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  1. #1276
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes to overseas creditors.

    For months, the country found paths around the penalties imposed after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. But at the end of the day on Sunday, the grace period on about $100 million of snared interest payments due May 27 expired, a deadline considered an event of default if missed.


    It’s a grim marker in the country’s rapid transformation into an economic, financial and political outcast. The nation’s eurobonds have traded at distressed levels since the start of March, the central bank’s foreign reserves remain frozen, and the biggest banks are severed from the global financial system.

    But given the damage already done to the economy and markets, the default is also mostly symbolic for now, and matters little to Russians dealing with double-digit inflation and the worst economic contraction in years.

    Russian sovereign bonds have been trading at distressed levels since March



    Russia has pushed back against the default designation, saying it has the funds to cover any bills and has been forced into non-payment. As it tried to twist its way out, it announced last week that it would switch to servicing its $40 billion of outstanding sovereign debt in rubles, criticizing a “force-majeure” situation it said was artificially manufactured by the West.

    “It’s a very, very rare thing, where a government that otherwise has the means is forced by an external government into default,” said Hassan Malik, senior sovereign analyst at Loomis Sayles & Company LP. “It’s going to be one of the big watershed defaults in history.”

    A formal declaration would usually come from ratings firms, but European sanctions led to them withdrawing ratings on Russian entities. According to the documents for the notes whose grace period expired Sunday, holders can call one themselves if owners of 25% of the outstanding bonds agree that an “Event of Default” has occurred.

    With the final deadline passed, focus shifts to what investors do next.

    They don’t need to act immediately, and may choose to monitor the progress of the war in the hope that sanctions are eventually softened. Time may be on their side: the claims only become void three years on from the payment date, according to the bond documents.

    “Most bondholders will keep the wait-and-see approach,” Takahide Kiuchi, an economist at Nomura Research Institute in Tokyo.

    Russia’s Default Tussle With Bondholders Is Only Just Starting

    During Russia’s financial crisis and ruble collapse of 1998, President Boris Yeltsin’s government defaulted on $40 billion of its local debt.

    The last time Russia fell into default vis-a-vis its foreign creditors was more than a century ago, when the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin repudiated the nation’s staggering Czarist-era debt load in 1918.

    By some measures it approached a trillion dollars in today’s money, according to Loomis Sayles’ Malik, who is also author of ‘Bankers and Bolsheviks: International Finance and the Russian Revolution.’

    By comparison, foreigners held the equivalent of almost $20 billion of Russia’s eurobonds as of the start of April.

    Russia Debt Held Abroad Below 50%, First Time Since 2018: Chart

    “Is it a justifiable excuse to say: ‘Oh well, the sanctions prevented me from making the payments, so it’s not my fault’?” Malik said.

    “The broader issue is that the sanctions were themselves a response to an action on the part of the sovereign entity,” he said, referring to the invasion of Ukraine. “And I think history will judge this in the latter light.”

    Finance Minister Anton Siluanov dismissed the situation on Thursday as a “farce.”

    With billions of dollars a week still pouring into state coffers from energy exports, despite the grinding conflict in east Ukraine, he reiterated that the country has the means, and the will, to pay.

    “Anyone can declare whatever they like,” Siluanov said. “But anyone who understands what’s going on knows that this is in no way a default.”

    His comments were prompted by the grace period that ended on Sunday. The 30-day window was triggered when investors failed to receive coupon payments due on dollar- and euro-denominated bonds on May 27.

    The cash got trapped after the US Treasury let a sanctions loophole expire, removing an exemption that had allowed US bondholders to receive payments from the Russian sovereign. A week later, Russia’s paying agent, the National Settlement Depository, was also sanctioned by the European Union.

    In response, Vladimir Putin introduced new regulations that say Russia’s obligations on foreign-currency bonds are fulfilled once the appropriate amount in rubles has been transferred to the local paying agent.

    The Finance Ministry made its latest interest payments, equivalent to about $400 million, under those rules on Thursday and Friday. However, none of the underlying bonds have terms that allow for settlement in the local currency.

    So far, it’s unclear if investors will use the new tool and whether existing sanctions would even allow them to repatriate the money.

    According to Siluanov, it makes little sense for creditors to seek a declaration of default through the courts because Russia hasn’t waived its sovereign immunity, and no foreign court would have jurisdiction.

    “If we ultimately get to the point where diplomatic assets are claimed, then this is tantamount to severing diplomatic ties and entering into direct conflict,” he said. “And this would put us in a different world with completely different rules. We would have to react differently in this case -- and not through legal channels.”

    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    Russia remains strong despite 'insane' sanctions
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  2. #1277
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    UK, US, Japan & Canada To Ban Russia Gold Imports Due To Ukraine War

    According to the government statement, the ban will take effect shortly and affect newly mined or refined gold.


    According to the statement, previously exported Russian gold will not be affected by the move.


    According to the government, Russian gold exports were worth $15.6 billion last year, and wealthy Russians have been buying bullion to reduce the financial impact of Western sanctions.


    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement that the measures he announced today would strike directly at Russian oligarchs and Putin’s war machine.


    In order to starve the Putin regime of funding, the UK and our allies are doing exactly that.”


    Six Russian refiners were suspended from accreditation by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) in March.

    UK, US, Japan & Canada To Ban Russia Gold Imports Due To Ukraine War

  3. #1278
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    G-7 leaders confer with Zelenskyy, prep new aid for Ukraine

    ELMAU, Germany (AP) — Leading economic powers conferred by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday as they underscored their commitment to Ukraine for the long haul with plans to pursue a price cap on Russian oil, raise tariffs on Russian goods and impose other new sanctions.


    In addition, the U.S. was preparing to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kyiv to help Ukraine fight back against Vladimir Putin’s aggression.


    The new aid and efforts to exact punishment on Moscow from the Group of Seven leaders come as Zelenskyy has openly worried that the West has become fatigued by the cost of a war that is contributing to soaring energy costs and price hikes on essential goods around the globe.


    Leaders were finalizing the deal to seek a price cap during their three-day G-7 summit in the German Alps. The details of how a price cap would work, as well as its impact on the Russian economy, were to be resolved by the G-7 finance ministers in the coming weeks and months, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcements from the summit.


    The largest democratic economies will also commit to raising tariffs on Russian imports to their countries, with the U.S. announcing new tariffs on 570 categories of goods, as well as use of sanctions to target Russia’s defense supply chains that support its effort to rearm during the war.


    Biden is expected to announce the U.S, is purchasing NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system, to provide medium- to long-range defense, according to the person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. NASAMS is the same system used by the U.S. to protect the sensitive airspace around the White House and U.S. Capitol in Washington.


    Additional aid includes more ammunition for Ukrainian artillery, as well as counter-battery radars, to support its efforts against the Russian assault in the Donbas, the person said. Biden is also announcing a $7.5 billion commitment to help Ukraine’s government meet its expenses, as part of a drawdown of the $40 billion military and economic aid package he signed into law last month.


    The G-7 leaders began Monday’s session of their three-day summit with a focus on Ukraine. Later, they will be joined by the leaders of five democratic emerging economies — India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina — for a discussion on climate change, energy and other issues.


