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9 New Facts about the Russian-Ukrainian War: China-Taiwan, Japan-NATO

The war between Russia and Ukraine is still ongoing. A number of new facts occurred from Wednesday to Thursday (11/5/2023).

Among other things, analysts consider Russia’s “Victory Day” parade to show how the attack on Ukraine has drained the country’s military resources. Not to mention, Russian mercenaries from the Wagner company, which is being considered a terrorist group.

New developments also spread to Asia with increasingly surprising relations between NATO and Japan. Russia also mentioned China and discussed Taiwan.

Following are the complete facts summarized by CNBC Indonesia from a number of sources

Ukraine Pushes Back Russia 

Ukrainian troops reportedly repelled Russian troops in the latest fighting in the Bakhmut region, Eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, citing Reuters . This was also confirmed by Ukraine’s Third Independent Strike Brigade.

The Russian 72nd Brigade which was stationed on the front line of the battle was said to have suffered serious damage. The soldiers also reportedly fled the area.

“The 6th and 7th squadrons of this brigade were almost completely destroyed, the brigade’s intelligence was destroyed, a large number of combat vehicles were destroyed, a large number of prisoners were taken,” said a leader of Ukraine’s Third Independent Assault Brigade, Andriy Biletsky.

Previously, the boss of Wagner’s Russian mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had said that the Russian 72nd Brigade had withdrawn 3 km, Tuesday. His troops, he added, lost 500 men.

But unfortunately, President Vladimir Putin’s government in the Kremlin has not commented. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military leader said Russia was still trying to win over Bakhmut even though the situation was difficult.

Europe Discusses New Russian Sanctions

European Union (EU) countries started discussions about new sanctions on Russia. This would target the Red Bear’s trading “restrictions”.

The proposed sanctions would target companies in countries with ties to Russia. China and Iran are among the targets.

“Allows export restrictions in other countries because they violate existing trade restrictions,” explained a Reuters source quoted by CNBC International.

“The new sanctions will highlight that oil tankers are not allowed to unload on the high seas or arrive at ports with their GPS trackers off,” he added.

“This is a new attempt to counter Russian oil by the G7 countries,” he explained.

On the other hand the EU will also stop transit through Russia for more of its exports. This includes advanced technology products and aircraft spare parts.

“If we see that goods go from the EU to third countries and then end up in Russia, we can propose to member states to sanction the export of such goods,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“This tool will be a last resort and will be used with caution,” he said.

Ukrainian Drones Attack Russian Military

Meanwhile, two Ukrainian drones reportedly attempted to attack a military facility in the Voronezh region in southwestern Russia. This was said by the local governor, Alexander Gusev, Wednesday.

“Today, early in the morning, at Voronezh military facilities, an attempted attack by two enemy UAVs was successfully intercepted,” he said in TASS.=

“As a result of countermeasures, one of them deviated from its course and fell while the other was knocked out by the fire,” he said.

Guzev said additional security measures would be implemented in the Voronezh region. This is the latest in a series of attacks after drones on Putin’s palace and a Russian oil refinery.

Putin’s Military Resources Are Nearly Exhausted

Tuesday’s “Russian Victory Day” military parade was seen by analysts as showing the Kremlin’s military desperation. This is because the facts show that only one Stalin-era tank was exhibited in the annual military parade through Red Square.

“It would be difficult to conjure a more fitting symbol of Russia’s declining military fortunes than the mere sight of a Stalin-era tank rolling across Red Square during the May 9 ‘Victory Day’ celebrations,” said Peter Dickinson, editor of the Atlantic Council’s Ukraine Alert journal .

“Over the past two decades, Vladimir Putin has used ‘Victory Day’ to showcase Russia’s modern rise as a military superpower, with dozens of the latest tanks typically taking part in each annual parade,” he added.

“This year, however, the only tank on display is a T-34 model dating from World War II,” he explained.

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War also noted the same thing. He said it was strange that Russia did not show off “modern tanks, which are urgently needed to win in Ukraine”.

