Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day:

"Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country's cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause." 
- Abraham Lincoln

 "We will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation." 
- John F. Kennedy

 "Poland reminds us that sometimes the smallest steps, however imperfect, can ultimately tear down walls, can ultimately transform the world." 
- Barack Obama


2. Ukrainian Forces Hamstrung by Pledge Not to Fire Into Russia

3. Why America’s Army Can’t Win America’s Wars by John A. Nagl

4. US-donated HIMARS is the 'perfect' weapon thanks to poor Russian logistics forcing senior commanders in its range, military expert says

5. Japan warns of ‘aggressor nation’ Russia, threats to Taiwan in new whitepaper

6. Analysis: A world changed, maybe permanently, by Ukraine war

7. Former US Diplomat Analyzes President Putin

8. Poland: Europe’s Newest Military Superpower? – Analysis

9.  Russian accused of influencing US political groups to interfere in elections is indicted

10.  China exploits US social media to push its own Xinjiang narratives, report finds

11. Powell pushing Asia into a new financial crisis

12. Pelosi should think twice about flying to Taiwan

13. German purchase of nearly three dozen F-35s from US cleared by State Department

14. US envoy: Russia intends to dissolve Ukraine from world map

15. How Russia spread a secret web of agents across Ukraine

16. Opinion | Zelensky and some lawmakers want more U.S. military personnel in Ukraine

17. What Happens if Ukraine Runs Out of HIMARS Rockets?

18. China expert reveals why Chinese threats to shoot down Pelosi's plane 'may not be bluster'

19. Man Falls From Cargo Plane After Botched Landing Near Fort Bragg In Bizarre Incident

20. Chinese Propagandist Calls for Pelosi’s Plane to Be Shot Down If She Visits Taiwan

21. Military analyst says Russia's invasion of Ukraine is now a 'war of attrition'

22. Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Russian Interference in U.S. Elections - United States Department of State




Jul 29, 2022 - Press ISW

Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Layne Phillipson, Katherine Lawlor, and Frederick W. Kagan

July 29, 8:00 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.

A kinetic event killed and wounded scores of Ukrainian POWs in Russian-occupied Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, on July 28.[1] Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for the attack and available visual evidence appears to support the Ukrainian claim more than the Russian, but ISW cannot independently assess the nature of the attack or the party responsible for it at this time. The Russian Defense Ministry asserted that Ukrainian forces deliberately struck the Olenivka pre-trial detention center holding Ukrainian POWs including Azov Regiment servicemen using Western-provided HIMARS, killing at least 40 and wounding 75 POWs.[2] Kremlin-sponsored news outlet “RIA Novosti” published videos of the detention center, which showed fire damage but not the sort of damage that a HIMARS strike would likely have caused.[3] RIA Novosti also released footage of HIMARS missile fragments but provided no evidence that the fragments were recovered at Olenivka.[4] Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Ambassador to Russia Leonid Miroshnik claimed that Ukrainian forces struck the pre-detention center to eliminate the evidence of Ukrainian surrenders and prevent POWs from speaking out against the Ukrainian government.[5]

The Ukrainian General Staff said that Russian forces conducted the attack as a false flag operation to cover up Russian war crimes, disrupt the supply of Western weapons, discredit Ukrainian forces, and stoke social tensions within Ukrainian society.[6] The Ukrainian General Staff stated that a deliberate explosion occurred near the newly-constructed penal colony, to which Russian forces had transferred Ukrainian POWs a few days earlier. The Ukrainian General Staff also noted that Ukrainian analysis of the damage to the building, intercepted phone conversations between Russian servicemen, the lack of reported shelling in Olenivka, and the absence of casualties among Russian personnel serving at the penal colony all point to a Russian deliberate “terrorist act” as the cause of the incident.[7] The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) accused Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin of ordering the “terrorist act” without consulting with the Russian Defense Ministry, to conceal the embezzlement of funds allocated for the maintenance of Ukrainian POWs before an official inspection on September 1.[8] The Ukrainian Office of the General Prosecutor reported that the explosion killed at least 40 and wounded 130 Ukrainian POWs.[9]

ISW is unable to assess the nature of the event or the party responsible for it with any confidence at this time. We will update our assessment as more information becomes available.

Key Takeaways

  • A kinetic event killed and wounded scores of Ukrainian POWs in Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast on July 28. Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for the attack. Available visual evidence appears to support the Ukrainian claim more than the Russian, but ISW cannot independently assess the nature of the attack or the party responsible for it at this time.
  • Ground fighting continued north of Kharkiv City with no significant change in control of terrain.
  • Russian forces attempted a limited ground assault in Kherson Oblast and continued conducting combat operations without creating strike groups along occupied lines.
  • Russian regional outlets reported the recruitment and establishment of an additional volunteer battalion in the Republic of Buryatia and the formation of a reserve battalion in Novosibirsk.
  • Members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party traveled to occupied Ukrainian territories to promote an organization called “We Are Together with Russia,” likely to present the façade of a “grassroots” call for the Russian annexation of occupied Ukraine and to prepare for falsified annexation referenda.

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 two 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
  • Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • 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)

Russian forces conducted a limited reconnaissance operation northwest of the Izyum-Slovyansk line and otherwise continued to shell settlements to the northwest of Slovyansk on July 29. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops discovered and neutralized a Russian reconnaissance group in Shchurivka, 35km northwest of Izyum.[10] Shchurivka lies on the western bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, which suggests that Russian forces either attempted to cross or successfully crossed into Ukrainian-held territory in this area. Russian forces had conducted a reconnaissance operation in the Chepil area, just southwest of Shchurivka, on July 27.[11] Taken together, these two data points may indicate that Russian forces are setting conditions to advance further into Kharkiv Oblast northwest of the current Izyum-Slovyansk line, although the likelihood of Russian forces successfully taking additional ground in Kharkiv Oblast remains limited.[12]

Russian forces also continued to shell settlements near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border and struck Dolyna, Bohorodychne, Kurulka, Virnopillya, and Mazanivka.[13] Russian forces additionally shelled Slovyansk and conducted a rocket strike on Kramatorsk on the night of July 28 to 29.[14]

Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack east of Siversk on July 29. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Ukrainian troops prevented a Russian reconnaissance group from advancing near Verkhnokamyanske, 5km due east of Siversk.[15] Russian forces also continued to conduct air and artillery strikes on Siversk and its surroundings.[16]

Russian forces continued ground attacks to the northeast and southeast of Bakhmut on July 29. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground assaults in Vershyna (10km southeast of Bakhmut) and Semyhirya (15km southeast of Bakhmut) and continued attempts to advance from the Novoluhanske area.[17] Russian forces additionally attempted to advance around Soledar, about 10km northeast of Bakhmut.[18] Russian and Ukrainian sources also stated that Russian forces conducted air and artillery strikes directly on Bakhmut and its surrounding settlements.[19]

Russian forces escalated ground attacks on the northwestern outskirts of Donetsk City on July 29. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted ground assaults near Avdiivka, Kamyanka, Krasnohorivka, Vodyane, and Pisky, all north and northwest of Donetsk City.[20] The Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) militia claimed that Russian and DNR forces in the Avdiivka area have made unspecified but significant advances north and east of the settlement.[21] Russian forces additionally maintained constant artillery pressure along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line of contact.[22] Russian forces are likely re-engaging in offensive operations around Avdiivka to expand the defensive pocket around the northwestern sector of Donetsk City, as ISW assessed on July 28.[23]

Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum and prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border)

Ground fighting continued north of Kharkiv City with no major control of terrain changes on July 29.[24] Geolocated footage shows that Russian forces made marginal gains east of the E40 highway southwest of Borshchova on an unspecified date.[25] Kharkiv Oblast Head Oleg Synegubov stated that Russian forces struck Kharkiv City with S-300 missiles and targeted food production infrastructure in Bohodukhiv, Kharkiv Oblast, 60km northwest of Kharkiv City.[26] Russian forces continued shelling settlements to the north, northeast, and east of Kharkiv City.[27]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Russian forces attempted a limited ground assault in Kherson Oblast on July 29 and continued conducting hostilities along the line of contact.[28] The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces repelled an attempted Russian advance in the Bilohirka direction by launching two strikes on Russian positions in the Bruskinsky district in western Kherson Oblast.[29] The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command also reported that two Russian Ka-52 helicopters attacked Bila Krynytsya (near Bilohirka) and noted that Ukrainian forces repelled attempted Russian Ka-52 strikes in Andriivka in the same general area.[30] Russian forces continued heavy artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure in Mykolaiv City and Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, on July 28-29. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces used 12 S-300 missiles to strike Mykolaiv City from the Hola Prystan direction (just southwest of Kherson City).[31] Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Head Valentyn Reznichenko reported that Russian forces launched 40 Grad rockets on civilian infrastructure in Nikopol.[32] Russian forces continued shelling along the Southern Axis.[33]

Ukrainian forces continued striking Russian military infrastructure on the Southern Axis on July 29.[34] Kherson Oblast Head Dmytro Butrii stated that Ukrainian forces struck a Russian ammunition warehouse in Brylivka, approximately 64km southeast of Kherson City.[35] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces destroyed two Russian ammunition depots in Khersonskiy district.[36] Russian forces continued transporting military equipment to Kherson Oblast from Zaporizhia Oblast on July 29, likely in preparations for Ukrainian counteroffensives. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported that Russian forces have been moving 3-4 military columns per day through Melitopol towards Kherson and Crimea between July 25 and 29.[37]

Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

Russian regional outlets reported the recruitment and establishment of additional volunteer battalions within Russian federal subjects (regions). Buryatia Regional Administration Deputy Chairman Pyotr Mordovskoy noted that the Republic of Buryatia authorized a one-time payment of 100,000 rubles (approximately $1,600) to all recruits for the “Baikal” volunteer battalion on July 13.[38] The Republic of Buryatia is currently recruiting men with at least a middle school education to join the battalion. The local outlet ”Taiga Info” reported that on July 11, Novosibirsk Oblast Governor Andrey Travnikov ordered the formation of a reserve battalion for participation in the ”special operation,” but did not mention deployment to Ukraine.[39] The order requested that Oktyabrskiy District (one of the districts within Novosibirsk Oblast) recruit 37 reservists, which may indicate that the Oblast is recruiting reservists rather than volunteers without prior military experience.[40] Taiga Info has previously reported that the leadership of an unspecified Novosibirsk University requested information about employees’ military identity cards regardless of sex or age in late May, which may indicate ongoing Oblast-wide recruitment of reservists[41]

Ukrainian intelligence reported that Russian forces are forming the 3rd Army Corps (AC) within the Western Military District, but it is unclear which personnel will staff the 3rd AC.[42] Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Representative Vadym Skibitskyi noted that Russian forces hope to form the 3rd AC by mid-August due to insufficient force generated from newly-formed eight volunteer battalions.[43] Skibitsky has repeated that Russian forces plan to form 16 volunteer battalions and establish rifle elements in almost all federal subjects.[44] Skibitsky noted that Russian forces continue to face shortages of officers, which may complicate the formation of the 3rd AC.

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)

Russian occupation officials are promoting an organization entitled “We Are Together with Russia” throughout occupied Ukrainian oblasts, likely to present the façade of a “grassroots” call for the Russian annexation of occupied Ukraine and to prepare for falsified annexation referenda in occupied areas. Russian occupation official Vladimir Rogin told the Russian outlet “Ruskiy Mir” on July 27 that “the movement will turn into an effective platform that will speed up the process of the region’s entry into Russia.”[45] Russian Telegram news channel “Readovka” reported on July 26 that members of United Russia, the political party of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and members of the All-Russian Popular Front party are staffing the organization’s headquarters across occupied Ukrainian oblasts.[46] The Russian governor of Russia’s Penza Oblast, senior United Russia member Oleg Melnichenko, opened a “humanitarian office” for “We Are Together with Russia” in Tokmak, Zaporizhia Oblast on July 29.[47]

The possibility of a Ukrainian counteroffensive into occupied Kherson may be disrupting Russian attempts to prepare for annexation referenda and to force Kherson civilians to register for Russian passports. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on July 29 that occupation authorities from United Russia have left Kherson City as of July 29.[48] The Center claimed that the party members were preparing for an annexation referendum in the city under the guise of “humanitarian activities” and were forcing Ukrainian civilians to register for Russian passports in exchange for humanitarian aid. The Center reported that the party members fled because they are afraid of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the city following the July 26 strike on the Antonivky Bridge. ISW could not corroborate the Ukrainian Resistance Center’s report. However, Russian milblogger Yuri Kotyenok and pro-Russian outlet “KhersonLife” reported on July 29 that occupation authorities are holding a large-scale “public forum” under the umbrella of “We Are Together with Russia” in Kherson City on July 30 and 31 to proclaim “the return of the right to self-determination and a new historical destiny for the inhabitants of Southern Russia,” which is how some Russian sources have begun to refer to Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast.[49] Russian sources claimed that more than 500 delegates would participate. Cancellation of, postponement of, or low turnout at this event would suggest that United Russia members have in fact fled the city in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Occupation officials also continued to restrict usage of Ukrainian currency and are attempting to force the rubleization of occupied areas but may have limited access to rubles in cash. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai said on July 29 that Russian occupation forces have not installed or serviced any ATMs in Kreminna, Rubizhne, or Popasna since taking those cities in May and that the situation is similar in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.[50] Haidai said that Russian occupiers are trying to issue cash pensions to civilians in occupied areas but can only provide pensions by mail.

[3] https://armyinform dot

[7] https://ssu dot

[8] https://gur dot

[9] https://armyinform dot

[38] https://gazeta-n1 dot ru/news/society/113523/

[39] https://tayga dot info/178525

[41] https://tayga dot info/176819

[42] https://gur dot

[43] https://gur dot

[45] https://russkiymir dot ru/news/303486/

[47] https://penza-post dot ru/news/29-07-2022/87370

[48] https://sprotyv dot mod dot gov dot ua/2022/07/29/okupanty-z-partiyi-yedyna-rosiya-vtekly-z-hersonu/

[49]; https://kherson dot life/kherson/v-hersone-projdet-masshtabnyj-obshhestvennyj-forum-vmeste-s-rossiej/;

2. Ukrainian Forces Hamstrung by Pledge Not to Fire Into Russia

Photos at the link.

I will leave it to the lawyers but if units or locations in Russia are being used to prosecute Putin's war in Ukraine then I think the Ukrainians should be able to strike those targets under the right of self defense to prevent their use in attacking Ukraine.


“We promised our partners that we will use their weapons only on Ukrainian territory as a deterrent,” said Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

So we are imposing restrictive ROE on the Ukrainian forces? Are we so afraid of escalation? More importantly, do we really think that these restrictions will prevent Putin from escalating? Or will the perceived weakness in these restrictions actually lead to escalation?  I think Russian experts need to answer these questions.

Ukrainian Forces Hamstrung by Pledge Not to Fire Into Russia

‘If we had permission, we would have seen results a long time ago,’ says one soldier

By Vivian SalamaFollow

 | Photographs by Joseph Sywenkyj for The Wall Street Journal

July 29, 2022 7:00 am ET

NEAR IZYUM, Ukraine—When Ukraine pushed Russian forces back from the country’s second-largest city of Kharkiv in May, they quickly headed to the border to dig their flag into Ukrainian soil that, for a time, had fallen into Russian hands.

Since then, the front lines in Ukraine’s northeastern region have been largely static. Russian artillery on the other side of the border continues to hammer Ukrainian positions and civilian buildings, and Kyiv has pledged not to target Russian territory with weapons provided by the West.


Should Ukrainian forces be allowed to use Western weapons to retaliate against targets on Russian territory? Join the conversation below.

“Our hands are tied,” said Yevhen Tonitsa, battery commander for the 40th Separate Artillery Brigade in southeastern Kharkiv. Targeting, he said, is limited to Russian positions in occupied areas of Ukraine, but not over the border in the area around Belgorod. “If we had permission, we would have seen results a long time ago.”

The battle around Kharkiv highlights a core issue for Ukrainian forces when they employ advanced Western weaponry. The U.S. and European governments, nervous about provoking Russia, have restricted how Ukraine can use them.

A man walks past a severely damaged building in Kharkiv’s Pyatykhatky neighborhood. Hundreds of residential and commercial buildings in Kharkiv have been damaged and destroyed by Russia.

A heavily damaged area in Kharkiv’s northern Saltivka neighborhood.

M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems—the long-range missiles known as Himars—arrived on the front lines in June from the U.S. They allowed Ukrainian forces to reach high-value targets over greater distances, although they haven’t received the ammunition with the longest range. The Himars have tipped the balance of battles in Kyiv’s favor in eastern and southern Ukraine, but there are limits to their use in Kharkiv. The result, officials and soldiers say, is that they are hamstrung in their fight against Russia. After some successes on the battlefield near the city of Izyum, the Himars were transported elsewhere.


The 10-Point.

A personal, guided tour to the best scoops and stories every day in The Wall Street Journal.



“We promised our partners that we will use their weapons only on Ukrainian territory as a deterrent,” said Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

“Russians are using [Multiple Launch Rocket Systems] like Grad, Smerch or Uragan from their land on civilian populations in Kharkiv,” he said. “We need to find solutions to this. It’s a problem.”

Still, in the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian forces are holding their own with the help of Western weaponry.

Ukrainian soldiers from the 40th Separate Artillery Brigade prepare 155 mm shells for a Western-supplied M777 howitzer.