    The war in Ukraine was already at the forefront of the G-7 leaders’ minds as they opened their summit at the secluded Schloss Elmau luxury hotel on Sunday — just as Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv for the first time in weeks.


    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the summit’s host, said that the G-7 countries’ policies on Ukraine are “very much aligned,” and that they see the need to be both tough and cautious.


    Scholz said after meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday that “we are taking tough decisions, that we are also cautious, that we will help … Ukraine as much as possible but that we also avoid that there will be a big conflict between Russia and NATO.”


    He added that “this is what is of essence — to be tough and thinking about the necessities of the time we are living in.”


    Biden said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G-7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to.”


    Biden hopes to use his trip to Europe to proclaim the unity of the coalition pressing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as much as he is urging allies to do even more — seeking to counter doubts about its endurance as the war grinds into its fifth month.


    The summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said last week that he wants to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall plan for Ukraine” with his G-7 counterparts, referring to the U.S.-sponsored plan that helped revive European economies after World War II.


    With the war still in progress and destruction mounting by the day, it’s unlikely to be a detailed plan at this stage. Scholz has said that “rebuilding Ukraine will be a task for generations.”


    The G-7 already is committed to help finance Ukraine’s immediate needs. Finance ministers from the group last month agreed to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to help Kyiv keep basic services functioning and prevent tight finances from hindering its defense against Russian forces.


    A senior U.S. administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations between the G-7 leaders, said the U.S. and Europe are aligned in their aims for a negotiated end to the conflict, even if their roles sometimes appear different.


    Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron have tried to facilitate that through active conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy, while also supplying weapons to Ukraine. The U.S. has largely cut off significant talks with Russia and aims to bolster Ukraine’s battlefield capacity as much as possible so that its eventual position at the negotiating table is stronger.


    The endurance of the tough sanctions on Russia may ultimately come down to whether the G-7 and other leaders can identify ways to ease energy supply issues and skyrocketing prices once winter hits, as they seek to disengage from Russian sources of fuel.


    The G-7 meeting is sandwiched between a European Union summit last week that agreed to give Ukraine the status of a candidate for membership — kicking off a process that is likely to take years with no guarantee of success — and a summit of NATO leaders starting Tuesday in Madrid.


    The leaders of the G-7 — the U.S., Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Canada and Japan — may hope to make some progress in bringing their counterparts from their five guest countries closer to Western views on sanctions against Russia.


    Scholz also is eager to win over such countries for his idea of a “climate club” for nations that want to speed ahead when it comes to tackling the issue.

    G-7 leaders confer with Zelenskyy, prep new aid for Ukraine | Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world

  4. #1279
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    Turkey backs Sweden and Finland's Nato bids

    Sooner than many had expected, the Nato summit has achieved an early success.


    The way has just been cleared for Finland and Sweden to join the 30-member Western military alliance after Turkey dropped its objections.


    The breakthrough came after the foreign ministers of Sweden, Finland and Turkey, facilitated by Nato's secretary general, signed a joint security pact that addressed Ankara’s concerns.


    Turkey had previously objected to the two Nordic nations joining Nato on the grounds that they sheltered Kurdish activists who Ankara viewed as terrorists.


    The addition of these two modern Scandinavian democracies to the Atlantic alliance will further isolate - and anger - the Kremlin, which sees Nato not as a defensive organisation but an aggressive one.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-europe-61960122

  5. #1280
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malmomike77 View Post
    The addition of these two modern Scandinavian democracies to the Atlantic alliance will further isolate - and anger - the Kremlin
    Sure will. Bluster and threats from Vlad to follow.

  6. #1281
    Viva Ukraine
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    For the life of me this cautious approach by NATO matters little. Dictator Putin will do as he pleases. If he wants an excuse and doesnt have one, he will manufacture one.
    The west can only hope he is not so delusional that he wants to fight a war on multiple fronts.

  7. #1282
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    For the life of me this cautious approach by NATO matters little.
    I agree at this point. The kids gloves need to come off, and we should start arming the Ukrainians properly. We have over 3500 M1 main battle tanks just sitting in storage. We need to start sending those over immediately. Just one of those could do enormous damage on the battlefield.

  8. #1283
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Sure will. Bluster and threats from Vlad to follow.
    Trouble is making a deal with that piece of scum Erdogan and selling the Kurds down the river.

  9. #1284
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Indonesian President calls for doing everything possible to unblock Ukrainian grain exports

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called for doing everything possible to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain, with security guarantees provided to all interested parties.
    The leader addressed the issue while speaking with the press following talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.


    "I told President Zelensky that Ukraine is very important in global food security, so we must do everything possible to ensure the smooth export of grain from Ukraine and security guarantees for all stakeholders to ensure exports through Ukrainian seaports," said Joko Widodo.

    He added that he supports the UN's efforts to unblock Ukrainian food exports.


    As Ukrinform reported, Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived in Kyiv on the morning of June 29. During the visit, before meeting with the Ukrainian leader, he visited Irpin to see the devastation caused by Russian troops.


    Tomorrow, June 30, the President of Indonesia will visit Moscow, where he will meet with Putin.


    As a result of hostilities and the blockade of Ukrainian seaports in Ukraine, more than 20 million tonnes of grain set to be exported under the UN World Food Program are stuck in Ukrainian silos.

    Indonesian President calls for doing everything possible to unblock Ukrainian grain exports

  10. #1285
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Russian occupiers preparing provocation accusing Ukrainian nuclear scientists of storing weapons at ZNPP - Energoatom


    Russian occupiers are preparing a provocation accusing Ukrainian nuclear scientists of storing weapons on the territory of Zaporizhia NPP, Energoatom state enterprise reported on Telegram.


    "For this, several workers were detained and tortured with a demand of confession, or rather, slandering themselves, that they allegedly dropped some kind of weapon into the concrete bowls of the cooling pools at Zaporizhia NPP in March," the company informed.


    The company explained the invaders, under this pretext, insist on draining the cooling pools - to check its bowls - and stopping the pumps that supply water to the security systems of power units.


    "If this happens, then the security systems of Europe's largest nuclear power plant will be left without cooling, which in itself is a serious violation and can threaten nuclear safety. In addition, such work is not advisable to carry out in the warm season due to the risk of overheating and equipment failure," Energoatom said.


    However, Ukrainian nuclear scientists are most concerned about the lack of control over the actions of the occupiers, who, under the guise of "carrying out a check," can throw anything into concrete bowls: explosives, unexploded shells, and other weapons.


    According to Energoatom, later the Russian occupiers may blame the ZNPP workers or its defenders for this and make this a formal reason for inviting the IAEA to the station and presenting these "facts."


    "And make a picture for the propaganda Russian media - how Russians take care of the safety of the station, and the Ukrainian personnel violate it," the company added.


    According to Energoatom, any weapon that will be found on the territory of the station is the weapon of the Russian occupiers.


    "We emphasize that any weapon found on the territory of the ZNPP is the weapon of the occupiers, which they use for nuclear terrorism and threats to the whole world with a new terrible catastrophe," Energoatom stressed.

