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Russo-Ukrainian war: Strategic and economic theatres

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  • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-66351867

    Putin says Russia does not reject peace talks
    …but Moscow says Kyiv must accept its country's "new territorial reality".
    A reality based upon the premise “that might makes right”!
    "We took it, and now it ours"!
    Any common two-bit thief could make the same claim!!!
    Revanchisme
    any one???

    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

    Comment


    • Analysis-Europe heads more comfortably into winter without Russia's Nord Stream gas


      FILE PHOTO: Pipes for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, which are not used, are seen in the harbour of Mukran


      BRUSSELS/OSLO (Reuters) - High levels of gas storage, lower energy prices and new sources of fuel mean Europe is heading into a second winter with scarce Russian gas in a more comfortable position than a year ago.

      After decades of relying on Russia to supply cheap gas, resuming that dependency became more unlikely than ever following the unexplained explosions a year ago today that hit the Nord Stream pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

      Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline had accounted for 15% of Europe's gas imports in 2021, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. A second Nord Stream 2 link was planned but never operated.

      At the time of the pipeline attack, European gas prices were three times higher than before Russia invaded Ukraine and industries were cutting output to contain gas costs.

      REPLACING RUSSIA

      Now prices are much lower. European gas benchmark the front month contract on the Dutch Title Transfer Facility is trading at around 40 euros compared with 180 euros a year ago.

      Policymakers and industry remain sensitive to price risks as economies are fragile and inflation high, but they say they have addressed Russia's power to add to the problem.

      "Our biggest risk was that Russia can manipulate our energy markets," EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson told Reuters. "They don't have this leverage any more."

      The bloc, she said, has quickly improved its ability to transport alternative supplies.

      Before its invasion of Ukraine, Russia sent around 155 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to Europe each year, mostly via pipelines, according to EU figures.

      In 2022, piped gas imports to the EU dropped to 60 bcm. This year, the EU expects them to fall to 20 bcm.

      Coping with the shortfall has required tackling supply and demand.

      On the supply side, Norway has replaced Russia as the EU's biggest pipeline gas supplier and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports have surged, led by supplies from the United States.

      New pipelines to carry non-Russian gas opened last year in Greece and Poland. Finland, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands opened LNG import terminals and more are planned in France and Greece.

      Germany, previously Europe's biggest buyer of Russian gas, has been particularly focused on new infrastructure.

      It has opened three floating storage and regasification (FSRU) vessels, able to import equivalent to 50%-60% of the 55 bcm/year Nord Stream 1 used to pipe in from Russia, SEB Commodities Analyst Ole Hvalbye said.

      To shore up supplies, the EU began jointly buying non-Russian gas.

      It also introduced back-up rules requiring countries to share gas with their neighbours in a crisis and agreed legal obligations for countries to fill gas storage, typically commercial sites used by companies to deal with seasonal variations in consumption.

      Across the EU, gas storage caverns are now 95% full, Gas Infrastructure Europe data show. When completely full, they should cover about one third of the EU's winter gas demand.

      INDUSTRY HIT

      A big factor in avoiding energy shortages has been the plunge in demand caused by high prices, although EU and government policies also promoted energy saving.

      The weather played a part as a warm winter made it relatively easy to use less energy for heating and Europe emerged early this year from its peak season for gas demand with unusually full storage caverns, making it easier to replenish them this year.

      Apart from uncertainties about this winter's weather, some analysts say the price of reduced energy use could be a permanent contraction of the bloc's industrial activity.

      Europe's biggest economy Germany is expected to shrink this quarter as industry is in recession, according to the country's central bank.

      Energy Aspects estimates 8% of the 2017-21 average industrial gas demand in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and Spain may be gone for good by 2024.

      "Europe has managed to swap out the [Russian] volumes. But in reality, this has only been possible at the expense of wider economic activity," Tom Marzec-Manser, head of gas analytics at ICIS, said.

      Some of the reduction in gas demand has been driven by a more positive transition as Europe has increased its reliance on renewable energy.

      Europe is expected to install 56 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity in 2023 - enough to replace around 18 bcm of gas this year, Wood Mackenzie said.

      TIGHT GAS SUPPLIES

      Turning to the coming winter months, Gergely Molnar, gas analyst at the Paris-based International Energy Agency, said Europe was in "a quite comfortable place".

      Analysts said a return to the record high prices seen last year - which peaked at 343 euros/MWh in August 2022 - is unlikely.

      But globally, gas markets are unusually tight - posing the risk that Europe could face price spikes depending on exceptional weather or any further supply shocks, such as Russia cutting off the remaining pipeline gas and LNG it still supplies to Europe.

      Any such spike would increase pressure on politicians when the EU, Britain, Poland and the Netherlands face elections in the next year in which the cost-of-living crisis is expected to be a dominant issue.

      They could find themselves again trying to find funds to help with energy bills and incentivise more filling of storage whose cost is believed to have been many billions.

      "You are talking about a much lower cost than in summer 2022. But that could still cost billions of euros," Jacob Mandel, Senior Associate at Aurora Energy Research said.
      _________

      Weren't the Germans supposed to be freezing their asses off this past winter? Whatever happened to that?
      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

      Comment


      • lol @ Hungary, "the new Bulgarian fees are unacceptable and threaten European solidarity". What areas are there exactly where Hungary is in solidarity with Europe?

        https://www.euractiv.com/section/pol...n-russian-gas/
        Bulgaria shocks Hungary, Serbia with huge transit fees on Russian gas

        Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó have reacted strongly to Bulgaria’s decision to introduce new, huge transit fees of €10.2 per MW/h of natural gas passing through the Bulgarian extension of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline to Western Europe – the so-called “Balkan Stream”.

        Serbia and Hungary receive all quantities of Russian gas through the “Balkan Stream”, as do North Macedonia and Austria.

        Bulgaria expects the new transit fees to generate additional revenues of €1.2 billion. The new fee is so high that it will pay off the construction of the Balkan Stream gas pipeline in just one year.

        “This is a big problem for us. This will lead to a drastic increase in the price of gas by an additional €100 per 1000 cubic metres of gas. This is an appalling increase, and we will talk to the Bulgarian side. And this (decision) should not be valid for Serbia,” Serbian President Alexander Vucic commented on Saturday, quoted by Politika.

        Vucic said he would discuss the matter with his Bulgarian counterpart, Rumen Radev.

        The conversation with Radev and the Bulgarian government is unlikely to help because the new legislation was adopted by the Euro-Atlantic majority, which has been acting completely independently of the president and the government in matters related to Russia in recent months.

        “Bulgaria decides on its own what fees to introduce for the transit of gas through its territory,” commented We Continue the Change MP Venko Sabrutev, who is part of the ruling majority.

        He added that the gas pipeline is Bulgarian, and the state itself decides what the fees will be. “Hungary and Serbia should look for an alternative,” he told state television BNT.

        Deputies from the other parties in the ruling coalition Democratic Bulgaria and GERB refused to comment to Euractiv on the matter because “the moment is not right”.

        In April last year, Russia unilaterally stopped the supply of natural gas to Bulgaria, but the authorities in Sofia decided to leave the transit of blue fuel in the West to Hungary.

        “This is a pan-European policy to reduce Russia’s income from the sale of natural gas, petroleum products, etc. We are part of the big European family that does not want the war in Ukraine to continue. We must use economic measures to stop Russia,” Sabrutev said.

        According to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó, the new Bulgarian fees are unacceptable and threaten European solidarity. A day ago, Hungary also complained about the increase in the price of oil transit through Ukraine.
        "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

        Comment


        • Sounds like Hungary & Serbia are in the Find Out stage of the Fvck Around and Find Out cycle!
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain

          Comment


          • Those weapons production we talked about 18 months ago are paying dividends and reinvigorating our industrial base.



            Ukraine war orders starting to boost revenues for big US defense contractors

            https://www.reuters.com/business/aer...rs-2023-10-27/

            By Mike Stone
            October 27, 20236:10 AM EDTUpdated 3 hours ago

            Servicemen patrol in front of the Patriot air defence system during Polish military training on the missile systems at the airport in Warsaw, Poland February 7, 2023. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel//File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights
            WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 is starting to boost defense contractors' revenues, as customers such as the U.S. government restock supplies shipped to Ukraine and countries around Europe arm themselves with an eye on Moscow's aggressions.
            U.S. defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), General Dynamics (GD.N) and others expect that existing orders for hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds, hundreds of Patriot missile interceptors and a surge in orders for armored vehicles expected in the months ahead will underpin their results in coming quarters.

            New contracts to supply Ukraine directly - or backfill U.S. weapons sent to Ukraine - were signed late last year, and now revenue is flowing to the big defense contractors. Lockheed, General Dynamics and RTX (RTX.N) all reported better than expected results over the past several days, and executives expect both the conflict in Ukraine and Israel's war with Palestinian militant group Hamas to drive up near-term demand.

            "We've gone from 14,000 (artillery) rounds per month to 20,000 very quickly. We're working ahead of schedule to accelerate that production capacity up to 85,000, even as high as 100,000 rounds per month," Jason Aiken, General Dynamics' chief financial officer, said on a call with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday.
            "And I think the Israel situation is only going to put upward pressure on that demand."

            The General Dynamics' Combat Systems unit, which makes armored vehicles, tanks and the artillery Ukraine uses, saw its revenue rise almost 25% versus the same period a year ago.
            RTX, which makes AMRAAM rockets used in Ukraine, said on Tuesday's earnings call with Wall Street analysts it has received $3 billion of orders since Russia's February 2022 invasion that are related to replenishing Ukraine and U.S. war stocks, and the company expects more.


