Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier this evening. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
We’ve got important events today.
The European Union has taken a significant step in the visa issue regarding the citizens of Russia. The European Commission has approved a proposal to suspend the simplified visa regime currently in force between the EU and Russia.
Of course, this is not yet a complete visa ban. But this already demonstrates to the citizens of the terrorist state that they bear certain moral responsibility for their state’s aggression against Ukraine and the whole of Europe.
There is such a situation now, when it is inadmissible to remain silent. And it is inadmissible not to oppose terror. It is absolutely unacceptable that European territory can be used for tourism or shopping by those who at home, in Russia, not only support the split and mockery of Europe, but also work for it. And it cannot be taken lightly that Russian propagandists can still stay in European countries, lie daily in reports and broadcasts from European capitals. Lie about Europe! Humiliate Europe! And at the same time be in Europe. An absurdity that must be stopped immediately.
I am grateful to Mrs. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and to all European leaders who support visa restrictions for Russian citizens.
And we must remember: in addition to the moral side of the issue, it is also a matter of elementary security. Russia has repeatedly sent killers to Europe under the guise of ordinary tourists. They have already admired enough the spire in Salisbury, German streets and warehouses with weapons in the Czech Republic. Enough. Europe is not a place for promenade for murderers and those who support them.
The second important piece of news is the IAEA report. The mission, which visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, presented a documentary summary of its work. The report notes the presence of Russian military equipment on the territory of the NPP, emphasizes pressure on our nuclear specialists, and makes clear references to the Russian military occupation. That’s good.
As for IAEA Director General Grossi’s proposal to create a protection zone at the plant, we need to look at the specific content of such an instrument: what exactly can be the protection? If the content of this proposal is to demilitarize the territory of the nuclear power plant – and this is logical, as it was the Russian military presence that put the Zaporizhzhia plant on the brink of a radiation disaster – then we can support such a demilitarized protection zone.
In any case, I believe that modern international organizations need a much broader mandate for their actions. I believe that the world not only deserves, but also needs the representatives of the IAEA to force Russia to demilitarize the territory of the NPP and return full control to Ukraine.
If Russia puts the world on the brink of a radiation disaster, the world must have adequate means to put Russia in the conditions where the terrorist state will be forced to stop the terror.
I took part in a number of important economic events in New York today – our government delegation led by First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko is there.
Resistance to Russian terror and protection of our state take place at different levels. Defense goes hand in hand with diplomatic efforts, information work and, of course, the economy.
Saving and creating new jobs in Ukraine, attracting investments and business projects, expanding logistics capabilities, protecting our needs for financial assistance – all this is absolutely necessary. And it is necessary now – when the war is still ongoing.
One of the most famous stock exchanges in the world, the New York Stock Exchange, is one of the best places to attract the world’s economic attention to Ukraine. And today was a Ukrainian day at the stock exchange. And this Ukrainian day started a global campaign to promote our economic potential. We will do everything to ensure that the world’s leading businesses work with Ukraine and in Ukraine. It is obvious that the key challenge here is security. We are constantly improving our ability to respond to this challenge – to protect our state and our people.
Today I want to thank the warriors who distinguished themselves in this.
Five out of six Russian Kh-101 missiles were shot down only in the first half of the day. This is an expensive loss for Russia – and it saved many Ukrainian lives.
Four of these missiles were shot down by servicemen of the Air Command South. Well done, guys!
Also, special thanks today to the warriors of the 79th airborne assault brigade, who heroically repel the enemy in the Donetsk direction.
By the way, today I want to address all our people who create an information picture – in one way or another. Please draw your attention and the attention of society to the fact that the fierce confrontation continues almost along the entire frontline. This is one thousand three hundred kilometers of active hostilities. And it is simply unfair, when there are a lot of talks about certain areas of the front, while others seem to be forgotten. Although our warriors in many directions are doing an absolutely great job, they are absolute heroes.
In Donbas, in the Kharkiv region, in the Zaporizhzhia region, in the south, in the border regions of the north and east of the country. The defense of the whole state needs equally sincere and serious attention.
I held a meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief – we are solving all issues related to the advance of our Armed Forces and the destruction of the occupiers as quickly and accurately as possible. 50,000 Russian lives have already been lost in this completely senseless war for Russia. And the occupiers do not care about even such a level of losses.
And we do care about every life of our heroes, our defenders. We do everything to protect the lives of Ukrainians. And I am grateful to the partners who help us with this.
Today, my diplomatic day began at 8 am – with a conversation with Mrs. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives. As always, productive and very warm. We coordinated our steps to protect Ukraine and freedom as such from Russian aggression.
