Political activity, political impact of social problems and war effects (28.06-04.07)
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Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Maliar acknowledged on July 2, that Russian troops have been conducting offensive operations in the east of Ukraine and have advanced in the Avdiyiv, Marin, Lyman and Swativ areas. https://war.obozrevatel.com/ukr/vorog-rushiv-upered-na-svativskomu-napryamku-tochatsya-vazhki-boi-malyar.htm?utm_source=wpush&utm_medium=push&utm_campaign=
Ukrainian government officials have ceased to deny that the Russian troops could obstruct Ukrainian offensive and managed to launch counterattacks in several directions.
But in spite of this admission, there will be no changed in the Ukrainian strategy, because due to the political reasons, the Ukrainian government strives to sustain an illusion that the offensive will be successfully accomplished and the Russian army will suffer a severe defeat.
At the international level Zelensky and his associates will eventually acknowledge the failure of the offensives, but will try to persuade the Western allies that it can be reinvigorated if Ukraine obtains more ammunition and military equipment.
Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that Ukrainian cannot break Russian defense lines due to a shortage of large-caliber shells and missiles. Because of Russian air superiority, Ukrainian air forces had to limit their operations and cannot obstruct the reinforcement of the Russian army. . https://www.corriere.it/esteri/23_giugno_29/podolyak-intervista-ucraina-8cb418ba-15e1-11ee-b570-8ff72e535806.shtml
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi declared that the Ukrainian offensives will non be progressing rapidly, because Ukrainian forces are lacking enough artillery and air support https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/30/valery-zaluzhny-ukraine-general-interview/?fbclid=IwAR2bF946OZ3suTPZ4bqv5KDwTSx8XgHqAe1bJZbzwEYIQZHf69X67DX19dI
This statement of the Ukraine’s top general proves that the offensive was launched despite an obvious shortage of the combat power required to reach the proclaimed goals, probably in the hope that Russian defense would collapse because of low-motivation of troops.
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov keeps insisting that the current events on the battlefield should be perceived only as a “preview” before the main attack which is going to come soon and bring a decisive success to the Ukrainian army https://kyivindependent.com/reznikov-main-event-in-counteroffensive-still-to-come-no-reserve-involved-yet/
But such declarations are being replaced by assertions that the hostilities are going to last for a ling time and Ukraine should be provided with financial and military support to continue them until it prevails over Russia.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba stated in an interview with the Italian TV channel La7 that Ukrainians are ready to continue hostilities for many years. According to Kuleba, the Ukrainian government conducted a public opinion survey, which showed that 58% of Ukrainians are ready to endure hardships as long as it will take to achieve victory. Ukraine should be given weapons and it will be able to win the war. https://www.la7.it/otto-e-mezzo/video/sicuri-del-sostegno-usa-a-lungo-il-ministro-ucraino-cita-milan-liverpool-30-06-2023-492836
Prominent political scientist Graham Allison predicted that Ukraine is going to risk stalemate on the battlefield, which it will not be able to resolve. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/06/26/russia-coup-ukraine-opportunity-stalemate/
The Ukrainian government seems to be unapprehensive of the impending danger or just do not want to take it into consideration. Its main goal is to ensure that the Western military and financial support will continue even if Ukraine is compelled to stop offensive actions and lose any opportunity to achieve victory in the near future. As we have already mentioned, the Ukrainian government will try at all costs to demonstrate Ukrainian military capabilities in advance of Vilnius NATO summit.
This task has been officially acknowledged by President Zelensky, who admitted in his interview with Spanish public broadcaster RTVE that “Ukraine wants to show results before NATO summit but every advance costs lives”.
Zelensky urged the Western allies to continue providing support so that Ukraine can achieve results and blamed them for Ukraine’s inability to breach the Russian defense due to the lack of artillery support. According to Zelensky, Ukrainian troops cannot make rapid progress because it can lead to heavy casualties and it can be avoided if the Ukrainian army advances slowly. Of course this type of advance will require more time and will last for months but “fast things are not always safe”. https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20230630/entrevista-volodymyr-zelensky-guerra-ucrania/2450911.shtml?fbclid=IwAR1EbBhzFp1zITUUaf1bv6XjvDEDtaZb0IPREliQzrvpSwCh8xgHXnaIGB4
Within Ukraine, Zelensky has to convince the society that Ukraine will be admitted to US and NATO in order to compensate for the lack of military achievements. He has already started to threaten that he will ignore the Vilnius summit if the issue of Ukraine’s accession to NATO has not been solved out.
Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Ihor Zhovkva stated that Zelensky will “personally come to Vilnius for the NATO summit only if Ukraine gets a satisfactory result”.https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-wants-nato-invite-vilnius-summit-urges-courage-zelenskiy-aide-2023-06-29/
In his speech in parliament on the Constitution day Zelensky tried to pose Ukraine’s membership in NATO as the best way to strengthen the alliance and increase its ability to counterbalance Russia by deploying the Ukrainian brigades with combat experience in the Eastern European countries bordering Russia. https://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/ukrayina-peremogi-bude-krayinoyu-gidnoyu-svoyih-geroyiv-vist-83869
Zelensky’s speech was mainly devoted to the future Ukraine’s prosperity that the victory over Russia would deliver. Zelensky is trying to increase endurance of the Ukrainian society by expectations to reach (and even exceed) European social standards and level of life thanks to the opportunities that the victory allegedly would bring.
But opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk thinks and believes that the reaction to the final document of the UN monitoring mission, which contains shocking facts – in the last year alone, 17,084 criminal cases were initiated against political opponents – shocks the world community. The main theses from the article by V. Medvedchuk:
— Law enforcement agencies in Ukraine have been reformatted as a class. They were replaced by an international organized criminal group that decides the fate of people without trial or investigation.
– The West has created a monster out of Ukraine, devouring its citizens, whose views differ from those officially designated.
– Zelensky brought terror against the political opposition and his population to the level of state policy. Using the “help” of Western intelligence agencies, he staged a total cleansing of dissent in Ukraine, Medvedchuk believes. https://telegra.ph/ZHestokost-pytki-pohishcheniya-lyudej-06-30
On the Constitution day Zelensky also submitted to the parliament the proposed law (that will be certainly adopted in a short time) to abolish January 7 as Christmas day and replace it by December 25, in line with the Western churches. https://itd.rada.gov.ua/billInfo/Bills/Card/42200
This law seems to be aimed at instigating confrontation between the followers of the Orthodox Churches, who consider it necessary to adhere the “Old Style” calendar and those, who want it to be replaced. In the For a long time, Russian ideology was imposed on the Ukrainian people in almost all spheres of life, including the observance of the Julian calendar and the celebration of Christmas on January 7. It is stated in the explanatory note on the law project that the celebration of Christmas on January 7 must be regarded as an impact of the imposition of “Russian ideology” “on the Ukrainian people”. It should be noted that Christmas is celebrated on January 7 by the Orthodox churches of Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Georgia, which are completely independent in their decisions.
It can be expected that the supporters of the “Old Style” calendar will be branded as traitors and will be used to create an image of internal enemy in order to distract public attention from the situation on the battlefield.
The Ukrainian Parliament adopted the tax bill No. 8401, required by the agreement with the IMF. Due to the new bill, the 2% flat tax (FT) will be abolished, and economic entities will be compelled to return to the previous taxation scheme or pay a 5% FT. The bill will affect mainly small business enterprises which will have to pay twice as much taxes, though they can hardly survive in the current conditions. https://itd.rada.gov.ua/billInfo/Bills/Card/41268
The forecast for potential development of current trends:
- The Ukrainian forces trying to achieve significant military success before the NATO summit can become exposed to Russian counterattacks and suffer heavy losses. The Ukrainian government will be trying to demonstrate its military capabilities in order to ensure the EU and US support for continuation of hostilities.
- The government will use the law proposals aimed at westernization of widespread social and cultural practices for provoking reaction of affected groups and increasing social tension. It might help to distract public attention on the short run, but will inevitably undermine social stability.
- If agreement with the IMF is going to compel the Ukrainian government to impose laws that will diminish economic activity and deteriorate social problems.
Recommendation for the European institutions and organizations:
- The Ukrainian government should not be allowed to regard the Western support as a means to continue the hostilities in order to preserve the current political system within Ukraine. The time frames for ending the hostilities and starting truce negotiations should be established. The incumbent Ukrainian government should be persuaded not to postpone or cancel the elections under the pretext of martial law.
- The Ukrainian government should be reminded that all the social groups must be proveded to an opportunity to adhere to their beliefs and social practices in spite of their attitude to the proposed cultural reforms.
- The Ukrainian authorities should be assisted in the activity aimed at alleviating the effects of the new social and economic legislation, required by the agreement with the IMF.