Ukrainians themselves were quick to comment on the ‘Victory Day’ parade which was not as luxurious as usual. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s official Twitter account quipped that “modern Russian military equipment can be found much more easily at Ukraine’s ‘military trophy exhibition’ than at the Victory Parade in Moscow”.

It should be noted that the “Victory Day” parade was a celebration of the success of the Soviet Union in defeating the Nazis in World War 2 (WW2). This event was attended by Putin and a number of Central Asian countries that were part of the Soviet Union.

Wagner Labeled a Terrorist Organization

Britain is reportedly considering branding the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary force fighting in Ukraine, as a terrorist organisation. This was published in the local Times newspaper.

The move would mean sanctions could be imposed on private troops also fighting in Africa. Previously the same request was also discussed by France.

“The French Parliament asked the EU to officially label Wagner as a terrorist group. This means the EU can freeze assets belonging to the group and its members and prohibit EU citizens from dealing with it,” wrote CNBC International.

Zelensky Thanks to Biden

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky thanked United States (US) President Joe Biden for the latest security aid package. Uncle Sam plans to provide assistance worth US$1.2 billion.

“There is more good news from partners. From what the public can tell, there is a new defense package from America,” Zelenskyy said on his official Telegram channel.

“Artillery, protection against terrorist missiles and drones, other things to strengthen our defense,” he explained.

“Thank you to President Biden, the US Congress, and every American family for your continued support, for the American strength that makes us strong,” he added.

It should be noted, with this latest assistance the total US commitment has become more than US$36.9 billion since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, the US itself is now threatened with default due to the budget ceiling not being increased.

Putin’s New Decree

Meanwhile, President Putin signed a decree on Wednesday. This would allow conscription for the country’s military reserve training.

“I order in 2023 Russian citizens on the reserve list to undergo military training in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the National Guard Troops of the Russian Federation, state security agencies and the Federal Security Service,” the decree said.

Russia’s military reserves consist of a reserve of special combat soldiers, which may number as many as two million men. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu numbered almost 25 million people.

Previously, Russia’s sending hundreds of thousands of people to fight on the Ukrainian battlefield had caused dissent and protests. This prompted many Russians – especially young people – to leave the country.

China vs Taiwan

Russia’s attack on Ukraine is said to have informed China’s ‘calculations’ about the possibility of an attack on Taiwan. This was said by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“What happens in Europe matters for Asia, and what happens in Asia matters for Europe,” Stoltenberg said.

“Security is global,” he explained.

“Beijing is watching closely what’s happening in Ukraine, the price that President Putin is paying, but also the potential rewards. So what’s happening in Ukraine is actually important for the calculations that Beijing, China is making regarding, for example, Taiwan,” he said again.

Japan and NATO

Japan is reportedly in talks to open a NATO liaison office. This is the first time in Asia.

This was said by the country’s foreign minister to CNN International in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. According to him, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has made the world less stable.

“We have had discussions, but no details (have been) finalized,” said Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Hayashi specifically cited Russia’s attack on Ukraine last year as an event that had ramifications far beyond Europe’s borders. This forced Japan to rethink regional security.

“The reason why we are discussing this is because since Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the world has become more unstable,” he stressed.

“Something that happens in Eastern Europe is not just limited to problems in Eastern Europe, and it directly affects the situation here in the Pacific. That’s why cooperation between us in East Asia and NATO (becomes) increasingly important,” he explained.

The opening of a NATO liaison office in Japan would mark a significant development for the Western alliance amid deepening geopolitical fault lines. This is likely to draw criticism from the Chinese government, which has previously warned against such a move.

Please note that Nikkei Asia first reported plans to open an office in Japan. The media cited unnamed Japanese and NATO officials.

A liaison office in Japan will enable discussions with NATO security partners, such as South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Especially about geopolitical challenges, disruptive new technologies and cyber threats.

In fact, NATO already has similar liaison offices in other places including Ukraine and Vienna. When the big NATO meeting was held in 2022, Japan was known to be one of the two countries attending even though it was not a member.

Source : CNBC