The Ukraine Crisis: Situation Update: #22

Foreign Policy Brief #179 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | April 14, 2023

Header photo taken from:

Leaked Pentagon Documents

The online leaks of highly classified documents on a number of sensitive military information, including info on the Ukraine war, has sent top Pentagon officials scrambling this week. The documents contain classified briefings detailing the US military efforts in the Ukraine war, data on military activities like US drone spy planes in the region, and the state of Ukrainian forces. and intelligence involving allied nations. The Pentagon has been careful not to authenticate the information contained in any specific document, yet there have been reports that some documents may have been doctored. For example documents showing estimates of Russian troops deaths in the Ukraine war that are significantly lower than numbers publicly stated by U.S. officials. The documents also show a different view of what the US military perceives about the war, a document from early February expresses misgivings about Ukraine’s chances of success in its spring counteroffensive. A 21 year old man who was a member of the intelligence wing of the Air National Guard is said to have been the source of the leaks, and was arrested on April, 12, 2023.

Lula da Silva Xi Jinping war in Ukraine

Photo taken from: Ishii/Pool Photo via AP

More Backers for China’s Peace Plan

This week Brazilian President Lula da Silva flew to Beijing for a diplomatic visit where he aims to convince President Xi Jinping to form a group of nations to mediate an end to the war in Ukraine. Lula has suggested a proposal for China to lead peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, something that Western leaders haven’t shown willingness to engage in, besides French President Emmanuel Macron. Last week Macron went to Beijing accompanied by EU President Ersula Von Delien in order to attempt to persuade China to do more to end the war in Ukraine. It is a sign of shifting global politics that China is being turned to in order to help make peace, and signals a decline in faith in the US’ ability to do so.

Russian military reforms raise the age limit

Photo taken from: Avilov/Moskva News Agency

Russian Military Reforms

Russia’s parliament, the Duma, has approved a bill that would raise the age limit for military personnel serving in active duty from 40 to 65. Throughout the duration of the war Russia has met fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces, it is unlikely Moscow intended for the fighting to last as long as it has. As Russian troops have suffered thousands of casualties as the war got bogged down, the Kremlin is in need of further expanding its range of recruitment of troops and is turning to older citizens to fill those gaps. Additionally, Russia will begin sending electronic military draft papers and crack down on draft dodgers. One year of military service is compulsory in Russia for all men aged 18 to 27. Under the current system, men targeted by military recruiters are hand-delivered paper summons at their registered addresses. They must personally sign a document to confirm their receipt, but as was seen during the last mobilization, many will attempt to avoid conscription by any means necessary and may escape receiving their summons.  Under the new plan, Russian men will receive draft papers by registered post and via a personal account on the site “Gosuslugi” an online public services portal in Russia. Once the electronic summons are served under the new legislation men who fail to show up at the military enlistment office by the required date will be automatically banned from traveling abroad. This is an effort by the Kremlin to keep its fighting aged men from fleeing the country. However, it is more likely these new rules being put into place will lead to even more Russians fleeing, anger the population, and lead to more dissent.

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