Ukraine/Russland/NATO – Sammler 4. März 2022 (Update: Briefings Russland, USA)

Der anhaltende Krieg Russlands gegen die Ukraine hat am (heutigen) Freitag nach Meldungen über einen russischen Angriff auf das größte Atomkraftwerk des Landes neue Befürchtungen ausgelöst. Die NATO hat betont, dass sie nicht militärisch in diesen Krieg eingreifen werde – vor allem angesichts von Forderungen nach Durchsetzung einer Flugverbotszone. Der Sammler am 4. März 2022:

• In der Nacht zum Freitag gab es Meldungen über einen russischen Angriff auf Saporischschj, mit sechs Reaktorblöcken das größte Atomkraftwerk der Ukraine, wenn nicht Europas. Nach Informationen der Internationalen Atomenergiebehörde IAEA wurde allerdings nur ein Ausbildungs- bzw. Verwaltungsgebäude des Kraftwerks angegriffen, nicht ein Reaktorgebäude. Das Atomkraftwerk soll inzwischen unter russischer Kontrolle sein, wenn auch weiterhin mit seine ukrainischen Bedienmannschaft. Die Ukrainer arbeiteten dort unter der Androhung von Waffengewalt, berichtete der Sender CNN unter Berufung auf die Betreiberfirma.

Zuvor hatten Videos des Angriffs weit schlimmeres befürchten lassen – allerdings, so sagen Profis, sind darauf vor allem Leuchtgranaten während des Gefechts zu sehen. Nach allem, was bislang bekannt ist, dürfte es den russischen Streitkräften darum gegangen sein, Zugriff auf die ukrainische Energieversorgung zu bekommen, nicht um eine Beschädigung oder gar Zerstörung des Kraftwerks.

Ergänzung: Atomkraftwerke sind in einem Zusatzprotokoll zu den Genfer Konventionen ausdrücklich erwähnt – sie kommen als Ziel einer militärischen Operation nicht infrage, wenn die Gefahr besteht, dass damit gefährliche Stoffe freigesetzt werden:

Article 56 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
1. Works and installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population. Other military objectives located at or in the vicinity of these works or installations shall not be made the object of attack if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

• Die NATO wird nicht müde zu betonen, dass sie nicht als Kriegspartei gegen Russland stehe. Nach Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz, der das bei einem Besuch des Einsatzführungskommandos der Bundeswehr deutlich machte, hob das auch NATO-Generalsekretär Jens Stoltenberg nach einer Sondersitzung der Außenminister der Allianz hervor: Das Bündnis sei nicht Teil dieses Konflikts und stehe in der Verantwortung zu verhindern, dass der Krieg über die Ukraine hinaus auf andere Länder Europas übergreife: Die NATO sucht keinen Krieg mit Russland.

Stoltenbergs Aussagen sind vor allem vor dem Hintergrund der Forderungen aus der Ukraine, aber auch aus europäischen Ländern zu verstehen, zum Schutz der Bevölkerung eine Flugverbotszone über der Ukraine einzurichten und durchzusetzen. Das würde den Einsatz von NATO-Kampfjets dort bedeuten, warnte der Generalsekretär – und berge die Gefahr eines umfassenden Krieges in ganz Europa, mit noch viel mehr Opfern.

Diesen Punkt hatte ich – noch vor Stoltenbergs Pressekonferenz – bei Phoenix mal versucht knapp zusammenzufassen:

• Die Zusammenfassung des russischen Verteidigungsministeriums, auf Englisch auf dessen Facebook-Seite veröffentlicht:

The grouping of troops of the Lugansk People’s Republic, continuing offensive operation, captured Shandrigolovo, Aleksandrovka, Derilovo, Sredne, Lozovoe settlements.
The armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic took control over Rozovka, Truzhenka, Znamenovka and Puzatoye settlements.
Russian Armed Forces units continue their offensive on a broad front.
Acting on adjacent flanks with units of the Donetsk Republic, Pyatikhatki, Shevchenkovo, Pologi, Gusarka, Novodanilovka and Shcherbaki settlements were taken under control.
I would like to emphasize that the nationalist units that are retreating in Donbass, formed in the Lvov and Ivano-Franko regions, are causing damage to critically important social infrastructure and life support facilities for the population.
The greatest damage is done to water supply and energy systems. The purpose of such actions is to create a humanitarian catastrophe in Donbass.
Ukrainian nationalists are preparing a provocation with the participation of Western journalists in Kharkov.
According to confirmed data, on Zhilardi Street, Kievsky District, in the private sector, multiple launch rocket systems are placed between the houses. Nationalists forbid local residents, including children, to leave their homes.
Now mounts are ready for shelling the units of the Russian armed forces located outside the city.
The purpose of the provocation is to cause the return fire of Russian artillery on the residential sector of Kharkov. All this is planned to be filmed on cameras with the subsequent transfer to Western journalists.
Russian armed forces provide assistance to residents of settlements liberated from nationalists.
Today at 12.00, at the request of Kherson administration, Russian servicemen delivered more than 140 tons of food and medicine to the city. All humanitarian cargo has been handed over for distribution to the local population.
We will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian residents in need of support.

Zum Briefing aus dem Pentagon (erneut) die Zusammenfassung der Kollegin Caitlin Doornbos von Stars&Stripes via Twitter:

U.S. official: „I have to say at the outset how tremendously proud the entire team here at the Pentagon is of our ability to provide security assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and how impressed we are with how they are fielding these capabilities right now as we speak.“
Two senior defense officials speaking this morning. This first one first will brief on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine.
„For the past several years, we’ve been working closely with the United Kingdom, Canada, Lithuania and Poland, to collaborate on security assistance and to work together with Ukrainian Ministry of Defense to identify what their priority capability needs are.“
„We are turning requests for capabilities faster than ever before, [but] we’ve been working w/Ukrainians for years now to understand what their military needs [would be] in the event of defending Ukraine against a Russian invasion.“
„So we’ve been able to build on that understanding, and then dramatically speed up our processes to field the capabilities.“
Another reason for U.S. speed in delivering weapons to Ukraine: „Drawdown [assistance] is taken from the stocks of the [U.S.] services, so we’re not going out on the market and purchasing new items so we have to actually have it in hand to be able to deliver it.“
„We have just accelerated our process of identifying requirements and accelerated our consultations as well with Ukrainians talking to them daily as opposed to periodic meetings that we did before this crisis. But we’re not stopping here.“
„The administration has made a request for additional funding, so we do plan on continuing to provide presidential drawdown assistance to the Ukrainians, & we are seeking assistance from the US Congress to replenish the stocks that we have [sent] from the military departments.“
„[We] have been tremendously impressed by how effectively the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been using the equipment we’ve provided them. Kremlin watchers have also been surprised by this at how they have slowed the Russian advance and performed extremely well on the battlefield.“
On whether it’s been difficult to deliver these security packages: „From our conversations w/Ukrainian officials in the Ministry of Defense & the armed forces. What we’re seeing is they are able to distribute the equipment, very quickly, and that they are able to make use of it.“
U.S. intends to deliver the „vast majority“ of the $350 million drawdown package announced last week within the next week. Packages before the invasion took much longer.

„I hesitate to give more specific timelines than that because we keep exceeding what we thought we could do.“
On why Russia hasn’t attacked U.S. deliveries of security packages:
„They have made clear publicly their disapproval of support to Ukraine, including security assistance. So we are certainly aware of their objections, but the specific operations I just I can’t speculate on that.“
The official declined to say how the U.S. is getting these packages into Ukraine, citing operational security reasons.
The $350 million security assistance package for Ukraine that President Joe Biden announced last week was the „the highest single drawdown authority“ package approved in U.S. history.

