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Himars Transform the Battle for Ukraine—and Modern Warfare

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The battle for Ukraine has been transforming how we approach modern warfare. The big question is, when does the Russia-Ukraine war end?

The confrontation between Ukraine and Russia is rapidly shifting due to a global revolution in combat that has enabled front-line troops to use deadly weapons previously only possible with planes, ships, or cumbersome tracked vehicles.

In addition, it has the power to transform battlefields far from Eastern Europe. Himars, also known as the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, is at the heart of the new order of battle. Since June, American forces have been supplying them to Ukrainian soldiers, who use them as a complement to light, precise weapons such as drones, Javelin anti-tank missiles, and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles guided by GPS and sophisticated microelectronics.

Compared to the Smerch, Uragan, and Tornado multiple rocket launchers designed by the Soviet Union and used by both Russia and Ukraine, the British MLRS and a similar artillery system provided to Ukraine by the US have the so-called High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

It has a longer range, much better accuracy, and a faster rate of fire. The German-made MARS II rocket launchers and several rockets were supplied to the Ukrainians in the ‘Battle for Ukraine’. This implies that Ukrainian soldiers can precisely hit Russian locations such as armored vehicles, military installations, command centers, and ammunition depots, with a reduced risk of being hit by Russian retaliation.

To compensate for the lack of accuracy in their weapons, the Russian military must fire many shots at one target. With a range of more than 50 miles, the MLRS allows Ukraine to launch attacks beyond Russian lines while also being within the range of most Russian artillery systems.

The British M31A1 missiles were designed to protect against Russian heavy artillery. The military would be able to attack locations deep within Russian territory if Ukraine had access to launchers capable of launching even longer-range missiles with a range of up to 186 miles. But Western politicians have so far refrained from doing so.

Russia is Shifting the Blame but the Battle for Ukraine Continues

And just last week, according to Russian business daily RBC, Colonel-General Alexander Zhuravlev, the chief of the western military district in charge of Kharkiv, where Russian forces lost significant amounts of land in early September, was reinstated.

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At least eight generals have been fired, transferred, or otherwise marginalized since the invasion began on February 24. Instead of honoring the Russian military, the conflict in Ukraine is proving poisonous to the top commanders.

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According to Western nations, the battle for Ukraine claimed the lives of at least 10 generals, a shockingly high number that military experts claim indicates serious strategic flaws in the chain of command that initially prevented Moscow from achieving its key military goal, the rapid capture of Kyiv and the fall of the Ukrainian government, and more recently, the withdrawal of the eastern and southern fronts.

But as open criticism, particularly from pro-war hawks and propagandists, grows louder, the firings also reveal a struggle among political elites over who should be blamed for the costly and failed war. Putin faces direct criticism from commanders of the Russian armed forces as easy targets, much like the ill-prepared soldiers at the front in the battle for Ukraine.

What Next For Putin-Russia in the Battle for Ukraine

In the short term, the announcement of a partial mobilization by Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a greater impact on domestic issues in Russia than on the conflict in Ukraine. This is because partial mobilization combined with Russian military failures on the battlefield has exacerbated information gaps that are confusing and undermine Putin’s narratives.

The Ukrainian counter-offensive is advancing faster than the partial mobilization can result in, the battle for Ukraine authorities (Ukrainians) have rightly determined that the mobilization does not pose a significant threat in the short term, a gift to Ukraine since it has brought the Kremlin to an impasse where it is between its mistakes and his desire to hold on to what he has conquered.

As a result of poorly conducted partial mobilization and severe Russian backlashes in Kharkiv Oblast and near Lyman, infighting within Russian nationalist elements supporting Putin has intensified, and new rifts are forming between voices addressing Putin’s core supporters.

Putin is clearly struggling to find a balance between the conflicting demands of Russian nationalists, who have escalated their fighting since the mobilization began, despite sharing his overarching war aims in Ukraine. Could Putin be the ultimate loser in the battle for Ukraine?

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The U.K.’s Government-Run Healthcare Service Is in Crisis

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For more than a decade, the British government has run its National Health Service, the world’s largest government-run healthcare system, on a tight budget. The NHS prided itself on being one of the leanest healthcare systems in the developed world, spending less per head on average than its large European neighbors—and far less than the U.S.

Now the state-funded service is falling apart. People who suffer heart attacks or strokes wait more than 1½ hours on average for an ambulance. Hospitals are so full they are turning patients away. A record 7.1 million people in England—more than one in 10 people—are stuck on waiting lists for nonemergency hospital treatment like hip replacements. The NHS on Monday faced the biggest strike in its history, with thousands of paramedics and nurses walking out over pay.

