Friday marks one year since attack of the Russian army on Ukraine. At the beginning, it seemed that Russia would end the attack in a few weeks by entering Kiev. One year later it can be said that the fortunes of war have alternated, and the end of the war is no longer in sight, just as there are no serious diplomatic negotiations. At the same time, Europe did not freeze without Russian energy sources, nor did the Russian economy succumb to sanctions.
Journalist and diplomat Dragan Bisenić says that it cannot be said that Russia and the United States of America are directly at war, but they are in an indirect conflict.
He indicated yes Biden’s visit to Kiev and Warsaw however, it was not sudden and unannounced. “It was already clear that when he came to Warsaw, he would go to Kiev and we were just discussing how,” says Bisenić.
“The amount that the USA gives is small, maybe that is a message to Moscow”
Bisenić noted that what is new, and what can be read symbolically, is the message that can be seen from the US aid of 500 million dollars.
“It is not a large sum. When the sultan goes to visit one of his vassals, if he is at war, he carries entire saddlebags of gold, but the sum of 500 million dollars for the American framework is not large,” Bisenić believes.
If that amount was a billion or more, he adds, it could be said that the message is – keep on fighting, and the amount of 500 million is actually in a way a cautious offer, which does not say that he will give them planes and everything they are looking for
“That was perhaps a certain message to Moscow that something could be discussed”, assesses Bisenić.
Is Russia’s suspension of START leading to nuclear war
When it comes to to the address of the President of Russia Vladimir Putinhistorian Aleksandar Životić indicates that it is not the same type of speech as in Warsaw, which lasted 15 or 20 minutes and was adapted to the situation.
“For me, the most important message is related to the START agreement and to the temporary Russian unilateral suspension of participation in that agreement,” says Životić.
It is, he explains, an agreement on the limitation of offensive nuclear weapons, which implies a limitation of the number of warheads to 1,550, to seven hundred intercontinental missiles and to 800 launchers.
Životić says that it is perhaps even more important that Russia temporarily withdraws from the agreement on the cessation of nuclear tests, but will renew it in the event that the United States of America does so first.
He explains that it is an exaggeration to say that leaving the agreement means that the conditions for nuclear war have been created. “If someone wants to start a nuclear war or react, it is not necessary to withdraw from the agreement. This is a political message,” Životić assesses.
The problem, he says, is the inspections, since both sides had the right to visit certain facilities of the other side, and Putin said that they did not want to allow the Americans to carry out a regular inspection in February.
According to Životić, the Russian president said that he did not want to participate in the “theatre of the absurd”.
Gas is “overpowered”, something else prevented the collapse of the Russian economy
Economist Goran Nikolić states that the Russian Bureau of Statistics announced that the drop in GDP was only 2.1 percent, and that the drop in industry was less than one percent, which is incomparably less than during the pandemic.
At the same time, adds Nikolić, gas is imported into the European Union four times less than before the war, which is a consequence of the warmest winter in history, savings, but also the collapse of the production of artificial fertilizers.
Russia has dramatically reduced gas exports, but had higher revenues because prices are higher, adds Nikolić, who believes that gas is overemphasized in the public eye.
“What is the basic thing for Russia, which prevented the collapse of the Russian economy, is that Russia managed to maintain the export of oil and oil derivatives, and even increased it in 2022,” says the economist.
It is also cited by the writing of the New York Times, according to which only nine percent of Western companies, including the largest and most visible brands, have withdrawn from Russia.
According to him, the stability of the industry is largely related to the growth of production for the army.
A war of attrition – has Putin just announced a platform for such a conflict
Nikolić believes that this can be a war of attrition and that Russia has an advantage here.
This is a war of attrition, Životić agrees, but notes that it is not only the relationship between Moscow and Kiev that can be looked at.
“The Great War has returned to the historical stage, it has returned to Europe. That is certainly the most important message,” says Životić and emphasizes the importance of strategic depth and strategic support.
“Russia has an independent strategic depth and as a superpower it relies on itself, but in this war Ukraine also got that strategic depth and reliance on the Western powers,” explains Životić.
Bisenić pointed out that Vladimir Putin’s speech represents a platform for a war of attrition.
“Putin is talking about things that cannot be implemented in three to six months, but are implemented for years, and in order to be implemented, war is needed as a catalyst, or what the high representative for foreign policy of the European Union said – Ukraine as a geopolitical the awakening of the European Union. So, this is a strong blow that Putin is trying to turn into an impulse for the development of Russian society,” assesses Bisenić.
Front without major changes – many resources in a small space
When it comes to the situation at the front, Životić assesses that the situation at the strategic level is more or less without major changes, regardless of the reports about the increased intensity of combat operations.
A large amount of resources is concentrated in a small area, and that, explains Životić, enables the Ukrainian forces to successfully defend themselves with a small number of forces.
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