22 AUGUST 1941, Page 1

NEWS OF THE WEEK 1 1 LL the signs are that

the third German offensive in Russia is working to its climax. In all three sectors of the front eavy drives have been in progress in the past two days, first the Ukraine, then towards Petrograd, and finally at Gomel, nveen Smolensk and Kiev. The purpose of the last move s not clearly disclosed as we write. It might be the preliminary o a swing northwards against Marshal Timoshenko's armies to e east of Smolensk, or a swing southwards to envelop Kiev.

t has not yet made, and may never make, sufficient progress o reveal its true purpose. That the Russians everywhere are eing pressed hard is clear, but as long as they maintain their resent strategy of hard-fought retreat in sectors where no vital terest is at stake the German successes will be barren. That trategy, it is true, has not been entirely possible in the Ukraine, here Marshal Budenny has had to evacuate the important dustrial region in the great loop of the lower Dnieper and, ccording to the latest reports has taken the desperate and eroic step of blowing up the world-famous dam at Dnieproges, n which the whole industrial district depends for its hydraulic wer. If the report is true, not only will the Germans be nable to exploit the iron and other industries, but a vast area ound the river will be flooded, and General Budenny will be liver so much longer to perfect his defences on the western milk. Meanwhile, at the other end of the front, Leningrad is • lefinitely in danger, but its defences are immensely strong— Lad Kiev has been definitely in danger for six weeks. This mist almost certainly be the Germans' last sustained effort )efore the winter and, with Odessa still in Russian hands, it las not achieved results which look even remotely likely to be lecisive in the largest sense.