July 26, 2022


Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa just hours after Moscow and Kyiv signed deals to allow grain exports to resume from there. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry denounced Saturday’s airstrikes as a ‘spit in the face’ to Turkey and the United Nations, which brokered the agreements.” AP News

“Ukraine said on Monday its forces had used U.S-supplied HIMARS rocket systems to destroy 50 Russian ammunition depots since receiving the weapons last month… Ukrainian officials have said repeatedly that Western supplies of weapons are critical to Ukraine's military effort, and underlined the importance of the HIMARS because of Russia's artillery supremacy in terms of numbers and ammunition.” Reuters

Both sides urge the West to provide Ukraine with additional weapons, and are hopeful that Ukraine can triumph in the long run:

“Ukraine likely couldn’t have stopped Russia’s initial drive without the more than $7 billion in weapons that America has sent so far, in addition to supplies from other allies. But these arms, mostly short-range weapons systems, are no longer sufficient. As the war persists—and changes—so too do the military’s needs…

“Mr. Putin seeks to instill a fear of escalation. If the West is too frightened to intervene, he’s free to run amok. That’s why the Obama administration did virtually nothing after Mr. Putin seized [Crimea], opened a front in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, and intervened in Syria in 2015. Knowing the U.S. has a proclivity for self-deterrence, he’s now rattled his nuclear saber over Ukraine. But America shouldn’t give in to the threat; that will only motivate Mr. Putin to do it again… The costs of U.S. hesitancy are growing every day.”
Seth G. Jones and Philip G. Wasielewski, Wall Street Journal

“After an initial retreat from Kyiv, Russia has made slow but steady gains in eastern Ukraine, and conditions will be ideal for Russia in the coming winter months. The winter season will also be a time of strategic vulnerability for Europe, given its reliance on Russian natural gas for heating. From this perspective, time is on Putin’s side. Anticipating that his best chance for victory may come this winter, Putin has an incentive to withhold Russia’s natural gas now and push Europe into the most precarious possible position economically, regardless of the short-term costs to Russia…

“What does this imply for the alliance of countries supporting Ukraine’s independence? Clearly, the way to induce Putin to stop his war of aggression now is to make him believe that there is no way that he can possibly win six months down the road. And the way to make him believe that he cannot win in six months is to move more than enough heavy military equipment into Ukraine even sooner.”
Anastassia Fedyk and David McAdams, Los Angeles Times

“The economic situation [in Russia] is deteriorating and we will begin feeling that seriously by late August or September… Most Russians are apolitical. They care about their jobs, their families, their closest friends, and maybe their houses and pets. Russians are not very religious, either, even though the church plays an important role as a political institution. What’s important is having your family life intact, then you can tolerate the rest…

“The problem is, it’s not going to continue like that indefinitely. The war is going to affect your family, your work, and even your pets. And once it begins affecting people’s private lives, things can change immediately. I think resistance could start mounting very fast once the government does something that affects the lives of families. That’s why they haven’t openly declared war… If they try to launch a general mobilization, or they expand the draft to new categories, then we’ll get a rebellion. We don’t know what the exact reaction will be, but it will be extremely negative.”
Boris Kagarlitsky, Jacobin

“According to one allegedly intercepted call, the Russian replacement troops that have been sent to replenish the battalions on the front lines have been dying in large numbers. And the ones who are not killed have been leaving and going back home to Russia. The front lines are so thinly manned at this point according to this soldier that they recently had to combine the remains of three battalions to form one full one, and they’re not even sure if they’ll have enough for that…

“Is there still a chance that Russia could simply lose this war? We’ve been told that they have solidified their control across large sections of the Donbas, but the Ukrainians have continued their counterattacks every day. It’s not a question of just taking all of the lands in that oblast. After you take them, you then have to hold them. And if the Ukrainian forces keep attacking every day, that’s going to require a constant flow of replacement Russian troops. At what point will the cost become too high for Putin? Even more to the point, when will the cost become too high for the Russian families back home who are watching their sons, husbands, and fathers returning in body bags or not returning at all?”
Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

“Ukraine doesn’t need thousands of HiMARS units to beat the Russian offensive. Because they use precision-guided munitions, the advanced American rocket artillery systems can score at least ten times as many hits per round fired as can Russia’s guns. Furthermore, since the HiMARS units outrange Russian artillery, they can hit it first.  The few HiMARS units that the U.S. has sent so far are nowhere near what is needed, but a hundred would decide the war. There is no valid military reason not to send them

The 100 HiMARS units that Ukraine needs to win would amount to only 3 percent, approximately, of America’s total rocket artillery firepower… Hundreds of HiMARS and MLRS units have already been delivered to many NATO allies as well as to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and many Arab states, with 180 of them going to Saudi Arabia alone. There is no reason why they can’t be delivered to Ukraine in similar quantities.”
Robert Zubrin, National Review

“Ukraine was, before Russia’s February 24 invasion, an economic powerhouse with a vastly underappreciated role in global supply chains. Its grain exports were at least 10% of the world’s; 12.8% for maize, 10.5% for wheat. Ukraine produced more than 45% of the world’s sunflower oil. It was also a mining and industrial power; the fourth largest iron ore exporter and the 13th largest steel exporter. And it exported significant nickel, uranium, and other minerals, and manufactured and exported chemicals, engines, heavy equipment, and more…

“It is hard to precisely calculate how much of the global inflation crisis is due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the effect is marked… Eventually, probably over years, the Fed’s demand-side monetary policies will almost certainly tame inflation, but most likely only by triggering a recession that will cause average citizens additional hardship… A better approach would be for western governments to take the difficult decision now, the one they have been putting off for months, to actually save Ukraine, whatever that may require.”
Suriya Jayanti, Time

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