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SIGNS OF ANXIETY IN RUSSIA (08/02/2023)

Political strategic level
US President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening called on Congress to join him in completing the work of economic reconstruction and national reunification. In a 73-minute speech, Mr Biden sought to show that in two years the US has gone from a failing economy to a thriving one with new jobs; from a paralysed, pandemic-ridden country to a renewed one; and from a democracy that has survived its greatest test since the Civil War.
"Folks, America's story is <...> unique among all nations. We are the only country that has come out of every crisis it has ever faced stronger than when it went into it."
Instead of making specific suggestions on how to make the US more effective in various areas, the President gave an encouraging assessment of the country, stating that two years after the attack on the Capitol, American democracy is "intact and unbroken".
A new poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that around three quarters of respondents consider the situation in the US to be bad. A majority of Democrats do not want Mr Biden, 80, to seek another term in office.
In his speech, Mr Biden used the phrase 'finish the job' 13 times, calling on lawmakers to finish his administration's work on capping the price of insulin for all Americans, stopping climate change, raising taxes on the rich and corporations, and banning assault weapons.
"Together, we did what America always does best," said Mr Biden. "We led. We united NATO. We built a global coalition. We stood up to Putin's aggression. We stood with the people of Ukraine."
Well, in fairness, NATO was united by Russia's Führer Putin, and there is still a very long and difficult struggle to be fought before victory over Russia.
Meanwhile, fascist Russia is doing its utmost to unite the juntas, dictators, terrorists and other criminal elements that rule some African countries. Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Mali does not need to justify its cooperation with Russia in building up its military capabilities and importing oil and wheat. Lavrov made his first visit to the West African country, where Al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked militants have been waging an insurgency for a decade that has spread to neighbouring countries.
The Russian representative of the war criminal state, Mr Lavrov, has a clear objective: the trade in arms, oil and grain and the expansion of influence in Mali through Wagner mercenaries.
Meanwhile, there are signs of anxiety in Russia itself. They are betrayed by the accusations that have once again been levelled in the Kremlin against NATO's involvement in the war in Ukraine.
The West's supply of arms to Ukraine directly involves NATO in the conflict and could lead to an "unpredictable" escalation, Russian War Crimes Minister Sergei Shoigu fumed yesterday. "The US and its allies are trying to prolong the conflict as much as possible," the defence illiterate said in a conference call with military officials.
"To do this, they have started supplying heavy offensive weapons, openly calling on Ukraine to occupy our territories. In fact, such moves draw NATO countries into the conflict and can lead to unpredictable levels of escalation."
"Our territory" is, of course, the four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine - Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson. All of them will be liberated and Russia and its sergeants will remain a forgotten hole in the world for centuries.
The fact that things are not moving in the direction of 'de-Nazification' is confirmed by the Kremlin's exasperation at the remarks made by the US ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy. Russia has demanded that the US embassy in Moscow stop spreading false news about the military operation in Ukraine and has threatened to expel US diplomats, the TASS news agency reported yesterday.
Sources say that Ms Tracy has been instructed to comply with Russian law when making statements about Russian armed forces in Ukraine. US diplomats engaged in what Moscow calls "subversive activities" will be expelled from the country, an unnamed TASS source threatened.
A US State Department spokesman confirmed that the US embassy had received a diplomatic note from the Russian Foreign Ministry, but stressed that the US does not comment on diplomatic correspondence.
The fascists in Russia have made the "discrediting" of their Drisky hordes a crime punishable by up to five years' imprisonment, while the deliberate dissemination of "false information" about the army carries a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment.
The process of the giant with clay feet has begun and there is no stopping it. The best the junta in Moscow can do now is to break off diplomatic relations with the US. We are not waiting.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration approved a USD 10 billion arms sale to NATO ally Poland, which intends to purchase HIMARS artillery rocket systems, related munitions and equipment.
The Department said that the sale would help meet US foreign policy and national security objectives by strengthening the defence capabilities of the NATO ally. The Department also said that Poland is a driving force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.
Very encouraging news. All of us, and especially our politicians, should realise that Poland is our truest ally, and will be the first to come to the rescue when trouble strikes. All we need to do is to act together and prevent this so-called face of trouble from Surovikin.
