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War in Ukraine heading to "violent" new phase, warns NATO's Mircea Geoană | GZERO World

War in Ukraine heading to "violent" new phase, warns NATO's Mircea Geoană

Ukraine's military has lasted far longer than anyone expected when the war in Ukraine began one year ago. Much of that success comes down to Ukraine's ability to mobilize the energy of the nation, as well as material support from NATO and its allies. On the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion, GZERO World traveled to the Munich Security Conference and spoke with NATO Deputy Secretary General, Mircea Geoană, for his candid assessment of the state of the war.

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A view shows graves of killed Ukrainian defenders, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a cemetery in Kharkiv, Ukraine January 31, 2023.

REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi

Hard Numbers … after a year of war in Ukraine

300,000: Human losses on both sides of the conflict are mounting (and disputed), but there have been a whopping 300,000 military and civilian deaths on both sides, according to high-end estimates.

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Yevgeny Prigozhin, left, serves Vladimir Putin dinner at a Moscow restaurant in 2011.


A dangerous game for “Putin’s Chef”

In November, we profiled the uber-controversial Russian mercenary chieftain, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a man once determined to remain in the shadows who, since Russia invaded Ukraine, seems eager to become the war’s most famous man.

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Members of of the Armed Forces of Ukraine prepare amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Bahmut, Ukraine.

REUTERS/Marko Djurica

What We're Watching: A looming Russian offensive, Biden’s State of the Union, Lasso’s losses

Ukraine prepares for Russian assault amid troubling rumors

The Institute for the Study of War, a military think tank based in Washington, DC, has forecast that Russia will launch a major military offensive in eastern Ukraine in the coming weeks. (Russia remains much less likely to again send troops from Belarus toward Kyiv because Ukrainian troops are now even better armed and positioned in the north than when they routed Russian forces last spring.) Ukrainian intel officials say Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian forces to capture the full territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by the end of March, and Ukraine’s defense minister has warned that Russian forces may have mobilized a lot more soldiers than has been widely reported in Western media. Preparations for a Russian offensive and a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive come at a tricky moment for Ukraine. Rumors are flying that President Volodymyr Zelensky may replace Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov following the ministry’s suspected involvement in a corruption scheme involving overpayment for food – though Reznikov has not been personally implicated. We’ll be watching to see what happens next, but Zelensky has not yet publicly addressed the conflicting reports.

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Russian Unpredictability & Finland's Border Threat | Alexander Stubb | GZERO World

Russian unpredictability & Finland's border threat

Finland isn't taking its eastern neighbor for granted. Yes, that means you, Russia.

Indeed, the Finns don't one of Europe's largest standing armies to defend themselves against Sweden, former PM Alexander Stubb tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, on the ground in Davos.

“If you have a 1,340-kilometer border with Russia, you always have be concerned because, as we can see, Russia is quite unpredictable,” he explains.

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Luisa Vieira

Why “General Armageddon” got demoted

Vladimir Putin has again replaced his top general in Ukraine, the second such move in 11 months of war. The Russian Defense Ministry announced on January 11 that Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov will take over as commander of his country’s war on Ukraine.

He replaces Sergei Surovikin, a man Russian media have dubbed “General Armageddon” to hype his fearsome reputation as the guy who flattened the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2016.

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Luisa Vieira

Winter is coming

The image of Russian (and Ukrainian) soldiers dug into snow banks to repel invaders has a long history. Napoleon and Hitler learned the hard way that winter provides defenders with a major home-field advantage.

Once again, winter will soon descend on a battlefield. Rain will turn hard earth into mud, slowing military movement. Snow will leave advancing forces with fewer places to hide and no good way to cover their tracks.

Ukrainian fighters know that winter will slow their current momentum, and Russians know it will cripple their ability to push hard in the opposite direction.

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A Russian service member stands next to a mobile recruitment center for military service under contract in Rostov-on-Don.

REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

The script for conscripts: Inside Putin’s (partial) mobilization

Russia is raising the stakes in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s call for the partial mobilization of Russian reservists — along with holding referenda in occupied parts as well as threatening to use nuclear weapons — has come in the wake of his troops suffering stunning losses at the hands of Kyiv. While the referenda are expected to be sham votes, and nukes are way up the escalation ladder, the mobilization edict is the most immediate of Putin’s three latest moves.

It’s also already affecting the cost, politics, and operations of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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