RUSSIA UKRAINE WAR

What Does Russia Hope to Achieve by Bombing Ukrainian Cities?

Russia’s recent aerial bombardment of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities is a response to several new and unforeseen problems that the Kremlin has found itself facing in recent weeks.

First and foremost was the mass withdrawal of Russian troops from the vicinity of Kharkiv and Lyman, which caught most Russian commentators unaware, regardless of their views on the war. Despite the mixed results of the first six months of the war, there was skepticism in Russia that Ukraine could really launch a counteroffensive.

Accordingly, Russia’s severe military setbacks in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions could not fail to cause dismay, and sparked a widespread desire to find a scapegoat, forcing the powers that be to engage with the public more than usual. This, in turn, had the effect of emboldening the public to be far more critical of the military campaign, which had until recently been widely considered to be nothing but victorious.

On top of this, it also became apparent that the Russian establishment had no plan in place for presenting a united front over the implementation of the partial mobilization announced by the Kremlin.

Although the public reaction to the announcement was calmer than many had predicted, criticism of the military top brass over its erratic implementation was so widespread that it threw into question the seemingly self-evident theory about people rallying around the regime at a time of war. Combined with the shock of Russia’s military losses, it created the impression that the Russian political class was losing the ability to demonstrate any unity on difficult issues.

Against the backdrop of the mobilization, the announcement of the annexation of four “new territories” from Ukraine failed to spark any public euphoria, and indeed went largely unnoticed for many reasons. For a start, in contrast with the key port and popular holiday destination of Crimea that Russia annexed back in 2014, there is no coherent image of the Donbas or Kherson region in Russian historical memory. In addition, the public part of the annexation process—the sham referendums—was not portrayed very successfully. It’s entirely possible that had the Kremlin announced the annexation after the explosion on the Kerch bridge connecting Russia and Crimea, it would have been seen as a more dynamic and successful move, and might have attracted more attention.

Finally, the explosion and damage it caused to the bridge, built at great expense by Russia and only completed in 2018, was an obvious source of stress, since it immediately seemed clear that Ukraine was behind the attack. It might seem that the sinking back in the spring of Russia’s Moskva warship—the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship—should have been a far more significant and dramatic event, yet, psychologically, it was borne more easily by Russian society, which took until the autumn to start to notice that the Ukrainians’ military capabilities are in fact more or less comparable to its mighty enemy’s.

The Russian leadership’s response to this turn of events was to launch a wave of deadly missile strikes across Ukrainian cities on Oct. 10–11, followed by drone attacks in Kyiv on Oct. 17. The attacks look like an attempt by the Russian establishment to convince itself and others that Russia still has enough determination, energy, and resources to regain the military initiative.

Putin Seeks Escalation with Ukraine Missile Blitz – Expert(Putin Seeks Escalation with Ukraine Missile Blitz – Experts - The Moscow Times)

The aerial bombardment was supposed to prevent the growing concern in Russian society from turning into negative feelings toward the authorities. The Kremlin was trying to stop the nascent discord among the ranks of the most loyal sections of the population: women, residents of “deepest, darkest” Russia, and the domestic republics formed around Russia’s distinct ethnic groups. They had all, until now, been a crucial social pillar of the regime, but were less than enthusiastic about the announcement of the mobilization. The missile strikes were supposed to reposition Moscow’s actions in the eyes of these people as “defensive,” and aimed at ensuring the safety of Russia’s own people in response to the degrading actions of its enemy.

From a military viewpoint, the mass bombing of Ukraine on Oct. 10–11 enabled the Kremlin to increase the ambiguity surrounding Russia’s intentions. It was supposed to demonstrate Moscow’s determination, but was not accompanied by any explanation of what it was meant to achieve: was it planned as a defensive measure against the Ukrainian counterattack around Kherson? To prevent Russian troops from getting split up near Berdyansk or Melitopol? To freeze the status quo ahead of possible future talks? To drag out the conflict in the hope of beefing up the army following the retraining of the newly mobilized soldiers? Or to create an excuse for using a nuclear weapon?

The spontaneous bombardment also allowed Moscow to show that it was not simply doing nothing. Those who already believed in Russia’s military potential saw confirmation of the theory that Russia hadn’t even gotten started yet, while those who considered the explosion on the bridge to Crimea a blatant humiliation could see for themselves that the insult had not gone unpunished.

Yet simply taking action, however demonstratively, is no guarantee of being able to change the situation or solve existing problems. The military effectiveness of bombing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is debatable. The difficulties in relations with other former Soviet neighbors have not been solved. The theory that the mobilization would boost the combat capabilities of Russia’s armed forces has yet to be proven.

