Ukraine and its Global Impact

Ukraine and its Global Impact

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I guess it is time, to take a broader look at  the Ukraine War, namely at the global level.   This means we look at how various powers  around the world reacted to the conflict   and interacted with both Ukraine and Russia  in the last year. This includes economic,   political and military actions. At first, we take a short look at   the Russian perception on the War in Ukraine, for  this we look briefly at a Russian booklet titled:  I live, I fight, I win! The Rules of Living in War And President Putin’s Speech in the   Federal Assembly from 21st February 2023. Let us start with the Russian booklet, it was   published by the All-Russia Society, Russian Union  of Afghan and Special Military Operation Veterans.  

As most of you probably know, the war in Ukraine  in Russia is officially called a “special military   operation”. For the various lessons covered in  the booklet, be sure to check out my video on it.  Now, the intended audience is the  regular soldier in the field, to quote:  “The collection is intended for servicemen  of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation   taking part in the special military  operation in Ukraine, conscripts,   cadets of military educational institutions,  employees of various security agencies.”  So, what does the booklet  note about the war in Ukraine?  Well, the second section is titled: “The  Great Patriotic War 2.0”, for the uninitiated,   in Russia the Great Patriotic War  (1941-1945) was the Second World War,   whereas the Patriotic War was  the war against Napoleon in 1812. 

So much for context, but  what does the section note:  “It's enough to look at the list of countries  that have announced sanctions on us and helping   the Ukrainian regime - Germany, Poland, the  Czech Republic, Croatia, Norway, Denmark,   Japan, Italy... All of them fought against  us. Today in Ukraine. They are taking revenge   on Russia for our Great Victory. So, for us  it is a continuation of the Great Patriotic   War. And we, like our grandfathers in  the forty-fifth [in 1945], must win.” 

So, it becomes rather apparent by the analogy  that the war is portrayed as an essential   struggle for Russia. Of course, one could argue  against this, yet, the third section is titled:  “ „In Ukraine, we defend Russia”  The first paragraph in this section is rather  for a lack of a better word “straight forward”,   I was thinking of quoting it directly,  but then again this is YouTube,   so this is relatively safe summary: It denies that Ukraine is a state, it is   noted its territory is occupied by a “terrorist  gang” and then it goes off into antisemitic and   anti-western statements. Followed by this: “In order to survive, the people,   as once the blacks in the U.S., for a  pittance work on the European plantations.   Europe's brothels are filled with young Ukrainian  women. Men are forced to fight against Russia.” 

So, of course, this booklet is not  published by the Russian Federation,   so let us look at something official from 2023. Particularly, we look at Putin’s from the   21st of February Speech 2023 in the Federal  Assembly. You very likely heard about this   speech since it contained the announcement  of the suspension of the New START treaty,   which is a nuclear arms reduction treaty. The address starts off as follows, note   this is the official English version  from the homepage of the Kremlin:  “This Presidential Address comes, as we all know,  at a difficult, watershed period for our country.   This is a time of radical, irreversible change  in the entire world, of crucial historical events   that will determine the future of our country  and our people, a time when every one of us   bears a colossal responsibility.” In the following parts the West is  

basically blamed for the situation in  Ukraine, to quote just two paragraphs:  “I would like to emphasise that, prior  to the special military operation,   Kiev held negotiations with the West about the  delivery of air-defence systems, warplanes and   other heavy equipment to Ukraine. We also recall  the Kiev regime’s vain attempts to obtain nuclear   weapons; they discussed this issue publicly. The United States and NATO quickly deployed their   army bases and secret biological laboratories  near Russian borders. They mastered the future   theatre of war during war games, and they prepared  the Kiev regime which they controlled and Ukraine   which they had enslaved for a large-scale war.“ The mention of large-scale war, is particularly   stressed again later on, additionally, that this  is again for the survival of Russia, to quote:  “The Western elite make no secret of their goal,  which is, I quote, ‘Russia’s strategic defeat.’  

