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offsite link US Military Aid to Kiev Passes After Tru... Sun Apr 21, 2024 05:57 | Anti-Empire

offsite link The Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian M... Sat Apr 20, 2024 01:38 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Ukraine Now Producing 10 Self-Propelled ... Fri Apr 19, 2024 06:15 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Russian Firms Rush to Buy Anti-Drone Def... Wed Apr 17, 2024 08:58 | Bloomberg

offsite link Ukraine Buys Huge Amounts of Russian Fue... Fri Jan 20, 2023 08:34 | Antonia Kotseva

Anti-Empire >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link Apple ?Scraps Vegan iPhone Cases? After Backlash Mon Apr 22, 2024 12:00 | Will Jones
Apple has reportedly suspended production of vegan phone cases it started selling less than a year ago following a backlash against their poor durability. Seems we use leather for a reason.
The post Apple “Scraps Vegan iPhone Cases” After Backlash appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Kemi Badenoch Was Right to Deny Britain?s Economic Prosperity is Due to White Privilege and Colonial... Mon Apr 22, 2024 10:00 | Nigel Biggar
The historian William Dalrymple pompously suggested Kemi Badenoch should "learn some history" after she denied Britain's economic success was due to white privilege. The historian of empire, Nigel Biggar, begs to differ.
The post Kemi Badenoch Was Right to Deny Britain?s Economic Prosperity is Due to White Privilege and Colonialism appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link The BBC and Guardian Have Been Raising the Alarm About ?Deadly? Heatwaves in Mali and Burkina Faso, ... Mon Apr 22, 2024 07:00 | Chris Morrison
The climate alarmists have been catastrophising about recent heatwaves in Mali and Burkina Faso. In fact, average temperatures in those countries have barely risen in the last 85 years, says Chris Morrision.
The post The BBC and Guardian Have Been Raising the Alarm About ?Deadly? Heatwaves in Mali and Burkina Faso, Despite Little Rise in Average Temperatures in the Last 85 Years appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link News Round-Up Mon Apr 22, 2024 01:33 | Richard Eldred
A summary of the most interesting stories in the past 24 hours that challenge the prevailing orthodoxy about the virus and the vaccines, the ?climate emergency? and the supposed moral defects of Western civilisation.
The post News Round-Up appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link From the Humber to the Wolds, East Yorkshire Will be Cold Sun Apr 21, 2024 17:00 | Dr Roger Watson
Hull resident Dr Roger Watson had no idea the Government was proposing devolution for [checks notes] Hull until he saw a sticker with a QR code at a bus stop. It's a load of nonsense, obviously.
The post From the Humber to the Wolds, East Yorkshire Will be Cold appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link When the West confuses Law and Politics Sat Apr 20, 2024 09:09 | en

offsite link The cost of war, by Manlio Dinucci Wed Apr 17, 2024 04:12 | en

offsite link Angela Merkel and Franois Hollande's crime against peace, by Thierry Meyssan Tue Apr 16, 2024 06:58 | en

offsite link Protest against the bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus, by Amir Saeid ... Sat Apr 13, 2024 06:09 | en

offsite link Iranian response to attack on its consulate in Damascus could lead to wider warf... Fri Apr 12, 2024 13:36 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Anti-Empire - Sun Apr 21, 2024 05:57

Ukraine aid bill was stuck for nearly 6 months because the GOP House Speaker Michael Johnson, afraid for his political future, wouldn't put it up for a vote.

The issue was that while Democrats were desperate to pass the aid, his own Republicans had certain qualms about some aspects of it.

Also Republicans wanted concessions from Democrats on other issues in order to pass it, since the Democrats wanted this more.

The group of Republicans who most opposed the aid bill warned Johnson that putting up the bill up for a vote for Democrats to pass would result in a vote to oust him as Speaker.

However on April 12 Johnson and Trump met and Trump heaped praise on Johnson.

Within days of the meeting, Johnson signaled he would put the bill up for a vote.

April 20 the bill went up for a vote and passed despite most Republicans voting against it.

Nearly half a year of indecision ends as soon as Johnson makes the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago where Trump publicly backs him as Speaker. Draw your own conclusions.

 

https://twitter.com/RpsAgainstTrump/status/1782043763214373118

Ukraine aid bill was stuck for nearly 6 months because the GOP House Speaker Michael Johnson, afraid for his political future, wouldn't put it up for a vote.

The issue was that while Democrats were desperate to pass the aid, his own Republicans had certain qualms about some aspects of it.

Also Republicans wanted concessions from Democrats on other issues in order to pass it, since the Democrats wanted this more.

The group of Republicans who most opposed the aid bill warned Johnson that putting up the bill up for a vote for Democrats to pass would result in a vote to oust him as Speaker.

However on April 12 Johnson and Trump met and Trump heaped praise on Johnson.

Within days of the meeting, Johnson signaled he would put the bill up for a vote.

April 20 the bill went up for a vote and passed despite most Republicans voting against it.

Nearly half a year of indecision ends as soon as Johnson makes the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago where Trump publicly backs him as Speaker. Draw your own conclusions.

 

https://twitter.com/RpsAgainstTrump/status/1782043763214373118

Anti-Empire - Sat Apr 20, 2024 01:38

Alexander Sirski was born in Russia to ethnic Russian parents. When he was 15 his family moved to Kharkov in Ukraine when his father — a military man — was transferred there.

After graduating high school in Ukraine he attended a military school in Moscow. Upon graduation in 1986 he won commission to the Soviet Army and served in the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

As a Soviet officer he would have been a member of the Communist Party.

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 Sirski was stationed in Kharkov in Ukraine, thus his unit passed into the Ukrainian military.

In February Sirski was appointed the overall commander of the Ukrainian military, replacing Valeri Zaluzhni.

It is said Zelensky replaced Zaluzhni because of Zaluzhni's great popularity. He was starting to be seen as someone who could easily become Ukraine's next president.

Zaluzhni had also candidly spoken about the necessity of mobilizing hundreds of thousands more, which initially shocked Zelensky.

At the start of the war until his promotion Sirski was the overall commander of the Ground Army. A post he held since 2019.

He is a veteran of the 2014-15 Donbass war, and was the overall commander of the Ukrainian forces in Donbass in 2017.

Alexander Sirski was born in Russia to ethnic Russian parents. When he was 15 his family moved to Kharkov in Ukraine when his father — a military man — was transferred there.

After graduating high school in Ukraine he attended a military school in Moscow. Upon graduation in 1986 he won commission to the Soviet Army and served in the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

As a Soviet officer he would have been a member of the Communist Party.

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 Sirski was stationed in Kharkov in Ukraine, thus his unit passed into the Ukrainian military.

In February Sirski was appointed the overall commander of the Ukrainian military, replacing Valeri Zaluzhni.

