1. The International Monetary Fund, for the second time in a year, lowered its forecast for global GDP growth due to the war in Ukraine and high inflation – from 3.6% to 3.2%. At the same time, the fund improved its estimate of the decline in the Russian economy in 2022 – from 8.5% to 6% but increased the expected fall in Russia’s GDP in 2023 from 2.3% to 3.5%. The fund’s chief economist, Pierre-Olivier Gurinsha, stressed that despite the improvement in the outlook for the Russian economy for 2022, it must be remembered that it is still facing “a fairly serious recession.” The IMF paid particular attention to a possible scenario involving a complete cessation of Russian gas supplies to Europe. According to the fund’s forecasts, this development will decrease global GDP growth to 2.6% in 2022 and 2% next year. In the US and EU, growth is forecast to be near zero in 2023. Gurinsha noted that global growth has fallen below 2% since 1970, most recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The EU countries are highly dependent on Russian energy supplies – Russia accounted for 45% of EU gas imports. The war in Ukraine provoked a reduction in energy supplies, an increase in prices, and, as a result, an acceleration of inflation. (Source: Meduza).
1. “The Insider” has learned the names of 17 Russian servicemen who are forcibly detained for refusing to fight with Ukraine in the penal colony of the village of Krasny Luch in the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic. The media published the data of the soldiers, noting that the oldest of them, Maxim Dubrovsky, is 33 years old, and the youngest, Igor Salakhov, is only 19. According to “The Insider,” the refuseniks, who planned to terminate contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, are incarcerated in forced labor. In total, 130 such soldiers can be held on the colony’s territory in the Chervoniy Luch. It is also reported that the parents of the detained service members arrived in the Lugansk region and are trying to secure their release. According to parents, their children are subjected to psychological pressure. According to the publication of Vyorstka, physical violence is also used against them. The media also reports that at least 230 refuseniks are being held in the nearby town of Bryanka. Some of them have already been persuaded to return to the front. (Source: Svoboda).
2. A video of the Antoniv bridge in Kherson, damaged after an attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on July 27, has been published. The bridge is very “holed.” In some places, it shines through—Ukrainian fighters aimed at the same part of the road surface on the bridge as last time. The occupiers closed traffic due to damage after the night strike of the Armed Forces. “Now escape only on foot or by water,” commented the StratCom of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the prospects of the Russian invaders. Near Kherson, there are two bridges over the Dnipro: a road bridge, better known as the Antoniv bridge, and a railway bridge (also called the Antoniv railway bridge). The road bridge was built in 1985. It has 31 piers, its length is 1366 m, and its width is 25 m. The construction of the railway bridge outside the village of Antonivka began in 1939 and was put into operation in 1954. Currently, supplies for the Russian occupiers: staffing and equipment, are going over the bridges to Kherson. So far, the Antoniv highway bridge has come under fire at least twice: on July 19 and 20. (Source: UP).
3. The authorities of the Russian regions have been making no secret of late – and are actively participating in the formation of “volunteer” formations to be sent to war in Ukraine. Against this background, the government of Primorsky Krai distinguished itself by a detailed description of how this happens. “The first detachment of volunteers” was called there in the Far East – “Tiger.” The detachment is completing training at the Gornostai training ground near Vladivostok. Western military analysts have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that the Russian military is faced with a staffing shortage for military operations in Ukraine. In the absence of a general mobilization, campaigns have recently been going on in Russia to attract those who want to go to the front. Among other things, they are attracted by high salaries. Residents of Primorye are promised 200 thousand rubles a month before being sent to Ukraine after training – 150 thousand, during training – 50 thousand. The first detachment from Primorye will leave for the combat area in the coming days, where it will fight with the 155th Separate Guards Marine Brigade. Officials estimated the size of the detachment at several dozen people, but “about 100 more are on the way.” The “Tiger” fighters are taught how to shoot from a machine gun and a grenade launcher, fight in a city, move in battle, and help the wounded. Men from 18 to 60 years old can join the “Tiger” (you need to contact the military registration and enlistment office). During the invasion, the State Duma raised the age limit to allow more people to be sent to fight. (Source: BBC).
1. UK Intelligence: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went on a tour of African countries. He makes visits to Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Republic of Congo. Russia is likely to try to use these visits to blame the West for the international food crisis and to enlist the support of African states that have maintained neutrality over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the summary said. Since 2014, Russia has made significant efforts to exert influence in Africa, with the Wagner group often used as one of its favored tools of influence in the region, British intelligence has highlighted. Russia probably interacts with Africa first of all, because it believes that this is to strengthen the identity of the “great power”, which it so longs for. Its secondary goals are probably to secure commodity concessions and to persuade African states to vote in accordance with Russia’s interests at international forums.” “Wagner” probably succeeded in carrying out a tactical offensive in Donbas in the area of the Vuglegirskaya HPP and the village of Novoluganske. Some Ukrainian forces must have already been withdrawn from the area. (Source: Twitter).
Economy, Social life, and Culture
1. The Odesa regional NGO “Voters’ Committee of Ukraine” wrote an open letter to Minister Vereshchuk, expressing concern over reports that a legislative initiative is being prepared to introduce criminal liability for obtaining a Russian passport under occupation. “We consider it objectionable not only to adopt such a law but even to initiate a discussion about it. First, back in 2014, Ukraine decided on the status of documents issued by the occupying state. Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and Legal the regime in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine” states that any act (decision, document) issued by the authorities of the occupying state is invalid and does not create legal consequences, except for documents confirming the fact of birth, death, registration (dissolution) of a person’s marriage in the temporarily occupied territory. So it is unclear for what reasons it is now necessary to change this approach. Secondly, obtaining a passport of the Russian Federation under conditions of occupation is, in most cases, a condition for the survival of our citizens in the occupied territory. Without obtaining this document, citizens cannot access humanitarian aid, social benefits, banks, work, and medical care. The lack of this Russian passport can also deprive people and movement possibilities. In the conditions when Ukraine is unable to support and help its citizens in the occupation, it is unacceptable to initiate criminal punishment of Ukrainians for taking measures for their safety and ensuring their lives in the conditions in which they found themselves against their will” – says the letter of the NGO. (Source: Prostir).
1. Fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s reported on the company’s financial results for the second quarter of 2022, writing off $1.2 billion due to the sale of the business in Russia. The net profit of the fast food chain in April-June decreased by 1.9 times, amounting to $1.19 billion. A year earlier, the company earned $2.22 billion for the same period. Experts expected a slightly smaller decline – they predicted revenue on average around $5.8 billion. The capitalization of McDonald’s has decreased by 6.6% since the beginning of 2022. McDonald’s restaurants closed in Russia on March 14, 2022. On May 16, the company announced its withdrawal from the Russian market. She sold the business to Siberian businessman Alexander Govor. Restaurants are now opening under “Vkusno – and that’s it.” In the new establishments, the prices of dishes have risen a little. (Source: SF).
2. More than 100 families of Russian servicemen have turned to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a demand to find their sons, husbands, and brothers who are in the war zone in Ukraine. Relatives receive replies from departments and ministries: some say that their relatives are alive, others that they are missing or dead. (Source: Svoboda).