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Ukraine Commits Last Remaining Elite Brigade For Final Attempt
Yesterday we had the first full confirmation that the last and most serious Ukrainian brigade, meant for the big offensive, has finally been committed to battle. As you know, from the Pentagon leaks we’ve had the full ORBATS of the 9 brigades of the so-called 9th Corps. All but the 82nd had already been committed and most were decimated.
The 82nd Air Assault brigade is an elite force which was entrusted with the British Challenger 2 tanks, American Stryker AFVs, and even German Marder IFVs. In fact, they were even rounded out with the British M119 light howitzer which makes them the only brigade out of the entire offensive supergroup to be armed entirely with modern Western/NATO arms and not a single legacy Soviet system.
Here’s the photo from somewhere on the front, showing a British Challenger 2 fully loaded with anti-cumulative cages and drone nets, clearly desperate to avoid the dreaded Lancet strike:
As well as a video of another, without the extra accoutrements:
Meanwhile, two Strykers have now been confirmed already destroyed. One by Lancet here:
And now a photo has appeared of a destroyed Marder as well, giving us full confirmation of the brigade’s presence.
Keep in mind none of these vehicles have been spotted on the front at all previously. This gives us confirmation that Ukraine has gone “all in” and is using the final tranche of its reserves to make an urgent push before time runs out.
On June 22, Forbes assessed that the 82nd, and the 117th Mechanized Brigade where being held in reserve waiting for a significant breach in Russian lines to allow them to storm Melitopol.
The Forbes article says the deployment of the brigade is both “good and bad” news. Good because it’s a fresh brigade, bad because they have nothing left after it:
The deployment is good and bad news for Kyiv’s long-anticipated counteroffensive, which kicked off with a series of coordinated assaults across southern and eastern Ukraine starting on June 4.
The 82nd Brigade and its sister air-assault unit, the 46th Brigade, were some of the last major units that the Ukrainian general staff was holding in reserve. In finally sending those formations into battle, the Ukrainians could significantly boost their firepower along one of the main axes of the counteroffensive—the one stretching 50 miles from Russian-occupied Robotyne to occupied Melitopol, just north of the Black Sea coast.
But no brigade can fight forever. When the 46th and 82nd Brigades pull back for rest, reset and repairs, there might not be any equally powerful fresh brigades to fill in for them. The counteroffensive could lose momentum.
As per the above, Rybar foresees another major push being made soon:
Judging by the movements of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the offensive on the Vremyevsky sector will resume soon. And this time there may be several directions of impact. Assault groups of 128 obr TRO arrived in Staromayorskoye together with ATGMs and machine guns. Also, units of the 1st otbr, including large-caliber mortars, were moved to Urozhayne, and formations of the 31st mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine appeared on the Priyutne site.
Given the above, the enemy's offensive should be expected in at least three directions at once: Priyutnoye, Staromlinovka and Novodonetskoye (the AFU gunners increased the intensity of fire with cluster shells along the line).
And if we take into account the introduction of the Marun tactical group in the Orekhovsky sector, an attempt to break through to the Sea of Azov can begin in the shortest possible time. (Rybar)
Some estimate the need for such a simultaneous, broad-fronted attack due to the fact that UA has created a deep salient by advancing into Urozhayne, which makes them vulnerable from the sides:
In order to advance further toward Staromylinovka, the AFU may have to first flatten the contours of the front by advancing from Pryutne on the west side so that the flanks of the main core units in Urozhayne are protected. Otherwise, if the Urozhayne grouping advances too far south into the salient, Russian forces can just collapse them in from the sides and entrap them in a cauldron.
And on the Orekhov and Rabotino direction of west Zaporozhye, Rybar writes:
Now the Ukrainian Armed Forces are trying to develop the offensive further. Additional forces of 10 AK (Army Corps) units have been drawn up to Malaya Tokmachka, as well as the Marun tactical group, whose 82 odshbr paratroopers have already been caught in a meat grinder near the village. Also, new Starlink terminals have been deployed in Malaya Tokmachka, and the training and coordination of assault units continues at the Verkhnyaya Tersa training ground, which is likely to join the battle in the event of at least some success at Rabochino.
