A brutal new phase in the war could be marked by Putins rage against civilians

The First Year of China’s Economic Growth: Power Loss, Oil Prices, and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Is China Ready for Another Year?

China’s energy sector was not able to keep up with growth in the economy a year ago. Blackouts darkened vast factory districts. Office high-rises were evacuated minutes before they lost electricity for elevators. Water systems stopped working because of the lack of power.

China is facing the reverse today. Growth has slowed so quickly that tens of millions of young people are out of work and businesses teeter at the edge of insolvency.

A potential drop in global oil supply could come at a tricky time. Estimates for global oil demand have increased because of China reopening its economy after nearly three years of strict coronaviruses restrictions.

The price rise caused by Russian invasion of Ukraine is being helped by the decline in demand from China. China’s slump in energy consumption is also offering an unintended assist to the U.S.-led efforts to choke off the enormous revenues Russia reaps as an energy exporter.

The Russian Intervention in the War in Afghanistan: Where Do We Stand? Why Did Putin and the Soviets Invade Ukraine During the Cold Cold War?

Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, New America’s vice president, and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. View more opinion on CNN.

That said, we should not underestimate Putin. He thinks that Russia can out-suffer the Europeans and Americans like they out-suffered Hitler and Napoleon. And the US and our NATO and western allies and partners need to do all that we can, as quickly as we can, to enable Ukraine and prove Putin wrong.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Putin lost Lyman just as he stated that the easternmost region of the country was now under Russia’s control.

Now comes a new chapter in the international impact of the war in Ukraine. Some of Putin’s former friends in the far right have turned against him, but not all. Some far-right politicians and prominent figures in Europe and the US echo Putin’s claims about the war. Their hope is to leverage discontent – which could worsen as winter comes and heating prices rise.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens fled partial deployment as Putin made speeches giving a distorted view of history, with even his allies expressing concern.

(Indeed, his revisionist account defines his rationale for the war in Ukraine, which he asserts has historically always been part of Russia – even though Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union more than three decades ago.)

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, they planned to install a puppet government and get out of the country as soon as it was feasible, as explained in a recent, authoritative book about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, “Afghan Crucible” by historian Elisabeth Leake.

During the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US was initially reluctant to escalate its support for the Afghan resistance, fearing a wider conflict with the Soviet Union. It took until 1986 for the CIA to arm the Afghans with highly effective anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, which ended the Soviets’ total air superiority, eventually forcing them to withdraw from Afghanistan three years later.

The US provided $26 billion in security assistance since the beginning of the invasion and enabled Ukraine to recruit, training, equip, and organize additional forces, which has done a better job than Russia. We will see further evidence when Ukraine starts its counteroffensive in the summer or spring.

But the US put those fears to rest relatively quickly, and American-supplied anti-tank Javelin missiles and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), GPS-guided missiles, have helped the Ukrainians to push back against the Russians.

The 1917-1991 Russian War against Terrorism, the Crimean Crisis, and Russia’s Failure to Take the Lead – A Tracy from the First World War to the Second World War

Two years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russians withdrew troops from Afghanistan.

The Russian loss in 1905 weakened the Romanov monarchy as a result of the history books. Czar Nicholas II was the leader during the First World War and the cause of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Subsequently, much of the Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.

The country has dynamics that place its economy on a decline. It will force Putin to choose between increasing military spending or investing in social goods, which could have consequences for both the war and the Russian public.

Putin is a tragic example of how a single individual can shape events without any challenge. When dictators put their cronies into important positions, control the media to crowd out opposing voices and order their subordinates to follow foolish orders, they are able to command their subordinates to follow the most foolish orders.

In 1917 and 1991, the Russian empire was dissolved after the end of the First World War and the fall of the Soviet Union.

Russia’s practice of carrying out missile and artillery strikes on civilian targets has already become notorious, from the Mariupol theater airstrike in May that killed 600 people to the bombings of multiple sites in central Kyiv that Russia carried out in October in retaliation for the destruction of the Kerch bridge linking the Crimean peninsula to Russia. The repeated failures of Russia’s military to take or hold territory in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive seem only to have amplified the Kremlin’s preference for softer, nonmilitary targets: In late November, Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov wrote that fully 97 percent of Russia’s 16,000 missile strikes have targeted civilians. “We’re fighting against a terrorist state in the war against terrorism,” he wrote.

The attacks have caused people in the city to be scared of new strikes, as they were forced to spend months in air raid shelters after the war in the subways.

What did Putin say about Ukraine during the December 11 attack on Ukraine? A brief look at what Putin may have to do next, explains Kirby

For the world to see, the message was obvious. Putin does not intend to be humiliated. He won’t admit defeat. He is prepared to cause civilian carnage and indiscriminate terror in response to his battlefield reversals.

But the targets on Monday also had little military value and, if anything, served to reflect Putin’s need to find new targets because of his inability to inflict defeats on Ukraine on the battlefield.

The bombing of power installations, in particular, Monday appeared to be an unsubtle hint that the Russian President could cause a lot of misery as the winter season sets in.

Ukraine has become the epicenter of a global conflict; a hub whose spokes connect to every country, every life. Russia’s aggression – its Iranian drones, civilian targets, and weaponization of hunger – has already taken a global toll, lowering worldwide living standards and raising international tensions.

The White House did not say what President Joe Biden would send toUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but he gave them advanced air systems to defend against Russian air attacks.

John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, suggested Washington was looking favorably on the requests from the government in Kyiv. “We do the best we can in subsequent packages to meet those needs,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

Kirby was also unable to say whether Putin was definitively shifting his strategy from a losing battlefield war to a campaign to pummel civilian morale and inflict devastating damage on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, though he suggested it was a trend developing in recent days and had already been in the works.

“It likely was something that they had been planning for quite some time. Kirby said that it was not clear if the explosion on the bridge might have accelerated some of their planning.

The general in charge of the war is a Russian who served in Syria and Chechnya. In both places, Russia indiscriminately bombarded civilian areas and razed built-up districts and infrastructure and is accused of committing serious human rights violations.

But to apply the special case of negotiation — with few parameters and a narrow range of outcomes — to a complex, fluid and much wider geopolitical rivalry is a category error. While the danger of Russian nuclear escalation may rise and should be studied carefully, there is no special, separate category of actions that the West or Ukraine might take that would automatically trigger it. Russia has no red lines because it has a range of options and perceptions of risks and benefits. The West needs to aim to shape these perception so that Russia chooses what it wants.

