How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, July 22

Sasha Sverdlova

Foreign Policy writes about a significant decrease in arms exports by Russia due to its losses in the war against Ukraine. The publicationʼs sources among American intelligence and defense officials speak not only about hundreds of Russian tanks and helicopters shot down in Ukraine, but also about the role of Western sanctions in limiting the Russian arms industry. In general, Russia accounts for about one-fifth of the worldʼs arms sales and half of arms exports to African countries. As FP writes, arms sales are important for the Russian Federation not only because of economic and foreign policy factors ― exports contribute to the development of the defense industry. For example, when the Russian Federation developed the Su-75 fighter, which was planned as a lo-fi variant of the US F-35, they needed to find a large customer who would invest money in production. Now, when the Russian Federation has to constantly replenish supplies for the war in Ukraine, and sanctions have blocked the arrival of guidance systems and microchips, Russia will have to look for ways to maintain its position in the world arms market, the article concludes.

Jason Lyall, author of "Divided Armies: Inequality and Battlefield Effectiveness in Modern Wars", writes about the harmful effects of inequality on the military in an essay on Foreign Affairs. After American analysts again got their predictions wrong about the outcome of the war, this time about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US intelligence has begun an internal review of how the predictions are made. Assessments of the balance of power in Iraq in 2014, in Afghanistan in 2021, and now in Ukraine have one thing in common: everywhere, analysts have neglected the intangible factors of military power. According to Lyall, it is social inequality in the army that is a factor that critically affects the cohesion and determination of soldiers. For example, Russia is trying to form volunteer battalions from prisoners, non-Russian Muslims, pro-Russian Ukrainians [probably referring to residents of the so-called "L/DPR"], and conscripts. Such dispersed troops are very difficult to motivate and maintain proper discipline, which has a major impact on their effectiveness on the battlefield. In order to improve the methods of forecasting and assessing the capabilities of the army, the author suggests assuming that soldiers reflect the composition of society, namely ethnic, religious, and political diversity. Also, researchers should be aware of the attitudes towards different groups within society, because these attitudes can be extrapolated to the army. The more the soldiers in the army belong to marginalized groups, the less effective their actions will be on the battlefield. In such armies, the command usually represents a dominant group trusted by the authorities, while soldiers are recruited from minorities to avoid anti-war sentiment in society. In such armies, nepotism and corruption prevail, and robbery and rape are used as motivation in battle. In societies where there is no significant oppression of certain social groups, accordingly, the army will be more motivated and coordinated.

Bloomberg writes about the challenges we will face when exporting grain in accordance with the agreement that Ukraine signed today with the UN and Turkey. The agreement on the restoration of exports is the first step to reduce the global food crisis and strengthen the crippled Ukrainian economy, the publication writes. However, restoring supply will take time and overcome several important challenges. The publication spoke with specialized experts who describe in detail the difficulties associated with logistics and security that await Ukrainian grain. Among the key challenges, experts cite: clearing mined waters, attracting enough ships, and rerouting trains and trucks that are currently engaged elsewhere. A separate problem will be the provision of the necessary cargo insurance, given the serious security risks. And the critical factor remains mistrust of the Russian Federation, which, of course, undertook not to obstruct the supply ― but it is not known whether Putin will keep his word.