A soldier from the Ukrainian 40th Separate Artillery Brigade pulls the lanyard to fire a Western supplied M777 howitzer at a Russian military position in Ukraine.

Buried in a lush forest of oak and maple trees near Izyum on a recent morning, a gunner with Mr. Tonitsa’s brigade peered through the scope of a camouflaged howitzer, preparing to take aim at Russian positions on Ukrainian territory some 12 miles away.

The M777, a long-range howitzer donated by the U.S., Australia and Canada, has a shorter range than the Himars and it also can’t be used against targets across the border in Russia. The rockets have been a critical tool in helping Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv hold their positions amid bombardment from within and beyond their border.

Up on a hill under the curtain of trees, a soldier jotted grid references into a small notebook as he peered through the howitzer’s scope, turning a pair of wheels to help adjust the hefty piece of artillery to the perfect angle. With the position locked in, he shouted, “Contact!” offering the men around him a split-second warning to protect their ears from the blast.

Yevhen Tonitsa, commander of a Ukrainian 40th Separate Artillery Brigade M777 battery, at a firing position in Ukraine's Kharkiv Region.

The brigade declined to offer any details on their intended targets, only that the shells were bound eastward.

“We got them,” one of the eight gunners said.

Across Ukraine’s nearly 1,500-mile front line, the need for longer-range weapons continues to outpace the demand for shorter-range systems as the war is primarily an artillery battle. The GPS-guided Himar missiles have a range about double that of the M777 howitzers. At roughly 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, Himars generally outrange Russia’s own artillery.

Kharkiv was devastated by Russia’s initial assault, having endured the heaviest bombardment from February through May. In May, Ukraine began a counteroffensive toward the city of Izyum, aimed at disrupting Russian supply lines into the nearby Donbas region. The battle had largely been stagnant until, in late June, Ukrainian forces used their newly-acquired Himars to launch an attack on a Russian ammunition depot in Izyum.

The forests of Kharkiv are an asset for soldiers, offering them and their precious arsenal cover under the thick leaves—a small luxury that will be lost come winter. But the forests have also worked to the advantage of Russian forces who now occupy about 30% of the region.

Kharkiv, which is under regular Russian attack, goes almost completely dark as night falls before curfew. Streetlights are switched off and many people who remain in the city don’t use bright lights in their homes.

“Our geography is a big challenge,” said Marharyta Rivchachenko, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military in Kharkiv. “Himars were hitting Russians in Izyum, but they keep reinforcing and resupplying their forces there, and there are hills around Izyum that make it a lot harder for artillery to hit their targets.”

Fighters in Kharkiv praise the effectiveness of the Himars and acknowledge that Russian shelling in some parts of the region has eased since the rockets arrived. However, with only about a dozen now in Ukrainian possession, they acknowledge that they may be more useful in terrains where their longer range can offer greater advantages.

Cute Dogs, Bono and Ads: Ukraine’s PR Strategy to Rally Global Support

Cute Dogs, Bono and Ads: Ukraine’s PR Strategy to Rally Global Support

Play video: Cute Dogs, Bono and Ads: Ukraine’s PR Strategy to Rally Global Support

Ukraine’s government has ushered in a new era of public relations since the start of the war, using tactics including filming dogs on the battlefield and teaming up with celebrities to help secure funds and weapons to take on Russia. WSJ explains. Photo Composite: Emily Siu

“What we really need are more weapons, more artillery systems and most importantly, spare parts for all of them,” Mr. Tonitsa said. We have parts that always need to be replaced, but we don’t have any spare parts.”

Ukraine’s defense minister said that Kharkiv and other border regions needed additional air defense systems at the border to better protect against strikes from Russian territory.

“The Russians are using not only cruise missiles or ballistic missiles,” Mr. Reznikov said. “They are not so precise, but they are dangerous, and Russia has a lot of them. So we need to find out more antimissile systems to close our skies and antiaircraft systems.”

Maxim Bubliy, a doctor of philosophy, goes through his family’s heavily damaged home to salvage anything of value in Kharkiv’s Saltivka neighborhood. The building was hit by Russian forces multiple times in March.

Dennis Savenkov contributed to this article.

Write to Vivian Salama at

3. Why America’s Army Can’t Win America’s Wars by John A. Nagl

John's conclusion will draw fire:

American politicians and the US Army would benefit from a deeper understanding of the fact that victory in American wars requires the long-term commitment of American forces to troubled lands. If a country is important enough to fight over, it is important enough to stay there for generations. There is no substitute for American boots on the ground; while they are not the definition of victory, without them, there is only defeat, failure, and unimaginable suffering and loss.

​The `4 page essay can be downloaded here: ​

Why America’s Army Can’t Win America’s Wars

John A. Nagl


Since achieving victory in World War II, the United States military has a less than enviable combat record in irregular warfare. Through a detailed historical analysis, this article provides perspective on where past decisions and doctrines have led to defeat and where they may have succeeded if given more time or executed differently. In doing so, it provides lessons for future Army engagements and argues that until America becomes proficient in irregular warfare, our enemies will continue to fight us at the lower levels of the spectrum of conflict, where they have a good chance of exhausting our will to fight.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Recommended Citation

John A. Nagl, "Why America’s Army Can’t Win America’s Wars," Parameters 52, no. 3 (2022), doi:10.55540/0031-1723.3164.

4. US-donated HIMARS is the 'perfect' weapon thanks to poor Russian logistics forcing senior commanders in its range, military expert says

As Bonaprate said, never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Hopefully, the Russians will keep making these mistakes.

US-donated HIMARS is the 'perfect' weapon thanks to poor Russian logistics forcing senior commanders in its range, military expert says · by Sinéad Baker

Footage shared by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry thanking the US for its donation of HIMARS.Ukraine Ministry of Defense

  • Ukraine's fight against Russia now involves HIMARS, a long-range weapons system from the US.
  • Ukraine says used it to kill a Russian general and destroyed 50 ammunition depots.
  • A military expert told Insider HIMARS is the "perfect" weapon to exploit Russia's bad war planning.

The long-range weapons the US sent Ukraine are the perfect weapon for this moment in the war because of how it can exploit Russia's poor war planning, a military expert said.

The US sent 12 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) — long-range, high-precision rocket launchers that can hit targets 5o miles away — as part of the arsenal Western countries are sending Ukraine to help fight Russia.

Video: Amateur fighters start battalion to defeat Russia

Ukraine had repeatedly said it needed more long-range weapons to fight effectively. Now it has HIMARS — and Ukraine says it's working.

Russian command more vulnerable

William Alberque, director of strategy, technology, and arms control at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told Insider the HIMARS is "exactly the right system at the right time" for Ukraine because of how Russia is fighting.

A Ukrainian unit commander shows the rockets on a HIMARS vehicle in Eastern Ukraine on July 1, 2022.Anastasia Vlasova for The Washington Post via Getty Images

He said Russia's infantry and armored units are vulnerable as they are extremely dependent on their supply chain, and that Russia's lack of trust in lower-ranked officials to make decisions means it has to bring more senior commanders close to the battle.

"Because of their doctrine, they don't devolve decision-making down to the lowest level as we do in the West," he said.

"Therefore you have to move your command post much closer to the front," he said, with Russia also "moving massive amounts of ammunition, gathering them all together, and moving their command posts closer and closer to the front."

And Ukraine now has the equipment to hit them quickly, accurately, and from a safe distance for its own soldiers.

Ukraine said HIMARS was used to kill a Russian general and destroy 50 ammunition depots.

Alberque said the HIMARS "is unbelievably accurate with no setup time. By the time Russians are even thinking about counter fire, the thing's gone."

Ukraine, he noted, is "hitting these massive ammunition dumps, these massive artillery masses, and the command posts."

Ukrainian soldiers carry the coffin of a soldier killed by the Russian troops during his funeral at St Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, July 18, 2022.AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

The weapons have so far "made such a massive difference" for Ukraine, Alberque said.

"It's that amazing coincidence of Russian tactics and the absolute perfect system designed to destroy those tactics."

Russia's centralized command has previously been credited with leaving its generals vulnerable in Ukraine.

Russia has no clear defense

Alberque said it isn't obvious how Russia could respond.

Fixing its logistics to make it less vulnerable wouldn't be possible for Russia, "not even in a six-month job," he said. "Like, that's a five-year job."

A man searches for documents of their injured friend in the debris of a destroyed apartment house after Russian shelling in Chuhuiv, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Saturday, July 16, 2022.AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

He said Russia may figure out how to better intercept HIMARS missiles with existing equipment, but that could actually make it a bigger target.

"It's still not entirely clear that that would be successful, but it would be better," he said.

"On the other hand, massing together really good radars and really good air defense systems are wonderful targets for HIMARS."

Russia, he said, has many long-range weapons itself, but none as accurate as what Ukraine now has from the West: "It's not clear that Russia will be able, in this phase of the war, to adapt. It's a much longer-term issue."

Hurting Russia

The first HIMARS arrived in Ukraine in June.

Ukrainian officials have praised it since then, and earlier this month Russia told a militia to focus on destroying HIMARS and similar long-range weapons.

A US HIMARS fired in southeastern Morocco on June 9, 2021.FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine also released audio it said was of a conversation between a Russian soldier and his wife, where he complained of being "sent to slaughter" as Ukrainian troops were firing from so far away and he had no equipment he could use to respond.

The Pentagon has said HIMARS is "making an impact" in helping Ukraine, and a senior US defense official said last week that HIMARS had been a "thorn in the Russian side" that Ukraine was using to hit targets "related to command and control ammunition."

Not a silver bullet

The US has said it will send four more HIMARS, bringing the total to 16.

But Ukraine says it needs dozen more, something the US has not committed to.

Some experts also caution against celebrating the weapon as a game-changer.

Marina Miron, a research fellow at the King's College London Center for Military Ethics, told Insider that Russia may adapt their tactics to HIMARS, and that it is looking for ways to destroy them.

She noted that the systems' logistical needs — like needing to be resupplied with missiles and soldiers trained to use them — make it vulnerable.

A Ukrainian serviceman in a HIMARS vehicle in Eastern Ukraine, on July 1, 2022.Anastasia Vlasova for The Washington Post via Getty Images

She said other weapons that have arrived in Ukraine were hailed as game changers, but slowly became less relevant when Russia adapted.

The US defense official said in July: "HIMARS isn't a silver bullet. We haven't thought it was a silver bullet from the beginning. But we know that the HIMARS is having an effect."

Read the original article on Business Insider · by Sinéad Baker

5.  Japan warns of ‘aggressor nation’ Russia, threats to Taiwan in new whitepaper

The INDOPACIFIC is a complicated region.


The whitepaper also highlighted China’s ties with “aggressor nation” Russia, noting a trend of countries’ military aircraft conducting joint overflights in the airspace and ships patrolling waters near Japan.
It again highlighted China’s efforts to “unilaterally change or attempt to change the status quo by coercion in the East China Sea and South China Sea.” It also noted China has made clear it will not hesitate to unify the self-ruling island of Taiwan, by force if necessary. Beijing considers Taiwan a rogue province. Japan noted that this rhetoric further increases tension in the region.
Japan described Taiwan in the whitepaper as “an extremely important partner for Japan, sharing the same fundamental values such as freedom and democracy.” The island’s stability was called “critical for Japan’s security and must be closely monitored with a sense of urgency.” The document also encouraged the international community to recognize that changes to the status quo by coercion are globally shared challenges.

Japan warns of ‘aggressor nation’ Russia, threats to Taiwan in new whitepaper

Defense News · by Mike Yeo · July 29, 2022

MELBOURNE, Australia — The Russian invasion of Ukraine has taken a prominent position in Japan’s latest defense whitepaper, with the government warning the conflict represents “a new period of crisis” in this century.

The document, released last week in Japanese with an accompanying English-language digest, emphasized Russia’s defiance of international order is not just a European problem, and that the “international community is currently facing its greatest trial since [World War II].”

It added that the existing international order is exposed to serious challenges, especially in the Indo-Pacific region as strategic competition among nations becomes more apparent against the backdrop of changes to the balance of power.

The whitepaper also highlighted China’s ties with “aggressor nation” Russia, noting a trend of countries’ military aircraft conducting joint overflights in the airspace and ships patrolling waters near Japan.

It again highlighted China’s efforts to “unilaterally change or attempt to change the status quo by coercion in the East China Sea and South China Sea.” It also noted China has made clear it will not hesitate to unify the self-ruling island of Taiwan, by force if necessary. Beijing considers Taiwan a rogue province. Japan noted that this rhetoric further increases tension in the region.

Japan described Taiwan in the whitepaper as “an extremely important partner for Japan, sharing the same fundamental values such as freedom and democracy.” The island’s stability was called “critical for Japan’s security and must be closely monitored with a sense of urgency.” The document also encouraged the international community to recognize that changes to the status quo by coercion are globally shared challenges.

Japan is drawing up a new national security strategy to “preemptively deter changes to the status quo by force and to also be fully prepared for modern warfare, including information warfare and cyber warfare, both seen during Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” the whitepaper read.

It is also continuing to establish its self-defense forces as an integrated, multidomain force that will integrate its capabilities in additional domains such as space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. This move is perhaps most obvious in southern Japan as well as the islands between Okinawa and Taiwan. Those areas have seen the establishment of several intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance units, as well as groups dedicated to electronic warfare and anti-access missions.

The trend is set to continue in 2022, with the whitepaper noting that new electronic warfare units will be established this year in Ainoura, Sendai, Naha, Chinen, and Amami Oshima, while a new land-based, anti-ship missile unit will be set up in Kengun.

Japan is also continuing defense research and development efforts, with the country’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency working to make electromagnet rail guns, high-powered microwave energy systems to counter drone swarms, a loyal wingman drone and scramjet engine technology.

About Mike Yeo

Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News. He wrote his first defense-related magazine article in 1998 before pursuing an aerospace engineering degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. Following a stint in engineering, he became a freelance defense reporter in 2013 and has written for several media outlets.

6. Analysis: A world changed, maybe permanently, by Ukraine war

Yes, wars usually change everything (or at leas a lot of things!). To what extend in utin's war is not yet known.


So what’s next?

With no end in sight to the war, there are too many ifs and buts to hazard a solid guess. But with each additional day of fighting, the body count and the war’s ripples across the globe grow, and peace recedes.

Mankind became inured to the bomb, learning to live with it. Manned spaceflight became routine. All we can hope is that war in Europe will not.

Analysis: A world changed, maybe permanently, by Ukraine war

AP · by JOHN LEICESTER · July 30, 2022

PARIS (AP) — July 16, 1945: An incandescent mushroom cloud in New Mexico heralds the dawn of the nuclear age. July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong takes a small step and a giant leap in the dust of the Moon.

Feb. 24, 2022: Russian President Vladimir Putin chews up the world order and 77 years of almost uninterrupted peace in Europe by invading Ukraine, disrupting the supplies of food it produces for many of the planet’s 8 billion people.

All were watersheds in world history, turning points that will be taught in schools for decades to come. All changed not just lives but also trajectories for mankind, with repercussions felt across continents and for the foreseeable future.

Russia’s invasion, the killing and maiming, have quickly added Mariupol, Bucha and other Ukrainian names to Europe’s long list of cities and towns associated with the abuses of war: Dresden, Srebrenica, the Nazi massacre in France’s Oradour-sur-Glane, to name only a few.


And after nearly a half-year of fighting, with tens of thousands of dead and wounded on both sides, massive disruptions to supplies of energy, food and financial stability, the world is no longer as it was.

The air raid sirens that howl with regularity over Ukraine’s cities can’t be heard in Paris or Berlin, yet generations of Europeans who had grown up knowing only peace have been brutally awakened to both its value and its fragility.

Russia-Ukraine war

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Russian energy corporation Gazprom cuts off gas to Latvia

Everton fan who helped refugees takes penalty vs Dynamo Kyiv

Renewed war in Europe and the need to take sides — for self-preservation and to stand for right against wrong — have also shifted the world’s geo-political tectonics and relationships between nations.

Some now barely talk to Russia. Some have banded together. Others, notably in Africa, want to avoid being sucked into the breakdown between Russia and the West. Some don’t want to jeopardize supplies of food, energy, security and income. Russia and Western nations are working — notably, again, in Africa — on fence-sitters, lobbying them to take sides.

The war in Ukraine has held a mirror to mankind, too, reflecting, yet again, its propensity to live on the razor’s edge of folly, to take steps back even as it pursues progress.

And there had been progress, with speedy vaccines against the COVID-19 global pandemic and deals on climate change, before Russia’s all-powerful Putin made it his historical mission to force independent, Western-looking Ukraine at gunpoint back into the Kremlin’s orbit, as it had been during Soviet times, when he served as an intelligence officer for the feared KGB.

With its united stance against the invasion, NATO has found renewed reason for being. Just three years ago in 2019 — before the double shock of COVID-19 followed by the Ukraine war made that seem a lifetime away — the world’s biggest military alliance had appeared at risk of slowly sinking into disrepair.

French President Emmanuel Macron said it was suffering “brain death.” And then-U.S. President Donald Trump didn’t have much patience for the alliance that has been a cornerstone of U.S. security policy for more than half a century, grumbling that the U.S. was unfairly shouldering too much of the defense burden and other NATO members too little.


