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The Wagner Group's mercenaries are now incorporated into the Russian National Guard.
Europe Ukraine

The Wagner Group’s mercenaries are now incorporated into the Russian National Guard.

The British Defense Ministry’s daily intelligence report on Ukraine stated that a significant portion of the Wagner mercenary Group has been incorporated into the leadership of Russia’s National Guard (Rosgvardiya). This is believed to be highly probable.

It is probable that Pavel Prigozhin, the son of the deceased Yevgeny Prigozin who previously led the faction, is now in charge of this new group. Yevgeny Prigozin died in a plane crash shortly after attempting to overthrow Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Furthermore, the document states that not only Wagner mercenaries, but also medical staff, have joined Chechen special forces.

The British Defense Ministry stated that Russia is currently exerting greater authority over the actions of the Wagner Group.

Kherson residents in Eastern Ukraine are marking one year since the liberation of their city from occupying Russian forces. And though they experience constant shelling from the left bank of the Dnipro River, where Russian troops are positioned, they say they have become resilient against such attacks.

Municipal workers are accustomed to wearing bullet-proof vests and staying ready to sweep up the rubble from yet another strike.

Despite the intermittent sounds of artillery from the river, Ukrainian citizens are still able to go out to purchase groceries, ride bicycles along grassy residential streets, and meet at the limited number of restaurants that are still in operation.

Residents commemorating the anniversary of their city’s liberation on November 11, 2022, emphasized the significance of freedom for those who have lived under occupation.

Grigori Malov, owner of one of the three remaining restaurants in the city, explained that they have a unique approach to dealing with the ongoing shelling. They are able to endure it because they are aware that the situation could be even more dire.

Municipal workers in the city of Kherson, Ukraine, decorate the wall of the regional administration building with a national flag to mark one year since Ukrainian troops retook the city from the Russian army, Nov. 10, 2023.

On November 10, 2023, municipal employees in Kherson, Ukraine adorned the regional administration building’s wall with the national flag to commemorate the anniversary of Ukrainian forces recapturing the city from the Russian army.

According to Ukrainian officials, Russia initiated a missile strike on Saturday targeting Kyiv and the surrounding area. Additionally, drones were deployed to attack the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.

“According to Serhiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv city military administration, the enemy has restarted their missile strikes on Kyiv after a 52-day break. However, thanks to the efforts of air defenders, the missile was successfully intercepted before reaching the capital.”

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that two Ukrainian drones were shot down by anti-aircraft units over the Moscow and Smolensk regions, which are located near the border with Belarus. This occurred on Saturday morning.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

The British Ministry of Defense stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin and former President Dmitry Medvedev have released documents that have been labeled by the British ministry as a “weaponization of history.” These documents are believed to be intended to promote anti-Western sentiments among the Russian people and to intimidate neighboring Western countries.

On Saturday, the British Ministry of Defense released an intelligence report on Ukraine, stating that Putin’s recent publication consists of 242 documents titled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” These documents, spanning from the 11th to the 20th century, serve as Putin’s justification for the Kremlin’s current policies towards Ukraine and include “interpretive comments” from the president.

According to the British ministry, Medvedev’s article discusses the history of Russian-Polish relations and accuses Poland of implementing an aggressive and revisionist policy against Russia. The ministry also claims that he threatens Poland with a potential military attack.

Assistance from the European Union to Ukraine

In the meantime, member countries of the European Union are hesitant to pledge a significant amount of $21.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine due to their ongoing struggle against Russia’s invasion.

The plan proposed by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in July is set to be discussed by defense ministers in Brussels on Tuesday. However, diplomats report that several countries, such as Germany, have expressed concerns about committing $5 billion per year for four years to enhance Ukraine’s defenses as part of a larger effort to strengthen Western security.

According to the EU’s diplomatic service, the bloc has given assistance worth $26 billion in the form of weapons and equipment.

A senior diplomat, who preferred to remain anonymous, stated that Germany has raised numerous inquiries and with good reason. The amount of money involved is significant.

The discussion surrounding financial support for the military coincides with ongoing discussions among EU countries about providing Ukraine with approximately $54 billion in economic aid.

Certain members of the European Union have expressed concerns that they may have difficulty committing to a significant long-term pledge due to constraints on their domestic budgets.

A second EU diplomat stated that certain member states are facing challenges with their public finances.

Furthermore, the European Union is encountering difficulties in fulfilling their goal of providing Kyiv with 1 million artillery shells and missiles by March of next year.

Obstacles from Hungary

For several months now, Hungary has been delaying the release of over $500 million in funds from the Peace Facility to other EU countries for the purpose of providing aid to Ukraine. This delay is due to Ukraine’s decision to blacklist a Hungarian bank, OTP.

After being taken off the blacklist, Hungary has been adamant about receiving assurances that it will not be placed back on it.

On Friday, Hungarian leader Viktor Orban stated that he does not approve of continuing discussions regarding Ukraine’s potential membership in the European Union. This suggests that Hungary may hinder Kyiv’s goal of becoming a part of the EU.

All member states must agree in order for a new country to join the bloc, which gives Orban a strong veto power.

During a radio interview on Friday, Orban stated that Ukraine is far from achieving membership in the world’s biggest trade bloc.

He stated that the Hungarian stance is that the negotiations should not commence.

The ruling party in Hungary, led by Orban, has rejected providing military support to Ukraine in their conflict with Russia. Additionally, they have accused Ukraine of infringing on the rights of Hungarian minorities in western Ukraine by limiting their ability to use the Hungarian language in educational settings.

Sources for this report include The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.