Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day:

“Even in former days, Korea was known as the 'hermit kingdom' for its stubborn resistance to outsiders. And if you wanted to create a totally isolated and hermetic society, northern Korea in the years after the 1953 'armistice' would have been the place to start. It was bounded on two sides by the sea, and to the south by the impregnable and uncrossable DMZ, which divided it from South Korea. Its northern frontier consisted of a long stretch of China and a short stretch of Siberia; in other words its only contiguous neighbors were Mao and Stalin. (The next-nearest neighbor was Japan, historic enemy of the Koreans and the cruel colonial occupier until 1945.) Add to that the fact that almost every work of man had been reduced to shards by the Korean War. Air-force general Curtis LeMay later boasted that 'we burned down every town in North Korea,' and that he grounded his bombers only when there were no more targets to hit anywhere north of the 38th parallel. Pyongyang was an ashen moonscape. It was Year Zero. Kim Il Sung could create a laboratory, with controlled conditions, where he alone would be the engineer of the human soul.”
- Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

“There is very little that is not wasteful and dismal about war. The only clear, deep, good is the special kind of bond welded between people who, having mutually shared a crisis, whether it be a shelling or a machine-gun attack, emerge knowing that those involved behaved well. There is much pretence in our everyday life, and, with a skilful manner, much can be concealed. But with a shell whistling at you there is not much time to pretend and a person’s qualities are starkly revealed. You believe that you can trust what you have seen. It is a feeling that makes old soldiers, old sailors, old airmen, and even old war correspondents, humanly close in a way shut off to people who have not shared the same thing. I think that correspondents, because they are rarely in a spot where their personal strength or cowardice can affect the life of another, probably feel only an approximation of this bond. So far as I am concerned, even this approximation is one of the few emotions about which I would say: It’s as close to being absolutely good as anything I know.”
- Marguerite Higgins, Korean War Correspondent

“A retreat to Pusan would be one of the greatest bloodbaths in American history. We must fight until the end…. If some of us must die, we will die fighting together. Any man who gives ground may be personally responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of his comrades. I want everybody to understand that we are going to hold this line. We are going to win.”
- Gen. Walton Walker


1. RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JUNE 25 (PUTIN'S WAR)
2. Commando Network Coordinates Flow of Weapons in Ukraine, Officials Say
3. Inside the elite extraction group rescuing civilians from Ukraine's most dangerous warzones
4. 'We have to stay together': Biden on alliance behind Ukraine
5. Russia-Ukraine war: one killed as Kyiv hit by missile strikes; G7 leaders gather in Germany – live updates
6. Timid west must draw a line in the sea and break Vladimir Putin’s criminal blockade
7. Transcript of Pompeo Speech on Ukraine and a Global Alliance for Freedom - by Hudson Institute
8. 'I will only recognize one China called Taiwan': Guatemala president
9. Interpreting China-US war of words over Taiwan
10. Never mind China's new aircraft carrier, these are the ships the US should worry about
11.  Russia and China are brewing up a challenge to dollar dominance by creating a new reserve currency
12. Interview: How Much Is China Helping Russia Finance Its War In Ukraine?
13. In Ukraine’s South, Counter Attacks Offer Kyiv Hope for Turning Back Russia
14. U.S. and G-7 Allies Detail Infrastructure Plan to Challenge China




1. RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JUNE 25 (PUTIN'S WAR)


RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JUNE 25
Jun 25, 2022 - Press ISW

Karolina Hird, Mason Clark, and George Barros
June 25, 5:00 pm ET
Click here to see ISW's interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced the commanders of the “central” and “southern” groupings of forces in Ukraine on June 24, confirming previously rumored changes reported on June 21.[1] Spokesperson for the Russian MoD Igor Konashenkov stated on June 24 that Commander of the Central Military District Colonel General Alexander Lapin is in command of the "central” group of forces, which is responsible for operations against Lysychansk (and presumably Severodonetsk).[2] Konashenkov additionally stated that Army General Sergei Surovikin, commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, commands the ”southern” group of forces and oversaw the encirclement of Hirske and Zolote.[3] The Russian MoD’s announcement confirms ISW’s assessment from June 21 that the Russian high command is reshuffling and restructuring military command in order to better organize operations in Ukraine, though the Russian MoD statement does not state when the changes occurred.[4] The UK MoD confirmed that the Russian command has removed several generals from key operational roles in Ukraine, including Commander of the Airborne Forces (VDV) Colonel General Andrei Serdyukov and Commander of Russia’s Southern Military District Alexander Dvornikov, who was likely was acting as overall theatre commander.[5] The UK MoD noted that command of the Southern Military District will transfer to Surovikin.[6] The Russian MoD’s statement notably only discusses the center and south force groupings (not the Southern Military District as a whole), but Dvornikov has likely been removed from his previous role.
Russian forces conducted an abnormally large series of missile strikes against Ukrainian rear areas on June 25.[7] The Ukrainian Airforce Command reported that Russian forces fired over 50 ground-, air-, and sea-based missiles at Ukraine and targeted areas in Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Khmelmytskyi, Chernihiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.[8] The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that six Russian Tu-22M3 bombers departed from the Shaykova airbase in Belarus and launched 12 Kh-22 cruise missiles at land targets in Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv Oblasts, which is the first such launch from Belarus.[9] The Ukrainian Airforce Command noted that Russian forces used sea-based Kalibr missiles against targets in western Ukraine, X-22 and ground-based Iskander and Tochka-U missiles against targets in northern Ukraine, and ONYX missiles and Bastion complexes against targets in southern Ukraine.[10] Ukrainian air defense reportedly shot down many of the missiles, which were likely intended to target critical support infrastructure in areas of Ukraine where there is no direct combat.
Ukrainian intelligence assessed that the Kremlin is continuing covert partial mobilization efforts in support of what it increasingly recognizes as a war of attrition in Eastern Ukraine.[11] Representative of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Vadym Skibitsky stated that the Kremlin recognizes it is waging a war of attrition and is conducting secretive partial mobilization efforts while additionally mobilizing the BARS (Combat Army Reserve of the Country) system and other constant-readiness elements. Skibitsky noted that 105 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) are taking part in the war in Ukraine and that Russian reserve capabilities could increase this number to anywhere between 150 and 160 BTGs but did not specify a timeframe for this mobilization. Skibitsky reiterated that the Kremlin’s main goal is to secure control of the entire Donbas and that its secondary priority is consolidation of its control of Kherson Oblast by September 11, when the Kremlin seeks to hold referenda to directly annex territories or create quasi-state “People’s Republics.” The Kremlin intends to conduct a protracted conflict in Ukraine and is seeking to advance mobilization efforts to support long-term military and political goals in occupied areas of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) firmly stated that Belarusian involvement in the war in Ukraine on behalf of Russia remains highly unlikely.[12] GUR representative Vadym Skibitsky stated that Belarusian forces will not attack Ukraine without the support of Russian troops, of which there are approximately 1,500 in Belarus. Skibitsky noted that Belarus has seven BTGs on a rotating basis near the border with Ukraine and that the formation of a Russian-Belarusian joint shock group would take three to four weeks, with two to three weeks needed to simply deploy sufficient Russian forces into Belarus. The GUR’s statement reaffirms ISW’s previous assessments that, while recent Belarusian actions along the Ukrainian border are threatening and likely intended to fix Ukrainian forces in place with the threat of Belarusian action, they are highly unlikely to preempt actual involvement in the war.[13]
Key Takeaways
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the leadership of its central and southern groups of forces fighting Ukraine has changed, confirming ISW’s previous assessment that the Russian high command is restructuring the leadership of operations in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian intelligence officials emphasized that Belarus remains highly unlikely to join the war in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian sources confirmed that Russian forces have taken full control of Severodonetsk and are fighting within Lysychansk.
  • Russian forces made measured gains to the north and southeast of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces continued unsuccessful attempts to advance southeast of Izyum toward Slovyansk.
  • Russian forces continued positional battles north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces attempted to strengthen their defensive lines and recapture lost positions on the Southern Axis.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.
  • Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and three supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate Main Effort—Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • Supporting Effort 1—Kharkiv City;
  • Supporting Effort 2—Southern Axis;
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas
Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine
Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Ukrainian sources confirmed on June 25 that Russian forces took full control of the entirety of Severodonetsk and are making advances on the southern outskirts of Lysychansk. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces are “consolidating” and “fortifying” positions in Severodonetsk, Syrotyne, Voronove, and Borivske following the completion of the Ukrainian withdrawal from Severodonetsk on June 24.[14] Mayor of Severodonetsk Oleksandr Stryuk confirmed that Russian forces have fully occupied Severodonetsk and are now trying to establish order within the city.[15] Several Russian sources additionally posted footage from within Severodonetsk to corroborate claims of control of the entire city, including the Azot industrial zone.[16] Russian forces are fighting within Lysychansk itself and reportedly have reached a mine and a gelatin factory on the outskirts of the city, confirmed by NASA FIRMS data of heat anomalies in the Lysychansk area (see image in-line with text).[17] The Rapid Response Brigade of the Ukrainian National Guard stated that Ukrainian positions in Lysychansk are more strategically valuable than previously held positions in Severodonetsk and suggested that Ukrainian forces may seek to launch counterattacks from within Lysychansk, though their ability to do so successfully is likely limited by continued Russian encroachment.[18]

[Source: NASA FIRMS data of heat anomalies at the Lysychansk Gelatin Factory, 48.835612188176746, 38.44200713423625]
Russian forces made incremental gains to the east of Bakhmut on June 25. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that unspecified elements of the Russian 5th Combined Arms Army are fighting around Pokrovske and Pylypchatyne, both within 15 km northeast of Bakhmut.[19] Russian forces reportedly advanced one kilometer in the area of Roty and Vershyna, both within 10 kilometers southeast of Bakhmut.[20] Deputy Information Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Daniil Bezsonov claimed that DNR troops took control of Kodema, a village 15 km southeast of Bakhmut.[21] Russian forces additionally conducted a series of unsuccessful assault operations north of Donetsk City on June 25.[22] Russian forces fought around Yasynuvata, Kostiantynivka, Vasylivka, Niu York, Marinka, and Kamyanka but did not make any confirmed advances in these areas.[23]

Russian forces continued offensive operations to the southeast of Izyum towards Slovyansk but did not make any confirmed advances on June 25.[24] The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian troops fought around Bohorodychne, Mazanivka, Dovhenke, and Dolyna, all to the northwest of Slovyansk near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border.[25] Russian forces continued to set conditions to resume offensive operations toward Slovyansk from the west of Lyman and fired on Mayaki, Psykunivka, Raihorodok, and Starodubivka, as well as reconnoitering Ukrainian positions in the area.[26]

Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Withdraw forces to the north and defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum)
Russian forces continued to fight positional battles for control of their occupied frontiers north of Kharkiv City and shelled Ukrainian positions around northern Kharkiv Oblast on June 25.[27] Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces are fighting for control of contested territory around Udy, Tsupivka, Velyki Prokhody, Kozacha Lopan, Vekhnii Saltiv, and Pytomnyk.[28] The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces north of Kharkiv City are taking measures to replenish losses, which indicates that Russian forces continue to suffer casualties in attempts to prevent further Ukrainian advances toward the international border.[29] Russian forces continued to conduct air, missile, and artillery strikes on and around Kharkiv City.[30]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces along the Southern Axis focused on defending their occupied frontiers and conducting local attacks to regain lost positions on June 25.[31] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that an unspecified Russian company tactical group unsuccessfully attempted to regain a lost position in Potomkyne from Vysokopillya in northern Kherson Oblast.[32] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that this was the second attempted Russian effort at regaining Potomkyne.[33] Russian forces continued defensive operations in Zaporizhia Oblast and reportedly attempted to attack Ukrainian positions in Huliapole.[34] The Head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Council reported that Russian forces have intensified artillery strikes along the frontline towards Kryvyi Rih in response to Ukrainian advances deep into Kherson Oblast, and Russian forces continued to fire on areas of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv, and Kherson oblasts.[35]

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)
The Ukrainian military leadership is taking measures to centralize guidance for partisan groups to better leverage partisan pressure against Russian occupation efforts. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that the Ukrainian Center for National Resistance is urging Ukrainian citizens in occupied areas to exercise cyber “hygiene” to avoid having mobile communication and internet data collected by Russian intelligence operatives and additionally to effectively organize partisan actions.[36] The Center for National Resistance called for citizens to destroy digital evidence of participation in partisan activities but cautioned against making their digital presence “too sterile” to avoid raising suspicion. Ukrainian Major General Dmitry Marchenko additionally told RFERL that Ukrainian residents of Kherson are hiding weapons and waiting for centralized instructions to take up arms on behalf of the Ukrainian military.[37] The Ukrainian military leadership likely seeks to galvanize and centrally coordinate Ukrainian partisan actions, both to disrupt Russian control and possibly prepare for coordinated operations with conventional Ukrainian forces [38]
[1] https://t dot me/mod_russia/17139; https://www.interfax dot ru/amp/847820; https://www.kommersant dot ru/amp/5433629; https://www.moscowtimes dot ru/2022/06/25/minoboroni-podtverdilo-izmeneniya-v-komandovaniyami-rossiiskimi-voiskami-v-ukraine-a21659
[2] https://t dot me/mod_russia/17139; https://www.interfax dot ru/amp/847820; https://www.kommersant dot ru/amp/5433629; https://www.moscowtimes dot ru/2022/06/25/minoboroni-podtverdilo-izmeneniya-v-komandovaniyami-rossiiskimi-voiskami-v-ukraine-a21659
[3] https://t dot me/mod_russia/17139; https://www.interfax dot ru/amp/847820; https://www.kommersant dot ru/amp/5433629; https://www.moscowtimes dot ru/2022/06/25/minoboroni-podtverdilo-izmeneniya-v-komandovaniyami-rossiiskimi-voiskami-v-ukraine-a21659
[5] https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1540571414050312192/photo/1https://gordonua dot com/news/worldnews/vmesto-dvornikova-rukovodit-vs-rf-v-ukraine-naznachili-generala-zhidko-cit-i-bellingcat-1613521.html; https://nv dot ua/world/geopolitics/aleksandr-dvornikov-zhurnalist-bellingcat-nazval-prichinu-otstraneniya-rossiyskogo-generala-50250424.html; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekQB8pOwsC4&t=932shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7ipsUZlnsk
[9] https://gur.gov dot ua/content/raketni-udary-z-terytorii-bilorusi-masshtabna-provokatsiia-rf-z-metoiu-podalshoho-vtiahnennia-bilorusi-u-viinu-proty-ukrainy.html; https://armyinform.com dot ua/2022/06/25/rosiya-vpershe-zastosuvala-dalni-bombarduvalnyky-tu-22m3-iz-terytoriyi-bilorusi/
[11] https://www.rbc dot ua/ukr/news/vadim-skibitskiy-gur-minoborony-putin-ponimaet-1656102050.html
[12] https://gur.gov dot ua/content/armiia-bilorusi-ne-zdatna-zdiisnyty-nastup-samostiino-bez-uchasti-rf-ale-kreml-trymaie-u-rezervi-tretynu-svoikh-bthr.html; https://www.rbc dot ua/ukr/news/vadim-skibitskiy-gur-minoborony-putin-ponimaet-1656102050.html
[15] https://www.rbc dot ua/ukr/news/rossiyskie-voyska-polnostyu-zahvatili-severodonetsk-1656165048.html; https://www.slovoidilo dot ua/2022/06/25/novyna/bezpeka/zaxoplennya-syevyerodoneczka-mer-okupovanoho-mista-rozpoviv-yaka-narazi-sytuacziya; https://tsn dot ua/ato/syevyerodoneck-u-rosiyskiy-okupaciyi-mer-opisav-podiyi-v-misti-2096014.html; https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russian-forces-occupy-all-ukraines-...https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/3758
[17] https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15032253; https://t.me/readovkanews/37482
[21] https://topwar dot ru/198232-rossijskie-vojska-i-nm-dnr-osvobodili-naselennyj-punkt-kodema-k-severu-ot-gorlovki.html
[36] https://sprotyv.mod.gov dot ua/2022/06/25/rosijski-speczsluzhby-vykorystovuyut-zahoplene-obladnannya-ukrayinskyh-mobilnyh-operatoriv/


2. Commando Network Coordinates Flow of Weapons in Ukraine, Officials Say

I think this is the first time modern Special Forces Jedburgh Teams have been discussed in terms of actual operations since the OSS Jedburgh Teams of WWII. Of course the concepts and make up of these teams are not identical to the WWII version.

