Destiny of Ukraine, in light of three presidential statements

Vladimir Putin, February 21

General information and background

On February 21, 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his 18th Address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow. The President’s Address to the Federal Assembly is an annual public speech by the head of state before both chambers of the parliament which assesses the country’s situation and determines the main directions of domestic and foreign policy.

In Russia, this practice of addressing State Duma legislators and members of the Federation Council was introduced by President Boris Yeltsin: from 1994-1999 he spoke before the parliament six times. President Putin has addressed the Federal Assembly 17 times: in 2000-2007, 2012-2016 and in 2018-2021 (the Address was not delivered in 2017 and in 2022). When Dmitry Medvedev was in office, he addressed the parliament four times from 2008-2011. The content and form of the address are determined by the president and are not regulated by any legal acts.

The addresses are of an advisory nature and are not legal acts but can contain specific instructions from the head of state to the government. The text of the address is prepared by the presidential administration over several months and its content is kept secret until the day of its delivery.

The president is giving the speech before members of both chambers of the parliament – the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council. This is the only occasion when the Constitution permits a joint session of both chambers. The ceremony is also attended by members of the government, the leaders of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, the Prosecutor General and other high-ranking officials as well as media representatives. As a rule, about 1,000 guests are invited to the delivery of the address.

Highlights of the speech

Putin spent about two hours reviewing a wide range of issues relevant to his country. These included those connected to its ongoing military campaign in Ukraine as well as economic development, strategic security and other issues.

The Russian leader traced the origin of the Ukrainian conflict to the Western-backed coup in Kyiv in 2014, which subsequently sparked a civil war in the Donbas region. The Minsk accords were not respected by anyone other than Moscow and were exploited as cover for arming Kyiv (as Merkel has admitted) ahead of a final offensive for conquering that region. Russia urgently acted to preempt that scenario to save lives in Donbas.  

The responsibility for current events lies with the West. “It was the West, who unleashed the war and we were and are using force to stop it,” the president said. The Western elites are seeking to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia and “are planning to turn a local conflict into a phase of global confrontation” and Moscow “will react accordingly.” Putin warned that weapons supply to Kiev will trigger consequences. “The longer the range of the Western systems being brought to Ukraine, the farther away from our borders we will be forced to push the threat”.

President Putin accused NATO of clandestinely expanding into Ukraine, setting up illegal biological laboratories there and training neo-Nazi militants and other terrorists as anti-Russian proxies. The goal is, as stated in numerous American communiqués, to wipe Russia off the map after forcing its strategic surrender.

Putin told that a full-spectrum socio-economic development is prioritized in Russia. On the home front, the Russian leader pledged to invest in all aspects of his country’s economy, with a special focus being paid to small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as infrastructure. Families, students and veterans will also benefit from tax breaks and new government programs, including housing and training ones. Those former Ukrainian regions that voted to join Russia in September will reap these benefits as well. 

Russia needs to set up a special state fund for providing assistance to veterans and families of those killed in the special operation, the president said. “Each family of the deceased, each veteran should be assigned a personal social worker,” he said, noting that the fund’s structures should be deployed in all regions of the country by the end of the year.

One of the many sharp criticisms that President Putin leveled against the West concerned the West’s normalization of child abuse, the destruction of the family, of cultural and national identity, perversions and abuses against children (up to pedophilia), the norm while priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages. Russia treasures its children’s physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being, which is why its people oppose pushing “woke” ideology about non-traditional sexual identities onto kids, including that which normalizes this and even encourages self-harm. Whether in school or elsewhere in society, such content is strictly banned in order to protect children.

Regarding education reform, Russia will return to a traditional four-to six-year higher education system, Putin announced. If profession requires additional training, students will be able to continue education and get a master’s degree and take a post-graduate course.

The elections scheduled for 2023 and 2024, including the presidential election, will be held in strict compliance with the law and with observance of all democratic procedures, Putin stated.

Russia will continue its global economic integration. West’s sanctions failed to crash Russia’s economy and Moscow will continue its global economic integration by focusing on Asian-directed logistical corridors to China, India, Iran and other countries. These are dependable partners, he said, unlike the West. Meanwhile, Russia will keep investing in its domestic market and production capabilities as part of its balanced growth strategy.