Judging by the jamming of the APU to the east of the village, the Ukrainian command wants to take Rabochino into a semi-circle and strike with a mechanized fist in the direction of Tokmak. However, the appearance of the Marun TGR at this stage makes us think that the enemy's plans had to be adjusted due to losses in the 118 separate infantry brigade. (Rybar)
What he’s referring to is, as you can see by the map, the AFU has wedged deep on the eastern side of Rabotino, creating a bit of a salient which can be driven forward into a semi-encirclement of Rabotino, given enough forces.
Well known Russian frontline correspondent Kharchenko has these thoughts after talking to soldiers in the Orekhov direction:
Today we were in positions in the Orekhov direction. We talked with the soldiers and exchanged views on the situation at the front. Unlike the Moscow heralds, the guys have no time to relax. Everyone is waiting for the main blow from day to day. The 9th and 10th Corps, which were supposed to break through the front and consolidate in the Zaporozhye region, are now exhausted and will not be able to give the impetus that was expected from them. According to the latest data, which is confirmed from the field, units from the Marun tactical group began to approach the front (ed: he’s referring to the aforementioned elite 82nd here). And these are hundreds of new armored vehicles and up to hundreds of tanks.
If they pile on a mass of equipment, then they can take Rabotino. Ukrainians like air need at least some kind of victory. In other directions there are at least some settlements that were recaptured, and near Rabotino there are only nameless forest plantations. In addition, recently the enemy has been increasingly conducting reconnaissance in force here. It launches several dozen infantry men, demonstrates armored vehicles, which, at the first fire impact, leave the battlefield. So here they are trying to identify our firing points. So they are preparing to suppress them and break forward. The situation near Rabotino is extremely tense. All interlocutors agree that until the beginning of October, the Ukrainians will definitely attack. And in a month and a half, they are able to prepare several powerful attacks. So do not relax, there are hot battles ahead.
What he’s saying is that unlike in the eastern Vremevske ledge direction, where UA at least captured some settlements like Neskuchne, Staroyamorsk, and Urozhayne, on the Rabotino side they haven’t captured anything other than a few parcels of flat open farm fields, so they’re extra antsy to get their hands on something symbolic which they can pass off as a “victory.”
Other analysts concur that we may be on the eve of another ‘big push’ attempt:
We may be seeing Ukraine starting their main push. With the end of summer closing in combined with the possible Ukrainian withdrawal from the east of the Oskil River and the Ukrainian independence day upcoming as well as pressure from western countries and media for results we may see Ukraine start their main push soon.
We've seen increased activity of Ukrainian assaults over the past few days after a period of "silence" where the Ukrainians had no advancements at all for a period of a week.
Ukraine has entered Robotyne twice and has now captured half of Urozhaine which makes them very close to Russia's first formal line of defense.
We now also see intensified attempts at river crossings across the dnieper.
So the day is not far where we see Ukraine put 100% at it and do their final and biggest attempt at this offensive.
One thing to note is that, the 82nd is structured in a peculiar way compared to the other brigades. They appear to be the lightest and most mobile. This is due to every other brigade of the 9th Corps being distributed with the equivalent of two tank companies or perhaps a light tank battalion of about 30 tanks with 90 armored vehicles (AFV, IFV, ICV, AMV, APC, etc.). But the 82nd has a measly 14 x Challenger 2s but 90 Strykers + 40 Marders for a total of 130 capable lightly armored combat vehicles. Even their M119 light howitzers specialize in fast setup and mobility.
If you ask me, this is more dangerous as tanks have typically proven useless in the hands of the AFU as they’re merely sitting ducks. Ukraine does better with IFVs and MRAPs when they’re able to just race down field and overwhelm Russian defenses as they did in the Kharkov offensive last year. Also, the quick-moving IFVs/AFVs typically scatter Russian artillery defenses, making them less effective and depleting their ammo. In short, I see this brigade as more of a threat than the Leopard 2 heavy 47th, which was meant to be the other big ‘elite’ unit. Sure, 2 of the Strykers are already kaput but they’ve got 88 more and another 39 or so German Marders which were always touted as the best available IFVs in the world next to the Swedish CV-90.