In the afternoon, I spoke with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte about increasing sanction pressure on Russia, about new defense and macro-financial assistance to our country. I am very grateful.
I have just had a conversation with the new Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mrs. Liz Truss. It was her first conversation in her new status with a foreign leader – and it is a great honor for Ukraine.
I congratulated Mrs. Prime Minister on the beginning of her work and I feel that we will be able to build a profound and productive relationship.
Mrs. Prime Minister takes office at a time of great difficulties. Russian energy blackmail, constant efforts of the terrorist state to destabilize the political situation in Europe and the free world, constant Russian disinformation…
However, by maintaining our unity and working in full coordination, we can overcome this, too.
We have discussed how to further increase the pressure on Russia, so that the price of aggression for it would constantly increase. And so that the defense support for our state would also constantly increase. I’ve heard very important words about our cooperation, future security guarantees for Ukraine, and about the reconstruction of our state. It is very important that Great Britain retains a leadership role in consolidating the free world and protecting freedom.
I invited the Prime Minister to visit our country. And I am thankful for the firm confidence that Ukraine and the free world will definitely win in this war started by Russia.
I am grateful to everyone who protects Ukraine and freedom!
Glory to Ukraine!
The Ukrainian MOD did not post an operational update (again) today. I expect we won’t see one for a while given the activities of the Ukrainian military.
The Pentagon press secretary, BrigGen Ryder, held an on the record briefing earlier today. There’s nothing in the prepared remarks about Ukraine. So here’s the Q&A:
And with that, I’m happy to take your questions. Let me start with A.P.
Q: Hi, Pat. Thank you.
Q: Yup. Can you hear me? Pat? Can you hear me?
GEN. RYDER: I can hear you, yes.
Q: So I have a question on the latest intelligence suggesting that Russia’s hoping to buy some millions of dollars of rockets and artillery from North Korea. Has the Pentagon seen any indication that is ongoing already, or preparation for that? And then just a quick one on the secretary’s trip this week. Do you expect that there will be more aid announced, or any other changes in U.S. troop posture in Europe as part of this coming meeting?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks for the question, Lita. So let me take your second question first and say that I don’t have any announcements to make right now. Certainly, the Secretary looks forward to the conversations as part of the Ukraine Contact Group, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on that front in terms of any outcomes.
As far as your first question, yes, we do have indications that Russia has approached North Korea to request ammunition. I’m not able to provide any more detail than that at this point in time, but it does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine. Certainly, as has been said, we assess that things are not going well on that front for Russia, so the fact that they’re reaching out to North Korea is a sign that they’re having some challenges on the sustainment front. Thank you.
Q: Just a quick follow then. You talked about they’re in a process getting these weapons. Does that mean they have, like, sent the money over? They’re waiting for the shipment? Have they not sent money over? What part of the process are they in?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so the information we have is that they have approached North Korea, but beyond that, I don’t have any further details to provide.
Q: There’s been no transfer of money necessarily.
GEN. RYDER: I don’t have any other details to provide.
Q: And just to follow up, why declassify this information now? Is it because you received it now, or because the process of declassification took awhile? I guess why now?
GEN. RYDER: So what I would say, Idris, is that as this campaign has unfolded, we’ve tried to make an effort to ensure that the public and the international community understand the situation that Russia finds itself as they, again, continue to wage their campaign in Ukraine. This information is relevant to the fight in the sense that, again, it’s indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in and shows the fact that they are trying to reach out to international actors like Iran and North Korea that don’t have the best record when it comes to international stability.
Q: And then one last question real quick. Is this the first time the Russians have reached out to the North Koreans for these types of weapons?
GEN. RYDER: I don’t have an answer to that. Okay, Lara?
Q: Yeah, thanks. Can you give us an update — two questions. First of all, can you give us an update on what you’re seeing from the drones that Russia has received from Iran? Are you seeing indications of additional failures like we saw last week? What’s the status there?
And then I also wanted to ask — we’re seeing these reports that Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive now in the Kharkiv Oblast. Can you provide any update on what the Ukrainian armed forces are doing there?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. On your first question, I don’t have any updates to provide. In terms of what we’re seeing in Ukraine, what I would tell you is that in general what we’ve see in the Kherson region, first, is some — or continued offensive operations by the Ukrainians. They continue to make some forward movement. We are aware that they have retaken some villages.
In terms of that, you know, further detail beyond that, I’d refer you to the Ukrainians. But that’s probably about as much information as I’m going to be able to provide in terms of an operational update from the podium. I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Q: If I could just follow up, have you seen any movement of Russian forces from the east to resupply the south?
GEN. RYDER: So in terms of Russian forces, what I would tell you is that we have seen some offensive Russian activity up in — near Bakhmut. And in that situation, the Ukrainians continue to hold the line. As far as Russian reinforcement, I don’t have any details to provide on that. Jim?
