Prophetic Birth Pangs

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June 6th, 2023 [19:15 UTC]

US and western officials see signs that Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia is beginning and have noted a “substantial increase in fighting” in the east of the country over the last 48 hours as Ukrainian troops probe for weaknesses in Russian defensive lines, a senior NATO official said on Tuesday.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said: “At 2:50am this morning, Russian troops blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric Station and its dam. I do not understand how there can be any doubt about this. Both constructions are located in the temporary Russian-occupied territories. Neither shelling nor any other external influence was capable of destroying the structures. The explosion came from within.

NBC News reports that the US government has intelligence that indicates Russia is behind the blowing up of the Nova Kakhovka dam, according to two US officials and one western official.

The Russian military is shelling Kherson with artillery, while the population is being evacuated in the city, the ministry of internal affairs reported. Two policemen received shrapnel wounds, Suspilne, Ukraine's state broadcaster, reports.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine: “I think it’s fair to say that despite there being no official announcement about this counter-offensive, having stated all indications are that there is a serious escalation in fighting and that the counter-offensive may well have begun.”

Suspilne, Ukraine's state broadcaster, is reporting that the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power plant was completely destroyed “as a result of the explosion of the engine room from the inside” and is not repairable.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of the mercenary Wagner Group, has poured scorn on Russia’s defence ministry after it claimed it thwarted a “large-scale” offensive by Ukraine inflicting heavy losses. Prigozhin, whose forces spent months fighting in the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut and who is a frequent critic of Russia’s military top brass, dismissed their latest claims as “wild fantasies” on his Telegram channel on Tuesday morning.

Yuri Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s ministry of defense, told the BBC Radio 4’s Today program that phone intercepts have suggested Russia wants to target more dams.

The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam will "certainly" affect the operation of the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine but the situation is "currently under control," a spokesperson for Ukraine’s military said Tuesday.

The Nova Kakhovka dam helps power the Kakhovka hydro-electric plant. Destroying the dam will add to Ukraine’s ongoing energy problems, after Russia spent weeks earlier this year targeting vital infrastructure.

Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the Ukrainian presidency, posted: "The destruction of the Kakhovskaya HPP is the largest man-made disaster in the world in recent decades, which kills the environment and will negatively affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the years to come.

Anton Gerashchenko, a former minister and an adviser to the interior ministry, has suggested on social media that about 16,000 people may be impacted by any potential flood from the breach in the Nova Kakhovka dam.

The Nova Kakhovka dam in the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine’s Kherson region has been blown up by Russian forces, the South command of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Tuesday. Evacuations have begun. The torrent of water seen escaping from the dam in drone footage has the potential to cause major destruction around Kherson city and other populated areas along the Dnipro River, according to analysts who have been fearing this breach could occur.

The Nova Kakhovka dam contains a water reservoir that supplies Crimea and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Crimea could run out of water and the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant could be at risk.

June 5th, 2023

Ukrainian commanders say the term counteroffensive is overused. They talk instead of a “spring-summer military campaign”, stretching into September, and probably well beyond. This campaign appears to have entered a new active phase.

The Biden administration on Monday imposed on “seven leading members of a Russian intelligence-linked malign influence group” for their roles in trying to destabilize the government of Moldova.

Ukrainian forces are "shifting to offensive actions" in some areas, the country's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar has said. Ukrainian military sources told the BBC that a series of small scale armoured offensive operations are under way.

Ukrainian deputy defence minister says Russia’s claims that Ukraine has begun its counteroffensive is to direct attention from Moscow’s losses around Bakhmut.

Russian-appointed officials claim that Ukrainian troops are attempting to break the lines of defense near the Vremivka ledge to reach the Azov Sea coast. Vladimir Rogov, the Russian-installed governor of Zaporizhzhia, said Ukraine launched “Storm Shadow and Tochka-U missiles” in “large quantities” on the region.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has warned against trusting reports from Russia. On Twitter, he said: “Russian news reports have long since become a separate virtual meta-universe.”

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said on Monday that Ukrainian forces continued “moving forward” near Bakhmut.

Ukraine has cultivated a network of agents and sympathizers inside Russia working to carry out acts of sabotage against Russian targets and has begun providing them with drones to stage attacks, multiple people familiar with US intelligence on the matter told CNN.

Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of the settlement of Berkhivka, north of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, calling it a “disgrace”.

A significant escalation in fighting along the frontlines in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions has been reported overnight, but there was no confirmation from Ukrainian officials that it marked the started of their long-planned counteroffensive.

Alexander Khodakovsky, the head of the pro-Moscow Vostok Battalion in the Donbas, said there had been Ukrainian military gains in the Velykonovosilkivskyi area of western Donetsk.

At least one Russian military blogger on Telegram is concerned about developments in Donetsk, writing that the situation grows “more alarming by the hour”. The well-known Russian milblogger, Igor Girkin, has suggested that Ukraine has successfully “cut into our position” on southern front.

The governor of the Russian region of Belgorod has said an energy facility is on fire in region, blaming a bomb dropped by a drone. Two drones have fallen onto the M3 Ukraine highway, in the Russian region of Kaluga, just south of Moscow, the region’s governor has said.

Amid the speculation about whether Ukraine has launched an offensive, initial “shaping” operations by Ukraine are already known to have begun. These include moves such as long-range missile strikes on Russian military hubs.

Russia’s defense ministry has claimed that Kyiv has launched a “major” attack in the southern Donetsk region using tank and mechanical units. It claimed that six mechanised battalions and two tank battalions tried to break through its lines but were unsuccessful. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kyiv, says Russia’s claim that its military thwarted the Ukrainian offensive is “impossible to verify”.

The raids by anti-Putin Russian forces in the Belgorod region are becoming something of a focal point, the ISW has said in its latest assessment. Two partisan groups have issued a video showing a dozen Russian soldiers being held captive and Belgorod’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, has said he was willing to meet the pro-Ukrainian forces to arrange a prisoner transfer but apparently did not turn up.

June 4th, 2023

As Russia’s war in Ukraine has grown into an existential conflict for the Kremlin over the past 15 months, its search for internal enemies has intensified, with a sharp rise in treason cases that experts have equated to a “spymania”.

The United States believes the highly anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive will result in Kyiv taking back “strategically significant territory," Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden's national security adviser, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

Ukrainian authorities say that Russia struck an airfield on Sunday morning in the central city of Kropyvnytsky but failed to hit the capital Kyiv.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense posted a cryptic video suggesting that they will not announce when their anticipated counteroffensive will begin.

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said on Sunday that he was willing to meet a pro-Ukraine group of Russian fighters keeping two Russian soldiers captive.

June 3rd, 2023

U.S. General David Petraeus has said Ukraine’s counteroffensive is “very impressive” and can succeed, adding that the Ukrainians are “determined to liberate their country”. Petraeus, who was director of the CIA and led international forces in Iraq and Afghanistan before that, has been in Kyiv recently, meeting President Zelenskiy and others.

The forced deployment of once-elite Russian VDV troops to Bakhmut amid the withdrawal of Wagner mercenary forces means “the whole Russian force is likely to be less flexible in reacting to operational challenges”, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an interview published on Saturday.

A deadly car bombing targeted "Kremlin collaborators" in the Russian-occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region Friday, according to Ivan Fedorov, the Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner private military company, claimed in a Telegram post on Friday that the representatives of the Russian defense ministry had placed mines on Wagner Group's fighters' exit routes from Bakhmut.

Ukraine's cross-border tactics aimed at destabilizing Russia appear to be working. Ukraine has opened a new front in its battle to drive out the Russian invader — in Russia. But it is oddly coy about admitting that it has sent troops, fired artillery and flown drones into its neighbor’s territory.

June 2nd, 2023

Ukraine would be ready to continue exporting grain across the Black Sea as part of a “plan B” without Russian backing if Moscow pulls the plug on the current grain export deal and it collapses, Ukraine’s farm minister said on Friday.

Multiple explosions rocked the Russian-occupied port city of Berdiansk in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region on Friday, according to both Russian-appointed and Ukrainian local officials.

A Russian special forces unit has been deployed to Russia’s Belgorod border region because of “partisan” activity, Ukraine’s National Resistance Center – an official body — said Friday.

Showing further infighting, two close allies of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Thursday publicly slammed Russia’s most prominent mercenary, casting Yevgeny Prigozhin as a blogger who “screams” all the time about his problems.