    Russian occupiers preparing provocation accusing Ukrainian nuclear scientists of storing weapons at ZNPP - Energoatom

  11. #1286
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    President Biden on Wednesday announced plans to bolster U.S. forces in Europe to defend “every inch” of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) territory amid a persistent threat from Russia.

    Biden vowed to increase the number of troops stationed in Europe on the second day of a NATO summit in Madrid during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

    Specifically, the president announced plans to permanently headquarter U.S. Army V Corps in Poland, according to the Associated Press, and increase rotational deployments to the Baltic states – both moves that will bolster forces on NATO’s easter flank.

    Biden said that NATO would be “ready for threats in all directions.” He also commended the progress toward adding Finland and Sweden as members of the alliance, saying: “NATO is more needed now than it ever has been.”

    Stoltenberg said the new U.S. force posture commitments were demonstrative of U.S. leadership.

    The alliance is seeking to project unity and strength at the summit in Madrid as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to press forward with a bloody military campaign in Ukraine.

    The war in Ukraine is the dominant topic of the summit, and other alliance members are also expected to make new force posture commitments. The alliance will also endorse a new strategic concept that explicitly mentions China, a recognition by the members of the growing threat posed by Beijing.

    The summit saw a major development on its first day when Turkey dropped its objections to Finland and Sweden’s membership bids, paving the way for both countries to join the alliance.

    The three countries signed a memorandum pledging to deepen counterterrorism cooperation, in a nod to Ankara’s stated concerns about Finland and Sweden not doing enough to crack down on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group identified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and European countries.

    President Biden is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit.

    ___________




    The Biden administration is preparing to send an advanced air defense system to Ukraine as part of another tranche of military assistance to help Kyiv fight back against the Russian invasion.

    White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit Monday that the U.S. is in the process of finalizing a package that will include “advanced air defense capabilities,” though he declined to provide details on the specific system.

    “This week, as the President told his fellow G-7 leaders — and as he told President Zelensky — we do intend to finalize a package that includes advanced medium- and long-range air defense capabilities for the Ukrainians, along with some other items that are of urgent need, including ammunition for artillery and counterbattery radar systems,” Sullivan said.

    CNN reported that the Biden administration is preparing to send Ukraine a Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, a medium- to long-range air defense system that has a range of more than 100 miles.

    President Biden and other G-7 leaders met virtually with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, the second day of the summit in Germany.

    Sullivan said that during the closed-door meeting, Zelensky brought up recent Russian missile strikes on Kyiv and asked for more air defense capabilities “that could shoot Russian missiles out in the sky.”

    A senior defense official told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. is seeking ways to help Ukraine’s air defense.

    “That’s certainly something that we’re looking at — is the way to help the Ukrainians with additional air defense assets. I don’t have the particulars associated with the systems, but as soon as we know that and as soon as those are finalized, we will certainly work to provide you with those details and the particulars of the systems that we’re employing.”

    It’s unclear precisely when the U.S. will finalize the next military assistance for Ukraine. The Biden administration just last week announced another $450 million security assistance package including more advanced rocket systems, ammunition and other weaponry.

    The Ukrainians have been pleading for more heavy weapons to push back against the Russian assault that has been focused on the eastern part of the country.

    Russia’s war in Ukraine has entered its fifth month with no end or resolution in sight. The G-7 leaders are expected to impose new sanctions and tariffs on Russia and commit new assistance to Ukraine at the summit in order to demonstrate continued support for Kyiv.

    __________




    NATO will undertake "the biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War" at this week's key summit in Madrid, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

    Driving the news: Stoltenberg announced that NATO will increase the number of high-readiness forces to "well over 300,000” from around 40,000, and it will step up its presence on its eastern flank with Russia.

    NATO members are also finalizing their first “strategic concept” since 2010.

    The last strategy document came during the Obama administration’s “reset” with Moscow and called for “a true strategic partnership" with Moscow.

    At that time, the threat picture was very different. There weren’t yet NATO troops based in eastern European members like the Baltic states, the Economist notes. Now the focus is on sufficiently increasing NATO's presence there to deter any Russian aggression.

    “The relationship has fundamentally changed, and the strategic concept that will be adopted in Madrid reflects that,” says Ivo Daalder, who was Obama’s ambassador to NATO from 2009 to 2013. “This is the core business again of NATO. It’s defending NATO territory against a real, imminent threat from Russia.”

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put two core questions for the future of the alliance on hold, at least partially: How big a role should the U.S. play in defending Europe vs. European countries themselves, and how big a role should NATO play in responding to a rising China?

    Both questions will feature in this week’s discussions, but less prominently than they might have if Vladimir Putin's invasion hadn’t underscored the relevance of an alliance French President Emmanuel Macron said just three years ago was approaching “brain death."

    Existing NATO members are increasing their defense spending, albeit unevenly, while Finland and Sweden are now attempting to come inside the “Article 5” mutual defense umbrella.

    China will appear in the strategic concept for the first time, Daalder says, but he's only expecting one paragraph on China and says the “overwhelming focus” will be on Russian aggression.

    It's not yet clear what that paragraph will say, as there's an internal debate over how to refer to China (France and Germany reportedly want softer language).

    Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea will also attend the summit as a signal of the alliance's cooperation with Pacific partners. The leaders of Japan and South Korea are expected to hold a trilateral meeting with President Biden.

    Perhaps the biggest question hanging over the summit is whether the U.S. and its allies will be able to convince Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to lift a roadblock on Finnish and Swedish membership, which requires unanimity.

    Erdoğan claims the Nordic NATO aspirants harbor Kurdish separatists, and he may well seek to leverage the standoff to extract concessions from NATO countries and rally his base at home.

    He also wants a meeting with Biden, Daalder says: “I'm confident that if it takes a bilateral with Biden to get Erdogan to shift course on Finland and Sweden, we’ll see that [in Madrid].”

    “I think it is crucially important for the alliance that there is an agreement in Madrid to invite Finland and Sweden to join.”

    What to watch: Top of the agenda in Madrid will of course be Ukraine, and in particular how to help Kyiv transition from Soviet-era to NATO-caliber weaponry.

    ___________



    Nato’s secretary general has said this week’s Madrid summit will agree the alliance’s most significant transformation for a generation, putting 300,000 troops at high readiness in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance’s forces in the Baltic states and five other frontline countries would be increased “up to brigade levels” – doubled or trebled to between 3,000 and 5,000 troops.

    That would amount to “the biggest overhaul of our collective defence and deterrence since the cold war,” Stoltenberg said before the meeting of the 30-country alliance, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday this week.

    The rapid-reaction Nato Response Force currently numbers up to 40,000, and the proposed change amounts to a broad revision in response to Russian militarisation. Under the plans, Nato will also move stocks of munitions and other supplies farther east, a transition due to be completed in 2023.

    The Norwegian secretary general conceded he could not make any promises about the progress of applications by Sweden and Finland to join Nato, because objections raised by Turkey to their membership remained unresolved.

    Stoltenberg said Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had agreed to meet the Swedish prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, and Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, on Tuesday in Madrid to try to resolve the issue.

    But he played down hopes of a breakthrough at the meeting on the margins of the Nato event. “It’s too early to say what kind of progress you can make by the summit,” he told a press conference.