Now NATO is clubbing together increasingly heavy weapons for use by Ukraine on its front lines and relentlessly bombed trenches horribly reminiscent of World War I. It speed-dated Finland and Sweden when those Nordic countries decided that continuing to be nonaligned was too risky in the wake of the Russian invasion and that they needed the shield of the NATO umbrella against whatever Putin might do next.

Their becoming the 31st and 32nd members of NATO will add to the ways in which Europe has been changed permanently, or at least for the foreseeable future, by the war.

Further away, in Asia, the ripples are consequential, too.

China is scrutinizing the Russian campaign for military lessons that could be applied in any eventual invasion of the self-governed island of Taiwan. India, China and other energy-hungry Asian nations are boosting the Kremlin’s war chest and undercutting Western sanctions by buying growing amounts of Russian oil.

And then there’s Putin himself. In Ukraine, long before the invasion, many already felt that their country was engaged in a battle of survival against the Kremlin leader’s designs. Since 2014, thousands of people had already been killed in fighting with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.


The faces of Ukrainian dead from that conflict stare out from a memorial wall in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, bearing silent testimony to what is now, in the invasion’s wake, recognized as fact in Western capitals: Putin cannot and should not be trusted.

Soaring prices for food, energy and just about everything — causing pain across continents and largely driven by the war’s disruption to supplies — are another change, although perhaps less permanent. High inflation, an agony disturbingly familiar to those who lived through energy shocks of the 1970s, is back as a household term. Some economists warn that “stagflation” — a noxious combo of high inflation and slumping economic growth — could make a comeback, too.

So what’s next?

With no end in sight to the war, there are too many ifs and buts to hazard a solid guess. But with each additional day of fighting, the body count and the war’s ripples across the globe grow, and peace recedes.

Mankind became inured to the bomb, learning to live with it. Manned spaceflight became routine. All we can hope is that war in Europe will not.


Paris-based correspondent John Leicester has reported from Europe since 2002 and from Ukraine this June.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at

AP · by JOHN LEICESTER · July 30, 2022

7. Former US Diplomat Analyzes President Putin

Do we need another Long Telegram? Know your enemy.

Former US Diplomat Analyzes President Putin - KyivPost - Ukraine's Global Voice · by Jay Beecher · July 30, 2022

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva is a former US physician-diplomat (including 5 years in Moscow), and a Senior Fellow at the George HW Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, who has extensively studied and profiled adversarial leaders for American national security and policy communities. Dr Dekleva recently sat down with the Kyiv Post to share his views based on his many years of studying and analyzing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Dekleva).

After the war with Ukraine started, many commentators said that Putin was “crazy” – is he? Or is he a rational actor?

I do not find, nor have I seen in over 22 years of closely studying Putin, any signs of mental instability. He is, and remains, a rational actor, even though he has at times made poor tactical and/or strategic decisions – the current war being seen by America and NATO, as well as others, as a colossal strategic failure – although a poor decision does not necessarily imply irrationality or mental illness.

Why then such strategically bad decisions – like invading Ukraine and expecting to be able to topple Kyiv in three days?

Many leaders make poor decisions, which of course can have political and diplomatic consequences. I have also not seen convincing clinical evidence of serious medical or neurological illness, or at a minimum, evidence suggestive of any cognitive impairment. These views [independently] also align with those echoed by CIA Director William Burns in his comments at last week’s Aspen Security Forum.

A lot of analysis of Putin says that he has a grandiose vision as a “modern Tsar,” or savior of Russia. How do you think Putin thinks of himself?

Putin sees himself as a leader whose desire is to restore Russia to a position of historical greatness and respect on the world stage, as befits a superpower, and as an equal to other great powers such as America and China. Restoration of Russia’s greatness (and disruption of the post-1991 world order) has been a long-standing ambition of Putin’s, but one fuelled by revanchism, grievance, and a sense that NATO betrayed Russia in understandings reached at the end of the Cold War. Putin’s ego, ambitions, and dreams are united in the service of these goals. He sees himself – correctly – as a strong, respected leader who saved Russia from its weakness and the doldrums of the 1990s, by restoring the power, glory, and grandeur of the Russian state.

Do you believe, if faced with the serious risk of losing, Putin would use nuclear weapons?

I believe that Putin would use nuclear (or other) WMD if he and his top advisers felt that Russia was under existential threat. Putin (this is true of his advisors, especially his spokesman Dmitry Peskov, a former SVR officer) has used the threat of nuclear weapon use to frighten and manipulate the West, into attempting to weaken their support of Ukraine during the war.

Why do they make these threats?

Such rhetoric has a psychological effect of creating fear and uncertainty, which aligns with both Russian WMD doctrine and Putin’s KGB training and use of psychological manipulation.

How should Western leaders deal with Putin, as a person?

Eventually, there will be a cease-fire, and hopefully, some sort of peace process between Ukraine and Russia. For all of the horrors of this war and the tragedies, as well as lives lost, in the end, Russia and Ukraine share a common history, and are neighbors. They will have to co-exist. I feel very strongly that name-calling (as has been done by several western leaders) is unhelpful and counterproductive, as Putin will be the key negotiating partner in any future diplomacy.

As a leader, how does Putin view, or enter into negotiations?

Putin can be negotiated with, as proven by the recent grain deal, his blessing of the release of Trevor Reed, and his likely blessing given to a possible Griner/Whelan-Bout swap. But he drives a tough bargain and always negotiates from strength. He reacts badly to slights and to feeling disrespected or humiliated; he abhors weakness, and mutual respect is a core belief of his. Any negotiated agreement is likely to be imperfect (ex: Dayton 1995) but will have to be one that both sides can accept and that allows both leaders – Putin and Zelensky – to save face. There are no true winners in this war.

So how will negotiations for Ukraine’s peace go?

While Putin can be negotiated with, he is a ruthless and cynical politician and negotiation partner, as shown not only in this war, but in his prior similar actions in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, and in his election interference in America and Europe, plus the assassination of Litvinenko and others, such as Nemtsov, and the attempted assassinations of Skripal and Navalny.

Who will negotiate the peace?

Key to the resolution of the Ukraine war will be the role of a trusted mediator. The model for this is former Finnish Prime Minister Marrti Ahtissari’s mediation in Kosovo in 1999.

In Putin’s mind, must Ukraine die for Russia to be great? Can Russia have friendly relations with a neighboring, wealthier Slavic nation? Or is Putin’s decision-making per Europe and the USA differ from that of Ukraine?

Ukraine is, because of its historic links to Russia, different from the Baltics or Poland, for example. Putin is flexible and resilient when he needs to be, and when Russia’s interests require it. The huge X Factor here is Zelensky’s political future, and the 2024 US election. A strong, united America in 2024 and thereafter is key. Putin is relying upon continued American division and polarization to achieve his strategic goals. 2024 is a huge unknown and Putin sees this time as a window of strategic opportunity. In this sense, he is a man in a hurry. And this is true of our other adversaries such as China, North Korea, and Iran, who are watching closely.

Then how does a democratic Ukraine survive in a lasting peace? Is Putin psychologically strong enough to accept anything less than the extermination of Ukraine as a state and people, or will he just pause before the next war?

Context is crucial here, and what FBI hostage negotiators call tactical empathy is useful in this setting. Putin felt that the situation at hand – a weakened EU and NATO, a weak Ukraine, and a divided American polity favored going for broke. I too was surprised that he didn’t settle for a rump Ukraine, with an annexed Crimea and a Donbas as an independent entity (e.g., Abkhazia, North Ossetia). What Putin underestimated, as we all did, was the courage and heroism of President Zelensky, which has inspired Ukraine and the West. Now that Putin’s initial plan of a Russian puppet state has failed, he has attempted to destroy the idea of Ukrainian nationhood and statehood, almost a genocidal imperative on Russia’s part. I do believe that his long game – not unrealistic given Ukraine’s challenges with corruption and the existence of pro-Russian elements in the Ukrainian government- is to weaken Zelensky politically and to insure a rump Ukraine, either neutral (aka Austria) or beholden economically and politically to Russia as much as to the EU. Countering such a narrative will require exquisite diplomacy on the part of America and its EU and NATO allies. As the war winds down, this cold conflict will occur in the diplomatic and intelligence realms.

What do you imagine that Putin fears?

Putin fears a weakened Russia, and he likely fears chaos and democracy; he prefers a strong Russian state, and the control and stability that this implies. A democratic, independent, western-leaning Ukraine is seen by Putin as an existential threat.


I believe that the chaos and weakness of Russia in the 1990s had a huge impact on his psyche and beliefs, as was the case for most Russians. The ‘loss’ of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR left that generation with a sense of shame, trauma, and humiliation. Putin’s legacy has been, and will be, to reverse this dynamic. Putin has often spoken of his admiration for strong leaders such as Charles De Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer, and Ariel Sharon. He has said that he admires Israel, for creating a country out of the desert, and for reviving a dead language. Of note, Putin sees current western leaders (e.g., Biden, Scholz, and Macron) as weak, and this narrative resonates strongly with many Russians, 80% of whom support Putin’s leadership of this war.

Where does the “tough-guy” persona of Putin come from?

It’s a combination of his Russian qualities. In a sense, Putin is truly Russian, which accounts for part of his appeal. He grew up ‘hard’ in post-war Leningrad and tempered that with his lifelong love and study of judo, which gave him discipline, and taught him to respect his training partners, teachers, and opponents. That being said, he has always been a tough competitor, and was the judo champion of Leningrad as a youth. He also studied and valued the German language, a culture which he has respected. His later KGB training honed these traits and turned Putin into a formidable adversary, both as an intelligence officer, diplomat, and politician, and as he sees himself, as “an expert in human relations.” Putin is a highly intelligent, formidable, and disruptive leader whom we should be careful not to underestimate.

How is Putin as “a guy”? If he were not President of Russia, what sort of guy would he be?

As Putin has been in power longer, the persona of a regular guy has of course worn thin, as he is a more remote, disciplined, and authoritarian leader, who has become more isolated, as noted by Hubert Seipel in his 2014 documentary, “Ich, Putin.” As the Russians say, the Tsar’s crown is heavy. That being said, videos of Putin (in 2019) practicing judo with the Russian national team, reveal a friendly, cheerful, and more open side of him, which shows his humanity and equanimity.

Current estimates say that Russia has had around 60-70,000 casualties (i.e. killed and injured combined) since invasion of Ukraine began on February 24: How do you think Putin justifies these losses?

Putin sees these casualties as justifiable for a greater cause. It is likely to only cause him concern if there is political blowback because of a larger number of deaths of Russian soldiers. His thinking in this regard is likely closer to Stalin’s famous phrase: the death of a single person is a tragedy. The death of a million is a statistic.

When you look at Putin today, and those around him, how has it changed over the past twenty-two years?

Putin is more isolated, as compared to the time of his first two terms as President (2000-2008). He had a wider variety of talented personnel as part of the various ministries and the national security council (which is chaired by Nikolai Patrushev, who is a true hard-liner). Putin valued talent. His current isolation is more problematic, and more prone to groupthink, as well as a lack of integrative flexibility and increased cognitive rigidity — traits often seen in aging (albeit healthy) authoritarian leaders.

How do you see this shift in Putin’s inner circle affecting things today?

There is, as noted above, a greater propensity towards groupthink, in that his closest advisors – most of whom, if not all, believe as he does – tell him what he wishes to hear. When things have not gone his way, he has not hesitated to dismiss top military and/or intelligence personnel, or to publicly humiliate them, as he did with SVR Director Sergei Naryshkin at that televised national security council conference prior to the start of the war.

When Putin analyzes his role in the world: How does he see himself?

Putin sees himself as a patriot and a proud Russian, as well as a former intelligence officer. It is useful to see and understand these different sides of Putin, e.g., politician, patriot, intelligence officer, martial artist, and diplomat. Unfortunately, the Ukraine war may highlight another side of Putin: that of a potential war criminal.

Putin often references different belief systems, such as Orthodoxy or “the Russian World” philosophy: Do you believe these philosophies dictate to him his actions, or does he conveniently use these philosophies to justify his actions?

This is interesting. Putin has used historical, political (Eurasia), and religious arguments to justify his policies, especially his instigation and prolongation of the Ukraine war. But he has long believed and articulated publicly that he doesn’t see Ukraine as a ‘real’ country, so I suspect that he’s using ideology, history, philosophy, and Orthodox religion to justify his thinking, rather than the other way around.

Disclaimer: Dr. Dekleva’s views are entirely his own, and do not represent any official views of the US government, US Dept. of State, or the George HW Bush Foundation for US-China Relations. · by Jay Beecher · July 30, 2022

8. Poland: Europe’s Newest Military Superpower? – Analysis

Poland: Europe’s Newest Military Superpower? – Analysis · by Geopolitical Monitor · July 29, 2022

By Julian McBride


The Russian Invasion of Ukraine has caused a wind of change in Europe. A continent in which many states gradually lowered their military spending after the Cold War, governments are now looking to remilitarize, realizing that the Russian threat of expansion will remain for the foreseeable future. One of those European nations is Poland, which is now on-pace to become Europe’s largest and most sophisticated non-nuclear military power.

The sense of urgency from Poland comes from broken treaties and the renewed Russian ultranationalism coming out from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Poland’s remilitarization is not solely based on preparing for whatever threats come from the Kremlin, but also reflects a desire to no longer rely on word powers which, in the past, promised to protect Warsaw but never did.

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Poland has embarked on the largest procurement of conventional American weapon shipments in history. In March, Warsaw signed off on $4.75 billion worth of Patriot missiles, bolstering the nation’s anti-missile defense system.

As the war progressed in Ukraine, involving a massive barrage of MLRS and submarine-launched cruise missiles, Poland also requested an additional six Patriot systems in late May. This was not the first major purchase by the country, which prepared for the worst in February and laid the groundwork for its largest ever tank purchase, ordering 250 M1 Abrams tanks from the U.S.

As the geopolitical landscape evolved, with Russia seeking to extract concessions through territorial annexation, a manufactured famine, and the weaponization of European energy supply, Poland continued to strengthen its defensive capabilities. This includes a major weapons purchase from military tech giant South Korea, including 180 K2 tanks to be delivered by 2024 and another 400 by 2030. Additionally, Poland purchased 48 FA50 light attack aircraft, 1,400 IFVs, and 670 plus K9 self-propelled howitzers. Defense Minister Blaszczak also stated Poland will increase its active-duty forces to 400,000 with an increase in defense allocations to 3% of the nation’s GDP.


Arguably the top defense investment Poland made was the procurement of 500 HIMARS from the U.S. The MLRS system has become a game-changer for Ukraine, with just sixteen systems hitting key targets such as fuel depots, ammunition storage sites, and command and control centers. The HIMARS have also found a way to bypass Russia’s notorious S400 anti-missile system, which could give NATO members an edge in the event of a future conflict.

This renewed will on the part of the Polish defense industry to prepare itself for the worst not only stems from Europe’s evolving geopolitics, but also Poland’s past of being betrayed by superpowers that “promised” to protect the nation.

Russia’s attempts to leverage its favorable position in energy and food supply chains to extract concessions from the EU has put Poland in a precarious position, as Ukraine is not only increasingly a close ally of Warsaw, but also a major buffer against Russian expansion into Eastern Europe. It should also be noted Russia has ramped up militaristic rhetoric with regard to Poland; for example, by disrespecting the victims of the Katyn Massacre and suggesting that the country should be next in line to be “denazified.”

Whereas Western Europe has historically interpreted threats to Eastern and Central Europe as relatively minor and able to be solved with diplomacy, the Poles and many people in the Baltics still bear the scars of Chamberlain-type appeasement policies.

Poland was given assurances by both the West and Russia on the country’s territorial sovereignty only to see Russian troops betray them and later forcibly incorporate Poland as a Soviet satellite. This process included the execution and murder of the near entirety of the Polish officer corps and the deportation of 1.5 million Poles to Central Asia. The Western Allies also betrayed the Free Polish legions, not even recognizing them in the Allied Parade of 1945, thus further cementing Stalin’s hold over half of Europe.

Today, Eastern Europe will not be caught off-guard, as Polish defense capabilities also serve as a shield for the Baltics. Warsaw has solidified relations with Vilnius and supported the Lithuanian transit ban to Kaliningrad amid growing border tensions with Belarus. These important shows of support contrast starkly with some other EU powers, which have opted instead for appeasement. Along with holding defensive capabilities to solidify a defensive line reaching all the way to the Baltics, Poland has also ratified the permanent presence of the U.S. 5th Army Corps and sought growing ties with the British military.

As many nations now look to remilitarize in the face of looming threats – Japan, Germany, Spain, and the Baltics to name a few – Poland has come to the forefront of these efforts, situating itself as the frontline of European defense. With the tragedies of history still embedded in the collective memory, it appears as though Poland will not be caught off-guard again.

The views expressed in this article belong to the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect those of · by Geopolitical Monitor · July 29, 2022

9.  Russian accused of influencing US political groups to interfere in elections is indicted

No, the Russians would never interfere in our elections. Putin said so.

I know I beat the horse with this excerpt from the 2017 NSS. It is all of our responsibility to combat these activities from Russia and others.

"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."

Russian accused of influencing US political groups to interfere in elections is indicted


Moscow is convinced that Trump would have allowed Russia to take Ukraine without a fight, and they are desperate to help him back into power.

