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  • Writer's pictureAurimas Navys


Political strategic level
China's increasing aggressiveness and cooperation with Russia is a threat not only to Asia but also to Europe, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. As a counterbalance to the threat posed by China and Russia to global security, the NATO chief identified the need for closer cooperation and more NATO "friends" in the Indo-Pacific region.
Mr Stoltenberg said that China is increasingly investing in nuclear weapons and long-range missiles without transparency and without engaging in meaningful dialogue on nuclear arms control, while at the same time increasing violence against its neighbours and threats against Taiwan, which it considers to be its territory.
"The rapprochement between Russia and China, as well as China's large investments and new advanced military capabilities, only underline that China is a threat, a challenge and a challenge to our NATO allies," Mr Stoltenberg told an audience at Keio University in Tokyo. "Security is not regional but global."
China is increasingly cooperating with Russia, and they are leading an "authoritarian push" against a rules-based, open and democratic international order, he said.
Indeed, the world's security architecture is badly fractured, the UN with its ST is a completely dysfunctional organisation, and the endless wars all over the world show that NATO, the world's most powerful alliance, must look for a way out by offering a common table to all those who still have a shred of sanity left in their heads.
The need for a global agreement is demonstrated by the Biden Administration's announcement yesterday that Russia is refusing to allow the resumption of nuclear weapons inspections. This jeopardises the New START nuclear treaty and joint US-Russian arms control, says the US State Department in its report to Congress.
The State Department's summary statement follows months of US assessments that the two countries will be able to maintain cooperation on strategic nuclear arms limitations despite high tensions over Russia's war in Ukraine.
Inspections of US and Russian military facilities under the New START treaty have been suspended by both countries due to the spread of coronavirus in March 2020. The US-Russia committee overseeing the implementation of the treaty last met in October 2021, but in August 2022 Russia unilaterally suspended cooperation on the treaty's inspection provisions in protest at US support for Ukraine.
We have said, we say and we will say that the priority, the main task for the whole world, should be to deny Russia its nuclear weapons.
We believe that nuclear security will be high on the agenda when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to China on 5 and 6 February to discuss Russia's war in Ukraine with Chinese officials.
Mr Kirby, the White House national security spokesman, told reporters that talks on a range of issues, such as the militaries of the two countries and climate change, had been sidelined when China protested against a visit to Taiwan last August by then US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Blinken will push for talks on these issues to be "restored and/or revitalised", Kirby said. "I know that he is looking forward to the opportunity to address all of these issues, and certainly the war in Ukraine will be among the issues that we can expect the Secretary to raise when he is there," Kirby said.
What will be announced before and after the meeting with the Chinese side in public is of much less interest to us than what will not be announced and what will or should be discussed. North Korea's supply of weapons to terrorist Russia should certainly be one of those issues.
Meanwhile, diplomats from the Baltic States and Poland are pushing the issue of Western support for Ukraine with fighter jets into the political arena more and more boldly, but there is no sign that the larger countries, such as the US and the UK, are changing their position.
"Ukraine needs fighter jets... missiles, tanks. We have to act," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told a press conference in the Latvian capital Riga with his counterparts from the Baltic States and Poland. At the same time, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikoff held talks with his French counterpart and said they did not discuss specific fighter jets, but talked about aviation "platforms" that would help Ukraine's air-to-ground defences.
"I don't know how quick this response of the Western allies will be" to Kyiv's requests for fighter jets, Reznikov said. "I am optimistic and I think it will happen as soon as possible". He also listed the weapons that Ukraine has requested over the past year, starting with the Stinger, and said the first response has always been: "Impossible". But finally, he said, "it has become possible".
It seems to us that, at least for the time being, the diplomats need fighter jets more than the Ukrainian Defence Staff, which has prioritised tanks, long-range artillery and long-range missiles. However, the ice needs to be broken, and all possible and impossible weapons are needed, which Ukraine could use as soon as possible to liberate the occupied territories and destroy the horde that has invaded it.
Hungary's foreign minister said on Tuesday that the Swedish government should "do things differently" in order to secure Turkey's support for its bid to join NATO, adding that the recent Koran burning protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm was "unacceptable".
Mr Szijjarto made the remarks at a press conference after talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The two diplomats were referring to the anti-Turkish protest on 21 January, which has increased tensions between Ankara and Stockholm as Sweden seeks Turkey's consent to join the NATO military alliance.
"As a Christian and a Catholic, I have to say that the burning of another religion's holy book is an unacceptable act," Szijjarto said, criticising the Swedish Prime Minister's statement that while the burning of the Koran was inappropriate and "highly disrespectful", it was covered by Sweden's freedom of expression protection.
Let us pause here for a moment and think: who is trying to deceive whom here? Are we really intelligent, fairly evolved homo sapiens who no longer fight wars because one king shows another a spike?
