China: ‘Putin’s speeches are excuses, he wants land from Ukraine’

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There’s clear evidence of significant equipment losses incurred by the Russian forces on the Ukrainian frontlines. Numerous photos and videos from the battlefield make it unarguably apparent. Such losses have caused a drop in the count of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles available for the Russian army’s use in combat, alongside heavy artillery losses. 

Photo credit: Telegram

An in-depth analysis by the Chinese media outlet, Sohu, shared on Saturday details the impacts of the ongoing war in Ukraine that spans over 18 months. Yet, that’s just one side of the coin. The other paints a different picture, according to Sohu’s ongoing monitoring; the overall strength of the Russian army appears to be on an upward trajectory. Sohu’s reference points back to the latest decision by the Russian Federation Ministry to increase army posts by 170,000. 

Digging into the rationale behind this military expansion, the ‘strategic defense force’ is continually broadening its scope. This is seen as a measured counter to the aggressive stance of NATO activities.

The inconvenient truth

Analysts posit that the primary motive behind Russia’s military expansion is to compensate for significant losses in technical weaponry, with the intent to rely on human superiority to either win or sustain the war. 

Regarding threats to NATO, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech and his vision of a “Greater Russia” are perceived as mere rationalizations, Sohu asserts. It echoes the initiation of the ‘special military operation.’ What lies at the heart of the Kremlin’s aspirations is territorial expansion, a deep-seated motive that some prefer to leave unmentioned.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Not budget, military spending

The signature of President Vladimir Putin, coupled with the approval of both the Russian Federation Council and the Russian State Duma – the parliament’s upper and lower houses respectively, sets the stage for an interesting economic turn. Next year, Russia plans to allocate a third of its fiscal budget for its military affairs, prominently for the military industry. 

The specific costs that will be offset remain uncertain. However, what is clear is a distinctive shift in the Russian economy. It’s gradually becoming heavily reliant on its military, or, to put it simply, becoming “militarized”

While continuing to assist Ukraine, the West is concurrently trying to destabilize Russia’s economy. However, this is not an overnight achievement and will require time. As the US Under Secretary of State for Energy, Piatt, articulated, “The US government aims to slash Russia’s oil and gas revenues by half, hoping to reach this milestone by the end of the current decade.”

Frozen Russian money

Initiating the use of frozen Russian funds to aid Ukraine seems feasible, yet it won’t be an immediate process. As reported by Bloomberg, key EU member countries – Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and Luxembourg – advocate for patient deliberation before rushing to utilize the frozen Russian assets for Ukraine’s recovery efforts. 

The plan outlines that the European Commission will put forth proposals to impose taxes on over 200 billion euros worth of frozen Russian central bank assets. This approach aims to bolster Ukraine’s recovery process.

Propaganda and suppression

Increasingly, resources are being channeled toward “special military operations”. The Russian government is one clear example of this trend, dedicating a staggering one-third of its budget to military expenses. This allocation leaves lesser funds for stimulating economic growth and providing social benefits to the Russian populace.

Interestingly, public sentiment doesn’t seem to reflect a strong opposition to this situation. Polls suggest a majority of Russians are either nonchalant towards the ongoing conflict or are outright supporters of the Kremlin. Less than 20% of those surveyed expressed their disapproval of the war. Despite the stifling effect of propaganda and repression, the Kremlin enjoys a significant amount of support from its citizens.

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