The D Brief: Ukraine blackouts; ‘Highway to climate hell’; North Korea missile tests; Boeing Defense CEO; and just a bit more...
Power is being partially restored to Kherson today after what the Russian-installed authorities there called a “terrorist attack” by the Ukrainians on power lines, and the region is also without water, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Rewind: Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian port city of Kherson in September amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in August; Putin last week ordered civilians to evacuate Kherson. Meanwhile, Russian troops are “stepping up their efforts to make life unbearable for civilians” in that region, the New York Times reports. Those efforts include “looting empty homes” and putting troops dressed as civilians inside them to prep for battle, Reuters reported Monday from Kyiv.
Ukraine’s capital city is also bracing for complete blackouts, at the urging of its mayor, Vitali Klitschko. “If you have extended family or friends outside Kyiv, where there is autonomous water supply, an oven, heating, please keep in mind the possibility of staying there for a certain amount of time,” he said on a national news broadcast, The Guardian reported.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: “We are aware of the fact that the terrorist state is concentrating forces and means for a possible repetition of massive attacks on our infrastructure, primarily energy,” he said Sunday in his nightly address to his country.
Vladimir Putin’s forces retreated from Kyiv six months ago, and about a million people have returned to the area, but residents near Ukraine’s capital are struggling to rebuild their lives, AP’s Sam Mednick writes. “Everything changed. Our lives changed,” a 51-year-old man whose house was ripped apart by Russian missiles in February told Mednick. “I don’t know where our kids and grandkids will live. I don’t know anything.”
Ukraine has received its first NASAMS air-defense missiles, Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov tweeted Monday. The Pentagon announced in July that it would send two NASAMS—that’s the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System—to Ukraine.
Russia has reportedly lost 278 aircraft in Ukraine—more than two times the number of aircraft it lost in the Soviet-Afghan War, according to the head of Ukraine’s armed forces. The stat was reported by the British Ministry of Defence, which stressed that while it can’t verify the figure, “Russia’s continued lack of air superiority is likely exacerbated by poor training, loss of experienced crews, and heightened risks of conducting close air support in dense air defence zones.”
- “Senior White House Official Involved in Undisclosed Talks With Top Putin Aides,” via the Wall Street Journal, reporting Monday from Washington;
- “In newly liberated villages, Ukrainian investigators uncover horrific claims of Russian sexual violence,” via CNN, reporting Thursday from Ukraine; and
- “In Russian-held Donetsk, freed POWs return to tearful reunions,” via Reuters, reporting Sunday from Ukraine.
From Defense One
Meet the Man Trying to Change the Culture of Boeing Defense // Marcus Weisgerber: CEO Ted Colbert says reducing groupthink is part of the path to a nimbler, networked weapons company.
Is Russia’s Nuclear About-Face More or Less Credible Than Its Earlier Threats? // Kevin Baron: After months of saber-rattling, Putin and his government have been disavowing the use of tactical nukes in Ukraine.
Defense Business Brief // Marcus Weisgerber: Defense Business Brief: US arms deals with Australia rise; One-on-one with new L3Harris exec; Marine Corps AH-1Z production ends; and more.
Donated Tanks Headed to Ukraine // Patrick Tucker: Kyiv will get 90 T-72 tanks, donated by the Czech Republic and upgraded with U.S. and Dutch funds.
Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Jennifer Hlad and Bradley Peniston. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. And check out other Defense One newsletters here. On this day in 2001, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair vowed to defeat the Taliban and bring the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks to justice. “We’ve got a sound strategy in place that has got Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda thugs on the run. We will prevail. There’s no question in my mind,” Bush said. It would be almost another decade until bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011. The Taliban retook control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021.
“Cooperate or perish,” UN chief tells climate-conference attendees. The world "is on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator," United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told dozens of government leaders gathered for the 27th annual UN climate summit, dubbed COP27.
China and the United States—the world’s largest economies and the largest polluters—must return to the cooperation that ceased a few years ago, Guterres said.
But: “Leaders of China and India—both among the biggest emitters—appear to be skipping the climate talks, although underlings are here negotiating. The leader of the top polluting country, President Biden, is coming days later than most of the other presidents and prime ministers on his way to Bali,” where the world’s 20 richest nations are to meet later this week, NPR reported.
Check this sneak peek at the UN’s 2023 climate report, which relates some facts, figures, and effects in lively, graphically interesting ways.
A Wisconsin lawmaker is suing to keep military ballots from being counted. Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen is both the chairwoman of the State Assembly’s elections committee and a frequent promoter of false election claims. That’s the headline, but there are other twists and turns. (Washington Post)
The suit is just one of many Republican efforts to limit voting by mail across the country. (Washington Post)
Boeing Defense’s newish CEO is navigating two cultural shifts, reports Global Business Editor Marcus Weisgerber. “The first is reshaping his division of the 100-year-old planemaker into a more agile builder of networked and AI-assisted weapons. The second is much more personal.” Read on, here.
North Korea: Missile tests were attack preparations. Pyongyang North Korea’s military said Monday that the dozens of missiles it test-fired last week—including nuclear-capable ones—were rehearsals to “mercilessly” strike South Korean and U.S. targets like air bases and operation command systems. The government had earlier said the tests were protests against “massive U.S.-South Korean air force drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal, AP reports.
Lastly today: Congrats to the Air Force Academy Falcons, who won the tri-academy Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with a 13-7 victory over Army on Saturday. It’s the youngest academy’s first outright win since 2016, though it still has the most victories (21) in the series’ 51-year run. (CBS News)