The French President underscored the fear of the Western world that Monday’s rush-hour attacks inUkraine could be the beginning of another pivot in the conflict.

“He was telegraphing about where he is going to go as we get into the winter. He is going to try to force the Ukrainian population to compromise, to give up territory, by going after this infrastructure,” Vindman said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Igor Zhovkva, Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that Ukraine had shot down 56 of the 84 missiles and drones that were fired by Russia, in apparent revenge for an explosion on a strategic bridge leading to annexed Crimea that is critical for Moscow’s war effort and is a symbol of Putin’s rule.

“So imagine if we had modern equipment, we probably could raise the number of those drones and missiles downed and not kill innocent civilians or wound and injure Ukrainians,” Zhovkva said.

Any prolonged campaign by Putin against civilians would be aimed at breaking Ukrainian morale and possibly unleashing a new flood of refugees into Western Europe that might open divisions among NATO allies that are supporting Ukraine.

The lesson of this horrible war is that everything Putin has done to fracture a nation he doesn’t believe has the right to exist has only strengthened and unified it.

Olena Gnes, the mother of three who is documenting the war on YouTube, told CNN that she is angry at the return of fear and violence to the lives of Ukrainians.

She described this as a way to frighten you guys in other countries or to show to his own people that he is still a bloody tyrant.

“We do not feel desperate … we are more sure even than before that Ukraine will win and we need it as fast as possible because … only after we win in this war and only after Russia is defeated, we will have our peace back here.”

MOSCOW — For months, Russia’s state media has insisted that the country was hitting only military targets in Ukraine, leaving out the suffering that the invasion has brought to millions of civilians.

On Monday, state television not only reported on the suffering, but also flaunted it. It showed plumes of smoke and carnage in central Kyiv, along with empty store shelves and a long-range forecast promising months of freezing temperatures there.

Questions over how to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine loom large as the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion approaches. Ukraine’s economy shrank by more than 30% in 2022 as the war destroyed infrastructure, hurt businesses and disrupted daily life.

The images captured hundreds of cargo trucks backed up and waiting to cross from Crimea into Russia by ferry, some five days after the bombing. On Wednesday, Maxar Technologies took pictures of a big backup at the port in Kerch and a line of trucks at an airport that is being used as a staging area.

The long lines for the ferry crossing were worsened by the security checkpoint set up after the bridge explosion, according to an analyst from the International Crisis Group.

Ukraine’s next major offensive in Luhansk, a Russian border town populated by air raid sirens and Russian counter-offensives

In Ukrainian cities far from the country’s battlefields the sound of the air raid sirens and the eruptions of Russian attacks shattered the relative calm.

The invasion has grown into the biggest land war in Europe since World War II, forcing millions of Ukrainians from their homes, decimating the Ukrainian economy and killing thousands of civilians.

Not for the first time, the war is teetering towards an unpredictable new phase. Keir Giles a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Programme said the war is now the third, fourth, or fifth war they have been observing.

Recent days have meanwhile shown that sites beyond the current theater of ground fighting are far from immune to attacks. It’s not clear what kind of bombing was carried out, but the fact that a target deep in Russian territory could be successfully attacked hints at a serious Ukrainian threat to key Russian assets.

“What seemed a distant prospect for anything that could be convincingly described as a Ukraine victory is now very much more plausible,” Giles said. Russia is likely to escalate their response.

Oleksii Hromov, a senior Ukrainian military official, said last week that Kyiv’s forces have recaptured some 120 settlements since late September as they advance in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson regions. On Wednesday, Ukraine said it had liberated more five settlements in its slow but steady push in Kherson.

Russia will help evacuate the residents of occupied Kherson to other areas if needed, the country’s defense ministry said Thursday. The announcement came shortly after the head of the Moscow-backed administration in Kherson appealed to the Kremlin for help moving residents out of harm’s way, in the latest indication that Russian forces were struggling in the face of Ukrainian advances.

When the war broke out in the summer, there was a suggestion that Ukraine lacked the ability to seize the ground, but these counter-offensives have changed that.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies senior fellow, the Russians are hoping to avoid a fall in their frontline before winter sets in.

It will be a huge gain for the Russians if they can get Christmas with the frontline looking as it is.

Russian forces began their next major offensive in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, attacking Ukrainian defensive lines and making marginal advances, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Analysts at the Atlantic Council also said Russian forces are pushing to encircle Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

If Ukraine were to get a big blow in the war, it would send a powerful signal and cause a decrease in energy prices around Europe.

“There are so many reasons why there is an incentive for Ukraine to get things done quickly,” Giles said. “The winter energy crisis in Europe, and energy infrastructure and power being destroyed in Ukraine itself, is always going to be a test of resilience for Ukraine and its Western backers.”

The war in Ukraine is becoming an engine that fuels a far-right push for more influence; a symbiotic relationship between Putin and his fans in the West. While European figures try to promote their views on the issue of helping Ukraine by pointing out the country’s hardship as the cost of helping them, a group in the US is trying to convince people that spending on it is pointless and that poverty is bad in the US. For now, support for Ukraine remains strong in Europe and the US, although flagging among Republicans.

Russia is struggling on the ground and lacks strength in the air, but Monday’s attacks may have sent a signal of strength to the growing list of Putin’s critics.

Ukrenergo, the national electricity company of Ukraine, says it has been able to maintain power supplies in the central regions after the Russian missiles disrupted the country’s electricity supply. But Ukrainian Prime Minister has warned that “there is a lot of work to do” to fix damaged equipment, and asked Ukrainians to reduce their energy usage during peak hours.

Experts believe it remains unlikely that Russia’s aerial bombardment will form a recurrent pattern; while estimating the military reserves of either army is a murky endeavor, Western assessments suggest Moscow may not have the capacity to keep it up.

“We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out,” Jeremy Fleming, a UK’s spy chief, said in a rare speech on Tuesday.

The I SW stated in Monday’s updates that the strikes “wasted some of Russia’s dwindling precision weapons against civilian targets as opposed to militarily significant targets.”

Exactly how much weaponry and manpower each side has left in reserve will be crucial to determining how the momentum will shift in the coming weeks. Ukraine said it stopped 18 cruise missiles on Tuesday and more on Monday, but it wants more equipment from the West to deter future attacks.

The barrage of missile strikes will be an occasional feature in order for Russians to have the supplies for a high-tempo missile assault into the future.

