Summer Potpourri 2, August 2023
Military performance in Ukraine war, mid-August
Both fighting parties (Russian Forces vs. proxy AFU) have continued various air strikes on their rear areas. Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), targeting mainly “optics”, use drones (air and sea) and British Storm Shadow missiles. Russia has continued its massive air strikes, targeting high-value military objects around Ukraine. Russian Forces use wide range of tools: aircrafts, different missiles, drones, guided bombs, rockets, also hypersonic missiles.
Russian Forces, which so far have been on “active defense” mode, have now turned on the offensive foot on may points along the whole frontline. AFU’s summer “counteroffensive” has been a great failure, even a fiasco, with gigantic troops and material losses, which are constantly accumulating. Russian Forces are advancing now in Kupyansk region, Marinka-Krasnogorvka region, near Avdeevka, Artemovsk and some other places as well.
AFU have continued the “counteroffensive”, being started since June 4. The summary data of cumulative AFU losses have amounted up to complete gigantic level in June – mid-August:
troop losses up to 55,000 servicemen (average daily rate still a battalion per day, at least), tanks & IFVs & APCs up to 2000, MLRS up to 50, artillery pieces up to 800, military motor vehicles up to 1600 as well as UAVs up to over 1000 units. Number of daily losses of pieces of heavy equipment (artillery, MLRS, radars, tanks and other vehicles etc.) have been remained averagely 2-3 dozen a day. Today, even American media has been realizing that AFU’s dismal destiny is approaching.
Satellite imagery of newly dug cemeteries in Ukrainian territory suggests that at least 400,000 Ukrainian military personnel have died in battles with Russian forces after 500 days of conflict. The graves presume individual bodies buried. In addition, not recorded are the countless number of dead who have been obliterated on battlefields (MIA = missed in action). The real figure of killed Ukrainian servicemen may actually surpass 500,000. This is much greater than previously generally estimated and reveals really horrible and shocking truth.
Even European media has noticed the desperate situation among AFU, like the German Bild Magazine: “Wie lange hält die Ukraine das durich?”
If the battles in Ukraine have been previously called a “meat grinder”, then it would be more accurate to refer to this war as a “bloodbath.” Yet Washington and Brussels incoherently keep pushing the failed AFU counteroffensive to the “last Ukrainian”.
NATO support more to the proxy AFU – stakes getting higher
The West’s overall assistance to the Ukrainian Zelensky regime over the period of the special military operation (since February 24, 2022 up to date) exceeded 160 billion US dollars including military aid of 75 billion US dollars, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the International Affairs magazine. According to Lavrov, round 50 countries of the so-called “Ramstein coalition” for military support for Ukraine “are actually involved in the armed conflict on the part of the Kiev regime.
Meanwhile, Western leaders keep on repeating like a mantra that they will continue to help Kiev as long as it takes, Lavrov noted adding that the west “is seeking to eliminate Russia as a serious geopolitical rival.” “This is why Washington and Brussels have unleashed a hybrid war against us,” he said. “And it is supplemented by the unprecedented sanction pressure. “Evidently, these and other aggressive measures are geared to weaken, exhaust Russia,” Lavrov noted. “They are seeking to maximally drain out our economic, technological, and defense capacities, to limit our sovereignty and make us drop our independent foreign and domestic policy.”
The range of the US & NATO military aid to Kiev is massive: increasing range of heavy weapons, large-scale weapons supplies, including cluster munitions, depleted uranium rounds and long-range munitions, NATO instructors take part in planning and actual military operations of the Ukrainian army and NATO around-the-clock intelligence data are being used.
The AFU, supported by NATO, have tried to escalate offensives against Russian positions in Eastern Ukraine during the last weeks. The Washington-based Institute of Study of War reported recently the beginning of “a significant mechanized counteroffensive operation” in the west of the Zaporizhzhia region.
Pentagon and the NATO have officially announced on three “significant military devices”, which will be delivered to AFU: American Abrams battle tanks, F-16 fighters and cluster munitions for HIMARS. All these new devices have been described as “game changers” (like tens others previously).
General Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister, has announced that he sees the supply of F-16 as a nuclear threat against Russia (because F-16 is capable to carry missiles with nuclear warhead). This is upgrading the crisis to a completely new level of escalation.
More info in the video below:
Military Summary: The Fall. Military Summary And Analysis For 2023.08.18
On the other hand, some clear messages have been sent from Moscow that Russian Forces will launch their offensive soon.
All these news emphasize the acceleration of warfare and the escalation risk of great power war.