Nor has the divide in Russian society that occurred in September been bridged. The apathetic majority is having to expend more and more energy in order not to notice what is happening but still balks at joining either the anti-war or radically pro-war minorities. There is no consensus on whether Russia has enough resources and energy to undertake further radical measures.

For now, therefore, the missile strikes don’t provide an answer to the main question: whether Moscow is prepared to regain the military initiative and start using methods that will yield more concrete results, or whether it is simply reacting to Kyiv’s actions, running the risk of falling into yet another trap.

What Does Russia Hope to Achieve by Bombing Ukrainian Cities? - The Moscow Times

Is The HIMARS Multiple Rocket Launch System a Game Changer?

Short answer, no. At least not for Ukraine’s military. But it is a game changer for Lockheed Martin stockholders, with the defense contractor enjoying great publicity and new orders. Although the Ukrainians are firing hundreds of HIMARS a month they are having limited success in causing significant damage to the Russian military personnel and ammo depots. In fact, it appears Russia is shooting most of the HIMARS rockets out of the sky with their air defense systems. That lack of success has not stopped Lockheed from locking down new contracts with the Department of Defense.

Nonetheless, the number HIMARS GMLRS rockets shot down by Russian air defense systems appears to be at least 500. If we assume that all of the 623 rockets reported downed by Russia were HIMARS, that represents $62.3 million dollars worth of rockets. If the HIMARS were wiping out Russian troops, command headquarters and ammunition depots on a daily basis do you think Ukraine and the Western media would report it? Absolutely!! So it is the lack of reporting on this that catches my eye. I think this offers indirect evidence that bolsters the credibility of the claims by the Russian MOD.

Drone attack in Crimea's Sevastopol; Russia backs out of Ukraine grain deal | World News | WION

Drone attack in Crimeas Sevastopol Russia backs out of Ukraine grain deal

After eight long months, the war in Ukraine is getting increasingly worst and uglier by the day. In the latest, Russia's black sea fleet came under attack in Sevastopol. Moscow said, the attack was carried out under guidance of British specialists.

West covers up UK intelligence agencies’ involvement in Nord Stream terror attacks - MFA

Russia has repeatedly called for a joint investigation into these terrorist attacks, Maria Zakharova said.

Rejecting a joint investigation with Russia into the terrorist attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, the Western countries sought to conceal British specialists’ involvement in the explosions, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Saturday.

"Russian defense officials reported that they have information about the complicity of the British intelligence agencies also in the series of explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Russia has repeatedly called for a joint investigation into these terrorist attacks," the diplomat said, indicating that similar proposals had been submitted to the government of Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

"The fact that the Western countries turned this proposal down proves that they have something to hide. Now we understand what exactly they are hiding," Zakharova stressed.

Top Pentagon Contractors to Face Further Parts, Labor Shortages Amid US Aid to Ukraine

Persistent shortages of parts and personnel will continue “to dog” the Pentagon’s top four defense contractors over the next two years as they currently deal with orders related to Washington’s ongoing security aid to Kiev amid Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, a UK media outlet has reported, citing the companies’ chief executive officers (CEOs).

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies have been grappling with “snarled supplies” since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, something that is currently being worsened by “widespread cost inflation.”

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Finland Says Ukraine Arms Ending Up In Hands Of Criminal Gangs

Critics of the massive US weapons pipeline to Ukraine have long pointed out there's no accountability or appropriate tracking once those arms enter the country, presenting ripe opportunities for criminals, terrorists, or lucrative black market arms sellers to take advantage.

So it was perhaps only a matter of time before headlines like this began showing up in international publications - "NBI: Arms sent to Ukraine in criminal hands." The NBI is Finland's federal National Bureau of Investigation, and the report is from Finland's national public broadcasting company Yle, and provides confirmation that arms intended for Ukrainian forces are going outside the country.

The recovered weapons featured in the weekend national police statement include assault rifles which were meant for Ukrainian forces. Further neighboring countries have recorded instances of West-provided arms proliferating from the Ukrainian battlefield and into the hands of criminals in neighboring Sweden and Denmark as well.

"Weapons shipped [by various countries] to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands," NBI Detective Superintendent Christer Ahlgren was quoted in the Finnish publication as saying.