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Ukraine Warns Russia Is Planning Major Offensive as Kyiv Shakes Up Military Leadership

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DNIPRO, Ukraine—Ukraine warned that Russia was completing preparations for a major new offensive this month as Kyiv signaled a reshuffle in its military leadership amid a corruption scandal that has rocked the Defense Ministry.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, said Russia was continuing to bolster its offensive capacity and bring in troops to front line positions while decreasing its rate of fire in certain areas to save ammunition for the coming advance.

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More Russian Migrants Enter U.S. as Exceptions for Asylum Seekers Expand

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More Russian migrants are traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S., driven in part by an expanding U.S. government effort to allow more asylum seekers to cross the border legally.

About 12,500 Russians entered the U.S. through ports of entry with Mexico between October, the start of the government’s budget year, and December. Most are expected to ask for asylum once they settle in the U.S., often citing government crackdowns since the start of the war in Ukraine and the mobilization announced in September to draft more troops.

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Ukraine War Makes Unexpected Winner of Turkey’s Erdogan

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ANKARA, Turkey—Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one year ago unleashed global economic turmoil. In Turkey, it has proved an unexpected windfall for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish leader has managed to make himself indispensable to all sides of the conflict, a position that is reaping economic rewards that have helped ease the Turkish state’s financial troubles. The turnaround has bolstered his position ahead of a national election that could cement his position as Turkey’s most powerful ruler in nearly a century.

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Signs of Coming Russian Offensive Mount on Multiple Fronts in Ukraine

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DNIPRO, Ukraine—Russia is regrouping its forces in eastern Ukraine and launching offensives along five lines of attack, Ukraine’s armed forces said on Saturday as officials in Kyiv and Western capitals continue to warn of a major Russian push to gain territory.

The main focus of Russia’s offensive remains the besieged city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which it is seeking to surround and capture. The Ukrainian military said it had repelled multiple attacks, inflicting significant losses for the Russians.

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Russian Forces Strengthen Positions as Ukraine Braces for New Offensive

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KYIV, Ukraine—Russian forces tightened their grip around the eastern city of Bakhmut on Friday as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned his country to prepare for a wider onslaught nearly one year since the start of the war.

After months of failed assaults on Bakhmut, all approaches to the city are within range of Russian artillery, officials in the Russian-installed administration claimed. Russian forces are entrenched on the eastern edge of the city and are seeking to encircle it.

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How a Radioactive Capsule Was Lost and Improbably Found in the Australian Outback

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At Sue Schmidt’s gas station and roadhouse off a remote highway in the Australian Outback, employees usually watch out for snakes when they are walking outside. But this week, they were looking for something else: A tiny capsule of radioactive material that sparked a search along a roughly 900-mile stretch of the road.

The capsule, used in mine equipment, went missing while in transit from a Rio Tinto PLC mine to Perth, Western Australia’s state capital. As the search dragged on over the past week, Ms. Schmidt and her employees grew wary of cleaning up the bottle caps and coins that they usually find outside the roadhouse, fearing that any shiny object could be the capsule that would hit them with a dangerous dose of radiation.

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Fears of Losing Out to China Put U.S. Under Pressure Over Kenya Base

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MOKOWE, Kenya—Kenya is asking the U.S. to pay for the expansion of a joint counterterrorism base, raising concerns in Washington that the East African country could turn to China if the Americans balk, according to U.S. officials. 

The Kenyan military has drawn up plans for a new runway long enough to handle jet fighters at Manda Bay Airfield, a hub for U.S. and Kenyan operations against al-Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in neighboring Somalia, the U.S. officials said.

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How Gautam Adani Made (and Could Lose) a $147 Billion Fortune

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AHMEDABAD, India—Gautam Adani is ubiquitous in this country.

His name is plastered on roadside billboards and on the airports and shipping docks he operates. His power plants light Mumbai office towers and irrigate rural fields, fueled by coal he imports from mines as far away as Australia. He recently expanded into defense and media.

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Ukraine Braces for Major Russian Offensive

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Russia is preparing to launch a major new offensive against Ukraine in the coming weeks, a top Ukrainian security official said, adding to mounting concerns in Kyiv and the West that the Kremlin is preparing a renewed push to seize large areas of the country.

“Russia is preparing for maximum escalation,” said Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, in an interview with Sky News published online early Wednesday local time. “It is gathering everything possible, doing drills and training.”

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