• 26 June, 2022
Foreign Affairs. Geopolitics. National Security.

Russian troops pushed to within 3-4 km of Russian border near Kharkiv- U.S. official

Tue, 17 May 2022   |  Reading Time: < 1 minute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces have pushed back Russian troops near the country’s second-largest city of Kharkiv to within 3 to 4 kilometers (1.9-2.5 miles) of the Russian border, a senior U.S. defense official said on Monday.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart)




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Kalidan Singh

May 17, 2022
Are we sufficiently awake? This war is far from us, but it should wake us up. Our military equipment is largely Russian-made; now we know much of it does not work at all. Russia never gained air superiority in Ukraine (i.e., what good were the Sukhois?). Trucks broke down in miles. Ukraine is littered with carcasses of Russian tanks, trucks, armored vehicles, troop carriers. Missiles do not explode, bombs do not explode. Tank turrets are exploding. This should wake us up; we might go into battle with equipment that does not work at all. I would not want to handicap our boys in uniform with substandard material. Is our material good? Is it in working order? Despite possessing Mirages, Jaguars, Sukhois, MIG 25s and 29s - we sent Abhinandan in a Mig 21 (which was hopelessly outdated, and had a jammable radio) Was nothing else working? Are we ready to defend ourselves? Our boys in Laddakh and Arunachal are regularly using clubs, stones, to fight the Chinese (do they have no arms, no munitions?). Our boys went into Chinese territory to club their men in uniform, they did not shoot at them. The second issue that we should prepare for is the ease with which the US (and allies) have places economic sanctions on Russia. Oligarch's wealth, confiscated. Over 1000 businesses have left, most will not return any time soon. Foreign investment, zero. Europe will shift to new energy sources - and seems reluctantly willing to pay a heavy price. Russian banks are now severely limited. What is being done to Russia, can be done to any country (including India). I am not arguing whether these moves were justified; merely pointing that this can happen to us for displeasing anyone in the west. We are vulnerable. Assuming this would never happen is what has placed Russia in its current predicament; they too thought they were invulnerable, win swiftly, and not face adverse consequences. What makes the fixes difficult is our deeply entrenched culture of corruption; virtually every (except a handful) elected official uses the office as a way of enriching himself/herself. Everyone in uniform (except a handful) think the uniform is for the purpose of extorting money from the vulnerable. Our banks are already horrifyingly corrupt; loans are made never to be returned (because bankers have been bribed). With sanctions, they will fold easily. Even the private sector purchasing departments are corrupted; purchase managers pay no one easily without grease. What that means is every process, every product, is necessarily substandard. It will not deliver as expected, not perform as promised. We cannot defend ourselves with substandard everything. As if this is not worrisome, we have an enduring trait of heterophily; our history is filled with instances of insiders who sold out to the outsiders - who let in the invaders for personal profit - who then took control and destroyed our own people. Seventy years after independence, there are still brown sahibs in charge, and apologists and revisionists pose an existential risk to the nation. I.e., we have an active, effective fifth column. Finally, the war is pressuring supply of edible oils and wheat (also fertilizers and minerals). We must act toward self-sufficiency in food and fertilizer. This war, although far from India, is telling us clearly about what we must think about and fix, or pay a very steep price. We say we are the smartest people in the world. Okay then; can we start acting like we are?

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