Putin emphasized that the Russian ruble’s share in Russia’s international settlements has doubled compared to December 2021, reaching one-third. Russia will continue to work with partners to create a stable, secure system of international settlements that is independent of the dollar and other Western reserve currencies. Amid US and EU sanctions, the share of settlements in ‘toxic’ dollars and euros have declined significantly in 2022. Refocusing trade flows toward Asia, as well as shifting currency of settlements, contributed to an active increase in the share of settlements in Chinese yuan to 14%, and in rubles to 32.4%.

Oligarchs and big businesses are encouraged to repatriate their wealth. President Putin devoted considerable time to explain why those big business and their representatives who funneled their wealth outside Russia over the past three decades should repatriate it from the West after the latter provided unreliable and even outright stole some of their assets. He suggested that reinvesting it in their homeland will earn everyone’s gratitude, help their country enhance its competitiveness and be much safer than keeping it abroad.

President Putin temporarily suspended Russia’s participation in the New START treaty, which is the last major remaining nuclear arms control treaty with the United States. According to him, Moscow is not withdrawing from the treaty, but will return to its implementation as soon as it understands how nuclear arsenals of the United Kingdom and France will be considered. Apart from that, Russia has put new ground-based strategic nuclear weapons on combat duty. He also warned that Russia will test new nuclear weapons if the US does so first like his side’s intelligence services informed him that it might soon do.

The post-WWII world order has changed much in the three-quarters of a century since the UN’s founding, but instead of responsibly accommodating the rise of new centers of development and influence, the West is destabilizing the world in a desperate bid to delay its hegemonic decline. Russia, with its partners, are seeking after multipolar world order.

Some key conclusions from Putin’s speech can be taken:

  • Everything Russia has done over the past year is in defense of Russia’s objective interests,
  • Russian people shall be prepared for a long war “step by step, we will carefully and systematically achieve our aims”  
  • Russian economy will continue reforming amidst the West’s sanctions that failed to catalyze its collapse and accelerated its non-Western diversification
  • Russian-Western relations will remain tense, thus leading to further global instability and highly likely to escalation spiral
  • The only major new announcement was that Russia would be suspending its participation in New START, the country’s only remaining nuclear arms limitation treaty with the United States.

Prior to start of Russia’s Special Military Operation in February 2022, there were many in the Russian Government, including Putin, who believed that they could negotiate in good faith with the West. The events of the past year and the belligerent rhetoric from Washington politicians and Europe’s ruling class have convinced the Russians that traditional diplomacy is dead. Russia is fighting now for its very existence. This is what Russia’s present leaders believe, not just Putin.

Joe Biden, February 21

US President Joe Biden, during his short surprise visit to Kyiv, praised Western democracy for standing up to “naked Russian aggression”. “Putin thought the world would roll over, but he was wrong,” Biden said, vowing that NATO was more united than ever. Biden also pledged another $500m in military aid including weapons and moves to further tighten sanctions against Russia.

Following a surprise trip to Kyiv in which he pledged continued American support for Ukraine’s effort in its war against Russia, Biden returned to Poland, where he was set to speak later Tuesday. Biden met with Polish President Andrzej Duda and then spoke from Warsaw’s Royal Castle. NATO’s role was to defend and support the free world and Ukraine “must win this war”.

The US president vowed that Russia would “never” win the war in Ukraine and added that support for Kyiv from the US and its allies “will not waver”. Biden said “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, never” during his address in Warsaw. Biden made it clear that “the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine… for as long as it takes.”

Joe Biden also said the West was not plotting to attack Russia – contradicting statements made earlier by his administration members (Austin, Blinken, Nuland etc.). Biden added that Washington’s military and financial aid to Kyiv to remain ironclad, even if delivery is slow and a minority of voices in Congress push to reduce. European allies still follow Washington’s lead. If Russia challenges NATO’s Eastern Flank, “it would be met with an overwhelming American military response in concert with political leadership.”

On Wednesday he met with leaders of the Bucharest Nine, a group of NATO members in eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. In addition, he will speak by phone next week with the leaders of Britain, France and Italy, the White House said. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due in Washington on March 3.