The impact of such an intervention in terms of pure manpower would be minimal since Belarus has over 45,000 active duty troops. But it would threaten another assault on Ukraine’s northern flank below the Belarusian border.

Giles thinks the reopening of a northern front would be a new challenge for Ukraine. It will provide Russia with a new route into the region which was captured by Ukranian troops, if Putin decides to increase his efforts to regain that territory.

Twelve months into this war, Ukraine and Ukrainians have transformed. Thousands of people are believed to have died in the fighting. Millions have been driven from their homes.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that Ukraine needed “more” systems to better halt missile attacks, ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

Ukraine “badly needed” modern systems such as the IRIS-T that arrived this week from Germany and the NASAMS expected from the United States , Bronk said.

This week’s air strikes may point towards that endeavor; Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told CNN that around 30% of energy infrastructure in Ukraine was hit by Russian missiles on Monday and Tuesday. This was the first time that Russia has attacked energy infrastructure since the beginning of the war, according to the minister.

U.S. and Europe confronting Putin and the Kremlin on a Strategic Plan to Prevent Warfare in the Continuum Cold War

David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN and winner of the Deadline Club Award twice, is an author of “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen.” He is a correspondent for CBS News in Europe and Asia. The views are of his own. CNN has more opinion.

He is looking to distract his nation from the blinding fact that he is losing badly on the battlefield and failing to achieve the scaled back objectives of his invasion.

Second and simultaneously, Putin is playing desperately for time – hoping the political clock and the onset of winter in Europe will sap the will and energies of the Western powers that have all but eviscerated his military-industrial machine and destroyed the armed might of Russia.

This ability to keep going depends on a host of variables – ranging from the availability of critical and affordable energy supplies for the coming winter, to the popular will across a broad range of nations with often conflicting priorities.

In the early hours of Friday in Brussels, European Union powers agreed a roadmap to control energy prices that have been surging on the heels of embargoes on Russian imports and the Kremlin cutting natural gas supplies at a whim.

Emergency caps on the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, a benchmark European gas trading hub, and permission for EU gas companies to form an international gas buying monopoly are included in these.

While leaving the summit he said that there was a clear mandate for the European Commission to begin working on a gas cap mechanism.

Germany is skeptical of price caps. Now energy ministers must work out details with a Germany concerned such caps would encourage higher consumption – a further burden on restricted supplies.

These divisions are all part of Putin’s fondest dream. Manifold forces in Europe could prove central to achieving success from the Kremlin’s viewpoint, which amounts to the continent failing to agree on essentials.

Germany and France are already at loggerheads on many of these issues. Though in an effort to reach some accommodation, Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have scheduled a conference call for Wednesday.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/25/opinions/putin-prolonge-war-ukraine-winter-andelman/index.html

Italy’s new prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, urged to end the post-fascist aura of the far-right coalition

And now a new government has taken power in Italy. After being sworn in as Italy’s first female prime minister, she tried to remove the post-fascist aura of her party. She has one of her far-right coalition partners who has expressed appreciation for Putin.

At a party for his loyalists, Berlusconi said that Putin had sent him 20 bottles ofvodka and a very sweet letter on his 86th birthday.

The other leading member of the ruling Italian coalition, Matteo Salvini, named Saturday as deputy prime minister, said during the campaign, “I would not want the sanctions [on Russia] to harm those who impose them more than those who are hit by them.”

While Poland and Hungary have always been friends, they disagree over the EU policies which seemed to reduce their influence. Poland has taken offense at the statements made by Hungary’s Orban.

Kevin McCarthy, who is poised to become Speaker if Republicans take control of the House, believes people will sit in a recession and not write a blank check. They will not do it.

The influential 30-member Congressional progressive caucus called on Biden to open talks with Russia to end the conflict while its troops are still occupying vast stretches of the country and its missiles and drones are hitting deep into the interior.

Hours later, Mia Jacob sent a statement to clarify her remarks in support of Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to renew America’s support.

Last week, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced a bill to end US support for Ukraine, a measure supported by a handful of far-right lawmakers including Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar. CNN has been told that it is only a small group of Republican lawmakers who are against funding aid to Ukraine.

This support in the form of arms and materiel has been one of the main reasons for the remarkable battlefield successes against the weak, ill-prepared Russian military.

There has been an increasing desperation to get components for production of high-tech weaponry by Russia that is tied up in western sanctions and embargos.

Russian production of hypersonic missiles has all but ceased “due to the lack of necessary semi-conductors,” said the report. Plants producing anti-aircraft systems have shut down, as well as aircraft, which have to be canlocated for spare parts. The Soviet era ended more than 30 years ago.

Yury Orekhov, the top Russian procurement agent, and his agencies were seized by the US on the same day.

The Justice Department said that it has charged people and companies for trying to bring high tech equipment into Russia in violation of sanctions.

Cold War, Cold Dark Matter, and the End of History: Putin’s Planck to Warfare in Ukraine Revisited: When Russia Meets the West

Still, there remain hardliners like Pavel Gubarev, Russia’s puppet leader in Donetsk, who voiced his real intention toward Ukrainians: “We aren’t coming to kill you, but to convince you. But if you don’t want to be convinced, we’ll kill you. As many as we need, we can either kill 1 million, 5 million or all of you.

Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, (@fridaghitis) a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. This commentary is not a commentary from her. View more opinion on CNN.

CNN has reported that Iran will soon be sending more powerful weapons to Russia for the fight against Ukraine, which is being watched by a western country.

The strengthening relationship between Moscow and Tehran has drawn the attention of Iran’s rivals and foes in the Middle East, of NATO members and of nations that are still – at least in theory – interested in restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which aimed to delay Iran’s ability to build an atomic bomb.

The war in Ukranian and the conflict surrounding Iran are two examples of how Ukraine has become the focal point for so much of the rest of the world.

The historian Yuval Noah Harari has argued that no less than the direction of human history is at stake, because a victory by Russia would reopen the door to wars of aggression, to invasions of one country by another, something that since the Second World War most nations had come to reject as categorically unacceptable.

Much of what happened far from the battlefields still has repercussions today. When oil-producing nations, led by Saudi Arabia, decided last month to slash production, the US accused the Saudis of helping Russia fund the war by boosting its oil revenues. (An accusation the Saudis deny).

Israel will not move its systems to Ukraine because of a disagreement with Russia over sharing airspace, according to the Defense Minister.

Russia halted reopening the maritime corridors of Ukraine after the Russian Navy ships hit at the port of Sevastopol in the Black Sea. The wheat price on global commodity markets went up immediately after Putin’s announcement. In Africa and the world, those prices help determine how much people pay for bread.