Senior defense official #2 begins: „We still see fighting and efforts by the Russians along all their major axes of approach. We still assess there’s no appreciable movement of the Russian forces that are forward in the north and the east,“ specifically mentioning Kyiv.
U.S. still not calling whether Russia has taken Kherson and says fighting still continues despite the city’s mayor announcing Russian troops entered Kherson’s city hall.
„We have observed Russian forces continue to advance on Mariupol, but we don’t assess that they’re in there. They are bombarding that city as well and you’ve seen reports coming out of the city of utility outages, water and electricity.“
On Russian attack on nuclear power plant last night:
„We have no reason to doubt Russian claims that they are now in possession of that nuclear power plant and we do not see any radioactive leakage.“
„We do believe that the fires in the associated buildings have been put out. We don’t have a sense on on the nature of the attack on the power plant. So I can’t give you a blow-by-blow of exactly how that occurred … but the main thing is we don’t see any radioactive leakage.“
On why Russians attacked the plant: „If your goal is to supplant the government of Ukraine and replace it … one can surmise that you would want to control the infrastructure & to make sure that you can meet your needs. And a nuclear power plant would certainly be on that list.“
„That might be of interest to you as a trying to become an occupying power to be able to control the infrastructure, particularly electrical power. And you could use that to preserve the electrical power going forward and to be able to deliver goods and services to a population.“
If seeking to control population centers „you could also use [the nuclear power plant] before you’ve reached occupation status. You can use your leverage in that regard to to punish a population to make it harder for that population to resist you.“
On new deconfliction line w/Russia: „In our initial test of it, they answered the phone so we know that they know who’s calling and that, at least in terms of the initiation of the step setting up of it, it worked. They did answer the line.“
Why Russia would want Kherson:
„If you look at a map, Kherson is really the last major population center on the Dnieper river just before it empties out into the northern Black Sea. So it’s a key port city in that regard.“
About 92% of Russia’s 170,000+ troops and combat power it had arrayed around Ukraine before the invasion are now inside the city. That’s up 2% since yesterday.
„We continue to believe Mr. Putin does not believe Ukraine has the right to exist as a sovereign state. [He’s] made it clear he wants to take that sovereignty away & it’s his intent to occupy/control Ukraine to supplant its democratically elected government w/one [he appoints.]“
Re: the nuclear power plant attacked: „All we know from talking to the Department of Energy is that we assess that there hasn’t been any, any leakage. As for cooling and containment. I mean, that’s just that’s a level of detail and visibility we just don’t have right now.“
DOD has „no indication“ that Americans have traveled to Ukraine to fight:“Americans wanting to help Ukraine, the best way they can do that is to find ways to contribute to the humanitarian assistance efforts.“
„Our focus here is the Department of Defense is twofold. One, making sure Ukraine can defend itself and two, making sure that NATO can defend itself.“
On whether Belarus has sent troops: „No indications that they [have] or are preparing to get into the fight.“ However, Russian troops have invaded Ukraine from its northern border with Belarus.
The airspace over Ukraine is still contested: „We don’t have perfect visibility into their air operations plans, but the Russians continue to fly aircraft as well as being able to to use their missile systems inside Ukraine.“
„Most of the [Russian] missile strikes that we see … they certainly do a lot of them during periods of darkness, but not exclusively. As for their night flying again … certainly capable of flying manned aircraft in the in the in the night hours.“
Russia is striking „civilian infrastructure — hospitals, schools, residential areas — are being hit. It is not clear to us still the degree to which those strikes are intentional or not, but they are causing casualties, they are killing civilians. They are wounding civilians.“
„And they are just another indication of the recklessness with which Russia continues to up this.“

• Als (voraussichtlich) letzte Meldung für Freitag: Das am Abend veröffentlichte knappe, aber intessante Update zur Lage aus dem britischen Verteidigungsministerium: