1. Negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and UN representatives on the issue of grain export from Ukraine may take place next week in Istanbul. The composition of the negotiating group is still unknown. The meeting may be attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed contacts with Turkey on grain export from Ukraine and added that negotiations would be held through the Ministry of Defense. The UN press service has not yet named a date for possible talks. The Ukrainian side has not yet commented on the situation but previously expressed concern that Russia could use the release of ports to attack Odesa. (Source: Milliyet).
2. Several EU countries are pushing for developing the seventh package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine. New restrictions may affect gold. The next meeting of the leaders of the European Union will be held on June 23-24 in Brussels. According to the summit’s draft, the meeting participants will declare that “work on sanctions will continue, including their strengthening and prevention of circumvention.” About a third of the 27 EU countries want the European Commission to begin work on the seventh package of sanctions. The northern and eastern states of Europe insist on this. At the same time, Germany and the Netherlands propose focusing on applying existing measures. Work is currently ongoing to identify sectors that may be subject to sanctions. Among them is gold. It was proposed to be included in the following package of sanctions by Denmark, the press secretary of the Danish ambassador to the European Union said. The European Commission is indeed considering the possibility of imposing sanctions on gold, but it is not yet clear whether this will be a restriction on exports, imports, or both. Gold is one of the critical assets of the Central Bank of Russia. About half of the Central Bank’s gold and foreign exchange reserves – approximately $300 billion – were frozen due to sanctions imposed by the US and Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. (Source: Reuters).
1. GUR: “Personnel changes have taken place in the Federal Service of the Rosguard. The latest staff rotations are due to the low level of organization of tasks during the armed aggression against Ukraine, which led to significant losses of personnel and military equipment.” In particular, the Russians fired Lieutenant General Sergei Vlasenko from the post of Chief of Staff – First Deputy Commander of the North Caucasus District of the Rosguard. Lieutenant General Anatoly Malikov was appointed to a leading position in the North Caucasus district. Before that, Malikov held the head of the main department of state control and licensing of the Rosguard. (Source: UP).
2. UK Intelligence: Ukrainian coastal defense forces disrupted Russia’s plans to establish control in the Black Sea. She originally planned to achieve naval superiority to create conditions for a constant threat to Odesa, but after several successful attacks by Ukraine, the Russian fleet was forced to act more carefully and keep a greater distance from the coast. In June, Ukrainian troops successfully used American Harpoon anti-ship missiles, hitting the Russian tugboat Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which the British Defense Ministry said was supplying the garrison of Zmeiny Island. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine states that, as of June 21, 14 Russian ships and boats have been destroyed since the beginning of the invasion. (Source: Twitter).
1. “Have we given Ukraine everything we could?” Seth Jones asks and replies: “No. We have not provided enough weapons so that Ukraine can regain the occupied territory now that Russian troops have dug in.” The expert considers that new supplies could escalate “counterproductive”: Russian propaganda is happy to pick up any doubts and “broadcast them ten times louder.” “The West needs some industrial mobilization,” says Michael Vickers. “We must be ready to cut our weapons stockpiles and give Ukraine more of what they need.” Many systems are beginning to become obsolete in conservation. They could well be given to Ukraine while simultaneously replacing them with new ones without compromising US security. Not providing these systems under the pretext that they will allow Ukraine to strike at Russian territory, experts call a purely political decision. In fact, this decision prolongs the war. And as it drags on, “part of our attention is inevitably diverted to other political and economic issues,” continues Emily Harding: “Oil and gas prices become a fundamental question: can Europe withstand this trend and move away from Russian oil and gas Will we be able to keep Turkey as an ally and at the same time accept Sweden and Finland into the alliance? Yes, the Russian economy will shrink by about 10-15% this year, but this is not much more painful for Russians than the crisis in 2008. On the other hand, the Ukrainian economy promises to sink by 40-45%, which is quite catastrophic. To survive, Ukraine will need a massive influx of Western aid. According to the latest estimates, the country’s recovery already requires from two hundred to five hundred billion dollars. “So the Russians are literally doubling down on the stakes,” concludes Emily Harding. “For the Ukrainians, this is an existential struggle, and they will need unlimited support from the West to continue it. The world will have to put up with high gas and oil prices. And this is not at all like the average American.” If a decisive breakthrough is not made – such as a truly massive supply of weapons, including offensive ones, or direct NATO intervention- the Ukrainian war threatens to go into a phase of stagnation – especially against the backdrop of the above political situation. And then, suggests Eliot Cohen, Putin will potentially be ready at some point to offer “a ceasefire or something like that, but the most important thing we need to understand is that this will still only be an