The White House would not say what specific aid Biden might announce during his trip but National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Ukraine will be reassured about receiving “continued, tangible support.” The US has provided far more than any other NATO country to Ukraine, with military, economic, humanitarian and other aid now exceeding $100 billion. President Biden’s visit to Kiev was designed to exert “political and psychological influence” on Russia and send Moscow the “political message” that US support to Kiev will last as long as it takes.

The US has recently been constantly saying that the military conflict in Ukraine has reached a pivotal phase and a turning point. Biden’s visit to Ukraine was designed to encourage Kiev to start a counteroffensive as soon as possible. Therefore, the West transfers to Ukraine a much larger number of weapons at the moment than it did last year. Tanks and other heavy weapons are now being transferred and there’s talk of long-range missiles. The US constantly says now, no later than the beginning of spring, the Ukrainian armed forces should start a decisive counteroffensive.

President Biden’s comment that this war will define the lives of generations to come underlines, how this confrontation in Ukraine will have far-reaching and lasting consequences and only one year into this war, that wider impact is still hard to foresee. Today’s belligerent tones underline how the division between world powers grows ever deeper with both sides now bent on achieving victory, ideally this year, although in Ukraine this still seems like a war without end. Many countries around the world suffering the consequences of this conflict, are watching with alarm.

Biden made no important announcements. His speech was emotional, populist and mainly aimed at strengthening the political image of the US President. The speech of Biden was full of traditional cliches, promoted by the West before and during the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. The speech was widely broadcasted by the MSM, to show it as a victory in the battle with his Russian counterpart. One conclusion seems to be clear: the West has no interest in any kind of diplomatic negotiation process, not to mention any peace process. Warmongering is the name of the game.

Wang Yi in Moscow, February 21.-22.

Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi, Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday Feb 18. Wang said that China will publish a document on its stance of finding a political settlement to the Ukraine crisis, which highlights China’s active efforts in pursuing peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Chinese analysts also criticized the US for continuing adding oil to the fire, which not only impede the international community’s efforts in putting truce of the Russia-Ukraine conflict but also endanger the global stability. 

One day after meeting with Wang Yi on Saturday Feb 18, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told media that China is considering giving Russia weapons and ammunition for the Ukraine war.
Responding to Blinken’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday Feb 20, that the US is not qualified to give orders to China and it is the US that has been arming the battlefield and China will never allow the US to boss it around or even exert pressure on China-Russia relations.

China practices a pragmatic policy of principled neutrality towards the Ukraine crisis, whereby it doesn’t officially support either side. Instead, it’s focused on facilitating a peaceful political resolution. This was also the message sent by Wang Yi when meeting with Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of Munich Conference.

China is willing to work together with the international community to avoid further deterioration of the Ukraine situation and to strive persistently for peace. The outlook in Asia is no less fraught. Taiwan remains on edge, as the country tries to guess China’s next move. “What is happening in Europe today could happen in Asia tomorrow,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did nothing to contradict that narrative. “Let me assure the audience that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory,” Wang told the conference, when asked about Beijing’s designs on the self-governed island. Taiwan “has never been a country and it will never be a country in the future.”

Wang Yi started his trip to Russia after visiting France, Italy, Hungary and delivering his eye-catching engagement at the Munich Security Conference. Wang’s trip to Russia, the latest interaction between China and Russia, will pave the way for further and higher-level communication as mutual political trust continue to deepen. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is also high on the agenda, analysts said. 

Wang held talks with Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation in Moscow on Tuesday, Feb 21. Wang Yi noted that Patrushev has been advancing strategic cooperation between the two countries for many years. “Today we have very good possibilities to continue our close strategic dialogue and contacts to defend our common strategic interests,” he said, adding that “Chinese-Russian relations have mature character and are rock-solid, they will stand to the tests of the changing international situation.”

The two officials agreed to oppose “the Cold War mentality, bloc confrontation and ideological opposition,” as well as “strengthen cooperation” multilaterally to improve global governance, the ministry said. Wang and Patrushev also discussed the situation in Ukraine, the statement added, without providing additional details.

According to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang’s visit to Russia has two main focuses: first, focusing on the development of China-Russia relations of the next stage; second, having an in-depth exchange of views on international and regional hotspot issues of shared concern. In the face of an increasingly fragile and imbalanced international security situation, as two major powers neighboring each other, the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations is beneficial to world peace.