Higher prices not only affect family budgets and individual lives. They pack a political punch when they have powerful momentum. Inflation, worsened by the war, has put incumbent political leaders on the defensive in countless countries.

NPR: State of Ukraine from Nov. 4 to Dec. 4, 2011 in the ‘Lambda’ (Edinburgh)

And it’s not all on the fringes. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader who could become speaker of the House after next week’s US elections, suggested the GOP might choose to reduce aid to Ukraine. The Progressives withdrew a letter calling for negotiations. Evelyn Farkas, a former Pentagon official during the Obama administration, said they’re all bringing “a big smile to Putin’s face.”

And Ukraine will be watching America’s midterm election results this week, especially after some Republicans warned that the party could limit funding for Ukraine if it wins control of the House of Representatives, as forecast.

Also Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Erdogan insists Sweden must meet certain conditions before it can join NATO.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report is scheduled to be discussed by the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Russia rejoined a U.N.-brokered deal to safely export grain and other agricultural goods from Ukraine, on Nov. 2. Russia had decided to suspend its part in the deal after saying that Ukraine had attacked its Black Sea ships.

The Pentagon announced $400 million in additional security aid to Ukraine, on Nov. 4, to include 45 refurbished T-72 tanks, 1,100 Phoenix Ghost drones and other vehicles, technology and training.

Here, you can read past recaps. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR’s coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

The Crimean Bridge, Nuclear Power Plant, and Air Force Explosions in the Russian-Embedded Region of the Northern Hemisphere

After concluding the speech with a toast to the troops, he took a sip from his champagne glass.

He went on to list a series of events he blames on the Ukrainians: “Who hit the Crimean bridge? The power lines were destroyed from the nuclear power plant.

Russia’s announcement that an airfield was targeted in a drones attack appears to be a reference toKursk, which is close to theUkrainian border. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has offered no comment on recent explosions, including in Kursk, which are deep within Russia. The country’s declared drones are far beyond the reach of the targets.

Donetsk Water Crisis: Why Do We Have None? Putin’s Tweets at the Kremlin Receipt Thursday

He ended his apparent off-the-cuff comments by claiming there is no mention of the water situation. “No one has said a word about it anywhere. At all! Complete silence. He said it was.

Russian authorities in Donetsk have reported that there have been many shelling of the city this week.

Putin had a glass of champagne at the Kremlin reception Thursday when he made comments on the Russian military’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

In the days following the bridge explosion, Putin said, “further acts of terrorism on the territory of Russia will be harsh… have no doubt about that.”

Last week Putin appeared on the Kerch Bridge, where he was shown repairs and drove a car across the structure that he himself officially opened in 2018.

In his Kremlin appearance Thursday, he continued to say: “Who is not supplying water to Donetsk? Not supplying water to a million person city is an act of genocide.

The Russian president tersely compared the difference in reactions to attacks on Russia and attacks on Ukraine, saying, “as soon as we make a move, do something in response – noise, clamor, crackle for the whole universe.”

“The pace of restoration [to household consumers] is slowed down by difficult weather conditions,” it said, with the damage “made worse by the freezing and rupture of wires in distribution networks.”

The UK, the EU, and Ukraine: The case for democracy and security in the aftermath of the Ukrainian invasion of Ukraine (Vorise TV News, 13 Dec. 2016)

The official said that the attacks on the grid amount to genocide. Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin made the comments while speaking to the BBC last month.

The EU is expected to introduce a cap on natural gas prices in an effort to tackle an energy crisis spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the British Prime Minister will speak before the Commons Liaison Committee where the issues of the war in Ukraine and the world are discussed. That follows Sunak’s meeting on Monday in Latvia with members of a U.K.-led European military force.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will hold virtual talks sometime this month, according to Russian news reports.

And Ukrainians and Russians are heading into their first Christmas or Hanukkah festivities since the Kremlin launched its full-on invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Nuclear safety and security experts will be sent to each of the Chernobyl nuclear power plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

An American was released from Russian-controlled territory as part of a prisoner exchange. Suedi Murekezi told ABC News he spent weeks in a basement, where he was tortured, and months in a prison in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.

EU lawmakers approved about $19 billion in financing for Ukraine, Dec. 14, and more sanctions on Russia. The pledge from dozens of countries and global institutions to help with winter aid for the Ukrainians was a large part of the aid package.

The Impact of the Crimes on Human Rights in the First World War: A Pentagon Think tank Report on the Menon’s visit to Ukraine

“It’s like the central nervous system of the human body: If you mess with it, you put all sorts of systems out of whack,” says Rajan Menon, a director of the Defense Priorities think tank who recently returned from a trip to the Ukrainian capital, speaking about Russia’s power grid attacks. “It’s not only an inconvenience but an enormous economic cost. It is intended to show that the government can’t adequately protect the civilian population.

Menon notes, however, that every one of his comments could just as easily apply to Russia’s earlier waves of cyberattacks on the country’s internet—such as the NotPetya malware released by Russia’s GRU hackers, which five years earlier destroyed the digital networks of hundreds of government agencies, banks, airports, hospitals, and even its radioactivity monitoring facility in Chernobyl. He says the goal is the same even though they’re different in the details. It’s demoralizing and punishing the civilians.

At the time, Putin insisted his forces were embarking on a “special military operation” — a term suggesting a limited campaign that would be over in a matter of weeks.

The war devastated Russian life, disrupting the post-Soviet period in which the country pursued democratic reforms, then at least financial integration and dialogue with the West.

Draconian laws passed since February have outlawed criticism of the military or leadership. Nearly 20,000 people have been detained for demonstrating against the war — 45% of them women — according to a leading independent monitoring group.

For questioning the Russian army’s conduct or strategy, long prison sentences are often given to high profile opposition voices.

The repressions extend elsewhere: organizations and individuals are added weekly to a growing list of “foreign agents” and “non-desirable” organizations intended to damage their reputation among the Russian public.

Even Russia’s most revered human rights group, 2022’s Nobel Prize co-recipient Memorial, was forced to stop its activities over alleged violations of the foreign agents law.

The state has also vastly expanded Russia’s already restrictive anti-LGBT laws, arguing the war in Ukraine reflects a wider attack on “traditional values.”

Repressions are still targeted. Some of the new laws are still unenforced. But few doubt the measures are intended to crush wider dissent — should the moment arise.