It is said Zelensky replaced Zaluzhni because of Zaluzhni's great popularity. He was starting to be seen as someone who could easily become Ukraine's next president.

Zaluzhni had also candidly spoken about the necessity of mobilizing hundreds of thousands more, which initially shocked Zelensky.

At the start of the war until his promotion Sirski was the overall commander of the Ground Army. A post he held since 2019.

He is a veteran of the 2014-15 Donbass war, and was the overall commander of the Ukrainian forces in Donbass in 2017.

Anti-Empire - Fri Apr 19, 2024 06:15

Ukraine started work to produce 155mm self-propelled artillery in spring of 2022, and produced the first units in January 2023.

In December 2023 the production stood at 6 units per month, now it's up to 10 Zelensky has announced, and promises production rate will continue to climb.

So far the Ukrainian army has accepted about 40 to 50 of these. In a year we could be talking about annual production of 200 units.

Ukraine is also considering building cheaper towed heavy artillery.

Ukraine started work to produce 155mm self-propelled artillery in spring of 2022, and produced the first units in January 2023.

In December 2023 the production stood at 6 units per month, now it's up to 10 Zelensky has announced, and promises production rate will continue to climb.

So far the Ukrainian army has accepted about 40 to 50 of these. In a year we could be talking about annual production of 200 units.

Ukraine is also considering building cheaper towed heavy artillery.

Bloomberg - Wed Apr 17, 2024 08:58

Intensifying Ukrainian drone attacks are forcing Russian companies to find ways to protect their own plants and factories instead of relying on the military, providing an unexpected boost to radar and warfare-equipment producers.

Tender data show that demand for private systems to repel unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, has quadrupled over the past year. At the same time, Russia has managed to at least double output of this sort of equipment since the start of the war, Bloomberg Economics estimates.

“Russia will likely be able to make its refineries and other high-value structures less vulnerable to drone strikes over the coming quarters,” said Russia economist Alex Isakov, of Bloomberg Economics. Much of the ramp up has happened over a period of relatively mild enforcement of trade sanctions, including around the transshipment of electronic components, he added.

Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion has entered a new phase with Kyiv increasingly using homegrown drone technology against some of the country’s most important manufacturers. Russian oil refineries have been hit hardest as Ukraine seeks to cut fuel supplies to the Kremlin’s armed forces and the flow of petrodollars into Russia’s coffers.

Russia was discussing the deployment of military-grade defenses at oil plants, but nothing has been publicly announced yet, though officials have said they’re working with industry to protect these sites. Ukraine has also struck some metals industry facilities, and earlier this month hit a refinery in the Tatarstan region, far from the border with Ukraine.

As the war increasingly spills into Russian territory, private companies are fueling demand for special electronic warfare systems. According to one local electronic procurement platform, Tenderpro, which says it is used by more than 300,000 Russian companies, about a third of all tenders for anti-UAV systems were carried out by oil and gas enterprises. Industrial and mining companies account for 28% and 10% of cases, respectively.

The war has led to “explosive growth” in the electronic warfare market, and production has not yet kept pace with demand, said Andrey Klyuev, chief executive officer of local radar-equipment producer Umirs. “The threat is growing much faster than the manufacturers can handle,” he said, speaking at a conference on anti-UAV technologies in Moscow.

Still, the production of radars and radio remote-control equipment — the statistical category in which anti-drone systems fall — is starting the year with strong momentum. Output increased two-fold in February compared with the same period in 2023, according to the latest Federal Statistics Service data, the second month in a row of skyrocketing growth.

Electronic warfare equipment isn’t invincible against drone attacks, but can significantly limit damage. Those defenses thwarted a strike on the Slavneft plant in Yaroslavl, the sixth largest oil refinery in Russia, which purchased its protective systems from a Rostec State Corp subsidiary. At the same time, the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery was attacked by drones that were downed by electronic warfare systems, resulting in debris falling onto the property.

Both the Syzran Refinery and the Novokuybyshevsk Refinery, purchased anti-UAV systems in the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, according to tender data, analyzed by Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg calculations based on data from available government procurement portals, state-owned companies and government agencies spent at least 1.7 billion rubles ($18.4 million) on electronic security last year. Most of that spending was to protect utilities and energy infrastructure, including a nuclear power plant 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the border with Ukraine.

It’s nearly impossible to estimate how much money Russian corporations have spent on anti-drone protection based on public data, because the procurement announcements are published on various platforms, and Russian authorities allow companies that are targeted by international sanctions to classify their procurement data. According to Tenderpro, the largest single anti-drone equipment purchase amounted to 45 million rubles, while 36% of companies purchase expensive stationary and mobile systems costing more than 1 million rubles ($10,845).

Apart from expensive electronics, companies have also been compelled to invest in constructing physical barriers, strengthening existing structures and insuring themselves against damage. Tenderpro has seen a threefold increase in interest for insuring against drone damage, according to Elena Astafieva, the Moscow-based platform’s commercial director.

Source: Bloomberg

Intensifying Ukrainian drone attacks are forcing Russian companies to find ways to protect their own plants and factories instead of relying on the military, providing an unexpected boost to radar and warfare-equipment producers.

Tender data show that demand for private systems to repel unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, has quadrupled over the past year. At the same time, Russia has managed to at least double output of this sort of equipment since the start of the war, Bloomberg Economics estimates.

“Russia will likely be able to make its refineries and other high-value structures less vulnerable to drone strikes over the coming quarters,” said Russia economist Alex Isakov, of Bloomberg Economics. Much of the ramp up has happened over a period of relatively mild enforcement of trade sanctions, including around the transshipment of electronic components, he added.

Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion has entered a new phase with Kyiv increasingly using homegrown drone technology against some of the country’s most important manufacturers. Russian oil refineries have been hit hardest as Ukraine seeks to cut fuel supplies to the Kremlin’s armed forces and the flow of petrodollars into Russia’s coffers.

Russia was discussing the deployment of military-grade defenses at oil plants, but nothing has been publicly announced yet, though officials have said they’re working with industry to protect these sites. Ukraine has also struck some metals industry facilities, and earlier this month hit a refinery in the Tatarstan region, far from the border with Ukraine.

As the war increasingly spills into Russian territory, private companies are fueling demand for special electronic warfare systems. According to one local electronic procurement platform, Tenderpro, which says it is used by more than 300,000 Russian companies, about a third of all tenders for anti-UAV systems were carried out by oil and gas enterprises. Industrial and mining companies account for 28% and 10% of cases, respectively.

The war has led to “explosive growth” in the electronic warfare market, and production has not yet kept pace with demand, said Andrey Klyuev, chief executive officer of local radar-equipment producer Umirs. “The threat is growing much faster than the manufacturers can handle,” he said, speaking at a conference on anti-UAV technologies in Moscow.

