial, neutral and technically sound assessment of the situation.
The physical integrity of the Zaporizhzhia plant had been violated on several occasions, Rafael Grossi said. “It is obvious that the plant and physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times,” he told reporters. “I worried, I worry and I will continue to be worried about the plant until we have a situation which is more stable, which is more predictable.”
Russia’s foreign minister warned Moldova that any actions seen as endangering the security of Russian troops in the breakaway region of Transnistria would be considered an attack on Russia. Sergei Lavrov said: “Everyone should understand that any action that would threaten the security of our troops [in Transnistria] would be considered under international law as an attack on Russia.”
Russia and China launched large-scale military exercises involving several allied nations on Thursday, in a show of growing defence cooperation between Moscow and Beijing and a demonstration of Moscow’s military might. The Russian defence ministry said the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise would be held until Wednesday in Russia’s far east and the Sea of Japan and involve more than 50,000 troops and 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.
United States federal agents searched properties linked to a billionaire Russian oligarch in Manhattan, the Hamptons and an exclusive Miami island. FBI agents and Homeland Security Investigations personnel searched the properties, linked to Viktor Vekselberg, who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and whose $120m yacht was seized in April, NBC News reported.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency is investigating allegations that two senior civil servants could have been spying for Russia, according to a local media report. Die Zeit, which first revealed the case, said the officials being investigated had close involvement with energy supply issues and held key positions.
A senior Russian oil executive has died after falling from the window of a Moscow hospital, months after his company criticised the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ravil Maganov, the chair of Lukoil, Russia’s largest private oil company, “fell from a window at Central clinical hospital”, the Interfax news agency reported on Thursday, citing a source. “He died from injuries sustained.” Maganov is the second top Lukoil executive to die in mysterious circumstances in recent months.
Children returned to Ukrainian schools trashed by occupying Russian forces on Thursday. Only schools that are fit for use, are in areas that do not face a regular threat of shelling and that have enough students opt for in-person teaching will reopen. School administrations have been preparing for the new academic year by outfitting basements as shelters and training teachers on what to do in case of an attack. All children who attend are told to carry an emergency bag with a change of clothes, any medicine they may need, a note from their parents and, for the younger children, a favourite toy.
The history goes back some way. Writing in Slate earlier this year, Charles Shaw, an assistant professor of Soviet history at Central European University in Vienna, argued that Ukraine was repurposing an old Soviet tactic against Russia. Kyiv was “consciously deploying laughter to define its position on the correct side of a just war, which is a playbook the Soviets used to great effect versus Nazi Germany,” Shaw wrote.
It may all seem frivolous. It’s anything but.
NAFO, for example, have served as fundraisers for the Ukraine military, even raising money so Ukraine would paint their memes on a tank, artfully dubbed “Super Bonker 9000.” Indirectly, the largely English-language memes have kept Western attention on Ukraine’s war — attention that is vital given the importance of Western arms to Ukrainian forces.
The group has also undercut both Russia’s somber justifications for the war, as well as accounts from Russian state allies that had attempted to show the conflict going in a better light than it actually was. It’s noteworthy that many of NAFO’s supporters come from the OSINT community.
Eliot Higgins, the founder the best-known OSINT website Bellingcat, tweeted this week that he would be talking about NAFO in a conference “as an example of online communities organically responding to disinformation from governments and counterfactual communities,” adding that it was “good for morale.”
But there are risks to the tactic, too. The surreal nature of the memes shouldn’t mask the bloody reality on the ground nor become dehumanizing, as Soviet propaganda against Germany did during World War II, according to Shaw. It’s notable that the Ukraine Defense Ministry has moved to embrace NAFO the same week that it banned reporters from traveling to parts of the country, sparking speculation that a counterattack is imminent.
Is a counterattack actually happening? Ukraine’s response so far has been to not answer, but to do what it knows best: Troll the Russians, once again.
More than six months in, the war in Ukraine has become a little surreal. This past weekend, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry shared a doctored photograph of a Shiba Inu dog wearing a military uniform, apparently gushing over the site of a missile launch.
“Today we want to give a shout-out to a unique entity,” the tweet read, before pointing to an unusually named group — the North Atlantic Fellas Organization.
If you are the sort of person who gets your news from, say, a newspaper website, you may have little idea what NAFO is. But if you’re the sort of person who has spent the last six months scouring Twitter for news about the war in Ukraine, signing up for obscure Telegram accounts and reading accounts of the latest Ukrainian strikes on Russia on blogs devoted to open-source intelligence (OSINT) … well, it’s quite likely you’re already a fella yourself.
For the former, let’s explain. Over recent months, Ukraine-sympathetic internet users have come together to support Kyiv’s war effort. The Shiba Inu is a distinctive dog breed from Japan, which for over a decade, has been a recurrent motif in internet culture. You may recognize it as a “doge,” beloved of Elon Musk and millions of other internet users.
Vice’s Motherboard dates the use of Shiba Inu as a “fella” fighting the war in Ukraine to May, when an artist named Kama began creating custom images of the “fellas” for those who donated money to the Georgian Legion — a volunteer military unit in Ukraine that took on board many foreigners. “Out of boredom, I started making other Fellas and imprinting them on random images from Ukraine,” Kama told Motherboard earlier this summer.