I disagree with my friend Doug Wise. I do not think the presence of US SF/Jedburgh teams would prompt escalation by Putin. I think giving up eyes on the ground and the ability to gain deep understanding by being on the ground out of fear of escalation is a mistake and is part of our new concept of self-deterrence. Yes there are risks of having even a small number of US forces on the ground. But given Congress' recent initiative to demand how the DOD assess the moral and capabilities of allies, we are tying our hands by not having our own operators providing actual assessments of what is happening.  I think Doug's argument would be that the CIA operators on the ground can provide sufficient assessments.

The other part of the equation here is that many of the combat capabilities required by Ukraine are highly conventional combat arms weapons systems (e.g, HIMARS). Fortunately the Ukraine military is a well educated force and they appear to be able to absorb and integrate advanced western weapons systems and equipment rapidly and to good effect. But we need experts beyond SF to be able to provide much of this training though SF on the ground can provide a foundation for and provide support to this training. We need to use the right forces for the right missions.


Excerpts:

The former Trump administration official said Special Operations Command had small groups of American operators working in the field with Ukrainian officials before the war. The American teams were sometimes called Jedburgh, a reference to a World War II effort to train partisans behind enemy lines, the official said.
The modern special operations teams mainly focused on training in small-unit tactics but also worked on communications, battlefield medicine, reconnaissance and other skills requested by Ukrainian forces. Those efforts, the official said, ended before the Russian invasion but would have been helpful if they had continued during the war.
Having American trainers on the ground now might not be worth the risks, other former officials said, especially if it prompted an escalation by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
“Would the enhancement of the training be worth the possible price that is going to have to be paid?” Mr. Wise said. “An answer is probably not.”




Commando Network Coordinates Flow of Weapons in Ukraine, Officials Say

June 25, 2022
 
· by
 
Helene Cooper
 
· June 25, 2022
A secretive operation involving U.S. Special Operations forces hints at the scale of the effort to assist Ukraine’s still outgunned military.
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Ukrainian soldiers in Novopil, Ukraine, in May. American and other allied special operations forces have trained with their Ukrainian counterparts for years.Credit...Ivor Prickett for The New York Times
June 25, 2022, 11:50 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — As Russian troops press ahead with a grinding campaign to seize eastern Ukraine, the nation’s ability to resist the onslaught depends more than ever on help from the United States and its allies — including a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training, according to U.S. and European officials.
Much of this work happens outside Ukraine, at bases in Germany, France and Britain, for example. But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the massive amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials.
At the same time, a few dozen commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine. The United States withdrew its own 150 military instructors before the war began in February, but commandos from these allies either remained or have gone in and out of the country since then, training and advising Ukrainian troops and providing an on-the-ground conduit for weapons and other aid, three U.S. officials said.
Few other details have emerged about what the C.I.A. personnel or the commandos are doing, but their presence in the country — on top of the diplomatic staff who returned after Russia gave up its siege of Kyiv — hints at the scale of the secretive effort to assist Ukraine that is underway and the risks that Washington and its allies are taking.
Ukraine remains outgunned, and on Saturday, Russian forces unleashed a barrage of missiles on targets across the country, including in areas in the north and west that have been largely spared in recent weeks. President Biden and allied leaders are expected to discuss additional support for Ukraine at a meeting of the Group of 7 industrialized nations that begins in Germany on Sunday and at a NATO summit in Spain later in the week.
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group, which before the war had been training Ukrainian commandos at a base in the country’s west, quietly established a coalition planning cell in Germany to coordinate military assistance to Ukrainian commandos and other Ukrainian troops. The cell has now grown to 20 nations.
Army Secretary Christine E. Wormuth offered a glimpse into the operation last month, saying the special operations cell has helped manage the flow of weapons and equipment in Ukraine. “As the Ukrainians try to move that around and evade the Russians potentially trying to target convoys, you know, we are trying to be able to help coordinate moving all of those different sort of shipments,” she said at a national security event held by the Atlantic Council.
A destroyed home in the village of Moshchun, Ukraine, last week.Credit...Nicole Tung for The New York Times
“Another thing I think we can help with,” she said, “is intelligence about where the threats to those convoys may be.”
The cell, which was modeled after a structure used in Afghanistan, is part of a broader set of operational and intelligence coordination cells run by the Pentagon’s European Command to speed allied assistance to Ukrainian troops. At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, for example, a U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard team called Grey Wolf provides support, including on tactics and techniques, to the Ukrainian air force, a military spokesman said.
Better Understand the Russia-Ukraine War
The commandos are not on the front lines with Ukrainian troops and instead advise from headquarters in other parts of the country or remotely by encrypted communications, according to American and other Western officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational matters. But the signs of their stealthy logistics, training and intelligence support are tangible on the battlefield.
Several lower-level Ukrainian commanders recently expressed appreciation to the United States for intelligence gleaned from satellite imagery, which they can call up on tablet computers provided by the allies. The tablets run a battlefield mapping app the Ukrainians use to target and attack Russian troops.
On a street in Bakhmut, a town in the hotly contested Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, a group of Ukrainian special operations forces had American flag patches on their gear and were equipped with new portable surface-to-air missiles as well as Belgian and American assault rifles.
“What is an untold story is the international partnership with the special operations forces of a multitude of different countries,” Lt. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, told senators in April in describing the planning cell. “They have absolutely banded together in a much outsized impact” to support Ukraine’s military and special forces.
Representative Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat on the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, said in an interview that the relationships Ukrainian commandos developed with American and other counterparts over the past several years had proved invaluable in the fight against Russia.
“It’s been critical knowing who to deal with during chaotic battlefield situations, and who to get weapons to,” said Mr. Crow, a former Army Ranger. “Without those relationships, this would have taken much longer.”
The C.I.A. officers operating in Ukraine have focused on directing the intelligence that the U.S. government has been providing the Ukrainian government. Most of their work has been in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, according to current and former officials.
While the U.S. government does not acknowledge that the C.I.A. is operating in Ukraine or any other country, the presence of the officers is well understood by Russia and other intelligence services around the world.
But the agency’s expertise in training is in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, former intelligence officials say. What Ukrainians need right now is classic military training in how to use rocket artillery, like the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and other sophisticated weaponry, said Douglas H. Wise, a former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and retired senior C.I.A. officer.
“We’re talking about large-scale combat here,” Mr. Wise said. “We’re talking about modern tank-on-tank battles with massive military forces. I can’t imagine the C.I.A. training Ukrainian guys how to fire HIMARS.” The Biden administration has so far sent four of the mobile multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine and announced on Thursday that four more were on the way. They are the most advanced weapons the United States has so far supplied Ukraine, with rockets that have a range of up to 40 miles, greater than anything Ukraine has now.
Pentagon officials say a first group of 60 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained on how to use the systems and a second group is now undergoing training in Germany.
After a meeting in Brussels this month, Gen. Mark A. Milley, second from the left, and military leaders from nearly 50 countries pledged to increase the flow of advanced artillery to Ukraine.Credit...Pool photo by Yves Herman
Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the training has begun in a “rational and deliberate” manner, as Ukrainians who have historically used Soviet-era systems learn the mechanics of the more high-tech American weapons.
“It’s no good to just throw those systems into the battlefield,” General Milley told reporters traveling with him on a recent flight back to the United States after meetings with European military chiefs in France.
After a meeting in Brussels this month, General Milley and military leaders from nearly 50 countries pledged to increase the flow of advanced artillery and other weaponry to Ukraine.
“That all takes a bit of time, and it takes a significant amount of effort,” General Milley said. American troops need six to eight weeks to learn how to use the systems, but the Ukrainians have a two-week accelerated training program, he said.
Still, former military officials who have been working with the Ukrainian military have expressed frustration with some of the training efforts.
For instance, Ukrainians have struggled to evacuate soldiers wounded at the front lines. The United States could step up front-line first-aid training and advise the Ukrainians on how to set up a network of intermediate mobile hospitals to stabilize the wounded and transport them, former officials said.
“They are losing 100 soldiers a day. That is almost like the height of the Vietnam War for us; it is terrible,” a former Trump administration official said. “And they are losing a lot of experienced people.”
Army Green Berets in Germany recently started medical training for Ukrainian troops, who were brought out of the country for the instruction, a U.S. military official said.
From 2015 to early this year, American Special Forces and National Guard instructors trained more than 27,000 Ukrainian soldiers at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center in western Ukraine near the city of Lviv, Pentagon officials said.
Military advisers from about a dozen allied countries also trained thousands of Ukrainian military personnel in Ukraine over the past several years.
Since 2014, when Russia first invaded parts of the country, Ukraine has expanded its small special forces from a single unit to three brigades and a training regiment. In the past 18 months it has added a home guard company — trained in resistance tactics — to each of those brigades, Gen. Richard D. Clarke, the head of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command, told the Senate in April.
Shipments of American weapons, including Javelin antitank missiles, arriving in Ukraine in January. Credit...Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times
The Ukrainian military’s most acute training problem right now is that it is losing its most battle-hardened and well-trained forces, according to former American officials who have worked with the Ukrainians.
The former Trump administration official said Special Operations Command had small groups of American operators working in the field with Ukrainian officials before the war. The American teams were sometimes called Jedburgh, a reference to a World War II effort to train partisans behind enemy lines, the official said.
The modern special operations teams mainly focused on training in small-unit tactics but also worked on communications, battlefield medicine, reconnaissance and other skills requested by Ukrainian forces. Those efforts, the official said, ended before the Russian invasion but would have been helpful if they had continued during the war.
Having American trainers on the ground now might not be worth the risks, other former officials said, especially if it prompted an escalation by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
“Would the enhancement of the training be worth the possible price that is going to have to be paid?” Mr. Wise said. “An answer is probably not.”
Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Ukraine.
The New York Times · by Helene Cooper · June 25, 2022

3. Inside the elite extraction group rescuing civilians from Ukraine's most dangerous warzones

Excerpt:

Racing through the dust as fast as their vehicles could take, Andy Milburn, a British-American former US Marine colonel, and his team of military veterans knew they could be seen by Russian drones or spotters on the surrounding slag heaps, but had decided their humanitarian mission was worth the gambl
Inside the elite extraction group rescuing civilians from Ukraine's most dangerous warzones
The British-founded Mozart Group is one of the few organisations taking extreme risks to rescue civilians trapped under Russian bombardment
The Telegraph · by Nicola Smith
The potholed dirt road in and out of the besieged Ukrainian town of Novoluhanske last week was impossible to cross without the risk of being struck by heavy artillery fire, but there was no other escape route for terrified residents trapped in their basements for months.
Racing through the dust as fast as their vehicles could take, Andy Milburn, a British-American former US Marine colonel, and his team of military veterans knew they could be seen by Russian drones or spotters on the surrounding slag heaps, but had decided their humanitarian mission was worth the gamble.
“We wanted to get in from behind the town so we were masked from Russian artillery, but the Russians have every surface road dialled in [registered], so very quickly within seconds they can bring rounds down on vehicles travelling on it,” he said.

A map shows the proximity of Novoluhanske to the Russian frontlines Credit: Andy Milburn/The Mozart Group
As the convoy bounced towards the town, shells pounded craters in the fields on either side.
“It seemed to be what we call harassment and interdiction rounds – one round every minute or so. Those are worrying because you never know where the next one is going to land, and it looked like a couple were phosphorous,” said Mr Milburn.
Anything could go wrong, but the rescuers forged on. They had been told of a group of civilians, including children, under bombardment less than a mile from the Russian frontline and in desperate need of extraction.
“You’ve got to press the ‘I believe’ button. because otherwise you can second-guess yourself to death,” Mr Millburn said. “We didn’t know these people but it’s trust tactics and you take sensible precautions.”
His team of special operations veterans are volunteers with the Mozart Group – running daily evacuations from Ukraine’s war-torn Donbas region and riding in small, unarmed convoys into conflict hotspots that few would dare to enter.

The Mozart Group is navigating territory right next to the frontline Credit: Andy Milburn/The Mozart Group
They navigate the current hell-scape of the Donbas confident in their military expertise from decades of experience in armed forces around the world, but with the full knowledge of the extreme risks.
The Mozart Group, which has 20-30 volunteers in its ranks, was founded by Mr Milburn, who was commander of a combined special operations task force in Iraq to counter ISIS, and a former commanding officer of the Marine Raider Regiment. He originally hails from Lymington, Hampshire.
He said the group’s members were drawn together by a “sense of purpose” and “moral clarity” that was missing in the Iraq and Afghan wars. “Here we are definitely on the side of right,” he said.
Funded by donations, the group also trains the Ukrainian forces and conducts mine clearances but does not engage in fighting.

Andy Milburn, a former US marine colonel, founded the Mozart Group Credit: Andy Milburn/The Mozart Group
Novoluhanske in Donetsk lies on the cusp of territory occupied by Russian forces as they slowly advance across the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions to occupy Donbas.
Surrounding villages and towns have been flattened as Russia fires its seemingly unlimited stocks of heavy artillery indiscriminately at civilian targets regardless of the human cost.
Nobody yet knows the scale of the humanitarian disaster as civilians – trapped by the unexpected ferocity of Russia’s advance - hide hungry in the ruins of their homes.
The Mozart Group’s gambit last Thursday paid off. Working together with a local NGO, they saved 27 lives.
“When we came into the town we saw groups of people, they had got the word,” said Mr Milburn.