Julia Davis

Updated Jul. 27, 2022 4:11AM ET / Published Jul. 26, 2022 4:40PM ET 

CNN · by Tierney Sneed and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

(CNN)The Justice Department unveiled on Friday a conspiracy charge against a Russian national accused of working with FSB agents and using unnamed political groups in the US as foreign agents of Russia.

Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov allegedly orchestrated "a years-long foreign malign influence campaign that used various U.S. political groups to sow discord, spread pro-Russian propaganda, and interfere in elections within the United States," according to a Justice Department statement.

Prosecutors allege that the purpose of the conspiracy was to establish relationships that would "further the interests of the Russian federation." Ionov, the indictment alleges, worked with FSB agents to "identify and exploit" connections with the US political groups.

The indictment describes some of the US political groups as "separatist groups" based in Florida and California that advocated for seceding from the US, and it alleges that Ionov had "direction or control over these groups on behalf of the FSB," providing financial support for the group and using them to publish Russian and pro-separatist propaganda online and on the radio.

Six US citizens worked with and were funded by Ionov, including two unnamed Florida residents who ran for public office in 2017 and 2019, the indictment said.

Read More

The unindicted co-conspirators allegedly worked to promote Russian interests, secession movements in California, and led pro-separatist political groups in the US, all with funding from the FSB.

According to the indictment, Ionov supported the 2019 campaign of one these alleged co-conspirators for local office in Florida by participating in campaign events and providing funds. Ionov also allegedly sent updates on the campaign's progress to FSB agents on the candidate whom, Ionov allegedly wrote to the FSB, "we supervise."

The indictment alleges that Ionov pushed false claims about Russia's invasion of Ukraine as part of the conspiracy, including with a video appearance Ionov allegedly made in a March video conference hosted by the Florida-based group.

Ionov, who says he's currently in Russia, rejected the charges in a statement to CNN: "Today we received disturbing news about my inclusion in the sanctions list and the initiation of a criminal case. I have reviewed the documents and consulted with lawyers in the USA. Until now, I do not understand the essence of the accusation, since there are no specific references in the documents to persons in the Russian government for whom I allegedly worked. I was particularly struck by the fact that I allegedly work for the special services. At the same time, the names and officials are not called. I consider these accusations destructive."

The US Treasury Department also announced sanctions Friday against Ionov and Natalya Valeryevna Burlinova, the president of an organization allegedly connected to Russian intelligence service, and their organizations.

"The Kremlin has repeatedly sought to threaten and undermine our democratic processes and institutions," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement Friday. "The United States will continue our extensive work to counter these efforts and safeguard our democracy from Russia's interference."

Under the law that Ionov is accused of violating, Ionov faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The indictment references media reports describing Ionov as fundraising for the defense of Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to acting as a foreign agent in an effort to influence US gun rights groups. Prosecutors allege that Ionov was warned by an FSB agent who commented on one such article in 2019 that sanctions could be imposed against him.

The indictment points to several episodes of the alleged influence campaign. In 2015, a member of the Florida-based group identified as unindicted co-conspirator UIC-1, traveled to Russia on two occasions -- the first time, to meet with Ionov, and on a second occasion, to attend a "separatist conference" in Moscow, according to the indictment. Also that year, Ionov allegedly worked with another member of the Florida-based group on a petition to be sent to the United Nations.

The alleged conspiracy continued through 2016, prosecutors say, with requests from Ionov that the Florida-based group organize a four-city tour to show that people are opposed to the "US colonial government" and that the group made statements supporting the Russian Olympic team amid doping controversy that year.

The indictment also accuses Ionov of emailing with members of the California-based group about plans to demonstrate at California's state capital in 2018. Ionov communicated details about the demonstration to an FSB agent, who complained that the rally did not amount to an "historic" demonstration, the indictment said.

"The prosecution of this criminal conduct is essential to protecting the American public when foreign governments seek to inject themselves into the American political process," US Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida, which is where the indictment was handed up, said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our partners at the FBI to investigate these events, and we will continue to follow the evidence to ensure justice is done."

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan contributed reporting.

CNN · by Tierney Sneed and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

10. China exploits US social media to push its own Xinjiang narratives, report finds

And like Russia, China is exploiting social media.

How do we combat this: Recognize the PRC/CCP strategy, understand it, expose it, and attack it (with a superior form of political warfare and influence operations).

China exploits US social media to push its own Xinjiang narratives, report finds

The state's online propaganda efforts are said to be silencing criticism of its treatment of Uyghurs.

By Kurban Niyaz for RFA Uyghur


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using increasingly elaborate online tactics to counter information about human rights abuses in western China’s Xinjiang region in hopes of influencing audiences across the globe, according to a new report.

In response to criticism of its mistreatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang, the CCP has coordinated its state propaganda arms and security agencies in an effort to contradict and reframe narratives about the region, says the policy paper issued on July 20 by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The Canberra-based independent, nonpartisan think tank provides defense, security and strategic policy recommendations to the Australian government.

“Xi Jinping and the Communist Party view information operations as the domain of warfare as a battlefield to fight other people's public opinion,” said Albert Zhang, an analyst with ASPI’s Cyber Policy Centre who wrote the report with researcher Tilla Hoja.

The 39-page paper titled “Assessing the Impact of CCP Information Operations Related to Xinjiang” says China marshals a variety of resources to distract from revelations or claims of arbitrary detention, mass sterilization and cultural degradation of the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.

“The impact of these operations isn’t widely understood, and the international community has failed to adequately respond to the global challenges posed by the CCP’s rapidly evolving propaganda and disinformation operations,” the paper says.

The CCP’s use of U.S.-based social media and content platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, are fundamental to its efforts and allow it to test online tactics, measure responses and improve its influence and interference capabilities on a variety of topics, the report says.

For instance, posts by official Chinese state media and diplomatic accounts inundate U.S.‑based social media platforms with pro‑CCP content to drown out opinions that are critical of the Chinese government by reducing the efficacy of hashtags such as #Xinjiang or #GenocideGames, the paper says.

State media and Chinese diplomats routinely take to social media to discredit and undermine researchers and journalists who publish influential reports about Xinjiang and undercut the impact of their findings. Arian Zenz, a researcher at the Washington, D.C.-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and an expert on Xinjiang who has produced several reports based on Chinese government documents, has been one such target.

Zenz was mentioned in roughly 200 articles published by state media and in about 530 tweets on Twitter by Chinese diplomatic and state media accounts between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021, according to the report.

The policy brief quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying that “online public opinion work should be the top priority of propaganda and ideological work”' and that China “must grasp the initiative in this public opinion battlefield” against the West.

“These Chinese Communist Party information operations are successfully silencing people in the world, and that includes government entities, corporations, as well as civil society people from actually being able to speak up about and speak up for the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang,” Zhang said.

The CCP has been notably successful in silencing governments in Muslim-majority and non-Western countries, the report says. Of the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, only two — Albania and Turkey — have condemned the CCP for its policies in Xinjiang.

“Beginning in 2019, we saw a lot of Chinese diplomats start registering official accounts on Twitter and as well as developing Facebook accounts to push those messages, and using those social media platforms to spread their narratives,” Zhang said. “They also likely have hired or contracted out public relations or [used] other entities to actually amplify the messages.”

“At the same time, the Chinese government completely censors any kind of external kind of media into their own environment, and so there’s just this sort of asymmetric access to information that really gives the Chinese government a competitive advantage in the information space,” he said.

Countering 'information warfare'

Chinese authorities began in 2017 to ramp up their crackdown on Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang through abductions and arbitrary arrests and detentions in “re-education” camps or prisons.

An estimated 1.8 million members of these groups have been held in the camps, where detainees who were later freed reported widespread maltreatment, including severe human rights abuses, torture, rape, forced sterilization and birth control, and forced labor.

Following several credible reports and eyewitness testimony of the abuses, the U.S. and some Western parliaments have determined that the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang constitute genocide and crime against humanity and have heavily condemned Beijing for its actions.

The findings of the policy paper are based on publicly available information, including statements by senior CCP officials about influencing global public opinion over their human rights record in Xinjiang, literature reviews of Chinese academic studies, and news reporting of CCP information.

The report recommends that foreign governments and civil society groups work more closely with social media platforms and broadcasters to counter the CCP’s “global campaign of transnational repression and information warfare.”

It also recommends that governments expand economic sanctions targeting the perpetrators of serious human rights abuses to include those who distribute disinformation and foreign propaganda and who silence and continue to abuse victims and survivors of rights violations.

The report goes on to propose that governments impede Chinese propaganda resources and pinpoint strategic data sources, such as public opinion mining of U.S.-based social media, which the CCP is exploiting to improve its interference capabilities.

Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

​11. Powell pushing Asia into a new financial crisis

​I hope we do not have another Asian IMF crisis. We witnessed it in Korea in 1997.

Powell pushing Asia into a new financial crisis

US rate hikes are doing more to devastate Asian economies and currencies than tame US inflation and overheating​\​ · by William Pesek · July 28, 2022

TOKYO – The mid-1990s vibe emanating from Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington is becoming harder for dollar bulls to dismiss.

In the short run, the Fed’s decision to hike interest rates Wednesday by 75 basis points, not a full percentage point, was greeted by investors as welcome news. What’s not, however, is how Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s past mistakes are about to wreck the second half of Asia’s 2022.

Powell is surely determined to make up lost ground. Namely, for sitting back in 2021 and calling US inflation “transitory” instead of confronting it with sizable rate hikes — back when it might have made a difference.

“The question is why did they delay that, why did they delay their response?” former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told CNBC. “I think in retrospect, yes, it was a mistake. And I think they agree it was a mistake.”

Coming now, though, as consumer prices surge at a 9.1% pace, the 150 basis points worth of monetary braking the Fed has done since June — the biggest moves since the mid-1990s — and more hikes on the way will do more to devastate Asia’s next six months than tame US overheating risks.

The Fed’s hikes are their own nightmare for Xi Jinping’s China. Rising US rates put China’s giant export engine at risk. It complicates things for highly indebted mainland property developers struggling to avoid default. And then there’s the nearly US$1 trillion of state wealth parked in US government debt.

The yen’s dwindling value – down 18% so far this year – is a crisis in slow motion for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Asia’s No 2 economy is importing increasing waves of inflation via food and energy markets.

The Thai baht is already down more than 10% against the dollar this year. In Manila, the new Ferdinand Marcos Jr. regime is struggling with a peso down 9.3%. As costs of food and other vital items surge, millions of Philippine families who escaped poverty over the last decade risk sliding back under the line.

Both the Malaysian ringgit and Indian rupee are down nearly 7%, while the Indonesian rupiah has lost 5% of its value. The won is down more than 9.5% this year, causing its own headaches for the Bank of Korea. From Taiwan to Vietnam, powerful capital outflows into higher-yielding dollar investments are adding to pressures on Asian governments.

Asia’s currencies are getting pummelled by the strong dollar. Photo: Stock / Getty Images.

As Asia braces for more to come, traders are buzzing about a “reverse currency war,” whereby central banks favor stronger exchange rates to reduce imported inflation risks. It’s easier said than done, says Harvard University economist Jeffrey Frankel.

“It is impossible for all countries to pursue such strategies because they cannot all move their exchange rates in the same direction at the same time,” Frankel says of fallout from runaway dollar strength.

Ironically, the US Congress on Wednesday, hours after the Fed tightened, showed Powell a better way to save the day.

The Senate moved to deploy $52 billion in subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers and reinvigorate science and technology to raise productivity. Its broader $280 billion “Chips and Science Act” endeavors to boost competitiveness at a moment when China is investing trillions in owning the future of innovation.

Many of the price pressures imperiling US growth are coming from the supply side — from Covid-19 disruptions to surging commodity prices to Russia’s Ukraine invasion to weak tech investment. The Fed, of course, has very little influence over steps by government and industry to increase economic efficiency.

Lawmakers incentivizing tech investments is arguably a step in the right direction. It’s not enough, of course, and President Joe Biden’s White House needs to raise its sights.

China is spending trillions of dollars to dominate the future of semiconductors, biotechnology, 5G, electric vehicles, aviation, artificial intelligence, renewable energy and green infrastructure. It’s all part of President Xi Jinping’s “Made in China 2025” scheme.

In the meantime, Powell’s Fed is now engaged in a 1990s-style battle with the ghosts of bad decisions past. The worst, arguably, was Powell caving to politics in 2019, when his team began cutting interest rates when the US least needed it.

In August 2019, when Powell gave in to then-president Donald Trump, US growth was buoyant, stocks were up and the job market was sizzling. Trump, though, was enraged the Fed was raising rates on his watch.

That rate hike cycle started in 2015, when Janet Yellen chaired the Fed. After meticulously ending post-Lehman crisis quantitative easing, the Yellen Fed in December 2015 boosted rates for the first time since 2006. Powell pushed on with normalizing US rates after replacing Yellen in February 2018.

Then-US president Donald Trump pressured Powell against raising rates. Photo: Agencies

Then the Fed got trumped. In speeches and tweets, Trump attacked Powell’s rate hikes, even threatening to fire his hand-picked Fed chief. Powell acquiesced and began lowering rates.

That U-turn had three negative consequences. One was adding liquidity the globe’s biggest economy didn’t need. Second, it wasted monetary ammunition the Fed could’ve used when the pandemic hit. Three, it did grave damage to the perception of Fed independence.

This latter problem makes today’s echoes of the 1990s all the more relevant. The Fed’s 1994-1995 tightening cycle, under then-chairman Alan Greenspan, greatly angered the Washington political establishment. His doubling of short-term rates in just 12 months caused great collateral damage — in Mexico, on Wall Street, in municipalities around the US and, especially, in Asia.

The dollar’s epic rally then — as now — put Asia at grave risk. By 1997, the strain on dollar pegs from Bangkok to Jakarta to Seoul became impossible to defend. A wave of devaluations set in motion the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

Is history about to repeat itself? After two 0.75 percentage-point hikes in short succession, Powell’s team seems to be setting the stage for a full one percentage-point hike in the weeks ahead.

Washington’s fiscal position raises the stakes. With US debt now well above $30 trillion, the fallout from aggressive Fed hikes could be far bigger now than in the 1990s.

This speculation virtually ensures the US will continue to hoover up capital from all corners of the globe. The outflows are sure to accelerate as the Fed signals more assertive taps on the monetary brakes.

Economist Jonathan Fortun at the Institute of International Finance views these actions as part of a perfect storm of risk for markets everywhere.

“Mounting global recession risk is weighing on emerging market flows as anxiety builds over geopolitical events, tighter monetary conditions and realized inflation,” Fortun says. “The continued volatility in equity markets has hurt the outlook considerably.”

Fortun notes that “we are in a global interest rate and high inflation shock” in the second half of 2022. “Longer-dated government bond yields have risen sharply across advanced economies, tightening financial conditions, weighing on growth, and pushing up risk aversion. This mechanism is weighing on flows to emerging markets. We see that the current outflow episode is similar in scale to the RMB devaluation scare in 2015 and 2016.”

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is moving aggressively to protect its dollar against US buck strength. Photo: iStock / Getty Images

Ravi Menon, who heads the Monetary Authority of Singapore, is sounding the alarm about the impact of a strong dollar, 25 years after the ‘97-98 crisis. Menon’s team finds that “a 1% appreciation of the US dollar is associated with net capital outflows of 0.3% of emerging-market GDP in the following quarter.” Over the last 12 hours, MAS officials leaped into markets to support the Singapore dollar.

This augurs poorly for growth in emerging Asia. In Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, currencies are sliding at accelerating rates just as surging global commodity prices are raising inflation risks. Already, Philippine inflation exceeds 6%, well above government targets. That has the Marcos government struggling out of the gate with twin food and energy crises.

The Fed, of course, had myriad opportunities throughout 2021 to make down payments against inflation. Even though many of today’s pressures come from the supply side, Fed inaction enabled the trend. It could have sent any number of monetary shots across the bows of corporate CEOs angling to hike prices or speculators driving commodities higher.

At the very least, acting might have rebuilt some of the Fed credibility Powell lost bowing to Trump’s demands. Now, as Powell races to make up for lost time, Asia is directly in harm’s way.

Some economists, including former Goldman Sachs analyst Jim O’Neill, worry a continued yen slide could force China to devalue. O’Neill thinks that’s all too possible if the yen heads toward 150 to the dollar (from 136 now).

Japan’s $1.45 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund could start reporting sizable losses thanks to the yen’s drop. Japan’s government, meantime, is cobbling together yet another massive fiscal stimulus package to support flatlining growth.

The US, UK and Australia won’t be far behind as global headwinds hit business confidence. These fiscal realities – and fallout from the wrecking-ball dynamic surrounding the dollar – could have unpredictable geopolitical fallout.

Meanwhile, the availability of ready financing for the Group of Seven’s infrastructure plan to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative is becoming even more doubtful. China’s massive trade surpluses continue to finance trade and investment from Mexico to India. But the depths of the G7’s pockets to come up with the avowed $600 billion are becoming more and more questionable.

Even so, risks are growing with Powell’s desperation to repair the Fed’s reputation and the dollar’s additional gains to come.

A cashier counts dollar bills at a restaurant in the US. Photo: AFP

“We read Chair Powell’s press conference as more hawkish than the market’s interpretation,” says Citigroup Inc economist Andrew Hollenhorst. Odds are, he adds, inflation trends will “push the Fed to hike more aggressively than they or markets anticipate,” with a 75 basis-point move in September.