intermediate option. Political Putin’s goals remain the same as before – he is simply reorganizing his military resources by taking a break.” “The political goals of Ukraine have not changed much since the beginning of the war,” says Michael Vickers. “They are to regain every inch of their territory that they lost in 2014 and 2022.” Therefore, to agree to Putin’s conditions and the irretrievable loss of more than 20% of the territory, “it will take another Ukrainian government and another Ukrainian people, so I think we should put the idea of such a settlement out of our heads,” Vickers notes. “Theoretically, you can imagine that at some point, the Ukrainians will get too tired of the war and of insistently asking for a ceasefire on unfavorable terms: you can never rule out the possibility of someone breaking down, but that does not mean any settlement, because there is no compromise between the fact that Ukraine exists as an independent nation-state and that it does not. “Honestly, I don’t think the Russian threat will disappear until there is regime change in Russia, until Putin leaves,” Michael Vickers says. “And until another leadership comes in that is sincerely willing to accept the existence of an independent Ukraine.” “If it were possible to go back a couple of decades, then we would probably really do everything possible to deprive Russia of the opportunity to become a country ready to carry out such aggression. This is not some abstract problem: this is a matter of global importance. It is in our interests “So that Russia suffers a crushing defeat from Ukraine today. As US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin rightly said, our goal is for Ukraine to win and Russia’s military power to be so weakened that it cannot unleash such wars in the future. I hope this is still the goal for the US and the West,” Michael Vickers concludes. (Source: Svoboda).
Economy, Social life, and Culture
1. The United States will create a special group in Ukraine to investigate war crimes. The special group will be headed by Justice Ministry officer Eli Rosenbaum, who is called the most famous American “Nazi hunter”. The task force will also include leading American experts in investigating cases related to violations of human rights and war crimes. In addition, the United States plans to send an expert in combating corruption and money laundering to Ukraine. Two other American specialists will work in Europe and the Middle East. They will have to help local authorities fight Russian attempts to circumvent sanctions and search for and seize the assets of Russian oligarchs who have fallen under the restrictions. Prosecutor General of Ukraine Irina Venediktova called this assistance “very important.” “We all understand that we are dealing with very strong enemies,” she said. Eli Rosenbaum headed the US Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations from 1994 to 2010. Among other things, he searched for and deported Nazi war criminals, and also sought to deprive them of their American citizenship. According to the British historian Guy Walters, his account exposed more than 100 exposed Nazis. (Source: Svoboda).
1. Lithuania has extended restrictions on the transportation of sanctioned goods to Kaliningrad and freight road transit. “Partial restrictions on freight transit also apply to road transport passing through Lithuania. Therefore, as well as rail, these goods today can only be transported by sea,” the local government said. This information was confirmed by several trucking companies at once, noting that the Lithuanian customs is already deploying vehicles on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border at the Medininkai checkpoint. As a result, a large queue of freight trains formed there. According to official data from the Lithuanian customs, as of June 21, about 330 road trains are waiting to enter Lithuania, and the waiting time for passage is more than 32 hours. (Source: Interfax)
2. The Indian government is urging oil companies to buy cheap Russian oil. Indian oil executives say they have been urged by government officials in recent weeks to find ways to continue buying and take advantage of the discount on Russian oil. An unnamed government spokesman denies this state of affairs. Buy Russian oil and other Asian countries. The US condemns this and calls on China to join the sanctions, said US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. In May, China ramped up purchases to record levels, while Russia overtook Saudi Arabia, which was the main supplier. Government circles are also discussing another major export commodity – gas. German Economy Minister Robert Habeck accused Putin of organizing an attack on Europe because of the reduction in gas supplies via Nord Stream – “this is tantamount to an attack, Putin is using energy as a weapon.” Russia has reduced the flow of gas through the transport line by 60%, which led to an increase in the price per thousand cubic meters by a third. Gazprom attributes this to the failure of the Siemens pumping turbine, Chancellor Scholz called this decision a political one and said he did not believe in the technical aspect of what happened. Denmark and the Netherlands, which also receive gas from Nord Stream, have declared a state of emergency, and Germany is preparing to introduce a state of emergency. (Source: WSJ).
3. Several British newspapers at once wrote, citing an unnamed Western official, that in Russia, there could be a massive mobilization soon to attract more troops for the war in Ukraine. The Kremlin is concerned about the prospect of mobilization, as it would effectively mean “failure admission” with a quick and effective operation in Ukraine. Since the Russian authorities have been wary of announcing open mobilization, which “could provoke protests in Russian cities,” they are trying to increase the number of potential recruits by mobilizing people in poor areas of the country and raising the maximum draft age. (Source: Telegram).