TODAY’S LIVE BRIEFING BY AMERICAN EMBASSY IN UKRAINE AND FROM POLAND
The briefing this morning was to bring the latest information to stake holders in the region along with NGO Intelligence and Security personnel. The briefing covered the Political, Military and Humanitarian issues facing Ukraine and those who have assets within the country.
As was noted by the briefers, everyone was surprised and impressed by how well the Ukraine military has performed by holding the line and in many cases pushing back the Russian forces. One important example is being able to hold Kiev and see the city now coming back to life with business, cafes and other infostructure being rebuilt.
It was noted that Ukraine military is mainly operating with professional solders along. with the backup of reginal security teams set up before the war. Along with the high level of volunteers it is not seen that Ukraine will have a draft or conscription for the military.
One example noted by the briefers was the Ukraine rail system which has for the most part been running with very little interference. The rail system has allowed food, medical supplies, and troops to be moved to the places they are needed.
The commitment of President Zelenskyy and his performance has been a big part in the success of Ukraine politically on the International Stage and the military success. He has surprised everyone including Putin, and he is continually calling for the free world to step up with more support particular with weapons.
An overview of the damage to lives and business was presented. Over 7 million citizens within Ukraine have been misplace and 4 ½ million have left the country. Most of the citizens getting out of the country have done so on their own getting to friendly boarders anyway they can. DART teams working out of Poland are on the ground in Ukraine working on opening transportation lines that are more secure. At this point there are 3.5 million unemployed and 25% of the companies are no longer working.
There are 1000 aid workers on the ground in Ukraine working on logistics and getting supplies where they are needed. The ongoing problem even in some of the more secure areas is the unpredicted missiles or bombs Russia can still send into these areas.
What has this war cost Ukraine and what are some of the top concerns now. There has been a high cost to the economy with the first quarter GDP down 16% with an anticipated 40% drop over the year ahead. One of big concerns now is Food Security and transportation for it. As the Russian army has been pushed back from Kiev, they have mined a lot of the roads which makes moving supplies and people a high risk. Work is being done to start mine removal, but it will be a major task to complete, particular with the war still going on.
The question was raised with the use of Smart Weapons, what is the possibility that Putin could attack his neighbors on the NATO side. The briefers felt this was very low with Putin not wanting a fight with NATO. The risk would be that a missile went off course and landed in another country, but the feeling is the Russian military will be wary of that and working to avoid it.
The possibility of Belarus entering the war with troops was discussed and discounted due to the small military, about 40,000 soldiers in Belarus army. The president of Belarus is under the thumb of Putin but seems to be settled on letting Russia use the country for troops and entry to Ukraine but not risking direct involvement that might have repercussions from Ukraine.
There are reports that both Belarus and Chechnya solders are in Ukraine fighting the Russians.
Of big concern is the health care system with at least 25% of the hospitals, clinics, etc. being damaged or destroyed. The current issue is the medical supplies and medicine that is needed and the difficulty of the coordination of movement with the war going on.
Private security groups, with their own vehicles and security, out of Poland and other countries have been going in and helping people get out of the country to a safe place. At this point the embassy in Kiev is not open and there no consular services in Ukraine. Contact can be made in Poland where the staff is based at this time.
They alerted any Americans in the country to make sure they make copies of their passports in the event they lose them in most cases they can get out of the country with the copy or on an expired passport. It is unknown at this point when Embassy services might resume in country.
There was much discussion about what Putin will do next. May 9 is a big day in Russia, and it is thought that Putin will be looking for a win of some sort before then. The fact that he is amassing troops along the eastern front could be an indication he will attempt to gain a firmer control over this region to claim a win and look to save face. The assessment of what elements the troop being moved are coming from is not complete at this point. Are they coming from the regular army from other areas, new recruits, or mixture of both? The performance or non-performance, in Ukraine, of both troops and equipment would normally give a leader pause but with Putin who knows
All were in agreement with Putin you never know, and no one has the Chrystal ball that will reveal Putin’s mind. One might surmise that Putin himself does not know what he will do until it happens.
There was a lot more discussion but will end this with the discussion about Putin and his Military officers being charged with war crimes. There was a strong Yes to this question and they said there were multiple groups in government and NGO’S building the necessary files and evidence to support those charges when the war has ended. The briefers said the United States as well as European countries are together in this matter.
There is something we all can do for the people of Ukraine and that is pray for them and for their country and for this war to end.
Until next time be safe. May God Bless the United States of America
There is a lot to watch in the world and many hot spots following is a couple:
New Guinea, There is a risk of travel to Guinea as the political situation remains unpredictable. The country has been calm since January 15 but the potential for violence persists. The U.S. Embassy is open however you should be aware that it could be forced to suspend operations at any time. If you need to ravel to New Guinea or any country on the list contact us for a survey.
