German Marshall Fund of the United States and Starr Forum

28. Januar 2022

Panel on Streng­t­he­ning the Secu­ri­ty Resi­li­en­ce of Ukrai­ne: Mili­ta­ry, Ener­gy, Cyber

High­light: Mode­ra­tor asks, if Ukrai­ne would be able to beco­me a net ener­gy exporter wit­hin the next five years to redu­ce eco­no­mic depen­dance - expert fol­lows up with a sli­de that reads:

Pos­si­ble addi­tio­nal thre­ats [to Ukrai­ne] in 2022:

Phy­si­cal attacks
- phy­si­cal dama­ge to infra­st­ruc­tu­re - gas pipe­lines, to for­ce NS2 operation
- electri­ci­ty net­work to pre­vent joi­ning ENTSO-E (Euro­pean asso­cia­ti­on for the coope­ra­ti­on of trans­mis­si­on sys­tem ope­ra­tors (TSOs) for electricity)

Cyber attacks on infrastructure
- gas pipe­lines to for­ce NS2 operation
- electri­ci­ty net­work to pre­vent joi­ning ENTSO-E

Attacks on coal mines/nuclear plants to crea­te evi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ters, risk to people’s health

Infor­ma­tio­nal attacks
- alrea­dy happening

Eco­no­mic attacks
- Blo­cka­ge of coal/gas supply
- Blo­cka­ge of oil pro­ducts supply

Fol­lo­wed up by a plea, to the US minis­try of ener­gy to help Ukrai­ne with imple­men­ting a sus­tainab­le ener­gy infra­st­ruc­tu­re, because 

The US has real­ly, real­ly gre­at ener­gy resi­li­en­ce sys­tems, star­ting with trai­nings, com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, and buil­ding capa­ci­ty of dif­fe­rent sta­ke­hol­ders. It would be real­ly good, if the US depart­ment of ener­gy and the US government, would help the Ukrai­ne minis­try of ener­gy and other sta­ke­hol­ders, to build this capa­ci­ty here in the Ukrai­ne. I belie­ve this is a real­ly gre­at chan­ce to enhan­ce our coope­ra­ti­on, thank you very much.”

What a nice invi­ta­ti­on - I might actual­ly vaca­ti­on the­re, next summer!

[First pro­blem being Bela­rus is cur­r­ent­ly not sup­ply­ing electri­ci­ty to the Ukrai­ne, with it being up in the air, if they will recon­nect in the near future.] “The second pro­blem is sup­ply of oil pro­ducts to Ukrai­ne, becau­se Rus­sia and Bela­rus sup­ply up to 70% of oil pro­ducts to Ukrai­ne now, and if they stop this sup­ply, well, the­re will be a pos­si­bi­li­ty to replace this fuel, but the time will mat­ter. So Bela­rus can play some nega­ti­ve role, even des­troy­ing lets say ener­gy secu­ri­ty of Ukraine.”


Starr Forum (MIT Cen­ter for Inter­na­tio­nal Studies) 

Pri­ma­ri­ly sees “saber ratt­ling”. Then fol­lo­wed up by a collec­tion of all the US think­tank lead pro­po­sals dis­sec­ted here in the last days. Eura­si­on eco­no­mic uni­on, Putin beha­vio­ral ana­ly­sis and cha­rac­ter cen­te­red moti­va­ti­on fin­ding for the con­flict, pain­ting the Ukrai­ne as an eco­no­mic power­house, tel­ling peop­le its Putins fear of peop­le power, pin­ning it on ego/status, … Ever­ything except for crea­ting a secu­ri­ty infra­st­ruc­tu­re along­side rus­si­as bor­ders that would sus­tain a com­ing demo­gra­phic nar­ro­wing. First and fourth spea­kers at least touch upon it. Fourth spea­ker then also pro­po­ses some­thing along tho­se lines, detail­ed talks about a new secu­ri­ty infra­st­ruc­tu­re as “the best pos­si­ble solu­ti­on, and the one thats cur­r­ent­ly being pur­sued”. All in all the best panel I’ve scree­n­ed so far, watching it is recommended.

edit: Pas­send dazu der öster­rei­chi­sche Fal­ter: “Nie­mand hat wirk­lich ein Inter­es­se an Kämp­fen in der Ukrai­ne. War­um trom­meln dann trotz­dem alle nach Krieg?”

edit2: Fifth spea­ker in the Starr Forum Panel goes into the thre­at from a mili­ta­ry tro­ops sta­tio­ned at the bor­der ang­le. Cur­r­ent­ly about 56.000 com­bat units and sup­port units to fill up the 100.000 repor­ted by other out­lets befo­re. Thats about 40% of rus­si­as cur­rent com­bat poten­ti­al, now near the bor­der (120-200 miles from the ukrai­ni­an bor­der). About half the num­ber are bri­ga­des, that are regu­lar­ly sta­tio­ned the­re. That inclu­des most of the sup­por­ting ground tro­ops. (Almost no addi­tio­nal sup­port tro­ops were added.) 15-20 SPTGs have moved pri­ma­ri­ly into Bela­rus, equa­ling 50% of the total eas­tern groups com­bat poten­ti­al, that has now moved near the Ukrai­ne. Posi­tio­ning would make it pos­si­ble to occu­py the east or the south of Ukrai­ne, or to encir­cle Kiev, pro­bab­ly not take Kiev “becau­se that’s hard”. A total occup­a­ti­on is unli­kely, but the­re is a pos­si­bi­li­ty to use a limi­ted mili­ta­ry vic­to­ry to attain poli­ti­cal goals. Sus­tai­ned par­ti­al occup­a­ti­on also seems unli­kely accord­ing to the speaker.

edit3: Two new major takea­ways. The panel agrees that rus­sia has lar­ge­ly deco­u­pled its abi­li­ty to take mili­ta­ry action from the public sen­ti­ment of its peop­le, and also agrees, that the con­flict is about lar­ger con­ces­si­ons in the ori­en­ta­ti­on of the secu­ri­ty based order of the wes­tern alli­an­ce. Con­ces­si­ons that would exceed “pre­ven­ting Ukrai­ne from beco­m­ing a mem­ber of Nato”, becau­se that wasnt very likely wit­hin the next years any­how, accord­ing to the panelists.

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