Weeb Union: Wagner’s New Meatgrinder | Operation Trident Siege | Russia’s Plan To End The War, August 18, 2023
Some prominent western military experts have recently presented their conclusions about the current situation:
Scott Ritter Says The American Military Can’t Win Wars Anymore, August 18, 2023
Douglas MacGregor: Douglas Macgregor: Ukrainians In Panic!, August 18, 2023
More news from ABCNews and CNBC:
The Ukrainian counteroffensive on the eastern front began in June. ByTom Soufi Burridge, August 17, 2023, 9:27 PM
Can expensive, American-made weapons like F-16s turn the tide in Ukraine’s war against Russia? Published Sat, Aug 19 202312:00 PM EDT, byBrad Howard
President Putin held an important meeting with General Gerasimov in the command center of SMO in Rostov-on-Don, on August 19. Strong speculations tell that the major Russian offensive was decided there.
Glimpses of the endgame
A problem with the war in Ukraine has been from the very beginning that there is no clear consensus of the parties in this war, as strange as it may sound. Step by step, the perception that the war is actually between Russia and the NATO is getting widely accepted and that Ukraine had ceased to be a sovereign country since 2014, when the CIA and sister western agencies (from Germany, the UK, and France) installed a puppet regime in Kiev. The AFU have been the proxy for the US and the NATO since the very start of the war in February 2022.
Moscow is now anticipating that the Biden administration may be having an even bigger war plan in mind. At the Security council meeting, Putin “de-classified” the intelligence reports from various sources indicating moves to insert a Polish expeditionary force into Western Ukraine. Putin called it “a well-organized, equipped regular military unit to be used for operations” in Western Ukraine “for the subsequent occupation of these territories.”
So far, Poland has been actively participating in the Ukrainian war by sending “voluntary” militia groups to battlefields in Ukraine, organizing diverse training performances to AFU troops on the Polish ground as well as allowing the rest of aircraft of Ukrainian Air Forces to use Polish airports as bases, from where they can initiate attacks on Russian targets.
Russia made a dramatic Iskander-K missile strike in Chernihiv on August 19. In the theater building, in the center of the city, there was an important meeting and drone exhibition, where over 100 foreign and Ukrainian military experts and military officers as well as private businessmen and technical experts were gathered. Particularly interesting was the large number of participants of Secret Services from Ukraine, Poland and Baltic states as well as from some other NATO countries. Nearly 100 NATO officers and military experts were killed or severely wounded in this strike.
More info of this event is available in the video here: Summer Operations | Iskander-K Multiplied The Losses Of Western Officers. Military Summary 2023.8.19
The Kremlin leadership understands that Washington desperately needs to save face from a humiliating defeat in the proxy war in Ukraine. It may leave no choice to the Russian forces but to cross the Dnieper and advance all the way to Poland’s border to prevent an occupation of Western Ukraine by the so-called Lublin Triangle, a regional alliance comprising Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, formed in July 2020 and promoted by Washington.
The Kremlin thinking, regarding the endgame in Ukraine, seems to consist of three key elements: First, Russia has no intentions of territorial conquest of Western Ukraine but will insist on having a say on how the new boundaries of the country and the future regime will look and act like. Second, Russia will not hesitate to counter any continued attempt by the US and NATO to use Ukrainian territory as a springboard to wage a renewed proxy war, which means that Ukraine’s absorption into NATO will remain a fantasy. Third, the battle-hardened Russian army backed by a powerful defense industry and a robust economy will not hesitate to confront NATO member countries bordering Ukraine, if they trespass on Russia’s core interests.
There are rumors of new Russian mobilization, even a half a million soldiers totaling the size of Russian Army up to 1,2 million servicemen. This new addition is not intended for the current operation (SMO) but for a possible wider military action between Russia and NATO. Recent movements of Wagner Group in Belarus can and should be seen in this same context.
Wagner – once again! I wrote in my article of July 4, “Hassles, mutinies and tragedies” that
“This brings us to the still fascinating possibility, if this was the “Mother of All Maskirovkas”: On Saturday, Wagner was 200 km away from Moscow. Yet on Sunday, Wagner was 100 km away from Kiev. Can this be interpreted as the highest level of Sun Tzu’s Art of War?
The secret of a perfect “psyop” is that no one really understands it, by accomplishing two tasks: it renders the enemy stunned and confused while achieving a set of very important real goals, behind the scenes.”
Today, I am even more convinced that the whole “Wagner mutiny” was/is “Mother of All Maskirovkas” … time will tell.