Q: General, obviously, the Secretary and the Chairman will be discussing training for Ukrainian forces outside of Ukraine by allied or partnered countries. Can you, sort of, say what’s the level of training right now, before this meeting that’s coming up?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. You know, talking in broad terms, primarily consisting of training on various weapons systems that we’re providing to the Ukrainians, providing training on maintenance and logistics type of support. We can certainly work with you to get you more details, more granularity on that. But, generally speaking, that’s the kind of training that we’re providing.
And again, this is not something new, necessarily, although certainly, since the invasion, there has been a continued increased focus on supporting the Ukrainians. But, as you well know, this is something that we’ve been doing since 2014.
Q: Sort of, along with that, one of the comments that you hear most often from the Ukrainian military is the role that NCOs play in small units, especially. But that was also a part of the training that the Ukrainian military received from the U.S. forces.
Is that still continuing? Are they still doing that? Or has the exigencies of war, sort of, wiped that out?
GEN. RYDER: So we’ll get back to you in terms of the specifics on that aspect of the training. What I would say is, yes, broadly speaking, that highlighting and working with the Ukrainians, in terms of NCO leadership, has — is something that we have done.
You know, this is a strategic advantage in a lot of ways, of the U.S. military and many Western militaries, is the noncommissioned officer corps, in terms of what they bring to the battlefield and enabling modern militaries. So I do know that that is an area that is of continued importance. But let us get back to you in terms of specific training on that front. Thanks, Jim.
All right. Let’s go back to the phone lines here. Do we have Fox News?
Q: Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported the Pentagon created a new task force to expedite the arms sales to U.S. allies and partners last month. First, could you confirm the report? And secondly, is there a concern in the Pentagon that the U.S. will not be able to sufficiently arm Taiwan by 2027, when the U.S. military assesses that China will have the capabilities to invade Taiwan?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so in terms of the Foreign Military Sales tiger team, yes, we did recently initiate an internal FMS tiger team process in exploring a wide range of immediate and systemic areas for reform of Department of Defense processes, platforms and regional perspectives to improve our ability to work with allies and partners.
And it’s important to highlight the fact that this endeavor is not focused on a particular region, it’s rather designed to intensively explore and look at internal processes throughout the department. And so this is largely focused on efficiency.
And I’m sorry, can you ask your second question again?
Q: So is there any particular concern in the Pentagon that the U.S. will not provide sufficient number of weapons systems to Taiwan by 2027, when the U.S. military says that China could have capabilities to invade Taiwan?
GEN. RYDER: So what I would tell you is that we’ll continue to work closely with our international partners and allies. I’m the — I don’t have any specific remarks or comments to make today in regard to Taiwan or — or potential or future military sales, other than to say that, you know, we’ll continue to work very closely on stability in the region and work closely with our partners in the region to ensure that stays the case. Thank you.
Let me go ahead and go to the phone here. Tony Capaccio from Bloomberg?
Q: Hi, sir. I had a quick question on the Ukraine — on the Afghanistan after action report. You mentioned last week that a classified version has been prepared. What organization has prepared it? Was that the National Defense University? And what are your plans for releasing fairly quickly the executive summary, at least?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Tony. So yes, National Defense University was responsible for compiling the report. And I’m not going to put a timeline on when the Secretary’s review will be complete, nor when we will have an unclassified aspect of that report available for release.
Q: So will you at least commit to an expedited review of the classification of the report so that, you know, the public can see this and it’s just not leaked it?
GEN. RYDER: Certainly, Tony, I’ll commit to taking your question and taking a look at that, and — and when we have something available, we will be sure to provide that. Thank you though.
Okay, let’s do one more from the phone here. Joe Gould, Defense News?
Q: Hi, General. Thanks for taking my question. I have a two-parter also, in light of the Ukraine aid request from the administration. First part is what’s the current number of U.S. troops mobilized in Europe to bolster NATO since the invasion? Is that still about 10,000?
And then also, is it correct that there is about $2.8 billion in presidential drawdown authority that’s gone unused and will be allowed to expire at the end of the fiscal year?
GEN. RYDER: Okay, so in terms of U.S. troop presence in Europe, yes, the numbers have remained the same. We’re at about 100,000 U.S. forces in the AOR, in addition to the troops that we deployed to provide additional support.
In terms of the aid for Ukraine, certainly, you know, I don’t want to speculate about future funding, other than to say that we are committed to using the aid that we have to support Ukraine and we’ll continue to work very closely with the interagency and with Congress to ensure that we’re spending that aid as expeditiously as possible, to support them in their fight.