With that said, tanks are a requisite for certain things. Against hastily prepared or ad hoc defenses, lighter vehicles can be fine. But against something like Russia’s main Zaporozhye line, which likely has concrete-fortified structures and strong points, caponiers, etc., the lighter vehicles simply don’t have the firepower to blast through such reinforced assemblages. Only a tank firing HE rounds can get the job done.
Here’s another important analysis for those interested in the unit-level nitty-gritty of these fronts.
Situation in the South Donetsk region on August 16-analysis by Multi_XAM:
The enemy's advance in the South-Donetsk direction, namely, the consolidation in Staromayorsky and the entry into the northern limits of Urozhaynoye, was a consequence of the rapidly conducted rotation of the AFU units concentrated in this area (it was carried out simultaneously with the rotation of units of the 9th and 10th army corps in Zaporozhye).
We also wrote about the reasons that contribute to the uninterrupted supply and maneuvering of the reserves of the Donbass group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, we will not repeat - we are talking about logistics from Pavlograd (Dnepropetrovsk region) to Pokrovsk (formerly Krasnoarmeysk, DPR) and further to Kurakhovo.
At the moment, the enemy grouping in the Veliko Novoselovsky tactical area is represented by units of 11 brigades: 23, 31 separate mechanized brigades, 35, 36, 37 separate marine infantry brigades, 1 separate tank brigade, 110, 128, 129 separate teroborona brigades (TrO); 46 separate airmobile, 55 artillery brigades, and 10 battalions.
In the area of Rovnopol and Novodarovka (west of Staromayorsk and north of Priyutne), the enemy is also conducting maneuvers, which may be due to the plan of a flank attack in the area of heights on the north-western approaches to Staromlynovka, cutting through our defenses in the area of Priyutnoye. Currently, the command of the 116th separate battalion of the 110th ObR TrO is moving the unit to equip new positions south of Novodarovka. In the Razdolnoye area, as well as north-west of Velikaya Novoselovka, artillery firing positions and counter-battery radars are moving south.
Units of the 37th RRMP of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to storm the positions of the Russian Armed Forces in the southern part of Urozhayne, but so far without success. The central part of the village is still in the gray zone. To develop success in this direction, the enemy can use forces and means from airmobile units.
Respected analyst Starshe Edda chimes in:
Older than Edda: Everyone who has any interest in the course of the Ukrainian offensive knows that the enemy is suffering very heavy losses in men and equipment, but continues to try to pass the front line and reach the first line of our defense. On the one hand, the attacks seem pointless (every time it is the same, entering our trenches, pulling up equipment, Russian artillery strike and rolling back to the original lines), but in fact it is not so.
Yes, the enemy certainly overestimated his forces and came in masses of people and equipment in the hope that our Kharkov "regrouping" will be repeated, but now the Kiev General Staff has reversed its plans and started doing what it was doing in March-July 2022, i.e. changing people for meters in the hope that we will eventually run out. Only if at the beginning of the SWO Zaluzhny stopped our attacks with meat (first of all, the TRO—territorial defense forces), now he has mirrored the situation. In the offensive is thrown in its bulk low-quality human material, mobilized from the rural hinterland, and the reserves and, above all, the tactical group "Maroon", waiting for their time.
And a message from frontline infantry near Urozhayne (Harvest) contextualizes how many losses the AFU is taking for their small token gains of empty, destroyed settlements:
Good morning. Yesterday, both sides used all the resources - today there is a replenishment. Involuntarily, there was a brief respite. Sympathy does not come to visit on the battlefield, but seeing how much damage the enemy is taking in Harvest, we experienced feelings that are difficult to describe. We lacked infantry and equipment, but we had enough means of destruction to grind up a significant part of what the enemy threw at the capture of the village. Harvest resembled a meat grinder, which included living people, and minced meat came out. The number of destroyed and damaged equipment was not calculated in units. A very specific residue remained: We lost Urozhayne, and at the same time caused such damage that part of our consciousness refuses to understand the motives of the Ukrainian command. So only those who hate them more than ours can drive their own to slaughter.