Leading independent media outlets and a handful of vibrant, online investigative startups were forced to move or shut down due to new “fake news” laws that clashed with the official government line.

Restrictions extend to internet users as well. American social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook were banned in March. More than 100,000 websites have been blocked by the internet regulator in the Russian Federation.

Russian can still access independent sources of information with the help of technical workarounds. The old Russians prefer state media that is propaganda, and angry TV talk shows are spreading conspiracies.

Russian Exodus in the Post-World War II: Implications for the Economy and the Economy of the Emerging Middle Eastern Powers

There were many perceived government opponents who left in the early days of the war because of concerns of persecution.

Yet Putin’s order to mobilize 300,000 additional troops in September prompted the largest outflow: Hundreds of thousands of Russian men fled to border states including Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Georgia in an attempt to avoid the draft.

Putin believes it is part of a self-cleaning of Russian society from traitors and spies. Russian officials have suggested stripping those who left the country of their passports. Yet there are questions whether Russia can thrive without many of its best and brightest.

Even though the presence of Russians in some countries is a sensitive issue, some countries that have absorbed the exodus think their economies will grow.

Russia’s central bank hiked interest rates to 20% and implemented currency controls after the invasion to protect the ruble. The need for factories to increase their production of military goods and replace items that have been imported from the West was also related.

The cracks are starting to show and they are going to get bigger over the next year. The European Union — which spent more than $100 billion on Russian fossil fuels in 2021 — has made huge strides in phasing out purchases. The bloc banned Russian crude oil imports by sea in December, a year after reducing its dependence on Russian natural gas. The block on refined oil products was enacted this month.

Russia’s Military Campaign: The Last 10 Months and the Last 2023 Conference, or How Putin and the Kremlin Left Ukraine

The government’s tone isn’t different when it comes to Russia’s military campaign. Russia’s Defense Ministry provides daily briefings recounting endless successes on the ground. Putin, too, repeatedly assures that everything is “going according to plan.”

Yet the sheer length of the war — with no immediate Russian victory in sight — suggests Russia vastly underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness to resist.

It had gained a lot in the province. And it has had to withdraw its only forces west of the Dnipro River in Kherson province because the Ukrainians made the vital bridge connections to those forces impassable, took out the headquarters and logistics sites supporting those forces, and isolated them from the rest of the Russian elements east of the river.

Moscow’s problems are underscored by its inability to establish full control over the lands it now claims as its own following Russia’s illegal annexation of four territories of Ukraine.

The number of Russian losses, officially at 6,000 men, remains a taboo topic at home. Western estimates place those figures much higher.

The Feb. 24, 2022, invasion has touched off a refugee crisis, as Ukrainians flee the conflict in their homeland and many Russian men seek to avoid conscription. Meanwhile, it has spurred a process toward expanding NATO, with Finland and Sweden pursuing membership after decades of official neutrality.

As Europe abandons Russian oil and gas, India has doubled down on buying Russian oil at discounted prices, much to Washington’s displeasure. India is ordering Russian-made weapons.

Putin’s speech in effect made good on an overdue commitment: the Kremlin repeatedly delayed and then ultimately canceled last year’s address amid a trickle of bad news from the battlefield in Ukraine.

An annual December “big press conference” – a semi-staged affair that allows the Russian leader to handle fawning questions from mostly pro-Kremlin media – was similarly tabled until 2023.

The Kremlin has given no reason for the delays. It’s believed that the Russian leader has run out of good tidings after 10 months of war and no sign of victory.

Russia will not sell oil to the Russian people in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, despite the Soviet Union’s outburst

America has done this before. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the most dangerous nuclear confrontation so far, the Soviet Union’s position shifted in a matter of days, ultimately accepting an outcome that favored the West. Had “red lines” thinking been in vogue, America might well have accepted an inferior compromise that weakened its security and credibility.

In the year after the invasion of Ukraine, Western democracies imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Moscow, cut back on Russian oil and gas, and sent massive amounts of weapons to the country.

“We will not sell oil to those who directly or indirectly adhere to the principles of the price ceiling,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement. Russia will voluntarily reduce production by half a million barrels per day in March. This will contribute to the restoration of market relations.”

On Friday morning, the futures prices for the global benchmark for crude oil, known as Brent, jumped on the news that traders were anticipating a tightening of global supply.

The average price of a barrel of Russian Urals crude fell to $48 in January as a result of the European embargo and the Group of Seven price cap. By comparison, the global benchmark stood around $82. Customers like India and China may be negotiating greater discounts, since there’s a smaller pool of interested buyers. Russia is budgeting on a Russian Urals price of more than $70 per barrel.

Last month, the International Energy Agency said it expected global demand to surge by 1.9 million barrels per day to reach an all-time high of 101.7 million barrels per day, with China accounting for nearly half of the increase.

Sweden’s Task Force on Trade and Economic Security: Preparing for an EU-Companion-Centrifugal Task Group to Investigate Russia’s Genocide

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise Europe tour, meeting leaders in London, Paris and Brussels, and reiterating his call for allies to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

Biden’s address follows his surprise visit to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv Monday — a move seen in Moscow as both provocative and proof that, in Ukraine, Russia is fundamentally fighting a proxy war with the United States.

There’s “strong indication” Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead to supply anti-aircraft weapons to separatists in Ukraine, according to the international team investigating the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014.

The group will carry out a “legal, financial, economic and political analysis” to assess this possibility, the Swedish government said in a statement Tuesday. Sweden is the EU Council presidency which decides the bloc’s political priorities.

The statement added that part of this work would involve obtaining a “clearer picture” of where Russian state-owned assets are located and their value.

Diplomats from EU countries are meeting Wednesday to establish the remit for the group. Once that is decided they will give the green light to begin work. The group will be chaired by Anders Ahnlid, director-general of Sweden’s National Board of Trade.

A senior EU official estimated earlier this month that the European Union and Western allies had frozen more than $300 billion in Russian central bank assets that could potentially be used to rebuild Ukraine.

The European Union is also working on a tenth package of sanctions against Russia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the bloc would target €11 billion ($11.8 billion) worth of goods, using trade bans and export controls on technology.

Is Ukraine the first open-source war? Commentary on What the US and the West can do to end the war on Ukraine’s behalf’

Is this the first open-source war? Zelensky is helping to fight the war in Ukraine by using social media, along with the commercial overhead satellites that capture Russian battle groups moving around in real-time, and the social media accounts of Russian mercenaries.

