How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, August 13

Sasha Sverdlova

How Russiaʼs invasion of Ukraine affects the Middle East? Carnegie Foundation program scholars Jennifer Kavanagh and Frederick Wehrey write about this in a column on Foreign Affairs. The war in Ukraine is costing the Kremlin dearly, the authors believe: Russia is losing not only tens of thousands of soldiers, but also hundreds of planes, tanks and a lot of armored vehicles. This means that Moscowʼs ability to continue supplying modern weapons and spare parts to Arab governments, including those of Syria and Libya, is at risk. On the one hand, this will reduce Russian influence in the region, but on the other hand, it can give an impetus to China and Turkey to replace the Russian Federation in this role. Kavanagh and Wehrey warn US President Joe Biden against trying to occupy this niche and believe that the US should consider the situation comprehensively, accepting the fact that there are many players on the field. In particular, the United States should approach arms supplies carefully, giving priority to countries that are ready for political reforms and economic development.

In an essay for The Spectator, historian-Russianist Yuriy Felshtynskyi writes about the possibility that September will be a turning point for the Russian-Ukrainian war. Felshtynskyi warns against premature optimism regarding Ukraineʼs recent successes and recalls the events of September 2014. The last week of August is important because of the beginning of the election season in Russia, and on September 11 the country will hold local elections. Although the results of these elections are already known to some extent, the process itself, or rather the accompanying show, is important for Putin. A resounding military victory, for example. So, on September 5, 2014, the Kremlin forced Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire in Minsk, on August 20, 2020, Navalny was poisoned. October 7 is also an important date ― Putinʼs birthday, and this year he turns 70. According to the historian, Russia still has many ways to inflict devastating blows on Ukraine: the British Ministry of Defense reports on the formation of the 3rd Army Corps as part of the Russian Army, and although the Russian fleet is weak, Ukraine has no fleet at all. Another weakness of Ukraine is the impossibility of carrying out cross-border attacks. The question that should concern Western leaders now is what they will do and what they are ready to do if Russia tries to launch an active offensive in September of this year, Felshtynskyi believes.

The New York Times writes about the motives of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for close relations with the Kremlin. In the last three weeks, Erdogan met with Putin twice, and if Putinʼs motives are clear ― to compensate for the economic consequences of sanctions, then what does Turkey get? The publication writes that despite the anger of Turkeyʼs NATO allies, the country benefits from the fact that Russian gas flows through the Turkish Stream pipeline, and Russian money (along with Russian tourists) goes to Turkish banks. In addition, Russia apparently supports Erdoganʼs policy in Syria. However, the article notes, it should not be assumed that Putin and Erdogan are friends: the two leaders are acting only in the interests of increasing their power at the moment.