Second Russia-Africa Summit Forum
The actual summit was held in St. Petersburg, July 27-28. An economic and humanitarian conferences are planned to run in parallel to the event. Like the previous forum, the event will be held under the motto For Peace, Security and Development. Delegations from 49 African countries, including 17 led by heads of state, 5 by vice presidents, 4 by prime ministers, 1 by chairman of parliament, 17 by deputy prime minister or minister, rest by ambassadors, were set to attend the summit.
Outcome of Russia-Africa Summit. The final declaration commits to the development of Russian-African cooperation and efforts in the international arena. The summit also yielded a plan of action of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum for 2023-2026 and a number of other documents. Apart from that, a range of agreements, contracts and other documents on cooperation between Russia and African countries were inked on the sidelines of the summit.
The African leaders spoke about the importance of cooperation in security, food security included, while Russia shared its plans to increase its presence on the continent. Here are the key events and statements of the Summit. Key phrases of the summit: Moscow writes off debts. Colonialism heritage. Cooperation on security. Search for peace in Ukraine. Diplomatic channels. The agreements. New dialogue formats between summits. The path towards cooperation goes through BRICS. Special emphasis was put on the recently collapsed grain deal. Russia is promoting and ensuring that Africa acts as one of the powers of the multipolar world. Africa’s huge potential as a global power has yet to be realized.
My comments regarding this summit are available in my article Summer Potpourri 2023, August 1.
Winds of change blowing in Africa
On August 1, 2023, senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the State Duma, published an article titled “I Want To Warn Hotheads Against Looking For A ‘Russian Trace’ In Niger,” in the Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. In the article, Slutsky stressed that a Western-sponsored military intervention in Niger would create the “First Continental War” in Africa. The whole article is available on the MEMRI website.
Africa Editor of Modern Diplomacy media, Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. His recent article ECOWAS vs Niger Republic: Diverse Views from Russian Experts, Published on August 18, 2023 By Kester Kenn Klomegah
BRICS in sight
BRICS is a formal alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Its upcoming Summit is scheduled to be held on 22-24 August in Johannesburg, South Arica. BRICS host South Africa has invited 69 countries to attend the upcoming summit. The invitation has been sent to all African heads of nations and the Global South bodies.
World Order is changing – Revolution by Global South is showing the way. The upcoming BRICS Summit in South Africa, is significant for many reasons.
I will make a detailed analysis of this historical summit and its significance in a future article.
China and Indo-Pacific affair
The war of words between the US and China has intensified again.
Deputy regional leader of Taiwan island Lai Ching-te concluded his recent “transit” trip to the US on Friday, August 18. During his trip, he stopped at New York on his way there and made a “stopover” in San Francisco on the way back.
According to Chinese media, he seized every opportunity to propagate “Taiwan independence” rhetoric and express loyalty to the US in order to advance the agenda of “relying on the US to seek independence.” Lai also openly met with high-ranking US officials in Paraguay. During the six days, he intensified his collusion with the US, turning the entire trip into a brazen provocation and disruption of the one-China principle, as well as a reckless challenge and damage to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.
China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday, August 18, that it will take forceful measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity after the deputy leader of China’s Taiwan region, Lai Ching-te, stopped over in New York and in San Francisco. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated that China strongly condemned the US decision to arrange the so-called “stopover” for Lai, saying it had sent seriously wrong signals to separatist forces for “Taiwan independence.”
Global Times again criticized the American slogan of “freedom of navigation” in South China Sea as a political fallacy aimed at expanding US hegemony. The US has played up its hyping of the South China Sea, accusing Beijing of building an airstrip on the Xisha Islands that “interfered with navigational rights and freedoms.”
Besides the increasing tension between China and the US, including a “chip war”, which the recent Blinken’s visit in Beijing tried to calm down, new threats are emerging on the Pacific theater. The strategic collusion between NATO and Japan has become normalized in recent years, spelling new uncertainties in the Asia-Pacific region.
Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said that the PLA Eastern Theater Command organized naval and air forces to conduct joint combat-ready patrol and training exercise around Taiwan Island on August 19. Focusing on subjects of ship-aircraft coordination, control of battlefield, etc., the exercise tested the troops’ combat capabilities in joint operations. “This is a serious warning against the collusion and provocation of the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and the external forces,” noted the spokesperson.
I have analyzed the current great power relations in my article “Great Power relations heating up, June 2023”, June 27.
I would like to refer to epilogue of my previous “Summer Potpourri 2023” … “more and more serious turbulence, crisis and finally a conflagration worldwide” are waiting for the humanity in the future. The recent events and processes on the international scene only confirm this fatal scenario.