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  • Writer's pictureAurimas Navys


Political strategic level
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that Ukraine's attempt to regain occupied Crimea would be a red line for Putin, which could trigger a broader Russian response. Therefore, the US is discouraging Ukraine from taking back occupied Crimea. The US administration is most helpful to Ukraine in moving forward where the fighting is taking place, in the east of the country.
Unfortunately, this 'red line' is fictitious and exists in the minds of Mr Blinken and other politicians who fear the Kremlin's nuclear terror. It is not a line, but a fear. It is a fear that the Kremlin has fed to Western societies for years, and that has been consumed with relish. Indeed, there is not a single imaginary red line, because there have been some two dozen of them. Nothing has happened once they have all been crossed. It will not happen now. It will just take a long time and, of course, a lot of blood before fear evaporates in the minds of politicians.
Washington seems intent on giving Ukraine the opportunity to reclaim another large territory and force Putin to the negotiating table.
Our answer: it will do nothing. Russia cannot be thought of through the virtual helmet of Western thinking. Putin will not give up because he has a power of 140 million and the inexhaustible resources of Mordor. The mythomaniac who believes in symbols will negotiate in two cases: personal destruction and the wiping out of Moscow.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that Washington is ready to defend the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania if necessary and will maintain a "permanent" military presence in the region. "We are committed to Article 5, you can bet on that," Austin said, referring to the requirement in NATO's charter that each member of the alliance must defend each other if attacked. Speaking in Tallinn after talks with Estonian leaders, he also said the US would continue to maintain a "permanent, rotational" military presence in the region.
"The United States remains firmly committed to defending the freedom and sovereignty of our Baltic allies," he told reporters.
The presence of US troops in the Baltics is a crucial guarantee of security for all of us. One US soldier in our country gives Lithuania more security than a brigade of some allies a thousand kilometres away. Just kidding.
Lukashenko warns that Belarus is "ready to fight" alongside Russia if attacked. The chairman of the potato collective farm is "ready to fight the Russians from Belarusian territory in only one case: if they (the Ukrainians) commit aggression against Belarus, the response will be the harshest, and the war will take on a completely different character".
Belarus has long been involved in the war as a Russian proxy. If the Russians are joined by a few thousand Minsk losers, there will be no fundamental change on the battlefield. Lukashenko's statement is not a move by Minsk, but by the Kremlin, shifting some of the responsibility for the planned future military invasion onto the bare shoulders of the deposed dictator.
Russia has stated that it will reduce oil production in response to the Western embargo and price cap. Russia plans to cut oil production by 500 000 barrels per day from March, around 5% of its current output. The production cuts are unlikely to have a significant impact on world oil prices in the longer term, but further cuts could increase them, especially if the Chinese economy, which has been hampered by the COVID-19 restrictions, recovers.
Russia's oil production, which is the main source of state revenue, is little affected by Western sanctions. In 2022, Russia's average oil production even increased by 1.5% to 10.7 million barrels per day compared to 2021. Russia has successfully diverted its oil to other countries, notably India and China. However, restrictions on the price of Russian oil exports have made it difficult for Moscow to maintain current supply levels. These restrictions have not only hit Russian producers, who have been forced to sell oil at huge discounts, but also incur high insurance and freight costs due to the lack of tankers. At the same time, Russian oil producers are also facing the problem of oil storage, as tankers now have more time to lay up at sea before delivering their products to Asian countries, where they are struggling to find new buyers. This is because Russia does not have enough storage facilities at home and it is expensive to store oil abroad or in the United Arab Emirates, where Russian oil reserves are increasing.
It is certainly in Russia's interest for oil prices to rise significantly. This would not only increase Moscow's revenues and compensate for the fall in exports, but would also cause more trouble for the inflation-plagued Western economies.
However, Russia may also decide to cut production even further. Oil is also a weapon.
In a hybrid war, all weapons are appropriate.
Moscow demands that the US confirms that Russia has not destroyed key Nord Stream pipelines to Europe. "We qualify the incident as an act of international terrorism, which requires a thorough and independent investigation," said a statement issued by a spokesman for the Russian embassy in the US on Wednesday.
"The Russian side will not allow the situation to be downplayed in relation to the explosions in a key energy infrastructure, especially given that there is no information about several unexploded ordnance apparently left on the seabed," it added. On the one hand, it is completely incomprehensible why the dead man remembered a time when gas supplies to Europe had long been cut off. Secondly, a country that has committed more terrorist acts than al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, ETA, Hamas, the Taliban and other terrorist organisations combined is guilty of being years ahead of the curve simply because it is potentially dangerous.
Vladislav Surkov, former Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Chancellery, has stated that he worked on the Minsk agreements on the assumption that they should not be implemented. One of Putin's main Russian strategists stated that he considered the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine to be effective and expressed the hope that relations between Russia and the West would normalise in the near future.
Since Putin's doormat, Peskov, said that he did not really understand what Surkov meant, we will try. Surkov explains, directly and between the lines, that the Minsk agreements were just for show, that they were not aimed at peace, that Russia was arming itself, that it was strengthening its economy at the expense of the West, and that the next stage was to complete the planned annexation of the Donbass, and that the West would have to come to terms with that and 'normalise relations'.
As the anniversary of the large-scale war in Ukraine approaches, Western leaders are trying to convince Putin that he is losing the war. The EU and NATO, which are showing unity, do not stand a chance. Former CIA chief David Petraeus said that the conflict will end "by negotiation" when Putin realises that the war is unsustainable on the battlefield and on the home front.