Many punters read great significance into the Fed’s vagueness about where rates are headed next. Yet count Mike Wilson, Morgan Stanley’s chief investment officer, among those worried rising hope that the Fed is winding down its tightening cycle is a “trap.”

Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank, speaks for many when she says that a reversal of the dollar’s surge “may not happen until the market is convinced that the Fed has changed course.” That is almost sure to make Asia’s road to 2023 a perilously rocky one. Perhaps as bad, or even worse, than the dreaded 1990s.

Follow William Pesek on Twitter at @WilliamPesek · by William Pesek · July 28, 2022

12.  Pelosi should think twice about flying to Taiwan

​I wish she and her team had thought twice about announcing such a trip.

Pelosi should think twice about flying to Taiwan

US House of Representatives Speaker’s planned trip risks sparking a war, which may well be her wrongheaded intent · by Chen Feng · July 30, 2022

United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated she plans to visit Taiwan at an undisclosed date in August, causing China to issue a stern warning that it could not rule out the possibility of a military response. Some people believe that this could possibly mean using fighter jets to intercept Pelosi’s plane.

On July 23, Josh Rogin, a columnist at the Washington Post, wrote that the US military could deploy an aircraft carrier to protect Pelosi’s plane. So will a war break out in the Taiwan Strait?

Different forecasts have been made about how a Taiwan Strait war could be triggered. The most common assumption is that Taiwan authorities will cross the red line in some way by substantively and irreversibly separating Taiwan from China, triggering the PLA’s military reunification actions.

Pelosi has been anti-China for a long time. As the midterm elections in the US Congress are approaching while the prospects of her Democratic Party is poor, Pelosi is effectively canvassing for the Democratic Party by visiting Taiwan.

If the Democratic Party loses its majority in the House of Representatives, Pelosi will no longer keep her Speaker position and may also be held accountable by the party and take a hit to her reputation.

It is hard to say whether US President Joe Biden is discouraging or secretly supporting Pelosi’s Taiwan plan.

On the one hand, if the Republicans win a majority in the Congress in the midterm elections, Biden will become a lame duck President. On the other hand, if Biden provokes a US-China war during his term, he will be condemned by history. He faces a dilemma.

From Beijing’s perspective, both the White House and Congress represent the US. If either of them supports Taiwanese independence, China will not tolerate it. If Taiwan, or any foreign country, crosses the red line, it means the start of China’s military reunification.

No one knows whether China will deploy fighter jets to intercept Pelosi’s plane. This is an option, but not the only one.

Technically, the interception is completely possible as PLA fighter jets have sufficient flight and weapon ranges. They can hold military exercises near Taiwan or stage continuous combat air patrols. If Pelosi wants to do it her own way, she can try. Repatriation, forced landing and even a direct shooting down are all options for Beijing.

J-10 fighter jets attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Northern Theater Command taxi onto the runway in formation before takeoff. Photo:

Of course, shooting down the US House Speaker’s plane would be an act of war. But if the Speaker blatantly intrudes into China’s sovereignty, it is no different from an undeclared war. It is justifiable for China to fight a war with military measures.

Pelosi is the third-in-line successor after the president and vice president of the US. The US military has the responsibility to ensure Pelosi’s safety but it does not mean that it agrees with the trip. When Biden said the US military had concerns, he accurately reflected the military’s position.

Technically, there are ways for US fighter jets to escort Pelosi’s plane :

  1. Take off from Kadena;
  2. Take off from Guam;
  3. Take off from an aircraft carrier

No matter how strong the US-Japan relationship is, it is not in Japan’s interest to get involved or help provoke a war in the Taiwan Strait. Kadena is an American base, but Japan cannot escape responsibility.

It is different from the US-Japan Security Treaty, in which the US promised to offer help if Japan is attacked. In this case, it would be the US that takes the initiative to drag China into a war.

Washington Post reporter Rogin mentioned that some of America’s Asian allies expressed concern about Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan.

He was likely referring to Japan. Tokyo has remained ambiguous about whether the US-Japan Security Treaty would be activated when the US provokes a war that does not involve Japan.

This is a kind of strategic ambiguity and Japan will not take the initiative to change this strategy. Japan is not willing to be dragged into a war with China as it knows clearly that such a war will not be limited to the Taiwan Strait.

Guam is too far away. American fighter jets have to be refueled by tanker planes to extend their flight time in the Taiwan Strait. With such obvious actions, China would know when Pelosi’s plane will arrive.

Departing from an aircraft carrier would be ideal for the US. It does not involve any US allies and fighter jets can maintain combat readiness for a long time, with the benefit of a short response time.

However, it is not easy to mobilize an aircraft carrier, and the US may not have enough time to do it. Moreover, the role of an aircraft carrier is limited. If the PLA suddenly dispatches a large number of fighter jets, the US aircraft carrier will be trapped.

Deploying an aircraft carrier is like trying to hit a dog with a meat bun, which will definitely be eaten up. The US won’t be able to retreat or rescue its aircraft carrier.

There is another problem: it is justifiable only if the US fighter jets are flying over the high seas but not in Taiwan’s airspace.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi is qualified to use US military aircraft, including the US government’s special planes and even military transport planes.

It is possible that China will not take drastic action against unarmed US military aircraft arriving in Taiwan. But it is a completely different issue for US fighter jets to carry out combat operations in Taiwan’s airspace.

As Taiwan is part of China, it is theoretically possible for PLA fighter jets to open fire directly on foreign fighter jets in the name of intercepting armed incursions. Besides, it is not possible that Pelosi’s plane will enter Taiwan’s airspace without a military escort.

Perhaps American fighter jets will hand over to Taiwan fighter jets on the 12 nautical mile line or somewhere. But still, anything can happen when the US military, Taiwan military and PLA fighter jets are intertwined at close range. It could result in a misfire.

Other indirect options for China include the occupations of Dongyin Island, Dongsha Islands and Taiping Island and so on. Each of these islands has important strategic value, and would play a major role in the future battle of military unification.

Although the impact is indirect, China can benefit by taking the opportunity to occupy these islands. If the West takes any actions, China will implement a no-fly zone on Taiwan Island.

Political blame game

Politically, the US move to intensify the situation in the Taiwan Strait is not supported by its allies. Apart from Japan, Europe will also not support it.

European countries may sympathize with Taiwan if the PLA takes the initiative to attack the island. But they may not support the US if it is the one that stirs the pot.

When the US debates whether its China strategy should be vague or clear, Europe has always remained silent. In fact, it is an implicit statement.

Taiwanese authorities are also feeling anxious. On the one hand, they are eager to get more support from the US. But on the other hand, they are also afraid that US support will lead to a confrontation with China. They know that Taiwan cannot handle such a situation.

In any case, Taiwan will be the biggest loser as the confrontation will bring a devastating blow to the island. It may suffer from a smashing destruction or a no-fly zone blockage.

National reunification is the long-cherished wish of the Chinese people. Peaceful reunification is the first choice but military reunification remains an option.

The threshold for military reunification is very high. But Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan may force the PLA to resolutely cross the threshold. It is what Taiwan is worrying about.

Military helicopters carrying large Taiwanese flags do flyby rehearsals in October 2021 amid escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. Photo: AFP / Ceng Shou Yi / NurPhoto

Taiwan authorities keep linking the situation in the Taiwan Strait with Ukraine, but Taiwan really does not want to become another Ukraine.

Taiwan is in a dilemma as it cannot dissuade or encourage Pelosi from visiting. In the US, the anti-China sentiment is high. But the US is not ready for a war.

The US has lost its deterrence a long time ago. The chance for the US losing a war against China is increasing. In fact, it is meaningless for the US to try to show off its military power in front of China, which is now a real superpower.

The US itself is in a bad economic situation with stagflation. It is very likely that the US economy will start contracting before interest rates are raised to a high level. By that time, there will be no room for interest rate cuts to stimulate the economy. For the US, a war with China would be the last straw to break the camel’s back.

The US is entering stagflation, which is the most dangerous and difficult economic situation. It is why Biden is eager to talk to China.

The world economy will face a rare financial decoupling if the US raises interest rates and China cuts its. Whether funds should flow to the US for hedging or to China for growth, this is an important decision for global investors. It is also a big test for the US about whether it can remain as a superpower.

The US, which now lacks the confidence to control the world, does not want to face such a test. The US dollar also wants to avoid this test.

Militarily, the US army has long lost its advantage in the Taiwan Strait, and it is also losing its advantage in the Western Pacific.

The US military is facing serious problems of aging equipment and has lagged behind China in terms of key weapons such as hypersonic and theater missiles. It has been struggling to support Ukraine in the traditional battles and will not be able to fight against China.

The US military is still strong and it is possible that the US can mobilize forces from all over the world to the Asia-Pacific.

However, given that the war in Ukraine has been protracted and the threat from Russia has become clear, such mobilization will shake the US alliance system and fundamentally endanger the strategic interests of the US.

Biden wants to pressure China but cannot bear the consequences of a confrontation. He does not want to be pulled by Pelosi’s Taiwan trip into a confrontation against China in an untimely manner.

Pelosi only wants to boost her popularity. If Biden can exert his influence to make Pelosi abandon her Taiwan trip, it would benefit Sino-US relations.

But Biden could not publicly dissuade her, nor could the US accept that its Taiwan policy was being swayed by China. He used public opinion to achieve his goal.

Influential columnists like Rogin have no shortage of inside sources and they come to him when needed. If the US public opinion opposes her trip, Pelosi will have to reconsider it.

If US public opinion supports it, Biden can shirk responsibility and justify the US’ confrontation with China.

Interestingly, US public opinion has so far remained low-key except for a few Republicans. In the US, no politician dares to openly challenge the anti-China strategy, which is now politically correct, so people stay silent.

Only former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he wanted to ride on Pelosi’s plane to visit Taiwan. Perhaps no sponsor wants to buy him an air ticket.

For confidentiality reasons, Pelosi has been tight-lipped about whether and when she will visit Taiwan. This is very strange. Why can’t she make it public? Perhaps she does not want the PLA to prepare for the interception of her plane. Or simply, she herself is hesitant.

Pelosi is a politician older than Biden. She puts her own political legacy as a top priority, over the interests of the Democratic Party and the US.

Anti-China sentiment

Today, the US is divided ideologically but there is a high degree of consensus on the anti-China issue. Pelosi is trying to benefit from such anti-China sentiment.

US politicians’ promotion of anti-China sentiment is a bad thing for the US, but actually not so bad for China. If the US has to rely on attacking an opponent to reach consensus, it has lost its direction and initiative in the beginning.

US President Joe Biden attends a press conference at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, May 23, 2022. Photo: AFP

Also, if the US does not put enough effort into basic developments that are unrelated to its opponent, it will be stuck in deeper economic stagnation and fall apart.

For the US, rebuilding social harmony, economy and cultural self-confidence are its most important tasks. These problems cannot be solved by opposing China. But now the US is blaming China for everything. It is actually self-misleading.

It seems that the US is putting a lot of pressure on China but it is actually delaying the cure of its illness and weakening its foundation. Blaming others is a typical “loser” mindset. Some US people are aware of this.

A country has to follow its own direction and rhythm to develop itself. Its rival’s moves are a less important thing.

In the global competition, a large country should take the initiative to lead the world’s economy and culture. But a country will only show its weakness by spending time blaming others and covering up its incompetence.

The US sees the anti-China sentiment as a great mountain but China sees it as a small pile of stinky garbage. Pelosi may think she is building a tower on top of a mountain but China sees that she is only throwing a piece of debris on some garbage.

For China, economic outreach to the Global South is key to breaking through American efforts to contain China’s drive for economic predominance.

China has to solve the problem of generating its own independent growth momentum, after breaking through the critical point of the “Matthew Effect,” the economic maxim that rich countries get richer and poor countries get poorer.

America’s comprehensive and unlimited anti-China campaign can slow down China’s development, at the cost of a greater deceleration of the United States. But China is not only putting in place a dual cycle, that is, promoting domestic consumption as well as exports.

China also divides the external export cycle into two sub-cycles: Europe and the United States on one hand, and the Belt and Road/Asia, Africa and Latin America on the other.

In fact, the US government and politicians know clearly that anti-China should only be a slogan.

An armed confrontation with China is something that the US can say but cannot do. This is why Biden wanted to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Editor’s note: Biden and Xi held a two-hour phone call on Thursday to discuss trade, Taiwan and Ukraine war matters.)

Pelosi may have expected China’s strong opposition to her Taiwan trip. She wants to be praised for having resisted huge pressure from China.

US public opinion will not oppose politically correct issues, such as being anti-China and supporting Taiwan. Even if there is any noise, Pelosi still has enough political resources to silence them.

If the Republican Party supports her trip, then it is a “bipartisan consensus.” If not, she can attack the Republicans. It seems to be a sure bet for her.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi has authority in domestic affairs and legislation while diplomacy and security are the responsibility of the president. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has a symbolic meaning and may trigger an unprecedented national security crisis.

I hope Pelosi, who always talks about ideology but actually cares more about businesses, will understand that her Taiwan visit will create a huge crisis that will affect many things.

Chen Feng is editor of, which originally published this article in Chinese as an exclusive manuscript. It is republished in English translation here with kind permission.

The content of the article is purely the author’s personal opinion, and does not represent either news platform’s opinion. It may not be reprinted without authorization. · by Chen Feng · July 30, 2022

​13.  German purchase of nearly three dozen F-35s from US cleared by State Department

​At least our ​F-35 factory lines will keep working. But what about the rest of the industrial base to produce all the munitions we need to have stockpiled for large scale combat operations by the US military or in support of our friends, partners, and allies?

German purchase of nearly three dozen F-35s from US cleared by State Department

Stars and Stripes · by John Vandiver · July 29, 2022

A Norwegian air force F-35, left, flies in formation with two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors over Norway in 2018. The U.S. State Department cleared the way for the sale of F-35s to Germany, in what would be a major upgrade to that country's air force. (Michael Abams/Stars and Stripes)

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An $8.4 billion deal to sell a fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Germany along with a supporting arsenal of missiles and munitions has been greenlighted by the U.S. State Department.

The deal for 35 planes still requires final approval from Congress, a formality that will clear the way for Berlin to make one of its most significant military upgrades in years.

“The proposed sale will improve Germany’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a suitable replacement for Germany’s retiring Tornado aircraft fleet in support of NATO’s nuclear sharing mission, the centerpiece for deterrence in Europe,” the department said in a statement Thursday.

Earlier this year, the German government announced its desire to acquire the stealthy jets, which it plans to station at Buechel Air Base. The installation in southwestern Germany’s Eifel region is about 40 miles from the U.S.-operated Spangdahlem Air Base.

The base is a central part of NATO’s nuclear sharing mission, which involves American B-61 nuclear weapons at certain locations in Europe. Reports over many years saying that U.S. nuclear bombs are stored at Buechel were inadvertently confirmed in a 2019 NATO document.

In the event of an alliance decision to use the weapons, they would be carried by nuclear-capable aircraft, such as the F-35.

Germany’s decision to acquire the F-35 is part of a roughly $100 billion planned upgrade to its military that Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in the aftermath of Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The F-35s, made by Lockheed Martin, are expected to be delivered to the German air force by 2026.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally that is an important force for political and economic stability in Europe,” the State Department said.

Stars and Stripes · by John Vandiver · July 29, 2022

​14. US envoy: Russia intends to dissolve Ukraine from world map

I think the Secretary is correct.

US envoy: Russia intends to dissolve Ukraine from world map

AP · by EDITH M. LEDERER · July 30, 2022

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Friday there should no longer be any doubt that Russia intends to dismantle Ukraine “and dissolve it from the world map entirely.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the U.N. Security Council that the United States is seeing growing signs that Russia is laying the groundwork to attempt to annex all of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, including by installing “illegitimate proxy officials in Russian-held areas, with the goal of holding sham referenda or decree to join Russia.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “has even stated that this is Russia’s war aim,” she said.

Lavrov told an Arab summit in Cairo on Sunday that Moscow’s overarching goal in Ukraine is to free its people from its “unacceptable regime.”

Apparently suggesting that Moscow’s war aims extend beyond Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region in the east comprising Donetsk and Luhansk, Lavrov said: “We will certainly help the Ukrainian people to get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical.”


Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council on Friday that “The de-Nazification and demilitarization of Ukraine will be carried out in full.”

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“There must no longer be a threat from this stage to Donbas, nor to Russia, nor to the liberated Ukrainian territories where for the first time in several years people are finally able to feel that they can live the way they want,” he said.

Polyansky also warned Western nations supplying long-range artillery and MLRS surface-to-surface rockets that they were shifting “the provisional security line” further toward the west, “and in so doing clarifying even further the aims and objectives of our special military operation.”

Thomas-Greenfield went after countries that say “one country’s security should not come at the expense of another’s,” asking what they call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She didn’t name any country but this is a view China has repeated frequently, including Friday by its deputy U.N. ambassador Geng Shuang.

He told the council, “Putting one’s own security above that of others, attempting to strengthen military blocs, establishing absolute superiority ... will only lead to conflict and confrontation, divide the international community and make themselves less secure.”

The U.S. ambassador also went after nations that call for all countries to embrace diplomacy without naming Russia, saying: “Let us be clear: Russia’s ongoing actions are the obstacle to a resolution to this crisis.” Again she named no countries but a significant number of nations in Africa, Asia and the Mideast take this approach.