Still, the production of radars and radio remote-control equipment — the statistical category in which anti-drone systems fall — is starting the year with strong momentum. Output increased two-fold in February compared with the same period in 2023, according to the latest Federal Statistics Service data, the second month in a row of skyrocketing growth.

Electronic warfare equipment isn’t invincible against drone attacks, but can significantly limit damage. Those defenses thwarted a strike on the Slavneft plant in Yaroslavl, the sixth largest oil refinery in Russia, which purchased its protective systems from a Rostec State Corp subsidiary. At the same time, the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery was attacked by drones that were downed by electronic warfare systems, resulting in debris falling onto the property.

Both the Syzran Refinery and the Novokuybyshevsk Refinery, purchased anti-UAV systems in the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, according to tender data, analyzed by Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg calculations based on data from available government procurement portals, state-owned companies and government agencies spent at least 1.7 billion rubles ($18.4 million) on electronic security last year. Most of that spending was to protect utilities and energy infrastructure, including a nuclear power plant 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the border with Ukraine.

It’s nearly impossible to estimate how much money Russian corporations have spent on anti-drone protection based on public data, because the procurement announcements are published on various platforms, and Russian authorities allow companies that are targeted by international sanctions to classify their procurement data. According to Tenderpro, the largest single anti-drone equipment purchase amounted to 45 million rubles, while 36% of companies purchase expensive stationary and mobile systems costing more than 1 million rubles ($10,845).

Apart from expensive electronics, companies have also been compelled to invest in constructing physical barriers, strengthening existing structures and insuring themselves against damage. Tenderpro has seen a threefold increase in interest for insuring against drone damage, according to Elena Astafieva, the Moscow-based platform’s commercial director.

Source: Bloomberg

Antonia Kotseva - Fri Jan 20, 2023 08:34

Editor's note: Remember when in the first half of 2022 Russia was bombing fuel depots? Well a lot of that fuel (40% by one disputed account) was Russian, imported via Bulgaria and refined in a Lukoil refinery in Bulgaria.


Source: Euractiv

In 2022, Ukraine bought a huge amount of fuels from Bulgaria made from Russian oil, according to data by the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute, provided exclusively to EURACTIV Bulgaria.

From January to November 2022, Bulgaria exported €700 million worth of fuels to Ukraine, and if the trend continues in December, the total value for the year will exceed €825 million. Compared to the period before the war, this is a 1,000-fold increase, as Bulgaria’s 2021 fuel exports to Ukraine totalled only €750,000.

The current scale of Bulgarian oil exports to Ukraine is so large that it corresponds to about 1% of the size of the entire Bulgarian economy.

The main fuel export from Bulgaria to Ukraine is gas oil (also known as red diesel), which makes up more than 90% of deliveries.

Gasoline supplies have also increased rapidly over the past six months, which is explained by Russian attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure. Diesel fuel is used in heavy industry to power machinery, generators, and off-road vehicles [such as tanks], as well as in agriculture and marine shipping.

The producer of gas oil in Bulgaria is the country’s only refinery, located in the port city of Burgas, owned by the Russian oil company Lukoil, which still operates mainly with Russian oil imported by tankers via the Black Sea, thanks to a derogation from EU sanctions.

The refinery in Burgas can afford to export fuel at significantly lower prices because it works with its own raw material. Last year, because of Western sanctions, Russian oil prices on world markets were on average $20-30 per barrel lower than stock market prices.

Bulgarian statistics show that Ukraine is now the Balkan country’s third-largest trading partner thanks to the export of fuels, having replaced the USA. In 2021, Ukraine ranked eighth among the countries outside the ЕU as a destination for Bulgarian exports.

Fuel exports from Bulgaria to Ukraine peaked in November 2022, when €130 million worth of petroleum products were exported.

The avalanche of oil exports то Ukraine began in May, when €40 million worth of products were exported, and reached €105 million in June. From June until the end of the year, levels were consistently high.

The period of the highest fuel sales to Ukraine coincides with the administration of the caretaker government of President Rumen Radev, who is accused by his opponents of being pro-Russian.

Radev is a staunch opponent of sending Bulgarian weapons to Ukraine but although divided, the parliament did not listen to him and a majority decided to send weapons at the end of last year.

Bulgaria protects its business

On 13 January, the Bulgarian parliament passed a law that allows fuels produced from Russian oil to be exported only to Ukraine. However, there is a loophole in the law that allows trade with other countries outside the EU for the fuels produced by Lukoil in Bulgaria, for which there is no market in Bulgaria.

This raises the question of the possible re-export of fuels from Russian oil to the EU, but only after they have been sold by Bulgaria to a country outside the EU.

If the oil originates from another country, for example, Kazakhstan, but has passed through Russia in transit, the new Bulgarian law says it can be imported into Bulgaria and the products can be sold on the European market.

At the end of last year, Lukoil announced its intention to make Bulgaria its main base in the EU. The Russian company promised to pay hundreds of millions of euros in taxes in Bulgaria if it is allowed to export its oil production in the country. Lukoil’s refinery in the Bulgarian city of Burgas is the largest in the Balkans.

A temporary derogation under the EU’s sixth sanctions package against Russia was foreseen for imports of crude oil by pipeline into those EU member states that, because of their geographic situation, suffer from a specific dependence on Russian supplies and have no viable alternative options.

Bulgaria has such a derogation until the end of 2024.

In 2022, Bulgaria also sold more than €1 billion worth of arms to Ukraine, although not directly but through intermediaries, a EURACTIV investigation showed last year.

The Balkan country is the main supplier of ammunition for the Soviet armament to the Ukrainian army, although the official authorities in Sofia still deny that such exports took place.

‘It’s logical’

“It’s logical that Bulgaria exports more fuels to Ukraine and this will continue this year as well,” Martin Vladimirov, director of the Energy and Climate programme at the influential Bulgarian think tank Center for the Study of Democracy (CID), told EURACTV Bulgaria.

Vladimirov, one of Bulgaria’s leading energy experts, also confirmed that fuels produced by Lukoil or by other importers of Russian fuels, such as the Bulgarian company Insta Oil, which directly imports fuels from Russia, are being exported to Ukraine.

“These are not importers of crude oil but of finished products, which are then exported through Romania, and according to my calculations, approximately 32,000 barrels of such fuels reach Ukraine per day. It is about gas oil, which is used for heavy machinery and agricultural machinery,” said Vladimirov.

He disagreed with recent stories published by Die Welt and Politico, where it was claimed that Bulgaria provided 40% of the fuel for the Ukrainian army, saying this percentage is greatly exaggerated.

Former Finance Minister Assen Vassilev told Die Welt that Bulgaria has become one of the largest exporters of diesel fuel to Ukraine and at times covered as much as 40% of its needs. Statistics show, however, that the main export from Bulgaria is gas oil.

“It is important to emphasise that all products exported to Ukraine are either fuels directly produced in Russia or produced in Lukoil Neftohim,” said Vladimirov, who expects this to continue this year as well.

“This will continue because the European Commission gave in December an explicit derogation for Bulgaria to be able to export products produced from Russian oil to Ukraine in the amount of the average values of the last five years,” Vladimirov said.

Editor's note: Remember when in the first half of 2022 Russia was bombing fuel depots? Well a lot of that fuel (40% by one disputed account) was Russian, imported via Bulgaria and refined in a Lukoil refinery in Bulgaria.


Source: Euractiv

In 2022, Ukraine bought a huge amount of fuels from Bulgaria made from Russian oil, according to data by the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute, provided exclusively to EURACTIV Bulgaria.

From January to November 2022, Bulgaria exported €700 million worth of fuels to Ukraine, and if the trend continues in December, the total value for the year will exceed €825 million. Compared to the period before the war, this is a 1,000-fold increase, as Bulgaria’s 2021 fuel exports to Ukraine totalled only €750,000.

The current scale of Bulgarian oil exports to Ukraine is so large that it corresponds to about 1% of the size of the entire Bulgarian economy.

The main fuel export from Bulgaria to Ukraine is gas oil (also known as red diesel), which makes up more than 90% of deliveries.

Gasoline supplies have also increased rapidly over the past six months, which is explained by Russian attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure. Diesel fuel is used in heavy industry to power machinery, generators, and off-road vehicles [such as tanks], as well as in agriculture and marine shipping.

The producer of gas oil in Bulgaria is the country’s only refinery, located in the port city of Burgas, owned by the Russian oil company Lukoil, which still operates mainly with Russian oil imported by tankers via the Black Sea, thanks to a derogation from EU sanctions.

The refinery in Burgas can afford to export fuel at significantly lower prices because it works with its own raw material. Last year, because of Western sanctions, Russian oil prices on world markets were on average $20-30 per barrel lower than stock market prices.

Bulgarian statistics show that Ukraine is now the Balkan country’s third-largest trading partner thanks to the export of fuels, having replaced the USA. In 2021, Ukraine ranked eighth among the countries outside the ЕU as a destination for Bulgarian exports.

Fuel exports from Bulgaria to Ukraine peaked in November 2022, when €130 million worth of petroleum products were exported.

The avalanche of oil exports то Ukraine began in May, when €40 million worth of products were exported, and reached €105 million in June. From June until the end of the year, levels were consistently high.

The period of the highest fuel sales to Ukraine coincides with the administration of the caretaker government of President Rumen Radev, who is accused by his opponents of being pro-Russian.

Radev is a staunch opponent of sending Bulgarian weapons to Ukraine but although divided, the parliament did not listen to him and a majority decided to send weapons at the end of last year.

Bulgaria protects its business

On 13 January, the Bulgarian parliament passed a law that allows fuels produced from Russian oil to be exported only to Ukraine. However, there is a loophole in the law that allows trade with other countries outside the EU for the fuels produced by Lukoil in Bulgaria, for which there is no market in Bulgaria.

This raises the question of the possible re-export of fuels from Russian oil to the EU, but only after they have been sold by Bulgaria to a country outside the EU.

If the oil originates from another country, for example, Kazakhstan, but has passed through Russia in transit, the new Bulgarian law says it can be imported into Bulgaria and the products can be sold on the European market.

At the end of last year, Lukoil announced its intention to make Bulgaria its main base in the EU. The Russian company promised to pay hundreds of millions of euros in taxes in Bulgaria if it is allowed to export its oil production in the country. Lukoil’s refinery in the Bulgarian city of Burgas is the largest in the Balkans.

A temporary derogation under the EU’s sixth sanctions package against Russia was foreseen for imports of crude oil by pipeline into those EU member states that, because of their geographic situation, suffer from a specific dependence on Russian supplies and have no viable alternative options.

Bulgaria has such a derogation until the end of 2024.

In 2022, Bulgaria also sold more than €1 billion worth of arms to Ukraine, although not directly but through intermediaries, a EURACTIV investigation showed last year.

The Balkan country is the main supplier of ammunition for the Soviet armament to the Ukrainian army, although the official authorities in Sofia still deny that such exports took place.

‘It’s logical’

“It’s logical that Bulgaria exports more fuels to Ukraine and this will continue this year as well,” Martin Vladimirov, director of the Energy and Climate programme at the influential Bulgarian think tank Center for the Study of Democracy (CID), told EURACTV Bulgaria.

Vladimirov, one of Bulgaria’s leading energy experts, also confirmed that fuels produced by Lukoil or by other importers of Russian fuels, such as the Bulgarian company Insta Oil, which directly imports fuels from Russia, are being exported to Ukraine.

“These are not importers of crude oil but of finished products, which are then exported through Romania, and according to my calculations, approximately 32,000 barrels of such fuels reach Ukraine per day. It is about gas oil, which is used for heavy machinery and agricultural machinery,” said Vladimirov.

He disagreed with recent stories published by Die Welt and Politico, where it was claimed that Bulgaria provided 40% of the fuel for the Ukrainian army, saying this percentage is greatly exaggerated.

Former Finance Minister Assen Vassilev told Die Welt that Bulgaria has become one of the largest exporters of diesel fuel to Ukraine and at times covered as much as 40% of its needs. Statistics show, however, that the main export from Bulgaria is gas oil.

“It is important to emphasise that all products exported to Ukraine are either fuels directly produced in Russia or produced in Lukoil Neftohim,” said Vladimirov, who expects this to continue this year as well.

“This will continue because the European Commission gave in December an explicit derogation for Bulgaria to be able to export products produced from Russian oil to Ukraine in the amount of the average values of the last five years,” Vladimirov said.

Jack Detsch - Thu Jan 12, 2023 00:26

Editor's note: There's a limit to how many artillery shells the US can send (only has 3-4 million left in storage). But the number can be increased if cluster-filled shells that are slated for destruction are sent to Ukraine instead. Now a Turkish precedent exists for the US to follow.


Turkey began sending Ukraine a form of U.S.-designed, artillery-fired cluster bomb in late 2022 after months of Kyiv pleading with the Biden administration for the munitions, current and former U.S. and European officials familiar with the decision told Foreign Policy, giving Kyiv a powerful—but controversial—weapon to destroy Russian tanks and kill troops on the battlefield.

The NATO ally began sending the first batches of so-called dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICMs) in November 2022, which were made during the Cold War era under a co-production agreement with the United States. The weapons are designed to destroy tanks by bursting into smaller submunitions, which can linger on the battlefield for years if they do not immediately explode. Each round scatters about 88 bomblets. The United States is barred from exporting DPICMs under U.S. law because of its high dud rate.

The move, which Turkey has sought to keep quiet for months, also highlights the high-wire act that Ankara has played throughout the conflict: supporting Ukraine with armed Bayraktar TB2 drones that helped break Russia’s advance on Kyiv and playing diplomatic middleman for the United Nations-brokered deal to export grain from the Ukrainian port of Odesa, all while purchasing Russian weapons for itself and angering NATO in the process. It was not immediately clear if the Turkish surface-to-surface weapons had been used in combat.

“After the U.S. denied [Ukraine] access to cluster munitions, Turkey was the only place they could get them,” said one source briefed on the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It just shows how even as Turkey cozies up to Russia in some respects, it’s become a really important supporter for Ukraine militarily.”

Neither the Turkish Embassy in Washington nor the Ukrainian defense ministry responded to Foreign Policy’s request for comment. But Turkey’s delivery of DPICMs showcases how Ankara has played an outsized role in supplying weapons to Ukraine to break Russia’s full-scale invasion at critical moments in the war since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the assault in February 2022.

The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones helped halt Russian armored convoys converging on Kyiv in the early days of the war, and they reportedly had a role in assisting Ukraine’s sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva, then the flagship of the Black Sea fleet. Turkish analysts also believe that Turkey is quietly running a drone bridge from Corlu air base near the Bayraktar TB2 factory, where weapons are shipped to Poland and moved to Ukraine. And Turkey has walked a tight line on weapons deliveries: Even as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his brass in Ankara have tried to keep them quiet, some of their close confidantes—including the president’s son-in-law, who is chair of the board of the company that manufactures Bayraktar TB2s—have openly championed the drone’s prowess on the battlefield.

Although Turkey has not shared information on the quantities of cluster munitions in its stockpile, the Ankara-based Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation has produced an extended-range artillery projectile in the past that can be fired out of 155 mm cannons with self-destructing DPICM submunitions as well as similar projectiles that are under license from the United States. Roketsan, another major Turkish weapons producer, once made TRK-122 rockets for 122 mm artillery systems that also scatter DPICM submunitions. Slovakia, Chile, and the United States have transferred cluster munitions to Turkey in the past.

But the move still is a reversal of sorts for Turkey, after it made pledges to the international disarmament community that it would not use cluster munitions. In a letter sent to the president of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a Geneva-based international organization, in October 2021 and obtained by Foreign Policy, Turkey insisted that it had not used, produced, imported, or transferred cluster munitions since 2005—when the convention was implemented—and did not intend to do so in the future.

“Turkey, indeed, shares the humanitarian considerations that guide the efforts to limit the indiscriminate use of weapons, including cluster munitions,” Sadik Arslan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, wrote in the letter to the convention.

Yet people who have advocated for the United States to send DPICMs have insisted that it would be the most effective way to root out Russian trench lines, which are not reinforced or covered, in the open terrain of the Donbas. And the need is compounded, those advocates said, by U.S. stockpiles already running low on high explosive artillery rounds. (U.S. officials also believe Russian artillery fire may have declined as much as 75 percent from its wartime high.)

Turkey, like the United States, is not a member of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Yet experts fear that the cleanup headache that DPICMs could cause might exacerbate the generational mine and cluster bomb mess that the Russian military has already left nearly a year after the Kremlin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Unlike traditional landmines, cluster munitions aren’t often neatly planted in rows that can be easily surveyed and cleared. Rather, they scatter more randomly when fired and have a high dud rate. Experts worry that because of its small size, akin to a D-cell battery, they are too unsafe to destroy en masse, and innocent civilians could mistakenly pick them up, something that happened during the 2006 Lebanon War.

“Ukraine already has a massive problem on its hands, and it’s only magnifying it by introducing this weapon,” Hiznay said. “They’re going to end up with a situation where the contamination is like lasagna: It’s layered upon each other over time.”

Editor's note: There's a limit to how many artillery shells the US can send (only has 3-4 million left in storage). But the number can be increased if cluster-filled shells that are slated for destruction are sent to Ukraine instead. Now a Turkish precedent exists for the US to follow.


Turkey began sending Ukraine a form of U.S.-designed, artillery-fired cluster bomb in late 2022 after months of Kyiv pleading with the Biden administration for the munitions, current and former U.S. and European officials familiar with the decision told Foreign Policy, giving Kyiv a powerful—but controversial—weapon to destroy Russian tanks and kill troops on the battlefield.

The NATO ally began sending the first batches of so-called dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICMs) in November 2022, which were made during the Cold War era under a co-production agreement with the United States. The weapons are designed to destroy tanks by bursting into smaller submunitions, which can linger on the battlefield for years if they do not immediately explode. Each round scatters about 88 bomblets. The United States is barred from exporting DPICMs under U.S. law because of its high dud rate.

The move, which Turkey has sought to keep quiet for months, also highlights the high-wire act that Ankara has played throughout the conflict: supporting Ukraine with armed Bayraktar TB2 drones that helped break Russia’s advance on Kyiv and playing diplomatic middleman for the United Nations-brokered deal to export grain from the Ukrainian port of Odesa, all while purchasing Russian weapons for itself and angering NATO in the process. It was not immediately clear if the Turkish surface-to-surface weapons had been used in combat.

“After the U.S. denied [Ukraine] access to cluster munitions, Turkey was the only place they could get them,” said one source briefed on the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It just shows how even as Turkey cozies up to Russia in some respects, it’s become a really important supporter for Ukraine militarily.”

Neither the Turkish Embassy in Washington nor the Ukrainian defense ministry responded to Foreign Policy’s request for comment. But Turkey’s delivery of DPICMs showcases how Ankara has played an outsized role in supplying weapons to Ukraine to break Russia’s full-scale invasion at critical moments in the war since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the assault in February 2022.

The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones helped halt Russian armored convoys converging on Kyiv in the early days of the war, and they reportedly had a role in assisting Ukraine’s sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva, then the flagship of the Black Sea fleet. Turkish analysts also believe that Turkey is quietly running a drone bridge from Corlu air base near the Bayraktar TB2 factory, where weapons are shipped to Poland and moved to Ukraine. And Turkey has walked a tight line on weapons deliveries: Even as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his brass in Ankara have tried to keep them quiet, some of their close confidantes—including the president’s son-in-law, who is chair of the board of the company that manufactures Bayraktar TB2s—have openly championed the drone’s prowess on the battlefield.

Although Turkey has not shared information on the quantities of cluster munitions in its stockpile, the Ankara-based Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation has produced an extended-range artillery projectile in the past that can be fired out of 155 mm cannons with self-destructing DPICM submunitions as well as similar projectiles that are under license from the United States. Roketsan, another major Turkish weapons producer, once made TRK-122 rockets for 122 mm artillery systems that also scatter DPICM submunitions. Slovakia, Chile, and the United States have transferred cluster munitions to Turkey in the past.

But the move still is a reversal of sorts for Turkey, after it made pledges to the international disarmament community that it would not use cluster munitions. In a letter sent to the president of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a Geneva-based international organization, in October 2021 and obtained by Foreign Policy, Turkey insisted that it had not used, produced, imported, or transferred cluster munitions since 2005—when the convention was implemented—and did not intend to do so in the future.

“Turkey, indeed, shares the humanitarian considerations that guide the efforts to limit the indiscriminate use of weapons, including cluster munitions,” Sadik Arslan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, wrote in the letter to the convention.

Yet people who have advocated for the United States to send DPICMs have insisted that it would be the most effective way to root out Russian trench lines, which are not reinforced or covered, in the open terrain of the Donbas. And the need is compounded, those advocates said, by U.S. stockpiles already running low on high explosive artillery rounds. (U.S. officials also believe Russian artillery fire may have declined as much as 75 percent from its wartime high.)

Turkey, like the United States, is not a member of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Yet experts fear that the cleanup headache that DPICMs could cause might exacerbate the generational mine and cluster bomb mess that the Russian military has already left nearly a year after the Kremlin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Unlike traditional landmines, cluster munitions aren’t often neatly planted in rows that can be easily surveyed and cleared. Rather, they scatter more randomly when fired and have a high dud rate. Experts worry that because of its small size, akin to a D-cell battery, they are too unsafe to destroy en masse, and innocent civilians could mistakenly pick them up, something that happened during the 2006 Lebanon War.

“Ukraine already has a massive problem on its hands, and it’s only magnifying it by introducing this weapon,” Hiznay said. “They’re going to end up with a situation where the contamination is like lasagna: It’s layered upon each other over time.”

Al Majadeen - Tue Jan 10, 2023 21:13

Source: Al Majadeen

The new Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen stated on Monday that the newly formed government will discuss Ukraine less in public.

"With regard to the Russia-Ukraine issue, we will do one thing for certain - in public - we will talk less," said the ministry, quoting Cohen.

Cohen noted, however, that "Tel Aviv" will continue to provide Kiev with "humanitarian aid", adding that he will be holding a phone call on Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

Former Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in earlier last week by the Israeli parliament as prime minister one more time, the third time in his political career after he formed a new government.

This is Netanyahu's sixth term after he was ousted from power in June last year, ending his 12-year run as prime minister.

However, despite Israeli claims that they don't want to get involved in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Israeli occupation already established direct and indirect involvement by supporting Kiev against Russia on numerous occasions.

A Russian intelligence source told Al Mayadeen last Thursday that the Israeli occupation is donating money to buy Ukraine weapons from third countries.

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported in November that the occupation spent millions of dollars to appease its western partners by procuring undisclosed strategic materials for Ukraine after "Tel Aviv" faced pressure to send arms to Kiev via a third country.

The Biden administration demanded the occupation to switch from strictly providing humanitarian supplies and expanding its assistance to Ukraine and give military equipment, prompting "Tel Aviv" to fund the purchase of strategic materials for Ukraine, including air defense systems, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli occupation also agreed to allow NATO to supply Kiev with weapons that have Israeli-produced components, such as optical equipment and fire monitoring systems, Israeli media said.

Former Russian President and senior Russian Security Council member Dmitry Medvedev in October warned "Israel" against providing weapons to Ukraine threatening that any move to boost Kiev's arsenal would severely damage bilateral relations.

Source: Al Majadeen

The new Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen stated on Monday that the newly formed government will discuss Ukraine less in public.

"With regard to the Russia-Ukraine issue, we will do one thing for certain - in public - we will talk less," said the ministry, quoting Cohen.

Cohen noted, however, that "Tel Aviv" will continue to provide Kiev with "humanitarian aid", adding that he will be holding a phone call on Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

Former Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in earlier last week by the Israeli parliament as prime minister one more time, the third time in his political career after he formed a new government.

This is Netanyahu's sixth term after he was ousted from power in June last year, ending his 12-year run as prime minister.

However, despite Israeli claims that they don't want to get involved in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Israeli occupation already established direct and indirect involvement by supporting Kiev against Russia on numerous occasions.

A Russian intelligence source told Al Mayadeen last Thursday that the Israeli occupation is donating money to buy Ukraine weapons from third countries.

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported in November that the occupation spent millions of dollars to appease its western partners by procuring undisclosed strategic materials for Ukraine after "Tel Aviv" faced pressure to send arms to Kiev via a third country.

The Biden administration demanded the occupation to switch from strictly providing humanitarian supplies and expanding its assistance to Ukraine and give military equipment, prompting "Tel Aviv" to fund the purchase of strategic materials for Ukraine, including air defense systems, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli occupation also agreed to allow NATO to supply Kiev with weapons that have Israeli-produced components, such as optical equipment and fire monitoring systems, Israeli media said.

Former Russian President and senior Russian Security Council member Dmitry Medvedev in October warned "Israel" against providing weapons to Ukraine threatening that any move to boost Kiev's arsenal would severely damage bilateral relations.

The Times of Israel - Tue Jan 10, 2023 15:19

Source: The Times of Israel

Russia is preparing to provide Iran with Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets in the near future, according to a Saturday report citing Western intelligence officials.

The report by Channel 12 said the deal could include as many as 24 jets that were originally intended for Egypt, in a deal that the United States thwarted.

This left Moscow looking for a new potential buyer, which it has reportedly found in Tehran. The report comes after Iranian media said in September that Tehran was weighing such a purchase.

Intelligence indicated that Iranian pilots were already using the jets for training, the report said, without elaborating.

Washington has described an extensive relationship between Iran and Russia involving military equipment, especially since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February.

Reports indicate that Tehran has so far supplied Russian troops with some 1,700 offensive drones and plans on supplying 300 more in the near future.

Mossad chief David Barnea cautioned on Thursday that Iran is looking to expand its supply of advanced weapons to Russia.

Barnea said Mossad was “still warning about Iran’s future and intentions, which it is trying to keep secret.”

Source: The Times of Israel

Russia is preparing to provide Iran with Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets in the near future, according to a Saturday report citing Western intelligence officials.

The report by Channel 12 said the deal could include as many as 24 jets that were originally intended for Egypt, in a deal that the United States thwarted.

This left Moscow looking for a new potential buyer, which it has reportedly found in Tehran. The report comes after Iranian media said in September that Tehran was weighing such a purchase.

Intelligence indicated that Iranian pilots were already using the jets for training, the report said, without elaborating.

Washington has described an extensive relationship between Iran and Russia involving military equipment, especially since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February.

Reports indicate that Tehran has so far supplied Russian troops with some 1,700 offensive drones and plans on supplying 300 more in the near future.

Mossad chief David Barnea cautioned on Thursday that Iran is looking to expand its supply of advanced weapons to Russia.

Barnea said Mossad was “still warning about Iran’s future and intentions, which it is trying to keep secret.”

Nikki Main - Tue Jan 10, 2023 15:05

Editor's note: Good thing. "Intellectual property" is a mercantilist scam anyway. "Patent" originally simply meant monopoly. Everyone should do this.

 

Source: Gizmodo

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko legalized piracy in the country without requiring the consent of the rights holder last week. The law states it will include computer programs, audiovisual work, musical works, and film, cinema, and entertainment organizations.

The law cited that this decision is the result of “unfriendly” relations between Belarus and other countries including the U.S., EU, and the UK, amongst others, which imposed sanctions on the country amidst its support of the Russian government’s attack on Ukraine.

Lukashenko rose to power in 1994 during a democratic election and has continued to hold the position after a series of suspicious “landslide” victories, the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a referendum that removed the presidential term limits.

The U.S. imposed sanctions in July of last year effectively cutting Belarus off from most financial institutions, trade, and technology imports and targeting Russian and Belarusian elites, including Putin and Lukashenko who were cut off from their financial assets.

The sanctions came three months after the start of the Ukraine War when Lukashenko ordered Ryanair Flight 4978 to be redirected to Minsk due to an alleged security threat on board. Belarusian authorities passenger seized Roman Protasevich, claiming he had incited hatred and mass disorder in the country.

Belarus is now responding to “foreign states that commit unfriendly actions” by legalizing piracy with the caveat that when people or entities utilize pirated content, they must pay a remuneration fee to state-owned bank accounts. The law reads, “After three years, the remuneration not demanded by the right holder or the organization for the collective management of property rights will be transferred by the Patent Authority to the republican budget within three months,” TorrentFreak reported.

The law also states that the piracy law is a solution to “the development of the intellectual and spiritual and moral potential of society” and “the reduction of critical shortages in the domestic market of food and other goods,” according to the Odessa Journal.

The money paid out by those accessing the pirated programs will be determined by the lower house of the Belarusian parliament and will be directed to the Patent Authority which will hold the money for three years. If at the end of that period, the rightsholders or the property rights management organizations do not claim the remuneration, it will be claimed by the Belarusian government.

The law will be instated this week and will continue for two years, ending on December 31, 2024.


https://twitter.com/Gerashchenko_en/status/1604923998311251991

Luka you're much too kind. You're far baser than the WEF soyboy.

Editor's note: Good thing. "Intellectual property" is a mercantilist scam anyway. "Patent" originally simply meant monopoly. Everyone should do this.

 

Source: Gizmodo

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko legalized piracy in the country without requiring the consent of the rights holder last week. The law states it will include computer programs, audiovisual work, musical works, and film, cinema, and entertainment organizations.

The law cited that this decision is the result of “unfriendly” relations between Belarus and other countries including the U.S., EU, and the UK, amongst others, which imposed sanctions on the country amidst its support of the Russian government’s attack on Ukraine.

Lukashenko rose to power in 1994 during a democratic election and has continued to hold the position after a series of suspicious “landslide” victories, the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a referendum that removed the presidential term limits.

The U.S. imposed sanctions in July of last year effectively cutting Belarus off from most financial institutions, trade, and technology imports and targeting Russian and Belarusian elites, including Putin and Lukashenko who were cut off from their financial assets.

The sanctions came three months after the start of the Ukraine War when Lukashenko ordered Ryanair Flight 4978 to be redirected to Minsk due to an alleged security threat on board. Belarusian authorities passenger seized Roman Protasevich, claiming he had incited hatred and mass disorder in the country.

Belarus is now responding to “foreign states that commit unfriendly actions” by legalizing piracy with the caveat that when people or entities utilize pirated content, they must pay a remuneration fee to state-owned bank accounts. The law reads, “After three years, the remuneration not demanded by the right holder or the organization for the collective management of property rights will be transferred by the Patent Authority to the republican budget within three months,” TorrentFreak reported.

The law also states that the piracy law is a solution to “the development of the intellectual and spiritual and moral potential of society” and “the reduction of critical shortages in the domestic market of food and other goods,” according to the Odessa Journal.

The money paid out by those accessing the pirated programs will be determined by the lower house of the Belarusian parliament and will be directed to the Patent Authority which will hold the money for three years. If at the end of that period, the rightsholders or the property rights management organizations do not claim the remuneration, it will be claimed by the Belarusian government.

The law will be instated this week and will continue for two years, ending on December 31, 2024.


https://twitter.com/Gerashchenko_en/status/1604923998311251991

Luka you're much too kind. You're far baser than the WEF soyboy.

Marko Marjanović - Mon Jan 09, 2023 16:28

As part of its latest military reform and expansion, Russia will raise the draft age from 18 to 21.

I wrote in October that since Putin has decided that 18-year-old conscripts are politically undeployable it makes no sense to keep them in the army:

It is difficult to see why the draft is going ahead at all. Logically conscripts should have been committed to war from day 1, before the mobilization was even decreed. But since Putin has now decreed mobilization, but maintains that serving conscripts remain non-deployable they have become dead weight.

The capacity of any military to equip, train and integrate men is limited. Especially in short order and on a budget. Every conscript is taking up training ground capacity, instructor time, equipment, weapon, and a slot in an existing unit that could have gone to a mobik, but only one of the two is actually deployable.

If Russia is in a war (is she??), it is pointless for her to be inducting into the military masses of personnel who are a priori banned from the war. Especially when those who are deployed are short of everything.

If Putin insists that conscripts are non-deployable (an absurd stance) then they don’t have a role in the military. At least for the heavily pressured land combat arms, if they can not be part of the rotation then there is very little rationale to spend resources on them. Logic dictates that draft ought to be suspended indefinitely and the freed-up resources spent on mobiki.

Instead of abolishing mandatory military service, Moscow will make the draft kick in at 21 years of age. This will produce conscript soldiers that are politically more deployable than the current crop of 18-year-olds.

However, the vast majority of current 21-year-olds have already served when they were 18 or 19 and can’t be recalled for a 2nd term. So even in theory, this reform can’t kick in for at least 3 more years when the present unrecruited 17 and 18-year-olds turn 21.

In practice it will take even longer. RUMOD says the age will be raised gradually — because the military doesn’t want to go 3 years with zero conscripts.

For example, if each class is retained for 18 months, rather than the current 12, then each next class can be 6 months older than the previous.

So then in about 3 to 9 years, Russia will finally have a conscript corps that Putin is politically comfortable using in Ukraine.

Better late than never?

VVP has been in power for 23 years. Donbass War started 8 years ago. And the Ukraine War 1 year ago.

Some might build an army ahead of a war. Putin started an “SMO”. Waited a year. Then started the reform that will produce an army for the SMO in 3 to 9 years.

The whole idea of having 250,000 trained conscripts integrated into your armed forces but then when the war comes having the units that will go to war expel them from their ranks and leave them at home is bizarre.

It is such a bizarre idea that in February when the first reports were coming in that the Russian military had gone in without its conscript component, I disregarded them. — Something that dumb was just too insane to believe.

It’s not until March that I tackle the conscript blunder head-on:

This conscript ban (if real) is yet another way in which Putin is hamstringing the military and thinking he can wage a halfway war.

There is actually something very disturbing about that. Putin’s thesis is that a Russian-Ukrainian war is a fratricidal war between brothers, between one and the same people even. So what excuse is there for Russia to not do everything in her power to create the overmatch that puts Ukraine out of its misery quickly?

What possible excuse can there be to juggle the needs of the war against trifles such as the state breaking its word to conscripts and their mothers? (A state that lies all the time BTW, as they all do.) All this seeming high-minded stuff Putin started the war with sounds nice enough on paper, but what it does in the real world is prolong the bloodletting and ultimately drives up the price for everyone involved.

If you are truly high-minded then just don’t escalate.

But if you do escalate, then do it the correct way — going all in and giving it your all.

No willful self-delusion. No drawing up of a plan that has the theoretical potential of delivering a near bloodless resolution, but that has nearly zero chance of actually panning out. (And leaves you maldeployed when it fails.) Draw a plan that is actually going to work in the real world that limits the loss of life as much as possible within the constraints of an actually workable, realistic plan.

Now that a year into the war Ukraine has doubled the size of its armed forces, and Russia has belatedly mobilized, whether 150,00 Russian conscripts in the land combat arms are deployed or not is something of a moot point. It won’t mean much either way.

But Moscow falling upon Ukraine in February with the 200,000 it brought, or with the 350,000 it could have brought, could have made a world of difference at the time. You’re talking about the difference between sending the Russian ground army to face roughly equal numbers and sending it to face half its number.

That’s the difference between setting up an early slugfest and setting up early victories that are almost trivially easy.

Do that and you’re entering 2023 in a completely different position with Kharkov and Zaporozhye in Russian encirclement, with Russia still having a bridgehead on the right bank, and with Nikolayev and Dnipro probably likewise encircled.

As part of its latest military reform and expansion, Russia will raise the draft age from 18 to 21.

I wrote in October that since Putin has decided that 18-year-old conscripts are politically undeployable it makes no sense to keep them in the army:

It is difficult to see why the draft is going ahead at all. Logically conscripts should have been committed to war from day 1, before the mobilization was even decreed. But since Putin has now decreed mobilization, but maintains that serving conscripts remain non-deployable they have become dead weight.

The capacity of any military to equip, train and integrate men is limited. Especially in short order and on a budget. Every conscript is taking up training ground capacity, instructor time, equipment, weapon, and a slot in an existing unit that could have gone to a mobik, but only one of the two is actually deployable.

If Russia is in a war (is she??), it is pointless for her to be inducting into the military masses of personnel who are a priori banned from the war. Especially when those who are deployed are short of everything.

If Putin insists that conscripts are non-deployable (an absurd stance) then they don’t have a role in the military. At least for the heavily pressured land combat arms, if they can not be part of the rotation then there is very little rationale to spend resources on them. Logic dictates that draft ought to be suspended indefinitely and the freed-up resources spent on mobiki.

Instead of abolishing mandatory military service, Moscow will make the draft kick in at 21 years of age. This will produce conscript soldiers that are politically more deployable than the current crop of 18-year-olds.

However, the vast majority of current 21-year-olds have already served when they were 18 or 19 and can’t be recalled for a 2nd term. So even in theory, this reform can’t kick in for at least 3 more years when the present unrecruited 17 and 18-year-olds turn 21.

In practice it will take even longer. RUMOD says the age will be raised gradually — because the military doesn’t want to go 3 years with zero conscripts.

For example, if each class is retained for 18 months, rather than the current 12, then each next class can be 6 months older than the previous.

So then in about 3 to 9 years, Russia will finally have a conscript corps that Putin is politically comfortable using in Ukraine.

Better late than never?

VVP has been in power for 23 years. Donbass War started 8 years ago. And the Ukraine War 1 year ago.

Some might build an army ahead of a war. Putin started an “SMO”. Waited a year. Then started the reform that will produce an army for the SMO in 3 to 9 years.

The whole idea of having 250,000 trained conscripts integrated into your armed forces but then when the war comes having the units that will go to war expel them from their ranks and leave them at home is bizarre.

It is such a bizarre idea that in February when the first reports were coming in that the Russian military had gone in without its conscript component, I disregarded them. — Something that dumb was just too insane to believe.

It’s not until March that I tackle the conscript blunder head-on:

This conscript ban (if real) is yet another way in which Putin is hamstringing the military and thinking he can wage a halfway war.

There is actually something very disturbing about that. Putin’s thesis is that a Russian-Ukrainian war is a fratricidal war between brothers, between one and the same people even. So what excuse is there for Russia to not do everything in her power to create the overmatch that puts Ukraine out of its misery quickly?

What possible excuse can there be to juggle the needs of the war against trifles such as the state breaking its word to conscripts and their mothers? (A state that lies all the time BTW, as they all do.) All this seeming high-minded stuff Putin started the war with sounds nice enough on paper, but what it does in the real world is prolong the bloodletting and ultimately drives up the price for everyone involved.

If you are truly high-minded then just don’t escalate.

But if you do escalate, then do it the correct way — going all in and giving it your all.

No willful self-delusion. No drawing up of a plan that has the theoretical potential of delivering a near bloodless resolution, but that has nearly zero chance of actually panning out. (And leaves you maldeployed when it fails.) Draw a plan that is actually going to work in the real world that limits the loss of life as much as possible within the constraints of an actually workable, realistic plan.

Now that a year into the war Ukraine has doubled the size of its armed forces, and Russia has belatedly mobilized, whether 150,00 Russian conscripts in the land combat arms are deployed or not is something of a moot point. It won’t mean much either way.

But Moscow falling upon Ukraine in February with the 200,000 it brought, or with the 350,000 it could have brought, could have made a world of difference at the time. You’re talking about the difference between sending the Russian ground army to face roughly equal numbers and sending it to face half its number.

That’s the difference between setting up an early slugfest and setting up early victories that are almost trivially easy.

Do that and you’re entering 2023 in a completely different position with Kharkov and Zaporozhye in Russian encirclement, with Russia still having a bridgehead on the right bank, and with Nikolayev and Dnipro probably likewise encircled.

Anti-Empire >>

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