#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Long time for an end to the conflict


Tensions over the Russian-Ukrainian conflict are escalating. Yesterday Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared: ‘Poland is on the brink of war with Russia’. And again he said: ‘Poland is ready to hand over F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in coordination with NATO’.

Warsaw is experiencing one of the most delicate internal political crises in recent years. On the one hand, the government is perfectly aligned with NATO, and often in the press with declarations of war on Russia; on the other hand, internally, we learn that Poland’s national debt will increase by almost Zloty 850 billion (EUR 180,430,960,810.00) by the end of the year. This is twice as much as during the period of rule of the current opposition party Civic Platform. Every hour the Poles owe 12 million zlotys. And so 24 hours a day. At the same time, the government of the Law and Justice party, PiS, spends money on arms for the Kiev government and the maintenance of Ukrainian refugees, the opposition parties complain.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, replied to the Polish Prime Minister: ‘It cannot be ruled out that Poland and the Baltic countries, in their anti-Russian sentiments, may go so far as to break off relations with Russia, but Moscow is not in favour of breaking off diplomatic relations’.

Even more unbelievable are the statements by the Estonian Defence Minister, Hanno Pevkur, that the rules developed on interstate warfare cannot be used in the case of the Ukrainian scenario. Pevkur stated: ‘The impossibility of using weapons prohibited by an international convention significantly limits the capabilities of the Ukrainian army. We believe that the UN General Assembly, especially for Ukraine, should reconsider the rules of war and repeal the conventions that prohibit the use of certain types of ammunition, thanks to which the Ukrainian side will be able to change its position on the front line’. In particular, the politician drew attention to the possibility of Ukraine using cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, expanding munitions (which tend to detonate or deform when they hit the target) and napalm.

Pevkur further stated: ‘Estonia is resolutely ready to supply Ukraine with German-made cluster artillery ammunition of 155 millimetre calibre. However, to carry out the transfer procedure we need a corresponding authorisation from Berlin, for which we have already sent a request. If the UN headquarters creates a more simplified procedure for the use and transfer of these weapons by Ukraine, most of the countries that have them in stock will provide them as soon as possible and get rid of them’.

Among the other news items most posted in the social sphere discussing the Russian-Ukrainian conflict was that: “Italy and France will provide Kiev with a state-of-the-art Samp/T air defence system with Aster anti-aircraft missiles (Aster-30 modification) worth 800 million euros”.

The Pentagon has chastised Germany, Italy, and Great Britain: in listing the countries whose armies are the highest-ranking combat forces, the US Defence Force cited the United States, China, France, and the Russian Federation, while in the second bracket, along with Great Britain, are currently countries such as Germany and Italy. In short, for the US, London, Berlin and Rome need to work harder and increase their defence spending.

At the front last week there was much Russia and little Ukraine. The initiative remained in the hands of the Russian Armed Forces with the exception of the Svatove- Kreminna and Kherson area. In the former, the Ukrainians launched attacks in waves, without success: the defensive line built up and the terrain bombarded by Russian artillery made it possible to block the approaching Ukrainian troops. Also in the direction of Kherson, the Ukrainian command attempted several times to organise landing groups on the left bank, which were hit by heavy artillery fire. It is indicative that territorial defence units were sent to storm the coast in Russian hands.

In the direction of Zaporizhzihia, after a rush towards Orekhovo and Gulyaypol, the Russian Armed Forces moved to reinforce their positions and send the Ukrainian DRGs into the grey zone.

Heavy fighting is ongoing in Vuhledar: the Russian Armed Forces have established a foothold in one of the eastern districts of the city and have launched massive artillery strikes against the Ukrainian troops. By occupying Vuhledar, the Russian troops will pose a threat to the rear of Marinka, whose western part is still under Ukrainian armed forces.

Bachmut is encircled by PMC Wagner from the south, advancing from Klishchiivka, while heavy fighting is taking place in the suburbs and attempts are being made to cut the road to Časiv Jar

To the north and south of Soledar, the Wagner group is expanding its zone of control, which since 29 January also includes the village of Blahodatne.

The pace and nature of the Russian Armed Forces’ offensive indicate that the main breakthrough forces have not yet entered into action. Exercises in Belarus and massive missile attacks on Ukrainian territory continue. On Friday, industrial facilities in Zaporozhizhia, where Ukrainian soldiers and mercenary frogs had taken refuge, were targeted.

Meanwhile, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s report to Vladimir Putin on the supply problems of troops in action is expected on 1 February. At the same time, the supply of helicopters, generators, scopes and uniforms to the units is still largely carried out by volunteer organisations, regional leaders and businessmen. The logistics authorities of the Russian Ministry of Defence are unable to optimise this system.

Gerasimov intervened on the information front and stated in his article that ‘the mobilisation training system in our country has not been fully adapted to the new modern economic relations’. Therefore, it had to be ‘corrected on the fly’, thus effectively acknowledging the mobilisation mess that many military channels had written about.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have obvious staffing problems: defence units, Belarusian mercenaries (previously spared as a media resource) and subordinate central units are being thrown into the attack. The western Ukrainian regions were also massively and harshly mobilised, causing outrage in the Hungarian press at the capture of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine.

Against the backdrop of Russia’s objective successes and difficulties in Ukraine, the West is intensifying supplies of weapons and equipment in order to prolong the conflict as long as possible and to deplete Russia’s internal resources to further destabilise the situation within the country. The end of the conflict in Ukraine is expected to take a long time.

Graziella Giangiulio

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