Q: Felicia Schwartz, Financial Times. On the training, in the past, we’ve gotten numbers of how many Ukrainians have gone through, I mean, unspecific systems, like the HIMARS or for drones in some instances. Do you have any, like, updated numbers or even ballpark figures about how many Ukrainians have been through training at this point?
RYDER: I don’t have that right in front of me. But let me take that question and we’ll see what we can provide you.
Back to the phone line here. Heather from USNI.
Q: Thanks so much. I was just wondering if we can get a maritime update what’s going on out in Ukraine in the Black Sea.
RYDER: Sure. I can talk in broad terms, Heather. You know, we continue to see the grain shipments departing Odesa, which is a positive thing. We continue to stay focused on that. In terms of operational updates, you know, clearly that I don’t want to get into intelligence from the podium here other than to say that we keep a close eye on that region as the conflict continues to unfold. Thank you.
Q: Can we go back to the questions about North Korea. What are some of the capabilities that North Korea could actually offer Russia in its fight in Ukraine?
RYDER: Well, the information that we have is that Russia has specifically asked for ammunition. But in terms of the capabilities, I don’t want to speculate on what Russia may or may not need beyond that or what they could offer.
Q: Are we seeing any indications that Russia is making similar reach-out efforts to friendly nations around the world. I mean, we’ve seen the Iran drone deal, now this information which you’ve declassified. Are they making other contacts around the world to do pretty much the same thing which is reach out for ammunition and other —
RYDER: So based on the information that I have, I would say at this point time we’ve seen North Korea and Iran as the countries that they’ve reached out to. So, thank you.
Okay. Let’s go to Jeff Seldin, VOA.
Q: General, thanks very much for doing this. One question on Russia, one on Iran.
Just generally what is the latest that the Pentagon has in terms of any changes to Russia’s nuclear posture, especially with the Ukrainian counteroffensive seeming to make some steps?
And also on Iran, can you explain, what does the Pentagon make of Iran’s increased aggressiveness both in term — you know, we saw it last week with the attempts to capture the Saildrones. But are you seeing that matched by the IRGC or Iran’s proxy forces, whether in the Middle East or beyond in terms of Iran’s aggressive posture?
RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Jeff. No changes in terms of your first question, no changes in terms of the posture. Again, that is an area that we’ll just continue to keep a very close eye on.
Here’s the British MOD’s assessment for today:
And here is their updated map for today:
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessment of the situation in Ukraine:
KHERSON / 2100 UTC 6 SEP/ Heavy RU losses are reported in the Inhulets pocket. The UKR air force’s suppression of enemy air defense missions have enabled increased close air support sorties. Partisans continue to identify RU logistics and ammo depots for artillery strikes. pic.twitter.com/Mfb5HvykaI
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) September 6, 2022
Ukraine seems to be up to something in Kharkiv:
Goodnight #Ukraine. Nothing official, but reports today say while Russia's rushed everything to south Kherson region, today Ukrainian forces launched an offensive in northeast Kharkiv region – & it's said to be going well. So fingers crossed & may our brothers & sisters keep safe pic.twitter.com/qfSa1Akbil
— Glasnost Gone (@GlasnostGone) September 6, 2022
Could be very limited, could be something bigger. Either way it increases the pressure on the Russians.
There’s also an increase in Ukrainian partisan and other activity in Berdyansk:
NO PLACE TO HIDE: UKR Partisans in the occupied port city of Berdyansk carried out a personnel interdiction against the city commandant, Artem Bardin. Bardin was reported to be seriously injured when an IED targeted his vehicle in the city center.https://t.co/8EfDWqgsuy
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) September 6, 2022
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) September 6, 2022
Ukrainian partisans are also busy in Simferopol:
Partisans in Russian-occupied territories are publishing posters with grid references of Russian assets:
1⃣'Rosgvardia, Simferopol 44.9407, 34.0929 – Want a smoke?'
2⃣'Shall we demilitarize the Russian army?'
3⃣'FSB Department, Simferopol 44.9570, 34.1026 – Want a smoke?' pic.twitter.com/BkbcJGgK6f
— WhereisRussiaToday (@WhereisRussia) September 6, 2022
There is definitely something up with Putin’s gait in this video. Right side.
Would anyone describe this is a happy and confident trio? Putin obviously doesn’t even want to talk with the commander of the 🇷🇺 armed forces. pic.twitter.com/gfgcXfIPwy
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) September 6, 2022
Several years ago I read an open source analysis, with images, of Putin’s gait and the conclusion was he walks like he’s got a full size handgun on his right hip. But this is different. He was able to hold the binoculars with both hands, so who knows what’s up?
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has published its report on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. There’s no executive summary, so click across and give it a look.
That’s enough for tonight.
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