Operational level
Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have announced plans to provide Ukraine with at least 100 upgraded Leopard 1 tanks in the coming months. The dispatch of these old tanks is part of an effort to "support Ukraine in its efforts to counter Russian aggression". A joint statement by the three defence ministers believes that the Leopard tanks "will significantly increase Ukraine's military potential to restore its damaged territorial integrity". The delivery is promised to take place "in the coming months" and will include logistical support and training.
Every tank, even those that do not run, is badly needed in Ukraine's war against Russia. It can be used as a mock-up for training, as an engineering obstacle or in deception operations.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday thanked Parliament for approving his proposed cabinet nominees and called for an end to "rumours or any other pseudo-information" that could undermine unity in the war against Russia.
This statement is intended to put an end to public speculation about whether Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will be dismissed and to underline that only the President can take and announce such decisions.
In his nightly video address, Mr Zelensky said that Parliament had approved the appointment of the head of the security service SBU, Vasily Malyuk, and the Minister of the Interior, Igor Klymenko.
Although Poland is not currently considering the possibility of providing F-16 and MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, this does not mean that this will not happen in the future. Wojciech Skurkiewicz, Poland's deputy defence minister, said that "if such talks take place between allies in the Ramstein or narrower coalition, of course, we will take part in them".
Such talks will take place. Patience.
Ukraine's national security chief Oleksiy Danilov said on Tuesday that Russia would include the north-eastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhya region in a planned offensive to regain the initiative after a year-long invasion.
"Of course, there will be attempts to attack in the direction of Kharkiv or Zaporizhzhya," he said in his office in the capital, Kyiv. "How successful the attack will be will depend on us."
But the Institute for the Study of War says Russian commanders are setting unrealistic deadlines and rushing to launch a major new offensive to take Donetsk, even though they do not have enough combat power. Analysts at the Institute have found that Russia lacks the ammunition and the manoeuvre units needed for a successful and swift offensive. Experts believe that Russia is unlikely to increase its combat power to have a significant impact on the outcome of the war.
In our assessment, Russia is most likely to move slowly, threatening in the north and south, pushing east and south-east. The aim is to capture Zaporizhzhya, then prepare to move in one of three directions - Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv or Odessa. At the moment, and we would say rather risibly, the Ukrainians have concentrated large forces in the east, thus weakening the front lines in the north and south. In the direction of Bakhmut, the defenders have concentrated between 30 and 50 thousand troops, which are holding back the advances of the Drisks. We will see in the near future to what extent this decision by the Ukrainian army commander, Mr Zaluzhny, is correct.
Tactical level
Yesterday, at around 11 p.m. Russian occupiers launched a missile attack on the centre of Kharkiv. Five missiles, probably S-300s, hit civilian infrastructure. Buildings were destroyed and a large fire broke out. At least one woman was killed and there are wounded.
In the Luhansk region, Ukrainian guerrillas destroyed automated railway control equipment on the railway line Rovenki - Antracit near the settlement of Yasenovskiy. The enemy will not be able to deliver cannon fodder or ammunition by rail for some time.
Latvian Finance Minister Arvils Ascheraden proposed that vehicles confiscated from drunk drivers be handed over to Ukraine free of charge.
What a good idea! Why not do the same for Lithuania?
In Ukraine, the enemy continues to concentrate its efforts on offensive operations on the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka axes in order to take full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
During the day, the DPRK launched 8 missile strikes, 5 of which hit the civilian infrastructure of the city of Kharkiv, and 21 air strikes. In addition, the enemy launched 39 attacks with volley fire systems, in particular on the civilian infrastructure of Mykolaiv and Kherson areas. Residential buildings were damaged.
The threat of further Russian air and missile strikes on the entire territory of Ukraine remains high.
In the settlement of Kayyry, Kachovka district, Kherson region, Russian occupation forces are forcibly taking civilian cars from local residents.
Over the past day, the Ukrainian Defence Forces' air force has struck 12 times at areas of concentration of occupying personnel and military equipment and 2 times at anti-aircraft missile system positions.
Ukrainian troops destroyed a Russian SU-25 attack aircraft, a Mi-24 helicopter and 2 enemy Orlan UAVs. Rocket and artillery forces hit 2 enemy checkpoints, 7 human concentrations and an ammunition depot.
Photo: Ukraine managed to return 128 children forcibly taken to Russia (source: Reuters.com)
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