2 AUGUST 2022

UKRAINE: THE LATEST Podcast from The Telegraph

“Nobody is going to break us.  We are strong.  We are Ukrainians.”

It was so loud and I found my granny in the bathroom.  The cat was so scared.  I just found the granny and the cat in the bathroom.  Paraphrased from an interview with a young woman in Ukraine.

  • Day 159
  • Last week on Thursday there was an attack in Donbas, in occupied territories.  They were holding 50 prisoners of war some of them from the Mariupol plant.  Fifty prisoners of war were killed.  This is against the Geneva Convention.
  • They should have been removed from the combat zone.  (Note: Other reports said that the evidence was that the men were moved specifically to this warehouse that was exploded).
  • Russians are blaming the US supplied HIMARS for the attack. 
  • This was a known holding place for prisoners of war.  There is no reason the Ukrainians would have attacked.  It was a precise strike. 
  • HIMARs would have destroyed the entire place.  Part of the building is still in tact. The suggestion is that it was a Russian thermobaric weapon, which causes widespread fire.
  • If these men were from the Avostol plant, and they went home, they would have been celebrated as heroes.  The Russians couldn’t handle the propaganda victory, is the supposition.  (Note: Other reports have noted that if these men were receiving inhumane treatment, this eliminated the evidence of that treatment.  It also disposed of the problem of dealing with fifty captured men.)
  • In a second attack, there was footage of a castration of a Ukrainian prisoner of war with a box cutting knife.  It went out on a Russian TV channel.
  • There are war crimes all along the chain of command.
  • Grain
  • The first ship left with grain from Ukraine, from the port of Odesa.  Russia was receiving pressure to help alleviate some of the world food shortage. 
  • Sixteen ships are ready to go.
  • The plan is for these ships to form caravans and to leave together. 
  • The Russians were claiming a drone attack in Crimea. 
  • What we should expect is that this will continue and then there will be some “mistake” or “accident” and Russia will blame Ukraine for mining the waters. 
  • Ukrainian grain tycoon killed with his wife in shelling.
  • Serbia
  • Border problems with Kosovo. 
  • Arms depot going up in flames in Bulgaria.  Bulgaria expelled a Russian diplomat. 
  • Russia is trying to hit back.  Things aren’t going their way with the grain, they have been forced to allow the grain to go through and they are going to a different place to attack.
  • In the Donbas field, things have moved little in the past few weeks.
  • Meanwhile in the Kherson region, Ukrainian forces are moving back.  This is not a large offensive, but it is a counterattack. 
  • Russia wants to take the South so that Ukraine cannot be a successful state.
  • The Ukrainians may be building up in the South for an offensive, or maybe trying to make Russians wear themselves out moving troops back and forth between the east and the south.
  • The impact of the Russian invasion is also on Africa and the Middle East.  This first shipment is going to Lebanon.  Lebanon is in a financial crisis.  Inflation in the UK is 9%, in Lebanon it’s over 200%.  Prices have tripled in a year. 
  • The grain market is also being affected by drought.  Wheat yields will go down in countries like France. 
  • It’s so crucially important to keep this grain corridor from Ukraine going. 
  • If a ship is lost it will affect the willingness of insurance companies to give insurance.
  • Russian Economy
  • The situation is worse than the Kremlin is admitting.
  • (Note: Foreign Affairs article about the effectiveness of sanctions.)
  • Growth and inflation are bad.  The narrative has developed that Russia is winning the financial conflict.  People have been making this argument that the Russian economy is resilient.  The strength of the ruble is noted.  But, if you can’t spend that ruble, it’s not much of an indicator.  Imports have dropped in Russia. 
  • The Kremlin is reducing the amount of financial information they are releasing.  Yale study indicates that the economy has been disastrously affected.
  • 1,000 western companies have left, it is estimated.
  • The Kremlin has made the economy look better than it is.
  • Undercover market for Russian oil.  Ships offloading oil in the middle of the ocean (dangerous) to get cut level Russian oil.
  • Chinese companies are trying to get their hands on this oil.  Chinese has bought sanctioned oil before.  Iranian oil.  Big Chinese companies are acting with the implicit approval of Beijing.
  • Ukrainian Economy
  • Ukraine is going to have to go the IMF for funds.  It is surprising that this bail out has not been already approved.
  • This bail out will keep them from having to default on their debts.
  • Final thoughts:
  • Russia is unlikely to allow the grain corridor to operate for long.
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