            Third-quarter sales for Northrop Grumman's (NOC.N) Defense Systems segment rose 6% on high demand for ammunition and rocket motors used in guided multiple-launch rocket systems (GMLRS), which play a crucial role in supporting Ukraine's defense efforts against Russian forces. This is part of a global trend. Sweden's Saab (SAABb.ST)raised its full-year sales outlook on Thursday on the back of strong defense demand and Germany's Rheinmetall (RHMG.DE)said third-quarter profit jumped on strong demand for weapons and ammunition.

            During his latest request for $106 billion in new funds for Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific region and border enforcement, U.S. President Joe Biden on Oct. 20 said some of the supplemental request would go to companies that backfill production of U.S. weapons sent abroad. Biden mentioned Patriot missiles made in Arizona, and "artillery shells manufactured in 12 states across the country," naming Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.

            To be sure, executives from several defense firms at a recent trade show cautioned that a lack of skilled labor and supply chain issues continue to hamper companies' capacity to fill orders.
            "The supply chain, to be completely candid with you, remains, and I think we expect to remain what I call fragile," General Dynamics's Aiken said on the earnings call, as the company said it was cutting its forecast for 2023 business jet deliveries. "I don't think that's going to get back to what we saw pre-pandemic for the foreseeable future."

            Lockheed on Oct. 17 said supply and labor disruptions are affecting divisions like aeronautics, which makes the advanced F-35 fighter jet, due to the need for processor assemblies, solid-rocket motors, castings and forgings.
            Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Rod Nickel
            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
            Mark Twain

            Comment


            • News reports coming in that the EU Commissioner has invited Ukraine to commence membership talks given progress to date on economic reforms and anti-corruption measures etc. The invitation is likely to be ratified at a meeting of EU heads of state this December. If approved as seems likely (Hungary I'm talking to you!) it will mark the official start of the lengthy accession process and be a massive political reversal/poke in the eye to Putin and his government. So unless Zelensky or his immediate successors manage to screw up the reform process badly it's looking like Ukraine should be 'in' the club within a decade. Of course you can also bet Putin, if he lasts that long will try everything humanly possible to mess the process up.

              On a side note Georgia also formerly commenced the EU accession process that same day - to the backdrop of large public celebrations in Tbilisi! Seems like the EU is bent of giving Putin the finger every chance it gets.
              Last edited by Monash; 11 Nov 23,, 21:56.
              If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Monash View Post
                News reports coming in that the EU Commissioner has invited Ukraine to commence membership talks given progress to date on economic reforms and anti-corruption measures etc. The invitation is likely to be ratified at a meeting of EU heads of State this December. If approved as seems likely (Hungary I'm talking to you!) it will mark the official start of the lengthy accession process and be a massive political reversal/poke in the eye to Putin and his government. So unless Zelensky or his immediate successors manage to screw up the reform process badly it's looking like Ukraine should be 'in' the club within a decade. Of course you can also bet Putin, if he lasts that long will try everything humanly possible to screw it up.

                On a side note Georgia also formerly commenced the EU accession process that same day - to the backdrop of large public celebrations in Tbilisi! Seems like the EU is bent of giving Putin the finger every chance it gets.
                Nice piece!
                Maybe with one little addendum.
                Drawing attention to Hungary fine and dandy, but there is now a new member of the BFF Friends of Putin (European Branch): Slovakia!!!
                Its newly elected leader Robert Fico made his allegiances quite clear when he declared:”…no more aid to Ukraine!!!”
                Slovakia once the heaviest contributor per capita to Ukraine, doing a 180 degree!!!



                When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

                Comment


                • Russian allies have stepped up. North Korea has shipped over a million shells to Moscow and continues to supply Russia

                  https://ottawa.citynews.ca/2023/11/0...lls-to-russia/
                  Chimo

                  Comment


                  • Not a good development. The Russians were certainly experiencing shell hunger and anything that alleviates that is bad for Ukraine. How much 152mm shell production can North Korea sustain per month? And it goes without saying, Ukraine badly needs the proposed US aid package, and they also need a lot more shells.

