Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.
“Russia is negotiating potential deals for significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from the DPRK to be used against Ukraine,” Thomas-Greenfield said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. She accused Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of using his visit to North Korea last month as an opportunity to “try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia.” She also condemned Shoigu’s attendance at the secretive state’s military parade, which featured weapons prohibited by the U.N. Security Council.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanged letters after Shoigu’s visit to Pyongyang in July, Thomas-Greenfield said. She added that another group of Russian officials traveled to North Korea “for follow-up discussions about potential arms deals,” and that negotiations may include buying raw materials that could be used for Russia’s “defense industrial base.”
Ukraine is investigating its military medical commissions for corruption after finding that some branches had accepted bribes in exchange for falsified health documents that made men ineligible to draft. President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that the number of men removed from military registers by the medical commissions increased tenfold in some regions since February and that it was “absolutely clear” there were “corrupt decisions.” He said bribes between $3,000 to $15,000 had been paid to escape the draft while other eligible men were able to flee abroad.
Operations at a military airfield in Pskov, Russia, returned to normal Thursday after it was struck this week in a drone attack that damaged four Il-76 planes, according to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency. A barrage of missiles and drone attacks against Kyiv followed the strike early Wednesday, killing two people in the Ukrainian capital. Russia had reported drone strikes in at least six of its regions.
Britain’s Defense Minister Ben Wallace handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday. Wallace announced his plans to resign in July, after four years in the job, and was a key figure in London’s military support to Kyiv. “The United Kingdom is respected around the world for our armed forces and that respect has only grown more since the war in Ukraine,” he wrote in his resignation letter. He warned, however, that “I genuinely believe that over the next decade the world will get more insecure and more unstable,” urging the government to continue to invest in the armed forces.
Russia will discuss an alternative to the Black Sea grain deal with Turkey this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan are expected to meet in Moscow over a proposal to send grain to Turkey with the financial help of Qatar. The grain would be processed in Turkey and exported to countries “in need,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The Kremlin has also said the leaders of Russia and Turkey would meet in Russia “soon.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to “one of the most disruptive periods in decades for global food security,” according to a report from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It also said that Russian forces stole about 6 million tons of Ukrainian wheat from areas it controlled for export and its own consumption.
The Russian Embassy in Washington condemned the United States’ decision to send an additional $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, calling it the “height of hypocrisy.” The embassy said on Telegram: “Washington will not give up the concept of fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian.”
Russia experienced at least 25 “separate drone attacks” in August, according to a daily intelligence update from Britain’s Defense Ministry Thursday. It said that many of the drones had “reached their targets, which likely means that Russian air defence is having difficulty detecting and destroying them.” Russia is likely reconsidering its air defense strategies to better equip itself against these attacks, it added.
Putin is struggling with the falling ruble and rising prices as sanctions bite: When Putin addressed top economic officials last week after a bruising month in which the Russian ruble plummeted to a 16-month low against the U.S. dollar, he sought to set a confident tone, Catherine Belton, Jeff Stein and Robyn Dixon report.
But he could not avoid addressing a growing weakness that is stalking the economy as Western sanctions bite ever deeper, and one that has been exacerbated by the ruble’s plunge.
“Objective data shows that inflationary risks are increasing, and the task of reining in price growth is now the number one priority,” Putin said. “I ask my colleagues in the government and the Central Bank to keep the situation under constant control.”
The government’s spending on Russia’s defense industry are bringing Putin’s war home to many Russians for the first time.