First, the FSB detained a Japanese consul, then Moscow suspended a visa-free regime to travel off the Kuril Islands while Japan responded with a fresh batch of sanctions. Tensions have run high between Moscow and Tokyo. Both have a very slim chance to improve ties as Japan is aware of the Chinese threat and the Russian aggressive policy being two sides of the same coin.
Vladimir Putin is playing the energy crisis to force Western states and Ukraine into peace concessions. But the weather is not that much to the liking of the Kremlin as unusually mild temperatures tame European demand for gas. For its part, Chinese oil demand has shrunk amid new Covid lockdown measures across the country. Russia struggles to sell its energy, also amid the decline in prices.
The Kremlin said that Russia would stop selling oil to countries that impose price caps on Russia’s energy resources. But now Moscow has to sell these gigantic supplies elsewhere. Russia is now facing a challenge to find new outlets for its oil supplies and create storage capacity.
Iran is wading into Russia’s war on Ukraine with alleged reports to sell weapons to Moscow. Through military and political deals, Iran faces new sanctions. Despite that, Iran’s ayatollahs and the country’s president insist on forging closer ties with Russia.
What Russian President Vladimir Putin said in recent days meant no change in his policy that indeed exacerbated since mid-September. In just three days, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a flurry of activities: he observed exercises by his nation’s strategic nuclear forces, attended meeting with heads of security services of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), held an operational meeting of the Russian Security Council, delivered a speech at the Valdai Discussion Club summit, took part in an emergency meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Collective Security Council, and received Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, for talks. They all have one common––the Kremlin flexes its muscles, claiming it could further escalate the war in Ukraine and ignite tensions with Western states.
Russian military strategy in Ukraine specifically calls for strategic operations to destroy critical infrastructure, bringing the country to the verge of a humanitarian crisis. Since the invasion began, Russian forces targeted critical infrastructure facilities, including power plants, energy grids, and oil and gas pipelines. A mass-scale campaign began on October 10. Russian drone strikes have damaged at least 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, raising concerns about the coming winter.
It started with a Russian claim blaming Ukraine for staging a plot to blow up a Dnieper dam, which yet would make no sense as its destruction would slow down a Ukrainian offensive and cause a large-scale disaster affecting towns and cities. Ukrainian officials accused Russia of plotting to blow up the dam. For the Kremlin, it is a matter of honor to launch a fierce campaign to defend Kherson, and blowing up the dam suits neither side.
Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies. Date: Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński Rosneft CEO Sechin Claims EU Gas Price Caps Unreasonable A statement from the...
Russia’s nuclear drills are part of the country’s effort of scaring Western states off with possible nukes to be used in the Russia-Ukraine war. The Ukrainian government has said it suspects Russia is planning its own false flag operation. Russia has also waved the nuclear blackmail, a strategy that the Kremlin has followed since it invaded Ukraine. Moscow is aware that it will not intimidate Ukraine. Instead, it hopes to send a message to Western states, mostly Germany and France, that a nuclear option is still on the table.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the country agreed to work with Russian proposals to establish relations with longtime rival Azerbaijan. The leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia are expected to meet in Sochi. The Kremlin has responded to Western diplomatic efforts in the South Caucasus, where the European Union remains strongly engaged in mediating a peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
African nations are closely watching what is taking place in Ukraine as they depend heavily on grain supplies from the two warring sides. Shortly after the war broke out, many either remained neutral or sided with Russia. Now it has started to change. It is largely due to tremendous diplomatic efforts Ukraine has made in Africa––the continent where Kyiv has never had much political interest. Russia is doing differently––seeking to rebuild its Cold War influence by sending Wagner Group mercenaries and weapons to the continent.
Russia failed to draw any conclusions from the uneasy situation that Ukrainian forces were in while in Kherson Oblast due to rainy weather. An advance towards Vuhledar and Pavlivka in the south of Donetsk Oblast was hampered by muddy weather. The bottom line is that the daily Russian death toll stood at a record number. The chilly, wet weather is making conditions particularly difficult, slowing the Russian and Ukrainian offensive over the next two months.
The Russian Federation’s decision to temporarily suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative is little surprising. Moscow has been bracing for this since at least mid-October. This fits into the Russian war strategy that involves targeting civilians to cripple the economy and create a humanitarian catastrophe.
Israeli missiles hit targets near the Syrian capital Damascus in a rare daytime attack on October 24. Some of the missiles were shot down by the Damascus air defense. Israeli strikes usually take place under the cover of darkness. Perhaps Israel is less concerned over the Russian-backed air-defense systems in Syria as Russian forces withdrew from some positions in the country.
Russia has sought to destabilize Moldova through street protests staged by a pro-Russian left-wing opposition party, rising separatist sentiments in Gagauzia, and gas blackmail. In the last scenario, Russia has used its loyal separatists in the Moldovan breakaway republic of Transnistria.
The true reason behind the resignation of the chairman of Ukraine’s national bank is an old embezzlement case––and not his conflict with the finance ministry. Kyrylo Shevchenko was allegedly involved in an embezzlement scheme while serving as the chairman of one of the country’s state banks.
Russia has again waved the nuclear blackmail, a strategy that the Kremlin has followed since it invaded Ukraine. The Kremlin now claims that Ukraine could stage a false flag operation by detonating a dirty bomb.
Russia seems unlikely to expose thousands of its troops on the western bank of the Dnieper River and thus will possibly exit the right bank of the Dnieper River in the southern Kherson region. In the past few weeks, Ukrainian forces have won a considerable advantage in the region, where the occupier is doomed to fail whatever its military will do next. Sergey Surovikin, who commands the southern group of Russian troops in the war against Ukraine, told Vladimir Putin that the defense of Kherson could deliver a severe blow to Russian forces.
Russia would fail to complete two tasks, by going ahead with the “partial mobilization” and drafting new conscripts later this fall. Thus, the mobilization was suspended temporarily. A total of 420,000 people were drafted over one month.
Russia’s mass-scale guided and drone strikes have not changed the situation in Ukraine. The Russian military is exploiting its scarce stockpile of cruise and short-range missiles. The Ukrainian army has maintained the momentum on land since late August and Russian forces are unlikely to take the lead anytime soon.