Thomas-Greenfield cited evidence of mounting atrocities including the reported bombings of schools and hospitals, “the killing of aid workers and journalists, the targeting of civilians attempting to flee, the brutal execution-style murder of those going about their daily business in Bucha,” the suburb of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv where local authorities said hundreds of people were killed during its occupation by Russian forces.


She said there is evidence Russia forces “have interrogated, detained forcibly, deported an estimated hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens, including children -- tearing them from their homes and sending them to remote regions in the east.”

Nearly 2 million Ukrainians refugees have been sent to Russia, according to both Ukrainian and Russian officials. Ukraine portrays these journeys as forced transfers to enemy soil, which is considered a war crime. Russia calls them humanitarian evacuations of war victims who already speak Russian and are grateful for a new home.

A recent Associated Press investigation based on dozens of interviews has found that while the situation is more nuanced that the Ukrainians suggest, many refugees are indeed forced to embark on a surreal trip into Russia, subjected along the way to human rights abuses, stripped of documents and left confused and lost about where they are. Those who leave go through a series of what are known as filtration points, where treatment ranges from interrogation and strip searches to being yanked aside and never seen again.


“The United Nations has information that officials from Russia’s presidential administration are overseeing and coordinating filtration operations,” Thomas-Greenfield told the council.”

Polyansky countered that despite Ukraine’s efforts at intimidation of their citizens “people are choosing the country that they trust” -- Russia.

He warned that heavy weapons being poured into Ukraine by the West “will spill over into Europe” because of what he claimed is “the flourishing corruption among Ukraine’s political and military leadership.”

Polyansky said Western weapons are only “dragging out the agony and increasing the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”

Addressing Western ambassadors, he said: “The aims of our special military operation will be achieved either way, however much fuel you pour into the fire in the form of weapons.”

AP · by EDITH M. LEDERER · July 30, 2022

​15. How Russia spread a secret web of agents across Ukraine

A lot of detail here but I am sure the counterintelligence people are well aware of all this information (I hope). And we should ask what is being done by countries threatened by Russia to defend against this capability?

How Russia spread a secret web of agents across Ukraine

Reuters · by MARI SAITO in Kyiv and MARIA TSVETKOVA in Paris · July 28, 2022

Long before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin was building a network of secret agents to smooth its path. A Reuters investigation shows the infiltration went far deeper than has been acknowledged.


Filed: 28 July, 2022, 11 a.m. GMT

When the first armoured vehicles of Russia’s invading army reached the heart of Chornobyl nuclear plant on the afternoon of Feb. 24, they encountered a Ukrainian unit charged with defending the notorious facility.

In less than two hours, and without a fight, the 169 members of the Ukrainian National Guard laid down their weapons. Russia had taken Chornobyl, a repository for tonnes of nuclear material and a key staging post on the approach to Kyiv.

The fall of Chornobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, stands out as an anomaly in the five-month old war: a successful blitzkrieg operation in a conflict marked elsewhere by a brutal and halting advance by Russian troops and grinding resistance by Ukraine.

Now a Reuters investigation has found that Russia’s success at Chornobyl was no accident, but part of a long-standing Kremlin operation to infiltrate the Ukrainian state with secret agents.

Five people with knowledge of the Kremlin’s preparations said war planners around President Vladimir Putin believed that, aided by these agents, Russia would require only a small military force and a few days to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s administration to quit, flee or capitulate.

Through interviews with dozens of officials in Russia and Ukraine and a review of Ukrainian court documents and statements to investigators, related to a probe into the conduct of people who worked at Chornobyl, Reuters has established that this infiltration reached far deeper than has been publicly acknowledged. The officials interviewed include people inside Russia who were briefed on Moscow’s invasion planning and Ukrainian investigators tasked with tracking down spies.

“Apart from the external enemy, we unfortunately have an internal enemy, and this enemy is no less dangerous,” the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said in an interview.

At the time of the invasion, Danilov said, Russia had agents in the Ukrainian defence, security and law enforcement sectors. He declined to give names but said such traitors needed to be “neutralised” at all costs.

Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe into whether the National Guard acted unlawfully by surrendering its weapons to an enemy, a local official told Reuters. The State Bureau of Investigation didn’t comment. The National Guard defended the actions of its unit at the plant, pointing to the risks of conflict at a nuclear site.

Inside a reactor hall at the Chornobyl nuclear plant in March, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Trenches dug by Russian forces in an irradiated forest near the Chornobyl nuclear plant. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Sandbags serve as a barricade near Chornobyl’s fourth reactor, scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Court documents and testimony, reported here for the first time, reveal the role played by Chornobyl’s head of security, Valentin Viter, who is in detention and is being investigated for absenting himself from his post. An extract from the state register of pre-trial investigations, seen by Reuters, shows Viter is also suspected of treason, an allegation his lawyer says is unfounded. In a statement to investigators, Viter said that on the day of the invasion he spoke by phone with the National Guard unit commander. Viter advised the commander not to endanger his unit, telling him: “Spare your people.”

One source with direct knowledge of the Kremlin’s invasion plans told Reuters that Russian agents were deployed to Chornobyl last year to bribe officials and prepare the ground for a bloodless takeover. Reuters couldn’t independently verify the details of this assertion. However, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation has said it is investigating a former top intelligence official, Andriy Naumov, on suspicion of treason for passing Chornobyl security secrets to a foreign state. A lawyer for Naumov declined to comment.

At a national level, sources with knowledge of the Kremlin’s plans said Moscow was counting on activating sleeper agents inside the Ukrainian security apparatus. The sources confirmed Western intelligence reports that the Kremlin was lining up Oleg Tsaryov, a hotelier, to lead a puppet government in Kyiv. And a former Ukrainian prosecutor general disclosed to Reuters in June that Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, a friend of Putin, had an encrypted phone issued by Russia so he could communicate with the Kremlin.

Tsaryov said the Reuters account of how Moscow’s operation overall unfolded “has very little to do with reality.” He did not address his relationship with the Kremlin. A lawyer for Medvedchuk declined to comment. Medvedchuk is in a Ukrainian jail awaiting trial on treason charges that pre-date the Russian invasion.

Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of Ukraine’s Opposition Platform - For Life party, is pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg, Russia in July 2019. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Though Russia captured Chornobyl, its plan to take power in Kyiv failed. In many cases, the sleeper agents Moscow had installed failed to do their job, according to multiple sources in Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine Security Council Secretary Danilov said the agents and their handlers believed Ukraine was weak, which was “a total misconception.”

People the Kremlin counted on as its proxies in Ukraine overstated their influence in the years leading up to the invasion, said four of the sources with knowledge of the Kremlin’s preparations. The Kremlin relied in its planning on “clowns – they know a little bit, but they always say what the leadership wants to hear because otherwise they won’t get paid,” said one of the four, a person close to the Moscow-backed separatist leadership in eastern Ukraine.

Putin now finds himself in a protracted, full-scale war, fighting for every inch of territory at huge cost.

But the Russian intelligence infiltration did succeed in one way: It has sown mistrust inside Ukraine and laid bare the shortcomings of Ukraine’s near 30,000-strong Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, which shares a complicated history with Russia, and is now tasked with hunting down traitors and collaborators.

A man suspected of being a Russian collaborator is detained by Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, during a series of raids in the eastern city of Kharkiv on May 12. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, raids the home of a suspected Russian collaborator. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

A member of the SBU examines the social media activity of a suspected collaborator. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

SBU officers raided this apartment in Kharkiv in their hunt for Russian collaborators. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

This internal Ukrainian turmoil burst into partial view on July 17. In a video address to the nation, President Zelenskiy suspended SBU head Ivan Bakanov, whom he has known for years, citing the large number of SBU staff suspected of treason. Ukrainian law enforcement sources told Reuters that some SBU staff recounted in conversation with them that they were unable to reach Bakanov for several days after Russia invaded, adding to a sense of chaos in Kyiv. Bakanov didn’t respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Zelenskiy also said 651 cases of alleged treason and collaboration have been opened against individuals involved in law enforcement and in the prosecutor’s office. More than 60 officials from the SBU and the prosecutor general’s office are working against Ukraine in Russian-occupied zones, Zelenskiy added.

Asked to comment on Reuters’ findings, the Ukrainian presidential administration, the SBU and the prosecutor general’s office did not respond. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “All these questions have no relation whatsoever to us, therefore there is nothing for us to comment on here.” The Russian intelligence agency, the FSB, and the defence ministry did not respond to Reuters’ questions.

KGB ties

Moscow’s spy apparatus has been intertwined with Chornobyl for decades. After the 1986 disaster, when a reactor blew up scattering radioactive clouds across Europe, the Soviet KGB stepped in. More than 1,000 KGB staff took part in the clean-up, according to a declassified internal memo to a Ukrainian government minister, dated 1991. Then-KGB boss Viktor Chebrikov ordered his officers to recruit agents among the plant’s staff and instructed that a KGB officer should hold the post of deputy boss of the plant in charge of security, according to another memo - an internal KGB communication from 1986.

Even after Ukraine became independent in 1991, Moscow’s spy chiefs remained powerful there. The first head of Ukraine's domestic intelligence service was Nikolai Golushko, who started his career in Soviet Russia. Before his appointment he led the Ukraine arm of the Soviet KGB. Golushko kept most of the Soviet-era officers in their jobs, he wrote in a 2012 memoir.

After four months as Ukraine's spy chief, Golushko moved back to Moscow to rejoin KGB headquarters, and in 1993 became head of Russia's newly created Federal Counter-Intelligence Service, precursor to today’s FSB.

In Moscow, Golushko received a visit from the deputy head of Ukraine's State Security Service, Golushko wrote in the memoir. He recalled how Oleg Pugach, the Ukrainian official, asked for Golushko's help finding fabric to make the uniforms for Ukraine’s intelligence officers. Golushko also wrote that Kyiv, short of its own resources and expertise, signed deals under which the SBU agreed to share intelligence information with Moscow. In exchange, Moscow provided supplies, technology and expert help with investigations. Reuters approached Golushko for comment. A colleague from an intelligence veterans’ group told Reuters Golushko, now 85, was in ill health and could not answer questions. Reuters was unable to reach Pugach and couldn’t independently confirm Golushko’s account.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council, pictured earlier this month. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Intelligence officers working at Chornobyl officially became part of Ukraine’s security apparatus in 1991, but they continued to take orders from Moscow, said the person with direct knowledge of the invasion plan. “In effect, these were FSB employees,” said the person. The SBU did not respond to questions about Chornobyl or historical ties to Russian intelligence.

The Chornobyl nuclear plant is a vast facility. A giant steel structure encases Reactor No. 4, ground zero of the 1986 disaster. The plant lies just 10 kilometres at the closest point from the border with Belarus, in a dense and highly irradiated forest. Russia’s war planners considered control of Chornobyl to be strategically important because it sat on the shortest route for their advance on Kyiv, according to Western military analysts.

The source with direct knowledge of the invasion plan said that in November 2021 Russia started sending undercover intelligence agents to Ukraine, tasked with establishing contacts with officials responsible for securing the Chornobyl power plant. The agents’ goal was to ensure there would be no armed resistance once Russian troops rolled in. The source said Chornobyl also served as a drop-off point for documents from SBU headquarters. In return for payment, Ukrainian officials handed Russian spies information about Ukraine’s military readiness.

Reuters could not independently verify details of the source’s account, and neither Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation nor the SBU responded to the news agency’s questions. But a review of Ukrainian testimony and court documents and an interview with a local official show that Kyiv is conducting at least three investigations into the conduct of people who worked at Chornobyl. The investigations have identified at least two people suspected of providing information to Russian agents or otherwise helping them seize the plant, according to these documents.

Valentin Viter

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Chornobyl’s head of security

Viter is in detention in Ukraine on suspicion of absenting himself from his post. An extract from the court register, seen by Reuters, shows law enforcement agents have begun a second probe into Viter, for suspected treason. His lawyer rejects the allegations.

One of the men suspected by Ukrainian prosecutors and investigators of helping Russian forces is Valentin Viter, a 47-year-old colonel in the SBU. At the time of the Russian invasion, Viter was the deputy general-director of the plant responsible for its physical protection.

In May last year, Viter oversaw a routine training exercise that was meant to simulate an attack by armed saboteurs. Armed members of the National Guard unit that protects Chornobyl took part, and rehearsed repelling the attackers by force. Viter said the exercise was a success, according to a video interview posted shortly afterwards on the plant’s website. He also said he hoped Chornobyl’s security team would “not need to apply the knowledge and skills we acquired in a real-life situation.”

Viter was seconded from the SBU to work at Chornobyl as security chief in mid-2019, according to a statement he gave to investigators. In a further statement, he said that on Feb. 18 this year – six days before the Russian invasion – he went on sick leave with a respiratory problem.

By then, Russia was bolstering its troops in Belarus in preparation for an invasion, U.S. officials said at the time. Satellite images shot by U.S. satellite imagery company Maxar on Feb. 15 showed a military pontoon bridge under construction across the Pripyat River in Belarus, north of the power plant. Ukraine’s police, and the SBU, were on heightened alert in response to the Russian threat, and the national police chief said in a statement at the time that security was reinforced at the Chornobyl plant.

A video clip from Chornobyl’s website. Security head Valentin Viter discusses a recent training exercise.

On the morning of the Russian invasion, Feb. 24, Viter said, in a statement to investigators, that he was at his home in Kyiv. He telephoned the head of the Chornobyl National Guard unit, who was at his post. By then, people at the plant knew a column of Russian armoured vehicles was heading their way.

Viter, according to his testimony to Ukrainian investigators, told the commander, in Russian: “Spare your people.” Viter had no official authority over the National Guard, and Reuters could not determine whether the commander was heeding Viter’s words when the unit surrendered after discussions with the Russian invaders. A National Guard statement identified the unit commander as Yuriy Pindak.

When the Russian soldiers finally retreated from Chornobyl after a 36-day occupation, they took Pindak and most of his unit away as captives. Ukraine says the guards are being held in Russia or Belarus. Russian officials did not comment on the unit’s whereabouts.

Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe into whether the National Guard broke the law by laying down arms, said Yuriy Fomichev, mayor of the town of Slavutych where most of the Chornobyl workers live. Fomichev said he was not aware of anyone having been charged. The State Bureau of Investigation didn’t respond to Reuters’ questions about the matter.

The National Guard declined to comment on the actions of individual commanders and members of the unit tasked with protecting Chornobyl. “Fighting on the territory of nuclear facilities is prohibited by the Geneva Convention,” it said, adding that this was “one of the reasons” why there was no heavy fighting at the site. It referred questions about any investigation to the Bureau.

Article 56 of an additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions states that nuclear power plants and other dangerous installations should not be attacked.

Viter was arrested in western Ukraine and is now in pre-trial detention there on suspicion of absenting himself from his post. An extract from the court’s register, seen by Reuters, shows that law enforcement agents have initiated a second investigation into Viter for suspected treason by “deliberately assisting the military units of the aggressor country, the Russian Federation, in carrying out subversive activities against Ukraine.” They have yet to uncover evidence tying him to Russian special services.

Viter has said in court statements that he fled Kyiv for the safety of his family two days after Chornobyl was seized but tried to stay in contact with colleagues at the plant.

His lawyer, Oleksandr Kovalenko, said Viter had a legitimate reason for being off work and was unaware that he should stay at Chornobyl. The lawyer said any treason allegation was unfounded and Viter had not been served with a letter of suspicion, a step which usually precedes charges. According to the lawyer, Viter said “Spare your people” to remind the National Guard commander that many people depended on him. Viter did not discuss surrender, Kovalenko said. He added that investigators had not asked Viter about any exchange of documents at Chornobyl.

Cash and emeralds

The extent to which Russia infiltrated Chornobyl has focused Ukrainian authorities’ attention on the SBU, the agency Viter worked for, sources said. In particular, military prosecutors on Viter’s case are interested in his connection to a former Ukrainian official called Andriy Naumov, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation and a transcript of Viter’s questioning seen by Reuters.


Andriy Naumov

reuters graphic

Former top intelligence official

Naumov vanished before the Russian invasion. He turned up in Serbia in June in a car stuffed with cash and emeralds, according to a police statement. Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation said it is conducting a pre-trial investigation into Naumov for state treason. Naumov’s lawyer declined to comment.

Previously an official in the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office, by 2018 Naumov had been appointed head of COTIZ, a state enterprise responsible for estate-management of the radioactive exclusion zone around Chornobyl. A major part of COTIZ’s role was to promote “extreme tourism” in the exclusion zone, but the enterprise also had a role in keeping the site secure, according to its website.

After his stint at Chornobyl, Naumov was made the head of the SBU’s department of internal security, a division that investigates other officers suspected of criminal activity. Last year, the agency said it thwarted an assassination attempt on Naumov by other SBU officers. Naumov was later fired as department chief, according to Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda and a law enforcement source.

Naumov vanished shortly before the invasion, a person in law enforcement said. He eventually turned up in Serbia in June. A Serbian police statement issued on June 8 said police and anti-corruption agents had arrested a Ukrainian citizen identified by the initials “A.N.” on the border with North Macedonia. He had been trying to cross into North Macedonia from Serbia. A search of the BMW in which he was a passenger uncovered $124,924 and 607,990 euros in cash, plus two emeralds, the statement said. It said the individual and the unnamed driver of the BMW, who was also detained, were suspected of intending to launder the cash and emeralds, which police believe originated from criminal activities. Volodymyr Tolkach, Ukraine’s ambassador to Serbia, publicly confirmed the arrested man was Naumov.

