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OPINION: West shouldn’t be twiddling its thumbs while the Russian military learns from mistakes

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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are briefed by their national security team

The failures of the Russian military in their invasion from Ukraine’s north have been well documented and have given Western leaders quite a nice surprise, especially given how President Putin likes to flex his country’s muscles through military parades full of pomp and show. Once the invasion started it became clear that the Russian military is far from battle-ready, at least outside of its rail network. Briefings from the American Defence officials suggest that Russia is taking heed of its lessons learned from its failed campaign in the north to better capture territory in eastern Ukraine while the port city of Mariupol continues to hang in the balance.

Now that the Kremlin’s perception that Ukraine would welcome Russian occupation with open arms has been utterly destroyed, it makes logical sense that Russian military strategists are not keen on making the same mistakes again for any fresh offensives they are planning. This gives the West a unique opportunity to continue focussing on a strategy to end the war, as it’s not just in their own interests to end the war. Ukraine is known for highly fertile soil and so disruptions to its food exports are hurting the wheat and barley supply chains, both of which are key ingredients in many of the world’s staple foods, and accounts for a significant proportion of global supply. 

There are three overarching themes that Western leaders could potentially pursue with each of them having the potential to turn the war on its head either for better or worse.

1.   Stand back and let this play out

This would be a case of history repeating itself. With the benefit of hindsight, it is arguable that WWII was result of an inability to contain a source of evil when Western powers had their chance. To put it into perspective, the 1938 Munich Agreement simply let Germany off the hook for invading parts of Czechoslovakia. By this logic, “Hitler calculated — correctly as it turned out — that he could conquer Poland before the Allies could do anything to stop him”. Little wonder then that WWII came into existence.

While the current events do not necessarily forbode the same disaster that was WWII, if Western countries behave like bystanders forming a ring around the playground bully and simply give the victim words of encouragement then that only emboldens the aggressor to be more outrageous in their evil designs. Sanctions placed on Russia and the supply of arms to Ukraine are all the US and its allies have done after a full-scale invasion. 

The annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the invasion of Georgia in 2008 gave Putin a means to test the geopolitical water. When he found that the West lacked the political will to take action and now we are all paying the price.

2.   Intervene in the conflict and risk WW3

This option has been discussed much more openly now than before. The idea of intervention by foreign powers was first floated by the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky who repeatedly called for a no-fly zone to be enacted. The repercussions of that would mean that any country – or alliance for that matter – whose forces shot down Russian aircraft would instantly be under the Russian military’s crosshairs. 

And since this is war, the usual bureaucratic procedures and processes are often ignored in favour of decisions made at a leader’s whim, any irrational decision, or miscalculation for that matter, could trigger a full-blown war between nuclear powers. Putin has already directed his nuclear forces to be put on high alert, implying that should this path be taken, it will be a race to the bottom. 

Clearly with such high chances of it going wrong, direct military intervention by foreign powers is not feasible either, much to the consternation of the Ukrainian president. 

3.   Refocus on de-escalating the situation by setting aside vested interests

While sanctions applied to the Russian economy, wealthy Russian oligarchs and strategic Russian industries such as natural resources, consumer products, travel and electronics are significant in scale, it has been pointed out that Putin will likely have figured them into his plans. Whilst the economic damage inflicted will wreak havoc on the Russian people, it does not translate to immediate support for the Ukrainians who are bearing the brunt of this assault. 

What is required is for countries and multinational institutions to set aside their vested interests and cut to the core objective which is stopping the war through escalation and diplomatic means. NATO as an institution promoting peace and negotiations aimed at de-escalation rather than activate their response force, is essential.  