Wang Yi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday, Jan 22. It shows how important Putin regarded the timing of Wang’s trip and ties with China in general. The other context, in which Wang’s trip took place concerns the US’s continued unilateral worsening of ties with China, particularly after this month’s weather balloon incident. Considering the dual contexts of what can at this point be described as the Russia-US proxy war in Ukraine as well as the US’s continued efforts to militarily “contain” China in Asia, Wang’s meeting with Putin came at a crucial moment for international relations.

At the global level, China and Russia are predicted to expand their political coordination at the United Nations with respect to jointly opposing US aggression in all its forms. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era is no longer purely of bilateral importance since it now takes on a global significance due to the related context in which it is continuing to expand. What originally began as a partnership between two major countries has since evolved into a Eurasia-wide one through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s founding in 2001 and then a partnership across the Global South via BRICS’ founding in 2009.

China supports Russia’s draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council to investigate the terrorist attack on Russia’s Nord Stream gas system, Zhang Jun, China’s Permanent Representative to the UN, told reporters on Monday Feb 21. Russia has requested a UN Security Council meeting on the situation with the pipelines for February 22. “We see that request is legitimate,” the Chinese diplomat added. On February 17, Russia submitted a draft UN Security Council resolution to investigate the terrorist attack on the gas system. It proposes that the UN secretary general create an independent international commission of lawyers to investigate the sabotage.

Xi Jinping

Italy’s foreign minister Antonio Tajani said on Friday Feb 17, that China’s President Xi Jinping will deliver a “peace speech” on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, apparently continuing Beijing’s line of urging peace while avoiding condemnation of its ally Russia. He used a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Rome on Thursday to urge Beijing to use all its powers to persuade Russia to end the war while ensuring Ukraine’s independence. However, it appears that instead of a speech, China releases a proposal for Ukraine crisis settlement, on Feb 24.

As a general framework, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Security Initiative (GSI) at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022 held in Hainan Province in April 2022. Chinese GSI is a concept paper, fully elaborating a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept and providing China’s wisdom in tackling growing risks and challenges in traditional and non-traditional security areas. Ambassadors, diplomats and representatives from 137 countries and international organizations attended the Boao Forum and over 80 countries are supporting the concept.

China publishes its proposals on Ukrainian crisis settlement February 24, 2023

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 18, Wang Yi said that Chinese authorities would prepare a document on China’s position on resolving the Ukrainian crisis by the anniversary of the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. He noted that the abovementioned document would be based on the proposals of Chinese President Xi Jinping. China published on Friday its position on the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. The text of the document is posted on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and includes 12 points.

China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, 2023-02-24 09:00

1. Respecting the sovereignty of all countries. Universally recognized international law, including the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, must be strictly observed. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All parties should jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations and defend international fairness and justice. Equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected. 

2. Abandoning the Cold War mentality. The security of a country should not be pursued at the expense of others. The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly. There is no simple solution to a complex issue. All parties should, following the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and bearing in mind the long-term peace and stability of the world, help forge a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. All parties should oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security, prevent bloc confrontation, and work together for peace and stability on the Eurasian Continent.

3. Ceasing hostilities. Conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control. All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire. 

4. Resuming peace talks. Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis. All efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be encouraged and supported. The international community should stay committed to the right approach of promoting talks for peace, help parties to the conflict open the door to a political settlement as soon as possible, and create conditions and platforms for the resumption of negotiation. China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard. 

5. Resolving the humanitarian crisis. All measures conducive to easing the humanitarian crisis must be encouraged and supported. Humanitarian operations should follow the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and humanitarian issues should not be politicized. The safety of civilians must be effectively protected, and humanitarian corridors should be set up for the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones. Efforts are needed to increase humanitarian assistance to relevant areas, improve humanitarian conditions, and provide rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, with a view to preventing a humanitarian crisis on a larger scale. The UN should be supported in playing a coordinating role in channeling humanitarian aid to conflict zones.