Locals survey the damage after shelling near Novoluhanske Credit: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
But as evacuees gathered, he was astonished that not everyone wanted to leave. Some were afraid of leaving their lives and homes behind when they had nowhere else to go; others, such as the elderly, thought they would struggle on the road; and a handful remained hopeful that peace would come, even as that looked increasingly unlikely.
A barrage of incoming shells was making the team “twitchy,” but two young children played nearby – apparently oblivious to the danger. Their mother insisted the family was going to stay.
The process of loading up the vans with people and luggage then took an hour – a nerve-wracking timeframe that offered the Russians time to respond.
As they took off, they could hear artillery striking the only route out, realising they had been rumbled. “Obviously they knew, and the rounds were closer than we wanted,” he said.
“As we were going down the road the artillery was bracketing – hitting one side and then the other so one round landed in the ditch quite close to the lead vehicle. It was very lucky. I must have been a delayed fuse because it buried and there wasn’t a huge explosion.”

Even ambulances are under attack in the Donbas Credit: Aris Messinis/AFP
After a tense 15-minute drive, they reached the relative safety of trees.
It’s not been their only close call working in a volatile and unpredictable environment.
Mr Milburn’s colleague, an Irish military veteran who did not wish to be named, recalled an uneasy moment near Lysychansk when more evacuees than vehicles turned up and they had to scramble to find more transport as bombs rained down.
A local contact provided the vehicle they needed, but an armoured personnel carrier tried to hit them with a 30mm cannon as they escaped.
“We could hear repeated fire cracking over the roof of the vehicle and it was tracking us,” he said.
The group helped rescue 33 civilians that day, including a paralysed woman.
Standing by as people remained trapped was not an option, he argued. “That old lady who couldn’t walk, nobody was bringing her out,” he said.
“My wife has warned me not to get blown up or shot or captured but the reality is that if we didn’t go there then those 33 people would not be out. That’s how you have to justify it to yourself,” he added.
“These people are there and nobody else is going in, and that’s what we’ll do again.”
The Telegraph · by Nicola Smith


4. 'We have to stay together': Biden on alliance behind Ukraine

This applies to the West as well as the US: “The U.S. doesn’t lose wars, it loses interest.” - General Mattis

The question is if and when we will lose interest?

'We have to stay together': Biden on alliance behind Ukraine
AP · by ZEKE MILLER and DARLENE SUPERVILLE · June 26, 2022
ELMAU, Germany (AP) — President Joe Biden on Sunday praised the continued unity of the global alliance confronting Russia, as he and other heads of the Group of Seven leading economies strategized on sustaining the pressure in their effort to isolate Moscow over its months-long invasion of Ukraine.
Biden and his counterparts were meeting to discuss how to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, aiming to keep fallout from the war from splintering the global coalition working to punish Moscow. They were set to announce new bans on imports of Russian gold, the latest in a series of sanctions the club of democracies hopes will further isolate Russia economically over its invasion of Ukraine.
Leaders also were coming together in a new global infrastructure partnership meant to provide an alternative to Russian and Chinese investment in the developing world.
“We’ve got to make sure we have us all staying together,” Biden said during a pre-summit sit-down with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who holds the G-7′s rotating presidency and is hosting the gathering. “You know, we’re gonna continue working on economic challenges that we face but I think we get through all this.”
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Scholz replied that the “good message” is that “we all made it to stay united, which Putin never expected,” a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sent his military across the border into Ukraine in late February.
“We have to stay together, because Putin has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G-7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to,” Biden replied, as he and Scholz sat on a terrace that overlooked the picturesque Bavarian Alps.
“We can’t let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it,” added Biden.
Other leaders echoed Biden’s praise of coalition unity.
The head of the European Union’s council of governments said the 27-member block maintains “unwavering unity” in backing Ukraine against Russia’s invasion with money and political support, but that “Ukraine needs more and we are committed to providing more.”
European Council President Charles Michel said EU governments were ready to supply “more military support, more financial means, and more political support” to enable Ukraine to defend itself and “curb Russia’s ability to wage war.”
Scholz highlighted the unity so far and said Russia’s missile strikes on residential housing in Kyiv, hours before the summit opened, showed the importance of international unity in supporting Ukraine. Biden condemned Russia’s actions as just “more of their barbarism.”
“We can say for sure that Putin did not reckon with this and it is still giving him headaches -- the great international support for Ukraine but of course also the Ukrainians’ courage and bravery in defending their own country,” Scholz said during a solo appearance at the summit.
He added that the attacks show “it is right that we stand together and support Ukrainians to defend their country, their democracy, their freedom of self-determination.”
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Biden and Scholz did not have an extensive discussion about oil price caps or inflation, said a senior Biden administration official. The leaders agreed, however, on the need for a negotiated end to the Ukraine war, but did not get into specifics on how to achieve it, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss a private conversation.
Biden and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, plus the EU, were spending Sunday in both formal and informal settings, including working sessions on the war’s effects on the global economy, including inflation, and on infrastructure.
Biden, who arrived in Germany early Sunday, said the United States and other G-7 nations will ban imports of gold from Russia. A formal announcement was expected at the summit Tuesday.
Senior Biden administration officials said gold is Moscow’s second biggest export after energy, and that banning such imports would make it more difficult for Russia to participate in global markets. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details before the announcement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the ban will “directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine.”
“Putin is squandering his dwindling resources on this pointless and barbaric war. He is bankrolling his ego at the expense of both the Ukrainian and Russian people,” Johnson said. “We need to starve the Putin regime of its funding.”
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Gold, in recent years, has been the top Russian export after energy — reaching almost $19 billion or about 5% of global gold exports, in 2020, according to the White House.
Of Russian gold exports, 90% was consigned to G-7 countries. More than 90% of those exports, or nearly $17 billion, was exported to the UK. The United States imported less than $200 million in gold from Russia in 2019, and under $1 million in 2020 and 2021.
Among the issues to be discussed are price caps on energy, which are meant to limit Russian oil and gas profits that Moscow can pump into its war effort. The idea has been championed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Michel said price caps on Russian oil imports were under discussion. But he said “we want to go into the details, we want to fine-tune ... to make sure we have a clear common understanding of what are the direct effects and what could be the collateral consequences” if such a step were to be taken by the group.
Leaders were also set to discuss how to maintain commitments addressing climate change while also solving critical energy supply needs brought on by the war.
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“There’s no watering down of climate commitments,” John Kirby, a spokesman for Biden’s National Security Council, said Saturday as the president flew to Germany.
Biden is also set to formally launch a global infrastructure partnership designed to counter China’s influence in the developing world. He had named it “Build Back Better World” and introduced the program at last year’s G-7 summit.
Biden and other leaders will announce the first projects to benefit from what the U.S. sees as an “alternative to infrastructure models that sell debt traps to low- and middle-income partner countries,” Kirby said. The projects are also supposed to help advance U.S. economic competitiveness and our national security,” he said.
___
Superville reported from Telfs, Austria. Associated Press writers Jill Lawless in London and Geir Moulson in Elmau, Germany, contributed to this report.
AP · by ZEKE MILLER and DARLENE SUPERVILLE · June 26, 2022


5. Russia-Ukraine war: one killed as Kyiv hit by missile strikes; G7 leaders gather in Germany – live updates

Was this Putin's welcome to the G7?

Russia-Ukraine war: one killed as Kyiv hit by missile strikes; G7 leaders gather in Germany – live updates
Strikes hit Shevchenkivskiy district of Ukraine capital, says mayor Vitali Klitschko; G7 leaders to discuss energy and food crisis at Bavarian retreat
The Guardian · by Matthew Weaver · June 26, 2022
From 3h ago
One civilian confirmed killed in Kyiv attack

Volkova Ekaterina, a Russain woman was among the wounded in the attack on Kyiv. Her passport was shown to reporters. Photograph: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian
Russian missiles struck a residential building and the compound of a kindergarten in central Kyiv on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five more, according to a Reuters update.
Firefighters put out a fire in a badly damaged nine-storey residential building in the central Shevchenkivskiy district, the emergency services said. Debris was strewn over parked cars outside a smouldering building with a crater in its roof.
“They (rescuers) have pulled out a seven-year-old girl. She is alive. Now they’re trying to rescue her mother,” Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said
“There are people under the rubble,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app. He added that several people had already been hospitalised.
At another site about 400 metres away, a Reuters photographer saw a large blast crater by a playground in a private kindergarten that had smashed windows. Some privately-held storage garages in the area were completely destroyed.
Russia’s defence ministry said it had used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army training centres in the regions of Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv, an apparent reference to strikes reported by Ukraine on Saturday.
There was no immediate comment about Sunday’s strikes on Kyiv. Moscow denies targeting civilians.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Group of Seven countries holding a three-day summit in Germany to impose further sanctions on Moscow and to provide more heavy weapons.
A Ukrainian air force spokesperson said between four to six long-range missiles were fired from Russian bombers more than a thousand kilometres away in the southern Russian region of Astrakhan that looks out onto the Caspian Sea.
He said some of the incoming missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defences.
Ukraine’s police chief Ihor Klymenko said on national television that five people had been wounded. Police later confirmed that one person had died.
Russian missiles struck near the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy on Sunday, killing one person and hitting a bridge that helps connect western regions with eastern battle zones, according to Reuters citing Ukrainian officials.
Cherkasy has been largely untouched by bombardment since the war started in February, but Russia has stepped up missile attacks across Ukraine this weekend.
“Today, the enemy launched missile attacks on the Cherkasy region. There are 2 strikes near the regional centre. One dead and five wounded. Infrastructure damaged,” said regional governor Ihor Taburets on the Telegram app.
He did not provide further details, but a presidential adviser told Reuters one of the missiles targeted a bridge across the Dnipro river.
“They are trying to limit the transfer of our reserves and western weapons to the east,” adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a message.
“It means that these kinds of transfers are going well and causing them major issues.”
He did not say how damaged the bridge was. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, says the Russia’s missile strikes against the city destroyed more than 220 apartments.
He also said the timing of the attack appeared to be “symbolic”.
VIDEO: A Russian missile strike that hit Kyiv is an act of "symbolic aggression" in the days leading up to a NATO summit, says the city's mayor Vitali Klitschko pic.twitter.com/A1M3eZ47dr
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 26, 2022

Partners of G7 leaders, Brigitte Macron, Britta Ernst, Carrie Johnson, Amelie Derbaudrenghien and Heiko von Der Leyen receive Nordic Walking instructions by former German biathlete and cross country skier Miriam Neureuther and former German Alpine skier Christian Neureuther Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters
Meanwhile, the G7 partners and spouses have gone for an alpine hike complete with nordic ski poles.
G7 wags have gone for a hike.... pic.twitter.com/T6AptohUgO
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) June 26, 2022
Updated at 09.52 EDT
Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, says attacks by Russia on residential buildings in Kyiv show the importance of international unity in supporting Ukraine, AP reports.
Speaking after hosting the first session of the G7 summit, Scholz emphasised the unity of G7 on Ukraine. He said:
We can say for sure that Putin did not reckon with this and it is still giving him a headache — the great international support for Ukraine but of course also the Ukrainians’ courage and bravery in defending their own country.
That this is a brutal war that Putin is waging, we have now once again seen with rocket attacks on houses in Kyiv — that shows it is right that we stand together and support Ukrainians to defend their country, their democracy, their freedom of self-determination.
Scholz said that he and US President Joe Biden were of one mind about what needs to be done.
Scholz, who has faced criticism at home and abroad for perceived reluctance to send Ukraine heavy weapons, said that “Germany and the US will always act together when it comes to questions of Ukraine’s security.”

People gather to protest against Nato in Madrid, Spain Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Thousands of anti-war protesters people have taken to the streets of Madrid ahead of a Nato summit later this week.
Amid tight security, leaders of the member countries will meet in Madrid between 29-30 June as the organisation faces the unprecedented challenge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Nato is expected to consider the bid, opposed by alliance-member Turkey, for Finland and Sweden to join.

The Nordic nations applied in the wake of the Russian assault on Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a special military operation he says in part responds to the accession to NATO of other countries near post-Soviet Russia’s borders since the 1990s.
“Tanks yes, but of beer with tapas,” sang demonstrators, who claimed an increase in defence spending in Europe urged by Nato was a threat to peace.

“I am fed up (with) this business of arms and killing people. The solution they propose is more arms and wars and we always pay for it. So, no Nato, no bases, let the Americans go and leave us alone without wars and weapons,” said Concha Hoyos, a retired Madrid resident, told Reuters.
Another protester, Jaled, 29, said Nato was not the solution to the war in Ukraine.
Organisers claimed 5,000 people joined the march, but authorities in Madrid put the number at 2,200.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the summit would also focus on the threat from Europe’s southern flank in Africa, in which he said Russia posed a threat to Europe.
“The foreign ministers’ dinner on the 29th will be centred on the southern flank,” he told El Pais newspaper.
Andriy Yermak, the head of office to Presisent Zelenksiy, has called on the G7 to respond to Russia’s missile attacks on Kyiv with more aggressive sanctions.
He tweeted that Russian gas as well as gold should be banned.
The #G7 states should respond to new Russian terror attacks on cities. Sanctions should be more aggressive. We appreciate embargo on RF gold exports, but gas embargo should be included in the new sanctions package.
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) June 26, 2022
Yermak also called for naval assistance in the Black Sea, to help lift Russia grip on Ukraine’s ports.
Third parties' navy convoys to unlock our ports are a feasible response to the food crisis.
Russia designation a state sponsor of terrorism is absolutely necessary.
Heavy weapons for are a way to defeat a foe who understands the force language only.
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) June 26, 2022
Jackets stayed on for the G7 family photo, but ties were off.
World leaders at the G7 summit in Germany have gathered for the 'family photo'.