Until vested interests are cast aside, this war is far from over.  Russia appears to be learning from its initial mistakes, but the US and other NATO powers appear oblivious to theirs.  From Biden’s warmongering rhetoric to the general belief, certainly in public, that sanctions are “working”, it doesn’t look like they are ready to change tact and make any meaningful efforts for peace.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade

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Odesa pristav
  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession

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US Stock Market Investing in the United States
  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia-Ukraine

Russia cuts Germany’s Gas Supply causing Prices to Soar 

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01 gazprom ru 5
  • Over the course of the Russian-Ukrainian War, Russia began to slowly cut off Germany’s gas supply through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. 
  • Before the war, over half of Germany’s gas came from Russia. By the end of June it was reduced to a quarter of its normal captivity, and now it operates at less than a fifth of it. 
  • Russia’s energy firm Gazprom has stated that this need to cut off Germany’s gas supply was due to maintenance work on a turbine that is needed. Critics have disagreed, claiming that Russia is using it’s gas as a ploy to cause terror to Europe. 
  • The cut of Gas supply to Germany and other central European countries has caused gas prices to rise almost 2%, causing the trade to close to a record high similar to that of when Russia invaded Ukraine. 
  • While Germany scrambles to find a solution to this, Poland states it will be fully independent from Russia by the end of the year in order to avoid blackmail from Russia.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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Black Sea port of Theodosiya panoramio
  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Environment

‘Effects of nuclear war globally catastrophic’, new study warns.

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Impact of nuclear war on climate

A nuclear war could lead to a ‘nuclear ice age’, plummeting global temperatures, eradicating a vast proportion of sea life and largely implicating global food security, a new study indicates.

Researchers at Louisiana State University in the US conducted several computer simulations in an Earth System Model to assess the impacts of regional and global nuclear wars on oceans. The study, which examined the potential consequences of

conflicts between the US and Russia, as well as Pakistan and India, revealed that in every scenario, smoke and soot from firestorms would release into the upper atmosphere, obstructing the sun and plunging temperatures at an average of 13F (-11C) within  just one month.

Cheryl Harrison, assistant professor and lead author of the study, said the impact would be all-consuming. 

“It doesn’t matter who is bombing whom. It can be India and Pakistan or NATO and Russia. Once the smoke is released into the upper atmosphere it spreads globally and affects everyone,” she told Bloomberg.

“We can and must, however, do everything we can to avoid nuclear war. The effects are too likely to be globally catastrophic,” she added.

The simulations involved testing the impacts of the US and Russia bombing cities and industrial sites with 4, 400 nuclear weapons weighing 100 kilotons or Pakistan and India detonating 500 of the explosives. 

Alan Robock, Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University, said he hoped the study would “encourage” greater action to thwart the threat.

“Nuclear warfare results in dire consequences for everyone. World leaders have used our studies previously as an impetus to end the nuclear arms race in the 1980s, and five years ago to pass a treaty in the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons. We hope that this new study will encourage more nations to ratify the ban treaty.”

The research warned that a US and Russia conflict may lead to permanent increased Artic sea ice extent and volume. 

A UN report also warned of the rapid “global collapse” of civilisations, partially induced by global conflicts, unless urgent steps were taken to address the issue. 

The latest American study follows a warning to British troops by the army’s top general to prepare to “deter Russian aggression with the threat of force”. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russia Foreign Minister, Sergie Lavrov said a Third World War would involve nuclear weapons and destruction would not be limited to Eastern Europe. 

Ocean temperatures could fall, and sea ice expand by six million square miles, affecting trading as major ports, such as Tianjin in China would be occluded.

Reversing the damage would take decades, the study warned. 

A report from the thinktank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that the global nuclear arsenal, since the cold war, is expected to increase drastically in the next few years and reversal this amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine is unlikely.

John Erath, senior policy director for the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, warned earlier that NATO was only capable of blocking an “extremely limited attack” if Russia were to launch a ballistic missile.

As record temperatures hit the UK, scientists claim that frequent and intense heatwaves are the result of human-induced climate change. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Key Ports in Ukraine are Severely Attacked from Russian Missiles

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Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launched from Plesetsk
  • According to Ukrainian reports, the city of Odessa was severely attacked, even though Russia agreed to not target any ports with grain shipment.
  • These products are vital to fight against the global food crises and caught on fire after the attack, in which Russia claimed they had nothing to do with the attack.
  • Russia attacked a key port after the signature of the Istanbul Agreement and agreed with Ukraine to ease the exportation of grain.
  • As a result of Russia’s actions, Ukrainian forces have utilised new US missile supplies to target the Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson, which would harshly impact the Russian supply if the bridge was destroyed.

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All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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