Briefly Noted: Russia Winning The Two Front War
There are increasingly frank admissions coming from Western sources admitting that Russia is winning on both the economic front and the military front.
On the military front Zelensky is now openly admitting that Ukraine is losing as many as 100 dead and 500 wounded soldiers per day. Further, Russia is said to be holding at least 12,000 prisoners. Yesterday the NYPost was talking about “huge losses” for Ukraine in Donbass. Tragically, the Zhou regime, out of touch from the start, can think of nothing else to do than to continue as before for the time being:
I can’t believe that this will continue—economic and military reality will ultimately impinge upon the hapless regime masterminds of this catastrophe. Meanwhile, Russia supporters are having some fun at the expense of Western propaganda:
On the economic front Larry Elliott at The Guardian is saying what more and more—especially in Europe—are saying:
The perverse effects of sanctions means rising fuel and food costs for the rest of the world – and fears are growing of a humanitarian catastrophe. Sooner or later, a deal must be made.
Here’s what I consider the core of the article:
It is now three months since the west launched its economic war against Russia, and it is not going according to plan. On the contrary, things are going very badly indeed.
There is, …, no immediate sign of Russia pulling out of Ukraine and that’s hardly surprising, because the sanctions have had the perverse effect of driving up the cost of Russia’s oil and gas exports, massively boosting its trade balance and financing its war effort. In the first four months of 2022, Putin could boast a current account surplus of $96bn (£76bn) – more than treble the figure for the same period of 2021.
This was in no way a surprising result—except to the economically illiterates running the regime.
When the EU announced its partial ban on Russian oil exports earlier this week, the cost of crude oil on the global markets rose, providing the Kremlin with another financial windfall. Russia is finding no difficulty finding alternative markets for its energy, with exports of oil and gas to China in April up more than 50% year on year.
That’s not to say the sanctions are pain-free for Russia. The International Monetary Fund estimates the economy will shrink by 8.5% this year as imports from the west collapse. Russia has stockpiles of goods essential to keep its economy going, but over time they will be used up.
But Europe is only gradually weaning itself off its dependency on Russian energy, and so an immediate financial crisis for Putin has been averted. The rouble – courtesy of capital controls and a healthy trade surplus – is strong. The Kremlin has time to find alternative sources of spare parts and components from countries willing to circumvent western sanctions.
Here’s a good example of how these sanctions work, a development that turned up just today:
AZ OSINT @AZmilitary1‼️🇷🇺Russia restricts supplies of neon,argon,helium and other inert gases to foreign markets Decree of the Government of🇷🇺stricts the export of inert gases from🇷🇺until the end of this year. The list includes all inert gases,which include neon,argon, helium and a number and others
These inert gases are also known as “noble” gases. Russia accounts for 30% of global supply. That’s gonna hurt.
The bottom line is that, far from hurting Russia, sanctions are blowing up in the face of the West. Putin is under no pressure to change course.