The State Bureau of Investigation confirmed a local media report that it is conducting a pre-trial investigation into Naumov for state treason. It said it was looking into whether Naumov collected information on the security set-up at Chornobyl while working at the plant and later at the SBU and passed it to a foreign state. The statement did not say what grounds it had for suspecting he passed on secrets or if it had specific evidence linking him to Russia.

On March 31, President Zelenskiy issued a decree stripping Naumov of his brigadier-general rank. The same day, the Ukrainian president announced in an emotional address that Naumov and another SBU general were “traitors” who violated their oath of allegiance to Ukraine. Zelenskiy did not make reference to Chornobyl.

Naumov remains in detention in Serbia and could not be reached for comment. His lawyer in Serbia, Viktor Gostiljac, declined to comment. The SBU did not reply to questions about Naumov.


For Russia’s war planners, seizing Chornobyl was just a stepping stone to the main objective: taking control of the Ukrainian national government in Kyiv. There, too, the Kremlin expected that undercover agents in positions of power would play a crucial part, according to four sources with knowledge of the plan.

Yuriy Lutsenko, who served as Ukraine’s prosecutor general from 2016 until 2019, revealed to Reuters that at the time he left the role “hundreds” of Defence Ministry employees were under surveillance, approved by his office, because they were suspected of ties to the Russian state. Lutsenko said he believed there were similar numbers of suspected spies in other ministries.

Russia’s war planners were also counting on other allies to help in the takeover, five sources said.

Viktor Medvedchuk

reuters graphic

Leader of Ukraine’s Opposition Platform – For Life party

Medvedchuk was charged with state treason on May 11, 2021. Investigators from the SBU alleged at the time that he passed secret details about Ukrainian military units to Russian officials. Medvedchuk denies the charges.

One of the most visible loyalists was Viktor Medvedchuk, a leader of Ukraine’s Opposition Platform – For Life party. Putin is god-father to one of Medvedchuk’s children. Since 2014, Medvedchuk has been a vocal opponent of the popular protests that called for closer ties to the European Union.

Pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk is pictured after his detention by security forces. Press service of State Security Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

Medvedchuk was charged with state treason on May 11, 2021. Investigators from the SBU alleged at the time that Medvedchuk passed secret details about Ukrainian military units to Russian officials, and intended to recruit Ukrainian agents and covertly influence Ukrainian politics. The day before the invasion, he left his home in Kyiv and was planning on leaving the country, in violation of the terms of his bail, according to the SBU.

Medvedchuk was detained on April 12, Zelenskiy announced that day. Zelenskiy immediately posted pictures of him handcuffed, in Ukrainian military fatigues and looking bedraggled. Medvedchuk has since been in detention.

Medvedchuk has denied the treason charges, saying they were falsified and part of a political plot against him. Kremlin spokesman Peskov told reporters on April 13 Medvedchuk had no back-channel communication with the Russian leadership.

Lutsenko, the former Ukraine prosecutor general, told Reuters that before the Russian invasion, Medvedchuk used an encrypted telephone that was issued to him by the Kremlin, equipment reserved only for the most senior Russian officials and pro-Russian separatist leaders. Lutsenko said Ukrainian investigators had managed to hack the encrypted phone system, without disclosing what they found.

Medvedchuk’s lawyer, Tetyana Zhukovska, declined to comment until a court has handed down a decision in the case. The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office did not comment.

Oleg Tsaryov

reuters graphic


Early on Feb. 24, Tsaryov announced on social media he had crossed into Kyiv-controlled territory. “Kyiv will be free from fascists.” Three sources familiar with Russia’s plans said Kremlin planners picked Tsaryov to lead an interim puppet government. Tsaryov says Reuters’ account of the overall operation “has very little to do with reality.”

Another key figure, according to three sources familiar with the Russian plans, was Oleg Tsaryov, a square-jawed 52-year-old former member of Ukraine’s parliament. He was picked by Kremlin invasion planners to lead the new interim government they planned to install, these sources said. Their comments are the first confirmation from within Russia of U.S. intelligence assessments, reported by the Financial Times earlier this year, that Moscow was considering putting Tsaryov in a leadership role in a puppet government in Kyiv.

Tsaryov has been under Ukrainian and U.S. sanctions since 2014, when, after a bid to win election as Ukrainian president collapsed, he headed up a body called “Novorossiya,” or New Russia. The group pushed the idea of turning southeastern Ukraine into a separate pro-Russian statelet. By the start of this year, he was in Russian-annexed Crimea, where he owns two hotels.

In the early hours of Feb. 24, at the start of the invasion, Tsaryov told his more than 200,000 Telegram followers he had crossed into Kyiv-controlled territory. “I’m in Ukraine. Kyiv will be free from fascists.”

But Zelenskiy did not capitulate. Any expectations in Moscow that he would flee Kyiv or negotiate a deal that would cede to Russia's demands soon evaporated. In the weeks that followed, Ukrainian forces halted Russian troops' advance on Kyiv.

Tsaryov never made it to the capital. On June 10, he posted an advertisement to his Telegram followers for his seaside hotel in Crimea, where a one-night stay costs 1,500 roubles ($28) per person per night. Tsaryov is now spending his time in Crimea with visits to Moscow, according to his social media posts.

Paranoia and mistrust

Russia’s campaign of infiltration did, however, stir suspicion and mistrust at some levels of the Ukrainian state, which hampered its ability to govern, especially in the first few days after the invasion.

One stark incident that fuelled the tensions in Kyiv’s power corridors related to the death in early March of Denys Kirieiev, a former bank executive, several sources said. He was a member of the Ukrainian delegation that took part in short-lived talks with Russian negotiators on the Ukraine-Belarus border, starting on Feb. 28. A photograph showed Kirieiev sitting alongside Ukrainian officials at the negotiating table.

An advisor to the Zelenskiy administration said, in an online interview, that officers from the SBU shot Kirieiev while trying to arrest him as a Russian spy.

But Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Agency said Kirieiev was its employee and intelligence officer, and that he died a hero while conducting an unspecified special assignment defending Ukraine. A source close to the Ukrainian military told Reuters that Kirieiev was indeed a spy working for Ukraine. He had access to the highest levels of the Russian leadership, this source said, and was feeding back valuable information on invasion plans and other matters to his handlers in Kyiv.

Ivan Bakanov

reuters graphic

Former head of Security Service of Ukraine

On July 17, in a video address to the nation, President Zelenskiy suspended Bakanov, whom he has known for years, citing the large number of SBU staff suspected of treason. Bakanov didn’t respond to questions from Reuters.

Amid the chaos early in the war, Bakanov, then the head of the SBU, left Kyiv for at least three days after the Russian invasion, according to three people in Ukrainian law enforcement. Two of these people said some SBU staff recounted they were unable to reach Bakanov for several days after Russia invaded. In suspending Bakanov on July 17, Zelenskiy cited an article in Ukraine’s Armed Forces statute, under which servicemen can be relieved of their duties for improper conduct leading to casualties or a threat of casualties.

Bakanov and the SBU did not respond to Reuters’ questions.

Zelenskiy, in his speech, stressed the toll Russian infiltration was taking on his embattled country by speaking of the numerous officials who have been accused of betraying Ukraine.

“Such an array of crimes against the foundations of the national security of the state ... poses very serious questions to the relevant leaders,” Zelenskiy said.

“Each of these questions will receive a proper answer.”

Fear and suspicion as Ukraine hunts for traitors in the east

By MARI SAITO in Kutuzivka, Ukraine

As Ukraine hunts for traitors, the fear of Russian infiltration extends east, far from the capital.

The sense of paranoia runs deepest here, in eastern Ukraine, where suspicions of treason committed by locals divide formerly occupied villages like Kutuzivka, a once-sleepy hamlet east of Kharkiv, where signs of a recent Russian presence are everywhere.

Stray dogs roam over broken glass as the sound of shelling echoes overhead, with Ukrainian troops still fighting off a near-constant barrage of artillery fire by Russian troops north of the village when Reuters visited at the end of May.

When Russian troops arrived in Kutuzivka in early March, they quickly set up a local puppet administration.

Nataliia Kyrychenko, a 55-year-old farm owner in the village, was hiding in her house with several neighbours when Russian soldiers came to her door. Villagers said a Russian commander brought Kyrychenko and her neighbours out onto the street and informed them that a local woman named Nadiia Antonova would now head the village.

Nataliia Kyrychenko (left), a member of Vilkhivka village council, was detained by Russian soldiers during their occupation of the village. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Kyrychenko said she was interrogated for two days by Russian forces about her son-in-law, who is in Ukrainian law enforcement. The soldiers told her, Kyrychenko recounted to Reuters, that Antonova had informed them about her son-in-law and accused her of working as a spotter for Ukrainian troops, tasked with tracking movements of Russian soldiers.

“When the Russian soldiers took me away I honestly didn’t think I would come back,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that someone in our community would turn me in.”

Kyrychenko was eventually released. Russian officials at the Kremlin did not respond to Reuters’ questions about the case.

In late April, Ukraine successfully pushed back Russian troops and liberated Kutuzivka. Antonova was swiftly detained and placed under criminal investigation for collaborating with Russian soldiers. She faces more than a decade in jail if convicted. Antonova’s lawyer did not respond to Reuters’ questions.

In a speech earlier this month, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke about the high toll Russian infiltration was taking on the country. Below the highest levels of treason he highlighted, there are many more cases that fall into a grey area. These cases can range from those who post pro-Russian content on social media to those who cooperate in any way with occupying Russian troops.

“Our population played a very big role in informing police, alerting us to saboteurs,” said Yevhen Yenin, the first deputy minister of the internal affairs ministry, which oversees the national police.

Though the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is officially tasked with investigating such cases, much of the practical work of gathering information has fallen to the police, Yenin said.

The National Police have so far detained more than 1,000 people suspected of sabotage and reconnaissance activities on behalf of the Russian authorities, according to the internal affairs ministry.

In Kharkiv, about 40 kilometres from the Russian border, four police officers began their night patrol just after the city’s 10 p.m. curfew in late May. Touting AKs and wearing bulletproof vests, the officers scoured the city’s darkened streets for suspicious figures.

“Whenever we stop anybody we try to understand where they live, to identify who they are, and whether they speak Ukrainian or not,” said Tymur, who declined to give his last name.

Their car sped up as an air raid siren howled overhead. The officers made their way down into a subway station for shelter. Fifteen minutes later, they reemerged to patrol the deserted streets until dawn.

Police patrol Kharkiv during the city’s night-time curfew in May. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A man is stopped by police enforcing Kharkiv’s night-time curfew. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

A deserted subway station in Kharkiv during the city’s curfew. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Antonova’s case has attracted attention in Russia. Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russian state television channel RT, said on television that Antonova had helped the Russian operation and was now being unfairly punished. “We need to save those we can save, and reward those who need to be rewarded,” Simonyan said.

In an indication of the complexities of such cases, some villagers also say Antonova is being unfairly targeted. They say Antonova ensured that villagers had food and protected them from mistreatment by Russian soldiers during the occupation.

“Can you call it collaboration when the Russians are putting their guns against her back?” one resident shouted outside of a kindergarten where a dozen villagers still live underground.

But regional chief prosecutor Oleksandr Filchakov said investigators had evidence Antonova fed information to the enemy that led to the deaths of Ukrainians. While he acknowledged the sympathies of some villagers, Filchakov said Ukrainians needed justice.

“She must be held responsible,” he said.

The Enemy Within

By Mari Saito and Maria Tsvetkova

Additional reporting: Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade, Aram Roston in Washington D.C.

Photo editing: Simon Newman

Art direction: Catherine Tai

Edited by Christian Lowe and Janet McBride

  • Follow Reuters Investigates

Reuters · by MARI SAITO in Kyiv and MARIA TSVETKOVA in Paris · July 28, 2022

16. Opinion | Zelensky and some lawmakers want more U.S. military personnel in Ukraine

If you want to know what is happening on the ground and if you want to have a positive influence you deploy advisors.

Opinion | Zelensky and some lawmakers want more U.S. military personnel in Ukraine

The Washington Post · by Josh Rogin · July 28, 2022

Russian artillery and heavy armor are pounding Ukrainian forces in the country’s south and eastgrinding out small advances using brutal, scorched-earth tactics. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new war objective is to occupy as much territory as possible before the winter freeze and attempt to annex it to cement his gains, which would make achieving peace far harder.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that if Russia holds large parts of the south when winter arrives, such as the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, Ukraine will lose its ability to function as a viable state. He says the next few weeks will determine the country’s fate, and Ukraine is already mounting a counteroffensive. He’s right when he says that if the United States doesn’t give him the tools to succeed — and fast — Washington and Kyiv will both regret it later.

Speaking to a delegation of five U.S. lawmakers last week in Kyiv, Zelensky repeated his requests for more and better U.S. weapons. He also revealed that he has been asking the Biden administration to deploy U.S. military personnel in Kyiv to improve U.S.-Ukraine coordination on all aspects of the war, three of those lawmakers told me.

Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) asked the Ukrainian president whether he supported sending more U.S. military personnel into Ukraine to boost coordination. Zelensky jumped at the idea.

“As soon as I raised it, he cut me off and said, ‘We’ve been asking for it. We’d welcome it. We’ve proposed that,’” said Waltz, who told me, “The problem is with the White House.”

Zelensky proposed that U.S. and Ukrainian military personnel form three joint coordination cells, focused on planning, logistics and strategic communications. Waltz said U.S. troops would not be deployed to the front lines. They would work out of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, which is struggling right now to reestablish operations with a skeleton staff.

Congressional confidence in the $40 billion U.S. weapons and aid program in Ukraine will wane without more direct supervision, Waltz said. “From an oversight standpoint, we have to know where this stuff is going,” he said. “Also, it would help the Ukrainians use it more effectively.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who led the delegation, told me that he, too, supports Zelensky’s idea to deploy more U.S. military personnel in Kyiv. But some Biden administration officials are concerned about further deepening U.S. military involvement in the conflict, he said. “The resistance is because the Biden administration feels it would be escalatory,” Smith said. “And also, if we’ve got U.S. personnel working in an operations center inside Ukraine, they become legitimate military targets.”

A National Security Council spokesperson told me the United States is coordinating extensively with the Ukrainian military at the leadership level and among troops on the ground in neighboring countries. The lawmakers said this coordination, mostly in Germany and Poland, is inferior to working together inside Ukraine.

There’s also resistance within the Pentagon to providing Ukraine with other weapons Zelensky is asking for, including longer-range missiles and advanced, long-range drones. Officials are worried about depleting U.S. stocks and fear the drones might be captured by Russia and then reverse-engineered or used against us, Smith said.

“I understand that risk. It’s not insignificant,” he told me. “But I think that the risk of the Russians winning and carving up Ukraine so that it ceases to be a country is greater.”

Zelensky told the lawmakers his army needs the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), a surface-to-surface missile that can travel about 190 miles, nearly quadruple the range of the missiles the United States is currently providing. These munitions would allow Ukrainian forces to move farther away from Russian artillery, while striking deeper into the enemy-held territory and forcing the Russians to lengthen their supply lines.

Biden’s officials fear Ukraine could use them to strike inside Russia, triggering further escalation. Zelensky has given the White House assurances these missiles wouldn’t be used inside Russia. Delegation member Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) told me that Zelensky has proved he can be trusted to keep his word.

Slotkin, like the other lawmakers, emphasized the urgency of Zelensky’s requests. She said the next weeks and months present a window for Ukraine to claw back territory. If Kyiv fails, she said, hopes for a negotiated solution will further suffer.

“Any push to get the Ukrainians to the negotiating table must come with some additional military victories under their belt, and we should be focused on helping them get those victories,” she said. “That’s where we could be doing more.”

To its credit, the Biden administration has given Ukraine an enormous amount of aid — but that entire effort could falter without a new weapons surge. If Putin establishes territorial gains this year, next year he will only push further. Time is running out to give Zelensky what he needs to win or at least negotiate from a position of strength.

The Washington Post · by Josh Rogin · July 28, 2022

17. What Happens if Ukraine Runs Out of HIMARS Rockets?

​What is the arsenal of democracy (our industrial base) prepared to support?

I recall the only ammunition expenditure (and casualty) rates we had for large scale combat operations were from World War II. I am wondering if we are gathering data from Ukraine, from this relatively contained and isolated large scale combat operation (though with some hybridity) to develop modern era estimates on what our rates might be like in our own LSCO? And if so can we use this data to inform us on what amounts of ammunition and equipment we need stockpiled. And then we have to ask how capable our industrial base is for procuring, producing, and sustaining these stockpiles once hostilities begin.

What Happens if Ukraine Runs Out of HIMARS Rockets? · by ByBrent M. Eastwood · July 30, 2022

You know by now that the war in Ukraine is an artillery duel. Not a day goes by without one side or the other bragging about the destruction that the last artillery bombardment has delivered. The real jewels for Ukraine and Russia are the multiple launch rocket systems that can deliver maximum pain to enemy soldiers and emplacements. The United States has gifted Ukraine the accurate and lethal M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that has proved its worth by destroying numerous Russian targets. But Ukraine is going through HIMARS’ guided rockets at a rapid pace, and it remains to be seen whether the Americans can keep up the supply and even have enough of the munitions for its own military uses.

