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US says Moscow has ‘failed’ in war aims, pledges more military aid to Ukraine

Russia demands Washington stop sending arms.
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire after a missile hit a building on the outskirts of Kharkiv on April 12, 2022. Image: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images

The United States will reopen its embassy in Ukraine soon, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday after he and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv, promising more military aid and hailing the fight against Russia’s invasion.

Both men said the fact they were able to come to Kyiv was proof of Ukraine’s tenacity in forcing Moscow to abandon an assault on the capital last month.

“What you’ve done in repelling the Russians in the battle of Kyiv is extraordinary and inspiring quite frankly to the rest of the world,” Austin told President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a meeting overnight after a train journey from Poland. “We are here to support you in any way possible.”

Said Blinken: “The reason we’re back is because of you, because of the extraordinary courage, leadership and success that you’ve had in pushing back this horrific Russian aggression.”

The meeting between the US delegation and Ukraine’s leaders ran for three hours, more than double the allotted time, a US official said.

“In terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed and Ukraine has already succeeded,” Blinken told a briefing in Poland after returning.

US officials said Austin and Blinken pledged new assistance worth $713 million for Zelenskiy’s government and other countries in the region. An extra $322 million in military aid for Ukraine would take the total US security assistance since the invasion to about $3.7 billion, one official said.

“It will provide support for capabilities Ukraine needs, especially the fight in the Donbas,” the official said. It would also help Ukraine’s armed forces transition to more advanced weapons and air defense systems that were essentially NATO compatible, the official added. Read full story

Russia’s ambassador in Washington said Moscow had sent a diplomatic note demanding a halt to US arms shipments to Ukraine. Read full story

Russia has always denied intending to overthrow Ukraine’s government. Western countries say that was its aim from the outset but it failed in the face of Ukrainian resistance.

Just weeks ago, Kyiv was a frontline city under curfew and bombardment, with tens of thousands of Russian troops massing on its northern outskirts and residents sheltering from artillery in its metro stations.

Today, the nearest Russian troops are hundreds of miles away, normal life is returning to the capital, Western leaders have been visiting and countries are reopening their embassies.

Blinken said US diplomats would first return to Lviv and should be back in Kyiv within weeks. The White House announced President Joe Biden had nominated Bridget Brink, now US ambassador in Slovakia, to be the new envoy to Kyiv.

But despite Ukraine having repelled the assault on Kyiv, the war is far from over. Russia has regrouped its forces and sent more troops in to eastern Ukraine. Last week it launched a massive assault there in an attempt to capture eastern provinces known as the Donbas.

Railway stations hit 

Five railway stations came under fire in western and central Ukraine on Monday, causing an unspecified number of casualties, Ukrainian television quoted state-run Ukrainian Railways as saying. Oleksander Kamyshin, the company’s chief, said the attacks took place in the space of an hour.

All of the country was placed under an unusually long air raid warning for two hours on Monday morning.

Across the border in Russia’s Bryansk region near eastern Ukraine, authorities were battling a huge blaze at a fuel depot.

Neither side publicly linked the fire to the war, but Russia had accused Ukraine of a helicopter attack in that area last week. Unverified images on the internet showed a sudden explosion, and other images show blazes in two separate locations simultaneously. In the past, Ukraine has declined to comment or denied accusations of cross border strikes. Read full story

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had thwarted an attempt to assassinate a high profile Russian journalist by Ukrainian agents backed by the West. The FSB security service said it had arrested a group planning to kill Vladimir Solovyov, host of a talk show on Russia’s main state television station and one of the most prominent voices in support of the invasion. Read full story

Before the US officials’ visit, Ukraine had drawn up a list of weapons urgently needed from the United States, such as anti-missile systems, anti-aircraft systems, armoured vehicles and tanks, Zelenskiy aide Igor Zhovkva told NBC News on Sunday.

In a daily update on the conflict, Britain’s defence ministry said Russia had made only minor advances in parts of Donbas.

“Without sufficient logistical and combat support enablers in place, Russia has yet to achieve a significant breakthrough,” it said.

War grinds on

The relative calm in Kyiv is a contrast with the south and east of the country, where the war grinds on relentlessly.

Some 320 km (200 miles) southeast of Kyiv, Russian missile strikes on an oil refinery and power plant in Kremenchuk killed one person and wounded seven, the governor of the Poltava region said. Moscow said it had destroyed oil production facilities.

Russia also fired rockets at two towns in the central Vinnytsia region, causing an unspecified number of deaths and injuries, regional Governor Serhiy Borzov reported.