    Turkey has said it will block the applications of Sweden and Finland unless it receives satisfactory assurances that the Nordic countries are willing to address what it regards as support for Kurdish groups it designates as terrorist organisations.

    Later on Monday, Andersson said still she hoped a last-minute deal could be reached, after a day of contacts between officials of the three countries in Brussels.

    “My strong hope is that this dialogue can be successfully concluded in the near future, ideally before the summit,” Andersson said, emphasising that Sweden “condemns terrorism in all its forms” and that the insurgent Kurdish Workers’ party (PKK) was recognised as a terror group in Sweden.

    Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will address the summit on Wednesday morning, where he is expected to follow on from a plea made on Monday at the G7 meeting in Germany for western countries to provide arms so the war does not “drag on over winter”.

    Stoltenberg said Nato would agree “a strengthened, comprehensive assistance package” for Kyiv, including immediate help to “secure communications, anti-drone systems and fuel” and longer-term assistance in transitioning from Soviet standard arms and equipment to their western equivalents.

    But while the state of the war is likely to dominate the summit, Nato itself will only offer non-lethal aid because its members do not want the alliance to enter into fully fledged war with Russia. Arms supplies are instead made by member states.

    Nato maintains eight battle groups across eastern Europe, aimed at acting as an initial frontline defence in the event of a Russian invasion. Four are in the Baltic states and Poland, and these were supplemented by the creation of four more in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia after the attack on Ukraine.

    Germany said this month it would contribute a brigade of troops to defend Lithuania, where the country leads a 1,000-member battle group, although it emerged that the bulk of the extra 3,500 Berlin intends to contribute would be based on its own soil, ready to move farther east if needed.

    Stoltenberg said he expected other Nato members to make similar announcements to defend the countries for which they are responsible. Extra troop numbers would be made up by “pre-assigned forces in their home country” who would regularly exercise in the countries to which they had been linked, he added.

    Britain contributes about 1,700 troops to a multinational battle group it leads in Estonia. The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said nearly a fortnight ago that it was highly likely the UK would assign hundreds more troops in support of Estonia.

    But Stoltenberg said there would not be a one-size-fits-all model, suggesting that not every battle group would be increased to the size of a full brigade. Canada leads the battle group in Latvia, where it contributes 700 troops, while the US is responsible for Poland.

    Nato released figures showing that defence spending among its 30 members was expected to increase by 1.2% in real terms in 2022, the slowest growth rate in eight successive years of growth.

    Nine countries are projected to exceed the 2% of GDP target, led by Greece on 3.76% and the US on 3.47% with Britain sixth on 2.12%, down marginally on the two previous years. France spends 1.9% and Germany 1.44%.

    ___________



    Ukraine and Russia announced Wednesday that they have conducted their largest prisoner swap since the start of the war in February, with each exchanging 144 prisoners.

    Why it matters: "This is the largest exchange since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion," the Defense Intelligence arm of Ukraine's Defense Ministry wrote in a Facebook post.

    The big picture: Of the 144 prisoners returned to Ukraine, 95 of them were involved in the months-long defense of the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol, which was the last foothold of Ukrainian resistance in the city, per the statement.

    Among the 95, were 43 were members of the Azov Regiment, a far-right nationalist battalion that had participated in the defense of the city.

    The oldest of the prisoners is 65 while the youngest is 19. Many of the prisoners have "serious injuries," including amputated limbs, burns, and fractures.

    State of play: More than 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in May when Russian forces finally completed their capture of Mariupol, per the New York Times.

    Russia and Ukraine have conducted more than a dozen of prisoner exchanges since the start of the invasion. On Tuesday, 15 Russian POWs were exchanged for 16 Ukrainian POWs and one civilian, AP reported.

    ___________

    • UK sanctions second richest man in Russia


    The United Kingdom announced more sanctions on Russian oligarchs Wednesday, targeting one of the country’s richest men.

    Vladimir Potanin, the second richest man in Russia, was sanctioned as he is a known supporter of the Russian government and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Anna Tsivileva, the president of Russian coal mining company JSC Kolmar Group, was also sanctioned, along with the business.

    “As long as Putin continues his abhorrent assault on Ukraine, we will use sanctions to weaken the Russian war machine. Today’s sanctions show that nothing and no one is off the table, including Putin’s inner circle,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.

    The government is also implementing measures so Russia cannot access the U.K.’s trusts services that allow a person or business to manage their assets.

    The actions add to the growing list of sanctions the U.K. has implemented against Russia and Russian individuals, with more than 1,000 people and 120 businesses sanctioned since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, according to the U.K. government.

    “Russian imports have dropped over 40% since the invasion and stockpiles of vital imported manufacturing components are likely to be depleted in the next three to six months,” the government said.

    Along with the sanctions relating to Ukraine, multiple Russian individuals and businesses were sanctioned for supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad. https://thehill.com/policy/internati...man-in-russia/

    ________________

    • G7 leaders pledge to pursue price caps on Russian oil


    Members of the G7 on Tuesday agreed to explore the possibility of imposing price caps on Russian oil as they reiterated vows to "impose severe and immediate economic costs" on Russia for its ongoing war in Ukraine.

    Why it matters: Russia is the world's second-largest crude oil exporter, and Europe, unlike the U.S., is hugely reliant on Russian oil, gas and coal, Axios' Ben Geman writes.

    While the sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine have been severe, the country has nevertheless been able to continue selling oil.

    State of play: The G7 leaders said they would consider a "range of approaches" when it comes to Russian oil, according to the leaders' communique.

    Among these approaches will be the possibility of banning all transport of Russian oil "unless the oil is purchased at or below a price to be agreed in consultation with international partners," the G7 leaders said in the communique.

    "We invite all likeminded countries to consider joining us in our actions," they added, noting that they have asked their relevant ministers to further explore the details of such a move.

    Yes, but: The leaders stopped short of introducing new energy sanctions and didn't specify how a price cap would work.

    What they're saying: "We reaffirm our commitment to phase out our dependency on Russian energy. In addition, we will explore further measures to prevent Russia from profiting from its war of aggression," the communique added.

    Worth noting: U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at a press briefing Tuesday that one key aspect of G7 countries determining how such a price cap would work is "intensive engagement with key consuming countries," such as India.

    Sullivan noted that senior administration officials communicated with their Indian counterparts on Monday.

    The big picture: Earlier this week G7 leaders made another effort to impose costs on Russia for its war in Ukraine, by vowing to ban imports of Russian gold, which accounts for roughly $19 billion in annual revenue.

    G7 leaders also committed to contributing $4.5 billion to alleviate global food security issues stemming from Russia's war in Ukraine. More than half of the funding will come from the U.S., according to the White House. https://www.axios.com/2022/06/28/g7-...-oil-price-cap

    ____________

    • U.S. unveils new sanctions aimed at Russian defense industry


    The Biden administration unveiled a new slate of sanctions on Tuesday against entities that prop up Russia's defense industrial base and military units responsible for human rights abuses.

    Why it matters: The move builds on other sanctions levied by the U.S. against Russian elites and banks in response to Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

    The big picture: The Treasury Department announced that it has sanctioned 70 entities important to Russia's defense industry, including Rostec, which it described as "the cornerstone of Russia’s defense, industrial, technology, and manufacturing sectors."


