UKRAINE, THE LATEST

THURSDAY 25 AUGUST 2022

NYT

UKRAINE, THE LATEST podcast of The Telegraph

  • Day 183 of the War on Ukraine
  • Boris Johnson visited Ukraine today.  This will probably be his last visit as Prime Minister.  He urged the British to ensure the hardships economically of the war while the Ukrainians endure the war in blood.
  • Johnson understands the importance of the war against Ukraine perhaps more than other European leaders.  “We must keep going.” 
  • This comes when right-wing leaders in Italy, for example, are questioning the sanctions against Russia. 
  • This fight is about the kind of world we want to live in.
  • Matteo Salvini, an Italian politician is advising a reconsideration of sanctions against Russia.  He is famously pro-Kremlin.  He has been photographed wearing a Putin tee shirt in Moscow.  Opposition parties are using this narrative to attack the parties in power.  This will continue to build as the winder comes and the costs of fuel will rise even more. This will be a key battlefield.
  • Italy is now due to go to the polls September 25.  Salvini is part of a right-wing coalition that includes Silvio Berlusconi, another Russia supporter. 
  • Macron has made statements that we must endure the cut backs in order to help Ukraine win this war.
  • The reception of Salvini’s statements is not overwhelmingly supportive.
  • Hungry is also complaining about sanctions.  Bulgaria is trying to reestablish gas from Russia.   
  • Putin will be waiting for this break in the EU support for Ukraine due to increased energy prices.
  • Hungry is one of Europe’s poorest countries.  Orban is arguing that Europe is trying to make Hungarians poor. 
  • Future politicians in Italy, Germany and other countries may make gains by opposing support for Ukraine. 
  • Greece has an election coming up soon.  Inflation is hitting the Greek population.
  • Younger people have never lived through real economic disruption.  It remains to be seen how they react.  Politicians have repeatedly stress to them why this struggle is important. 
  • Blocs forming in the UN, emerging economies tending to abstain from opposition to Russia.  India, however, voted against Russia in the UN on a procedural vote.  If this suggests a trend, a lot of work is being done behind the scenes.  This might be an encouraging shift.
  • Turkey has an interesting role here in between the east and west.  Turkey condemned the annexation of Crimea.  They may be hardening in a pro-Ukrainian stance. 
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  • Satellite imagery shows military equipment near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant.
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  • ISW Institute for Studying War – Follow on Twitter if you are a close watcher. 
  • Russia has lost land equivalent to Denmark since the beginning of the war.  Analysis of Russian claim that they are slowing down their advance to limit civilian deaths.  But, it is likely an attempt to explain away their failings. 
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  • Dugina killing.  It is unlikely that Ukraine did this.  It risks escalating the war.  The logistics are difficult.  It is unlikely to be worth it.  It is more likely that the dispute is internal.  FSB targeting is a possibility.  The more analysis, the less likely it seems that Ukraine is responsible.
  • Sergei Shoigu now claims that they are concerned with civilian deaths?  There has also been no convincing explanation of the attacks in Crimea, or the Dugina attack.
  • They do not have a comprehensive plan on the battle field.  They have had eight years to plan this and this is the best they can do?
  • The war has triggered impacts on the environment which will produce problems.  This may provoke an environmental disaster.  Problems: deforestation and habitat destruction, excavations affecting soil, water availability.  This will have a very big impact.  The damage is not easily rectified.
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  • Boris Johnson was enormously helpful to Ukraine, especially at the beginning of the war when the UK and the USA were trying to unite NATO
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