What does this mean to us? This means they plan  to finish us once and for all. In other words,   they plan to grow a local conflict into a  global confrontation. This is how we understand   it and we will respond accordingly, because this  represents an existential threat to our country.”  This is a clear message to the West, since  Russian military doctrine allows the use of   nuclear weapons if the existence of the state  is threatened. To quote a 2017 report from the  

US Defense Intelligence Agency on Russia: „Moscow fears that the speed, accuracy,   and quantity of non-nuclear strategic  precision-guided weapons can achieve   strategic effects on par with nuclear weapons,  one of the primary reasons that since at least   1993 (and most recently codified in the 2014  Military Doctrine) Russia has reserved the right   to a nuclear response to a non-nuclear attack that  threatens the existence of the state. In addition   to rejecting no-first-use, Moscow has discussed  using nuclear weapons to de-escalate a conflict.”  Additionally, I thought I would do a quantitative  analysis of keywords, particularly, since I heard   from others that the speech has a strong focus  on the West. Now, here is the list of words and   combinations I searched for, ideally pause  the video now and take a short guess which   words or phrases were used the most. Ok, ready? Excellent, here we go.  At the very top was the phrase “The West”, it  was mentioned 19 times, be aware if you just   search “the west” without a space after “west”,  it is actually 32 times, this also includes “The   Western elites” and “the western leaders”. Next in  line is the adjective “Western” with 16 mentions,  

followed by Donbass with 14. Ukraine is mentioned  13 times, then United States 11 times, 10 times as   “United States” and 1 time as “USA”. Then comes  “nazi” 10 times, the term is used alone but also   in combination namely “neo-nazi”. The adjective  Ukrainian is only mentioned 6 times as is NATO.   Europe is mentioned 5 times, American  3 times, UN Security council 2 times   and finally EU is mentioned only once. Unless I missed something, this clearly   indicates that the content of speech is more  concerned about “the West” than on Ukraine. 

Let us look at the sanctions and  Russian counter measures next.  After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in February  2022 the United States, member states of the   European Union and others, in total about 38  countries imposed sanctions and export restriction   on the Russian Federation in order to undermine  its ability to sustain the war in the long run.  “Export controls include bans or restrictions on  products for military end use or to military end   users, bans on exports of certain foreign-origin  items like semiconductors produced with U.S.  

advanced technologies, tools, and software, and  restrictions on exports of luxury goods to impose   costs on Russian oligarchs. In addition, many  multinational companies closed their Russian   plants or stopped exports to Russia.” This led to a partial isolation of   Russia’s economy and also led to a reduction in  effectiveness of Russia’s military industries,   particularly in the area of computer technology.  Yet, Russia had prepared to a certain degree for   this case, before the invasion Russian  imports had substantially increased,   as such their inventories were stocked up, e.g.,  in late 2021 the imports of integrated circuits   or simply said computer chips were increased. The sanctions after the start of the invasion   led to a decrease in imports in March and April  2022, with about 43 % below the prewar median   level. Yet, already in September 2022 Russian  imports had rebounded. Be aware this data  

is based on value, as such the quantity and  quality of goods imported might still differ   quite a bit from the pre-war situation. The EU exports to Russia dropped by   52 % from October 2021 to October 2022. US exports by 85 %, UK by 89 %, Ukraine   by 100 % and Japan by 41 %. This is also a good reminder   that although severe sanctions are in place that  the Russian economy is not completely isolated.  In order to fill the gap from the sanctions the  import from other countries was significantly   increased, most notably China. Other  important countries are Belarus, Turkey,   Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Uzbekistan.  Another aspect are of course transshipments,  

these are shipments from multinational companies  that don’t directly ship to Russia, but ship   to other countries that then ship to Russia. As so often, this not something particularly new,   to give one example from WW1: “While the Netherlands met their   promise to Britain to end the transit trade [to  Germany], nothing was done at first to stop the   vast increase in the export of home-produced food  to Germany. The Dutch thus exported between three   to five times more cheese, butter, eggs, potatoes  and meat in 1915 compared with 1913; practically   all Dutch food exports went to Germany.” (Winter,  Jay M.: The Cambridge History of the First   World War. Volume II: The State. Cambridge  University Press: Cambridge, 2016, p. 469) 