    • The Treasury Department has also sanctioned 29 individuals. Together the actions are meant to "strike at the heart of Russia’s ability to develop and deploy weapons and technology" for the war in Ukraine, per the press release.
    • Concurrently, the State Department will sanction another 45 entities and 29 individuals. This will include sanctioning a number of Russian military units and re-sanctioning Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), "which have been credibly implicated in human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine," per the press release.
    • The State Department will also impose visa restrictions against "officials believed to have threatened or violated Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence," including more than 500 Russian military officers.


    Worth noting: The Treasury Department on Tuesday also implemented the Russian gold import ban announced by G7 leaders over the weekend.

    What they're saying: “Broad multilateral commitments and actions by G7 members this week further cut off the Russian Federation’s access to technology that is critical to their military," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the press release.


    • "Targeting Russia’s defense industry will degrade Putin’s capabilities and further impede his war against Ukraine, which has already been plagued by poor morale, broken supply chains, and logistical failures," Yellen added.


    https://www.axios.com/2022/06/28/us-...-industry-gold

    Quote Originally Posted by FO David48atTD View Post
    Russia remains strong despite 'insane' sanctions

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    President Joe Biden on Thursday vowed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine “will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.”

    The president’s pledge came during a news conference at the conclusion of the NATO summit in Madrid — where Biden sought to rally Western allies to prolong their support for Ukraine, and where Finland and Sweden signed an agreement with Turkey that paved the way for the two Nordic nations to join the mutual-defense military bloc.

    “Putin thought he could break the transatlantic alliance,” Biden told reporters. “He tried to weaken us. He expected our resolve to fracture. But he’s getting exactly what he did not want. He wanted the Finland-ization of NATO. He got the NATO-ization of Finland.”

    “We are going to stick with Ukraine, and all of the alliance is going to stick with Ukraine as long as it takes to, in fact, make sure that they are not defeated,” Biden said.

    Reiterating his commitment, Biden said American drivers would be forced to bear the costs of increased gasoline prices brought on by Russia’s invasion for “as long as it takes.” Russia, he added, “cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine. This is a critical, critical position for the world.”

    Despite Biden’s declaration about NATO’s resolve, there has been a growing public divergence among allies over how long the war will last, the lengths to which Western governments will go to help Ukraine win and what exactly a victory might look like.

    Still, NATO leaders have remained forceful in their official condemnations of Putin’s invasion, adopting a new “Strategic Concept” on Wednesday that branded Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

    That same day, Biden announced plans for the United States to send more naval destroyers, air defense systems and redeployed troops further into eastern Europe in the coming months.

    U.S. officials also worked to assuage Turkey’s concerns about Finland and Sweden becoming NATO member states; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been angered by what he claimed was Helsinki and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish militants and arms embargoes on Ankara.

    Erdoğan ultimately backed away from blocking Finland and Sweden’s membership bids on Tuesday, as the Biden administration expressed support for Turkey buying roughly $6 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits from Lockheed Martin. U.S. officials have denied any linkages between the potential arms sale and the NATO expansion.

    ______________


    • Turkey removes opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO



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    Russian Forces Withdraw From Snake Island

    Moscow framed the withdrawal as a gesture of goodwill intended to stave off a looming global food insecurity crisis.


    ussian forces have abandoned the strategic outpost of Snake Island, loosening Russia’s grip over Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.

    “On June 30, as a step of goodwill, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation completed their assigned tasks on Snake Island and withdrew the garrison stationed there. Thus, it was demonstrated to the global community that the Russian Federation does not interfere with the efforts of the UN to organize a humanitarian corridor for the exports of agricultural products from Ukrainian territory,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced on Thursday.


    “This decision will prevent Ukraine from speculating on the subject of the impending food crisis, citing the impossibility of shipping grain due to Russia’s total control over the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” Konashenkov added, according to Russian state news outlet TASS.

    Whereas Moscow is framing the withdrawal as a gesture of goodwill intended to stave off a looming global food insecurity crisis, Ukraine says it drove Russian forces from the island after an overnight assault and artillery strike. "The enemy hurriedly evacuated the remains of the garrison with two speed boats and probably left the island. Currently, Snake island is consumed by fire, explosions are bursting,” said Ukraine’s military, according to Reuters.


    “KABOOM! No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job. More kaboom news to follow. All [occupied territory] will be Ukrainian,” tweetedHead of the Office of the Ukrainian President Andriy Yermak. Ukraine’s account of the events leading up to Russia’s withdrawal from Snake Island has not been verified by outside observers.

    Russia’s military captured Snake Island, a small Ukrainian outcrop to the southwest of the port city of Odessa, in the opening stages of its invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian troops launched several effortsin May to retake the island but were repeatedly repelled by Russian forces. Buoyed by recent shipments of Western anti-ship missiles and artillery systems, the Ukrainian military reportedly launched a renewed assault on Snake Island in recent days. Satellite imagery of the island dated June 21 appeared to show evidence of new strikes in the form of large scorch marks, with Ukraine claiming to destroy scores of local Russian vessels and anti-aircraft systems in recent days.

    Experts say Russia’s withdrawal from Snake Island marks a major step in Ukraine’s efforts to weaken Russian naval dominance over Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. The loss of Snake Island erodes Russia’s ability to threaten Odessa, which is still widely regarded as one of the war’s major prizes and removes a potential Russian pressure point on NATO’s southeastern flank.

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...-island-203340

    Great, no more flimsy excuses then- accept the kind Turkish offer to demine the approaches to Odessa, and get that grain flowing.

  15. #1290
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Great, no more flimsy excuses then- accept the kind Turkish offer to demine the approaches to Odessa, and get that grain flowing.
    Whether a humanitain jester or a tactical redeployment by Russia is debatable but getting Ukranian grain out certainly will help alleviate global food shortages and of course give a boost to Ukraine's economy.

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    humanitain jester
    Pun intended?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Pun intended?
    I knew that.

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    Even Russian Army Bosses Shocked by Putin’s ‘Fucking Imbecile’ Troops

    Even Russian military leadership was shocked to learn of the mayhem and dysfunction among Vladimir Putin’s troops in occupied eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian intelligence.


    In a five-minute recording shared by the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on Thursday, a man identified as a fighter in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic can be heard complaining to his wife that “Russians are fucking imbeciles” and revealing that his fellow fighters raped and murdered civilians.


    No details were provided on when the phone call was said to have taken place, or where exactly in Donetsk the man was based.


    “Basically, today our guys went to the Russian headquarters,” said the man, who was not identified by name. “They are not aware that there are so few of us here... They all think that we’re professionals, that we’ve been fighting since 2014 and we’re already experts, that we’re badass fucking warriors,” he said.


    “They raised the question about us not having a rotation, and not having weapons, nothing,” he went on. “Basically, they promised that within three days, some fucking Russian bogeys will come... they promised to change us out, the generals didn’t even know what kind of situation we had here,” he added, complaining that “we are almost down 50 fucking percent.”