"We've seen signs of these weapons already finding their way to Finland," Ahlgren added. Some of this illicit arms trafficking is being brokered in online forums frequented by criminal gangs. According to more from the NBI lead investigator:

"Three of the world's largest motorcycle gangs—that are part of larger international organizations—are active in Finland. One of these is Bandidos MC, which has a unit in every major Ukrainian city," he explained. "We know that contacts and routes are being warmed up, so that they're in place."

"Ukraine has received a large volume of weapons and that's good, but we're going to be dealing with these arms for decades and pay the price here," Ahlgren added.

"Criminal organizations have their networks in Finnish commercial ports. Stopping this is in everyone's interest," the detective continued, underscoring that police work and investigations have been greatly ramped up since the start of the Ukraine war, especially when it comes to monitoring the nation's points and ports of entry. He declined to provide a detailed list of the types of arms which have made their way into Finland, however.

Washington and NATO countries have over the past eight months since the Russian invasion began pumped tens of billions of dollars in light and heavy weaponry into Ukraine. From the start, Pentagon officials as well as media pundits have warned of the likelihood that many of these weapons would end up outside of Ukraine.

All the way back in April, one White House official even warned in speaking to CNN, "we have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero. It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time."

The question remains, who could have seen this coming? The answer is everyone with common sense*.*

@DG-Truther-Videos embedded tweet with YT link

U.S. resumes 'on-site' inspections to keep track of weapons in Ukraine

The United States has restarted on-site inspections in Ukraine to help keep track of the billions of dollars of weapons being provided to Kyiv, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

Moving large amounts of weaponry into the largest conflict in Europe since World War Two carries with it risks that some could fall into the wrong hands.

But U.S. officials have said that it has been a risk worth taking in providing about $18 billion in weapons since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Ukrainian government had committed to safeguarding and accounting for the weapons and there was no credible evidence they were being diverted.

But, the official said, the United States had recently restarted "on-site" inspections to check weapons stocks in Ukraine "whenever and wherever the security conditions allow."

On-site inspections are a routine part of agreements countries sign with the United States when they are provided certain weapons.

"We'll continue to work with our colleagues across the U.S. government and with our international partners to ensure accountability of security assistance now and in the future," the official told reporters.

The inspections are being carried out by the defense attache and office of defense cooperations at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, which re-opened in May.

The official declined to say how many on-site visits had been carried out so far, but acknowledged that it was not always easy to keep track of weapons in an area with an active conflict.

The United States cannot visit some places, like those close to the frontline, and is providing training to Ukrainian forces so they can provide better data, the official added.

Smaller and Highly portable missiles such as Stinger surface-to-air missiles -- which are a type of MANPAD -- can help win wars, but in the past they have also been lost, sold, or wound up in the arsenals of extremist groups.

Last week, the State Department laid out a series of steps it would take in the coming years to counter the diversion of weapons in eastern Europe.

Italy has announced that it is “freezing” arms shipments to Ukraine

After Britain prepares the climate for a “cease” of military and economic aid to Ukraine, the Meloni government in Italy has in turn “frozen” the sending of the next, sixth, package of military aid to Kyiv, as revealed by Il Messaggero newspaper , citing government sources.

As government sources told the newspaper, the operation for military aid to Ukraine has been put on hold because “first we need to coordinate with NATO and delve into the details of Ukraine’s military requests in detail.”

“Only then will we understand what Kyiv needs and what weapons we can supply.”

The newspaper reminds that the Secretary General of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, will visit the country and will meet both with Prime Minister Meloni and with the Minister of Defense of Italy.

Along with Stoltenberg, the Italian authorities are likely to draw up a list of weapons for Ukraine, according to the newspaper.

In fact, Georgia Meloni is also waiting to see the result of the US mid-term elections on November 8th to decide whether to stop aid to Ukraine.

It is noted that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will stop providing financial aid to Ukraine due to the serious financial problems the country is facing.

It will appear as a “freeze” in the foreign aid budget for another two years, the Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday, citing well-informed sources.
In essence, Rishi Sunak is preparing everyone at home and abroad in Britain for at least a partial withdrawal from support for Ukraine.

In fact what awaits is the looming crushing of the Democrats (according to polls they will lose control of the Senate and Congress) in the mid-term elections on November 8 in the US, by the Republicans, who have repeatedly declared that “the US will not remain in ATM of Kiev”.

In the USA, Americans are angry with the Biden administration and the extremist circles that control it and are pushing the country into a nuclear confrontation with Russia, while fuel accuracy is now “hurting” the American middle class as well.

If the Biden administration is not forced to “soften” its stance on Russia, then everyone in Europe will continue in the same pattern that inevitably leads to economic collapse and even worse situations after that.