                    It seems at the moment Western shell production isn't going to ramp up much over the next year. South Korea is emerging as a major arms producer, I've glanced over some articles, but I'll bet astralis probably knows quite a bit about it. It seems the ROK can ramp up production with more... alacrity... than Western countries. While ROK won't sell directly to Ukraine, they're very eager to export arms, and it seems they don't have problems selling via proxy (i.e. "backfilling" US stocks). Does anybody know what ROK 155mm shell production capabilities are?
                    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

                    Comment


                    • Interesting article on the near and long term impact of shrinking Russian arms exports (down from 22% of the global total in 2017 to 16% in 2022) and the likely impact ongoing declines will have on the ability of Russia to rebuild it's own armed forces once the war in Ukraine ends.

                      https://www.gisreportsonline.com/r/russian-arms-trade/
                      Last edited by Monash; 16 Nov 23,, 06:52.
                      If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                      Comment


                      • From the ISWs latest Russia/Ukraine war update:

                        Denmark will reportedly start inspecting and potentially blocking Russian oil tankers in an effort to enforce a price cap on Russian oil and the European Union’s (EU) insurance regulations. TheFinancial Times (FT) reported on November 15 that the EU proposed measures that would allow Denmark to inspect and block Russian oil tankers traveling through the Danish straits. These measures are part of an EU effort to enforce a G7 cap demanding that Western insurers only provide coverage to Russian shipments where oil is sold for less than $60 per barrel.[6] An unnamed senior European government official told FT that “almost none“ of the Russian maritime oil shipments in October 2023 were below the $60 barrel price cap.[7] FT also reported that the EU is concerned that Russian tankers are violating EU regulations by frequently traveling with falsified financial statements or non-Western insurance.

                        If true that's a potentially significant and provocative step. Significant because it will raise the cost and/or potentially reduce the amount of Russian oil transiting through the Danish Straits. (Yeah!) Provocative? Because it seems to me it could be argued such a move is a breach of the internationally recognized Copenhagen Convention governing free commercial transit through the Straits.
                        If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                        Comment


                        • Regarding the transit of Russian trains across Lithuania to Kaliningrad, back in June 2022 the Lithuanians implemented certain restrictions on the transit of sanctioned goods across its territory. The Russians made a lot of noise about it. The EU first confirmed that Lithuanian restrictions were legal under EU rules, then some time later eventually said some stuff about sanctions really only applying to goods transiting via road traffic. Lithuania then lifted all restrictions on July 23 2023.

                          My question is, does Lithuania even need rail links to Russia and Belarus? Why not just sever the rail lines completely on the border with Belarus? Why not just tear out the track and leave a nice wide gap so trains can't even enter from Belarus?
                          "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Ironduke View Post
                            Not a good development. The Russians were certainly experiencing shell hunger and anything that alleviates that is bad for Ukraine. How much 152mm shell production can North Korea sustain per month? And it goes without saying, Ukraine badly needs the proposed US aid package, and they also need a lot more shells.

                            It seems at the moment Western shell production isn't going to ramp up much over the next year. South Korea is emerging as a major arms producer, I've glanced over some articles, but I'll bet astralis probably knows quite a bit about it. It seems the ROK can ramp up production with more... alacrity... than Western countries. While ROK won't sell directly to Ukraine, they're very eager to export arms, and it seems they don't have problems selling via proxy (i.e. "backfilling" US stocks). Does anybody know what ROK 155mm shell production capabilities are?
                            https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20231205000300315
                            S. Korea indirectly supplied more 155-mm shells for Ukraine than all European countries combined: WP

                            WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's "indirect" provision of 155-mm artillery shells for Ukraine this year has made it a larger supplier of ammunition for the war-ravaged country than all European countries combined, The Washington Post (WP) reported Monday.

                            In an article on Russia's protracted war against Ukraine, the U.S. daily explained Washington's effort to secure munitions from South Korea when the U.S.' production of shells was barely more than a tenth of some 90,000 shells that Ukraine needed per month.

                            South Korean law prohibits providing weapons to war zones, but U.S. officials sought to persuade Seoul to provide munitions, estimating that about 330,000 155-mm shells could be transferred by air and sea within 41 days from Korea, according to the WP.

                            "Senior administration officials had been speaking with counterparts in Seoul, who were receptive as long as the provision was indirect," the WP reported. "The shells began to flow at the beginning of the year, eventually making South Korea a larger supplier of artillery ammunition for Ukraine than all European nations combined."

                            It did not specify the exact amount of shells that South Korea provided.

                            Also unclear is whether Korea supplied weapons to help the U.S. refill its stockpiles depleted after the U.S.' supply of munitions to Ukraine or whether South Korea's munitions were delivered directly for battle operations in Ukraine.

                            Seoul has maintained that its policy against directly providing lethal weapons to Ukraine remains unchanged.


                            "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

                            Comment


                            • Probably originally replacing until we had nothing left they could replace. Subsequent ammo would be packaged indirect to Ukraine, probably passing through the U.S. and documentation changed while here.

                              Letter of the law.
                              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by S2 View Post
                                Probably originally replacing until we had nothing left they could replace. Subsequent ammo would be packaged indirect to Ukraine, probably passing through the U.S. and documentation changed while here.

                                Letter of the law.
                                Let's just say the installations where US ASPs in Korea are located is considered sovereign territory according to the SOFA.

                                I'll say no more!
                                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                                Mark Twain

                                Comment

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