Petraeus, who criticized the Biden administration’s withdrawal of Afghanistan, strikes a different tone on Ukraine. He says the President’s team has done a very impressive job of leading NATO and the West to counter the Russian invasion, though there have been times he would have liked to have seen decisions to provide certain weapons systems (such as western tanks and longer-range precision munitions) made sooner than they were.

Petraeus: It is not Russia. Russia failed to take the rest of the southern coast of Ukraine, which was not even able to reach the major port at Odesa.

That said, the battle lines since the withdrawal of the forces west of the Dnipro last fall have been fairly static, although Russian forces have made grinding, incremental and very costly gains in villages around Bakhmut in southeast Ukraine. Additional forces are being commited by the Ukrainians to defend the areas.

The side that generates the most capable, well-trained and well-equipped forces by then will make the most significant gains. And my bet is on Ukraine in that regard.

Petraeus: There will be several new features this year, most significantly the additional capabilities on the Ukrainian side: Western tanks and infantry fighting vehicles; longer-range and larger precision munitions for the US-provided HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket systems) that will enable precise strikes out to 150 kilometers (twice the range of the current precision munition); additional air defense systems of various types; augmented air defenses and additional wheeled armored vehicles, as well as enormous quantities of additional ammunition of all types.

The war that is taking place for the first time is happening in an environment that includes a widespread presence of smart phones, internet, and social media.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/14/opinions/petraeus-how-ukraine-war-ends-bergen-ctpr/index.html

What Do We Need Now to Fix the Russian Unmanned Security System? (Review Paper by P. Petraeus on Russia’s Cold War Campaign)

And there would incomparably greater numbers of vastly more capable unmanned systems (some remotely piloted, others operating according to algorithms) in every domain – not just in the air, but also at sea, sub-sea, on the ground, in outer space, and in cyberspace, and operating in swarms, not just individually!

I recall an adage back in the Cold War days that stated, “If it can be seen, it can be hit; if it can be hit, it can be killed.” In truth, we didn’t have the surveillance assets, precision munitions and other capabilities needed to truly “operationalize” that adage in those days. In the future, just about everything will be seen and susceptible to being hit and destroyed, unless there are significant defenses and hardening of those assets.

“We’ve managed to avoid conflict directly between great powers,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR. For all of its flaws, the system works. It’s being challenged now.

Thanks to Putin, the French President was right to call the NATO alliance suffering from “brain death” in late 2019.

All of the above, plus more, is what Petraeus said. Poor campaign design, wholly inadequate training, poor command, control, and communications and a culture that condones war crimes are on the list.

Petraeus: It could if Putin mobilized all of Russia successfully. However, to date, the mobilizations have been partial, as Putin seems to fear how the country might respond to total mobilization. More Russians left the country than they reported, in the wake of some partial call-up of reserves.

How Does Russia Win? How Does the Russian Army War in Ukraine Ends? A Comment on How Do Ukrainians Get Their Voice Out and Their Future Directions”

The leader of this is a kleptocratic dictator who embraces many grievances and views that severely undermine his decision-making.

Bergen: You know the observation sometimes attributed to Stalin: “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Russia has a far bigger population than Ukraine, so will that make a difference to the conflict in the long term?

Nonetheless, it is estimated that as many as 300,000 new recruits and mobilized reservists are being sent to the frontlines, with up to 100,000-150,000 more on the way. And that is not trivial – because quantity does, indeed, matter.

Thus, Ukrainians know what they are fighting for, while it is not clear that the same is true of many of the Russian soldiers, a disproportionate number of whom are from ethnic and sectarian minorities in the Russian Federation.

And the Ukrainians also have demonstrated a very impressive ability to learn how to employ new weapons systems and vehicles much more rapidly than anyone anticipated, as they want to master new capabilities as quickly as is possible and get back to the fight.

I know it is easier to make tough calls in the office than it is to do so in the Situation Room. I would like to see us add some new capabilities sooner rather than later, including advanced drones, fighter aircraft, and air defense and counter-drone capabilities.

Ukraine will have to migrate from the eastern bloc to the western bloc in the not too distant future. They don’t have any more MiGs to give them and they have more pilots than aircraft.

It will take at least a year to train pilots and maintenance workers, so we might as well start. I think the Administration has done a very impressive job and proved to be one of the key players in the situation, with important ramifications for other situations around the world.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/14/opinions/petraeus-how-ukraine-war-ends-bergen-ctpr/index.html

Can Russia stop using mercenaries? The case of the Moskva sinking incident: What does the Russian invasion of Taiwan ultimately endanger?

The force that Putin sends into the toughest battles is the quasi-privateWagner Group. I’ve heard the idea of using mercenaries as a tactic, but I don’t know what to think.

The way Russia handles mercenaries is somewhat innovative, but also inhumane and involves throwing soldiers into battle as cannon fodder, and for little to no concern for their survival.

The practices are not the tactics that will nurture development of well-trained, disciplined, capable, and cohesive units that have trust in their leaders and soldiers on their left and right.

Bergen: What are the lessons of Ukraine for the Chinese if they were to stage an invasion of Taiwan, which would not be over a neighboring land border but over a 100-mile body of water? Does the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea navy, reshape how the Chinese might think about this question?

It’s especially important that a target of such an operation has a population willing to fight fiercely for its survival and be supported by major powers.

Petraeus: Yes, I believe it is. This is the first war in which the use of mobile devices such as phones and social media has been widespread. The result is unprecedented transparency and an extraordinary amount of information available – all through so-called “open sources.”

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/14/opinions/petraeus-how-ukraine-war-ends-bergen-ctpr/index.html

Combined Arms Effect: The Scranton Army Ammunition Plant and the Future of the Defense Operations of the U.S., Afghanistan, and Ukraine

That said, there does not seem to be a particularly innovative new plan, given the limitations of the professional capabilities of the Russian forces and their demonstrated inability to generate “combined arms effect” – to integrate the actions of tanks with infantry, artillery/mortars, engineers, explosive ordnance disposal, electronic warfare, fixed and rotary wing close air support, air defenses, effective command and control, drones, etc.

Bergen: In 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq War, you famously asked a rhetorical question: “Tell me how this ends?” For the war in Ukraine: How does this end?

Petraeus: Russia’s loss in Afghanistan, where they took many times the losses of the USSR, is likely to be unsustainable on both the battlefield and at home, if Putin decides to negotiate a resolution.

Running full-tilt, as it was on a recent January morning, the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant churns out roughly 11,000 artillery shells a month. That may seem like a lot, but the Ukrainian military often fires that many shells over just a few days.