The meeting is set to be dominated by the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.https://t.co/ms5xcMX5g6

Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/FY9ymQEjH2
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 26, 2022

Leaders of the G7 gather for lunch on the first day of a summit at Elmau Castle in Kruen, Germany Photograph: Filippo Attili/CHIGI PALACE PRESS OFFICE/EPA
World leaders mocked Vladimir Putin’s tough-man image at a G7 lunch, joking about whether they should strip down to shirtsleeves - or even less, AFP reports.
“Jackets on? Jackets off? Do we take our coats off?” Boris Johnson asked as he sat down at the table in Bavaria’s picturesque Elmau Castle, where Chancellor Olaf Scholz was hosting the summit of seven powerful democracies.
The leaders - from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and also the European Union - pondered the dilemma.
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, suggested “let’s wait” for the official picture before disrobing, but then Johnson quipped “we have to show that we’re tougher than Putin” and the joke kept rolling.
“We’re going to get the bare-chested horseback riding display,” Trudeau said, referring to Putin’s infamous 2009 photo-op of himself riding shirtless on a horse.
“Horseback riding is the best,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, without apparently weighing in on the clothing issue itself.
The leaders posed - jackets on - for photos before reporters were hustled out of the room, leaving the sartorial debate behind closed doors.
Updated at 09.21 EDT
Boris Johnson said he would be “honoured” to host Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a state visit if the Ukrainian president felt able to leave his war-torn country, PA reports.
The prime minister stressed the most important thing now for Ukraine was for western leaders at the G7 summit in Germany to remain united in support of President Zelensky.
“I think that Volodymyr Zelenskiy has done an absolutely amazing job of leading his country and leading world opinion in an appalling time,” Johnson told ITV News at the summit in Bavaria.
Asked if he wanted to offer the Ukrainian leader a state visit, Johnson said:
If he ever becomes free to leave and it makes sense for him to leave Ukraine, then obviously the UK would be only too honoured to host him.
But the most important thing is for us to continue to be united here at the G7. And we are.
The Sunday Times reported that ministers were considering offering Zelensky a state visit, including a meeting with the Queen.
Tory officials would also like him to address the party’s conference in October, possibly via a video link, the newspaper reported.
Zelenskiy, who will address G7 leaders by video link on Monday, pleaded for more air defence support from western allies.
After dozens of Russian missiles targeted Ukrainian towns and cities, he used his nightly address to say:
This confirms that sanctions packages against Russia are not enough, that Ukraine needs more armed assistance, and that air defence systems - the modern systems that our partners have - should be not in training areas or storage facilities, but in Ukraine, where they are now needed.
“Needed more than anywhere else in the world.
France on Sunday urged oil producers to cap prices to help put the squeeze on Russia, AFP reports.
Paris backs a US proposal for a maximum oil price, but the French presidency said that “it would be much more powerful if it came from the producing countries.”
To make such a measure work, it was “necessary to get into a discussion with OPEC+ and with the world’s oil producers,” said the source, referring to the 23-country group.
The United States had suggested a price cap decided by consuming countries, a proposal that is due to be discussed by G7 leaders meeting in the Bavarian Alps on Sunday.
But Germany believes that the measure would be too difficult to put in place.
A senior German official said “we are still intensively discussing how this would work and how that can fit in with the American, British, European and Japanese sanction regimes.”
EU President Charles Michel also said discussions were ongoing but “we want to go more into the details”.
“We want to make sure that ... the goal is to target Russia and not to make our life more difficult and more complex,” he said.
One civilian confirmed killed in Kyiv attack

Volkova Ekaterina, a Russain woman was among the wounded in the attack on Kyiv. Her passport was shown to reporters. Photograph: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian
Russian missiles struck a residential building and the compound of a kindergarten in central Kyiv on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five more, according to a Reuters update.
Firefighters put out a fire in a badly damaged nine-storey residential building in the central Shevchenkivskiy district, the emergency services said. Debris was strewn over parked cars outside a smouldering building with a crater in its roof.
“They (rescuers) have pulled out a seven-year-old girl. She is alive. Now they’re trying to rescue her mother,” Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said
“There are people under the rubble,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app. He added that several people had already been hospitalised.
At another site about 400 metres away, a Reuters photographer saw a large blast crater by a playground in a private kindergarten that had smashed windows. Some privately-held storage garages in the area were completely destroyed.
Russia’s defence ministry said it had used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army training centres in the regions of Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv, an apparent reference to strikes reported by Ukraine on Saturday.
There was no immediate comment about Sunday’s strikes on Kyiv. Moscow denies targeting civilians.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Group of Seven countries holding a three-day summit in Germany to impose further sanctions on Moscow and to provide more heavy weapons.
A Ukrainian air force spokesperson said between four to six long-range missiles were fired from Russian bombers more than a thousand kilometres away in the southern Russian region of Astrakhan that looks out onto the Caspian Sea.
He said some of the incoming missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defences.
Ukraine’s police chief Ihor Klymenko said on national television that five people had been wounded. Police later confirmed that one person had died.
Summary
  • Kyiv has come under attack for the first time since 5 June, with Russian missiles striking at residential buildings and a Kindergarten in the Shevchenkivskyi district of the capital. At least five people were injured including a seven-year-old girl. There are unconfirmed reports that her father was killed in the attack. A Russian woman was among the injured.
  • Later there were further reports of attacks on the outskirts of Kyiv and in Cherkasy south-east of the capital. The attacks are being seen as a defiant signal by Russia to G7 leaders gathering at a summit in Bavaria. Russia said it hit military targets in Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv.
  • Members of the G7 have confirmed a ban on imports of Russian gold. The move by Britain, the United States, Japan and Canada is part of efforts to tighten the sanctions squeeze on Moscow. Gold exports were worth $15.2bn to Russia in 2021, and their importance has increased since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The UK and France have agreed to provide more support for Ukraine, according to Downing Street. Leaders of the G7 have spoken of the their solidarity over Ukraine. “We have to stay together,” Joe Biden said.
  • Russian forces are trying to cut off the strategic twin city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine, having reduced Sievierodonetsk to rubble. Lysychansk is set to become the next main focus of fighting, as Moscow has launched massive artillery bombardments and airstrikes on areas far from the heart of the eastern battles. Ukraine called its retreat from Sievierodonetsk a “tactical withdrawal” to fight from higher ground in Lysychansk on the opposite bank of the Siverskyi Donets river.
  • Russian news footage has showed defence minister Sergei Shoigu’s visiting troops involved in the Ukraine war. It is unlcear if he visited Ukrainian territory, but the footage appeared to confirm that Colonel-General Gennady Zhidko is now commanding troops in Ukraine.
  • The mayors of several European capitals have been duped into holding video calls with a deepfake of their counterpart in Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko. The mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, took part in a scheduled call on the Webex video conferencing platform on Friday with a person she said looked and sounded like Klitschko. “There were no signs that the video conference call wasn’t being held with a real person,” her office said in a statement.
  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on Saturday that Ukraine will win back all the cities it has lost to Russia, including Sievierodonetsk. “All our cities – Sievierodonetsk, Donetsk, Luhansk – we’ll get them all back,” he said in a late-night video address. Zelenskiy also admitted that the war was becoming difficult to emotionally handle.
Updated at 07.17 EDT

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron ahead of their bilateral meeting on the first day of the three-day G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany Photograph: Getty Images
The UK and France have agreed to provide more support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, Boris Johnson’s office said on Sunday as the leaders met on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
“They agreed this is a critical moment for the course of the conflict, and there is an opportunity to turn the tide in the war,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement.
Both men “stressed the need to support Ukraine to strengthen their hand in both the war and any future negotiations. President Macron praised the Prime Minister’s ongoing military support to Ukraine and the leaders agreed to step up this work,” the spokesperson said.
A French presidency official said France backs banning Russian gold exports.
The official said Paris was not opposed to a cap on Russian oil prices, but wanted the G7 to discuss a price shield that would cap oil and gas prices to rein in inflation.
The official added that the G7 were fully united in intensifying their support for Ukraine after the intensification of the conflict in recent days.
Updated at 06.41 EDT
Ukraine fears Russia could attack Kyiv throughout the day.
Zelensky advisor Arestovych warns that Russia could attack Kyiv throughout the day. This morning a Russian rocket hit a residential building, injuring a little girl and reportedly killing her father. Just over an hour ago, two more explosions were heard in the capital. https://t.co/ZQo2dNCsiY
— Isobel Koshiw (@IKoshiw) June 26, 2022
Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday it had used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army training centres in the Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv regions of Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported, Reuters reports.
Earlier on Sunday Ukraine had said that Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Ukraine of trying to cancel its Russian history. The Russian embassy in London tweeted Lavrov saying that Ukraine has no history at all without Russia.
FM #Lavrov#Ukraine tried to build its sovereignty by cancelling its own history. But it does not have a history without the Russian people, none at all. pic.twitter.com/fJzOoFebgC
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) June 26, 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes US President Joe Biden, for a bilateral meeting at Castle Elmau in Bavaria, Germany. Photograph: Michael Kappeler/AP
US President Joe Biden on Sunday praised Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his leadership in the wake of Russia’s war against Ukraine and urged the West to stay united, AFP reports.
“We have to stay together,” Biden told Scholz at a meeting ahead of the G7 summit in the German Alps.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had been hoping “that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter,” Biden said. “But we haven’t and we’re not going to.”
Biden met his German host in the picturesque Elmau Castle where the G7 - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - was holding a three-day summit dominated by the crisis in Ukraine.
Biden praised Scholz’s leadership as current chair of the G7 at a time of upheaval in Europe triggered by Russia’s war and subsequent global economic fallout.
“I want to compliment you for stepping up as you did when you became chancellor” and “the way you had a great impact on the rest of Europe to move, particularly relating to Ukraine,” Biden told Scholz.
The 79-year-old Democrat also fondly recalled his skiing days, telling Scholz that the Alpine setting was “beautiful.”
A senior US official said Washington has been “investing very heavily” in the relationship with Germany since Biden took office almost two and a half years ago.
Their talks were “a good opportunity to affirm the deep and enduring ties between our two countries. In terms of the meeting agenda, expect that Russia and Ukraine are going to be at the top of the list, including our continued close coordination on the political and diplomatic front,” the official said.
The Guardian · by Matthew Weaver · June 26, 2022


6. Timid west must draw a line in the sea and break Vladimir Putin’s criminal blockade

This is one area the G7 must focus on. I hope they commit to ensuring Ukraine grain is distributed throughout the world. Failure to fix this problem is going to result in destabilization throughout the developing world.

Political courage. Leaders need to look themselves in the mirror and ask if they have such courage.

Timid west must draw a line in the sea and break Vladimir Putin’s criminal blockade | Simon Tisdall
Political courage is required to prevent Moscow weaponising food supplies and risking starvation for millions
The Guardian · by Simon Tisdall · June 26, 2022
How much longer can the western powers delay decisive action to break Russia’s illegal Black Sea food blockade? The UN warns this reckless maritime siege, now entering its fifth month, threatens “catastrophe on top of catastrophe” for tens of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people dependent on Ukraine’s grain exports. Yet Nato and EU leaders are visibly floundering, disunited and distracted as apocalyptic disaster looms.
Questions about the west’s response to the Ukraine invasion – what weapons to send, whether Nato should act more forcibly – must be viewed in this larger context: the necessity of defending fundamental humanitarian principles upon which the UN and the global rules-based order have been based for 75 years. It’s about blameless victims of a manmade atrocity. It’s about decency, about leadership.
What Vladimir Putin is doing, right now, by weaponising staple food prices, creating artificial shortages, and risking starvation and famine among 100 million people from the Horn of Africa and the Sahel to Central America, constitutes a crime against humanity. That’s an act purposefully committed by a state as part of a systematic policy directed against civilians. There is no argument. He’s gone rogue. He must be stopped.
Ideally, the Russian people would do this themselves. Yet out of fear, impotence or ignorance, most now occupy a moral vacuum where a respected country used to be. So what are Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz and all the other democratic leaders waiting for? Putin is mining Odesa’s waters, bombing silos and stealing grain. How many children must die horribly before they draw a line in the sea?
Fear corrodes the will to act, even though rampant price inflation imperils their national interest. Soon after the blockade began, Lithuania, bravely punching above its weight, proposed a naval “coalition of the willing”, preferably under UN authority, to escort Ukrainian grain carriers past Russian warships from Odesa to the Bosphorus. It’s an entirely reasonable idea.
But it hasn’t happened – mainly because Biden disproportionately fears direct Nato-Russia confrontation, because the UN security council is paralysed, and because Macron and Scholz privately oppose it. The Paris-Berlin dynamic duo, AKA the two stooges, still believe they can talk their way out of trouble by pressing Kyiv to give ground and making nice with a monster.
Alternative export routes have been floated, principally expanded use of trains and lorries. But only a fraction of the 20m tonnes of grain trapped in Ukraine’s over-full silos could be shifted this way. Meanwhile, with the ripening summer harvest imminent and no place to store it, endless diplomatic exchanges get nowhere fast.
The blockade was discussed at Friday’s EU summit and a special “food summit” in Berlin. It will feature at this week’s G7 and Nato meetings, too. Talk-shops are all very well. But with a heedless Russia on the rampage, concrete action is needed.
That was the lesson of hapless UK foreign secretary Liz Truss’s visit to Turkey last week which, like her trip to Moscow in February, achieved precisely nothing. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime, buying missiles from Russia while claiming to be a loyal Nato partner, has been predictably two-faced since the war began.
Ostensibly mediating a solution, Ankara gave a platform this month to foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Moscow’s liar-in-chief. “The Russian Federation is not creating any obstacle for the passage of ships or vessels,” Lavrov declared without a blush. Then the silly man gave himself the lie, by suggesting grain would flow freely if sanctions were lifted.
Food has become a more potent weapon in his war with the international community than either oil and gas cuts or nuclear blackmail
food has become a more potent weapon in his war with the international community than either oil and gas cuts or nuclear blackmail
For all the angry condemnation, Putin may be winning, at least over the blockade. Some African countries appear persuaded by Moscow’s propaganda claiming western sanctions are the problem. Putin knows the prospect of mass migration, sparked by hunger, touches a deep European nerve. In some ways, food has become a more potent weapon in his war with the international community than either oil and gas cuts or nuclear blackmail.
The longer the blockade continues, the worse things will get, in terms of food emergencies and political fallout. Import-dependent Egypt and Lebanon, for example, will face intensifying unrest as bread queues lengthen. War-ravaged Yemen, where 19 million people are already food insecure, is chronically unstable. For many in drought-hit Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan, the outlook grows desperate.
Is the west really powerless to stop this crime without making humiliating concessions? No, say analysts Bryan Clark and Bill Schneider of Washington’s Hudson Institute. If Biden and allies such as the UK were a little bolder, they suggested in an online discussion, Russia might be deterred from blocking Ukraine’s grain.
Specifically, enhanced deterrence at sea could be achieved using long-range unmanned aerial systems such as US-made Gray Eagle strike drones, recently promised to Kyiv. The advanced drones, to be commanded by Ukrainians but operated remotely by contractors, carry Hellfire missiles and would enable Ukraine “to detect, track and locate Russian surface ships and if necessary sink them”, Schneider said.
Increasing the Russian warships’ sense of vulnerability from the air could be enough to break the blockade without resorting to offensive action, Clark said. More sophisticated UAV capabilities could also reduce the chances of surface clashes with western escort vessels. The Black Sea fleet’s Kilo-class submarines might be similarly deterred by provision of anti-submarine warfare technology.
To work, such kinetic solutions require a degree of political courage, imagination and determination so far lacking in the White House and western capitals, as symbolised by last-minute Pentagon delays in delivering Gray Eagle drones. That has to change. Putin’s starvation war is his new Holodomor for the world. The Nato and G7 summiteers must sink his blockade and send him to the bottom. If they truly want to, they can.
The Guardian · by Simon Tisdall · June 26, 2022

7. Transcript of Pompeo Speech on Ukraine and a Global Alliance for Freedom - by Hudson Institute

Two provocative points, among a number:

Recognize Taiwan and create an Asian "NATO-like" security alliance.

