Russia's war fails to yield significant ground, while Ukraine gains diplomatic support

Russia has faced a slew of diplomatic and judicial blows over its war in Ukraine despite President Vladimir Putin's high-profile visits to North Korea and Vietnam, signaling the Kremlin's failure to gain ground on the battlefield.

This week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for two top Russian military officials, while the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) determined that Russia had violated multiple fundamental human rights in occupied Ukrainian territories. Moreover, the European Union (EU) announced a 14th package of sanctions against Russia, freezing ?1.4bn ($1.5bn) in Russian assets for use by Ukraine in military procurements, and banning any EU organization from accepting Russian money for public influence.

In a notable shift, the EU also initiated accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, and Ukraine's allies, including the US, Romania, and the Netherlands, offered additional air defense systems and ammunition. These diplomatic gains contrast with Russia's military failure to make significant headway in Ukraine, despite its recent incursion into the Kharkiv region.

The lifting of the total ban on strikes using US equipment has had a substantial impact on the battlefield, with fewer air alerts and strikes on Kharkiv city compared to May. However, Russia has experimented with a larger glide bomb and successfully targeted a medical building on the Kharkiv front.

Ukraine, frustrated by restrictions on its strikes on Russian air bases, has turned to developing and using its own weapons, successfully targeting Russian military and oil facilities with devastating effect. In a sign of Ukraine's increasingly assertive posture, its military intelligence chief revealed that Russia will likely face a strike on its own territory, with far-reaching psychological consequences for the Russian people.

This stunning reversal of fortunes, with Russia's once-invincible military suffering diplomatic and judicial embarrassments and failing to make progress on the battlefield, while Ukraine confidently strikes behind enemy lines, is a dramatic turn of events.

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