To meet that demand, the Scranton plant is undergoing a massive expansion, fueled by millions of dollars in new defense spending from the Pentagon. It’s investing in new high-tech machinery, hiring a few dozen additional workers and will eventually shift to a 24/7 schedule of constant production.

“It’s certainly ramped up over the last year. As we bring in more modern equipment, it’ll be able to ramp up even further,” said Todd Smith, senior director of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, which operates the plant for the Army.

Doug Bush said the Army will increase production by 500% from 15000 a month to 70,000. The plant in Scranton makes a lot of the country’s supply of artillery shells.

Bush told CNN the Army intends to double the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, make roughly 33% more Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) surface-to-surface medium-range missiles a year, and produce each month a minimum of 60 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles – which were “almost not in production at all,” according to Bush.

The current rate of expenditure on ammunition in Ukraine is higher than our current rate of production, which is putting the defense industries under strain, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“Many allies in Europe right now are increasing their orders for US military equipment as a result of the war, so that’s adding to demand for our production,” said Bush. He stated thatUkraine’s need varies month to month, making it less predictable than foreign military sales which are usually known in advance.

On top of that, the US has a lot of work to do in rebuilding its own stockpiles, which the war in Ukraine has left dangerously low in the eyes of some experts.

Jones also told CNN that CSIS war games showed in a Pacific conflict, the US runs out of “key long range munitions,” like long-range anti-ship missiles, in “less than a week of the war.”

The Defense Department is looking at longer-term contracts and Bush said they would give a more efficient supplier base. He said a seven-year contract will allow industry to plan production long-term instead of having to work year to year. Building that workforce will be crucial as more plants and more shifts could eventually mean more jobs.

“No defense company in their right mind is going to start producing munitions if by the end of every fiscal year, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force takes what it had allotted in budget and moves it to a different pet platform or program,” said Jones of CSIS.

Bush said that in a year production rates in the US will be much higher than they are now. Bush believes the US military and industrial base would be prepared if there is a conflict in any other country.

The United States and its major allies have been steadfast in their resolve to support Ukraine in its fight, and their people have largely accepted the enormous cost. The political resistance in the United States has been limited to some people on the far right and far left. As the war goes on, questions will become more common. The speaker of the house, a Republican, Kevin McCarthy, has warned that there should be no blank check on anything.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff believes this is a critical moment. “The battlefield, as difficult as it is and as bloody as it is … is something that’s going to play a very major factor in both President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy and President [Vladimir] Putin’s calculations as to whether or not to go to the negotiating table … and under what conditions.”

“This is something that leads me to the question – for whom do we document all these crimes?” Oleksandra Matviichuk, the head of the Center for Civil Liberties, told us. Because I’m not a historian, I’m a human rights lawyer and we document human pain in order to have all the Russians brought to justice.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu: “If Russia is going to leave Ukraine, it will destroy it.” Ukraine’s war-anniversary

Speaking to NPR’s Leila Fadel, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said his country is learning lessons from the war in Ukraine and keeping a wary eye on China.

They have expansionist motivation. They want to continue to expand their sphere of influence. They would like to expand their power. “If they aren’t stopped, then they will keep marching on.” said Wu.

They tried to flee in the first days of the war, but the family car was shelled, Natalia believes, by Russian forces. Her husband is dead along with her nephew. Vova was wounded in the attack and spent months in the hospital.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/18/1157820509/ukraine-russia-war-anniversary

The India-China Relationship After World War II: Towards a Better India, Better India for the Censorship of the Indian People

Danny Hajek produced and edited the audio for this story. Additional editing and production help from Carol Klinger, Denise Couture and Nina Kravinsky. Reporting and translation help was given by Palamarenko and Ustova.

“You’re already seeing a very close Russia-China relationship emerging, even in the last few years,” says the ORF’s Rajagopalan. “So the current Indian approach is, we don’t want Russia to go completely into the Chinese fold. Because for India, China has become the No. 1 national security threat.”

Russia opened its first consulate in India in 1900 under British rule. But relations really took off during the Cold War.

“It started out as strategic sympathy for the Soviet Union, in the backdrop of India getting independence from the British. So it’s an anti-colonial experience, anti-imperialism,” says Rajeswari (Raji) Pillai Rajagopalan, a political scientist at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. The Cold War became anti-West and anti-U.S. as it picked up.

Modi called for a cease-fire in Ukraine, but he did not condemn Russia’s attacks. Some of his political opponents don’t feel that it goes far enough and point to India’s actions rather than its words.

“The actions that India is engaged in so far do not reflect any remorse or even mild criticism of the events in Ukraine,” says Praveen Chakravarty, a political economist affiliated with the opposition Indian National Congress party. It seems to aid and abet.

India has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. (The IMF forecasts 6.8% growth for India this year, compared to just 1.6% for the United States.) By 2030, India is forecast to be the third-largest economy in the world, behind the U.S. and China.

India still buys more oil from Middle Eastern countries than Russia. But its Russian share has skyrocketed. In December, India imported 1.2 million barrels of Russian crude. That is 33 times more than a year ago. Russia’s share of India’s oil imports increased in January from less than 1 percent to almost 2 percent.

Indian officials have defended those purchases by saying it’s their job to find bargains for their citizens. Jaishankar, the foreign minister, has suggested that it was hypocritical of wealthier Westerners to ask them not to.

“Europe has managed to reduce its imports [of Russian gas] while doing it in a manner that is comfortable,” Jaishankar told an Austrian TV channel last month. “At 60,000 euros or whatever is your per capita income, you’re so caring about your population. I have a population at 2,000 dollars [per capita annual income]. I also need energy, and I am not in a position to pay high prices for oil.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffery Pyatt said Washington is “comfortable” with India’s approach on Russian oil. And Karen Donfried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, said the U.S. is not looking at sanctioning India for this.

The West can’t do something about India buying Russian crude at deep discounts because of sanctions, so Washington may have changed its mind. India refines Russian oil and then exports it to the US and Europe. So the West gets Russian oil, without getting its hands dirty.

Russian and Soviet weapons have historically been present in India’s military. Most of those contracts date back to the Cold War, a conflict in which India was officially non-aligned but close to Moscow. So most of India’s arsenal was — and still is — Soviet-made.

“Let’s just go to the [Indian] Air Force. Most of the aircraft are referred to as flying coffins. Very often Indian pilots die when they are testing, or flying, those,” says Aparna Pande, a political scientist at the Hudson Institute in Washington. “So India knows they need to be replaced.”

