Russian military slog in Ukraine a ‘dreadful mess’ for Putin:
A Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces member holds an NLAW anti-tank weapon, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
Russia’s military has proved to be far from ready for the fight it is facing in Ukraine. Russia has lost hundreds of tanks, many left charred or abandoned along the roads, and its death toll is on a pace to outstrip that of the country’s previous military campaigns in recent years. Despite being more than three weeks into the war, with the aim of an easy takeover long gone, Russia’s military is still in a strong position. Military analysts say that the country’s greater might and stockpile of city-flattening munitions will allow forces to fight on for whatever Russian President Putin has planned. Despite the Ukrainian people’s determination, the losses among Russia’s forces, and the errors of Kremlin leaders; there is no sign that the war will soon be over. Even failing to take control, Putin can keep up the attacks on Ukraine’s cities and people. Putin’s invasion is Russia’s largest, most complex combined military campaign since it took Berlin in 1945. Russia’s first apparent plan of attacking military targets while making a run for the capital failed immediately. This led Russian forces to revert to tactics used during its offensives in Syria and Chechnya; namely dropping bombs and firing missiles into cities and towns. Ukrainian President Zelensky said Russia is trying to starve Ukraine’s cities into submission and accused Putin of deliberately creating “a humanitarian catastrophe.”
China weighs exit from ‘zero COVID’ and the risks involved:
Community workers outside a locked down community chat near a Communist Party flag and trash bags labelled as hazardous waste on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Even as Chinese authorities are locking down cities, they are looking for an exit from what has been a successful but onerous COVID-19 prevention strategy. Government-affiliated health experts have released messages indicating that China is exploring ways of slowly easing its zero-tolerance approach. Right now, China is facing 15,000 new cases this month from multiple outbreaks across the country. The government is prolonging its policy of lockdowns, repeated mass testing, and a two-week or more quarantine for overseas arrivals in the wake of this high case-load. China’s Center for Disease Control published a paper last week suggesting that mandatory quarantine be reduced to seven days for incoming travelers. “It’s not the same virus as two years ago in Wuhan and elsewhere,” said Jin Dong-yan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong. “That’s the main message that we need to pass on.”
Ukraine war could hit global growth, OECD warns:
The war in Ukraine could cut world economic growth by over 1% within the first year of Russia’s invasion, pushing up prices by about 2.5% globally. The Organization for Economic Development (OECD) said that this could also cause a deep recession in Russia if the war is sustained. Although Russia and Ukraine only make up a small percentage of the global economy, they are huge producers of raw materials. The OECD assumes in its new research that oil prices will remain elevated by one-third, gas by 85% and wheat by 90%. Outside of Russia and Ukraine, this will be felt worst in European countries as many of them are reliant on both countries for energy and food. The price shock, however, may be felt more keenly by those in developing countries.