Keep in mind, neither Staromayorsk nor Urozhayne are entirely captured yet. They continue to be mostly in the gray, with AFU forces only at the northern portions of the settlements. Here’s an illustration from yesterday of the AFU’s massive losses around Staromayorsk—every field is littered with their broken armor:
The final tally is over 30 pieces in a single big push attempt.
Likewise the more gory (18+ warning) of the footage shows their personnel losses in the trenches.
So now Western press is going full “hard-truths” mode:
And in fact, they’ve already begun to completely forget the big 2023 offensive as a mere inconvenience, and are focusing on buoying the public’s hopes with a new shiny, promising 2024 offensive—this one will definitely be the one, folks!
The above Newsweek article describes a growing split in the Ukrainian leadership between two sides, one of which wants to ‘dig in’ and husband resources to prepare for a mass Russian winter offensive, while the other believes in pushing on at all costs—which would come with a huge risk.
Zelensky faces an impossible choice: to go all-in and risk a costly failure, or to cut Ukraine's losses and accept a politically damaging defeat.
The lack of progress has intensified the strategic debate at the highest levels of the Ukrainian government, sources with knowledge of the discussions have told Newsweek, setting some within the president's office against the military command.
An American West Point officer who apparently served as “special advisor” to Zaluzhny and now works in Kiev is quoted in the article:
"If General Zaluzhnyi was a NATO general, he would have to refuse the order to take the counter," Dan Rice—a West Point graduate who served as a former special adviser to Zaluzhnyi before taking up the post of president of the American University Kyiv—told Newsweek.
Rice pointed to, in particular, Ukraine's lack of air support, the continued U.S, refusal to supply MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), and the absence of longer-range cluster munitions for use with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
"You can't win this without superior artillery and superior airpower to go on the offensive," Rice added. "Nobody should really be shocked by this."
But getting back to the this hoped-for 2024 AFU offensive they’re now starting to talk about. They’ll have to round up quite a lot more bodies, thus rumors of new major mobilizations continue to abound:
According to insider information, a large-scale mobilization is expected in Ukraine in the fall. The Armed Forces of Ukraine will need about 100-150 thousand more people. There is practically no place to take them [from], so Kiev is trying to negotiate the return of refugees. At the same time, there are few prospects — the European judicial system works too well. At the same time, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine proposes to declare a general mobilization of men in Ukraine in order to double the number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and turn the situation around at the front. But (and this is perfectly clear from The Guardian article), the quality of the mobilization resource in Ukraine has significantly decreased.
A Verkhovna Rada deputy chairman even stated that if a new wave of mobilization occurs, “everyone will go to war.”
🇺🇦⚔️🇷🇺In the case of the fourth wave of mobilization, all men will go to war.
This was stated by the Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence Yegor Chernev in an interview with Novini Live.
According to him, mobilization is underway in Ukraine, which provides for four "waves". So far, there is no need to call up all men, but if one arises, everyone will go to war.
When asked whether it was realistic that all men liable for military service would have to fight, he replied that everything would depend on how long this war would last and how many resources the Russian Federation would use to continue it.
"It depends on how long this war will go on and how many resources will be used by the Russian Federation," Yegor Chernev said.
The people's deputy said that if Ukraine faces a real threat of losing statehood, then everyone will go, since the duty of every man is to defend his country.
"However, today we are not talking about this option. We have the resource to restrain the Russians in the east and south of Ukraine," the people's deputy said.
And while Ukrainian planners dream big, NATO on the other hand continues to ground expectations to slightly more realistic bents.
NATO’s chief of staff Jenssen made the suggestion—long predicted by yours truly—that NATO could offer membership to Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine completely giving up claims to all the territories Russia controls, as a last act of desperation toward freezing the conflict. Ukrainian officials were apoplectic with rage.
Chief presidential advisor Podolyak:
Russia’s Medvedev also responded, with characteristic cheek:
Dmitry Medvedev assessed the NATO secretary's statement:
"A new idea for Ukraine from the North Atlantic Alliance office:
Ukraine can join NATO if it gives up disputed territories.