Would HIMARS Run Out of Rockets in Ukraine?

Each HIMARS launcher costs $7 million and the United States has delivered or promised to send Ukraine 16 of the multiple launch rocket systems. The Ukrainians want even more – their wish list includes 100 HIMARS launchers. This would be 20 percent of the total allotments of HIMARS for the Army and Marine Corps. Even if the Ukrainians keep from 12 to 20 HIMARS in their arsenal, over the long-term they could run out of rockets.

Military Analysts Say Rocket Supplies Can Dwindle

Retired Marine Colonel Mark Cancian is a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cancian told the War Zone on July 27, “As long as you only have 12 or 20 HIMARS systems, the [munitions] burn rate is not going to be a near-term problem. When you start getting more than that, and you start looking out three months, four months, I think at the end of four months, you may just run out.”

More Details on HIMARS

The wheeled HIMARS can travel 60 miles per hour on roads. The rockets have a range of up to 53 miles with an M31 200 pound warhead. The projectiles are GPS-guided making it an accurate munition. So far the Ukrainians have used it to mainly target Russian ammunition dumps and other supply facilities. HIMARS has also been used against at least one bridge that was critical for Russian re-supply efforts.

HIMARS is also a potent solution for counter-battery fire. Ukraine even claims that they have killed senior Russian officers in salvoes against military infrastructure. Russia’s higher ranking commanders are spending more time on the forward lines during the battle of Donbas. Ukrainian HIMARS strikes are making Russia pay the price against those senior commanders and the logistics facilities they oversee from nearby command posts.

Are the Supply of Rockets Sustainable?

But will the United States be able to supply enough of the rockets to Ukraine? Retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, a military analyst for CNN, also believes the burn rate is high. Sixteen launchers with six round pods firing only two missions a day would go through 192 rockets every 24 hours and 5,800 rockets per month, Hertling said on Twitter. These guided rockets also cost $168,000 a piece so the Ukrainians are asking for an expensive launcher with pricey supplies. The U.S. Army purchased 50,000 guided multiple launch rockets in 2021. Giving Ukraine 5,000 per month would deplete its own stock.

It’s not clear how many guided rockets the United States has supplied Ukraine but this back of the envelope arithmetic shows that they will need a significant amount, especially if America sends dozens more launchers that the Ukrainians have asked for.

Russia Could Adjust Tactics

HIMARS may be making a difference now, but that could always change as Russia begins targeting the launchers with its own artillery and aircraft. One salient feature of HIMARS is the speed to which the soldiers can move after firing. Russian counter-battery fires do not often have a chance to hit the HIMARS before it quickly makes its escape to another position.

One thing the Russian military could do is destroy the vehicles that re-supply the rockets. This could endanger HIMARS launchers as they wait for new munitions to be delivered. The United States may have to limit the number of HIMARS donated to Ukraine due to the finite number of guided rockets it can provide. If that is the case, Ukraine may have to get by with only one or two fire missions a day. That may not be enough to turn the tide of this stalemate in Donbas.

Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. · by ByBrent M. Eastwood · July 30, 2022

18. China expert reveals why Chinese threats to shoot down Pelosi's plane 'may not be bluster'

Video at the link:

China expert reveals why Chinese threats to shoot down Pelosi's plane 'may not be bluster'

Gordon Chang calls China an 'extremely dangerous regime' · by Fox News Staff | Fox News


Chinese threats on Pelosi may not be bluster: China expert

Author and China expert Gordon Chang responds to Chinese threats made toward House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's potential trip to Taiwan on 'The Ingraham Angle.'

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Author and China expert Gordon Chang explained why Chinese threats to shoot down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plane on her potential Taiwan trip "may not be bluster" Friday on "The Ingraham Angle."


JASON CHAFFETZ: You know an awful lot about what's going on here. What's your response to this blustering by China?

CHANG: This very well may not be bluster. It's inconceivable to us that the PLA - People's Liberation Army - would shoot down Pelosi's plane. But you got to remember: At this very instant, there are four Chinese warships in Japanese territorial water in the Senkakus in the East China Sea. There are Chinese troops deep into Indian-controlled territory in Ladakh, in the Himalayas. A few weeks ago, the Chinese provoked a crisis in the South China Sea with the Philippines. China is lashing out. It might be Taiwan, but it might be someplace else. This is an extremely dangerous regime at this moment.




This article was written by Fox News staff.

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19.  Man Falls From Cargo Plane After Botched Landing Near Fort Bragg In Bizarre Incident

Truly bizarre as the headline says. Do not exit an aircraft while in flight without a parachute though at the altitude he likely fell from a parachute might have been of little use. Then there are some other issues with this about who the plane was working for.

Man Falls From Cargo Plane After Botched Landing Near Fort Bragg In Bizarre Incident

The CASA-212 lost a main landing gear wheel in the initial incident and subsequently made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. · by Joseph Trevithick · July 29, 2022


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The body of a 27-year-old man, the identity of which has not been made public, has been recovered in North Carolina's Wake County. This individual matches the description of someone who appears to either have fallen or jumped from a CASA C-212 twin-engine turboprop light cargo aircraft before it made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The CASA C-212, which carries the civil registration number N497CA, attempted to land on Raleigh-Durham's Runway 5R-23L at approximately 2:40 PM local time, according to WTVD-TV, a local ABC television affiliate. Publicly available recordings of exchanges with air traffic controllers in the area, which you can listen to here, confirm that two individuals were initially on board. The crew can be heard explaining that the plane, which was using the callsign Shady 02 at the time, lost its right main landing gear wheel after what they described as a "hard landing" at Raeford West Airport outside of the city of Raeford to the southwest. They had managed to get airborne again afterward.

After the subsequent emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham, N497CA's pilot was transported to Duke Hospital with minor injuries. The accident is now under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

A member of the US Army's 5th Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment, part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, exits N497CA during a test in 2018. US Army

Local media reports say that one of the crewmen, who was not wearing a parachute, was at least initially believed to have exited the aircraft as the plane flew over a body of water near the West Lake Middle School in nearby Apex, North Carolina. Darshan Patel, Operations Manager for Wake County's Emergency Management division, said at a press conference this evening that a resident in the area had flagged down authorities who were taking part in the search efforts to let them know they had heard something fall in their backyard. Sadly, the body was subsequently located and recovered, marking a tragic end to this bizarre incident.

Exactly what the CASA C-212 was doing at the time of the hard landing is unclear. Online flight tracking software shows that it had also made multiple flights today from Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport in neighboring Nash County, North Carolina, and flew various patterns to the southwest of Fayetteville, including near the PK Airpark's West Drop Zone, before the accident.

N497CA's flight activity today, according to data recorded by ADS-B Exchange. ADS-B Exchange

Technically, the N497CA is registered to a company called Spore LTD LLC, according to the FAA's online database. The company has no real online presence. It is worth noting that its Colorado Springs, Colorado address that is on file with the FAA is the same as another firm called Rampart Aviation. CASA 212 aircraft are part of Rampart's fleet and relatively recent pictures of this particular plane online show it with a Rampart company logo clearly visible on the tail. It is not uncommon for aviation contractors to register their individual aircraft to multiple subsidiaries for various reasons.

A CASA 212 light cargo aircraft. Rampart Aviation

In addition, Rampart is known to do contracted work for the U.S. military, including supporting parachute training and test and evaluation activities for U.S. Army airborne units and U.S. special operations forces. The Pentagon announced just in April that U.S. Special Operations Command had awarded new contracts to Rampart and a number of other companies for "military freefall and static line support in various locations across the continental U.S." Fayetteville is home to the U.S. Army's Fort Bragg, the service's main airborne and special operations hub, and PK Airpark and its associated drop zones are routinely used by American troops. This does not mean conclusively that this aircraft belonged to a subsidiary of that firm, but it is certainly noteworthy at this time.

We have reached out to Rampart Aviation for comment. We will update this story as more information becomes available.

Contact the author: · by Joseph Trevithick · July 29, 2022

20. Chinese Propagandist Calls for Pelosi’s Plane to Be Shot Down If She Visits Taiwan

Chinese Propagandist Calls for Pelosi’s Plane to Be Shot Down If She Visits Taiwan



July 29, 2022 3:32 PM

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A Chinese government propagandist called for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s plane to be shot down if she visits Taiwan and is escorted by U.S. fighter jets in an inflammatory tweet sent on Friday.


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“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction,” Hu Xijin, a reporter for the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Global Times, said on Twitter.

“If ineffective, then shoot them down,” he added.

If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) July 29, 2022

Hu’s comments come as Pelosi prepares to depart for a trip around the Asian continent. She has not confirmed if she will still be visiting Taiwan — as was originally planned — amid repeated threats from the Chinese government calling on her to not visit the island.

The Financial Times reported on Pelosi’s travel plans last week, citing six officials familiar with the matter who claimed that she is set to visit Taiwan with a delegation in August.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned the U.S. to stop Pelosi from going, saying, “should the U.S. side insist on doing otherwise, China will take strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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China Wants to Do More Than Stop Pelosi

Lijian reissued his warning on Monday, stating that “China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract” her visit.

Pelosi has refused to confirm her travel plans, citing security risks.

President Joe Biden spoke to Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday, and the two leaders discussed Taiwan, according to readouts of the conservation.

The Chinese foreign ministry said “those who play with fire will perish by it,” in an apparent threat to the U.S. about their stance on Taiwan.

“The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question is consistent, and resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people,” the ministry said. “The public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this.”

Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to our One China Policy,” in the phone call, according to a White House briefing.

Newt Gingrich, who visited Taiwan as speaker, urged Pelosi to go to Taiwan in order to show China that the U.S. is not a “paper tiger.”

Lijian responded to Gingrich’s remarks, saying, “Newt Gingrich has a serious track record on issues related to Taiwan. There is no merit in his extremely irresponsible remarks. This only proves once again how some US politicians would stoke tensions in China-US relations, turmoil across the Taiwan Strait and instability in the world only to benefit themselves.”

21. Military analyst says Russia's invasion of Ukraine is now a 'war of attrition'

A war of attrition is a prolonged war or period of conflict during which each side seeks to gradually wear out the other by a series of small-scale actions.

A war of annihilation (German: Vernichtungskrieg) or war of extermination is a type of war in which the goal is the complete annihilation of a state, a people or an ethnic minority through genocide or through the destruction of their livelihood.

A war of exhaustion has the objective in to defeat a nation's will to fight.

Military analyst says Russia's invasion of Ukraine is now a 'war of attrition' · by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty · July 29, 2022

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

More than five months since Russia invaded Ukraine, a war of attrition has emerged with losses of materiel and men on both sides, not advances on the ground, becoming the key barometer of the conflict, a leading U.S.-based expert on Russia’s military has told RFE/RL’s Georgian Service.

Those casualties and equipment losses will largely determine the “long-term sustainability of the war efforts” by Russian and Ukrainian forces, explained Michael Kofman, who heads the Russia Studies Program at the Virginia-based think tank CNA.

The conflict is now “defined much more by heavy use of artillery and firepower,” Kofman said, with neither side “able to gain momentum.”

Since April, the Kremlin has concentrated on capturing the Donbas, an industrial region of eastern Ukraine where Russia-backed separatists are in control. “Where Russian forces have advanced those advances have been incremental, Ukrainian forces have been able to conduct tactical withdrawals pretty consistently,” Kofman said.

His comments come as an assessment by the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command on July 22 said that “due to significant losses of personnel and equipment, Russia probably no longer has the military capacity to realize its ambitions in Ukraine.”

Richard Moore, chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6, said on July 21 that Moscow’s forces would likely start an operational pause of some kind in Ukraine soon, adding that the Russian military would increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower and materiel over the next few weeks.

Despite those assessments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on July 20 that Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine now went far beyond the eastern Donbas region to include a swath of land in the south and “a number of other territories.”

Lavrov claimed that Russia’s new territorial ambitions were driven by the course of the war. But in the early stages of the invasion, Russia tried to occupy much of Ukraine’s south and capture the capital, Kyiv.

Ukrainian authorities have claimed that Russia has lost — as of July 23 — more than 39,240 soldiers and officers since it launched its large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The Russian Defense Ministry last released casualty figures in late March, saying that 1,351 of its personnel had died.

To beef up depleted forces, Russia is using the private military contractor Vagner, British military intelligence said on July 18.

The British Defense Ministry said Vagner is lowering its recruitment standards and hiring convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals, potentially impacting Russian military effectiveness.

Along with Vagner contractors, the Russian military is relying more on volunteer and reserve battalions because of a shortage of infantry, Kofman explained, and that those troops are now fighting more and more with less lethal Soviet-era equipment, such as “older T-80BV tanks.”

“Russia still has quite a bit of equipment in storage. That’s true. But it’s a considerable step down in terms of quality and technological level compared to what they began the war with. The attrition issue is significant. I think it’s fair to say that, in key categories, they’ve lost 30 percent of the active armored force,” Kofman said.

Military casualties are also a “challenge” for Ukraine, Kofman noted.

“It’s not the same challenge. But nonetheless, there is a similar long-term challenge for Ukraine to avoid force degradation, because it’s clear that as the war has gone on Ukraine has also lost a number of its best units that [they] are forced to replace with mobilized personnel and individuals who have limited basic training,” he explained.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told The Wall Street Journal in a July 22 interview that Ukraine’s military was losing between 100 and 200 servicemen per day in May and June, but that those numbers have now dropped to 30 dead and some 250 wounded daily.

Western Weapons

Zelenskiy said Western weapons, especially longer-range missiles such as U.S. HIMARS — high-mobility artillery rocket systems — which Ukraine has deployed in recent weeks, had helped to stabilize the situation in the Donbas.

“I think that HIMARS certainly is going to help Ukraine gain a degree of parity with Russian artillery, and is going to create a big problem for the Russian military, and how they organize both logistics and command and control and the degree of attrition they take on the battlefield,” predicted Kofman.

HIMARS have a longer range and are more precise than the Soviet-era artillery that Ukraine had in its arsenal, and Ukrainian officials have said their deployment has been critical in the fight to repel Russian troops and to strike their supply lines.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on July 20 the United States would send four more HIMARS to Ukraine, a day after such a request was made by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who said Kyiv’s forces had used them to destroy some 30 Russian command stations and ammunition depots.

The four additional HIMARS will bring to 16 the number sent by the United States. Austin said the new package would also include ammunition for multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) that can precisely strike targets that are scores of kilometers away.

“I think the challenge for the Russian military will be if Ukraine increasingly makes use of operational level strike capabilities like HIMARs to target Russian ammunition dumps, where whether Russia has large supplies of ammo or not will no longer matter, because it won’t be able to effectively get them to the battlefield, because they keep getting destroyed over time and thus it proves hard for the Russian military to then concentrate them,” Kofman explained.

Russia’s options to counter the HIMARS are minimal, he added.

The truck-mounted HIMARS launchers fire GPS-guided missiles capable of hitting targets up to 80 kilometers away, a distance that puts them out of reach of most Russian artillery systems.

“That’s one of the biggest challenges for them, because their ability to obtain air superiority is at best localized, and their counterstrike options are limited. So, their capacity for targeting HIMARS isn’t particularly good.”


Flip · by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty · July 29, 2022

​22. Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Russian Interference in U.S. Elections - United States Department of State

​Good. Let's enlist the public in this effort.

And to repeat again:

"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."


Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Russian Interference in U.S. Elections - United States Department of State · by Michael Wingard

HomeOffice of the SpokespersonPress Releases...Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Russian Interference in U.S. Elections


Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Russian Interference in U.S. Elections

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

July 28, 2022

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The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program, administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on foreign interference in U.S. elections. The reward offer seeks information leading to the identification or location of any foreign person, including a foreign entity, who knowingly engaged or is engaging in interference in U.S. elections, as well as information leading to the prevention, frustration, or favorable resolution of an act of foreign election interference. This announcement from RFJ is part of United States Government’s wider efforts to ensure the security and integrity of our elections and protect against foreign interference in our elections.

The Department seeks information on Internet Research Agency LLC (“IRA”), Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, and linked Russian entities and associates for their engagement in U.S. election interference.

IRA is a Russian entity engaged in political and electoral interference operations. Beginning as early as 2014, IRA began operations to interfere with the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with a strategic goal to sow discord. IRA operated through several Russian entities, including Internet Research LLC, MediaSintez LLC, GlavSet LLC, MixInfo LLC, Azimut LLC, and NovInfo LLC.

Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin is a Russian national who provided funding to IRA through the companies he controlled, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering (collectively “Concord”). Concord sent funds, recommended personnel, and oversaw IRA’s activities through reporting and interaction with IRA’s management.

Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna Bovda, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, and Vladimir Venkov worked in various capacities to carry out IRA’s interference operations targeting the United States. They knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.

For more information, visit We encourage anyone with information on IRA, Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, and associated Russian entities and/or individuals linked to interference in U.S. elections to contact the Rewards for Justice office via our Tor-based tips-reporting channel at: he5dybnt7sr6cm32xt77pazmtm65flqy6irivtflruqfc5ep7eiodiad.onion (Tor browser required).

Rewards for Justice is a premier national security program administered by the Diplomatic Security Service at the U.S. Department of State. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid out in excess of $250 million to more than 125 people across the globe who provided actionable information that had helped resolve threats to U.S. national security. Follow us on Twitter at · by Michael Wingard

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


Phone: 202-573-8647


David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email:
Web Site:
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
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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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