UKRAINE UPDATE: This war has changed the world in ways we cannot even imagine.

TUESDAY 28 JUNE 2022

UKRAINE UPDATE:

UKRAINE, THE LATEST, Notes from the PODCAST of the Telegraph

Day 125

  • There are street battles around Lisichansk (across the river from Sieverodonetsk, which the Russians took a few days ago.)
  • NATO has agreed to increase the number of troops available on high alert.
  • G7 has agreed to explore imposing a ban on transporting Russian oil sold over a certain price. 
  • Macron said the Russian strike on the shopping center was a war crime. 
  • He also stated: “Russia cannot and must not win this war.”  (Note: This is a welcome change from his “Putin must not be humiliated” stance of a few weeks ago).
  • Hacker group claims to have cut off 70% of Lithuanian internet. (Note: Check this for specifics).
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  • As many as a 1000 people were shopping when attacked at the center in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.  The death toll is now at 18, with 59 wounded.  The Russians claim that the target was a depot with weapons and ammunition from the US.  They claim the bombing sparked a fire at the shopping center and caused the damage.     
  • This city is not on the front lines and the attack seems to be a symbolic statement much like the attacks on Kyiv at the beginning of the G7, that Russia can attack anywhere.
  • Considering the condemnation, there is debate on whether this as a tactic is worth it.  It only hardens the resolve of those defending.
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  • Head of the British Army has likened the current defense situation to the situation Britain was facing in 1937. 
  • Saunders referred to 1937 in a speech and said that Britain must be willing to fight and win. 
  • His comments were summarized as: We must not commit a failure to contain Russian expansion.  Appeasement policy let Hitler get away with seizing parts of Austria, and Czechoslovakia.  We must not allow something similar to happen here.
  • 33,000 Russians are dead, missing or captured.  4,700 civilians are dead.  We can see the destruction now.  Russia is a clear threat.  Our choices will influence our future. 
  • Saunders talked about Russian military capacity.  It is dangerous, he argued, to assume that Ukraine is a limited conflict.  That something can be done to end it and that will be that.  It is, instead, a larger threat.
  • It’s worth remembering that Russia often starts wars badly.  It can suffer and regenerate and ultimately prevail.  We need to think about this in the long term.
  • There was no reference to the nuclear question in Saunders’ statement.  The reporter noted that there is the assumption that there would be a controlled nuclear war if there was a further invasion.
  • The reporter maintained that were it not from the nuclear question, we would probably have gone to war over Ukraine.  The nuclear question completely changed that.  But, Saunders’ statement does not mention this.
  • Saunders argued that war could have been deterred in 1937 if it weren’t for appeasement.  We must not do the same thing here. 
  • The reporter had a conversation with a Western intelligence advisor who argued that history teaches us we cannot “humiliate” the aggressor.  Reporter would challenge this notion.  Even after WWI, the economic implosion was much more important than any “humiliation” of Germany.  The reporter thinks this is a flawed notion.
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  • NATO: What’s on the agenda.
  • This will be the most historic overhaul since the war.  Baltic states fear that Russia could invade.
  • The plan is to increase to 300,000 troops on high-alert in the area.  They will not be on the front lines.  And, they will not be in place until next year.
  • These troops will, in 24 hours – 30 days, be able to react to a strike in Europe. 
  • NATO in general has developed a more hawkish attitude.  There is much tougher language even about China in NATO statements.  There is increased concern about the dependence of Britain and the US on China for technology.
  • There will be pledges of new weapons systems, training missions. 
  • There are discussions about whether Russia run out of munitions this summer, troops?  There are reports that they are using retired military leaders because they have lost so many.
  • There is disagreement about who this attritional war benefits.  Some argue that the Ukrainians have to change to an aggressive war from a defensive war. It seems that even though a few weeks ago, there were question about whether the West would have sufficient morale to go through with this, these doubts have eased.  We have seen a shift to make predictions that NATO moral will hold up. 
  • There were dialogues between Macron and Putin released recently.  Putin batted away an idea proposed by Macron of a summit with Biden.  It would appear that for the moment, G7 has repudiated this “Putin can’t be humiliated” perspective.
  • Others argue that the slow trickle of weapons is creating the stale-mate.  It was proposed that Biden should tell Putin to start pulling out or they would give Ukraine the weapons to attack Russia.
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  • 30 leaders talking about what more they can do to help Ukraine.
  • They could bring Ukrainian army up to NATO standards.
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  • Turkey’s objections to Sweden and Finland.  Relationship with the PKK. 
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  • Britain to announce commitment to Estonia’s defenses.
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  • In Summary:
  • Saunders (British military leader): “If you want to avert conflict, you have to be prepared to fight.”  It is likely that Russia will be more of a threat after Ukraine whatever the outcome.  We will never be in the Europe before this war started.  Russia has taken a part that we cannot extract it from.  The likelihood is that, even if Putin is deposed, it will be another similar style leader.
  • There has been a catalogue of foreign policy errors that have gotten us in this mess.  We must think about those mistakes and also about the “emergent autocratic threats” around the world.  There is, unfortunately, still a mentality of this being a short term war, that if we just stop the tanks and keep Russia contained, things can go back to normal. We can not go back to where things were before the war.  This war against Ukraine has changed the world in ways we cannot even imagine.
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