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D. MEDVEDEV'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE ALLIANCE (2023 01 20)

Political strategic level
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that his government expects "firm decisions" from the defence leaders of NATO and other countries, who will meet on Friday to discuss how to increase Ukraine's ability to counter Russian forces with modern tanks.
The meeting at Ramstein air base in Germany is one of a series of meetings since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is expected to discuss the future supply of weapons, in particular German Leopard 2 tanks, which are used by the armies of many European countries. However, Berlin has a veto over any decision to export tanks and Chancellor Scholz's government has so far been reluctant to give the go-ahead, allegedly for fear of provoking Russia.
Ukraine and Russia are fighting a war using mainly Soviet-era T-72 tanks, and the appearance of any modern tanks on the battlefield could hasten the withdrawal of the occupying Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. The world's most advanced tanks, the US Abrams and the German Leopard, are designed precisely to effectively destroy Soviet scrap metal.
"Indeed, we are now awaiting a decision by a European capital that will activate the ready-made chains of cooperation on tanks," Mr Zelensky said in a video address on Thursday evening. "We are preparing for tomorrow's meeting in Ramstein. We expect decisive decisions. We expect a powerful military aid package from the United States", he said.
Tanks and other weapons are badly needed in Ukraine, which is blocking the Russian hordes from pushing into Europe. However, in all the recent furore over tanks, we want to point out that tanks alone will not break the tide of the war, just as modern, long-range artillery from the West has not done. All modern armaments need to be learned to operate, to repair, to supply spare parts, to ensure a constant flow of ammunition and fuel, to be deployed in intelligent interaction with all other available capabilities, and to be used in a way and in a place where they would inflict a substantial, critical damage on the enemy, avoiding heavy losses and achieving the necessary operational objectives. Behind it all are the people, the soldiers - overworked, psychologically exhausted by the constant losses and the long-standing decisions in the West, worried about their families and loved ones and increasingly doubtful about a happy and peaceful future.
Meanwhile, Boris Pistorius, Germany's new Defence Minister, said ahead of Friday's meeting that he was not aware of any demand that Ukraine should receive US and German tanks simultaneously.
"I am not aware of any such condition," Pistorius told ARD television when asked if this meant that Abrams and Leopard should be delivered at the same time, a position that leaves open the possibility of an agreement on Friday.
An ARD opinion poll showed that Germans were divided on the issue, with 46% in favour and 43% against sending the tanks. Younger people in the poll were also more opposed to sending tanks than older respondents.
The United States announced yesterday that it would send hundreds of armoured vehicles, missiles and artillery shells to Ukraine as part of a USD 2.5 billion military aid package. The package includes 59 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 90 Stryker armoured personnel carriers, 53 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, and 350 high-mobility, multi-purpose wheeled vehicles, according to a US defence department statement.
The latest support also includes eight Avenger air defence systems, tens of thousands of artillery shells and around 2 000 anti-tank missiles, the Defence Department said.
Ahead of a major meeting in Germany on Friday, 11 NATO countries, including Lithuania, Britain and Poland, pledged on Thursday to provide new military aid to support Ukraine's defence against terrorist Russia. "The West must remain united and continue to support Ukraine with military aid," Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur said at a press conference in his home country with his colleagues. "What Ukraine needs most is heavy weapons ... The toughest battles are yet to come", Pevkur said.
At the military base, officials promised anti-tank missiles, Stinger short-range air defence systems, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, training and other equipment and services. Britain, which has already announced plans to send tanks to Ukraine, will also send 600 Brimstone missiles, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, outlining details.
Hours after the meeting, the Danish government announced that it would give Ukraine 19 French-made Cezar howitzers, fulfilling a request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but putting the brakes on the North's military build-up.
Denmark's good example should be infectious for Lithuania.
Seeing the Western mood, Moscow again resorted to intimidation tactics that only worked on its friends in Berlin. Russia has said it warns of an "extremely dangerous" escalation if NATO deploys heavy weaponry such as tanks and long-range missile systems in Ukraine.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin's mouthpiece, moaned that the planned Western support for tanks was "potentially very dangerous."
"This would mean that the conflict will go to a whole new level, which, of course, does not bode well for the security of the world and Europe as a whole," the spokesman for the terrorist state threatened, voicing the Moscow regime's fears of its imminent collapse, which would begin with the crushing of the horde in the occupied parts of Ukraine.
The drunken Dmitry Medvedev also spoke up, warning NATO that a Moscow defeat in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war. "Defeat of nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke a nuclear war," Putin's piece of toilet paper, shaking with alcohol fever, wrote on his Telegram feed.
"Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends," Medvedev concluded, instructing the Alliance and other Western defence leaders to consider the risks of their policies.
Nothing new under the old sun. Alcohol causes cirrhosis of the liver, softening of the brain and premature death.
On Wednesday, the head of the agency, Rafael Grossi, said that the International Atomic Energy Agency is sending teams of experts to all four Ukrainian nuclear power plants to reduce the risk of serious accidents as Russia's war against the country continues.
