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Who is winning in Ukraine? Philippines the next frontline in World War 3?

The Manila Times logo The Manila Times 28/01/2023 New Worlds

FILIPINOS should watch this closely... we may well be in line to be casualties of the next battleground.

After 11 months of fighting, despite many declarations in western mainstream media that Russia has run out of missiles, that its economy is collapsing under the sanctions, that people are rising up against Putin, that he is dying of cancer, that Ukraine is winning and Russians are on the run, that each next batch of weapons is turning point in the war that will win Ukraine the war, what is the verifiable reality?

All the analysts know it isn't really a Ukraine-Russian war, it's a war between US-led military alliance-NATO and Russia. Ukraine is just providing the young men to sacrifice and blow up on the frontline.

Putin vs Zelenskyy and EU leaders; President Marcos caught between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping; remains of war; and World War 3? IDSI COLLAGE © Provided by The Manila Times Putin vs Zelenskyy and EU leaders; President Marcos caught between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping; remains of war; and World War 3? IDSI COLLAGE

Ukraine is clearly losing and getting destroyed. Russia and US-NATO, on the other hand, are holding their positions in a war of attrition, attempting to weaken each other without direct battle. Here are the indications:

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message on Nov. 30, 2022 that an estimated 100,000 Ukrainians had been killed. Kyiv quickly denied this and claimed only 13,000 were killed, but its government statistics also showed over 30,000 were missing. So, likely over 130,000 killed, in a force of some over 350,000 ranged against a Russian force of below 200,000 originally. It appears that Ukrainians are dying in multiple numbers for each Russian death.

It's hard for a country on artificial life support and missing limbs to declare victory, but that is what the US and the EU are declaring for Ukraine. Twenty percent of its territory is occupied, but Ukraine is winning? Yes, Ukraine led a spectacular raid into Russia, blew up a bridge and celebrated with a new stamp and open drinking spread in social media, and recovered over 2,000 square kilometers in a Kherson counterattack.

Right after that, however, Russia had its revenge by blowing up utilities that it had studiously avoided for over nine months, so 70 percent of Ukraine has lost its power and regular water supply. Forces were re-positioned, towns were retaken. Not too much celebration in cold winter without power in Ukraine now, although drinking still goes on to keep the body warm.

It's hard to negotiate for peace when former German chancellor Angela Merkel openly admitted recently that the peace agreement in Minsk signed by the different powers was just a decoy, a lie by the EU and the US to give Ukraine time to build up and oppress its ethnic Russians by banning their language and culture, and bombing them for eight years, killing 14,000, which the US and the EU never mention.

It would also be harder to hold talks if these can only start based on the condition that all territories in Donbas, Luhansk need to be returned for starters, and when these were offered earlier but Ukraine's President Zelenskyy, on Boris Johnson and Biden's insistence, refused.

Any talk of trying to arrive at peace by diplomatic or other armed means is now illegal for the Ukrainian people. The US never put peace with mutual considerations on agenda, only weapons and capitulation to US interests, not Ukrainians. The Europeans and Russians try to open discussions periodically, but the US throws in a wrench at every turn.

On the economic front, the US froze $300 billion of Russian reserves, an illegal act against mutually agreed sovereignty of the world reserve system, and an act of war, meant to crush the ruble as a currency. Instead, by tying the purchase of Russian oil and resources to use of the ruble, it became the strongest currency in the world, appreciating against the US dollar while all the world's currencies had record depreciations.

The US banned the Russians from the Swift currency clearing system and asked for the EU and its allies to ban the purchase of Russian oil and gas, but these continued to be purchased by almost all US allies, including India, the EU, and even the US and Iran. And though total volumes declined, Russia was able to build record surpluses because of high prices.

The hijacking of the US dollar clearing system led to more deals in local national currencies by Middle Eastern countries, Russia, China, Brazil, India... creating a movement for alternative currencies and clearing systems to the US dollar, and Swift.

The Ukraine is asking for over $700 billion as economic aid to rebuild the country and were told to ask respectfully. Recent corruption investigations on unaccounted billions forced the resignation of 15 of Zelenskyy's top officials. The US did send over $70 billion, while many Americans were going homeless and EU citizens were going on mass protests against more and for Ukrainians military, though the oil and "defense" companies made hundreds of billions from the war. Does this smell like victory?

A new batch of vaunted 41 US Abrams tanks and 12 Leopard tanks from Germany will be sent and operational, after about three to four months of training. Obviously not enough to turn around the war, but enough to test these equipment and Russian responses using Ukrainian youths for target practice. Quite economical and real time, not just simulation!

The average Russian inflation in 2022 attained was at about 12 percent, not far from the EU levels of 10 percent, and the US attained 9 percent before improving. The widely intended collapse of Russia did not happen, with just a contraction of under 3 percent, against an EU growth of 1 percent, US growth of 3 percent in 2022.

To cut EU purchases of Russian gas and oil, the US is suspected by the world, and even by the EU allies, of blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines that could supply the EU with cheap gas. The US and UK blamed Russia, but the Russians were able to provide taped conversations of the UK prime minister possibly discussing the sabotage, as well as US President Biden promising to destroy the Nord Stream supply line. The EU investigation by Germany, Sweden and Denmark of the sabotage did not allow Russian participation although it was proposed by Russia. The three decided to keep the findings secret "for national security" reasons.

The EU has had to spend hundreds of billions of Euros more to buy energy from the US at four times the market price, very profitable for US companies. Energy costs were so high Europe's industries are leaving Europe, some moving to China and Asean, many being courted by the US, a supposed ally of the EU... yet the EU is afraid to call out the US, on such profitable betrayal.

Ukraine will not only fail to take back Donbas and Crimea, it will also almost certainly lose Kharkiv, Kherson and surrounding areas.

The Ukrainian military has recaptured 2,400 square kilometers of territory but has been losing ground since Jan. 4, 2023 — a small retreat like Russia's withdrawal from the city of Kherson in November; although embarrassing, it made military sense. But Ukraine is now losing territory again, even before the 300,000 new personnel Russia is mobilizing enters the fight.

The US and the EU are digging in, unable to accept the looming defeat, throwing more weapons and Ukrainians into the battle. There is no moving toward peace from the US. Russia sounds off openness for peace but conditioned upon "accepting current realities."

The Philippines? While President Marcos has reiterated the Philippines independent foreign policy and ruled out US military bases in Clark and Subic, saying foreign bases weren't allowed under the country's Constitution, DFA Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro announced, "We have agreed to finalize the procedures for the additional agreed locations. In fact, it is a work in progress." Her statement comes after the Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) held in Manila, where in the joint statement, the Philippine and US foreign affairs and defense panels highlighted Subic Bay as "priority site," leading some experts to ask which interest are the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Defense are representing?

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