6. Protecting civilians and prisoners of war (POWs). Parties to the conflict should strictly abide by international humanitarian law, avoid attacking civilians or civilian facilities, protect women, children and other victims of the conflict, and respect the basic rights of POWs. China supports the exchange of POWs between Russia and Ukraine, and calls on all parties to create more favorable conditions for this purpose.

7. Keeping nuclear power plants safe. China opposes armed attacks against nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities and calls on all parties to comply with international law including the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) and resolutely avoid man-made nuclear accidents. China supports the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in playing a constructive role in promoting the safety and security of peaceful nuclear facilities.

8. Reducing strategic risks. Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought. The threat or use of nuclear weapons should be opposed. Nuclear proliferation must be prevented and nuclear crisis avoided. China opposes the research, development and use of chemical and biological weapons by any country under any circumstances.

9. Facilitating grain exports. All parties need to implement the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed by Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine and the UN fully and effectively in a balanced manner and support the UN in playing an important role in this regard. The cooperation initiative on global food security proposed by China provides a feasible solution to the global food crisis.

10. Stopping unilateral sanctions. Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue; they only create new problems. China opposes unilateral sanctions unauthorized by the UN Security Council. Relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction” against other countries, so as to do their share in deescalating the Ukraine crisis and create conditions for developing countries to grow their economies and better the lives of their people.

11. Keeping industrial and supply chains stable. All parties should earnestly maintain the existing world economic system and oppose using the world economy as a tool or weapon for political purposes. Joint efforts are needed to mitigate the spillovers of the crisis and prevent it from disrupting international cooperation in energy, finance, food trade and transportation and undermining the global economic recovery.

12. Promoting post-conflict reconstruction. The international community needs to take measures to support post-conflict reconstruction in conflict zones. China stands ready to provide assistance and play a constructive role in this endeavor

First reactions from abroad

From the West

The paper was swiftly criticized by American officials, with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan saying the war “could end tomorrow if Russia stopped attacking Ukraine and withdrew its forces.”

The policy document reiterates many of China’s standard talking points, which include urging both sides to resume peace talks. It offers no details and despite claiming the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld,” the document fails to acknowledge Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.

It also appears to criticize the wide-ranging economic sanctions imposed by the US and other Western countries on Russia. “The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries” is apparently echoing Moscow’s view the West provoked the war through the expansion of NATO.

In Beijing, the ambassador of the European Union to China, Jorge Toledo, told reporters at a briefing that China’s position paper was not a peace proposal, adding that the EU is “studying the paper closely,” according to Reuters.

Ukraine, meanwhile, called the position paper “a good sign” but urged China to do more. “China should do everything in its power to stop the war and restore peace in Ukraine and urge Russia to withdraw its troops,” Ukraine’s Chargé d’Affaires to China Zhanna Leshchynska said at the same briefing in Beijing.  

From Russia

Moscow highly appreciates the sincere desire of Chinese friends to contribute to the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine by peaceful means, according to the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We share Beijing’s views. We are committed to the principles of observing the UN Charter, the norms of international law, including humanitarian law, the indivisibility of security, according to which the security of one country should not be strengthened at the expense of the security of another, which is also applicable to the security of certain groups of countries,” the statement says.

Wrap-up of Chinese initiative

The peace plan proposed by China is quite neutral and reflects the balanced position towards the interests of the warring sides. It highlights Beijing’s commitment to its policy aimed at de-escalation of the Ukrainian military conflict.

In its turn, Washington made it clear that it would reject the Chinese plan even before it was published. On February 24, there was only one question, what kind of rhetoric the White House would choose to reject another peace plan without openly declaring its will to instigate and prolong the war as much as possible.

The US reaction was voiced by President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan. He likely made one of his most hypocritical statements. Years after the full-scaled war on Ukrainian territories, which was de facto launched and coordinated by Washington, Sullivan remembered about the “sovereignty” of Ukraine as soon as there are talks about the ceasefire. He declared that the United States allegedly would not dictate to Ukraine the conditions for the end of this conflict.

Sullivan advised China to focus on the first point of the plan, which is respect for the sovereignty of other states. According to the US official, Ukrainians themselves are the only to make decisions about their future.

It was not surprising that Zelenskyseems to reject the Chinese peace plan but on Friday Feb 24, he sees some value in Chinese plan. Zelensky said on Friday he was open to considering parts of a 12-point peace plan presented by Beijing, adding Beijing’s interest was “not bad” and might be useful in isolating Moscow.