A number of Russian governors reported attacks on their regions on Friday, as the war spills over from Ukraine's borders into Russian territory. Two drones attacked fuel and energy facilities in Smolensk, western Russia early Friday, the region's acting governor said.

About 208,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the beginning of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has claimed. Spokesperson Serhii Cherevatyi noted this was more than the approximately 170,000 Russian forces he says were involved in the initial invasion in 2022.

Details of Russia’s overnight attack on Kyiv: "All 15 cruise missiles and 21 attack drones were destroyed by the forces and means of air defense of the air force, in cooperation with the air defense systems of the defense forces of Ukraine."

June 1st, 2023

The Netherlands wants to buy dozens more Leopard 1 tanks for Ukraine, the Dutch press agency ANP has reported, citing sources. It said the Dutch government wants to buy the tanks from a Swiss company, which would require permission from the Swiss government.

Romania has asked the European Commission to extend import curbs on Ukrainian grains and oilseed crops for five Eastern European nations until the end of 2023, Agriculture Minister Petre Daea has said.

Canada is imposing sanctions on Moldovan oligarchs, business people and politicians over their connections to Russia and to prevent alleged Russian destabilisation efforts in the region, the Canadian foreign ministry has said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he signed an agreement with his Romanian counterpart, Klaus Iohannis, reinforcing Bucharest's support "for Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration."

A video posted on Telegram shows a building on fire, close to regional administrative offices, and a BBC Verify team has confirmed the location of the clip as Shebekino in Russia's Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.

The Freedom for Russia Legion on Thursday posted two videos featuring explosions geolocated by CNN inside Russia's Belgorod border region, claiming they had hit military targets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Moldova for the European Political Community summit, according to his official Telegram account on Thursday. All NATO allies agree that "Ukraine will become a member of the alliance," its chief Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

The Russian Volunteer Corps, a group of anti-Putin Russian nationals aligned with the Ukrainian army, has denied shelling civilians as it claimed its “second phase” inside Russia had begun on Thursday.

International children’s day is celebrated on 1 June in many post-Soviet nations, including Ukraine, but Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko has just announced on Telegram that events scheduled in the capital to celebrate it have been cancelled. Three people were killed, including a child, and at least 11 were injured in an early morning missile attack on Kyiv that hit apartment buildings, two schoools and a children’s clinic, according to the city authorities.

The Russian military command has likely ordered Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov’s forces to begin offensive operations in Ukraine following the withdrawal of Wagner Group forces from Bakhmut. [ISW Daily Report]

NATO will monitor the skies over Moldova as more than 40 European leaders attend a summit close to Ukraine's borders to show support for both countries as Kyiv prepares a counter-offensive against Russia's invasion.

The night’s attack was launched by ground-based missile systems, Serhii Popko, the head of Kyiv military administration has said in a Telegram post. All targets detected were destroyed by Ukraine’s air defenses, he said and casualties were caused by falling debris.


News about our Brethren in Ukraine

May 20th, 2023

From a Sister near Lviv:

We are all doing well. All 6 drones were destroyed by air defense and nothing was seriously damaged except by debris. The air defense is working much better now so people are in more safety. Please, tell the brethren there that we are grateful for your prayers and concern. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

LINKS (updated: June 6th, 2023)


    [The Guardian]

Every effort is made to cross-check news content with many sites across the spectrum illustrated above. The links given are merely those sites which have a running blog of their own.


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What is posted here and why...

Specific news about Brethren or from Brethren in Ukraine and Moldova.

News of the events in Ukraine and Moldova that could have a direct impact on the Brethren there.

News that shows how this conflict might develop to impact neighboring countries where Brethren live, or that might be related to prophetic expectations.

News that shows the impact of the war on financial-political-social-religious aspects, related to the Time of Trouble:

—The tremendous financial impact both direct and indirect on a global scale.

—The growing political divide between East and West, and the potential military consequences.

—Social discontent which is increasing in many places.

—Changes in the religious world, especially regarding the Orthodox Church.

Just as Volume IV documented historical events related to prophecy at that time, one of the endeavors of this blog is to draw attention to similar developments in our day that validate those prophetic expectations.