A nuclear war is now possible.

A “freeze” of financial aid to Ukraine by Britain and probably after November 8 by the US will mean the real end of Ukraine’s war effort.

Shipments of additional MLRS from the British have already been “frozen”. They will supply Kyiv with 50% of what they were given in weapons during Johnson times and no money at all!
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Meloni and Sunak are hoping for a Biden loss to give them the pretext they need to get out of this madness…

Key points:

:black_small_square: The UK is in too deep in the conflict in Ukraine. Russia has the proof.

:black_small_square: Evidence of British participation in training Ukrainian troops for the attack against Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol has been presented to Ambassador Deborah Bronnert and the UK military attaché in Moscow.

:black_small_square: Dangerous UK actions lead to escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.

:black_small_square: Russia has been trying to avoid a military conflict in Ukraine for eight years, calling upon Ukraine to implement the Minsk Agreements. Regrettably, our calls had been ignored.

:black_small_square: A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought. Russia strongly sticks to this statement. We will not use nuclear weapons in this conflict. They were developed for different aims.

:black_small_square: We need a negotiated outcome of the Ukrainian conflict, and Russia is not hiding from the talks, unlike Ukraine which legally made talks impossible now.

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Russia Says Major Dam Hit By US-Supplied HIMARS Rockets

Russia has announced Sunday that a major dam in the Russian-controlled region of Kherson was damaged in a Ukrainian strike using an advanced US-supplied system.

"Today at 10:00 there was a hit of six HIMARS rockets. Air defense units shot down five missiles, one hit a lock of the Kakhovka dam, which was damaged," Russian news agencies quoted local emergency authorities as saying.

The Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine has been in Russian hands since near the start of the invasion of Ukraine, considered a critical asset to the Russians given it supplies water to Crimea. This also makes it a potential target for the Ukrainian army, given President Zelensky's prior pledges to "liberate" Crimea.

An official with the Moscow-installed administration, however, said "Everything is under control. The main air defense strikes were repelled, one missile hit [the dam], but did not cause critical damage."

The Kakhovka dam has for months been at the center of competing accusations and claims, with President Zelensky saying weeks ago that Russian troops are plotting a 'false flag' detonation of the large structure in order to trigger cataclysmic flooding.

Zelensky appealed to world powers to ensure the dam's safe operation by sending an international mission to protect and operate it, pointing out that if the dam burst it would case a "catastrophe on a grand scale".

"The dam of this hydroelectric power plant holds about 18 million cubic meters of water," he said in statements last month. "If Russian terrorists blow up this dam, more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, will be in the zone of rapid flooding. Hundreds, hundreds of thousands of people may be affected."

He described that Russian forces previously kicked the dam workers out of the facility and now have complete control over it. "They have complete control over the station," Zelensky added. “It is necessary to act immediately so that Russia does not have the opportunity to realize this catastrophe."

The ongoing standoff mirrors that of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has also from the war's start been under Russian control but has also suffered shelling, which if damaged severely enough could have catastrophic effects on the whole area, given the potential for radioactive fallout.

1:07:45min

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Europe does not want war, but authorities unable to control their region — Lukashenko

The Belarusian leader drew attention to the role of the United States in the current situation.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Yuri Smityuk/TASS

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MINSK, November 7. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko believes that the citizens of European countries wish to live in peace, but their authorities are unable to "put out the fire in their own home."

"Germany, the whole of Europe - there are no leaders now. But even if there were some... They can't even put out the fire in their own house," the BelTA news agency quotes him as saying.

"The Europeans do not want this war. They understand well enough what is going on today in Ukraine. Here in Belarus, they are trying to start a fire, too. Tomorrow the whole of Europe will be ablaze," Lukashenko said. He believes that the Europeans need to stop the confrontation, which has already resulted in the conflict on the territory of Ukraine.

Lukashenko described the European leaders as loonies, who, unable to say NO to Washington, were fanning the flames in the region.

"Are those who allowed the Americans to bring additional nuclear weapons there (to Europe - approx. TASS) real leaders? They are loonies," he said.

Lukashenko drew attention to the role of the United States in the current situation.

"The only thing the Americans are afraid of is nuclear weapons, because they can fly there. And if nuclear weapons are not to be used, then they will be fighting with conventional weapons. Where? They will be fighting here. We will be here, in this turmoil. Ukraine is on fire already," he said.

The Belarussian leader called the events in Ukraine a catastrophe, adding that "there is no country in the Soviet era that received such heavy investments as Ukraine has."

