Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared at an economic forum in Vladivostok in Russia’s far east, mocked the West’s sanctions, predicted a very rosy future for Russia, and said that the country was stronger since the invasion of Ukraine began.
In keeping with his usual modus operandi, Putin blamed the United States and the West for all of the troubles in the world and was defiant about the sanctions on Russia, saying that they will ultimately hurt the West.
“We have not lost anything and will not lose anything,” Putin said.
After saying the West’s “sanctions fever” was a “danger” to the world, he accused the U.S. and the West of trying to force other countries “to submit to their will.”
He added that the war was aimed at helping the people of eastern Ukraine. “All of our actions aim to help people who live in Donbas,” he said. The forum was attended by members of the Myanmar junta that overthrew the duly elected president, China, and Mongolia.
Putin remained defiant, promising to move Russia’s trade eastward rather than westward. “No matter how much someone wants to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do,” Mr. Putin said. “You just need to look at the map.”
However, like many of his pronouncements of a rosy future and accusations of the West cheating on the Ukrainian grain deal, the truth reveals something different. “If we exclude Turkey as an intermediary country, then almost all the grain exported from Ukraine is sent not to the poorest developing countries, but to European Union countries,” Putin said, adding that only two ships went to poor countries.
“Once again, developing countries have simply been deceived and continue to be deceived. It is obvious that with this approach, the scale of food problems in the world will only increase … which can lead to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.”
“I met with the leaders of the African Union, with the leaders of African countries, and promised them that we would do everything to ensure their interests and facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain,” he said.
Ships have departed for Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Egypt, India, and Israel. Other ships have also gone to Western European nations, China, Iran, and Korea.
Ukrainian Resistance Groups Growing in the South
With the Russian invasion entering its seventh month, the gains made by Russian forces have dwindled to next to nothing. Ukrainian forces have tried to wrest control of the initiative by launching a counteroffensive in the south and made some minimal gains, recapturing two villages. They also disabled some of Russia’s bridges to supply its troops on the west side of the Dneiper. But as Russia redeployed many of its troops to the south, it appears that Ukraine is beginning a counteroffensive in the north around Kharkiv.
While it is far too early to predict success for either operation, it has boosted the morale of Ukraine’s citizens. And one of the boons of these operations is that it is allowing Ukraine’s resistance groups and partisans to grow their organizations and get bolder in their operations.
Resistance groups will have little chance of winning a war outright, but they can tie down more enemy units forced to defend rear areas and officials. Partisan activity can also do heavy damage to occupying infrastructure, as well as the assassination of political leaders. All of those things are happening in southern Ukraine.
The Free Ukraine Resistance Movement, located in the south, posted on its website, claiming some great success. “We’ve literally ruined Putin’s plans to ruin Ukraine from inside … Even months before the full-scale invasion, already started to mobilize and train people for all levels of resistance to defend Ukraine – military, communications, humanitarian help, and diplomacy.”
Their operations may be as innocuous as spraypainting anti-Russian occupation messages on signs, to more audacious missions.
And as they grow bolder, they are getting more assistance from Ukrainian Special Forces troops as they target ammunition dumps, supply lines, and targeted assassinations of Russian proxies who were installed in the occupation government.
Olekskiy Sorokin, an independent journalist in Ukraine, posted on Twitter that the assasinations are growing in number. Collaborators and appointees in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine are constantly dying.
Among those already dead are a former Ukrainian MP, local previously low-profile politicians, and for the most part, officials and military men from Russia.
The resistance to Russian occupation continues to grow, and this will tie down other Russian line units.
Expert Biography: Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. A proven military analyst, he served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.