Indian defense experts may have been the only ones not surprised to see Russian tanks falling apart in Ukraine this past year, Pande says. For years they’ve been unhappy with Russian equipment.

“Let’s say my entire apartment had only IKEA furniture, and now I decide, ‘OK now I want to change it, and I want West Elm.’ I can’t just replace one chair. Pande explained that he has to change his dining table and chairs. There is a piecemeal approach to updating the weapons of India. But those big ticket items are still Russian-made. So that’s the change which has to happen, and this is what will reduce the Russian influence.”

The biggest foreign policy preoccupation of India is not Russia or Ukraine. It’s China. The two countries have a border that spans more than 2,000 miles. Satellite images show that China may be encroaching on Indian territory. There were disagreements between soldiers there in June and December.

Biden administration officials understand why India hasn’t condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukranian because they’re willing to grant India a wide perch if Washington doesn’t like it.

Putin made a presentation to the joint session of the Russian parliament and Kremlin officials that the war in Ukraine was an effort to destroy the West.

Putin called for a moment of silence for Russians who had lost their lives in the war. The Russian leader also promised a range of social support packages for families of the fallen.

Russia has suffered significant setbacks on the battlefield, and its apparent failure to remove the elected government ofUkraine was not mentioned by Putin in his address.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a mass rally in Moscow for the first time since the 2010 Russian-American Warfare ended in 2015-2016

Signed in 2010, New Start came into force in 2011, and was extended till 2026. The number of strategic nuclear warheads that can be deployed by the U.S. and Russia has been capped. The two countries have a lot of deployable warheads.

Regular inspections under the agreement, to make sure neither side is cheating, were put on hold in March 2020 during the pandemic. Russia postponed talks to restart those inspections, as relations between Moscow and Washington continued to deteriorate over Ukraine.

NATO and the U.S. both say their goal is to see Russia defeated. And then, as if nothing happened, they say they’re prepared to visit our military bases, including our newest,” said the Russian leader.

Putin also said he’d instructed his military and civilian atomic energy agency to be prepared to test additional nuclear weapons – should the U.S. carry out new tests first.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Russia’s decision as “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.” The US has accused Russia of violating the nuclear arms treaty.

Putin said that the West has amoral and spiritual collapse that threatens the children of Russia. Kirill was seated front-row center in the hall.

The Russian leader again equated Ukraine’s “neo Nazi” government with Nazi Germany, and said Russia was defending itself just as the Soviet Union defended its territory during World War II.

Today’s address also kickstarts a series of connected and choreographed events: Russian lawmakers gather for an extraordinary session of both chambers of parliament Wednesday, when Putin will also address a mass rally at Moscow’s largest stadium.

The image of Putin holding court across a hallway to consult with his closest advisers became famous after he put his National Security Council into a televised session to discuss the independence issue.

The Russian economy and system of government is stronger than the West thought, President Putin said Tuesday in a speech.

“The era of windfall profits from the oil and gas market for Russia is over,” Janis Kluge, an expert on Russia’s economy at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told CNN.

The ruble is currently trading at its weakest level against the US dollar in over a year. The currency’s weakness has contributed to high inflation. And most businesses say they can’t conceive of growing right now given high levels of economic uncertainty, according to a recent survey by a Russian think tank.

Russia’s economic output duly contracted by 2.1% last year, according to a preliminary estimate from the government. But the hit was more limited than forecasters initially expected. When sanctions were imposed, some economists expected a contraction of 10% or 15%.

One reason for Russia’s unexpected pluck was its push toward self-sufficiency following Putin’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Through a policy known as “Fortress Russia,” the government boosted domestic food production and policymakers forced banks to build up their reserves. Ash spoke at Chatham House about how that created a degree of resilience.

The former deputy minister of finance for Russia said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies last month that it was a question of natural resources. “The economy had a decline, but not a collapse,” he said.

In fact, Russia’s average monthly oil export revenues rose by 24% last year to $18.1 billion, according to the IEA. A repeat performance is not likely, because it will lead to even more difficult decisions for Putin.

Finding new buyers for processed oil products, which are also subject to new embargoes and price caps, won’t be easy either. China and India have their own network of refineries and prefer to buy crude, noted Ben McWilliams, an energy consultant at Bruegel.

Russian Economy and Russian Economy: Implications of the Cold War on the Future of Russian Manufacturing and Purchasing, with Implication for the Military and the Military

“Whatever energy resources are obtained, they’ll be spent on military needs,” said Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, acting director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London.

The war will determine whether the economy expands or shrinks in a few years, an economist wrote in a note to clients. Shortages of workers tied to military conscription and emigration pose a key risk, she noted.

Sectors that rely on imports have been particularly vulnerable. Avtovaz, which makes the Ladas, has had difficulty in finding key components and materials.

Russia had a weak auto industry after companies like Volkswagen halted production and Nissan began to sell their local assets last year. Chinese firms have stepped up their presence, part of a broader trend. Even so, sales of new cars dropped 63% year-over-year in January, according to the Association of European Businesses.

Across sectors, firms are struggling to plan for the future. Almost 50% of Russian businesses plan to maintain production over the next one to two years, and most aren’t thinking about growth, according to a survey. The group said this contributed to a high risk of “long-term stagnation of the Russian economy.”

Putin will not back down on his commitments to subsuming Ukrainians, according to the author. But his war chest “is likely, inevitably, to diminish,” she added.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/22/business/russia-economy-ukraine-anniversary/index.html

The Pain of War: The Case of the European Refugees in the Light of NPR’s Insights on NATO, the EU and the U.N.

We could have said that the population would protest against it. These are not normal times.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been more than 8 million refugees in the European Region in the past two decades. Many have been involuntarily relocated by Russia. Others have put a strain on resources, as well as schools and hospitals, in Poland and Germany.

The world is moving toward realignment because of the war in Europe. It has rattled NATO, the European Union and the U.N., forcing countries to take sides in ways that have led to escalating tensions and diplomatic shifts. For example, Turkey, despite being a NATO member, has increased trade with Russia since the start of the war and has thrown up objections to allowing Sweden and Finland into the alliance.

NPR’s Will Chase, Alex Leff, Pam Webster, Desiree F. Hicks and Nishant Dahiya contributed to this report. The text and graphics build on previous work by Alina Selyukh, Connie Hanzhang Jin and Nick Underwood.

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