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"RUSSIA HAS LOST" (15 02 2023)

Political strategic level
US General Mark Milley stated that Russia has failed to achieve its objectives in Ukraine because it remains independent. "In short, Russia has lost," the general said. "It lost strategically, operationally and tactically". Mark Milley added that Russian forces are paying a "huge price" on the battlefield and have resorted in recent months to sending "conscripts and prisoners to their inevitable deaths".
"But until Putin ends his war of choice, the international community will continue to support Ukraine with the equipment and capabilities it needs to defend itself," Milley said.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States and NATO will continue to stand united in their support for Ukraine, accusing Russia of subjecting the country to years of "tragedy and terror" as the first anniversary of the war approaches.
"We stand united in our support for Ukraine's struggle for freedom, and we will stand together, united and resolute for as long as it takes," Austin said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance should have done more to help Ukraine before Russia launches a full-scale invasion in February 2022.
"I think one of the lessons we have already learned from the war in Ukraine is that it is important to support our partners beforehand, not afterwards," the NATO chief said. "The war did not start in February last year. The war started in 2014. Since 2014, NATO allies have supported Ukraine with training and equipment, so that Ukraine's armed forces were much stronger in 2022 than in 2020 and 2014," the Secretary General added.
Better late than never. Of course, it would have been better if NATO, the US and other Western countries had anticipated and prepared for a Russian invasion in 2020. Russia would not have dared to stick its nose into the hornet's nest. However, for this to have happened, the Western powers would have had to increase their military capabilities several times and several years earlier. Ideally, this should have been done immediately after the occupation of Crimea.
It is very good, it is simply wonderful that the NATO leader recognises the Alliance's mistakes, but it is too bad that it has taken a year to do so. We also believe that it is not appropriate to be overjoyed by declarations of 'Russia's defeat' and to celebrate victory with champagne. The Kremlin is deceitful. If we believe in victory, we can let it slip out of our hands. Just as happened at the end of last year, when Ukraine liberated Kherson, the Russians fled in panic, and many applauded, believing that this was the guaranteed end of Mordor. The false taste of victory was magnified by Putin's pleas for negotiations. The West began to feel that Russia was weakening, asking for a break, for mercy. This turned out to be a ruse to mobilise forces for a new offensive.
Ukraine needs to be armed permanently, systematically, in a continuous stream, without paying any attention to the Kremlin's threats or machinations.
Yes, we certainly believe in victory, but what worries us most is thinking in the present tense. Today is what was planned yesterday. Therefore, in order to have a secure tomorrow, we must prepare for the day after tomorrow.
It may seem to some that we are scaremongering by calling for us to arm ourselves in advance, to strike the enemy first. But in today's context, we see only one alternative: 4% of GDP for the defence of all the members of the alliance; preparation for global civil resistance and national defence. For those who cry about low pensions and high electricity prices, there is always the alternative prospect of Eastern Ukraine. Cities without houses, without electricity and without pensioners. Ruins, blood, tears and corpses.
The new meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group in Brussels includes new support for Ukraine in the form of SAMP/T anti-aircraft missile systems, which will strengthen the country's air defence system, as well as large batches of Aster-30 missiles, which will be purchased by the Italian and French authorities at a cost of EUR 2 billion.
The EU is considering the use of frozen Russian assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The EU will set up a working group today to study how frozen Russian assets, including central bank reserves, could be used for reconstruction work in Ukraine, the Swedish government said.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that there is no predefined model for the handling of Russian assets and that the EU needs to establish the relevant legal procedures. "It is the Russian taxpayers, and not all other taxpayers, who have to bear the costs of the necessary reconstruction work," added Mr Kristersson.
Yes, all Russian citizens bear responsibility for the genocide of the Ukrainian people. We do not believe a single Kremlin opposition spokesman, not even one who is in prison, who says that Russian citizens are not to blame for the war. At least one million Russian citizens are at war. There are several million more working in the repressive structures. Relatives and friends know this and support their loved ones. There are also many who are against the killing of Ukrainians, but in favour of the empire. A good empire, in the womb of which lies the same bloody chauvinism and Russian fascism. When the Russian people, the Russian State, apologises to all the peoples who have been enslaved and subjected to genocide, when compensation is paid to the victims, when Russians do not loiter abroad wearing George ribbons and Putler's name on their shirts, speaking German in Germany, greeting each other with a 'good afternoon' in Lithuania and not shouting in public places in their 'special language', then we will be able to talk about the level of state or collective responsibility. There is nothing to even discuss yet.
NATO partners should urgently welcome Sweden and Finland into the defence alliance, the German foreign minister said, adding that Sweden had taken tangible steps to address Turkey's concerns.
