Monday, March 06, 2023


Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan injured while filming action scene
Ukraine war: Russia's Wagner boss suggests 'betrayal' in Bakhmut battle The head of Russia's Wagner private army says it is not getting the ammunition it needs from Moscow, as it seeks to gain control of Bakhmut. ...... But Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin says his army's lack of ammunition could be "ordinary bureaucracy or a betrayal". ...... many analysts say it has become a symbolic prize in the war and has little strategic value....... And in a further sign of the rift, on Monday Mr Prigozhin said his representative was unable to access the headquarters of Russia's military command. It is unclear where the headquarters is located. ........ "What if they [the Russian authorities] want to set us up, saying that we are scoundrels - and that's why they are not giving us ammunition, not giving us weapons, and not letting us replenish our personnel, including [recruiting] prisoners?" ....... In Saturday's video, Mr Prigozhin also said Russia's front line would collapse without his troops. ........ The defence ministry said he was inspecting work carried out to "restore infrastructure in the Donbas" - words that are likely to grate in Ukraine, given Russia's responsibility for the destruction.

Wagner chief warns of collapse of Russian front line if there is retreat from Bakhmut the Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, uploaded a video on Saturday saying that his troops were fearful they were being “set up” to be blamed if Russia lost its war with Ukraine. He said in the video that without his troops in Bakhmut, Russia’s front line would collapse. ...... Prigozhin has staked his reputation on the battle for Bakhmut, and has been highly critical of what he says is a lack of support from Russia’s defense ministry, while also publicly feuding with the generals in charge of the wider war effort. ...... The Institute for the Study of War wrote over the weekend that Ukraine’s soldiers in the city were not at immediate risk of being encircled by Russian forces........ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in February that the conflict in Bakhmut was getting more difficult, and that Kyiv wouldn’t pay “any price” to defend the city. ...... “On March 5, I wrote a letter to the commander of the [special military operation] grouping about the urgent need to allocate ammunition. On March 6, at 8 a.m., my representative at the headquarters had his pass cancelled and was denied access,” Prigozhin said in a post, according to Reuters.

Russia will keep selling cheap oil at bumped-up levels to India - this is why they're both in it for the long haul, a top analyst explains Even if the Ukraine war ends, Moscow will keep its crude prices cheap for India ....... Russia's bumped-up oil exports to India are here to stay as the two are building a long-term relationship based on cheap prices ........ "The entire India-to-Russia story is a long-term story, which will not suddenly stop. It's going to be a new kind of feature of the market," said Katona, the lead crude oil analyst at commodities intelligence firm Kpler. ......... While China is the top importer of Russia's crude, Moscow has a keen interest in keeping its foot in the door with India. The country's refiners have become an increasingly important market for it after the G-7 countries imposed a price cap and other sanctions meant to crush Russia's energy revenues funding its war in Ukraine. ......... Even if the Ukraine war ends, Katona thinks the discounts will almost certainly remain in place — and the prices might get cheaper from where they are now. India is paying about $10 to $12 dollars below the price ........ India bought almost no Russian crude oil one year ago, but has been snapping up record amounts of crude at discounted costs this year after other countries backed away from Moscow. ........ A key reason is that Indian companies pay on a delivered basis, meaning they don't handle the shipping and insurance. Russia can maximize its profits for the whole transaction in its charges for those extras. Chinese purchasers, in contrast, might insist on using their own fleets ........ big Russian companies don't have equity in China, while they do have ownership stakes in Indian refiners. ......... In January, Russia sent almost 2 million barrels of crude a day to India, not far behind China's nearly 2.5 million, according to Kpler data. Its number three importer is on the edge of the Asia market — Turkey, well behind at around 400 thousand barrels a day. ......... "In a sense, it's not much of a change, because it's only a reshuffling of what was flowing where initially. Europe was buying this. Now India is buying this. It's taken on a longer route, but it's also more discounted" .......... Russia pushes out Saudi Arabia from India, so Saudi Arabia sells more to China ......... India and China, the economic powerhouses of the region, are both buying crude below market levels. Meanwhile, importers in Europe and the US have to pay full price.

NYC super-commuters travel up to 5 hours round-trip to the office. They say it’s worth it

To avert war over Taiwan, a Sino-US joint declaration may be needed As was the case with the negotiations with Britain over Hong Kong pre-1997, China could agree to sidestep Taiwan’s political status in talks with the US to explore what impact reunification would have on American and Chinese interests ........ Last year, The Economist named the Taiwan Strait the most dangerous place on Earth. ....... With People’s Liberation Army aircraft flying closer and more frequently to Taiwan, talk of war is pervasive. Taiwan recently extended mandatory military training for its young men from four months to a year. A book by a retired Taiwanese general, advocating asymmetric warfare to defend the island – essentially calling for urban guerilla warfare – was reportedly well received by US military experts and strategists. .........

war in the Taiwan Strait is possible. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to achieve reunification

.......... In 2005, China passed its Anti-Secession Law which stipulates the use of force where there is no hope of a peaceful resolution of the issue. .......... The changing mood is also due to China’s new Taiwan policy framework. President Xi Jinping, in declaring national reunification part of China’s grand rejuvenation, the core of his political agenda to be achieved by 2049, has in effect set a deadline to reunite with the island. This ups the pressure. .......... One way or another, President Xi will achieve this. The question is not when, but how. .......... Beijing’s determination to retake Taiwan may be hard to understand for people outside the country. But it is no different from the US government deciding to take back Hawaii by force if Confederate general Robert Lee had staked out the island after his defeat in the American Civil War. ............ Taiwan is a major supplier to the US of the high-end chips it needs for both commercial and military applications. There are few, if any, alternatives to these microprocessors, which makes the issue of strategic importance. .......... Staying at the top in world affairs, maintaining its technology and military edge, and ensuring the US dollar remains the premium world trade and central bank reserve currency are all a matter of life and death to many in the US leadership. ........... the People’s Liberation Army seems confident of its ability to take Taiwan. ............. There would be war between the US and China only if Beijing has no alternative but to use force and the US decides to intervene. This should be, and can be, avoided. .......... The Sino-British negotiation over Hong Kong could be a possible template.

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