UKRAINE TO RECEIVE 252 WESTERN TANKS THIS YEAR (23 03 2023)
Political strategic level
No sooner had Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida left Kyiv after his meeting with Mr Zelensky, and Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping left Moscow after his meeting with the Führer, than terrorist Russia stepped up its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine. They killed students and other civilians. This is a clear confirmation from Moscow that Beijing's peace proposal, which the West has rejected as unviable, is just another eyewash. No progress has been made towards peace, nor could it have been. On the contrary, it seems that the Communist gensek in the Kremlin has backed the organisers of war crimes, as both the world's most wanted international criminal and his cronies have begun to wield not only missiles but also nuclear threats with renewed force.
"Russia is indiscriminately shelling the city", Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote in a Telegram message attached to a video showing a Russian missile hitting a nine-storey residential building on a busy street in the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhya. "Residential areas inhabited by ordinary people and children are being shelled".
Elsewhere, Moscow's war-criminal forces launched drones before dawn and killed at least eight people in or near a student dormitory near Kyiv.
The drone attack also damaged a high school and two dormitories in the town of Rishikovo, south of the Ukrainian capital. It is not yet clear how many people were in the dormitories at the time. The body of a 40-year-old man was among those pulled from the rubble on one floor, according to regional police chief Andriy Nebytov, who added that more than 20 people had been hospitalised. The video shows bloody trainers and a green ball being thrown on the ground near the damaged building, whose top floor was torn off at the corner.
Russia denies targeting residential areas, although artillery and missile strikes hit apartment blocks and civilian infrastructure on a daily basis. The terrorist leadership, whose representatives will soon preside over the UN Security Council, claims that Ukraine itself is responsible for the explosions in the apartment blocks, as the deployment of air defence systems in residential areas endangers civilians.
The Kremlin is trying to convince us that Ukraine is killing itself. Nothing new, we and the world have heard it all before. Lithuania, too, joined the Soviet Union 'voluntarily' in the last century, and then a third of its citizens either killed themselves in the 'civil war' or went as tourists to visit the Siberian gulags and died there of starvation, beatings and general debility.
Following the visit of the Chinese dictator, Russia is not only intensifying its attacks in Ukraine, but is also looking for reasons to further escalate the conflict. After the British Ministry of Defence confirmed that it would provide Ukraine with anti-tank munitions with depleted uranium, Moscow said that it would take measures against the West, which is sending Ukraine 'nuclear components'.
This is utter nonsense, because the anti-tank munitions that Russia is furious about were developed by the US during the Cold War to destroy Soviet tanks, including the very T-72s that Ukraine is now facing. Depleted uranium is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process needed to develop nuclear weapons. Although munitions containing this material retain some radioactive properties, they do not pose a contamination risk and cannot in any way cause a nuclear reaction. However, this does not prevent the Kremlin from threatening that the West has opened the way for further escalation.
We sigh and say, oh, what if... you had not threatened us with warmongering lawsuits, but asked us more than a year ago, Russia might have been crushed and we would be thinking about how to rebuild Ukraine faster. Now there is a new old player on the scene - China, which, contrary to common sense, is leaning towards supporting Russia.
This does not bode well or cheerfully at all.
This is best confirmed by Xi's words to Vladimir Putin, standing at the door of the Kremlin Palace, when he says that they are both 'witnessing changes that have not been witnessed for more than a century, and we are pushing them together'.
"I agree," replied Führer Putin, who later added: "The United Kingdom... "The United Kingdom announced not only the supply of tanks but also depleted uranium projectiles to Ukraine. If this happens, Russia will be forced to react".
The response to such events and statements in Russia, Ukraine and China has been as bland and tasteless as the food at Versme for patients with gastrointestinal problems.
Yesterday, Prince William made a surprise visit to Poland and met British and Polish troops in Rzeszów, a city of 200 000 inhabitants in south-eastern Poland that has become a hub for shipments of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. "I just wanted to come here in person and thank you for all you are doing to protect everyone here and to keep an eye on what's going on," he told the troops.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, visiting Warsaw, pledged support to Poland and stressed the importance of like-minded countries like Japan and Poland remaining united in their support for Ukraine and in the continued imposition of sanctions on Russia.
Japan will offer Poland "vigorous development" projects of the kind it usually offers to developing countries. Although Poland is no longer such a country, the Japanese government will make a special exception, Kishida said.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund will lend Ukraine €15.6 billion. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will lend Ukraine USD 15.5 billion to "help mobilise financing from Ukraine's international partners, as well as to maintain macro-financial stability and provide a path to post-war reconstruction after Ukraine's victory in the war against the aggressor".
When the IMF starts to lend anything to anyone, unfortunately, it is necessary to look at who is going to make money and how much.