"It was right and important that Sweden responded to Turkey's concerns, reached out to Ankara and took tangible steps to address these concerns," Annalena Baerbock told reporters during a visit to Stockholm.
Baerbock said all NATO countries must take steps to allow Sweden and Finland to join "hand in hand".
Yes, thanks to Putin, who has strengthened NATO more than ever.
Operational level
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin says the US and partners are "working hard" to provide Ukraine with the necessary equipment, including tanks and ammunition, ahead of an offensive expected in the coming months.
"Ukraine wants to build momentum as quickly as possible and create the conditions on the battlefield favourable to it," Austin said. "So we expect them to stage an offensive sometime in the spring."
The Ukrainians are said to be considering an offensive in a few weeks.
Lloyd Austin notes that this would require collecting all the weapons that have already been promised to Ukraine - Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Stryker armoured fighting vehicles, Marder and CV-90 infantry fighting vehicles, M113 armoured personnel carriers, artillery, and other weapons that have not been mentioned in public.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius stated that a "spring package" of German military aid to Ukraine is on its way. "Neither Ukraine nor Russia is likely to win in the short term, so it is important to put the right emphasis on the planned arms supply to Kyiv so that it can effectively defend itself against Russian aggression," the minister said.
Unfortunately, no concrete agreements have been reached so far on F-16 fighter jets.
The defence minister called the issue of "air defence and ammunition supply" much "more important than fighter jets", echoing remarks made by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday that NATO "urgently needs" to provide the military support it has already promised to Ukraine, rather than deciding on whether to send modern fighter jets.
This is a call to send the weapons that are planned and not to get into arguments about future decisions on F-16s and other fighter jets.
"I believe there will be no short-term end to the war, no short-term winner," Pistorius said.
Yes, that's right. With the best of intentions, it will take a lot of time, gunpowder and iron to smoke a million Driski out of the Donbass. And soldiers.
Ukrainian tank crews in Poland are already training with German-made Leopard 2 tanks, some three weeks after Germany gave the green light for their re-export to Ukraine. The Polish President and the Minister of Defence observed the training in the west of the country.
Soon, tanks are roaring on the ground in eastern Ukraine and the jets are roaring inland.
According to the Polish Ministry of Defence, negotiations on the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine are likely to be fruitful, but pressure must be applied.
We have no doubt that the F-16s will destroy the Drisky ammunition dumps.
Germany will increase munitions production in response to the intensified Russian offensive in Ukraine, the country's defence minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday.
The minister stressed that this was in view of Russia's increasing efforts to "regain the initiative in the Donbas". This is especially urgent now that Russia is massing planes and tanks on the Ukrainian border.
According to the Ukrainian artillery command, the Ukrainian artillery is now firing NATO 155 millimetre shells more often than Soviet 152 millimetre shells. This was a turning point in Ukraine's switch to Western equipment.
In defence against a Russian attack, it is possible to confidently use existing stocks of Soviet weapons, to throw more Soviet tanks on the battlefield, and then to use Leopard and Challenger for the planned spring offensive.
The Russian Duma proposes that all political forces unite in a single "Victory Party".
All sorts of unity parties can unite, but Russia will still be alone against a united West.
Russian forces have made incremental progress over the past day or two in trying to take Bakhmut, but it is not clear whether it will fall, said White House spokesman John Kirby. The loss of Bakhmut would not have a "strategic impact on the war as a whole", Kirby said.
Tactical level
Over the past day, the occupiers have launched 2 missile strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine's Donetsk region and 3 air strikes. 68 shelling attacks with rocket-assisted volley fire systems were recorded, mainly on civilian objects in Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.
The threat of further Russian air and missile strikes across Ukraine remains high.
Over the past day, units of the Ukrainian Defence Forces have repelled attacks by the invaders in more than 20 districts of settlements.
The Russians continue to suffer heavy losses. The Russians are reportedly using mobile crematoria with high intensity in the Krasnaya Zvezda settlement area in the Simferopol district of occupied Crimea. Up to 10 military vehicles are regularly stationed near the local crematorium. These trucks are used to bring in the bodies of fallen Russian soldiers and mercenaries. Cremations are carried out around the clock.
In the last 24 hours, military aviation has struck 8 air strikes on the concentration points of the occupying forces' personnel and military equipment. Artillery hit a control point, 2 enemy live-fire centres, 6 ammunition depots and 2 enemy radio stations.
The interception of three Russian military aircraft near the Polish border is reported. A Russian IL-20M Coot-A and two SU-27s escorting it were intercepted by Dutch F-35 fighters and escorted over a distance near the Kaliningrad border.
The Russians remembered old provocations they had forgotten during the war. They want to show that they have not forgotten their neighbours to the west. A second front is just what is needed.
A 155 mm artillery shell. Photo by Tanner Lambert.
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