Mission: Impossible – Failed – WWIII Prelude News 15/8/23 – New Cold War Heats Up

Two and a half months have passed since the beginning of Ukraine’s counteroffensive and it has already come to an end without any notable success. Rumours of increased surrenders, desertions, and defections were recorded over this period as Ukrainian morale appears to be at an all-time low. Starting last week, cartoon videos and even statemens of President Zelenskyy have stated that the counteroffensive’s failure is the fault of the West’s slow delivery of weapons and ammunition, while the West has accused Ukraine of not using the Combined Arms tactics they were trained for. Both parties are grasping at straws to explain how the much-anticipated counteroffensive came to nothing. In Western media, the conflict has been dubbed a “stalemate”, probably to mask the Ukrainian failure as a failure on both sides of the conflict. The fact of the matter is that Russia’s war goal was never to conquer Ukraine, but to liberate the majority-Russian territories from the repressive Kyiv regime and to neutralise Ukraine’s Nazi elements, so they are happy to entrench themselves on the border of their annexed territory and take small strategic areas to further secure their position.

The peace conference that was due to convene in Saudi Arabia on August 5th quickly fell apart when many of the invited countries began to complain of the absurdity of hosting a peace conference without both sides of the conflict present, further signalling the fact that the majority of the world is sympathetic to Russia or at least haven’t completely drank the NATO koolaid. Western support for the conference also waned, with many commentators suggesting that the Ukrainian surge on the frontlines in the days leading up to the conference were supposed to show Ukraine had the upper-hand in the conflict, thus increasing international support. Presumably because of these various difficulties, a joint statement is yet to be released by the participants of the conference.

Today, NATO’s General Secretary’s Chief of Staff, Stian Jenssen, has suggested a possible solution to the conflict could be for Ukraine to cede the currently occupied territory of Russia in exchange for peace and NATO membership. This is in stark contrast to the rhetoric from both President Zelenskyy as well as NATO which insists that all of the territory, including Crimea, should be returned from Russian control. In fact, the return of ALL previously-Ukrainian territory was one of the stipulations in Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan in Saudi Arabia.
Die hard supporters of Ukraine are incredulous of the statement by Jenssen, because people are only happy about statements from officials when they agree with them. Statements from officials they don’t agree with, however, are fobbed off as “Well, he’s only such-and-such rank”, ignoring the fact that officials aren’t allowed to say just whatever they like.

We’re likely seeing wavering support for Ukraine’s absurd demands because the counteroffensive is finished. Western sources themselves have reported that although defensive weaponry is in constantly supply, offensive weaponry has been used up and none will be delivered until NEXT SUMMER.

Rather than a stalemate, we now have an entrenchment of nearly a million Russian troops protecting the 4 newly-annexed regions and Crimea. The question still lingers in the air, will President Putin and his military leaders continue with the cautious strategy in order to avoid a full-scale conflict with NATO or will they give into the growing sentiment in Russia which wants to see a full-scale mobilisation to capture Kyiv and “finish the job”? As much as I or anyone want to see an end to this brutal war, Russians marching into Kyiv or even right up to the Polish border for a complete occupation is a terrible idea with many potentially disastrous consequences. Will there be border skirmishes with Poland (Moldova, Romania, Slovakia)? Will an errant missile land in Poland, triggering a NATO response? Will any new government in Ukraine be legitimate enough to sign a lasting peace-treaty with Russia? Seemingly, Putin and his government are right to be cautious, but this doesn’t bode well for any peace agreements on the horizon: Ukraine still insists on the return of the 4 territories and Crimea, and wants to join NATO; Russia insists on keeping all its territory, and doesn’t want Ukraine to join NATO. This is the definition of an empasse.

Following the collapse of the grain deal, allowing the passage of Ukrainian grain out of the Odessa port, a Turkish flagged vessel was stopped in international waters on August 13th for by Russian forces for inspection. The ship’s prior movement and heading at the time of the boarding indicated that it was headed to Ukraine. The cargo ship, Sukru Okan, did not stop when requested and the Russian vessel responded with warning shots. After the vessel stopped, it was boarded by Russian border troops for inspection for illegal cargo (namely, weapons and ammunition). The search and subsequent questioning of the crew was cordial and efficient. This is being treated by Ukraine, NATO, and the EU as “an escalation” and a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, with Ukraine seeking retaliation through Turkey, asking them to disallow Russian vessels to pass through their Black Sea straits. Turkey has been die hard in their refusal to sanction Russia, but they also said it’s virtually impossible to bar Russia from using their straits.

I’m not a mastermind on Maritime and Internetional Law, but this situation translating as a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty doesn’t make sense to me. The incident didn’t involve a Ukrainian vessel, nor did it occur in Ukrainian waters, and if we’re to believe the vessel was in fact not heading to Ukrainian waters, no harm no foul, right? I was also under the impression that all is fair in war – Ukraine wants to import weapons, Russia wants to prevent that from happening. Ukrainian sovereignty has already been breached, as per the very definition of war, so surely claims of escalation are merely propagandistic efforts.

Korean Peninsula Heating Up

(August 11th) At the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security, North Korean Defense Minister, Kang Sun Nam, expressed dire concerns about Western escalation toward nuclear war in the region. The conflict between North Korea and US-backed South Korea came to a halt in 1953 and a demilitarised zone was agreed upon between the two nations. They have since enjoyed an uneasy peace since then, with various incidents threatening it throughout the years. At least from a Western media perspective, North Korea seems to be the primary agressor with it’s routine launches of missiles near and over South Korean air space, only for them to land in the ocean within neutral territory. With that said, we don’t know how seriously any of the 800+ delegates at the conference took these concerns:

TASS Reports:

“The United States, which has been pursuing a hostile policy toward Korea as a state policy and has been blatantly infringing upon North Korea’s independent development and security interests, is driving the situation in Northeast Asia to the verge of a nuclear war outbreak,” he said. “America <….> since the beginning of this year has deployed to South Korea huge strategic nuclear means, including a nuclear-powered submarine, a strategic bomber, and a nuclear aircraft carrier battlegroup and has conducted several largest joint military drills imitating a total war with us. These drills were unprecedented in terms of scale, intensity and duration.”

“Now, the question is not in whether a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula breaks out or not, the question is who, when and how unleashes it,” he stressed.