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Stepping into the reality of the Russia-Ukraine war in 2023: stalemate? Peace talks? Who will win the energy war?


By the last day of 2022, the Russo-Ukraine War has entered its 11th month, and the war situation has once again fallen into another invisible stalemate. There are two modes of warfare in the stalemate at the moment: one is the front-line confrontation

By the last day of 2022, the Russo-Ukraine War has entered its 11th month, and the war situation has once again fallen into another invisible stalemate.

There are two modes of warfare in the stalemate at the moment: one is a front-line confrontation, and the other is a long-range strike.

Far and near wars are stalemate

On top of the front-line confrontation, Ukraine is attacking a defensive city called Kreminna in Udon's Lugansk Oblast, while Russia is attacking a city in Udon's Donetsk Oblast (Donetsk) as in the past six months. A city called Bakhmut - Volodymyr Zelensky visited this city earlier before he came to the United States. He also asked soldiers to sign the Ukrainian flag and send it to the US Congress as a gift.

After entering autumn, the Ukrainian battlefield is often in a muddy state. Sometimes soldiers can step on their knees in the trenches, so it is extremely difficult to march. However, as the temperature gets lower and lower in winter, frozen soil will appear. In the current situation, this is the time when the two sides can go to war.

The situation in Ukraine: On November 10, 2022, a Ukrainian soldier fired a mortar at a Russian position in Bakhmut (formerly known as Artemivsk) in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.


However, judging from the current situation, the chances of the two sides advancing on the ground are not great.

Although Ukraine has always said that winter will not change their offensive, but on December 29, the head of the Ukrainian military intelligence department Budanov (Kyrylo Budanov) admitted that Russia and Ukraine are actually unable to advance, and Ukraine does not have enough military resources. advance.

Judging from the satellite pictures, Russia has built defensive lines on different fronts in recent months, such as concrete tank nails, which are obviously preparing for defense, not offense. After all, if Russia wants to attack, this kind of Heavy defense can also become its own hindrance.

When Russia and Ukraine were in a stalemate on the ground front, both sides launched long-range attacks against each other.

Since October, Russia has continued to use missiles and drones to attack energy infrastructure. A large-scale attack on December 29 caused the loss of 90% of the electricity supply in Lviv, a large city on the border between Ukraine and Poland. However, the premise of effectively attacking energy infrastructure is the concentration of infrastructure. If one point is lost, the entire network will die. However, as individual generators and even wood-burning stoves become more and more popular, the strategic effect of this attack on infrastructure will eventually be limited. It is difficult to shake the determination of the Ukrainian people to resist Russia.

At the same time, the West and Ukraine have always assessed that Russia's precision strike missiles are running out. Recently, there is also evidence that Russia has used missiles capable of loading nuclear warheads, as well as missiles that have just been manufactured for about a month or two to attack.

Whether the judgment of "missile shortage" is accurate can be seen from whether Russia's infrastructure strikes will gradually decrease in the next two to three months.

On December 30, a house in Kyiv was hit by a drone.


On the other hand, Ukraine also has sporadic long-range attacks against Russia.

For example, since December, the Ukrainian side has had three drone attacks on the Engels Air Force Base, which is nearly 700 kilometers away from the Russian-Ukrainian front line.

Due to the lack of traditional long-range weapons in Ukraine, many military analysts believe that the drones they use are modified from Soviet unmanned reconnaissance drones in the 1970s.

On the one hand, this reflects that Russia's air defense does have a big loophole. After all, the Sige base is very important. It is the base of some strategic bombers used by Russia to launch nuclear weapons attacks; on the other hand, Ukraine's attack will probably not change the overall war situation. , but just a kind of psychological warfare—now the United States dare not give Ukraine long-range attack weapons, because it is worried that hitting the Russian mainland will escalate the war to an unmanageable point, and for the hesitation of the United States, Ukraine just wants to use these direct attacks on Russian territory Actions to prove that Putin at least dare not go further in terms of force.

In the unnecessary consumption of the deadlock, can Russia and Ukraine move towards peace talks?

In fact, both sides have been talking about "peace talks" since December, but the way they talk about "peace talks" basically shows the meaning of "no peace talks".

Both sides say they are willing to talk, and both accuse the other of not wanting to talk, but the prerequisite for both sides to talk is that the other party fully accepts their own conditions—if the war is for the other party to fully accept their own conditions, this kind of "willing to talk" In fact, it's just another way to show your fighting spirit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ten peace proposals include provisions such as Russia’s complete withdrawal of troops from Ukraine and the prosecution of a special court for war crimes. At the time of the summit, it was also stated that Russia's participation was predicated on acceptance of the War Crimes Court.

These are essentially the terms of defeat and surrender, and of course it is impossible for Russia to accept them.

The picture is December 26, 2022, from left to right Azerbaijani President Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, Belarusian President Lukashenko, Kazakhstan President Tokayev, Russian President Putin, and Kyrgyz President Zaparov , Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Turkmen President Berdymukhamedov and Uzbek President Mirziyoyev attended the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States held in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have recently publicly expressed their willingness to talk.

Although Lavrov is still saying that demilitarization, de-Nazification, and no longer posing a threat to Russia's security are the prerequisites for negotiations, the main goal is to get Ukraine to accept the reality on the battlefield. In other words, it is an in-situ plan The world recognizes Putin's hard-earned gains since he went to war in February.

This is of course a condition that Ukraine cannot accept.

Therefore, for the time being, this war can only be resolved on the battlefield.

The question is, the two sides are deadlocked, what kind of development can break the deadlock?

There is a recent saying in Ukraine that Russia will recruit 300,000 troops in September, and they will train well this winter, and then they will come down from Belarus to attack Kyiv again in the coming year. The enemy's head" strategy.