Here is the answer for you: the potato king of the neighbouring country, the impostor President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said yesterday that his country is ready to give more help to its close ally Russia in its war against Ukraine. At the same time, the dictator stressed that Russia does not need "any help" now.
"But if our Russian brothers need help, we are always ready to offer it", he said during a state visit to the South African state of Zimbabwe, which is also close to Russia.
Zimbabwe, Karl!
Huge crowds marched across France on Tuesday to say "no" to President Emmanuel Macron's plan to make people work longer before retiring, and pressure is mounting in the streets on a government that says it will stick to its position. Opinion polls show that the vast majority of French people oppose the extension of the retirement age from 62 to 64, while Mr Macron says the move is "vital" to ensure the viability of the pension system.
The French interior ministry reported that a total of 1.272 million people took part in the nationwide protests, slightly more than during the first general demonstration on 19 January. In Paris, a total of 87 000 people marched, compared to 80 000 on 19 January.
There is no doubt that the Kremlin is closely monitoring the situation in France and, despite romantic telephone conversations with Emmanuel, Putin and his gang will press the necessary buttons to have the 'yellow vests' storm the Champs-Elysées.
Operational level
No major changes.
Czech President-elect and former NATO general Petr Pavel said that Ukraine deserves NATO membership as soon as the war is over. In his first interview since his election, Pavel told BBC reporters that Ukraine is "morally and practically ready" to join the Alliance when the war is over and its army is the most experienced in Europe.
But Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, outlining his opposition to Zagreb providing military aid to Kyiv, said that "it is clear that Crimea will never be part of Ukraine again". This statement means that Croatia is second in line, alongside Hungary, to oppose Ukraine's membership of the Alliance.
The agreement between Austria and Hungary not to provide military support to Ukraine also sounds regrettable and, I would say, dangerous. This was announced by Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner and her Hungarian counterpart, Kristof Szalay-Bobrowniczky, at a meeting in Budapest on 30 January. According to these officials, the position of both countries on Russia's war against Ukraine is "clear", as they are not providing defence assistance to Ukraine "in order to avoid further escalation".
Russia might not have invaded Ukraine if the United Kingdom had not left the European Union, Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt said in a rather unexpected statement. A "united Europe, certainly on defence, would be very important" in the fight against Putin, he said, Politico reports. The former Brexit MEP believes that a strong and united Europe, which includes Britain, could have been enough to deter Vladimir Putin from launching a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Greece seems to have changed its mind and will no longer supply tanks to Ukraine. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said this in an interview with Nikkei Asia. He stressed that the country is ready to support Ukraine in the war against Russia, but not at the expense of its own defence capabilities. "We have provided Ukraine with a lot of military support, armoured vehicles, but we will not provide Leopard 2 tanks for the simple reason that they are absolutely necessary for our defensive position", he said.
The Greeks can be understood. Both because of Turkey and because of the old friendship with the Kremlin on religious grounds.
French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecorniou has announced that he will help Ukraine to buy GM 200 air defence radars. Lecorniou said that Ukrainian Defence Minister O. Reznikoff had informed him in December last year of Ukraine's need for such radars. In the coming days, he said, the two countries should sign an agreement on the purchase of these radars from a special fund set up by France to support Ukraine.
The Ground Master 200 (GM 200) medium-range radar, manufactured by the French company Thales Group, is capable of indicating the launch and strike coordinates of several simultaneous threats. The GM200 acts as an air surveillance tool or air defence system sensor. The GM200 also has a missile/artillery/mortar detection and warning function. The GM200 can be transported by road, rail, aircraft or helicopter. The system is ready for operation in 15 minutes and can be operated remotely.
France has also promised Ukraine 12 more Caesar self-propelled artillery systems, which we hope will reach Ukrainian troops as soon as possible.
Tactical level
During the day of 31 January, the occupiers carried out 5 air strikes, 6 missile strikes and more than 65 volley fire attacks. Civilian infrastructure in the settlements of Sumy, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Kherson oblasts was damaged.
The risk of Russian air and missile strikes remains high throughout Ukraine.
The enemy has not ceased offensive operations on the Lyman and Bakhmut axes.
Russian forces continue to suffer losses. Another military hospital has been established in the vicinity of Novoivanivka (Luhansk region). It is treating about 100 Russian soldiers. The severity of their injuries is usually downplayed and not included in the medical records. After minimal assistance, they are sent back to the front line.
During the day of 31 January, the Ukrainian Air Force carried out 9 air strikes on enemy concentrations and 2 strikes against Russian anti-aircraft missile systems.
Ukrainian rocket and artillery units hit enemy concentrations 13 times, a command post once and an ammunition depot once.
Ukrainian forces launched two counter-attacks near the Kremina and appear to have smashed the attacking Horde units at least a little to the north-east of Dibrova. Soldiers on the ground report at least nine burnt Russian armoured vehicles and "many Ork corpses".
Photo: GM 200 radar.
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