There are indications that this is happening  in a similar fashion currently, the Financial   Times notes that Imports from the European Union  and United Kingdom into Central Asian countries   increased significantly, particularly  Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Bloomberg notes:  “German exports to Russia fell to 38% from May  to July last year from the average of the same   period between 2017 and 2019. But they almost  doubled to Armenia and more than tripled to   Kyrgyzstan — a trend also seen in trade flows  to the Caucasus and central Asia from the US,   the UK, and other EU states, the European Bank  for Reconstruction and Development said Thursday.”  Thank you to Chris from Military Aviation  History for pointing me to this source.  So, let us take a look at Ukraine, whereas Russia  was sanctioned and partially cut off from the   world economy, Ukraine experienced something  quite different. Although the war made exports,   particularly grain exports via the Black  Sea significantly harder, Ukraine received   a lot of support from around the world. According to the Ukraine Support Tracker  

by the University of Kiel, Germany, a  total of 40 countries have supported   Ukraine with either financial, humanitarian  and/or military aid in 2022. Additionally,   the European Union is also mentioned.  Interestingly enough NATO is not listed,   I reached out to the authors and they noted that  NATO data is not explicitly shown but included   in the non-lethal support for each country. Legally, there is an important distinction here,   e.g., NATO is supplying non-lethal support  to Ukraine. Meanwhile, lethal support like   ammunition and weapons to Ukraine are done by  one country to Ukraine or to use the technical   term in a bilateral fashion, these can be NATO  member states, but it is not coming from NATO. 

In terms of support by percentage of the GDP, the  Top 5 countries are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,   Poland and the United States. Unsurprisingly  the top 4 countries have a long history   with Russia and the Soviet Union. When it comes to total commitment in terms   of billions, the Top 5 countries are the United  States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and   Poland. Be aware that the EU is technically  in second place, but it is not a country.  Additionally, be aware that different  countries took in and care for different   numbers of Ukrainian refugees, these  costs are not included in these numbers.  Generally, three types of aid are  differentiated, there is financial,   military and humanitarian aid. Here we look at the  data from February 1st 2022 to December 31st 2022.  

A total of 141.74 billion Euro were committed.  66.21 billion euro were financial aid,   63.51 billion euro military aid and  12.01 billion euro humanitarian aid.  Yet, the distribution over the course of the  year is quite interesting, humanitarian aid   shown in yellow stayed rather constant throughout  the year with the biggest spike in December.   Meanwhile, financial aid in red had 3 major  months, May, November and December as you can   see here. Probably, the most uneven distribution  is for military aid in blue, which peaked in   December with 22.92 billion Euro, so 36.1 % of  the military aid was committed in December 2022.   If we look at yearly distribution, we also see  that in August the number was the lowest, then   rising again steeply in September. Sadly, I don’t  know how these figures are influenced. Although,  

I discussed it with some people and likely  the most important factors are the following:  The initial support was motivated to keep Ukraine  in the war, once the front was stabilized and Kiev   relatively safe, the support dried up. If I  remember correctly, the interest about the   conflict had died down over the summer months,  furthermore most politicians were likely also   on vacation as well. This would explain the  limited support from June to August 2022.  In September the successful Ukrainian  counteroffensive brought the war back on the radar   in a big way. This likely led to an increased  spending in the hopes that the conflict might   end soon, additionally, the politicians did return  from their vacations, which likely also had some   influence, but I am likely biased here since there  are few things, I dislike more than bureaucrats.  The increase in November and December is  likely the result of the increased attacks   on Ukrainian infrastructure by missiles and  loitering munitions, which led to support in   terms of increased air defense system like  IRIS-T. Be aware that the announcement of   main battle tanks came in early January 2023  and had no effect on the December numbers. 