    The fighter recalled an incident where he said a group of Russian troops were sent to back up their fellow Russians, but then both sides “started to shell the fuck out of each other, Russians with fucking Russians, they fucking killed each other.”


    The wife then asked about the fate of an acquaintance, who the man told her was being interrogated along with several others in connection with a string of recent executions.


    “Lena, he gunned down 75 people, you understand? Both locals and our guys,” he said, going on to recall how two of those shot were fighters who “raped a 55-year-old woman and beat the shit out of her husband” before returning days later to terrorize the pair again and shoot them.


    “Our guys buried them,” he said.


    “Maybe they are lucky that they are there, even though they’re being questioned they’re sitting in a quiet and calm place... They have already shot several people who raped, murdered, and buried people,” he said, telling his wife he was referring specifically to those from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.


    “There’s a fuck ton happening here that you don’t know about,” he said.


    His wife then recalls that when reports first broke of Russian troops raping people in Ukraine, the claims were dismissed as “fake,” with Russian sources claiming “the Russian Army is not capable of that.”


    “It turns out they are capable,” she tells her husband, who quickly shoots back: “They are capable of anything.”

    Even Russian Army Bosses Shocked by Putin’s ‘Fucking Imbecile’ Troops

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    Ukraine drives Russian forces from Snake Island, a setback for Moscow.

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Moscow framed the withdrawal as a gesture of goodwill intended to stave off a looming global food insecurity crisis.
    What a load of BS. The Ukrainians blew the shit out of them over and over again. Finally, the HIMARS sealed the deal for the last time, literally blowing them off the island. Your propaganda lies are getting ridiculous. The truth...

    Russian troops have withdrawn from Snake Island in the Black Sea after repeated assaults by Ukrainian forces, a move that is a setback for Moscow’s forces and possibly undermines their control over vital shipping lanes for grain in the Black Sea.

    The retreat came after sustained Ukrainian attacks — including with powerful, newly arrived Western weapons — made it impossible for Russian forces to hold the island, a small speck of land 20 miles off the coast of Odesa that has played an outsize role throughout the war.

    Control of the shipping lanes has implications that go beyond the battle for Ukraine’s sovereignty. The Russian Navy has effectively cut off shipping from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, stopping the flow of grain and oilseeds to the rest of the world, raising the cost of food and creating the likelihood of shortages and even famines in some countries, especially in Africa.

    While the United Nations and many Western democracies have accused Moscow of using food as a weapon to weaken support for Ukraine, the Kremlin has tried to shift blame for the situation to Kyiv, accusing Ukraine of refusing to clear mines from its ports.

    The fortress island has little value except as a base for Black Sea operations and has been a target for the Russians since the first day of the invasion. The Russian withdrawal, coming only a week after the Kremlin bragged about repelling a Ukrainian attempt to retake the island, appeared to be another instance of Moscow’s scaling down its military ambitions in the face of Ukrainian resistance.

    Both sides confirmed the retreat on Thursday. The Ukrainians said it had come after a weeklong campaign targeting the island and Russian efforts to resupply the garrison there with missile and artillery fire.

    The last Russian soldiers on the island, which is called Zmiinyi in Ukrainian, were reported fleeing overnight on two speedboats, according to the Ukrainian military’s southern command. “There are no more Russians on Zmiinyi,” said Andrii Yermak, the head of the presidential office of Ukraine.

    The Russian Defense Ministry, in a statement, sought to cast the retreat as “a gesture of goodwill” that would “not allow Kyiv to speculate on the impending food crisis,” since control of the island is vital to securing the shipping lanes. The Russian de facto blockade, enforced by its warships and submarines, has prevented Ukraine from exporting its prewar average of about six million metric tons of grain each month.

    Still, there was no indication that the Kremlin was prepared to allow safe passage of Ukrainian vessels leaving the port of Odesa. The Crimean branch of Radio Free Europe reported that five out of the seven Russian submarines in the Black Sea fleet were launched from port in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.

    Russia had moved to bring powerful surface-to-air missile systems to the island to support its ground forces.

    But the Russian Navy started operating further from the Ukrainian coast, out of range of land-based anti-ship missiles provided by the United States and other NATO countries that began arriving in late May. Around June 20, Ukrainian forces renewed their assault on the island, striking a Russian tugboat delivering weapons and personnel to the island.

    The Ukrainians “almost certainly” used newly delivered Harpoon missiles in the attack, according to the British military, which said it was their first demonstrated use.

    Satellite images released over the past week showed the results of the battle as seen from space — new large scars dotting the 46 acres of rock and grass rising from the sea.

    On Thursday morning, the Ukrainian military said it had used missiles and artillery to knock out yet another Russian antimissile system. “Snake Island is covered in fire, explosions are heard,”
    the Ukrainian command said. After the Russians pulled out, it was unclear whether the Ukrainians would try to restore their own garrison, given the island’s vulnerability to attack.

    Russian Forces Withdraw From Snake Island, a Setback for Moscow - The New York Times

  20. #1295
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Great, no more flimsy excuses then- accept the kind Turkish offer to demine the approaches to Odessa, and get that grain flowing.
    The only thing that would work is a UN armada protecting the shipping lanes and Ukrainian ports.

    Putin won't go for that though, because he's a liar. Regardless of whether or not you believe him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pickel View Post
    The only thing that would work is a UN armada protecting the shipping lanes and Ukrainian ports.

    Putin won't go for that though, because he's a liar. Regardless of whether or not you believe him.
    Of course he believes him, he's a fucking idiot.

  22. #1297
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    Grab a coffee.

    The war in Ukraine has settled into a grinding fight for yards. Ukrainian and Russian forces are shelling each other with medium- and long-range artillery, leaving the already battered villages and towns of the Donbas caught in the crossfire. Like the brutal battles of World War I, the current conflict has seen only small swaths of territory change hands, often being captured and recaptured from one week to the next.

    Although talk of a rapid victory for either side has largely disappeared from the headlines, analysts and officials still debate what piece of heavy military equipment or new technology might turn the tide in Ukraine’s favor. With Russia running low on supplies and manpower, for instance, retired U.S. Army General Ben Hodges
    told The Washington Post last week that an influx of more sophisticated Western weaponry could allow the Ukrainians to turn back Russian advances and go on the counteroffensive.


    This emerging war of attrition, however, is more likely to come down to “sustainment”—the ability of each side to ensure a relentless influx of troops, ammunition, and heavy equipment to the frontlines in the east, especially as the conflict drags on and international attention dissipates. Logistics, financial management, personnel services, and health services will all be central to this effort, determining which side is better able to replace its depleted units, resupply and maintain its equipment, and source food, fuel, and ammunition. The
    Russian military is clearly showing signs of strain, especially when it comes to reinforcing its troops after heavy losses. But so are the Ukrainians, who in recent weeks have warned that they are running out of ammunition and losing as many as 200 soldiers per day.


