Who is winning, who is losing, the Ukraine war?

Eric Zuesse

Speculation is rife that U.S/NATO are winning the military war in Ukraine (by arming and commanding Ukraine’s armed forces — it’s a proxy-war on the U.S. side), and also is rife that Russia is winning the military war in Ukraine (using its own forces), but “the fog of war” and propagandistic agendas dominate the military war on both sides (both the U.S.-and-allied side that gets its ‘information’ from Ukraine’s Government) and the Russian side that gets its ‘information’ from Russia’s Government).

It’s a two-front war: the military front, and the economic front. And that “fog of war” pertains ONLY to the military aspect of the war. It does NOT pertain to the economic front.

The ‘fog of war’ is almost 100% uncertainty on the military front, and nobody yet really knows which side is is actually winning this war militarily.

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Ukraine’s revenge on the West

Three main power centers within the Eurozone (Germany, France and Italy) and Britain are entering a period of deep crisis. Their capacity or level of interest to fight Russia in Ukraine is getting severely limited

M.K. Bhadrakumar

People’s Dispatch | October 06, 2022

Russian Duma ratified the accession of four Ukrainian territories into the Federation, Moscow, October 3, 2022

The Russian Duma’s ratification of the annexation of four regions of Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions) and the adoption of the relevant laws thereof creates a new dynamic and will take time to create a new balance of forces on the ground.

Meanwhile, the external environment is also phenomenally transforming. The deepening energy crisis in Europe following the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines becomes a serious contradiction.

Thus, a complex situation presents itself against the backdrop of a massive Russian military build-up around Ukraine in the Kharkov region and in the southern Black Sea region with long convoys of armor reportedly heading toward Crimea from Russia.

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Ukrainian army endangers civilians says Amnesty International

Slavisha Batko Milacic

Countercurrents | August 09, 2022

Ukrainian forces have threatened civilians by setting up bases and operating weapons systems in populated areas, including schools and hospitals, as they battled the Russian intervention that began in February, Amnesty International said in a statement.

“Such a tactic violates international humanitarian law and endangers civilians, as it turns civilian objects into military targets. The Russian strikes that followed in populated areas killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure,” the statement said.

– Amnesty International has documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when conducting operations in populated areas – said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

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Ukraine war is losing its sparkle. Where’s the Lady with the Lamp?

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | August 02, 2022

Cargo ship Razoni carrying 26000 tonnes of maize sailing from Odessa Port toward Bosphorus, Aug 1, 2022 

The Russian Defence Ministry announced yesterday that at around 9.20 a.m. Moscow time, Razoni, ship flying the flag of Sierra Leone, left Odessa port in Ukraine as part of the recent grain deal. Razoni is carrying a cargo of maize to Istanbul port. 

The MOD said the “control of the humanitarian operation for the departure of the first ship carrying agricultural products was planned with the active participation of Russian officers who are part of the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul.” 

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday, “this is a good and important first step” that the first ship with 26-, 27,000 tons of grain sailed out of Odessa.

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West prepares to plunder post-war Ukraine with neoliberal shock therapy: privatization, deregulation, slashing worker protections

Western governments and corporations met in Switzerland to plan harsh neoliberal economic policies to impose on post-war Ukraine, calling to cut labor laws, “open markets,” drop tariffs, deregulate industries, and “sell state-owned enterprises to private investors.”

Jake Kallio and Benjamin Norton

Multipolarista | July 28, 2022

While the United States and Europe flood Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars of weapons, using it as an anti-Russian proxy and pouring fuel on the fire of a brutal war that is devastating the country, they are also making plans to essentially plunder its post-war economy.

Representatives of Western governments and corporations met in Switzerland this July to plan a series of harsh neoliberal policies to impose on post-war Ukraine, calling to cut labor laws, “open markets,” drop tariffs, deregulate industries, and “sell state-owned enterprises to private investors.”

Ukraine has been destabilized by violence since 2014, when a US-sponsored coup d’etat overthrew its democratically elected government, setting off a civil war. That conflict dragged on until February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded the country, escalating into a new, even deadlier phase of the war.

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Ukraine’s ‘Great Game’ surfaces in Transcaucasia

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | July 16, 2022

Presidents of Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Kazakhstan (clockwise from left) took part in the 6th Caspian Summit, Ashgabat, June 29, 2022

If the metaphor of the “Great Game” can be applied to the Ukrainian crisis, with the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) at it core, it has begun causing reverberations across the entire Eurasian space. The great game lurking in the shade in the Caucasus and Central Asian regions in recent years is visibly accelerating. 

