Summary of the livestream with Oleksiy Arestovych, former Ukraine’s Presidential Head of Office advisor, Day 378, March 8th. Kindly brought to you by Anastasiya: @Anastasiya1451A
Original video (in Russian):
No major changes in the battlefield in the last two days.
Wagner sources report control over the East side of Bakhmut [so-called Zabakhmutka neighbourhood, East of Bakhmutka river], with allegedly some fighting in isolated houses on the West side. While Wagner is present on the East side, the Russian control of this part of the city is questionable.
For now, there is a decision of the Ukrainian General Staff to hold the city, but it must be analysed in the context of the holistic strategy and not as presented by Russian propaganda which reports the minor local & tactical advances of Russian forces as huge achievements, ignoring the cost or the rest of the frontline.
The US military command has stated that, by their analysis, even if Russia captures Bakhmut, where it already lost 30k Russian troops (KIA), it will not change the outcome of the war. Moreover, the Russian forces won’t be capable of capturing “the whole Donetsk region in 2023”, which paints a dim picture for Russian military and political aspirations. Putin won’t be able to sell the capture of the Donetsk region as a domestic “geopolitical win”, meaning that this war is pointless for Russia, bringing only misery and death to the Russians.
⚡️Mariinka & Avdiivka
Russian attempted to advance in Mariinka & Avdiivka but to no avail.
⚡️Vuhledar, Kreminna, Zaporizhzhja
No major changes on the frontline and no new major attacks on Vuhledar.
⚡️NordStream2 attack & allegations
The allegation of the involvement of a private pro-Ukrainian group in the sabotage of the NordStrem2 pipeline is probably an effort to manipulate public opinion by a pro-Russian or anti-American interest group.
The proposed hypothesis is almost fantastic, if not non-sensical, due to:
– technical difficulties (diving equipment needed, protection of the pipeline which is not exposed, etc.)
– security & surveillance of the area by several countries
– by the time of the attack Germany has already stopped using the NordStream 1 & 2 pipelines, signed new contracts with other countries and nationalised two major gas companies
– Ukraine has continued to fulfil its obligations as a transit country for the Druzhba pipeline wasn’t attacked & is still operational
– Even the published material has no connection to Ukraine, only citing pro-Ukrainian oligarch & a private group.
This isn’t the first attempt to manipulate public opinion by feeding journalists with some “insider” information. Of course, Russia immediately welcomed this story, with Peskov hinting that it was all planned by the US. This is an old strategy of the Kremlin to sour & break the US-EU partnership. The only beneficiary of this story &
Guterres has arrived in Kyiv to discuss the renewal of The Grain deal (deal between Ukraine, UN &Turkey and UN, Turkey & Russia, ending on 18th of March). Ukraine is fulfilling its obligations and wants to continue to export grain, which is essential for food security & stability in African and Middle Eastern countries. The Ukrainian Government and society view the export of grain to low-income countries as a moral obligation. No person in Africa or the Middle East should starve because of the Russian war on Ukraine or the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports.
The Ukrainian economy and agricultural sector will benefit from the export of grain, especially if the Mykolaiv port could be open. Currently, only Odesa port is exporting grain, creating long queues and waiting times. The only country that started the grain crisis and is sabotaging grain exports (by attacking the Ukrainian cities and infrastructure and not allowing safe use of the Mykolaiv port) is Russia.
The Russian side is demanding the lifting of sanctions for the export of Russian fertiliser (and ammonia). [The 9th of March 2023 Russian missile attack on Ukrainian cities, leaving 5 civilians dead in the Lviv region, can be seen as Russia pressuring Ukraine to promote Russian ammonia exports.]
Georgian people continue protesting the pro-Russian Georgian government and so-called “foreign agent” law – a law against international, independent journalists & free press, identical to the Russian law that gave rise to prosecution and the end of the free press in Russia.
Since the fall of the USSR, Russia aimed to corrupt the Governments of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia with gas export schemes and bribes, creating puppet governments and vassal states. Just like the Ukrainians in 2013-2014 after Yanukovich’s betrayal of the Ukrainian people and the EU aspiration of Ukrainians, the Georgian people saw that the current Georgian Gov. is betraying Georgia’s interests to appease their masters in the Kremlin.
The Georgian people want a European future for their country and for their children, which clashes with the current actions of a deeply pro-Russian Georgian government. The Georgian Government’s plan to pass this law and the mistreatment of Mikhail Saakashvili (who is denied medical care in prison) were condemned by the EU parliaments, Josep Borrell and the wider international community.
The Georgians started peaceful protests, which were met by water cannons, rubber bullets and teargas from the Georgian police. Even the Georgian president who claims to be on the side of protesters doesn’t want to respect human rights and is content with the slow murder of Saakashvili in prison, which taints the pro-European aspirations of Georgians.
Arestovych wishes for a peaceful protest, without victims from the protesters or the police sides, dialogue and new elections in Georgia to allow people to express their will. At the same time, Feygin, who was prosecuted as a “foreign agent” in Russia, notes that this law is just the first step and, just like in Russia, political repressions will follow. He calls attention to the Georgian police to not resort to violence and not follow criminal commands. The best thing to do is to stop violence against the protesters and allow them to demand accountability and dialogue with the Government.
⚡️Prigozhin fighting the Russian General Staff
Prigozhin has no choice but to capture Bakhmut, but even then he will probably be robbed of this “achievement” by the regular Russian Army. Prigozhin’s bitter videos and further critique of the Russian military command are good signs for the West and Ukraine. If even during the Russian offensive, the Wagner and regular military are criticising each other, it’s curious to imagine what could happen when they start losing the occupied territories.
⚡️Chinese map & territorial claims on the Russian Far East territories
Before the alleged visit of Xi to Moscow (Beijing does not confirm the visit of 21st of March), China published an official map of Russia with the new toponymic designations, changing Russian names of the Far East cities and territories to the Chinese names. This publication states that the names of these cities [e.g. Vladivostok is Hǎishēnwǎi], lakes and mountains were changed in accordance with the “historical records” (China has lost some of its territories to the Russian Empire), resembling a Chinese territorial claim on the Russian Far East territories during the time when Russia is weak and losing the war.
At the same time, the West has already warned China that if China starts supplying Russia with military equipment, Western aid to Ukraine will increase exponentially.
So far, the Chinese position on the Russian war against Ukraine is not very helpful to Kremlin. The Chinese treatment of Moscow and the quasi-territorial demand, claiming the Far East as part of “Chinese historical territories”, paints rather a dim picture of the Kremlin’s future.
⚡️Iranian military help to Russia
There are reports of Iran having transferred large quantities of military aid to Russia (through the Caspian Sea). If this is confirmed, there will be additional sanctions imposed on Iran as punishment for aiding an aggressive state committing war crimes & crimes against humanity.
Iran should understand that it’s a bad strategy to invest in a half-dead Russian bear. The Chinese claim on the Far East, the absence of Russian military response to China’s territorial demands, Georgians revolting against the pro-Russian Government, and clashes within the Russian Army between Wagner and General Staff – all this shows Russia getting weaker.
⚡️International Women’s Day
Feygin & Arestovych are congratulating all women on International Women’s Day, 8th of March.
Next stream is on Saturday, 11th of March.