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Overview of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Key Insights on the 715th Day

US Senate Republicans have thwarted a bipartisan bill aimed at fortifying border security with Mexico and supporting Ukraine’s defense. Despite the setback, there are indications that separate approvals for aid to Ukraine and Israel may still be on the table, detached from the border crisis.

Ukraine has urgently appealed to Western nations to expedite and increase the delivery of artillery shells following a Russian missile attack on Kyiv, resulting in at least four casualties and over 40 injuries. Additionally, one person lost their life in the Mykolaiv region in southern Ukraine.

Leaked documents obtained by hackers suggest that Russia paid Iran $1.75 billion in approximately two tonnes of gold bullion for thousands of Shahed drones deployed in attacks on Ukraine. The deal, revealed in the leaked documents, valued each of the 6,000 drones at $193,000, with licensing fees included for Russia to produce its own more affordable replicas.

In response to the ongoing conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian parliament has passed an initial reading of a bill tightening army mobilization rules. The measure is aimed at enabling the government to conscript more individuals as the war with Russia approaches its third year, with further amendments expected in subsequent readings.

Amid concerns of potential sanctions related to the Ukraine war, a major Chinese international bank, Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank, has reportedly severed ties with some Russian clients. This move has raised compliance checks across other banks, causing disruptions in currency transfers between Russia and China for Russian businesses. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov mentioned ongoing efforts to address the issue with the Chinese government.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Russian-occupied Ukraine is deemed “relatively stable,” according to Rafael Grossi, the UN’s nuclear energy chief. Grossi, who inspected the plant accompanied by Russian soldiers, noted a reduction in nearby shelling and addressed the aftermath of the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, a critical water supply point, considered a Russian war crime by the European Parliament.

Germany is contemplating the nationalization of Russian oil company Rosneft’s operations within its borders following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized the country’s inability to compensate for a potential failure by the US to deliver weapons to Ukraine, citing it as a genuine concern.

Russia’s statistics agency claims a 3.6% growth in the economy for 2023, attributed to increased military spending due to the offensive in Ukraine. However, the agency acknowledged enduring economic challenges, including a 7.4% inflation rate, a depreciating ruble, a 16% interest rate, and labor shortages driving up costs, exacerbated by the continued emigration of hundreds of thousands of Russians following the Ukraine invasion, leading to shortages of qualified personnel in key sectors.

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