Strategic SitRep 22-29 May 2023

Iranian Missile Program Leaps Forward, Russia Strikes Civilian Hospital, & More

Issue # 2

Tragic Missile Strike in Ukraine: A Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds in Dnipro

Quick Synopsis:

  • A Russian missile strike on a clinic in Dnipro, Ukraine resulted in at least one fatality and 15 injuries.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attack, labelling it as a 'crime against humanity'.

  • The Ukrainian Defence Ministry called the incident a severe violation of the Geneva Conventions.

  • Visuals showed extensive damage to the building and nearby parked cars.

  • President Zelensky criticized the "inhumane and dishonest" actions of "Russian terrorists."

  • Russia, the alleged perpetrator, denies ongoing allegations of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

Full Article:

The eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro was thrown into mourning and outrage following a missile strike on a clinic that claimed at least one life and left 15 individuals injured. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted strongly to this horrifying act, decrying it as a blatant 'crime against humanity'.

This aggressive attack has been labeled a serious war crime under the terms of the Geneva Conventions by the Ukrainian Defence Ministry. These Conventions establish international law for the humane treatment of civilians and military personnel during times of war.

Eyewitness video footage revealed the chilling aftermath - a severely damaged building engulfed in smoke with rescue workers on site. The extent of the damage was vast, with much of the upper floor of the three-story structure and nearby vehicles showing signs of significant destruction.

President Zelensky, using the Telegram messaging platform, issued a scathing statement, "Russian terrorists once again confirm their status of fighters against everything humane and honest." He revealed the devastating impact of the missile strike - the obliteration of a psychological clinic and a veterinary clinic in Dnipro. He confirmed the grim casualty count - one life lost and 15 wounded.

Despite these alarming claims and growing global accusations, Russia denies allegations of war crimes in Ukraine. Russia, having launched a comprehensive invasion of Ukraine 15 months ago, has not yet issued a statement regarding this latest reported strike. However, it has accused Ukraine of launching a rocket and a drone attack on two regions in southern Russia.

Regional governor Serhiy Lysak shared his outrage on Telegram, lashing out at the attackers, "Missile attack on Dnipro. 'Rashist' b******S attacked a medical facility. There are victims." He used a derogatory term for Russians, reflecting the growing animosity in this escalating conflict.

Deeper Analysis:

This devastating attack on a clinic in Dnipro, Ukraine, is the latest incident in an increasingly brutal conflict that has been unfolding for over 15 months since Russia initiated its full-scale invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's strong condemnation of the attack, classifying it as a 'crime against humanity', underscores the severe impact of such violent incidents on civilians and non-combatants. The destruction of a psychological clinic and a veterinary clinic further illustrates the far-reaching consequences of this conflict on the local population and infrastructure.

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry's declaration of the event as a severe violation of the Geneva Conventions highlights the international implications of the conflict. The Conventions establish rules for the humane treatment of civilians and soldiers during wartime. Violations can result in international legal repercussions.

Despite the visual evidence and claims from Ukrainian officials, Russia continues to deny its involvement in such atrocities. The ongoing lack of accountability raises concerns about the prospects for conflict resolution and the prevention of further human suffering. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for effective international diplomatic intervention to de-escalate the situation and enforce adherence to international humanitarian law.

Japan Ramps up Sanctions Against Russia, Condemns Russian Nuclear Arms Moves

Quick Synopsis:

  • Japan escalates sanctions against Russia, aligning with other G7 countries in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

  • Asset freeze approved for dozens of individuals and groups, and exports to Russian military-related organizations are banned.

  • Japan expresses strong criticism over Russia and Belarus's deal to deploy Moscow's tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

  • The increased sanctions are designed to prevent third-party sanction evasion and reinforce Russia's industrial base.

  • New sanctions impact 24 individuals and 78 organizations, and 80 Russian military-related organizations face an export ban.

Full Article:

In a show of solidarity with the Group of Seven (G7) nations, Japan tightened the screws on Russia on Friday, approving additional sanctions related to Russia's war on Ukraine. These measures include freezing the assets of various individuals and organizations and imposing an export ban on Russian military-connected groups.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno underscored Japan's commitment to working closely with the other G7 countries and the broader international community to improve Ukraine's situation. He added that the Cabinet's approval demonstrates Japan's alignment with the G7 countries' consensus, agreed upon during their Hiroshima summit last week, to uphold and amplify sanctions against Russia.

Adding fuel to the growing international concern, Matsuno sternly criticized the deal signed between Russia and Belarus on Thursday. This agreement paves the way for Moscow's tactical nuclear weapons to be stationed in Belarus, an act Matsuno warned would "further escalate tensions."

Japan, the only nation to have experienced the devastation of nuclear attacks, takes a firm stance against Russia's nuclear threats and their potential use. "Japan's government demands Russia and Belarus cease actions that further escalate tensions as we continue to monitor the situation with deep concern," asserted Matsuno.

