Ukraine at D+264: Diplomacy, but not peace negotiations.
N2K logoNov 15, 2022

Ukraine works to return Kherson to some semblance of normal life. Russia encounters increased diplomatic isolation in the UN and at the G20.

Ukraine at D+264: Diplomacy, but not peace negotiations.

UN General Assembly calls for Russia to pay reparations to Ukraine.

The United Nations General Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution calling for Russia to pay reparations to Ukraine. "Ninety-four countries voted in favour of the resolution, and 14 against, while 73 abstained," the UN said. The resolution calls for Russian accountability, saying that Moscow “must bear the legal consequences of all of its internationally wrongful acts, including making reparation for the injury, including any damage, caused by such acts.” The resolution is non-binding, but carries some political weight as an expression of international sentiment.

Russia receives a cold reception at the G20 meetings in Bali.

Russia has faced a generally hostile reception at the G20 meetings in Bali, according to the AP. A joint Franco-Chinese statement called for the respect of Ukrainian territorial integrity. A US-led draft declaration, while acknowledging the members' differences over details, “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation” and “demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.” Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov disagreed, of course, strongly with the point of view expressed in the draft, and blamed Ukraine for the war's continuation. “All problems are on the Ukrainian side that categorically refuses to hold any talks and comes up with conditions obviously unrealistic and inadequate to this situation,” Mr. Lavrov explained.

Some of those conditions are apparently those expressed in Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's own address to the G20, delivered remotely, He outlined a ten-point plan for peace that included, Business Insider says, the following:

  1. "Radiation and nuclear safety"
  2. "Food security"
  3. "Energy security"
  4. "Release of prisoners and deportees"
  5. "Implementation of the UN Charter"
  6. "Withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities"
  7. "Justice"
  8. "Ecocide and the protection of the environment"
  9. "Prevention of escalation"
  10. "Confirmation of the end of the war"

Tactical and operational consequences of the Russian retreat.

What did the Russian retreat across the Dnipro buy their forces? It put their headquarters outside of Ukrainian artillery range, the UK's Ministry of Defence said in this morning's situation report. "By 12 November 2022, the Russian military had almost certainly completed the withdrawal of forces which had been holding territory west of the Dnipro River. With the abandonment of Kherson city, Russia has made the Azov Sea port town of Henichesk a ‘temporary capital’ of the occupied region. Russia will likely also redeploy military command units to the Henichesk area. The choice of this area as a command node hints at the priorities and concerns of Russian commanders as they consolidate their defences in southern Ukraine. It is well positioned to coordinate action against potential Ukrainian threats from both Kherson city in the west, or via Melitopol to the north-east, and to receive reinforcements from Crimea. Above all, it is currently out of range of Ukrainian artillery systems which have inflicted heavy damage on Russian field command posts."

Partial mobilization remains unpopular in Russia.

Russia's partial mobilization sought to call up 300,000 men of military age who had some military background or training. More than that number are known to have fled Russia into other countries to avoid conscription. The Washington Post reported yesterday that a large but unknown number ("thousands") of other men have gone into hiding within Russia itself. Some are doing so out of pacifist convictions, others out of opposition to this war, but many, perhaps most, simply don't wish to be shipped off to the fighting where they'd serve in an ill-prepared, poorly equipped, and badly led force. The Post observes, "[Defense Minister] Shoigu’s public statements that the mobilization was finished brought little peace of mind to the IT worker [whom the paper interviewed] or other Russian men in hiding. No legal decree has been issued formally ending the conscription drive."

CIA, SVR heads meet in Ankara.

US Director of Central Intelligence William Burns met his Russian counterpart Sergei Naryshkin, head of the SVR foreign intelligence service, in Ankara yesterday. The US denied the meeting, the first high-level, face-to-face talks between US and Russian officials since Russia invaded Ukraine, were in any respect peace negotiations. (That denial appears to have been prompted by some loose observations by US General Milley, reported by POLITICO, that the time might be ripe for a negotiated peace.) Instead, according to Reuters, the US said it wished to warn Russia against any use of nuclear weapons, also to take up the case of various US citizens unjustly imprisoned by Russia.

EU said to be considering a harder line against Russia.

EURACTIV reports that a draft memorandum from the European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, proposes that the EU adopt a policy aimed at “isolating Russia internationally, imposing and implementing restrictive measures against Russia and preventing their circumvention, in order to prevent it from waging war." It also advocates “ensuring accountability by holding Russia, perpetrators, and accomplices responsible for violations of international law and war crimes committed in Ukraine.”

US Treasury tightens sanctions.

The Hill reports that the US Treasury Department yesterday adopted additional sanctions (most of them against non-Russian middlemen) intended to further impair Russia's electronics supply chain. "Consistent with international commitments to sever Russia’s access to key components for its military-industrial complex, the United States will continue to target Russia’s efforts to resupply its weapons and sustain its war of aggression against Ukraine, including any foreign persons who assist Russia in those efforts,” Treasury said.

Killnet claims to have defaced a US FBI site.

Killnet, the hacktivist group serving as a Russian auxiliary, claimed, Newsweek reports, to have defaced a website belonging to the US Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI). If it happened at all, it as a very brief episode, with no credible observers saying they'd seen it. The claim, however, itself represents a small nuisance in the information operations Killnet and other Russian organizations have fitfully waged against much of the rest of the world.