Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Ukraine Races to Forge New Army Ahead of Offensive; At Last, F-16 Jets for Ukraine; Ukraine denies Russia's Wagner has captured Bakhmut; Any mediation between Ukraine and Russia must comply with two principles – Ukraine's Foreign Minister, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Photo: Nikita Nikolaienko
WSJ: Ukraine Races to Forge New Army Ahead of Offensive:
Kyiv is training military recruits to take part in imminent move on Russian forces
In a valley far from the front lines last week, several men practiced dropping a half-full bottle of water from a small aerial drone, as though it were a grenade. Others fired rifles at targets 100 yards away. A third group set off for a trek through the surrounding hills, which burst with white and yellow flowers.
Almost none of them had military experience before last year. The Ukrainian military is racing to turn civilians into elite soldiers for the cutting edge of a critical summer offensive.
Kyiv has been holding some 20 brigades back from the fighting and training them to break through Russian lines and hold any ground taken. The hope in Kyiv is that when its offensive begins, Russian forces will be depleted from their assault on Bakhmut, while tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops will be fresh and well-equipped with Western battle tanks and other materiel.
“We got orders that we have to be ready to go at any moment,” said the commander of the Artan battalion, a special-forces unit of Ukraine’s military intelligence, known as GUR, which is being saved for the offensive.
For some members of the battalion, it will be their first operation.
While U.S. Navy SEALs receive more than two years of training before deployment, Ukrainian special forces don’t have that kind of time. The challenge for the commander, who goes by the call sign Titan, is to get his men ready, even if they have never seen combat.
Over the past year, Artan has slowly grown to 350 men from just 70 last summer. Only 20% of them had military experience before the full-scale invasion began. One was an actor, another a lawyer.
One soldier, a security guard before the war, fought with his local territorial defense and then in another Ukrainian brigade before joining Artan three months ago. He said he didn’t want to spend the war firing out of muddy trenches, and the special forces offered him the best chance to make a difference: “good training, good preparation, good supplies.”
Until last year, Titan said, HUR special-forces units like this one were nearly impossible to join. Now, the entry requirements have been eased as Kyiv has scrambled to bolster its manpower. “You still have to pass a test to show you can put three words together,” he said. There is also a lie-detector test and a physical-fitness qualification. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: /South Korea Defense Ministry/Associated Press
WSJ: At Last, F-16 Jets for Ukraine
President Biden said Friday that the U.S. would help train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets, and the obvious question is why this decision took 15 months.
In February Mr. Biden insisted that Ukraine didn’t need Western jets. Apparently three months later the jets would be helpful. That’s been the White House pattern throughout the Ukraine conflict: Resist more advanced weapons, then finally provide them much later after more carnage.
Republican Sen. Roger Wicker on Friday put out a timeline of this indecision—the shifting excuses, the fretting about provoking Russia. Entries include:
• “March 10, 2022: The United States won’t give Patriot air defense system to Ukraine, claiming it may provoke Russia (which had bombed a maternity hospital killing hundreds of children, mothers, and doctors the day before).” 
• “November 29, 2022: Eight months after saying it couldn’t provide Ukraine with Patriot missile defense systems, the Pentagon is considering sending Patriot batteries to Ukraine.” 
• “December 21, 2022: Nine months after refusing to provide Ukraine with Patriot missile defense systems, the United States reverses course and agrees to send Patriot batteries to Ukraine. WWIII does not commence.” --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Ukraine denies Russia's Wagner has captured Bakhmut+++++

+++++Any mediation between Ukraine and Russia must comply with two principles – Ukraine's Foreign Minister+++++

3rd Separate Assault Brigade breaks through on Bakhmut's outskirts – this is springboard for further counteroffensive

Ukraine's military confirms gaining initiative near Bakhmut, makes further advances

Official: Ukrainian defenders control southwestern Bakhmut, advance in city's outskirts

How the US helping Ukraine acquire F-16s shows that for military aid, ‘no’ can become ‘yes’

Ukraine says it advances, repels Russia attacks at Bakhmut

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G7 pledges support for Ukraine, seeks to reduce trade reliance on China

Zelensky Urges Arab Leaders Not to Ignore Russian Aggression

Russian forces dig in at Ukrainian nuclear plant, witnesses say

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