Saturday, December 10, 2022

Status Report On That War Thing In Ukraine: Nordstream to Bakhmut,electricity and water



In the wake of attacks on the on the Stream pipelines, that effectively halted the flow of natural gas which German industry, commerce, agriculture and society relies on, and the terrorist attack on the Kerch Bridge, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gloated that the attacks were a “tremendous opportunity” to weaken Moscow.. It quickly emerged that the United States CIA and UK's MI5 state security agencies, if not actually involved in the planning and execution of the attacks, at least knew of the plans in advance (and they were planned in advance, how else could Ukraine's government have issued a postage stamp showing the brige burning only a day after the attck took place?)

 And shortly after news of the Nord Stream sabotage broke on mainstream media, gas supply companies in the USA were offering to supply Europe with shipments of Liquid Natural Gas carried by supertanker to be sold to European nations at vastly inflated prices.

The Nord Stream pipelines are operated by company that is majority owned by Russia’s state gas giant Gazprom. Authorities in Norway and Denmark have refused to allow that company access to the pipelines for the purpose of inspecting the damage done to its own pipelines. That is to say, NATO member states have prevented the Switzerland-based company Nord Stream AG from conducting an investigation into the attacks on its property.

But just as sanctions failed to bring the Russian economy to its knees as US and NATO officials predicted they would, Secretary of State Blinken's “tremendous opportunity” has not had any noticable effect on Russian economic activity as the USA's proxy war on Russia shifts from shooting and bombing to the weaponisation of energy, currency, food, fertilizser and the bitterly cold winter weather.

When santions were imposed poreventing EU vand NATO member states from buying Russia's gas and oil, the Russiansjust shugged and set about finding other customers in Asia, Africa and south America to by their gas and oil. The CPC pipeline out of the Caspian has been monitored from orbit a very long time. The Volga river complex out of the northern Caspian region ditto. In total this flow is 4% of global supply, and much of it is past Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) northward towards Moscow for consumption and export.

Volgograd is less than 100 miles from the eastern border of Donbas and is the chokepoint for nearly 3% of global supply. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) from Russia's Caspian gas fields to the Black Sea travels through Russia to a Russian Black Sea port.

Kashagan is the notorious oil field in that region and its failures have been monitored from orbit and led to its nickname from the participating companies -- CashIsGone. A very difficult production locale for oil, but those obstacles have been overcome and it is now finally flowing. The lesser known field is Karachaganak, it is mostly gas condensate and GAZPROM is the major player. This dictates realities of the recent economic meetings that warranted Putin's presence.

It will probably come as a shock to political leaders in Washington D C, London and Euopean capitals and financial centres but world trade is not confined to North America and Europe. Turkmenistan (how many people know where that is, I have to admit I could not descripe its exact position,) is bubbling with gas. Kazahkstan has significant oil. That region in total, with bordering countries, has abundant and largely unexploited hydrocarbon reserves. 

Perhaps most amusing, ironic and scanitly reported in mainstream media aspect of this fiasco of failed sanctions, Iran has been running tankers south to north across the Caspian carrying their sanctioned oil to blend with Russia's heading north for export via The Black Sea. Turkey and Syria to Europe and America. All those sanctions imposed by successive US administrations in their efforts to control the world never really had a hope of working.

Meanwhile, on the ground Russia's destruction of Ukraine's electricity grid and generating capacity is almost complete, likewise the water supply, telecommunications networks and transport links. In late November Ukraine admitted that Russian missile strikes have crippled almost half of Ukraine's energy system, the government said on Friday, and authorities in the capital Kyiv warned that the city could face a "complete shutdown" of the power grid as winter sets in.