Excerpts:

“So, our approach to promoting the Indo-Pacific security was to believe that our relationship with Taiwan should be reinforced at every turn. It’s become a shining example in Taiwan of democracy, democracy for Asian peoples, and a hope to all of Asia. And it is my steadfast view that our government should immediately confer diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, for it is a free and sovereign country. Our recognition of Taiwan should not hinge on what will occur. Taiwan is already an independent country. Our government should simply reflect that fact.
...
“In the Indo-Pacific, America must continue to expand the quadrilateral security dialogue to incorporate the Republic of Korea, Great Britain, and France, in addition to Japan, Australia, India, and the United States. The AUKUS Union should be folded into this expanded security alliance.



Transcript of Pompeo Speech on Ukraine and a Global Alliance for Freedom - by Hudson Institute
hudson.org · by Hudson Institute
WASHINGTON — Below is the transcript of the speech by Hudson Distinguished Fellow and the 70th U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will give today at Hudson Institute on the future of Ukraine and why the U.S. should defend Taiwan from Chinese aggression:
“It’s great to be here at the Hudson Institute. To those of you from the Ambassadors Court, thank you for being here. Honored guests and friends, it’s an honor to greet you. I consider it an enormous responsibility to speak to you about a matter of the utmost urgency and significance. It involves war, Ukraine, and the necessity of forming a new global alliance for freedom, which has to contest, which must contest both Russian and Chinese aggression.
“I last had the privilege of meeting with President Zelenskyy in January 2020. How different the world seemed then. But unlike the presidency that the Trump administration followed, America did not hesitate in supplying Ukraine with weapons, such as the Javelin, which broke the back of Russia’s armed advance to Ukraine’s capital. I looked back at this as I was preparing for this speech, at the joint press conference with President Zelenskyy. Your nation’s heroic president thanked the Trump administration for our support of Ukraine in the war and the Donbas and your efforts to reclaim Crimea. A war for freedom now rages in Ukraine, it demands that we speak with absolute candor and with unlimited certainty of purpose.
“Let’s start at the beginning. Ukraine must be free and freedom requires strength and dignity. To be secure, Ukraine must always be a sovereign, not constrained by another nation’s territorial incursions or influence. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an inflection point in the post-Cold War politics. John referred to my time as a young soldier, then serving on the then East German border. Here we are, that border still challenged, the European front attacked. So what does this say? What does this portend for Europe? How does this war affect Russia’s affiliation with China and that country’s actions with respect to Taiwan? And what lessons must we draw for our security and for our freedom throughout the entirety of the world?
“At the center of these questions, and a question I want to answer to all today, is why does this matter? Why does this matter to the United States of America? Why should America support Ukraine? And why should it matter to citizens far flung across our great country? Why should a machinist in Wichita, Kansas, or a school teacher in Des Moines care about what happens in the Donbas? It is my hope today that we will find answers because to find those answers is vital to liberty, for our own people here at home. We know this in America, the gift of freedom is always purchased. This fact is iridescent today in Ukraine. Men and women of extraordinary intrepidity are sacrificing themselves to secure liberty for their children and for their countrymen. And because of their courage, the Ukrainian people’s courage against harrowing odds, I am confident that Ukraine will live. And the deeds that this generation achieved and their heroism that is on display today will forever be remembered. Not just in Ukraine, but all across the world.
“For when the preponderance of a nation, that’s never known war for a lifetime thinks freedom cheap they create risk. Sometimes freedom appears as an afterthought that is plentiful as the air we breathe. It’s not, it is rare. It is the most precious commodity. The most precious commodity that humanity has ever attained. This is the lesson that Ukraine is teaching us all. They’re teaching America’s children, and it is perhaps the most important message that they will ever be taught.
“Virtue. Virtue is the prerequisite for freedom for it provides the boundary that enables exercise, without unduly limiting or infringing upon the rights of others. Keep this thought in your head as I speak today. This safeguarding, the safeguarding the exercises’ of freedom, depends on virtue in its totality. Liberty is freedom. Liberty is freedom from molestation by an oppressive government or authority. And freedom is crushed. Freedom is crushed if virtue is not prized. Vladimir Putin’s utter lack of basic humanity ensures that as long as he remains in power, Russia will be virtual prison and no nation that borders its expanse will ever be safe.
“Liberty. Liberty as promised in our Declaration of Independence and as guaranteed by our Constitution and guaranteed by the constitution of Ukraine is thus only possible, if limited government is practiced and not enlarged for expansive government, through its desire to accrete power, subverts individual agency and choice, ultimately destroying liberty. I worked on this as a member of Congress. And this choice ultimately destroys liberty if we centralize. Economic security begins with this understanding, and I want to talk about economic security. Ukraine, like America before, is the magnificent answer to the questions that I’ve raised. You can see it, you can feel it. Is freedom worth dying for? And the question that gets asked in my hometown is, but should America be involved in this war? We’re not the world’s policemen, Mike. But I tell them because this is clear, by assisting Ukraine, America bolsters our own security without the involvement in combat of our men and women. We’re not going to send America’s military into this war, our president has made that clear. But we can do so much.
“We can do what President Zelenskyy has asked. We must aid Ukraine, for to do so in part is our first duty to America and to Americans. It’s because supporting Ukraine, we prevent larger European conflict. A war that would almost certainly involve America’s military because we have a deep commitment to the NATO treaty and Article Five there in. By helping Ukraine, we prevent Russia’s reconstitution of the Soviet Empire, the thing that I studied about when I was a cadet at West Point. That empire, if rebuilt even in small measure, would dictate world fossil fuel supplies causing massive economic hemorrhaging in America and throughout the globe affecting every single American.
“By aiding Ukraine, we undermined the creation of a Russian-Chinese axis bent on exerting military and economic hegemony in Europe, in Asia and in the Middle East. This would further devastate the lives of Americans and our economy here at home. Indeed, by empowering Ukraine, we demonstrate to China the cost of invading Taiwan. Or frankly exerting its influence in nations all across the world, thus helping to thwart an assault that would rupture the living standards of the world by crippling supplies of goods, such as semiconductors. Look, we must act in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, lest we undercut America’s self-interest. It is a deeply American mission.
“I served in a unique administration. I’m proud of that uniqueness. And in the Trump administration, before the global pandemic induced by China, we created the greatest economy America has ever known. The strength of America’s economy propelled by affordable and abundant supplies of fossil fuels was a bulwark and an enormous tool for America’s Secretary of State. It was a bulwark against Russian and Chinese expansionism. Today our economy is at risk. Stripped of our energy dominance, subdued by our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, subjected to waves of undocumented immigrants coerced by transnational criminal organizations. Shattered by inflation, due to deeply irresponsible federal spending and pummeled by lawlessness as we approach a precipice here at America. A broadened European war would push us over the edge and spell unmitigated disaster for our economy.
“Farmers from my home state in Kansas would see their markets evaporate as our nation’s manufacturers in all towns, in all cities. I ran a machine shop in Wichita before I lost my mind and ran for Congress. It would be devastating to American manufacturing not to support what’s taking place in Ukraine today. Every American, every American would face the burden of exponentially higher costs of living on top of what we’re already facing.
“You need not guess about this next fact. Putin has proclaimed that there is no intermediate state. Either a country is sovereign or it is a colony. Xi Jinping believes the same. This war, Putin’s war, is to expunge Ukraine as a sovereign nation and as a people. Ukraine is to be folded into the new Russian Empire that seeks to become a rump of the Soviet Union. Nine, count them, nine American presidents from each of our political parties. Nine American presidents dismembered the Soviet Empire at enormous great human costs, to allow it to even begin to be reconstitution unthinkable.
“Putin’s illegal assault of war represents a planned genocide, which is deliberate obliteration of a people, as defined by the 1948 United Nations. Though each genocide is different and unique as John mentioned, the one taking place in Xinjiang. This genocide that we’re seeing today is like the Holodomor engineered by Stalin that murdered millions of Ukrainians and it must be named to be fought.
“I get asked all time, “Has Putin changed?” In 2005, Putin declared the demise of the Soviet Union as one of the greatest tragedies in history. In 2007, he enunciated his rationale for conquest in terms that would be familiar to dictators who ruled Europe almost 90 years ago. Putin’s been consistent. He’s been consistent in his revanchist objectives. In Grozny in 1999. In Georgia in 2008. And in Ukraine in 2014.
“Today is different however. Putin’s intentions haven’t changed, but his calculus of risk did change. The implacable resolve of the administration, which I served gave pause to Putin’s vicious goals. For he knew if he invaded Ukraine, he would face a whirlwind. I made this clear to the president of Russia when I spoke with him, to my counterpart Lavrov and I think they both understood the might that I represented. Look, Putin may or may not be ill, but what is certain, what is certain is that he cannot contain his murderous fury. That he still leads a country exemplifies Russia’s decline into the abyss of madness.
“A mass murderer. A mass murderer is someone who kills a large number of people at one time. A serial killer murders sequentially. Only in war therefore can a man be both a mass murderer and a serial killer. Putin is that. I pray that Russia will reclaim its soul, its country’s soul. But it cannot do so as long it is led by a man who does not evince any concern for the horrific carnage he has wrought, or any concern for his own people.
“Putin has this dream, to reestablish a lost empire. If America behaves properly, it will not occur. And we know this, we know that the dreams of dictators quickly become nightmares, if the world has resolved. As with so many tyrants before and Putin has sought refuge from his maladministration corruption and unaccountable crimes by taking his nation into war. What Putin has ordained, however, is not war with any justifiable purpose, but a pact of death, a pact of death to which Putin has forced his nation’s signature. The Russian people and their armed forces are now paying dearly for their toleration of what must never have been tolerated. Russia’s power has exceeded its wisdom, which itself must rest on decency if wisdom is to be meaningful at all. There will be repercussions for this calamitous war. This calamitous war results from the change in perception of Vladimir Putin. And that begins with mechanisms of conquest being allowed to feed on Europe’s and the world’s demands for natural gas and other hydrocarbons. The greater part of Russia’s federal budget continues to be funded by its energy sector, which rests on oil, coal and natural gas revenue. Comprehending that Russia’s inexplicable decline due to its endemic corruption and its demographic collapse, Putin, in order to secure his own rule, covets that natural gas and coal of the Donbas and Ukraine’s untouched oil fields that he may be open to fracking.
“Also sought are Ukraine’s warm water ports and the pipelines Putin seeks to permanently control, including those with access to China. It is my conviction that America and the West must acknowledge the centrality of hydrocarbon energy to the world geopolitics and indeed to man’s ability, humanity’s ability to adapt a cornerstone of life. Adaptation results from prosperity, which is made possible through the use of fossil fuels. The present administration has a different approach. They assert that America’s energy producers gouge and must produce more fuel all at the same time. Today’s obscene fuel prices should stimulate increased output. But for the fact that our government’s degrowth policy stand in the way of that increase in output. Central to America’s place in the world and our support of Ukraine is that these radical policies must be eradicated. If we’re to regain our energy dominance, which we must, we must eliminate these policies. Russia and China understand this. Many advanced countries, however, do not. For we’ve become enraptured by unreal narratives.
“Thank you, Greta. This war is a clarion call. Energy and economic security along with military strength are the pillars upon which geostrategic power and peace rest. Energy is the fundamental basis for everything we consume. If energy prices spiral further, the economies of every nation will fragment, leading to massive worldwide recession and to authoritarian regimes coalescing their power in a time of turmoil and political strife. Indeed, if Russia has allowed dominion over the Donbas and Ukraine’s coast, Putin will next seek control of the energy resources of other independent countries as well that were once part of this Soviet empire. Russia will become a juggernaut, dominating fossil fuels in addition to its present lead in supplying nuclear power plants to recipient nations.
“This will serve and can serve as citadels to which Russian military forces may be deployed without any notice or any warning. This is what’s at stake. Nothing less. Had the current administration maintained American energy dominance rather than prostrate itself to radicals, America could have led the way in securing the world’s hydrocarbon needs during this war. But because America’s abdicated this vital role, the war in Ukraine is compounding the pain that consumers are feeling today to cool their homes and to drive their vehicles. Farmers in Kansas can’t fuel their tractors. Fertilizer, 300% increase in cost to help continue to feed the world. Again, I ask why does this matter to hardworking Americans? I’ve given many reasons, but it’s in part because if Russia controls Ukraine’s energy, today’s ruinous prices of the pump will be remembered as a type of cheap gas.
“Contrary to Russian propaganda, Ukraine has always maintained its own unique culture, language and identity. This should always be so, so long as the Ukrainian people are prepared to fight to defend it. This maintenance of distinctiveness during protective periods of foreign deprivations is the mark of a great people. A great people who have sought independence throughout their history. In our country, America’s founders decided that people of a common past, people of a shared future, people of a common purpose have the right to choose a path for themselves. And so must it be in Ukraine. The ancient Greek geographer and historian Herodotus wrote of the Ukrainian homeland. Before the time of Charlemagne, a polity was established in the land that is now Ukraine. It is a country of immense historical, linguistical and cultural roots, which deserves the world’s admiration.
“One of our greatest Ukrainian Americans was Ambassador Lev Dobriansky. Instrumental in the formulation of what became Public Law 86-90, as well as the plans to free the captive nations that were the constituent parts of the then Soviet Union. These nations were unchained in 1991 because of the collapse of the Soviet Union. And we dare not let any of them be recaptured by Russia. Ambassador Dobriansky had it right. Ambassador Dobriansky worked tirelessly to create a Ukrainian memorial to the great Ukrainian poet and patriot Taras Shevchenko. President Eisenhower signed that law that authorized the monument. Shevchenko was born into serfdom. His liberty had to be purchased. This is why Shevchenko devoted his life to attaining freedom for his people. He and America’s great abolitionist, Frederick Douglas, who himself was born into slavery, shared a common quest for seeking dignity for all of humanity.
“On the base of the Shevchenko memorial are inscribed these words. They read, “When will Ukraine have its own Washington with fair and just laws? Someday we will.” I believe Ukraine has found it’s Washington in the embodiment of a single man. His name is Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He has led the world at a time of great peril. For centuries, Russia has been revered for its innumerable artists and scientists. But in mere months, Vladimir Putin has turned the world’s perception of his country into one of absolute disgusted and disdain. Russia employed a ballistic missile to murder over 50 civilians at the train station in Kramatorsk. This is butchering. This is nothing less than butchering cowardice to compensate for the failing Russian army. Putin has brought great shame, exodus and poverty to the Russian people. And in the wake of that missile attack, Russia’s homicidal rage in Bucha, its merciless siege of Mariupol and its destruction of food stocks.
“America and the nations of the world cannot continue the pretense that the war in Ukraine can end in a negotiated peace, which mollifies Russia. For such a peace cannot be negotiated with Vladimir Putin. Ukraine must win this war. It must win this war decisively if it is to realize peace, independence and freedom. Same goes for Europe. The transit of ships today carrying grain from Ukraine must be guaranteed by the international community. Over 40% of Ukrainian wheat is exported to Africa. I know a little bit about wheat, having lived in the state of Kansas. Russian denial of these wheat shipments may result in starvation across multiple continents. Consideration must be given to convoying shipments of grain out of Ukraine. For Ukraine to be victorious, it must be provisioned with the weapons that it needs. And I don’t just mean talks inside the Oval Office or the West Wing. You have to deliver the goods.
“The war can be won. This war can be won if America and our allies supply a range of our most capable conventional weapons to Kyiv. Dauntlessness is needed to end the war in Ukraine, seriousness of purpose. NATO solidarity is essential Germany and France must not defer to any of the Kremlin’s wishes. America and Britain have supplied multiple launch rocket systems. Ukraine has received advanced artillery from a number of NATO nations. That’s good. It’s crucial that Spain follow through in sending Leopard 2 tanks. That’s an old M1 one tanker. The Leopard’s a great tank. The Europeans will use it well. They’re third generation tanks. They’re comparable to what I was in, the ones that I commanded when I was sitting face-to-face with the evil empire. America has large numbers of Abrams tanks in storage. A significant portion should be immediately made ready for employment in Ukraine. You can train the Ukrainians on them in days.
“The combination of rockets, artillery, armor and advanced unmanned combat aerial vehicles providing real reconnaissance, real intelligence and real kinetic capabilities and advanced targeting systems would provide Kyiv with precise the tools they need to begin to recapture, deterrence, to recapture precious Ukrainian soil, and to be coupled with an unending supply of ordinance that would stream into the nation. Don’t give any heat. We must not give heat to Russia’s false claim that it believes its borders are threatened. This is silliness. I spent maybe 10 hours with Vladimir Putin. There was never any chance that he truly believed that an invasion from Ukraine or from Europe was imminent. Are Russia’s borders more secure say than Ukraine’s territorial integrity or America’s Southern flank?
“In addition to land systems, Ukraine urgently needs new air defenses. Putin will continue to pummel Ukrainian cities if Ukraine does not receive surface to air missile system that engage both aircraft and missiles. The present Soviet era S300 system isn’t enough. How many more innocent civilians need to be slaughtered before Ukraine receives what morality demands? Indeed, Patriot missile batteries must be complimented by the transfer of fourth generation fighter aircraft and remotely piloted vehicles, which can loiter for hours. I’ve seen them used well. These synergistic weapons, if rapidly provided will absolutely be determinative. Russia cannot be allowed to dictate the terms of this conflict. Though perhaps counterintuitive, a surge providing conventional weapons will reduce the chance that Putin will resort to weapons of mass destruction. For providing decisive weapons to Ukraine will irrevocably shape the face of battle, causing Putin to realize that his strategy is doomed to fail.
“One can’t speak about this in isolation. American military power has been the guarantor of my country’s promises for decades. It’s been the means to give body and shape to my nation’s obligations by supporting diplomacy. I used it well for my 1,000 days as Secretary of State. It remains a tool without equal if properly understood, Sadly, the fall of Kabul and the creation by force of an undemocratic government in Afghanistan are assaults on the international system. I believe deeply that the weakness that was expressed in America’s undisciplined withdrawal from Afghanistan was interpreted by Vladimir Putin as a green light, recovering from a doomed strategy that spanned decades. The administration which I serve sought to reduce our commitment there in a responsible manner. This planning was cast aside for reasons that seemed to hinge on expectations of or appearances rather than the discernment of realities.
“As Secretary of State, I built upon my work as the director of the CIA to aid President Trump in formulating concrete terms that would’ve allowed for force reductions and withdrawal from Afghanistan but without the debacle and the hard one progress that had been made in that country. And without the risk that we told bad guys all around the world that America was abandoning our friends. What a help established was the certainty of action that should the Taliban renounce operationally or operationally rescind what was agreed, that we would with certainty respond in a way that restored the heart of deterrence. And we did it at a tactical level time and time again. Russia’s assaults has exposed the sinners of global economic and energy and securities affecting every single American. The United States should never again fight another nation’s war. But we must stand ready when people who are willing to fight for their own liberty request support that will not require the dispatch of our armed forces.
“America must not let Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine be the cue that ignites combat in the Indo-Pacific. China stated intent is to displace the United States as the world’s preeminent power. The height of the global health catastrophe that it created, the Chinese Communist Party did not moderate its objectives. Instead, it accelerated them with utter disregard of its commitments to the United Kingdom and to the people of Hong Kong. China broke the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The declaration constituted a treaty granting Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy. China was obligated to main this through 2047. We all know what has fallen. It did not. And given China’s actions, it matters of world health, bio safety, Hong Kong. We have to ask ourselves on what important document is China’s signature meaningful? The answer is that China’s signature is authentic as that of the Russian signature on the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for Kyiv’s elimination of its nuclear arsenal.
“We must not ever allow the communist model for development to proliferate, for it’s a kleptocracy. It is autocratic rule by thieves as is demonstrated by the magnitude of China’s theft of American intellectual properties and the millions of jobs that fled our country as a result of it. We know China’s intention. It’s intent on dominating global infrastructure development through its Belt and Road Initiative. But this is subterfuge. It hides. It’s a deceit. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a form of imperialism. It is the manifestation of a corrupt intent to entrap less developed countries with promises of loans and infrastructure improvements.
“These loans are national assets. They’re collateral for terms that are designed to ensure non-compliance of the detonation with asset forfeiture. More properly thought of as political extortion in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Even more ominous still is China’s stated intent to conquer Taiwan. Through Ukraine’s bravery resisting Russia, it’s given China pause. I am confident Xi Jinping is asking his generals, “Really? Can you do what you say you can do?” Part of the answer to how to combat this is what we do in Ukraine. Part of the answer is that every president since Truman believed Taiwan’s existence is crucial to America’s defense. I believe that with all my heart. The 1970 Taiwan Relations Act requires that we maintain Taiwan’s defensive abilities to thwart an attack, but we’re now in danger of becoming complacent. The capture of Taiwan would grant the following objectives to Beijing: it would severely reduce American influence in the Indo-Pacific, America’s status as a superpower would be placed in jeopardy, which would invite armed conflict affecting our nation directly. It would eliminate a primary technological and economic partner of the United States. The principle supplier of high-end semiconductors to the United States’ economy, were these supplies to be disrupted, America’s economy would falter and our security here at home would be at risk. It would also remove the key strategic chill point to a Chinese military breakout, which would threaten the entirety of the Indo-Pacific, including Guam, Hawaii, Japan, and Australia.
“So, our approach to promoting the Indo-Pacific security was to believe that our relationship with Taiwan should be reinforced at every turn. It’s become a shining example in Taiwan of democracy, democracy for Asian peoples, and a hope to all of Asia. And it is my steadfast view that our government should immediately confer diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, for it is a free and sovereign country. Our recognition of Taiwan should not hinge on what will occur. Taiwan is already an independent country. Our government should simply reflect that fact.
“This is central to helping us in Europe as well, because central to the economic wellbeing of American families is a United States that leads. It leads all across the world, both in military and in economic power. We must use our strengths prudently, our founders knew this, and conservatively, for America is most secure when it leads by example and not by intervention. This is the lesson that we have learned since 9/11. We can get this right.
“I hope that my words today will galvanize American support for Ukraine and for Europe, for such aid is essential if we’re to enforce the national security policies that place American public interest as of paramount importance. Europe must do more too, to meet daunting economic challenges, which were first provoked by irresponsible domestic policies. We must take steps now to ensure that Europe realizes peace and not continuous war or extortion. For Europe is inextricably bound to our nation as it is to both Asia and to the Middle East.
“American industry and our farmers rely on the vitality of export markets that will be stricken if Russia succeeds. Weakness, indecisiveness, and disengagement in the world stage invite needless conflict. Timidity, timidity in the face of evil emboldens tyrants. Energy has already been weaponized, and we should never allow Russia or China to weaponize food and mineral supplies as well.
“Let us summon the will to ensure that this present conflict does not entrap our future. We must act in concert with our allies to affect strategic clarity, unmistakable to both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. We must prevent the formation of a Pan-Eurasian colossus incorporating Russia, but led by China. To do that, we have to strengthen NATO, and we see that nothing hinders Finland and Sweden’s entry into that organization. This would be an enormous boon to Russia were they to be denied access. Russia’s military would have the capability to deploy against Ukraine in ways that were different and even worse than what’s being confronted today.

