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More Russia-NATO Confrontation Ahead in Ukraine War | World In :60 | GZERO Media

More Russia-NATO confrontation ahead in Ukraine war

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

With the US speeding up military aid to Ukraine, can the West coax an end to the war soon?

I don't think so and I'm not sure that's related to how much military aid the West is providing Ukraine. I do think we're getting closer to a frozen conflict because the Russians aren't doing a general mobilization. It'd be very unpopular in Russia for Putin to manage that, which means that their forces are nearly spent. They can't take more territory than the Donbas max with what they have right now. So beyond that and the Ukrainians with some counter offensives, which also will be pretty limited as we're starting to see happening in Kherson in the south, that's probably where we are for the coming months, but that's freezing the conflict near term. That's not an end to the war. That's not, the Russians and Ukrainians are happy with where they are, that you get ceasefire negotiations that could create peace, especially with the Russians likely annexing part of Ukraine. This is I think a war for the duration for a much longer period of time. It's also confrontation between Russia and NATO that so far hasn't been very sharp, but is likely to play out more sharply over time with disinformation attacks and espionage and cyber and all the rest.

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Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during their meeting in Budapest.


What We're Watching: Hungarian holdout, hope in Shanghai, US troops return to Somalia

Is Hungary holding the EU “hostage”?

The European Commission is pushing hard for a bloc-wide ban on Russian oil imports. But one member state — Hungary — has gone rogue and is holding up the embargo. At a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday, Lithuania’s representative accused Hungary of holding the bloc “hostage,” after PM Viktor Orbán demanded that Brussels dole out hundreds of millions of dollars to offset losses from moving away from cheap Russian fossil fuels. Orbán is buddies with Vladimir Putin and has been trying to expand Hungary’s economic relationship with the Kremlin in recent months, so he is driving a hard bargain, saying that ditching Russian oil would be an “atomic bomb” for his country’s economy. Landlocked Hungary relies on Russia for around 45% of its total oil imports, and finding alternative sources could lead to shortages and price hikes at a time when Hungarians are already grappling with sky-high inflation. Still, Brussels says Budapest is being greedy because Hungary has already been given a longer window — until the end of 2024 — to phase out Russian imports. But Orbán is hoping to get more concessions ahead of a big EU summit on May 30, when the bloc aims to find a political solution to this stalemate.

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A Ukrainian service member walks near a school building destroyed by Russian shelling in Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

What We're Watching: Russia's consolidation in eastern Ukraine, Shanghai's grueling lockdown

Bracing for worse in Ukraine. As Russia consolidates its forces around the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, military analysts now warn that the most violent stage of the conflict still looms. Russian forces have been trying to consolidate gains in the country’s southeast, particularly in the Russian-occupied province of Luhansk, and using “scorched earth” tactics in cities like Izyum. The Pentagon has warned that Russia’s withdrawal from other cities, including the capital Kyiv, to focus intensively on the southeast could present new challenges for the Ukrainian military. The different terrain, for example, could make it harder for Ukraine’s troops to carry out the guerilla-style operations that have been successful until now. Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s assault in the east intensified on Sunday, with Russians striking an airport in the city of Dnipro, just days after dozens of Ukrainians were killed in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, where Russia fired missiles at a railway station. The UN now says some 4.5 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee the country.

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China vs COVID in 2022 | GZERO World

China vs COVID in 2022

Omicron has arrived. It's more contagious, but less severe. Some parts of the world are even looking forward to the pandemic becoming endemic.

Not China. Xi Jinping's zero-COVID strategy has worked wonders until now, but it's unlikely to survive omicron, explains Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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COVID at the Beijing Winter Olympics | GZERO World

COVID at the Beijing Winter Olympics

China's zero-COVID strategy will be put to its biggest test to date with the Beijing Winter Olympics approach.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, says Chinese officials think they are taking the safest approach, but that may not be enough against the more transmissible omicron variant.

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Omicron and the Undoing of China’s COVID Strategy | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Omicron & the undoing of China's COVID strategy

Omicron is here. The bad news is that it's more contagious. The good news is that mRNA vaccines work against death and hospitalization. COVID may soon become endemic in some parts of the world.

Not in China, where Xi Jinping's zero-COVID approach faces its toughest test to date with omicron. Why? Because China lacks mRNA jabs, and so few Chinese people have gotten COVID that overall protection is very low.

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Laura Yasaitis: China’s Pandemic Playbook Will Fail With Omicron | Top Risks 2022 | GZERO Media

China’s pandemic playbook will fail with Omicron — Laura Yasaitis

China's zero-COVID strategy was a major success story in 2020-21. But it won't work with the new omicron variant, according to Eurasia Group healthcare consultant Laura Yasaitis.

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L-R: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Josef Stalin with their advisers at Yalta, in the Crimea, where the Allies decided the future of post-Second World War Europe.


What We’re Watching: No Yalta in 2022, Kazakh turmoil worsens, China needs mRNA jabs

EU warns the US and Russia. EU officials look to be getting nervous about meetings next week between Russia, the US, and NATO. Though NATO representatives from EU member states will be part of the talks, the EU itself was not invited to join. During a visit to Ukraine this week, the EU’s top diplomat warned that “We are no longer in Yalta times,” a reference to the 1945 Yalta agreement among the US, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union that helped to divide post-war Europe into eastern and western blocs. “In this dialogue, there are not two actors alone, not just the US and Russia,” Josep Borrell added. Russia has massed 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, and Vladimir Putin has demanded guarantees that NATO not expand to include Ukraine or other former Soviet states. The EU’s comments are intended, in part, to reassure Ukraine that it will not be abandoned to Russian domination. But it’s also a sign that officials in Brussels don’t fully trust US President Joe Biden to protect European rights and interests in bargaining with Putin.

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