Catherine Belton, the author of the book Putinʼs People, writes in The Washington Post about the problems in the close-Kremlin business elites against the background of the escalation of the war in Ukraine. While the Russian presidentʼs recent actions have pleased his radical supporters, others in Putinʼs circle are exhausted and depressed, Belton writes. One of the authorʼs interlocutors says that the old reserves of missiles in the Russian Federation are running out, and the production of new ones is very slow. Another source compares the current situation to zugzwang in chess, a situation where each move is worse than the last, but it is impossible not to move. "People see that there is no future," says another interlocutor. As for the probability of using tactical nuclear weapons, one Moscow businessman says that it is low, because it is Putinʼs "last trump card" and China is likely to oppose it. Probably, Putin still hopes for the exhaustion of Europe due to the energy crisis, however, according to Russian businessmen and economists, the sanctions are hurting the economy of the Russian Federation. Hopes of diverting trade from the West to China, Kazakhstan and India are quickly being dashed, with Kazakhstan beginning to block shipments to Russia and China suspending some shipments. The restless mood in the Kremlin may indicate that changes are coming, but how and when they will happen, no one knows.
The Economist published an analysis of aid to Ukraine by allied countries based on calculations by the Kiel Institute of the World Economy. According to the institute, the USA has provided Ukraine with so much financial and military aid that all the aid of European countries combined does not exceed it. If you look at the ratio of aid to Ukraine and the size of the GDP of allied countries, the Baltic countries, Poland and the Czech Republic spend the most. The calculation includes both the costs of military aid and humanitarian goods, financial transfers, the share of EU obligations and estimated costs for refugees. Estonia and Latvia, for example, spent about 1% of their GDP on helping Ukrainians. The shares of Germany and France compared to their GDP are tiny ― 0.17% and 0.15%, respectively. Calculating these costs is not easy, the publication writes, because it is necessary to determine the difference between public promises and actually fulfilled obligations, to estimate the cost of military aid, etc. The analysis takes into account the period from January 24 (a month before the start of the full-scale invasion) to October 3. In general, the publication writes, Europe should take on a greater share of aid, which, in particular, will help America continue to allocate billions of dollars to Ukraine.
The mass attacks on Ukraine have in a certain way strengthened the countryʼs ability to resist a Russian invasion, strategic studies professor Phillips OʼBrien writes in an essay for The Atlantic. This week, Russia spent a lot of money on mass bombing in Ukraine ― because one advanced missile can cost more than $10 million. Because of these attacks, Ukrainians learned to adapt to new technology and find ways to destroy it. Since the targets were mainly civilian objects, the morale of Ukrainian defenders will only increase, and the population in general will be less receptive to the idea of negotiations with Putin. Ultimately, Ukraineʼs allies responded to the attacks with additional aid, including the air defense systems so needed to defend the cities. So, the author concludes, the Russian missile campaign can look good only on Russian television, but in fact, in the long run, it is a mistake for the Russian Federation.