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that Russia will always be important to Europe and said that to think otherwise is an illusion. He fiercely defended the country's second largest bank, Raiffeisen Bank International, saying that it was unjustified to single out this lender because it does business in Russia, while many other Western companies do the same.
We may resent this statement, just as we may resent the Mayor of Kaunas's tenuous business links with war criminals, but the unvarnished reality is just that. Man is like this, the world is like this, we are like this. We care about furniture and positions, and those who care about values and the well-being of society are completely abnormal. Let us not deceive ourselves.
V. Zelensky declared that his country would "strike back" after Russian attacks in the Kyiv region killed at least eight people and one person in Zaporizhzhya.
"We will surely respond to every strike of the occupier against our cities," Mr Zelensky said on Wednesday. "All Russian strikes will be met with a military, political and legal response".
Instead of talk, the Kremlin has brought another warship into the Black Sea. The total salvo of Kalibr cruise missiles can now reach 20. In the Black Sea, enemy ships continue to manoeuvre south-east of Crimea towards Novorossiysk. There are currently 15 ships there, and one of them, the last to join, is a submarine.
Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles signed a project agreement on the joint purchase of ammunition by European Union countries to replenish their stocks and to continue providing assistance to Ukraine.
The agreement to provide €2 billion for the transfer of one million pieces of artillery ammunition to Ukraine was signed by 18 countries. Spain thus became the 19th country participating in the project. The project will be financed by the European Peace Facility. It will "urgently address the ammunition shortage" and "increase the capacity of European industry to meet current and future needs".
According to UATV estimates, Ukraine is due to receive 252 Western tanks from the West this year: 4x Challenger 2, 31x M1A2 Abrams, 21x Leopard 2A6, 86x Leopard 2A4 and 100x Leopard 1A5.
Meanwhile, the Russians are trying to get their half-century old T-62 out of storage.
The Russian Federation continues its armed aggression against Ukraine and has not abandoned its intention to fully occupy the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The adversary is continuing offensive operations on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka and Shakhtar axes, while defending itself elsewhere. During the day of 22 March, the Ukrainian Defence Forces repelled 83 enemy attacks on the eastern part of the front.
The occupiers are terrorising civilians, shelling settlements and critical infrastructure.
The enemy launched 48 air strikes, most of them targeting critical civilian infrastructure in Zhytomyr and Kyiv. The occupiers deployed 21 Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the Bryansk region, 16 of which were shot down. The enemy UAV strikes have resulted in civilian deaths and injuries. The attackers also launched 75 attacks with salvo fire systems.
Russia is continuously taking action to replenish its losses of manpower. For example, in one of the military units deployed in South Ossetia, conscripts are actively pressured to sign contracts to participate in the war in Ukraine. More than 50 Russian conscripts were found to have signed contracts between 1 and 10 March. Without adequate combat training, they were sent to Melitopol.
Partisans are active in the latter town and a powerful explosion was reported yesterday, but we have no confirmed details.
Yesterday, the Ukrainian Air Force launched one air strike against an enemy anti-aircraft missile system, as well as 12 strikes against occupying forces' personnel and military equipment. Ukrainian missile forces and artillery struck a command post, 3 living force sites, an ammunition depot and an electronic warfare facility.
In the north of Bakhmut, Ukrainian defenders managed to repel all Russian attacks. There are indications that part of the occupying forces may be withdrawn, most likely to reinforce the offensive in Avdiivka. However, in the south of Bakhmut, a Russian assault landing is advancing through the corpses of the mobilised towards the centre, also putting pressure on Ivanivska.
In Avdiivka, the Russian marauders are attacking in all directions, especially to the north-west, where the newly mobilised cannon fodder is finding eternal refuge in the artillery-battered Ukrainian soil.
Another real or exaggerated scandal of conflict of public and private interests. The Presidency of the Republic of Lithuania has joined in, declaring that the Minister of Economy and Innovation should resign because of the "appointment" of a close friend, if not not a friend at all, to the "Lietuvos geležinkeliai grupė", which is allegedly under some agreement to be controlled by the Freedom Party.
What saddens us most about this whole mess is that both the media and the politicians, through their speeches and headlines, are giving the impression that someone is still being 'appointed', that the ministries and companies are being 'curated' by someone, and that the wife is a mere appendage who has no autonomy.
Although... maybe no opinion is being formed here at all. Maybe it is? Bless you, Jerusalem!...
One thing is clear to us: if potential conflicts of interest have not been declared in advance, the "picture" is truly unfortunate. However, if the links were clearly stated and the selection process was transparent, it is like trying to catch witches and burn them at the stake.
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US army photo shows an American Abrams tank.
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