The IAEA's permanent presence at all Ukrainian nuclear sites, with a total of at least 11 staff, represents an unprecedented expansion of the Agency. IAEA technicians will also be working at Chernobyl, the now-closed nuclear power plant where a deadly nuclear accident occurred in 1986, spreading radioactive gases across much of Europe.
11 nuclear engineers is, of course, very good. Better than them, in our humble opinion, could be 11 battalions to ensure a 30 km diameter security zone for all nuclear power plants, with no military action.
Hungary has blocked EUR 500 million in EU military aid to Ukraine, so Budapest will be under pressure to override its veto at the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting on 23 January. Budapest's veto annoys EU diplomats because it has no justification other than "playing" with the Kremlin, an unnamed Polish official said.
In the past, Hungary has chosen the abstention option in votes and not blocked aid to Ukraine, but it is now increasingly using its veto. At the same time, Budapest is not providing any military support to Kyiv.
Unlike Hungary, a member of NATO and the EU, the Netherlands is willing to pay for the Leopard tanks that will be sent to Ukraine as part of the coalition of European allies and NATO.
Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren recalled that the country had previously paid in this way for Soviet T-72 tanks shipped from the Czech Republic, which could be applied to the Leopard.
"We want to do that," she said.
An encouraging statement. "Whoever asks receives, whoever seeks finds, and the knocker is opened."
Operational level
CIA Director William Burns recently travelled secretly to the Ukrainian capital to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky. "Director Burns traveled to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian intelligence officials and President Zelensky and reaffirmed our continued support for Ukraine and its defence against Russian aggression," said a US official who did not want to be named.
The official declined to specify when the visit took place. The Washington Post, which first reported the visit, said it took place late last week. Burns briefed Zelensky on his expectations regarding Russia's future military plans, the newspaper said, adding that he also acknowledged that at some point US aid would be harder to obtain.
V. Zelensky and intelligence officials under his leadership discussed how long Ukraine can expect US and Western aid to continue after Republicans won a narrow majority in the US House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, the Washington Post reported, citing sources.
Blah blah blah. Officials of this rank do not fly to meet face to face to announce things that are common knowledge. The situation is far more serious, and Burns probably did not come to make a report, but to see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears first-hand information.
And, to our knowledge, this information is not encouraging.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky, his First Deputy Yevhen Yenin and State Secretary Yuriy Lubkovych, who died in the crash near Brovary, were on the same helicopter as they were trying to reach their destination as quickly as possible. This was explained by Maryana Reva, spokeswoman for the National Police of Ukraine.
In other words, a series of unreasonable risks, which are certainly too many in this war.
According to British intelligence, there are currently around 50 000 Wagner fighters on the Ukrainian front, partly financed by corruption linked to state contracts awarded to Yevhen Prigozhin's business structures, reports the yellow press.
We reply to the 'intelligence' that there are between 20 000 and 25 000 Wagner marauders on the territory of Ukraine, and that the numbers are decreasing daily.
Tactical level
The Russian occupiers have moved 11 combat helicopters from Machilishki to Luninets, closer to the Belarus-Ukraine border, reports Belaruski Hayun.
A "record number" of attacks by the Russian occupiers have been recorded in the Zaporizhzhya region over the past day. Oleksandr Starukh, head of the military administration of the Zaporizhzhya region, said that the enemy shelled the Zaporizhzhya region 224 times in one day. Another 34 cases of destruction of civilian objects were registered.
The situation in the east is difficult. The Ukrainian joint forces have retreated from Soledar westwards behind the railway and are concentrating on the defence of Blahodatne and the control of road 05-13. Battles are being fought near the Kremlin, with neither side having the upper hand. Those Russian marauders who broke through Kurdiumivka were stopped halfway towards Chasiv Yar, but the wedge was driven, the support of Ukrainian forces from the south and south-west was cut off, thus allowing the occupiers to cover the attacking Bakhmut forces from the south and south-east.
Elsewhere on the front, the situation is relatively calm.
Russia is preparing to carry out a clandestine mobilisation in temporarily occupied Crimea. In particular, IT specialists, financiers and other civilian professionals living in Sevastopol have started to receive a large number of summonses to the recruitment centres (military commissariats).
The enemy continues to use the network of civilian health facilities in the temporarily occupied territory to treat wounded soldiers. For example, in Novopskov, Starobilsk district, Luhansk region, the occupiers have opened a "field hospital" on the premises of a local maternity hospital, where more than 300 mercenaries of the private military company "Wagner" are being treated.
Over the past day, the Ukrainian Air Force has launched 21 air strikes on enemy troop and combat equipment sites and 7 strikes on Russian anti-aircraft missile system positions. 3 Lancet-3 unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down.
Ukrainian rocket and artillery forces attacked 6 Russian command posts, 8 enemy concentration points and 1 ammunition depot.
Photo: Stryker armoured personnel carrier, source: Michael Probst, AP.
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