Why? The idea is a curious one. The only question is that all of their alleged territories are highly disputed. And in order to enter the bloc, the Kiev authorities would have to give up even Kiev itself, the capital of Ancient Rus.
Well, they will have to move the capital to Lviv. If, of course, the Przeks (Poles) agree to leave Lemberg to the lovers of lard and coke."
Truth is, this is starting to come down to something I predicted, for those who may recall. Which is that, towards the end of this year, I said NATO would begin offering increasing amounts of ‘incentives’ for Ukraine to freeze the conflict. Ukraine, would conversely begin to reject the overtures to the point where Zelensky could potentially start subtly threatening his previous betters. The threats could be along the lines of exposing previously guarded secrets, deals, etc.
It’s becoming clear that the Ukrainian elites feel short-changed and believe they could still win if NATO simply doubles-down and gives them more and better stuff. While the NATO big-wigs conversely realize that all their best stuff has already been exposed by superior Russian arms and tactics, and it’s becoming hopeless to wage this war, lest they completely divest themselves of any defensive capability and wreck their industries and economies to the point of becoming third world countries.
The dynamic goes as follows. Ukraine, a newcomer to the world of ‘great power politics’, has no clue about the realities and outcomes. This is because Ukraine is currently overseen by a bunch of young upstart dilettantes, merely placed in power by way of one corruption or another—the Zelenskys, Kulebas, Podolyaks, et al. Whether they’re ex-actors or something else, the point is that none of them have any experience or clue about major power politics, the likes of which NATO and the U.S. had to master during the Cold War with the USSR.
Thus, NATO elite, some of whom may still retain a sense of self-preservational realism for what it would take to defeat Russia, know the reality of what they’re saying. Their best weapons have been utterly crushed and ground to dust in the endless steppes once known as the Wild Fields. But the haughty young managerial class upstarts of Ukraine have no such clues. Completely removed from the realities of the battlefield—they actually believe they can bring down the titan.
Alarms inside NATO are beginning to ring as it’s now become a realization that this Ukrainian ‘project’ could take them all down with it. Why ride a dying horse into a burning field when you can jump off now and save your skin? Jettison the poor beast for your own good.
In the meantime, Russian ex-general and Duma deputy Kartapolov says that Russia is preparing the conditions for its own big offensive:
Russia is preparing an offensive in Ukraine, - Andrey Kartapolov, head of the State Duma Defense Committee.
“As for the offensive, it is necessary to create conditions. This process is underway,” he said.
Of course we know what those conditions are. Shape the field by exhausting the AFU while breaking the spines of their strongest units, while building up the industrial and manufacturing potential for your own future sustainment.
Second is crushing the enemy’s economic and industrial potential, which is currently underway. The last two days have seen harrowing strikes to industrial facilities all over Ukraine. There was Lvov:
Night strike of the Russian Armed Forces on Lviv.
Last night, the Russian Armed Forces launched a massive strike on military facilities in Ukraine. Several explosions thundered in the western regions of the country, including in Lviv: according to preliminary information, the LORTA plant for the production of radio equipment, as well as the territory near the new terminal of the city airport, were hit there. Coordinates: 49.825034, 23.950956.
Last night massive strikes rung out across ports in the Odessa region, Reni amongst them. Grain silos in the port were hit:
Then industrial sectors of Dnipro were hit, obliterating the Yuzhmash plant where Ukraine was to be manufacturing missiles and possibly drones:
Strike of the Russian Armed Forces on the Yuzhmash plant in Dnepropetrovsk.
On the night of August 14-15, the Russian Armed Forces launched a massive missile strike on military and industrial facilities in Ukraine. In addition to the enterprise in Lviv, the target was also the Yuzhmash plant for the production of rocket technology in Dnepropetrovsk.
Although the Ukrainian media published a photo of only one crater near the Meteor sports complex, eyewitnesses literally immediately reported two arrivals at the main assembly shop. After some time, a video appeared on the Network confirming arrivals around the building.
In previous years, the final assembly of Zenit launch vehicles was carried out there, but later it was "repurposed" under the Grom-2 OTRK: it is possible that work was also carried out there on the modernization of S-200 anti-aircraft missiles. A hit on Yuzhmash can cause additional damage to Ukraine's missile program after the May strike on Pavlograd. (Rybar)
Note how Ukrainian “air defense” has no answer whatsoever for advanced Russian cruise missiles, which obliterate any target they so choose with full impunity.