Japan's amplified sanctions and export restrictions are in line with the G7's objective to obstruct sanction evasion by third countries. These include a prohibition on exporting materials that could bolster Russia's industrial base. As detailed in a joint statement by Japan's foreign, trade, and finance ministries, the sanctions target 24 individuals and 78 organizations implicated in helping divert and evade sanctions. The sanctions will freeze their assets.

Furthermore, an export ban has been levied on 80 Russian military-affiliated organizations, spanning machinery manufacturers to other service providers. Japan will also prohibit the provision of construction, engineering, and other services for Russia.

This move reflects Japan's commitment to collaborating with the G7 to impose sanctions on Russia amid increasing concern about the conflict's implications for Asia. This region is already experiencing unease due to China's expanding military presence and its threats to enforce control over self-governed Taiwan.

Deeper Analysis:

Japan's decision to strengthen sanctions against Russia underscores its commitment to supporting international efforts to mitigate the Ukraine crisis. By freezing assets, banning exports to Russian military organizations, and strengthening sanctions against those aiding in sanction evasion, Japan is aligning itself firmly with the G7's consensus.

The move also demonstrates Japan's sensitivity to the escalation of tensions in its own region, with China's expanding military presence and its potential threats towards Taiwan. This action reflects a broader strategic approach aimed not only at responding to the immediate crisis in Ukraine but also at managing regional stability in Asia.

The stern criticism of the Russia-Belarus deal to deploy Moscow's tactical nuclear weapons is especially poignant, given Japan's unique history as a victim of nuclear attacks. It reflects the nation's consistent stance against the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons.

This step by Japan shows the importance of concerted international action in response to conflicts and violations of international law. It also underscores the need for global solidarity in the face of Russian agression

Iran Flexes Military Muscle with Successful Ballistic Missile Test Amid Tensions with Israel

Quick Synopsis:

  • Iran successfully test-fired a ballistic missile with a 2,000-kilometer range, according to state media.

  • The test came two days after Israel’s military chief mentioned potential "action" against Iran regarding its nuclear program.

  • Iran, which has one of the most extensive missile programs in the Middle East, asserts its weapons can reach U.S. and Israeli bases in the region.

  • Despite opposition from the U.S. and Europe, Iran remains committed to advancing its "defensive" missile program.

  • Iran continues to seek missile technology from foreign suppliers, in violation of a UN Security Council resolution, according to the U.S. State Department.

Full Article:

Iran's state media reported a successful test launch of a ballistic missile capable of reaching 2,000 kilometers on Thursday. The test was carried out just days after the head of Israel’s armed forces broached the possibility of "action" against Iran in relation to its nuclear program.

The Middle Eastern nation, which boasts one of the largest missile programs in the region, asserts that its weapons have the potential to strike bases of its primary adversaries, the United States and Israel, within the region.

Despite objections from the United States and Europe, Iran stands firm in its decision to continue the development of its "defensive" missile program. "Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements. Our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability," Iranian Defence Minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani stated.

Iran's state television aired a brief clip showcasing the launch of an upgraded version of the country's Khoramshahr 4 ballistic missile, capable of a 2,000 km range and capable of carrying a 1,500-kilogram warhead. The state news agency IRNA named this liquid-fuel missile the "Kheibar," a reference to a Jewish fortress conquered by Muslim warriors during the early Islamic era.

"Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles poses a serious threat to regional and international security and remains a significant non-proliferation challenge," U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said. He further commented that Washington would continue utilizing tools, including sanctions, to counter Iran's pursuit of missile technology from foreign suppliers and its defiance of a UN Security Council resolution.

Israel, which Iran does not officially recognize, views Iran as an existential threat. Iran counters this, claiming its ballistic missiles provide a crucial deterrence and retaliatory force against Israel, the United States, and other potential regional adversaries.

Earlier this week, Israel's top military general proposed potential military action against Iran as negotiations to restore Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal have hit a wall since last September. There are rising Western concerns about Tehran's rapid nuclear advances. Iran has consistently denied seeking nuclear weapons.

Deeper Analysis:

The successful test launch of a ballistic missile by Iran underscores the mounting tension in the Middle East, especially considering the timing – just two days after Israel’s military chief raised the specter of potential "action" against Iran's nuclear program.

Iran's persistent commitment to expanding its missile program, despite opposition from the United States and Europe, highlights the nation's determination to maintain its defense capabilities and regional influence. It's a move that signals Iran's readiness to defend its interests and marks a further escalation in its standoff with its adversaries, primarily Israel and the U.S.

The naming of the missile "Kheibar" is also symbolic, referencing a historical event where a Jewish fortress was conquered by Muslim warriors during the early Islamic era. This allusion might be a calculated move to bolster domestic support and reaffirm its stance against Israel.