Even though the Chinese peace plan is too conceptual and does not contain any strict requirements and threats to any of the warring sides, it revealed Chinese readiness to become a mediator loyal to Russia, as well as to Ukraine.

The very fact that this plan was presented and the recent increase of contacts between the Russian and Chinese top officials confirm that China is “fed up” with the US arrogance and, by and large, the impunity of the West. Beijing has finally decided, which side it should be on, even if it does not speak about it officially.

The West’s refusal to accept the plan will unite Beijing’s efforts to accuse the US and its vassals of unilaterally rejecting any peaceful settlement in the war-torn country. This will likely lead to more active Chinese support for Russia.

What now?

It appears to be quite clear that the West has so far sabotaged twice the possible Ukraine peace processes, first time in April 2022 and now blatantly knocking out the Chinese peace plan.

Some analysts assume that US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine was designed to encourage Kiev to start a counteroffensive as soon as possible. Biden’s visit was meant to underscore the importance of the current moment and reaffirm Washington’s commitment to support Ukraine over a long term.

The US has recently said that the military conflict in Ukraine has reached a pivotal phase and a turning point. Therefore, the West transfers to Ukraine a much larger number of weapons now than it did last year. Quantitatively, the supply of weapons at the beginning of this year has increased significantly and they have also increased qualitatively: tanks are now being transferred and there’s talk of long-range missiles. The US constantly says that right here and now, no later than the beginning of spring, no later than March, the Ukrainian armed forces should start a decisive counteroffensive.

In last couple of weeks and days, NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has made numerous speeches, where he has repeated “We are in a race of logistics, speed will save lives”. NATO’s self-declared “Race of Logistics” confirms the bloc’s military-industrial crisis. This discloses the problem: the combined military-industrial capabilities of the bloc’s 30 member countries cannot compete with their single Russian adversary’s capability, despite all the sanctions against it.

The war with Ukraine will be over unless the EU finds a way in weeks to speed up the provision of ammunition to Ukraine, Josep Borrell, the EU foreign affairs chief, warned on the final day (Feb 19) of the Munich Security Conference.

He said a special meeting of EU defense ministers slated for 8-9 March will provide a chance for countries to offer ammunition from their existing stocks, adding it is taking up to 10 months for European armies to order and receive a single bullet. “We are in urgent war mode,” he said. “This shortage of ammunition has to be solved quickly; it is a matter of weeks.” He said, if it was not, the war would be over. Borrell said the absence of ammunition was because “we forgot about classical wars – we were only engaged with expeditionary forces and technological Blitzkrieg.”

On the other hand, some analysts, like Professor Joseph M. Siracusa, Dean of Global Futures at Curtin University, Perth Australia, writes that “US will abandon the ‘unwinnable’ proxy war in Ukraine like they ended their failure in Vietnam.” The withdrawal from Ukraine will share the same feeling of regret – that sense that America overcommitted to a war it had no business winning – as the conclusion of the US combat role in south-east Asia.

Russian Defense Ministry (RMOD) announced on Monday-Tuesday, Feb 21-22, that Ukraine has accumulated and concentrated a large force in the vicinity of Transnistria to start offensive within next few days. The aim of this offensive was/is to take over the massive ammo and other military material depots located in many places in Transnistria. Perhaps, due to RMOD’s public announcements, AFU has not yet made any offensive operations there. Maybe the US has tried to curb and contain this dangerous escalation by AFU.

As said before, the fighting has been going on along the whole frontline, all the time in January-February. Russian winter offensive has taken place in “multifront and gradual” formula. So far, no Big Arrow” offensives have been seen. Perhaps, the military command of Russian Forces assesses so that the worst defeat and total demilitarization to Ukraine and NATO can be achieved by this incremental war of attrition.

Some topics for you to work on

It is quite widely known that the president of China, Xi Jinping, plans to make an official visit to Russia in late spring 2023.

It is very fascinating to contemplate, “Why then?” and “What kind of conditions prevail then, particularly in Ukraine crisis?” and “Ukraine-Taiwan interdependence” and other similar “world-embracing” issues.