The edge of the game is above everything else the targeting of Russia and China by the United States. This unfolding game cannot be underestimated, as its outcome may impact the shaping of a new model of the world order. 

Starting with the Caspian Summit in Ashgabat on June 29, the inter-connected templates of the great game in the Caucasus began surfacing. The fact that the summit was scheduled at all despite the raging conflict in Ukraine — and that Russian President Vladimir Putin took time out to attend it — testified to the high importance of the event. 

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Ukraine peace talks in the cards?

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | July 16, 2022

A goods yard in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that has become increasingly isolated since the start of Ukraine war

Finance ministers are the pangolins in the world of international diplomacy, solitary animals and predatory, unlike foreign ministers who are like glowworms, mesmerising and gorgeous animals that create light through their tail. While the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attending G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali a week ago staged a dramatic walkout when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rose to speak, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen simply sat through the speech by Russian minister Anton Siluanov at the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs that began in Bali on Friday. 

Indeed, Yellen said her piece — calling Russia’s war in Ukraine the “greatest challenge” to the global economy and all that — while Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov who was present, calmly listened. But a joint communique is unlikely, as the US is pressing G20 allies for a price cap on Russian oil, where consensus is lacking. All the same, the moderation in Yellen’s behaviour catches attention, as she realises, perhaps, that she no longer sets the global agenda. 

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The Deeper Meaning of Ukraine

Alastair Crooke

Orinoco Tribune | July 09, 2022

The wider Ukraine meaning lies in this insight: Other leaders are no longer naïve when the West offers glass beads (or paper dollars) in exchange for their real riches

The West, in its cavalier manner, entered upon war with the Russia-China axis, without due care.  It expected easy ‘wins’ with sanctions imploding the Russian economy, and with military urban-war tactics borrowed from Syria, bleeding out the Russian army. Instead, it is turning-out to be a monumental débacle. More than that, its multiple failures and insultingly-cocksure propaganda are proving a breakpoint, ushering-in a new era rather than nailing down the old order, as the West had hoped.

Why is this new era so grave?  Firstly, because of that which lies ‘beneath’. The structural weaknesses and ‘dry rot’ that have been accumulating over decades, in damp basements. It was kept away, out of sight. The ‘children’ were removed from earshot, when ‘adults’ spoke amongst themselves, to acknowledge the decay and rot affecting their Mansions.

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Ukraine Update: Former U.S. Special-ops Soldiers Train Ukrainian Soldiers, Says New York Times

Countercurrents | July 06, 2022

A number of U.S. veterans are reportedly training Ukrainian soldiers near the frontlines of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, said the New York Times in an article — In Ukraine, U.S. Veterans Step In Where the Military Will Not — on July 3, 2022, Sunday (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/03/us/politics/american-combat-volunteers-ukraine.html).

“Americans are in Ukraine,” states the New York Times, noting that the exact number of U.S. citizens fighting on the front lines of the conflict is unknown.

The New York Times adds that some of these Americans are also volunteering for casualty evacuation teams and to be bomb disposal specialists, logistics experts and instructors.

The New York Times also claims that there are currently small teams of former special operations members providing training to Ukrainian soldiers and, in some cases, helping Kiev’s forces plan combat missions.

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EU economies are down on their knees

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | July 05, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), at a meeting with Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, revealed proposals of army commanders in Ukraine “for the development of offensive operations”, Moscow, July 4, 2022

On July 1 at the White House, US President Joe Biden made a startling disclosure that “the idea we’re going to be able to click a switch, bring down the cost of gasoline, is not likely in the near term.” 

American gas exporters have positioned themselves accordingly to fill the gap as Europe turns away from Russian imports. FT reported recently that “US liquefied natural gas producers have announced a string of deals to boost exports as the industry capitalises on shortages that have left Europe with a mounting energy crisis.” 

The deals are so lucrative that Cheniere, America’s leading gas exporter, has taken an investment decision to push ahead with a project that will boost its capacity more than 20 per cent by late 2025, anticipating long-term supply deals and locked in purchases of US gas over the coming decades. The US producers of gas are reportedly running plants flat-out to increase supplies to the EU. 

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