Now, let’s cover one other major segment. There’s been a lot of talk about the Russian ruble and economy in general. Firstly, the central bank upped rates from 8.5% to 12% yesterday, which seems to have reversed the ruble’s crash for now:
But there’s an important thing which Andrei Martyanov highlighted in his new post as well. He mentions how Russia has dedollarized dramatically since 2010, implying the crash of the ruble matters even less now than ever. Furthermore, the Russian economy is currently booming, certainly supercharged by the defense industry which is on a massive hiring spree.
Many outlets report that Russia suffers a historic worker shortage currently. That’s true, Russia is having its worst labor shortage in “25 years” with ~40% of industrial enterprises suffering shortages. But the reason for this is overlooked: because Russia has too much of a good problem. Their unemployment is so low that almost everyone that can possibly be employed is already employed. If that was the U.S. or any other country, it would be reported with the fanfare of a major societal triumph.
Also, one has to be careful of what ‘shortage’ means. It doesn’t mean the businesses have no personnel at all, it simply denotes some form of staffing issues but in most cases those issues are not critical and are in fact minor inconveniences.
Martyanov’s post was in response to Larry Johnson’s own good post refuting an NYTimes hit piece on the Russian economy.
I’ll add to the discussion the following from a well-known Russian finance expert Pavel “Spydell” Ryabov, who explains the ruble situation in far more intricate terms. I’ll paste one section at a time and fill in the explanations, as I see them:
"The problem with the ruble is structural. The trade balance in Russia in foreign currencies (unfriendly and neutral countries) went into deficit for the first time since Q2 1998 - a symbolic $ 300 million per quarter, but a year earlier there was a surplus of $ 72 billion.
Before the start of its second quarter, the foreign trade surplus was about $ 40 billion.
This is big and good news. That means for the first time since 1998, Russia uses less foreign currency (deficit) in trade than its own ruble. Last year, according to these statistics, Russia used $72B more of foreign currencies.
At the same time, the trade surplus (goods + services) in the ruble has sharply increased, which in dollar terms amounts to $ 16 billion, both for Q1 and Q2 2023. The accumulated surplus from January 2022 to June 2023 in settlements with the ruble is almost $ 110 billion.
Now almost 40% of all Russian exports for Q2 2023 pass in rubles, compared with 14% in Q2 2021, in the currencies of unfriendly countries exports are about 34% vs 85% in 2021, and in the currencies of neutral countries exports increased to almost 27% vs 1% in 2021.
This is huge news. Not only does is Russia now using $110B more in ruble terms but 40% of all Russian exports for the current quarter are in rubles compared to 14% for the same quarter in 2021. In other words: last year, in all its trades, Russia used the ruble only 14% of the time to settle those trades. Now it’s using it 40% of the time.
Likewise, last year Russia used foreign currencies of unfriendly countries (presumably dollar and euro) in trade settlements a whopping 85% of the time and now uses them only 34%. The currency of friendly countries (presumably yuan, rupee, etc.) was used only 1% of the time and is now used 27%.
Putting the numbers together, this means that currently 67% of all trades are done in either the ruble or friendly currencies (yuan, rupee, etc.), while the remainder of trade—33-34%—is done in unfriendly currencies like dollar and euro.
About 30% of the turnover takes place in the ruble (29% before SVO), in the currencies of unfriendly countries – 36% (67% in 2021) and 35% in the currencies of neutral countries, compared with 4% in 2021.
Formally, foreign trade in foreign currencies is balanced (exports are equal to imports), but Russia was not ready to trade in rubles, not technically, but structurally.
Liabilities are formed in foreign currency on interest payments on foreign currency obligations, and the external debt itself is almost entirely concentrated in the currencies of unfriendly countries.
The outflow from the financial account is also mainly in foreign currency, with the exception of trade loans and funding advances for external counterparties of the positive balance of the trade balance in rubles.