The wrechage of a Ukrainian electrical grid switching station after an attack by Russian Missiles (Source: )

With temperatures falling and Kyiv seeing its first snow, officials were working to restore power nationwide after some of the heaviest bombardment of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in nine months of war. The United Nations says Ukraine's electricity and water shortages threaten a humanitarian disaster this winter. "Unfortunately Russia continues to carry out missile strikes on Ukraine's civilian and critical infrastructure. Almost half of our energy system is disabled," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said. Telecommunications and water systems have been similarly affected by Russia's 'targeted' (but not very accurately according to independent reports,) and life is becoming unbearable for the majority of that nation's 40 million population. In spite of the way westerm politicians and mainstream media and Ukrainian President vobblyvoddymyr Bellendskyyyyy are still spinning the narrative that Ukraine is winning the war on the ground repoorts from inside Ukraine say this is not the case. With estimates of Ukraine's dead or wounded topping 100,000 one wonderrs how long their military can sustain such losses. Yet they continue to launch futile attacks or defend territory against vastly superior forces. The Russian military is still integrating most of the mobilized 300,000+ men and volunteers. According to Putin 25% of the mobilized forces are in combat units, 25% in rear positions, while 50% train in Russia. It does not look like an imminent all out attack on the Ukrainian front lines is in the cards. The expected large winter attack may not be coming at all. Instead the new forces will rotate through the frontline and only attack locally whenever they see an opportunity. The Russian do not need to attack. Their task is to demilitarize Ukraine. As long as the Ukrainians come to the front lines and attack the Russians their is no need to launch a large attack on them. Even as mainstream media celebrates Ukraine's retaking of a few square miles of unpopulated farmland or a town the Russians have reduced to rubble and abandoned as if they are great, strategic vicories, the Russian forces are grinding on.

Things look bad for Ukraine in Bakmut right now. Last time things looked so bad for them was Lisichansk. There is a rumor that Ukraine is plugging the front with totally untrained conscripts. I hope that RU's small successes on the Donbass front are not only happening because Ukraine is pooling its best troops and weapons for a major offensive elsewhere, like it did a few months ago. The Zaphorozie front has been very quiet lately. A successful UA drive to Melitopol would be very bad. 

Bakhmut, where the heaviest fighting on the front line is focused now, is the gateway to Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk. Taking Bakhmut would rupture Ukraine's supply lines and open a route for Russian forces to press on toward Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, key Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk. Russia has battered Bakhmut with rockets for more than six months now

The Associated Press December 10, 2022 18:36:42 IST

Russia grinds on in Bakhmut, gateway to Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk

An aerial view of Bakhmut  Friday 9 December 2022. AP

Russian forces have ‘destroyed’ the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut,  according to President Vobblyvoddyymyr Bellendskyyyyyy said, while Ukraine’s military on Saturday reported missile, rocket, and air strikes on multiple parts in the eastern regions of Ukraine  that Moscow is trying to conquer after months of resistance.

The latest battles of Russia’s 9 1/2 month war in Ukraine have centred on four provinces that Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed in late September. The fighting indicates Russia’s struggle to establish control on those regions and Ukraine’s persistence to reclaim them.

Zelenskyy said the situation “remains very difficult” in several frontline cities in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Together, the provinces make up the Donbas, an expansive industrial region bordering Russia that Putin identified as a focus from the war’s outset and where Moscow-backed separatists have fought since 2014.

“Bakhmut, Soledar, Maryinka, Kreminna. For a long time, there is no living place left on the land of these areas that have not been damaged by shells and fire,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address, naming cities that have again found themselves in the crosshairs. “The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut, another Donbas city that the Russian army turned into burnt ruins.”

Zelenskyy didn’t specify what he meant by “destroyed” — and some buildings remain standing, and residents still mill about in city streets.

 Russia is having this success now because it was able to consolidate it's forces and inject fresh troops, while mauling the advancing Ukrainians. Earlier Ukrainian 'victories' should be seen in that light. Ukraine's recaptured territories have proven to be nothing but abject misery for Ukrainians. Can the United Nations not find any way to stop this senseless slaughter? Can NATO leaders not see that their giving Bellendskyyyyy and the neo - Nazi nutters in Kiev all the high tech eapons and ammunition they ask for is only prolonging the slaughter. The neo - Nazi nutters are determined to draw NATO and the USA into direct intervention, thus triggering World War 3. All western leaders have to do is say 'No more.'


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