“Moving past our current geo-strategic focus, the United States must help in building of the three lighthouses for liberty. These beacons should be centered on nations that have great strife: Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. They can be the hubs of new security architecture that links alliances of free nations globally, reinforcing the strengths of each member state, in time, linking these three bastions with NATO, as well as the new and expanded security framework for the Indo-Pacific will form a global alliance for freedom. This will benefit America.
“The need for this network of alliances is patent and cannot come too soon. The world has become too small for free countries to not be part of something greater, which will forestall armed conflict rather than react to it.
“I close today by relating a story, a story of pain, bravery, and rebirth that affected my wife, Susan, and me deeply. Oksana Balandina was walking to her home with her love, Viktor Vasyliv, when a landmine tore off her legs and part of one hand. Oksana and Viktor were married last month in Lviv Surgery Center, after Oksana endured multiple operations. Although she lost her legs due to Putin’s cruel and unconscionable war, the couple danced after they were pronounced man and wife. Viktor took Oksana in his arms as they twirled and kissed.
“This is rebirth. This is the future of Ukraine and of Europe and of America. The brave nation, the brave nation that now feels the pain of Russia’s onslaught, but will soon know peace, as is the promise of our Lord to be virtuous. Putin believed he could destroy Ukrainian unity, pitting brother against brother on the basis of their spoken tongues. But all Ukraine has emerged with a single heart. Putin sought to destroy a great nation. Instead, this war has forged all Ukraine into an unbreakable sword that Russia now fears. The people of America are committed to seeing Ukraine emerge from this war as an undivided nation which will be a beacon to all, to show the world the primacy of freedom, determination, and of love. Thank you, and God bless you.”
###
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hudson.org · by Hudson Institute

8. 'I will only recognize one China called Taiwan': Guatemela president

I guess Guatemala is not dependent on the PRC for anything. A pretty extreme position.

Even it the US were to recognize Taiwan(which I do not think is likely for the foreseeable future) I do not think it would withdraw recognition of the PRC.

Excerpts:

On Wednesday (June 22), Guatemalan Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro was also quoted by Nikkei Asia as saying, “For us, relationships with the United States and with Taiwan are our keys,” and that they “will continue to have them at all levels." He added that Guatemala supports peace, sovereignty, and territorial integrity for Taiwan.

'I will only recognize one China called Taiwan': Guatemela president | Taiwan News | 2022-06-26 14:24:00
taiwannews.com.tw · by Taiwan News · June 26, 2022
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — During an interview, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei told LatAm Investor that he will only recognize Taiwan as the only “China” during his presidency.
When asked about Guatemala’s relationship with Taiwan, Giammattei said, “We are the largest ally that Taiwan still has and while I am president, I will only recognize one China and it is called Taiwan.” The interview focused on Guatemala’s economic reform during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as immigration issues.
CNA reported that this was the first time Giammattei openly clarified Guatemala’s stance on the issue since Chinese state-run mouthpiece Global Times published an article insinuating that the country would turn its back on Taiwan and recognize China.
On Wednesday (June 22), Guatemalan Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro was also quoted by Nikkei Asia as saying, “For us, relationships with the United States and with Taiwan are our keys,” and that they “will continue to have them at all levels." He added that Guatemala supports peace, sovereignty, and territorial integrity for Taiwan.
We sat down with the President of Guatemala, @DrGiammattei, to discuss migration, Taiwan, the US and investment opportunities in Central America's largest economy...

You can watch the best bits below.
Or see the longer version here: https://t.co/zmk4keBXwZ pic.twitter.com/V0fDH2HFOn
— LatAm INVESTOR (@LatAmINVESTOR) June 23, 2022
taiwannews.com.tw · by Taiwan News · June 26, 2022

9.  Interpreting China-US war of words over Taiwan

Conclusion:

The goal to achieve reunification is essential for the CCP, but can it have the same advantage and benefits for the party in the long term if it creates significant challenges for the Chinese people. The assertive words used by Beijing may well be to appease the domestic situation, as the CCP would not like to appear weak at home, given that it is already working towards managing the economic slowdown and pandemic.

Interpreting China-US war of words over Taiwan
deccanherald.com · by Gunjan Singh, · June 26, 2022

Interpreting China-US war of words over Taiwan
Beijing is likely to think hard before risking war over Taiwan given the economic costs involved

  • Jun 26 2022, 15:55 ist
  • updated: Jun 26 2022, 15:55 ist

The question of Taiwan's identity has again come into focus in the backdrop of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The organisers first listed the island's name as Taiwan, a province of China. It was later changed to Taiwan, a change which Taiwan welcomed. However, it did not last long. Finally, it was Chinese Taipei. Taiwan has accused Beijing of using its economic and political clout. Doha, however, accepts the 'One China Policy' and has diplomatic relations with Beijing.
There's been much focus on the China-Taiwan relations and the situation across the Taiwan Strait in the aftermath of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Beijing has become uber assertive. It has not left any opportunity to express its displeasure towards the idea of Taiwanese independence. It has also indicated that it will not shy away from a military reunification.
The goal of reunification with Taiwan is one of the primary ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People's Republic of China (PRC). Beijing has been more assertive toward Taiwan after Xi Jinping took over as the Chinese president. Beijing's unwavering stance has been that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and the ultimate fulfilment of the 'Chinese Dream' can only be achieved through reunification.
But the US stance has made it difficult for China to take a unilateral approach toward Taiwan. Since the Russian attack on Ukraine, the international community has questioned the US commitment to safeguarding Taipei. The statements by Joe Biden reiterating Washington's position and support for defending Taiwan have put this issue at rest.
But it has not helped the overall situation across the Taiwan Straits. The continuing arms sales to Taiwan by the US and the Taiwan Relations Act further complicate this situation. To add to these, two United States senators have introduced a bill to help support Taiwan with security assistance amounting to billions of dollars and tweak the law guiding American relations with Taiwan. The bill has been sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat and Lindsey Graham, a Republican.
In response to Biden's statement, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe recently stated at the Shangri-La Dialogue that any attempt to make Taiwan independent would lead to war. Wei said, "If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will… fight at all costs, and we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China". He argued that foreign powers should stop using the Taiwan card to hurt Beijing and that no country can prevent China and Taiwan from reuniting. An article in China Daily quoted Yang Jiechi saying, "The risk does not only exist but will escalate as the US attempts to contain China with the Taiwan question and as the Taiwan authorities rely on the US to seek its 'independence'." He made this statements in Luxembourg while meeting the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
This war of words between China and the US over Taiwan has reached newer levels. It is no surprise that Beijing has started asserting that the Taiwan Strait is not international water, an idea which is a very recent development. If China questions the freedom of navigation through the Taiwan Strait, it is also questioning the legitimacy of the movement of the US vessels. This may be a new method used by Beijing to prevent the movement of the US vessels through the Strait, as these were a significant issue for Beijing. China has constantly argued that these acts by Washington encouraged the Taiwanese confidence in the US support of its sovereignty. In a show of strength, on June 22, around 29 Chinese warplanes flew through the Taiwanese self-declared air defence identification zone (ADIZ). The PRC's use of Chinese warplanes has become a standard exercise, underscoring its capabilities and commitment to a military reunification.
There is enough analysis available to argue that though China has the advantage of a large and modernised army, navy and air force and the proximity advantage, its most significant challenge is that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is not battle-tested. The last war the PLA was involved in was with Vietnam in 1979. On the other hand, the Taiwanese army has also been working towards improving and upgrading its defence forces with the help of the US. The war may not be as one-sided as Beijing would want to believe. However, some speculation suggests that if China were to attack Taiwan, it would probably be around 2027, according to a US Admiral. The date marks the centenary of the PLA.
Such harsh words exchanged between the top two military and economic powerhouses do not bode well for the international community. The situation between China and the US has been tense since the trade war started. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the virus spread starting in Wuhan, China, has further strained relations. The world economy is suffering from the pandemic and just beginning to get things back on track. Also, that the Chinese economy has suffered a significant setback, will Beijing be able to start a war across the Taiwan Strait and get the United States involved? There are ample reports to suggest that the economic cost of a military confrontation between China and Taiwan would be adverse for the global economy. The vast military cost and the uncertainty of a win may be enough deterrence for Beijing to think long and hard before it attacks Taiwan.
The goal to achieve reunification is essential for the CCP, but can it have the same advantage and benefits for the party in the long term if it creates significant challenges for the Chinese people. The assertive words used by Beijing may well be to appease the domestic situation, as the CCP would not like to appear weak at home, given that it is already working towards managing the economic slowdown and pandemic.
(Gunjan Singh is Assistant Professor, OP Jindal University.)
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author's own.They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.