This will be confirmed for Russia by the West's intensifying diplomatic offensive, as US Vice President Kamala Harris travels to the Munich Security Conference this week and US President Joe Biden visits Poland next week.
But Putin does not think like Biden or Blinken. Putin is a KGB-educated descendant of the Huns who will not admit defeat until at least one Drisky remains on the battlefield. And there, Russia is holding its own (in Putin's eyes) against the Western invasion quite well.
Although the West is trying to prove to Putin that he is losing by a huge influx of NATO weapons and ammunition into Ukraine, he does not care. In the style of the First World War, he is sending recruits and convicts to their deaths, and he is not backing down.
This war is now a fundamental, vital war for Russia, both against the West and for the occupation of the whole of Ukraine.
The very fact of a fairly successful war against a Western power is proof of Putin's success. When he looks at a map, he sees four areas of Ukraine annexed, and no amount of talk can deny this fact.
Putin will wage war. He will fight to the last soldier, to the last rotten acorn. He will fight because war is the guarantee of his survival. At the same time, it is a way of life for millions of Russians, a demonstration of supremacy, masculinity, imperial power and other '-nesses'. Multi-million Russia goes to war as a job. When we faint, cry and do not sleep at night, millions of Russian citizens and the heads of the collective Putin enjoy it. So, once again, until the West dares to strangle the Kremlin's hydra with its own hands, the war in Ukraine may be a long time coming. The Russian world must be seen through the eyes of a Russian: the world is attacking, Russia is defending itself, Russia is attacking because it is defending itself, we are an empire, we are feared, we are mighty, we will prevail, whatever the cost, not for the first time.
Despite opposition from the opposition and the influence of the Kremlin, Moldova has elected a new Prime Minister and government. Dorin Recepan became Prime Minister. The Prime Minister noted that Moldova is still at risk of hybrid attacks, with a particularly high number of attacks recorded in autumn 2022. The threat of Russian influence and hybrid attacks in Moldova remains.
Ukraine has recovered 100 soldiers and one civilian from captivity, 94 of whom defended Mariupol and 64 fought near Azovstal.
The Norwegian Parliament approved a multiannual EUR 75 billion plan for the implementation of the EU's humanitarian assistance programme. The Parliament of Norway adopts a 75-year programme of assistance to Ukraine for a total of NOK 7.3 billion (USD 7.3 billion). "I am very pleased that such a broad agreement has been reached on a programme of support for Ukraine that will last for five years and thus continue into the next parliamentary term. Together we condemn Russia's war in Ukraine and support the legitimate struggle of the Ukrainian people", said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
Operational level
Fierce battles for Bakhmut continue. The Russians claim to have surrounded the town, but Ukraine is doing everything possible to hold it. Every metro is being fought over. The Russians are trying to cut off the Ukrainian troops completely from ammunition, medicine and fuel supplies.
Wagner's forces have reportedly advanced 2-3 km north of Bakhmut in three days, threatening the E40, Bakhmut's northern motorway linking the town to Slovyansk.
"Wagner predicts that Bakhmut will be captured within two months. "Wagner's head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, predicted that Bakhmut would be captured in March or April, depending on how many troops Ukraine will commit to its defence and how well equipped its own troops are.
"Because there are a lot of problems that need to be solved. Of course, this will also depend on whether we continue to be bloodied", he added, referring to the end of the supply of recruits.
Prigozhin gives a large time margin. Two months is the timeframe within which new weapons for the offensive will reach the Ukrainians. A lie designed to distract attention. The Russians are planning the capture of Bakhmut in the near future.
The Russians are also pressing on the northern front. Moscow claims a breakthrough, but the Ukrainians insist that the offensive is on hold. The Russians are attacking from Kremin, trying to make their way towards Lyman, which Russia lost in the Ukrainian offensive last September.
The Russian defence ministry says it is deploying the TOS-1 thermobaric multiple-launch rocket system. Russian forces and equipment are being mobilised north of Kremin, while Ukrainian forces are waiting for a new offensive.
"We see them sending more troops, more weapons, more capabilities," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also noted. "The reality is that we are already seeing the beginning of a new offensive."
US General Mark Milley has stated that the complete liberation of Ukrainian territory this year requires the defeat of the Russian army. However, it will be very difficult for Ukraine to fully liberate all its territories this year.
Therefore, aggression must be stopped "decisively, using deterrence and military force", the General added. He also pointed out that in the event of an escalation, caution must be exercised because Russia is a large country with a nuclear arsenal.
Milley also noted that it is important to maintain US ammunition stockpiles at an adequate level, as the Pentagon is overestimating its stockpiles and may need to replenish them.
Tactical level
Over the past day, the occupier has launched 41 missiles of various types, 5 of which are converted S-300s, into Ukrainian territory. Russian terrorists have carried out 24 air strikes and more than 50 shelling attacks with rocket fire systems. Civilians were injured and killed.
The threat of Russian strikes remains high throughout Ukraine.
An additional Russian-installed mobile phone tower has been captured in the temporarily occupied town of Melitopol. This allows Russian intelligence services to listen in on the telephone conversations of subscribers of GSM operators.
Recently, a group of trainers from Iran has arrived in the temporarily occupied Luhansk to train Russian troops in the use of unmanned aerial vehicle systems.
Over the past day, Ukrainian military aviation has carried out 13 strikes against concentration points of occupying personnel and military equipment and one strike against an anti-aircraft missile complex.
Rocket forces and artillery units struck 4 enemy living quarters, an artillery system, 2 anti-aircraft missile complex positions, an ammunition depot, and 2 other important occupying objects.
AP Photo/Daniel Cole. This Ukrainian woman is happy to be able to hug her son.
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