Indeed, in recent months, the number of Russian troops in Belarus has continued to increase. The two sides have also conducted a series of military exercises and military training, and Belarusian troops have also undergone some surprise inspections related to war preparations.

Moreover, Putin visited Minsk on December 19, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Belarus many times in December. By December 27, Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko We also met again around the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Putin and Belarusian President Lukashenko met in Minsk on December 19.


On December 29, an S-300 anti-aircraft missile from Ukraine also hit Belarus and was intercepted. The Belarusian side summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to express dissatisfaction.

Ukraine initially said that it wanted to investigate the incident, and it could not be ruled out that Russia deliberately provoked it. However, the Ukrainian side also pointed out that this was nothing special. Similar incidents happened more than once during Ukraine’s defense before, and it basically admitted that it was Ukraine’s fault. , just like the previous incident where the missile fell into Poland.

It is not impossible to take advantage of Belarus to attack Kyiv again.

However, from Lukashenko's restraint on the Ukrainian missile cross-border incident, it can be seen that he does not want Belarus to "step deeper and deeper" in the Russia-Ukraine war.

If Russia enters Kyiv again, the most likely development is that the Russian army will fight through Belarus instead of Belarus participating in the war.

When Lukashenko recently talked about national security issues, he has been emphasizing that Belarus must beware of the western borders of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia to ensure the safety of the Belarusian army. The implication is that he has no resources to help Russia go south to attack Ukraine.

Regardless of whether the stalemate can be broken, Russia and Ukraine now have enough confidence to fight for a few more months, or even half a year.

Putin held an enlarged meeting of the Ministry of National Defense earlier, and accepted several military expansion plans proposed by Shoigu. The total number of military personnel increased by more than 300,000, the age of the conscription system was raised, and various new additions were made in military production, military regions, and legions. With the adjustment, it is obviously necessary to prepare for a longer-term battle.

On December 29, an S-300 anti-aircraft missile from Ukraine also hit Belarus and was intercepted. The Belarusian side summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to express dissatisfaction.

Pictured is the wreckage of the missile.


Moreover, in terms of diplomacy, India, China and other countries also continue to purchase Russian energy. The recent Sino-Russian joint naval exercise, the Vice Chairman of the Federal Security Council Dmitry Medvedev (Dmitry Medvedev) visited China to meet with Xi Jinping, and the December 30th The video dialogue between Putin and Xi Jinping shows that the relatively short-term event of the Russia-Ukraine war will not change the long-term relationship between China and Russia.

With the support of these relatively positive diplomatic relations, Putin has more capital to support himself on the Ukrainian battlefield.

As for Ukraine, after Zelensky's visit to the United States, in addition to receiving the Air Defense Air Defense System, the United States also passed 45 billion U.S. dollars in aid. The EU also persuaded Hungary, which has always been pro-Russian, to pass 18 billion euros. Aid to Ukraine, in addition to weapons, these aids will also financially support the day-to-day operations of the Klan government.

The anti-Russian will combined with European and American resources determines that Ukraine will not rush to seek reconciliation.

Energy war or draw?

In addition to the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield and the attitudes of countries other than Russia and Ukraine, the Russo-Ukrainian war also has the aspect of "energy war", which is reflected in various actions by the West to suppress Russia's energy revenue and Russia's control of energy supply.

Regarding the US$60 price limit imposed on Russia's seaborne oil by the European Union, G7, and Australia on December 5, Putin recently announced that he will not provide crude oil and other petroleum products to countries participating in the implementation of the sanctions, which will take effect in February next year.

On December 21, in Washington, U.S., Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the White House and was greeted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

However, the impact of this action on the energy market is limited.

First of all, the above-mentioned series of countries have long banned the import of seaborne crude oil from Russia. The European Union’s ban was implemented as early as early December, and the ban on Russian petroleum products will be implemented in February next year. You don't sell either" pattern.

Secondly, according to news from the shipping industry, a quarter of Russia’s seaborne oil exports between December 5 and 25 still use the insurance of state-owned companies that implement price-limit orders, and most of them are exported to China, India, and Turkey It can be seen that if Putin no longer "obeys" the price limit order, he can target these countries instead of Western countries.

Of course, such action, in coordination with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), could reduce global oil supplies.

However, at a time when the global economy is uncertain, such marginal supply reductions have limited impact on energy prices. For Russia, it is also a "seven wounds" that will reduce its own oil revenue.

But looking at it from another perspective, since the Russo-Ukrainian War, the public price of Russian crude oil has been lower than Brent’s level of 20 to 30 US dollars, and now it is hovering around 55 US dollars a barrel. Nor did it actually have a major impact on Russia's oil revenues.

There have been concerns about gas supplies to Europe this winter after the German-Russian Nord Stream 1 pipeline was cut off earlier this year.

But in fact, the price of natural gas in Europe today has fallen to the level before the war between Russia and Ukraine, while the gas storage capacity of EU countries is still more than 80%. Disappeared, but not overwhelmed by Putin's "energy card", the intention to aid Ukraine still exists.

European natural gas price trend so far this year.

(Trading Economics)

Calculated in this way, in the energy war, Russia and Europe and the United States can be regarded as a tie.

Entering the new year, when the battlefield is at a stalemate, all parties are unwilling to negotiate peace, and the fronts that do not involve guns like the "energy war" have not seen results, we cannot see how the Russo-Ukrainian War will end for the time being.

If we draw an end to 2022 with a more optimistic attitude, I hope we are just "fans of the authorities" who are not optimistic about the end of the war.

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Source: hk1

All news articles on 2022-12-31

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