To reduce the long-term pressure on the ruble, it is necessary to restructure the foreign currency debt, and these are years. Or to agree on the repayment of obligations in foreign currency in rubles, but they tried in 2022 and failed.
With a zero trade balance in foreign currency, any outflow of currency will destabilize the ruble, i.e., currency control measures are inevitable until the moment of "splitting" foreign debts."
This gets into complicated territory. But the gist of it is that there are certain thorns in Russia’s financial haunch in the form of some of its debt being financed in unfriendly foreign currencies. And since such debt typically has a long term maturation attached to it, it can’t easily be converted back or refinanced into rubles, and all its attendant interest payments have to be made in the foreign currencies. This can destabilize the ruble when it’s sold off on foreign exchange markets to purchase the foreign currencies needed to pay off this debt.
Long story short: once the current dollar-denominated bonds are paid off eventually, the problem could be resolved as in the future Russia could choose to not issue such bonds anymore. But for the time being it has to pay them off via foreign currencies.
I don’t care to get into the specifics, but anticipating questions on it I’ll answer it briefly. For those wondering why Russia has dollar-denominated debt of this sort to begin with: to fund the federal/national budget in a time of deficit the Russian gov’t can issue either dollar-denominated bonds or its own “OFZ” (ruble bonds) which are purchased by various investors (both domestic and foreign). The money from these purchases funds the government budget, or the portion of it which was in deficit. The Russian gov’t now has to pay off those purchased bonds. The OFZ ones are paid off in rubles but the others have to be paid in foreign currencies as Western countries maliciously refuse to let Russia refinance them in different currencies for the simple reason of deliberately creating headaches for Russia.
But the overall point is that the east/west crisis of the past two years has allowed Russia to vastly dedollarize (I use that as a blanket term for all unfriendly currencies) which has some ‘growing pains’ associated with it, but which will eventually lead to unprecedented independence, particularly when coupled with the coming BRICS-led initiatives which will hopefully allow countries to grow progressively bolder in settling in their own currencies, if not entirely redesigning the system with a new BRICS currency of their own, which is the hoped-for long shot.
In the below chart from the same Pavel Ryabov post above, we see total Russian trade balance (goods + services) in billion dollars per quarter. Yellow represents rubles, orange is unfriendly currencies, and the white line is neutral currencies:
Ironically, a new ‘bombshell’ Business Insider article making the rounds today says that Russia added $600B in total wealth over the past year while the combined West lost “trillions”:
Not to cheer on the bourgeoisie getting richer, but this has parallel ramifications for society at large:
Russia added $600 billion of total wealth, the Swiss bank found in its annual Global Wealth Report, published Tuesday.
The number of Russian millionaires also rose by about 56,000 to 408,000 in 2022, while the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals — people worth over $50 million — jumped by nearly 4,500.
But the US lost more wealth than any other country last year, shedding $5.9 trillion, while North America and Europe combined got $10.9 trillion poorer, UBS reported.
There were also 1 million fewer American millionaires by the end of 2022, although the US still accounted for over 50% of the world's ultra-high-net-worth individuals, the bank said.
And in the meantime, Americans continue to be gaslighted and sandbagged by the cruel cretins of the financial state. Listen hear as Yellen crudely doublespeaks her way through a series of unbelievable mental gymnastics which flips the opening proposition:
The official statistics say the vast majority of Americans disapprove of the economy, but according to her, while that may be true, they remain perfectly happy with their own finances. Huh?
On this note, the eminent economist Sergei Glazyev had an interesting series of predictions in a report from a couple months ago:
I recommend reading it in its entirety for those interested insightful prognostications for the future of the world order.
Let’s move onto the last few sundry items.
A few interesting charts have made it across the transom. They’re from the greatly dismayed Navalny campaign manager Leonid Volkov, who couldn’t believe that “Putin’s propaganda” had swindled Europe in such fashion.
A sampling of polls of citizens in France and Germany, which shows a small majority actually favoring Russia and Putin:
Medvedev speaks on burned out Western equipment from Patriot Park in Moscow where it was displayed for the 2023 arms expo:
We now have the subtitled and first person version of the Russian marine boarding of a non-complying ship near the Odessa corridor. Recall that Ukraine’s official declaration was that no such inspection took place and is merely “Kremlin lies”.