    In a conflict that is increasingly likely to end—or at least be contained—with a negotiated settlement or cease-fire, sustainment could provide vital leverage for Ukraine. By reinforcing its troops and resupplying and maintaining its equipment, Ukraine may not be able to beat the Russians back, but it could deny them major gains, sapping their resources and will to fight. Western military assistance, especially the provision of arms and training, will be critical for sustainment. But so will domestic factors such as the return of Ukrainian
    refugees, the recovery of the country’s economy, and the emergence of a Ukrainian resistance in Russian-occupied areas. Sustaining the fight against Moscow, in other words, will take political, economic, and military commitment from the Ukrainian people as well as from the United States and other NATO countries. The challenge, however, is that sustainment will become increasingly costly as the war continues and Western countries find it increasingly difficult to muster the political will to uphold their commitments to Ukraine.

    Early in the war, Russia gave little thought to sustainment, rushing forward a vast force without setting up supply depots or establishing full air control. As the Ukrainians slowed Russia’s advance, distance and weather compounded Moscow’s logistical problems—and Russian soldiers paid a heavy price. The shift of the fighting to eastern Ukraine has eased some of these logistical challenges for Moscow. The frontlines are now closer to Russia and linked by rail and road to Russia and Russian-occupied territory. But Moscow’s initial blunders burned through many of its resources, undercutting Russia’s ability to resupply and sustain its forces even in the east. Unable to reliably import supplies and parts because of Western sanctions, Moscow is now digging deep into its Soviet era stockpiles for weapons such as mines and tanks.

    Russia is having even more trouble shoring up its manpower. Estimates of
    casualties vary widely and are likely distorted by political calculations on both sides, but Moscow is clearly struggling to reinforce its fighting forces. Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, recently removed the upper age cap for contractual service in the Russian army in order to expand the pool of eligible recruits that can be sent into battle.


    For their part, the Ukrainians are also showing signs of strain. Before Russia’s invasion in February, Ukraine had been making significant progress in
    reforming its military, increasing civilian control, limiting corruption, streamlining command and control, and modernizing its force structure to better align with NATO’s model. These and other changes helped Ukraine fend off Russia’s initial assault, thwarting the Kremlin’s ill-fated plan to take Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities. But the reform process was in no way complete when Russia invaded, and it has understandably slowed in the midst of a major war.One critical element of sustainment involves moving forces to the locations where they are needed most and reinforcing or replacing depleted units.

    These functions become harder as a war drags on and military and civilian casualties mount. The forces stationed in the east of Ukraine are some of the country’s best and most experienced fighters, but they have taken the brunt of the losses ever since Russia began concentrating its attack on the Donbas. Ukrainian leaders had been relatively tight-lipped about the scale of Ukrainian losses until last month, when a senior
    presidential aide revealed that between 100 and 200 troops were being killed every day.

    At that rate, retaining the manpower needed to prevent further territorial losses, let alone win territory back, will require significant reinforcements. And Ukraine’s troop reserves are not infinite. Indeed, interviews with volunteers who joined the territorial defense forces in western Ukraine paint a dire picture of troops being rushed eastward to the front without adequate training, weapons, or support. Getting reinforcements and supplies to the frontlines has also gotten harder as roads and rail networks have been destroyed in the fighting and as Russia has threatened Ukrainian supply lines in parts of the east, especially now that Ukrainian forces have made a tactical retreat from the beleaguered city of Sievierodonetsk.

    It is clear that Ukraine needs additional Western military support. The country had limited defense production capacity even before the war, and over the last four months Russia has destroyed or captured much of that capacity. Russia has also targeted many Ukrainian ammunition depots. As a result, Ukraine’s sustainment effort will hinge in part on the resupply of Western ammunition, rockets, drones, and other heavy equipment.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. defense industry has endeavored to make this possible. Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the much-vaunted Javelin antitank missiles that Washington has supplied to Ukraine, promised in May to nearly double its annual output to meet demand, albeit over the next few years. Raytheon, meanwhile, has been supplying Ukraine with Stinger antiaircraft missiles. But even U.S. defense giants have limits. Raytheon has already said it will not be able to increase production of Stingers until 2023 because it lacks parts, and some U.S. lawmakers have expressed concern that arms shipments to Ukraine are depleting U.S. stockpiles of these weapons. The U.S. Department of Defense is clearly facing its own sustainment demons, struggling to increase the production of these and other supplies because of pandemic-related shortages and generally lackluster defense industrial capacity.

    Just as important as resupplying weapons and ammunition is training the Ukrainian soldiers and civilian volunteers who are using this equipment. Advanced weapons systems delivered by the United States and other NATO countries are only useful if Ukrainian soldiers know how to use and maintain them—skills that are difficult and take time to learn. The U.S. Army’s Javelin training course is 80 hours long, for example, while training on a mobile artillery rocket system made by Lockheed Martin can take up to two months. (The first of these Lockheed Martin systems was confirmed to be in use in Ukraine last week, suggesting that training is moving faster than expected.)

    Since U.S. military advisers had to withdraw from Ukraine to avoid the possibility of direct confrontation with Russian forces, training on these and other systems must take place outside the country. Ukrainian soldiers have traveled to U.S. bases in Germany and Poland to learn how to operate artillery, air defense radar systems, drones, armored personnel carriers, and according to some reports, even sophisticated electronic warfare systems supplied by the United States and other countries. These troops will now be able train their fellow soldiers back in Ukraine. But efforts such as these impose difficult tradeoffs. On the one hand, they enable Ukraine to employ new military capabilities. On the other, they take skilled soldiers out of the fight at precisely the moment when manpower needs are at their most acute.

    Then there is the maintenance challenge. Artillery and radar systems, as well as other advanced military equipment, require specialized and often highly technical training to maintain. Ukrainian troops have received some of this maintenance training in Germany and Poland—for instance, on artillery pieces known as M777 howitzers. But maintenance of even these relatively basic weapons is complicated by the fact that they are manufactured using the imperial measurement system while Ukrainian wrenches use the metric system. This means that American-made wrenches must accompany every American-made howitzer—one more complication in an already intricate and fragile supply chain that flows from Poland overland into western Ukraine and then to the frontlines in the east of the country.

    The strength of Ukraine’s sustainment effort will depend in part on what happens in Washington and other Western capitals. Since January 2021, the United States has spent $6.8 billion on security assistance to Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden announced an additional $40 billion last month, half of which will be dedicated to military assistance. Other NATO members have also provided substantial support, including Estonia, Slovakia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. And earlier this month, European leaders met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, promising continued aid and affirming their support for Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

    How long this support lasts will depend on the public mood in Western countries. Support for Ukraine remains relatively high in the United States, in European countries, and in allied countries such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Yet popular opinion about the war is more mixed in parts of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, where Russia has more influence and where it has concentrated its disinformation campaigns. If inflation, food shortages, and supply chain disruptions persist, countries in these regions could push to scale back sanctions on Russia or reduce aid to Ukraine.


    But just as important as the international climate is what happens in Ukraine itself. Hundreds of thousands of
    Ukrainian refugees have returned home in recent months. Repatriation on this scale could initially strain food and health resources, but it could also help revive the economy and labor market, facilitate the movement of supplies and medical support to the frontlines in the east, and provide a morale boost to the nation as a whole. Already, commercial goods have begun to move more freely in western Ukraine, indicating that the overall logistical situation is improving. Getting the west of the country—and especially cities such as Kyiv—up and running again will help relieve some of the food and medical shortages in the east. Finally, reports of increased resistance and sabotage in Russian-occupied areas suggest that Ukrainians could yet disrupt Moscow’s supply lines—thereby eroding its ability to sustain the offensive.


