How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, July 29

Sasha Sverdlova

Business Insider writes about predictions about the next president of the Russian Federation regarding rumors about the deterioration of Putinʼs health. A few months ago, there were indications that Kremlin insiders were quietly discussing options for who would become the next president. This week, the former head of British intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove, said on his podcast that he is almost convinced that Putinʼs successor will be Nikolay Patrushev. Earlier, Dearrlove predicted that Putin would leave the presidential chair by 2023, maybe he would even be forcibly sent to the hospital for a long time so elite could get rid of him without a coup. Dearlove believes that someone from the "security forces" will take Putinʼs place, and Patrushev, as the head of the National Security Council, is ideally suited for this role.

Austin Carson, associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, writes about the shift in the red lines of the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war in an essay on Foreign Affairs. Since the beginning of the Russian Federationʼs full-scale invasion of Ukraine, writes Carson, the parties have adopted certain rules of the game. Violation of these rules can lead to the escalation of the conflict up to the level of the Third World War. Thus, Ukraine accepted two main restrictions: the West does not attack the Russians directly, that is, it does not send its troops to Ukraine, and Ukraine limits the territory for its military operations by its borders. Russia, for its part, also does not attack territories outside Ukraine, although it has the means to do so. At the same time, the West provides Ukraine with advanced modern weapons, and Western intelligence and special personnel help gather information and organize logistics on the ground. NATO, for its part, does not provide Ukraine with aircraft and does not organize volunteer units ― because the Russian Federation may consider such steps provocative. Carson writes that these rules of non-escalation are complex, changing, and the parties are constantly checking which of the rules are critical to the adversary and which are not, guided by experience and caution. In the authorʼs opinion, such gradual inspections are a wise strategy that will avoid the expansion of the war to other countries. The author supports this thesis with examples of different wars ― the Cold, the Korean, the Afghan, and the Vietnam.

The editorial board of The New York Times writes about how to more effectively limit Russiaʼs oil earnings. The key element of the economic sanctions against Russia is the restriction of oil exports, but so far this harms the economies of the EU countries more than the aggressor state, the publication writes. Due to sanctions, Russia sells less, but earns more, because the price of oil has risen and continues to rise. According to the authors of the article, the West focused on reducing the export of energy resources of the Russian Federation, and should reduce Russiaʼs profits from their sale. The administration of the President of the USA has a plan to achieve this goal ― to agree with buyers of Russian oil on the upper limit of its value. Such a "cartel of buyers" will include the G7 countries, which have already previously agreed to the idea, as well as smaller players. If India and China agreed to join, which does not seem likely at the moment, the cartel would increase its influence, the newspaper writes. Critics of this idea note that this decision will remove the stigma from Russian oil, and purchases of Russian products will once again be "normalized." However, for now, the "cartel" is the most successful short-term solution that will solve the problem of the oil crisis and reduce Russian earnings, the editorial office notes. In the long term, the West must take all measures to reduce its dependence on Russian energy resources, increase the share of renewable energy in its economies, and adapt trade policies to other national priorities.

CNN writes about how the Russian Federation is robbing Sudan to get funds to finance its invasion of Ukraine. The publication published an exclusive investigation detailing the history of Russiaʼs presence in Sudan, the individuals involved, and the schemes the Kremlin uses in collusion with the countryʼs criminal authorities to export gold under the guise of cookies. The publication received information about at least 16 flights that smuggled gold to the Russian Federation during the past 18 months. In general, about 90% of the countryʼs gold is sold through smuggling, and all profits from this are shared between the Sudanese generals and the Kremlin elite. The money for the precious metal goes to the military leadership of Sudan, which holds the impoverished population in an iron fist. According to CNNʼs sources among US officials, Russia allegedly supported the 2021 coup in Sudan that defeated pro-democracy forces. The publication lists the main involved persons, which from the Russian side include Putinʼs "cook" Yevgeniy Prigozhin. It is not surprising that the Wagner militant group, controlled by the same man, is also involved in the scheme. CNN illustrates the material with infographics, photos from the mines, and a detailed description of the path of gold from the mines to the Kremlin. Since the start of this investigation, a CNN journalist in Sudan has been on the military juntaʼs hit lists.