10. Never mind China's new aircraft carrier, these are the ships the US should worry about


(Scary) Excerpts:

"China has now launched three carriers and brought two into full operational status during a period where the US Navy has struggled to bring one new unit to full operational status," he said.

Schuster was referring to the USS Gerald Ford, a supercarrier that has been plagued by problems since its commissioning in 2017 (by which time it was already three years late).

The supercarrier is yet to make its first operational deployment, though that is expected this fall.

Meanwhile, China forges ahead.

"They are building their navy at a faster rate than the US and all of its allies," Schuster said.

"Imperfect, but a good foundation."







Never mind China's new aircraft carrier, these are the ships the US should worry about
CNN · by Analysis by Brad Lendon, CNN
Seoul, South Korea (CNN)China made a big statement about its naval ambitions with the recent launch of its third and most advanced aircraft carrier.
The Fujian -- by far China's biggest, most modern and most powerful aircraft carrier to date -- is the 80,000-ton jewel in the crown of a military expansion that has seen Beijing grow its navy into the world's largest.
Its new combat systems -- such as an electromagnetic catapult-assisted launch system -- show China is fast catching up with the United States, experts say, and will give it the ability to launch more aircraft, more quickly, and with more ammunition.
That should be enough to give any would-be opponent pause for thought, especially given China's increasing aggression in its territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea, a host of Southeast Asian nations in the South China Sea, and its repeated harassment of the self-governed island of Taiwan -- where it has pointedly refused to rule out an invasion.
China's third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, at Jiangnan Shipyard on June 17.
Still, while the launch of the Fujian amid much fanfare was clearly meant as a message to Beijing's rivals, analysts caution against swallowing too much of the hype just yet.
Read More
Firstly, the Fujian likely won't be operational for another three to four years, said Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain and former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center. And even when it is operational, its size will make it an obvious target -- any enemy will be keenly aware that sinking such an iconic vessel would be as much of a morale blow as a military disaster for China.
The launch ceremony for China's third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, on June 17.
Then there is the simple fact that, impressive as they seem, aircraft carriers aren't necessarily best suited to what experts see as the most plausible conflict scenarios in the near future -- including clashes in the East and South China Seas and an invasion of Taiwan.
Essentially, experts say, the Fujian might be China's biggest ship, but it's probably not the biggest problem on the minds of US naval commanders right now.
Here are four types of ship at China's disposal that arguably pose a far greater threat to US naval dominance.
China's type 055 guided-missile destroyer Nanchang in the Western Pacific on October 19, 2021.
Type 055 destroyer
Launched in 2017, these 13,000-ton stealth guided-missile destroyers are considered by many to be the most powerful surface combatants in the world.
The Type 055, big enough to be considered a cruiser by NATO standards, is equipped with 112 vertical launch tubes that can used to fire everything from anti-ship missiles to long-range land-attack missiles.
"This ship in particular has a sophisticated design, stealth features, radars, and a large missile inventory. It is larger and more powerful than most US, Japanese, and South Korean destroyers," RAND Corp. senior analyst Timothy Heath told CNN in 2018, when Beijing launched two of the warships in a single day -- a testament to China's impressive shipbuilding capabilities.
US Congressional Research Service report in March said at least 10 Type 055s are thought to have been launched or are under construction.

The deployment of the Lhasa, the second of Beijing's five active Type 055s, to the Sea of Japan for drills amid growing tensions over Taiwan, was championed by China's state-run Global Times tabloid last week.
"The ship has achieved full operational capability and demonstrated its capabilities in deterring possible foreign military interference in the Taiwan Strait at a time when the US and Japan have been repeatedly provoking China over the Taiwan question," the Global Times reported.
The potency of the Type 055 was underlined in footage that emerged on social media in April. It showed one launching what naval analyst H I Sutton said was a hypersonic YJ-21 anti-ship ballistic missile -- a weapon often referred to as a "carrier killer."
Global Times played down the footage, describing the missiles as part of the country's defensive strategy.
"If the US does not make military provocations against China, including over the Taiwan question, it does not need to worry about the missiles," it said.
China's Liaoning aircraft carrier is accompanied by navy frigates and submarines during an exercise in the South China Sea.
Type 039 submarine
These Yuan-class submarines are almost silent diesel-electric-powered boats with capabilities that could prove tough for US military planners to deal with.
Beijing has built 17 of the Type 39A/B subs, with plans to increase that total to 25 in the next three years, according to the US Defense Department's 2021 report to Congress on China's military power.
"The Type 039 SSs provide formidable 'defense in depth'" in waters close to China, "and they appear to be developing some capability to engage" US forces farther out to sea, Schuster said.
The subs are equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP), which means they do not need to surface as frequently to get the air required for diesel combustion, which can then power their batteries.
"When operating on batteries, AIP-equipped submarines are almost silent, with the only noise coming from the shaft bearings, propeller, and flow around the hull," US Navy officers Michael Walker and Austin Krusz wrote in a 2018 report for the US Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine.

China is pushing to launch more of the super-quiet subs, which are armed with anti-ship cruise missiles, the Defense Department report said.
One potent method of attack used by the Type 039 is to fire a "wake-homing" torpedo across the stern, or back, of a target vessel. The torpedo then follows in the wake of the target ship before exploding near its propulsion and steering systems.
Because surface ships detect submarines and torpedoes by sound waves, wake-homing torpedoes are particularly tough to defend against.
The advances in Chinese submarines come just as the US Navy is experiencing trouble with its anti-submarine capabilities.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday told Congress last month that the service wants to scrap nine of its littoral combat ships, some of the newest ships in the US fleet, because their anti-submarine systems "did not work out technically."
A merchant ferry at Yantai Port in Shandong province of China.
Merchant ferries
Merchant ferries might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about deadly naval capabilities -- but therein lies their power.
To invade Taiwan, China would likely need to transport an invading force of hundreds of thousands of men -- some analysts have suggested more than a million would be needed.
Various analysts -- and US government reports -- have concluded the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) naval fleet is not up to that task.
But what China does have is a massive fleet of civilian ferries that could be swiftly converted for military use -- and according to some, may even have been designed for just that possibility.
"China's biggest ferry shipbuilder stated publicly in 2015 that one of its largest roll-on/roll-off ferries was built for dual military and civilian purposes, and one of China's largest ferry operators has been similarly described as having a dual civil-military development philosophy," Thomas Shugart, a former US Navy submarine commander now a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, wrote in a 2021 essay for War on the Rocks.
He added that civilian ferry companies operating in the Yellow and South China Seas have already been organized into PLA auxiliary units.

Crunching the numbers, said Shugart, was staggering. He estimated that using civilian ships would give China an extra 1.1 million displacement tonnes. That figure is more than three times the displacement tonnage of all of China's amphibious assault ships put together. And if China tapped Hong Kong's roll-on/roll-off vehicle carriers it could gain an extra 370,000 tonnes of sealift, according to Shugart.
Is that enough to take Taiwan by force?
That is hard to know. But Shugart said it did answer one question.
"How many transport (ships) does the Chinese military have? Very probably, more than you might think."
Chinese vessels moored at Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea in 2021.
Maritime militia
Ferries aren't the only supposedly civilian vessels military planners have on their radars.
Experts also accuse China of creating a maritime militia, made up of more than a hundred vessels supposedly engaged in commercial fishing, to enforce its wishes in disputed seas.
The militia -- which Beijing denies even exists -- is made up of at least 122 vessels and likely as many as 174, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
But the actual number could be even greater. Various experts suspected the militia's involvement when more than 200 Chinese fishing boats crowded the waters around Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea in early 2021. The reef is claimed by both China and the Philippines, which described the presence of the boats as a "clear provocative action."

"The People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia don't fish," Schuster told CNN last year. "They have automatic weapons aboard and reinforced hulls, making them very dangerous at close range. Also, they have a top speed of around 18-22 knots, making them faster than 90% of the world's fishing boats."
The militia has two main parts: professional militia boats and actual fishing boats employed by the Chinese military under a subsidy scheme, according to a November report from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The professionals lead such activities as harassing foreign drilling ships or blocking foreign fishing boats, and the subsidized fishers bring pressure in numbers, the CSIS report said.
And with the world's largest fishing fleet, China has plenty of reserves to call on.
About that carrier again
Still, none of this is to say that the launch of the Fujian is not a significant moment.
As in the US, aircraft carriers will in time become the centerpiece of the PLA's navy -- and a symbol of what the modern Chinese military is capable of, Schuster said.
"Fujian's launch should be viewed for what it portends rather than its limited immediate impact," Schuster said.

"China has now launched three carriers and brought two into full operational status during a period where the US Navy has struggled to bring one new unit to full operational status," he said.
Schuster was referring to the USS Gerald Ford, a supercarrier that has been plagued by problems since its commissioning in 2017 (by which time it was already three years late).
The supercarrier is yet to make its first operational deployment, though that is expected this fall.
Meanwhile, China forges ahead.
"They are building their navy at a faster rate than the US and all of its allies," Schuster said.
"Imperfect, but a good foundation."
CNN · by Analysis by Brad Lendon, CNN



11.  Russia and China are brewing up a challenge to dollar dominance by creating a new reserve currency

This should be the number one US national security threat. If we lose the dollar as the reserve currency we will not be able to finance our military nor the social program upon which we have come to depend. Our economy will collapse and we will not be able to fund a military to defend our country the way we have defended it for decades.


Russia and China are brewing up a challenge to dollar dominance by creating a new reserve currency
markets.businessinsider.com · by George Glover
  • Russia and China are developing a new reserve currency with other BRICS countries, President Vladimir Putin said.
  • The basket currency would rival a US-dominated IMF alternative and let Russia widen its influence, an analyst said.
  • The dollar's dominance is already eroding as central banks diversify into the Chinese yuan and smaller currencies.
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Russia is ready to develop a new global reserve currency alongside China and other BRICS nations, in a potential challenge to the dominance of the US dollar.
President Vladimir Putin signaled the new reserve currency would be based on a basket of currencies from the group's members: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
"The matter of creating the international reserve currency based on the basket of currencies of our countries is under review," Putin told the BRICS Business Forum on Wednesday, according to a TASS report. "We are ready to openly work with all fair partners."
The dollar has long been seen as the world's reserve currency, but its dominance in share of international currency reserves is waning. Central banks are looking to diversify their holdings into currencies like the yuan, as well as into non-traditional areas like the the Swedish krona and the South Korean won, according to the International Monetary Fund.
"This is a move to address the perceived US-hegemony of the IMF," ING's global head of markets Chris Turner said in a note. "It will allow BRICS to build their own sphere of influence and unit of currency within that sphere."
Russia's move comes after Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine war all but cut the country out of the global financial system, curtailing access to its dollars and putting pressure on its economy.
"The speed with which western nations and its allies sanctioned Russian FX reserves (freezing around half) no doubt shocked Russian authorities," ING's Turner said.
"The Central Bank of Russia effectively admitted as much, and no doubt some BRICS nations — especially China — took notice of the speed and stealth at which the US Treasury moved," he added.
Those sanctions have likely encouraged Moscow and Beijing to work on an alternative to the IMF's international reserve asset, the special drawing rights, Turner suggested.
While it's not a reserve currency, the SDR is based on a basket of currencies made up of the US dollar, the euro, the British pound and Japan's yen — as well as China's yuan.
One possibility is that the BRICS basket currency could attract the reserves not just of the group's members, but also countries already in their range of influence, he suggested. These include nations in South Asia and the Middle East.
Russia has seen its currency the ruble rebound to above its pre-war level, thanks to central bank support, after it plunged 70% in less than two weeks after the Ukraine invasion. It has risen 15.2% in June to 1.87 cents. Meanwhile, the yuan has held steady at around $0.15 over the same period.
markets.businessinsider.com · by George Glover

12. Interview: How Much Is China Helping Russia Finance Its War In Ukraine?

Excerpts:

RFE/RL: Is there anything that you're expecting to happen in regard to Chinese economic involvement with Russia that perhaps you think is coming or is worth watching out for?
Shagina: One area is semiconductors and technology transfers more broadly. This is something worth watching to see whether China will help. So far, as U.S. officials have said, there has been no systematic support on the side of China, but whether China will be willing to supply them to alleviate this pressure from technology sanctions on Russia is not implausible given the level of partnership both countries have.
The other area that is worth watching is whether Chinese companies will help provide energy equipment that the EU ban on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and on LNG equipment has cut off and that Russia can’t substitute for on its own. Since 2014, Chinese engineering companies supplied up to 80 percent of this equipment, so there is room for China to step in to solidify its positions and potentially to provide additional financing for Chinese-backed [energy] projects in the Arctic.