Another support for Ukraine is of  course logistics. A Ukrainian Tank   Officer mentioned in an interview, which  I covered in more detail in this video,   that some tanks are repaired in Europe: “20) The transporting of our tanks into   Europe is a significant help, a single factory  is able to repair 20-30 written off tanks per   month. They have a large supply of specialists. In  total we get back 2-3 tank companies every month.“   (,  last access: 2nd March 2023) 

This is also one major argument for the  Leopard 2 instead of the M1 Abrams for   Ukraine. Namely the existence of supply-chains,  repair facilities and trained personnel in many   European countries that already exists for Leopard  2s. Meanwhile, there is little for the M1 Abrams,   yes Poland got a handful, but that is just an  initial shipment and as such the whole supply   chain and training is still work in progress. Another major support is of course the training of   Ukrainian personnel in countries like the United  Kingdom, e.g., currently they are training crews  

for the Challenger 2 Tank. Yet, this is just  a small part of the overall numbers trained,   in February 2023 the bbc reported that: “Around 20,000 Ukrainians are to be put   through an intensive five-week course  to help them prepare for combat.”  Last year, Germany trained Ukrainian artillery  men on the Panzerhaubitze 2000. Again,   this is just a minor example, in  October 2022 it was reported that:  “European Union foreign ministers signed off on  Monday on a military assistance mission to train   15,000 Ukrainian personnel  in various member states.” 

Be aware, one probably could do  an entire video on this topic.  So, basically we covered the  United States and Europe, yet,   what about the other major and sometimes forgotten  players. Namely, India, China, Iran and Africa.  Let us start with India. Now, India is probably  the most interesting player since nearly everyone   forgets about India. Yet, India is not only  a nuclear power, it also has a population of  

about 1.38 billion. In comparison, China has 1.41  billion, the United States 0.33 billion. India has   a GDP of about 11.7 trillion US dollar, whereas  China has 39 trillion and the US 25 trillion.  Yet, what position has India been taking so far? According to Reuters in November 2022   the Indian Foreign Minister stated: ‘We have seen that the India-Russia relationship   has worked to our advantage; So, if it works to  my advantage, I would like to keep that going’. 

Thanks to Andrew for pointing this out to me. In February 2023, India abstained from voting   in a UN General Assembly resolution to  condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  In overall, the motion in the  Assembly was backed by 141 nations,   7 voted against it and 32 abstained. India’s armed forces use a lot of   Russian/Soviet equipment, additionally,  the Russian Federation had supported India   before diplomatically when it came to the Kashmir  region which is a point of conflict with Pakistan,   which also abstained from the vote. Now let us take a short look at Africa. 

In February 2023 Russia’s Foreign minister  returned from his second trip to Africa   since the invasion of Ukraine. A  RUSI article notes the following:  “Although the economic relationship between Russia  and African countries remains relatively piecemeal   and small-scale, there still appear to be many  states on the continent prepared to embrace or   at least ignore the most challenging  aspects of Russia’s view of the world.   The Russia-Africa Summit will be held in St  Petersburg later this year: established in 2019,   since Russia invaded Ukraine the Summit has  taken on a new urgency, with Russia keen to   identify new clients for its exports. [Russian  foreign minister] Lavrov has been open about the   fact that much of the conference will identify  ways for Russia and Africa to manoeuvre around   the US sanctions, including moving to using  national currencies rather than the US dollar.” 