Russian general Kirillov has submitted thousands of new documents regarding U.S. biolab/biowarfare conduct, and makes some interesting summary comments:
Speaking of marine action, Ukraine has released footage of their naval terror strike on the Kerch bridge last month:
‼️🏴☠️🇷🇺🇺🇦Ukraine showed footage of the July attack on the Crimean bridge by sea drones
The CNN video recorded the moment when one drone with 850 kg of explosives attacked the automobile part of the bridge and another attacked the railway part from the opposite side.
We will remind, then the family was lost and the child was wounded.
The head of the SBU, Malyuk, said that the drone was named "Sea Baby" (Sea Baby) and is the result of many months of development.
He threatens with new terrorist attacks, including in the Black Sea.
A few interesting things to note:
1. Depending on the orientation of the cameras on the roadway, some have suggested it appears that the naval drones actually approach the roadway section of the bridge from the Sea of Azov side. This would point to the drones somehow being launched from the Sea of Azov rather than the Black Sea. You can see the orientation of the railway and road section of the bridges:
The railway is south facing. In the photo above, the Black Sea is on the bottom and Azov on the top. It’s hard to tell for definite, though the damaged portion of the roadway is closest to the south side, toward the railway, which would mean the drones did come from the Black Sea.
2. It’s clear the drones carry massively more explosive than the average missiles, a ton of them or 850kg. This is something I’ve spoken about before as to why missile strikes would not be effective versus naval drones which can carry much more explosives. For the same amount of explosives on missiles, you’d have to have multiple missiles hit the exact same spot, but no missile has that type of accuracy as their explosive power would spread around and do less pinpoint damage.
3. The drones appeared to be gunning for the huge pillars/supports but failed to take them out and merely damaged a section of the roadway span above.
4. Seymour Hersh and his “source” was proven wrong. His secret ‘source’ allegedly told him that underwater drones with protruding antennas were used, a fact I signed off on as I felt surface drones would be spotted. Apparently that’s not the case.
In fact, it was revealed Ukraine used a new prototype drone they’re calling the “Sea Baby”. They’ve now released footage of it—this is what was used on the Kerch Bridge:
Lastly, I want to mention how in the earlier CNN report video, CNN gleefully describes the terrorist attack on the bridge, which by the way killed civilians and orphaned a 14 year old girl after sending her into a coma. Not once does CNN even hint at the fact that this may be a terrorist attack, and in fact ends the report with the foreboding warning that Ukraine will continue more of such attacks in the future. You can even see the car coming right above the drone, which they cut away from just as it’s set to explode. Instead they do show another drone exploding just as a train is passing above it. All is fair, huh CNN? This shows the utterly vile and depraved nature of this corporate fake news mill. You can bet if it was a Russian attack, the only angle they would play is that of a “barbaric terrorist strike on civilians.”
The hypocrisy from the West is so patently absurd it’s unreal. They gleefully reported on Ukraine’s drone attacks on Moscow civilian skyscrapers, completely missing the irony of U.S.’s own religion-as-terror-event of 9/11 consisted of the same type of attacks. Oh, but those Moscow skyscrapers had government offices them! And the WTC didn’t? The WTC complex had dozens of governmental agencies housed in them, from the IRS, Treasury, postal service, customs office, CIA, Secret Service, and many others. So they were fair targets according to CNN, I suppose?
It merely shows how low the West has sunk to inhuman levels of moral depravity, and it’s a fact not lost on the rest of the world, which sees the sickening hypocrisy and incessant flood of contradictions. One day when the West falls, it will be from being crushed under the weight of its own shameless immorality.
At the ongoing security conference, Russian SVR head Sergey Naryshkin had this humorous message for Josep Borrel and his vaunted ‘European garden’:
In short, he says Europe has so many perversions it’s difficult for a normal or sane person to even go there anymore.
Oh, how right he is:
Finally, I’ll leave you with this handy flag explainer I found, for those interested in being edified of the meanings behind the most popular flags seen in the SMO on the Russian side. Click through to enlarge them and read the descriptions:
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