    As the war in Ukraine has transformed into one of attrition, the importance of sustainment has been elevated, perhaps above all else. Although a decisive military victory in which the Ukrainians expel Russian forces from their entire territory seems increasingly unlikely, Kyiv could still stymie Moscow’s progress and strengthen its position for future negotiations by continuing to surge reinforcements and supplies to the frontlines. If the past four months of war have revealed anything, it is that underestimating Ukraine is a mistake. The United States and its allies must do their part to help Ukraine sustain the fight.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/artic...ntent=20220701

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Grab a coffee.
    Good find that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    Good find that!
    They are quite perspicacious and well-informed; their content is very balanced, unlike the utter shite we usually get from the four wanketeers.

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    Recent attacks on pro-Russian officials in southern Ukraine indicate signs of growing resistance movement

    Washington (CNN)US officials say a trio of assassination attempts targeting pro-Russian officials over the past two weeks suggests a burgeoning resistance movement against pro-Russian authorities occupying parts of southern Ukraine.


    While it is just a few incidents isolated to the town of Kherson so far, US officials say the resistance could grow into a wider counterinsurgency that would pose a significant challenge to Russia's ability to control newly captured territory across Ukraine.


    The Kremlin "faces rising partisan activity in southern Ukraine," Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, said during a conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.


    The US believes that Russia does not have enough forces in Kherson to effectively occupy and control the region, one US official said, especially after pulling forces from the area for the fight to the east in Donbas. Another US official told CNN that move may have provided Ukrainian partisans with a window in which to attack locally installed Russian officials.


    Ukraine has also conducted limited counterattacks near Kherson, further straining Russian forces.


    The region is critical to Russia's hold on Ukraine's Black Sea coast and controls access to the Crimean peninsula. It's unclear how many Russian forces are in or near Kherson, but an occupation against a hostile local population requires far more soldiers than a peaceful occupation of territory.
    Russia's leaders have prioritized the military campaign at the expense of any semblance of government. "It's clearly not something they're able to invest in right now," one US official said.



    Trio of assassination attempts


    The first attack in Kherson occurred on June 16, when an explosion shattered the windows of a white Audi Q7 SUV. The vehicle was left seriously damaged, but the target of the attack survived.


    Eugeniy Sobolev, the pro-Russian head of the prison service in occupied Kherson, was hospitalized after the attack, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.


    Less than a week later, a second pro-Russian official in Kherson was targeted. This time, the attack succeeded. On June 24, Dmitry Savluchenko, the pro-Russian official in charge of the Department of Youth and Sports for the Kherson region, was killed, RIA Novosti reported. Serhii Khlan, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Kherson Civil Military administration, called Savluchenko a "traitor" and said he had been blown up in his car. Khlan proclaimed, "Our partisans have another victory."

    On Tuesday, the car of a third pro-Russian official was set on fire in Kherson, according to Russian state news agency Tass, though the official was not injured. It's unclear who committed the attacks.


    There does not appear to be a central command guiding an organized resistance, officials said, but the attacks have increased in frequency, particularly in the Kherson region, which Russia occupied in March at the beginning of its invasion.


    A source familiar with Western intelligence was more skeptical about whether the resistance could develop from partisan attacks to a more organized campaign capable of managing the attacks and supplying weapons and instructions.


    So far, the resistance has not dented Russia's control over Kherson, the source familiar with Western intelligence emphasized.


    But in the long term, the US assesses that Russia will eventually face a counterinsurgency from the local Ukrainian population.


    "I think Russia is going to have significant challenges in trying to establish any sort of stable administration for these regions, because likely collaborators -- more prominent ones -- are going to be assassinated and others will be living in fear," said Michael Kofman, director for Russia studies at the Center for Naval Analyses, a Washington-based think tank.



    Making Russian governance difficult


    On Tuesday, Russian-appointed authorities in the Kherson region arrested the elected Ukrainian mayor of the city, Ihor Kolykhaiev, hours before announcing plans for a referendum to join Russia. The pro-Russian military-civilian administration accused Kolykhaiev of encouraging people to "believe in the return of neo-Nazism."


    Kolykhaeiv's adviser said Russian authorities also had seized hard drives from computers, ransacked safes and searched for documents. Earlier this month, Ukraine's military said "invaders" had broken into Kherson State University and abducted the rector.


    Russian forces have gradually instituted the ruble as the local currency and issued Russian passports.


    In Mariupol, pro-Russian authorities celebrated the so-called "liberation" of the city in May. The Russian-aligned Donetsk People's Republic changed road signs from Ukrainian to Russian and installed a statue of an elderly woman grasping a Soviet flag. Meanwhile, the iconic Mariupol sign painted in Ukrainian colors was repainted in Russian colors.


    Despite Russia's efforts to eliminate Ukrainian history, ethnicity and nationalism from Kherson and other occupied territories, the Ukrainian population shows a willingness to resist.

    "The occupiers and local collaborators are making more and more loud statements about [the] Kherson region joining Russia," a Ukrainian official said last week, "but every day, more and more Ukrainian flags and inscriptions appear in the city."


    The attempts to forcibly erase Ukrainian culture and dictate a Russian hegemony have produced the opposite effect in some cases, according to a senior NATO official.


    "There have been reports of assassination attempts against some of the quislings that have been put in place to be governors, mayors [and] business leaders," said the NATO official. A quisling is a traitor who collaborates with an enemy force, named after a Norwegian official in World War II who collaborated with the Nazis. "That almost certainly has deterred Russian sympathizers or Russians or whoever they're going to bring in there to take these posts from taking them up in the first place."


    As an occupying force in Kherson -- in particular, one that seems intent on maintaining control -- Russia has to provide basic services in the territories it manages, like clean water and trash pickup. But the US assesses that acts of resistances are making it difficult to provide governance and basic services, one of the US officials said.


    The US knew there was a "serious resistance network" within Ukraine that would be able to take over if and when the military had failed, the official said. Before the invasion, the US anticipated the insurgency would emerge, coupled with guerrilla warfare, after a brief period of intense fighting in which Russia prevailed. But the war has now dragged on for months, with many analysts predicting a far lengthier conflict.

    A senior US official warned a Russian counterpart before the conflict that they would face an insurgency if they invaded Ukraine and tried to occupy territory, the official said. But the warning fell on deaf ears and the invasion proceeded, driven in part by hubris and bad intelligence.


    Russia believed its forces would be greeted with open arms and would crush any resistance quickly, erroneous fantasies that fell apart quickly but did little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin's calculations.


    Kofman says it's unclear what type of governing framework Russia will try to create to exert control, but there is no doubt that it intends to retain the territories. After facing prolonged, bloody insurgencies in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the Kremlin knew to anticipate another potential insurgency in Ukraine.


    "They did see it coming," Kofman said. "That's why they set up filtration camps and shipped out a lot of the population out of occupied areas."

    Recent attacks on pro-Russian officials in southern Ukraine indicate signs of growing resistance movement - CNNPolitics

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