Interview: How Much Is China Helping Russia Finance Its War In Ukraine?
rferl.org · by Reid Standish
China’s growing appetite for discounted Russian oil has made it the leading financier of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine by giving Moscow a reliable revenue source that blunts the impact of tough Western sanctions against its economy.
Four months after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, China has overtaken Germany as the biggest single buyer of Russian energy, with oil sales to China -- and India, another energy-hungry Asian nation -- helping to fill a gap left by Europe, Russia’s biggest export market.
China and India have together bought an estimated 2.4 million barrels of Russian crude oil a day in May, half of Russia's total exports.
Despite being sold at a steep discount, the purchases -- along with climbing oil prices -- have allowed Russian revenues to grow in the face of Western pressure and given Moscow a crucial financial lifeline to keep funding its war effort.
Buying cheap Russian oil has allowed China to diversify its own reserves and given India a lucrative revenue stream by reexporting refined products like gasoline and diesel from the Russian crude. For the moment, the purchases don’t risk triggering secondary sanctions while the European Union’s current oil ban remains partial, but Beijing and New Delhi’s willingness to buy Russian oil will be put to the test later this year once stricter measures come into effect.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted a virtual summit on June 22-23 for leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, known collectively as BRICS, where he decried Western sanctions as “weaponizing” the global economy and called for the grouping to work closer together.
During his remarks at the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that BRICS countries were “developing reliable alternative mechanisms for international settlements” and “exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the basket of BRICS currencies.”
But how much can Moscow count on non-Western markets and partners, like China and India, to help it deal with the fallout of sanctions?
To find out more, RFE/RL spoke with Maria Shagina, a fellow at Britain's International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
RFE/RL: Over the course of the war in Ukraine, China has now become the largest buyer of Russian oil. What does this mean for China and Russia’s relationship moving forward and is this a sign of their deepening partnership or Beijing simply making an opportunistic move to buy discounted energy?

Maria Shagina
Maria Shagina: We’ve heard on multiple occasions that Russia and China have established a “no-limits” partnership, and recently [on June 15], Xi reiterated support for mutual cooperation with Russia.
But we know that China’s rhetoric and deeds diverge quite a lot and that has been clear since 2014 [when Beijing and Moscow deepened their ties at a faster pace]. China is eager to capitalize on Russia's isolation, including purchasing Russian cheap crude oil. But when it comes to violating Western sanctions, the Chinese private sector is usually quite cautious.
In this case, we still don't have [Western] sanctions on Russian oil and the oil embargo from the European Union will start on December 5. So there is still this phase-out period before sanctions are triggered, and this is the time for China -- and also India -- to capitalize on very cheap oil that they can purchase from Russia.

RFE/RL: Apart from buying oil, China has shown itself to be very cautious when it comes to avoiding triggering secondary sanctions imposed on Russia by the West. Should we expect Beijing to give more overt support to Russia in the future, especially when it comes to advanced technology like semiconductors?

Shagina: China's balancing act is very delicate and, as the war progresses, it will be more difficult for Beijing to keep this position of so-called "pro-Russian neutrality," where they’re officially neutral but lean toward Russia.
Since 2014, Russia has had rather high expectations of Beijing to step in to help out [with] this very difficult [financial] situation for Moscow. The Kremlin has since had a more sober assessment in terms of how much help can realistically be expected from China, but even now Russia is rather disappointed by the lack of support from China.

During his remarks at the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that BRICS countries were “developing reliable alternative mechanisms for international settlements”
We know that there was some discontent from the Russian side when it came to the lack of Chinese support in terms of financial assistance and technology transfers after sanctions hit [following the February 24 invasion]. Those are the two areas that Russia is now highly dependent on China and other nonaligned countries for their support, and China will be one of the main countries to watch when it comes to helping alleviate the impact of sanctions. That’s not only whether Beijing will provide any financial assistance, but also whether it will provide any technology that is now under sanctions, like chips and semiconductors.
Lessons from 2014 tell us that the Chinese private sector is very risk-averse because it's so dependent on the U.S. dollar for transactions and tends to stay away from sanctioned Russian entities and even does overcompliance with sanctions to be extra careful. So in the current situation where we have an unprecedented number of sanctions in terms of their scope and their severity, I would say that there will be even more risk-averse behavior from the Chinese private sector.
But we should know that government-backed institutions behave differently. In 2014, Chinese banks like the Export-Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank worked with [Russian] companies like Novatek, which is Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, to finance projects. So there is room to support sanctioned entities and people, but we should be cautious of the limited scope of this support.
RFE/RL: Xi Jinping hosted a BRICS summit and spoke about the grouping being important for the global economy, while Russian commentators have said repeatedly that the grouping is crucial for blunting Western sanctions. Does the war in Ukraine give an opportunity for it to finally deliver on its potential and play a more prominent role?

Shagina: I think that rhetorically there is a very strong narrative to push back against the West, in particular the United States and EU, over their use of unilateral sanctions that haven't been supported by the UN.
India is another example [within BRICS] where Russia is also keen to expand collaboration, but we haven't seen a lot of progress beyond buying oil. For example, Russia floated the idea to use different mechanisms for payment systems and alternatives to SWIFT, which it has been blocked from using under sanctions. But none of those initiatives has taken off and they remain largely dormant.
I think rhetorically the summit [was] an opportunity to resist U.S. hegemony, but whether that will materialize into something bigger remains to be seen.

The Vladimir Rusanov, a liquefied natural-gas (LNG) tanker ship, is seen following its arrival at the LNG terminal in Nantong city in eastern China. (file photo)
RFE/RL: Is there anything that you're expecting to happen in regard to Chinese economic involvement with Russia that perhaps you think is coming or is worth watching out for?

Shagina: One area is semiconductors and technology transfers more broadly. This is something worth watching to see whether China will help. So far, as U.S. officials have said, there has been no systematic support on the side of China, but whether China will be willing to supply them to alleviate this pressure from technology sanctions on Russia is not implausible given the level of partnership both countries have.
The other area that is worth watching is whether Chinese companies will help provide energy equipment that the EU ban on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and on LNG equipment has cut off and that Russia can’t substitute for on its own. Since 2014, Chinese engineering companies supplied up to 80 percent of this equipment, so there is room for China to step in to solidify its positions and potentially to provide additional financing for Chinese-backed [energy] projects in the Arctic.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
rferl.org · by Reid Standish


13. In Ukraine’s South, Counter Attacks Offer Kyiv Hope for Turning Back Russia



In Ukraine’s South, Counter Attacks Offer Kyiv Hope for Turning Back Russia
Ukraine is looking to recapture a city crucial for its economy and stop Russian designs on advancing to the doorstep of Europe. “We need Kherson back.”

By Thomas GroveFollow
 | Photographs by Guillaume Binet/MYOP for The Wall Street Journal
June 26, 2022 8:13 am ET

PRYSHYB, Ukraine—Kyiv’s forces in southern Ukraine are fighting to extend one of their most successful counterattacks against Russia and push beyond this small, artillery-scarred village to chip away at Moscow’s presence in a strategically vital area along the Black Sea.
Even as Russian forces push Ukrainian units back in the eastern Donbas area, Kyiv has launched attacks in recent weeks and months with the aim of clawing back territory from Russian positions in the south.
Kyiv’s southern push seeks to draw Russian forces away from the east, free up the country’s southern ports that once exported billions of dollars of wheat and disrupt the landbridge Moscow has sought to establish between Russia, Crimea and onward to the European Union’s doorstep.
Russia was able to occupy a swath of southern Ukraine in the first days of the war in late February with little resistance, but Ukrainian forces started to push back at the end of March, making tactical counterattacks. Late last month, the Ukrainian military said they had managed to capture positions in three small towns, Andriyivka, Bilohirka and Krynytsia.

Major Nazar, battalion commander of 63 brigade near the village of Bashtanka, Mykolaiv oblast, Ukraine.
“The Russians were pushed back from their positions and they’ll never take them back,” said Maj. Nazar, a deputy commander of a battalion in Ukraine’s 63rd Brigade who gave only his first name. “The operation was massive and it took some time, but it gave us the result we needed.”
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Ukraine has reeled from last week’s fall of Severodonetsk, a small town in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. For two months, Ukrainian forces held off the Russians, who scored an important symbolic win in a region that the Kremlin says is central to victory in Ukraine.
But in the south, the prospect of taking back the strategically vital city of Kherson has offered Ukrainian forces a glimmer of hope. Ukrainian officials say counter-offensives have pushed through a first line of Russian defense, said Ukrainian officials last week. President Volodymyr Zelensky heralded more victories in the region, days after he publicly awarded medals to officers serving on the southern front.
“In our south we are …gradually liberating Kherson,” he said in an address last week.
For Ukrainians, the most immediate task is to move beyond Pryshyb, the last village before the Russian-controlled town of Snihurivka, which would give Kyiv’s forces a second approach to Kherson, where an estimated more than 100,000 people are still living under Russian occupation, Ukrainian officials have said.

Mykolaiv’s airport in southern Ukraine became a battlefield after the Russian invasion.

In Ukraine’s south, the prospect of taking back the strategically vital city of Kherson has offered Ukrainian forces a glimmer of hope.
Kyiv’s forces now are less than 10 miles away from the city. Ukrainian forces have also worked behind enemy lines here. A Russian-appointed official in Kherson was killed in a bomb blast Friday, blamed on Kyiv. Other unexplained explosions and gunmen have wounded Russian soldiers and other pro-Russian officials in the region.
“Our boys and partisans do their work very well and they’re helping us a lot from behind enemy lines,” said Maj. Nazar.
Kherson was the first major city to fall in the Russian invasion and it remains a linchpin of Russia’s occupation of southern Ukraine. Kyiv’s taking of the city would give it for the first time since the start of the war full access to the Dniepr River, an important transit route for shipping, and would put Ukrainian troops at the doorstep of Crimea, which Mr. Zelensky has vowed to return to Ukraine after it was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
“I am sure the Ukrainian armed forces will raise the Ukrainian flag above Kherson very soon, just like it will over Simferopol, Sevastopol,” said Maj. Nazar, referring to Crimea’s two largest cities.

Ukrainians enjoyed the summer heat in Odessa, southern Ukraine, despite warnings about the threat from Russian attack after four months of war.

Odessa was a Ukrainian vacation destination before the Russian assault began in February.
For Russia, the southern front is one of the few objective victories the Kremlin can claim and offers Moscow a way to extend its control beyond Kherson, take the Ukrainian-held city of Odessa and eventually link up with the Moscow-controlled statelet of Transnistria, which broke away from Moldova, with the Kremlin’s backing, in 1992. The move would give Russia a land bridge from its own territory to Moldova, a country that borders the EU.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month said he has been recapturing territory that historically belonged to Russia, comparing himself to Peter the Great.
“Russian leadership still holds the dream of a renewed campaign along Ukraine’s southern coast, seizing Odessa,” said Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian military at CNA, a defense research center in Arlington, Virginia.
“Even though the current Russian campaign is centered on the Donbas, the more significant territory that Russia has occupied thus far is Kherson,” Mr. Kofman said. “The city has greater implications for Ukraine’s economic viability, and will also prove the future focus of this war.”

The village of Pryshyb in the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine is the last village before the Russian-controlled town of Snihurivka.
Mr. Kofman added that Ukraine will need time to make a meaningful dent in Russian forces along the country’s southern flank.
With much of Kherson province occupied, Ukrainian forces have amassed in the Mykolaiv region just to the west. While counter attacks have been tactical so far, Ukrainian officials expect the weapons now coming in like the American howitzers and multiple rocket launch systems will give them the firepower they’ll need to make new meaningful gains on the southern front in the coming months.
“I hope that by July or August we can see a change in the battlefield,” said Vitaly Kim, governor of Mykolayiv province. “We need Kherson back.”
A Ukraine victory in the south would be the first step toward freeing up ports that have been blocked by the threat of Russian ships. Mr. Kim said Mykolaiv alone exported some 28 million tons of wheat last year, equivalent to some $10 billion worth of revenue coming into the region.
“We are the gate to the sea in Ukraine,” said Mr. Kim. “And now we can’t use our ports, and every sixth port is destroyed.”
In Pryshyb, Vladimir, 58, is one of the 14 residents who have remained in the village that still gets hit regularly by mortar shelling.“Our boys drove the Russians back,” he said. “But it’s still best to keep your women and children somewhere else.”

A check point before the village of Pryshyb, a few miles from Russian-held territory.
Write to Thomas Grove at thomas.grove@wsj.com

14. U.S. and G-7 Allies Detail Infrastructure Plan to Challenge China


​Will we be able to provide an alternative to OBOR? Will the G7 follow through to make this an effective reality?

U.S. and G-7 Allies Detail Infrastructure Plan to Challenge China
The initiative would offer countries around the world an alternative to China’s Belt-and-Road program
By Alex LearyFollow
 and Tarini PartiFollow
June 26, 2022 11:00 am ET

TELFS-BUCHEN, Austria—The U.S. and allies on Sunday laid out plans to invest billions of dollars for infrastructure projects in developing countries in an attempt to challenge a similar program by China, as they look to challenge autocracies.
President Biden, meeting with the Group of Seven leaders in Germany, said the U.S. would contribute $200 billion over five years toward the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, from a $2 billion solar project in Angola to a $600 million submarine telecommunications cable connecting Singapore to France.
The U.S. money is a combination of direct government aid and private investment, officials said. The U.S. will aim to mobilize $600 billion in overall investments with funding from allies by 2027, though many details were unknown.
The announcement came on the first day of the G-7 summit in the Bavarian Alps, where the agenda was dominated by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the economic fallout from it for Western countries who have imposed a barrage of sanctions against Moscow. The U.S. and allies said Sunday they would ban Russian gold imports.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is slated to address the gathering on Monday via video.
The leaders aimed to display unity in their confrontation with Russia, but an accumulation of political and economic problems at home has tested the allies’ stamina to withstand rising food and energy prices.
At the same time, the early focus on China, which is expected to carry through the G-7 gathering and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Spain on Tuesday, has threatened to expose older fault lines between western allies.
Mr. Biden has worked to rally allies in confronting China’s economic practices and on human rights but there are limits to how far some partners want to go.
The G-7 statement on China will be a mix of clearly stating the challenge that Beijing is posing to G-7 nations, including criticism of its economic behavior, with a call for partnership in tackling global issues such as climate change, for which China was a necessary partner, a senior German government official said.
“We are in favor of diversification but against decoupling,” the official said.

The G-7 infrastructure projects will focus on investments in climate resilience, secure information and communications technology, gender equity and modernizing health systems, including vaccine manufacturing facilities.
G-7 leaders first unveiled the program at a summit in England to counter Chinese influence in developing nations—in particular its Belt and Road Initiative.
At the time, Mr. Biden heralded it as “Build Back Better World,” reflecting a sweeping domestic spending package that is now all but dead amid disagreements among Democrats.
The Belt and Road agenda launched in 2013 and has been used to expand China’s reach around the world, leading to concern from the U.S. and others that some recipient countries could become increasingly economically dependent on China.
Ahead of Sunday’s announcement, U.S. officials criticized infrastructure models that sell “debt traps” to low- and middle-income partner countries. Studies have shown the Chinese projects have led to hidden debt, environmental hazards and corruption.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bojan Pancevski contributed to this article.
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Write to Alex Leary at alex.leary@wsj.com and Tarini Parti at Tarini.Parti@wsj.com










De Oppresso Liber,
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Senior Fellow, Global Peace Foundation
Senior Advisor, Center for Asia Pacific Strategy
Editor, Small Wars Journal
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
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V/R
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com
Web Site: www.fdd.org
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
Subscribe to FDD’s new podcastForeign Podicy
FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

If you do not read anything else in the 2017 National Security Strategy read this on page 14:

"A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation."
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