Although Africa might seem to be of  minor importance, it is clearly not   forgotten. Russia is working for quite some  time now on replacing France influence in its   former colonies in the Sahel region. US president Joe Biden in December   2022 had also toured Africa as well. This was  followed up by the US Treasury Secretary with  

a 10-day tour of Africa in January 2023: “The tour represents the opening salvo to   the stepped-up outreach that Biden promised  during last month’s US-Africa Leaders Summit   as Washington looks to deepen economic ties  with the continent while offering a desirable   alternative to rivals such as China and Russia.” Additionally, South Africa recently conducted a   naval exercise together with Russia  and China. To quote a RUSI article:  “Overlapping with the anniversary of the [Ukraine]  war, the exercises are taking place around the   port of Durban and Richard Bay – strategically  important shipping routes that link up Europe   and Asia. This is less about trade – Russia and  South Africa have little turnover and imports are  

chiefly from China – and more about aligning  national interests to act as a counterweight   to the US-led world order. The timing is a clear  signal that there are countries for whom Russia’s   war does not present a barrier to cooperation, as  long as it chimes with their national interests.”  The next country that is important to take  a look at is Iran. The cooperation between   Russia and Iran is not a new relationship since  Russia and Iran are supporters of Assad in Syria,   yet, the ties are likely closer now. Iran as probably many of you know  

supplied loitering munitions to Russia that  were used particularly in the Winter months   to hit critical Ukrainian infrastructure. “Russia and Iran have formed a partnership   of convenience against Western powers  for decades, but that relationship has   historically been tinged by an undercurrent  of distrust and wariness, experts said.”  Since Russia due to Ukraine  War is lower on options,   this partnership is likely to intensify.  Yet, this is not a one-way street and could   tip the balance further as such have  regional or even global consequences:  “At the same time, it [improved relations  between Russia and Iran] could also endanger   U.S. allies in the Middle East that oppose Iran  if the Russian government delivers new forms of   military technology and high-end weapons systems  to the heavily sanctioned Middle Eastern power.”  According to the article, both countries  are currently building up new trade networks   in order to circumvent the various  sanctions both countries are facing. 

While Iran supplied loitering munitions  to Russia, Russia launched an Iranian   satellite into orbit in August 2022. Last, but definitely not least is China.  China in February 2023 announced that  its President Xi will be traveling to   Moscow for a summit with Putin. A  RUSI article notes the following:  “China has sought to present itself as a mediator  in Russia’s war, and while it lacks international   credibility – or trust and interest from Russia’s  side – Xi’s concerns about the ratcheting up of   tensions over the war have been noted and heard  in Moscow. China’s expression of concerns about  

the nuclear dimension have in previous  months been sufficient to alter Putin’s   rhetoric on the potential use of nuclear force.” On the anniversary of the Russian invasion of   Ukraine, China published at 12-point plan to end  the war in Ukraine. This is rather untypical for   China, yet, it clearly tries to establish itself  as a global problem solver according to some.  This must also be seen in the context of  the increasing tensions between the US and   China in 2022. In October 2022, the United  States imposed tech restrictions on China,  

like the restriction of US citizen supporting  the development, production or use of integrated   circuits aka computer chips. The latest  development in 2023 are fundamental steps   by a US House committee to allow for a ban  of the Chinese social media platform TikTok.  Of course, this must all the be seen in the  context of Taiwan, which China does not consider   as a sovereign country, but that is backed by  the United States. As such any major commitment  

by the United States in Ukraine, also weakens  its ability to interfere in the Indo-Pacific.  At the same time, if China would openly  support Russia with weapon deliveries,   this likely would sour the relations  even further, as a time article notes:  “Any provision of weapons to Russia would  instantly make an already fractious U.S.-China   relationship much worse. The aftershocks from  that quake would be felt around the world.” 

To summarize, although many of us see daily  videos of the fighting or other military action in   Ukraine. There is a lot more going on the global  stage, alliances are forming and shifting. The   flow of financial and logistical support is well  documented and the first was also mentioned by   Putin’s speech in February. Yet, there are many  more pieces at play, like the shift of trade   routes and the likely circumvention of trade  routes. Additionally, the lack or weakness of   certain powers can lead to regional clashes, like  between Amernia and Azerbaijan in 2022. Yet, such   incidents can also have a global impact as well. Thank you for watching and see you next time!

2023-03-17 03:40

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