America is Running Out of Diesel Fuel and the Consequences Could Be Disastrous Posted on October 27, 2022 by Constitutional Nobody According to a recent report, America only has 25 days’ worth of diesel fuel left in its reserves

Column: U.S. diesel shortage increasingly likely until economy slows

By John Kemp

3 minute rea

Aerial view of storage tanks at Kinder Morgan Terminal and Phillips 66 Refinery in Carson, California

Storage tanks at Marathon Petroleum's Los Angeles Refinery in Carson, California

[1/2] Storage tanks for crude oil, gasoline, diesel, and other refined petroleum products are seen at the Kinder Morgan Terminal, viewed from the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery in Carson, California, U.S., March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan

LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - U.S. diesel supplies are becoming critically low with shortages and price spikes likely to occur in the next six months unless and until the economy and fuel consumption slow.

Stocks of diesel and other distillate fuel oils were just 106 million barrels on Oct. 21, the lowest for the time of year since the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) started collecting weekly data in 1982.

Distillate inventories were a massive 26 million barrels (-20% or -1.94 standard deviations) below the seasonal average for the previous ten years (“Weekly petroleum status report”, EIA, Oct. 26).

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The deficit has been worsening steadily since the start of the year when stocks were 15 million barrels (-11% or -1.18 standard deviations) below the ten-year average.

By the end of July, stocks had already fallen to 113 million barrels, the lowest since 1996 and before that 1954, based on the most recent data available from the EIA’s more comprehensive monthly surveys.

In terms of consumption, however, inventories at the end of July were equivalent to just 30 days of demand, the lowest seasonal level in monthly records going back to 1945.

Since then, the inventory position has tightened even further, with stocks estimated to have fallen to a record seasonal low of fewer than 27 days of demand in October.
The twelve-month calendar spread for ultra-low sulphur diesel futures has flared out to a backwardation of $50 per barrel from less than $10 this time last year, as traders anticipate physical shortages.

As a result, retail diesel prices including applicable taxes are now $1.45 per gallon higher than for gasoline, a record premium, up from just 24 cents per gallon a year ago.

Distillate fuel oil is primarily used in freight transport, manufacturing, farming, mining and the oil and gas industry itself, so consumption is strongly influenced by the economic cycle.

Growth in distillate consumption has been closely correlated with changes in industrial production estimated by the U.S. Federal Reserve and manufacturing activity in surveys by the Institute for Supply Management.

Stabilising then rebuilding inventories to more comfortable levels will require a significant slowdown in freight movements and manufacturing activity.

There are early indications manufacturing and freight activity peaked in the third quarter of 2022. If confirmed that would take some of the pressure of distillate inventories.

But a deeper and more prolonged slowdown in the United States and/or in Europe and Asia will be needed to boost inventories significantly.

Rebalancing diesel supply will likely require a further rise in interest rates and tighter financial conditions in the United States and other major economies to reduce fuel consumption to more sustainable levels.

Col. Doug Macgregor - The Ukrainian army is now bled white

10 Nov, 2022

EU braces for diesel crunch – analysis

Stockpiles of the fuel are projected to hit a 12-year low in early spring

EU braces for diesel crunch – analysis

Diesel fuel inventories in northwest Europe will drop to the lowest in nearly 12 years as early as March, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing the latest outlook from Wood Mackenzie.

Analysts at the UK-based consultancy expect the stocks to be filled in December and January, before a sharp drop-off, and then hit the lowest on record for any month in data going back to 2011.

Starting early February, EU’s latest sanctions against Russia will prohibit imports of nearly all seaborne refined petroleum products, including diesel-type fuel, from the bloc’s single biggest cross-border supplier. The inventories are a vital cushion against disruptions, and when they run low, they leave the fuel market open for increased volatility.

Lower inventories have contributed to stronger margins for oil refineries, incentivizing European operators to run hard, according to James Burleigh, a principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie.

“We expect the higher production to continue to be supported by the strong net cash margins, and expect gasoil/diesel stocks at end-December to have built almost three million barrels,” the expert said, adding that northwest Europe’s daily crude processing would increase by 420,000 barrels in November, reaching 6.14 million.

Challenges related to diesel availability both in Europe and the US lie in the structure of futures markets. The ICE gasoil curve is backwardated, meaning prompt supplies are more expensive than the same fuel being delivered at a later date, thus discouraging stockpiling, as traders can likely sell today at a better price than they can lock in for the future.

Col. Doug Macgregor -- Ukraine, this is a red line. 8 Nov 2022