Persian Gulf: Alerts have been in place since February 20th particular in Saudi Arabia. An in country warning for Americans to be cautious went out last week. As with any place you travel you should be aware and alert to the local conditions. As long as you are in the main city areas the risk is low. I spend a lot of time there and Riyadh is safer at night then Los Angeles or most large American cities. Be aware as tension mounts with the support for Israel and a possible strike on Iran the radical elements of the Iranian regime might try to target American targets in the Gulf.
A realist time line for a strike on Iran by Israel:
If you believe the experts it could be as short as 6 months to a year that Israel has before Iran has some Nuclear capability. The signs to watch for. The recent clearance and testing by the Saudis to clear Israel jets through their air space point to advanced planning by the Israelis. this would also include the rest of the Gulf states. They will follow Saudis lead. Also for an attack to be successful it would have to take out not only the nukes but the revolutionary Guard command and the top religious leaders. I believe we could see a scenario developing where there could be open support by Saudi jets. For fetched? Read the old testament.
The recent Fatwa by Saudi Arabia, the highest authority in the Muslim world, against terrorism sets the stages to blunt the fall out and possible retaliatory strikes after an Israeli attack. Take this a step further and envision an attack and then a pause, to give the regular Iranian military a chance to take control and remove the radical leadership left and restore the country to the rightful Persian leaders.
The planning going on is massive and involves many pieces of a very complicated mission crossing many countries. I think also we will see Israel and the Gulf states deal with this threat without the United States which appears to the world to be incapability of making decisions to support her friends. The U.S. is also appearing weak and without resolve with leadership that is amateurish to say the least. i will be reporting to you as situations develop.
The most important thing we can do is educate ourselves with the facts about what is going on in the world, just one of us can still make a difference if we become informed and then let our voices be heard to our elected officials.
This is our first issue of our current terrorism update which was started in 2002.
Many of you probably only have a limited view of world terrorism and that is probably what you learn from the news. There is much more behind it then what the press and those on the Left would like us to know. Most people who condemn the U.S. for its war on terror, for the most part have no direct knowledge or facts and are just repeating talking points from the left. That was the occasion when I met George Hassan. There were a small group of people in my office and one of them a non American was saying how bad America is for attacking the poor terrorist and terrorism was all America’s fault. If only we treated people right and talked to the terrorist, things would be better needless to say my response was heated.
But I heard the best defense of America and a statement about America’s greatness not from an American but from an Iranian, George Hassan, who is an Muslim. I knew at that point that this was a man I wanted to get to know. He will continue to contribute to our updates.
I can highly recommend you read my first book ‘Hostile Intent” which gives the history of my journey to find the source of terrorism.
The word Terrorism came into use during the French Revolution in the 1700’s. That defined the use of terrorism even by governments or movements who used violence to promote their cause. We know that evil, killing and violence in what ever name has been around since the beginning of time. In my book Hostile Intent I trace the first act of terrorism back to the battle in Heaven when Lucifer tried to over throw God. Sound like familiar? Someone trying to take over from some one in power. Of course we know that attempt failed and the rest is history.
Terrorism has come in all shapes, forms and used by people of every faith and background. Always it has been used to promote a cause. I tell all my friends around the world if some one is trying to get you to do or believe like they do and are using violence, then run the other way. You know it has no validity if violence is needed to enforce it.
Terrorism was used to enforce communism on many parts of the world. Of course Hitler used terrorism to enforce his attempt to destroy the Jews and the list goes on. The current brand of terrorism is used by evil people who use Islam as vehicle to divide people and promote their attempt to control the world. Please read George Hassan’s report in this issue and you will see the start of our current problems. Also I recommend his book Iran: Harsh Arm of Islam, a must read for all who want to be informed and with knowledge there is power.
Are all Muslims terrorist? A loud NO NO NO.
I have friends who are Muslims and from all parts of the Muslim society and every one condemns terrorism. The recent Fatwa by Saudi Arabia against terrorism should put to rest all the doubts about where they stand on terrorism. For those who don’t know a Fatwa is a religious ruling that sets the tone for what the Muslim leaders say and do and is a message for the people to follow suit. There is a law being drafted as i write this in Saudi Arabia to enforce the Fatwa. The ruling covers every act of terrorism including the funding, encouraging or supporting terrorism. We should send a big thank you to the Saudis.
The next big battle for us in this war on terrorism is to get it back to being a war not an over seas contingent. We are loosing face and ground over seas and are looked at as being weak and without moral courage to support our friends. The fall election in the states will determine where we win or loose this international fight to keep our country free and safe and in a direct way the free world.
In future issues I will deal with more facts to try and give knowledge for you to make good decisions. All I ask for is and open mind as you read our updates and the then you make your decisions.
Be safe and remember with knowledge there is freedom and with freedom of the people there is power. Phil Little