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  • Writer's pictureAurimas Navys


Political strategic level
The dispute over tanks to help Ukraine repel a Russian invasion was fought both in public and in private on Friday, as more than 50 defence chiefs meeting in Germany failed to reach an agreement and Berlin did not override its veto on the Leopards.
It is the inability to agree, and not the question of the tanks themselves, that shows a certain crisis not only in values but also in the allies' ability to act decisively, which has no doubt delighted the war criminals in the Kremlin. And while the US and NATO leaders denied any dissent within their ranks and praised Germany for its extensive arms and training contribution to Ukraine, a smaller group of leaders met privately with the Germans to try to find common ground. They failed to reach agreement on the shipment of German-made Leopard tanks.
Asked at the end of Friday's meeting whether Germany was "doing enough", US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin replied: "Yes, but we can all do more." "They are reliable allies and have been for a very, very long time," he said. "And I sincerely believe that they will continue to be reliable allies."
Germany's new defence minister said he had instructed the ministry to check Germany's tank stockpiles in order to prepare for a possible green light and to be able to "act immediately". Boris Pistorius added that Germany would "weigh all the pros and cons" before taking such decisions. ... I am very confident that a decision will be taken in the near future, but ... I don't know what that decision will look like".
All these "I don't know", "somehow", "maybe", "somehow", "we will support as much as we need to" from the lips of the leaders of the most powerful countries in the world make us more and more fearful. If at the beginning of the invasion this could still be understood and justified in terms of Western pampering and an inertial prioritisation of wine and steak, now, as we approach the anniversary of the large-scale Russian invasion, such statements show that the allies have neither a plan nor an idea of how to repel Russian aggression.
It is not the German Ministry of Defence but Führer Putin who has been given the green light and Zhirinovsky and Kobzon are having fun pulling the 'soyuz nerushymyj'. The dead clown of the court was absolutely right - the West is cowardly, it needs to be taken to the cleaners, because the main, the most important weakness of the powerful is their inability to agree. And individually they are very easy to "umočit v sortyre".
The rather bizarre excuse for such actions in Germany is that Germany cannot, has no moral right to be the leader of an active coalition of heavy military support and, hence, of a military solution in Ukraine, because it is Germany that is guilty of Nazism, the wars, the genocide of the Jews and all the other scourges of Europe in the last century.
But what about the genocide of this century in Ukraine? Do we have the moral right to stand by and take comfort in the idea that we are not the direct perpetrators?
Despite these on-the-spot rantings, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikoff has reported a cordial conversation with German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius on Leopard 2 tanks.
"I congratulated Boris Pistorius on his appointment to his new position. We had a frank discussion about Leopard 2. There will be a sequel. I also thanked the German government and the German people for their military assistance to Ukraine and their hospitality in Ramstein-8," Reznikoff wrote on his Twitter account in the evening.
Meanwhile, the NATO Secretary General said that Russia is preparing for new offensive operations and that it is urgent to increase support to Ukraine. Jens Stoltenberg says that an important new "combat capability" package for Ukraine was announced at a meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group.
"I welcome the announcement in Ramstein of an important new combat capability package for Ukraine's self-defence. As Russia prepares for new offensive operations, an urgent increase in support is needed to give Ukraine a chance to win and regain the territory it has seized," Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.
"The fact that Ukraine will now be provided with hundreds of new infantry fighting vehicles, armoured vehicles and tanks will be of great importance for the country... This assistance will not only allow the Ukrainians to defend themselves against new Russian attacks, but will also allow them to launch their own offensives in order to regain territory", Stoltenberg said.
Hundreds of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles... Who wrote the speech to the NATO gensek? Or, perhaps more accurately, one should ask, where?
Curiosities on the European Union front. Croatia's president said on Friday that the European Union's efforts to uphold democratic standards in its member states threatened to break up the bloc, and condemned the EU's attempts to financially punish Hungary for alleged breaches of rule of law standards.
President Zoran Milanovic made these statements at a press conference in the Hungarian capital Budapest after talks with his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novák. Mr Milanovic reiterated Hungary's frequent criticism of the EU, saying that the bloc was overstepping its authority over member states and that this excessive control had precipitated Brexit and pushed the United Kingdom out of power.
The EU should not become the "United States of Europe", he said, adding that the EU's procedures against Hungary, which have led to the freezing of billions of euros in funding to Budapest for corruption and breaches of the rule of law, threaten to destroy the 27-member bloc.
"This attitude (between the EU and Hungary) is very annoying", he said, warning that "today it is Hungary and tomorrow it will be a bigger country that will have to be taught a lesson".
The growing extremist sentiment shows that both countries only need EU membership as a foreign purse from which to draw, without worrying about paying back. The radical talk and lies about Brexit also show that the Kremlin's agency network is working flawlessly.
The US Ambassador to the OSCE has called the discussion on the transfer of more modern weapons to Ukraine the right one and expects broad support for a possible decision by the Netherlands to transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Asked whether the White House was prepared to allow the Netherlands to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, the Ambassador replied: "We have long held the view that what our allies supply is their business. We also support the countless contributions of our allies (to defence) in Ukraine."
Carpenter called the discussions on the transfer of more modern weapons to Ukraine fair compared to last year, when most of the weapons transferred to Kiev were Soviet-made.
