A Ukrainian entrepreneur with pro-Russian views has become the latest target in a series of assaults.
On Thursday evening, Oleg Tsaryov, a Ukrainian businessman with pro-Russian views, was shot twice and suffered serious injuries in Crimea, which is now under Russian control. His family and Russian authorities confirmed the incident on Friday.
The leading investigative agency in Russia announced that they have launched a criminal investigation into the assassination attempt on a prominent pro-Moscow figure. This is just one of many attacks that have occurred since the beginning of the war.
Tsaryov was discovered in a state of unconsciousness and with bleeding. Vladimir Rogov, an official appointed by Russia in southern Ukraine, stated that Tsaryov is currently receiving intensive care. According to sources in Moscow, Reuters reported that Tsaryov, a former Ukrainian legislator, was being considered to lead a subordinate government in Kyiv if Russia managed to take control of the city.
On Friday, a source within the Ukrainian intelligence agency revealed that the shooting of Tsaryov was carried out as a targeted operation by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
Tsaryov, a successful hotel entrepreneur in Crimea, used to serve as a representative in the Ukrainian parliament and later as the speaker of the “Novorossiya” parliament. This entity was established in 2014 by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine who rebelled against the Ukrainian military.
Several Western nations, including Ukraine and the United States, have placed sanctions on him. Myrotvorets, also known as “Peacemaker” in Ukrainian, is an extensive unofficial registry of individuals deemed as traitors to the country. This database includes personal details about Tsaryov, such as email, passport, and Yalta address.
Numerous individuals in the Myrotvorets database who were supportive of war efforts in Russia have been killed during the conflict, such as journalist Darya Dugina, war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, and former submarine commander Stanislav Rzhitsky.
Dugina and Tatarsky were killed in explosions, while Rzhitsky was fatally shot during an early morning jog.
Ukrainian intelligence did not provide an immediate comment.
Ukrainians remain deeply committed to keeping up their country’s defensive fight against Russia, despite some weariness with their country’s 20-month struggle against Russia’s invasion.
A recent Gallup poll revealed that Ukrainians are still determined to emerge victorious in the war initiated by Russia in February 2022, but their determination has decreased compared to last year.
In July and August, 60% of the Ukrainian population expressed their desire for Ukraine to continue fighting until victory, while only 31% preferred negotiating for a swift end to the war. This shows a slight decrease in commitment compared to September 2022, when 70% of Ukrainians supported ongoing fighting. However, the majority still firmly stands behind the war, according to the survey results.
The conflict is predicted to continue through the winter as neither party shows signs of relenting in intense skirmishes.
Families of soldiers in Ukraine marched through city streets on Friday, calling for a maximum 18-month requirement for military duty.
Approximately 100 family members of Ukrainian soldiers, including wives, mothers, and children, gathered in Kyiv to protest for the soldiers to be demobilized. They were heard chanting, “Demobilize the soldiers.”
Valeriia Koliada, 35, expressed her ongoing anxiety for her husband’s safety as he willingly serves in the military.
She expressed feeling anxious and added that he was also exhausted. As a young family, she desires to have a child and get a good night’s rest.
Demonstrators assembled in a minimum of six additional cities in Ukraine.
On February 24, 2022, when Russia initiated its invasion, Ukraine implemented a general mobilization for men aged 25 to 60. Most individuals joined as volunteers.
The White House reported that Russian forces are facing morale issues in preparation for another winter campaign.
At a press conference on Thursday, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated that there is evidence of the Russian military carrying out executions of soldiers who refuse to comply with orders.
According to Kirby, there is evidence that Russian leaders are making threats to execute entire military units if they attempt to withdraw from Ukrainian artillery attacks. Kirby denounces this behavior as “barbaric.”
According to Kirby, Russia’s mobilized troops are lacking in training, equipment, and readiness for battle, similar to their previous unsuccessful winter attack. He also mentioned that Russia seems to be using a strategy of overwhelming force.
According to Kirby, the lack of appropriate equipment, leadership, resources, and support has resulted in low morale among Russian forces.
The email sent by VOA requesting comment from Russia’s Washington Embassy did not receive an immediate response.
According to the White House, certain Russian soldiers were recently killed near the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka by their own superiors.
Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have engaged in combat for control of Avdiivka, a town on the front lines in Donetsk. The Ukrainian military reported that the town has been heavily damaged by Russian airstrikes, leaving it mostly in ruins.
On Friday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Russian troops have suffered significant losses, equivalent to a brigade, in their attempt to move forward towards a town in eastern Ukraine.
During a phone conversation with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President Zelenskyy shared that the invaders had made multiple efforts to encircle Avdiivka. However, our soldiers successfully prevented their advances and inflicted significant casualties on the enemy. The president’s office stated that in these instances, the enemy suffered the loss of at least one brigade.
On Thursday, the United States announced that it will be giving Ukraine an extra $150 million in military support. This aid will consist of artillery and small-arms ammunition, along with anti-tank weapons.
As of now, Kyiv has received $43.9 billion in security assistance from Washington since Russia’s invasion, making the United States the largest provider of security support for Ukraine. However, there may be a risk of decreased U.S. aid for Ukraine in the future due to growing opposition from Republicans.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden convened with newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries at the White House. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Biden’s proposed funding package of approximately $106 billion, which includes provisions for both Israel and Ukraine, as well as strengthening security measures at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Johnson, a staunch conservative allied with Donald Trump, said Congress is “not going to abandon” Ukraine. He said House Republicans would first bring a separate bill to provide $14.5 billion in aid to Israel, adding that they need more information about the Biden administration’s Ukraine strategy.
Johnson stated on Fox News’ “Hannity” that it is imperative to prevent Vladimir Putin from gaining control in Ukraine as he believes it would lead to further issues. He emphasized the importance of supporting Israel, a significant ally in the Middle East.
Germany has increased its efforts to provide Ukraine with air defense systems in preparation for the upcoming winter, in order to safeguard vital infrastructure from potential Russian assaults. On Friday, the German defense ministry announced the delivery of a third IRIS-T SLM air defense system to Kyiv.
This report contains information from Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and The Associated Press.