Ukraine’s general staff described Russian shelling and assaults along most of the front in the east, including missile and bomb attacks on a huge steel works in Mariupol where the last Ukrainian defenders are holed up in a city destroyed during two months of Russian siege and bombardment. Moscow said it was opening a humanitarian corridor to let civilians out of the plant; Kyiv said no agreement had been reached.

Moscow, which describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”, denies targeting civilians.

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I have stopped believing anything the US says.

The US failed in Vietnam, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and would not know success in recent modern warfare.

The big losers in the war are Ukraine and Europe, who now have to fix the US/Russia mess.

The US’s industrial military complex may have won some short-term economic victory, but the world has ratcheted up he shift from USD hegemony and this benefits the world, but not the US.

You are really repeating Russian narrative… They make is sound as if they are fighting the US in Ukraine. One must be really blind or dumb not to see this…
Ukraine has been fighting for it’s sovereignty for the past 8 years since Russia annexed Crimea and orchestrated a war in Donbas. The US and EU for many years didn’t want to support Ukraine with any serious military aid. Only now, when thousands of civilians got killed they realized that Russia is simply trying to revive Russian Empire / Soviet Union.

If Russia stops fighting, there will be no war. If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no Ukraine…

If Russia does nothing to lethal weapons being planted in Ukraine and being forced to accept devalued USD for oil it is doomed, If Ukraine does nothing, it more if the same for the world.

Call it game theory.

There is a fight against the US abuse of reserve currency privelage.

*An interesting thread by Arnaud Bertrand.*

Westerners used to think that Russia’s economy was the equivalent of a small European country – a gas station masquerading as a country as US Presidents like to sneer.

Maybe never before has an economy’s importance been so grossly misjudged.

French economist Jacques Sapir explains what happened to him “the war made us realize that the Russian economy is considerably more important than we thought”

He says that a big reason for this misjudgment is exchange rates.

If you compare Russia’s GDP by converting from rubles to $, you indeed get an economy the size of Spain’s.

However this is the worst possible way of comparing the size of economies.

A slightly more accurate way is to adjust for PPP (purchasing power parity).

When you do so, you already realize that Russia’s economy is actually more like the size of Germany’s.

BUT you also need to take something else into account: “What is the share of the service sector versus the share of the commodities & industrial sector?”

To Andre’ Sapir, the service sector is today vastly overvalued in the world compared with the industrial sector and commodities.

He says that when you adjust for this Russia’s economy is vastly bigger than Germany’s.

His estimate is that Russia represents in fact maybe “5% or 6% of the world’s economy”, almost double the size it’s normally estimated at on a PPP basis.

This is a fascinating way to look at it and it rings very true.

This crisis is making us realize that we used to take manufacturing, the industry and commodities for granted, i.e. an antiquated side of the economy compared to shiny new “services”.

What we’re going through is leading us to a huge rethink. This will undoubtedly make us conclude that what we used to view as antiquated is much more valuable than we thought.

Ironically this will force a revaluation of the Russian economy that’s very much in their favor.

It’s also very interesting to revalue China’s economy through that lens.

If we look at the Chinese economy simply based on exchange rates, it is a $17.7 trillion economy to the U.S.’s $23 trillion.

However, if we just look at it on a PPP basis we realize it is already an almost $27 trillion economy.

This means China’s economy is already close to 20% larger than the U.S.’s.

Let’s also revalue it by assuming that the service sector holds much less value than previously thought.

The service sector is about 54.5% of China’s which is even less than in Russia (at 56.27%.

This means that if we roughly apply Sapir’s ratio for Russia to China, we’re in fact looking at the Chinese economy being probably about 30% of the world’s economy on a PPP basis instead of the 18% it’s currently estimated at.

All in all, this means that China and Russia’s economies combined are in fact likely about 35% of the world’s economy when taking PPP into account as well as compensating for the over-valuation of the service sector.

The service sector accounts for roughly 77% of the U.S. economy and 70% of the EU’s economy.

This means that conversely, the U.S. and EU’s economies are probably overvalued today.

Consequently, while we used to think that the US + the EU make up about 30% of the world’s economy on a PPP basis, this is probably vastly overvalued since their service sector is such an important share of their economies.

To conclude all this might end up making us realize that the Chinese + Russian economies combined are in fact far larger than those of the West.

Maybe as much as 40% larger if we assume US + EU is in fact maybe just 25% of the world’s economy vs 35% for China + Russia.

As someone commented on Russia, an economy that dominates wheat and fertilizer markets is more important than one that sells aps and tanning cream.

End of comments.

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