On the eve of the Ramstein-8 meeting, the Dutch authorities said they were ready to consider Ukraine's request for F-16 fighter jets. Immediately afterwards, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the West to provide Ukrainian pilots with modern warplanes.
Operational level
Despite the controversy over the Leopard-2 tanks, Ukrainian Defence Minister O. Reznikoff stated that Ukrainian troops will train in Poland to operate the Leopard-2. Reznikov was speaking to the Ukrainian-language Voice of America after attending a meeting at Ramstein air base in Germany, where Ukrainian partners failed to reach a decision on the transfer of tanks. The Minister described the expansion of the exercise as a breakthrough, attributing its success to the efforts of Poland.
The Russian occupation forces are increasing their pressure near Bakhmut, and it seems to us that the ruins of this town may be considered by the Russian military leadership as an operational objective in the near future. On the one hand, the capture of Bakhmut would be a symbolic victory motivating the marauders, on the other hand, it would allow the occupiers to disrupt Ukraine's supply lines in the east and to threaten other Ukrainian-controlled towns in the surrounding Donetsk region.
However, unconfirmed reports suggest that US officials are informally urging the Ukrainians to turn their attention away from Bakhmut and concentrate on preparations for an offensive in the south. The necessary forces for this are currently engaged in the defence of Bakhmut.
The bitter reality is becoming more and more apparent and is reaching the minds of the allies in the west. After a meeting with the Ukrainian army commander, General Zaluzhny, to discuss military assistance to Kyiv, the US army commander, General Milley, said that it would be "very difficult" to dislodge Russian forces from Ukraine this year.
Russia is certainly preparing for that. And although yesterday there were "expert" sneers at the air defence systems that have been spotted on the roofs of houses in Moscow, supposedly indicating that the Kremlin is afraid of drone strikes and the imminent large-scale Ukrainian offensive towards Moscow, we are neither amused nor tempted to laugh.
The air defence systems in Moscow show two things: the horde is preparing for serious action in Ukraine, to which it may be planning a response, especially as there is public mention of long-range missiles reaching Ukraine. It is very possible that the Russian GRU has other information that no one is talking about in public. The second reason for the display of weapons to the Russians in Moscow is the readiness to announce an attack on Russia, with or without provocation, thus creating the appearance of a 'fortress under siege' and making all Russians even more determined to die on Ukrainian soil.
Tactical level
The United States has recognised the Russian mercenary group Wagner as an "international criminal organisation", thus increasing the pressure on the private army that has recruited tens of thousands of Russian prisoners to fight in Ukraine. On Friday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Wagner "is a criminal organisation that has committed widespread atrocities and human rights abuses. We will work tirelessly to identify, disrupt, expose and target those who assist Wagner.
Russians in St Petersburg and Moscow laid flowers at makeshift memorials to the victims of a Russian missile attack on a nine-storey apartment block in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, Reuters reported. Dozens of flower bouquets and a few plush toys were placed around the base of a monument to the Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko in the centre of St Petersburg on Friday evening. One ribbon was inscribed with the words "Forgive". According to witnesses, the flowers and toys were taken down several times a day by the regime.
A former US Navy SEAL was killed in Ukraine this week, American officials reported. Daniel W. Swift was wounded in the city of Dnipro and died of his wounds. The reservist was serving as a volunteer in Ukraine.
The occupying forces are continuing their offensive from Kurdiumivka towards Chasiv Yar, which was briefly halted by Ukrainian defenders. The Drisks, ignoring heavy losses, have taken Klishchivka north of Kurdiumivka and have now not only cut off the supporting Ukrainian forces in the south-west, but have also surrounded Bakhmut in a semi-circle. Fighting is resuming in the centre of the town and at the level crossing in the east, as well as at Yahidne in the north and Ivanivske in the south. The Russian objective south of Bakhmut is control of the H-32 road. If they lose it, the Ukrainians should defend at Chasiv Yar and the section of the M-3 motorway in the northern part of Bakhmut at Jahidne.
Armed Wallahs have also risen in the south. In the Zaporizhzhya area all types of weapons are being fired. In Kherson region, the shelling of the towns of Antonivka and Kherson by artillery and rocket systems has caused civilian casualties.
To provide medical assistance, the Russian occupying forces are not only using the already overcrowded medical facilities in the temporarily occupied settlements of Kherson oblast, but are also setting up kindergartens as field hospitals. In addition, all doctors at the central hospital in Nizhny Sirohozy have been replaced and now only Russian occupation forces personnel are treated there.
A similar situation occurred in Kalanchak, where local doctors were dismissed and replaced by medical staff from the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Local residents are not allowed to visit the hospital.
During the day of 20 January, the Ukrainian Air Force struck 18 times at enemy concentrations and 4 times at the positions of its anti-aircraft missile systems.
The Ukrainian Defence Forces also shot down 2 Orlan-10 and Merlin-VR reconnaissance drones.
Ukrainian Defence Forces rocket and artillery units hit the occupiers' headquarters, 2 concentration points and an ammunition depot.
Photo: Ukrainian Defence Minister O. Reznikoff and NATO head J. Stoltenberg at the Ramstein-8 meeting. Source: AP/Michael Probst.
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