Putin Has Started the War With Ukraine

Russia’s President Putin has started the war in Ukraine.

Nextbigfuture had previously reported that Ukraine has virtually no air force.

Russia’s defense ministry says it has attacked military infrastructure at Ukrainian airbases and degraded Ukraine’s air defenses.

Several Ukrainian cities were under attack on Thursday morning.

* Ukraine’s airports and airfields are being or already have been destroyed
* Ukrainian airspace was closed to civilian aircraft as the region was considered an active conflict zone.
* Highways could be seen jam-packed with vehicles early Thursday as Ukrainian citizens desperately tried to flee to safety.
* Ukraine imposed martial law Wednesday night as Russian forces launched offenses across the country. A nationwide state of emergency had been in effect, giving officials extra powers to impose restrictions. Under martial law, military leaders are the absolute authorities of Ukraine’s civilians.

The US Can Financially Punish Russia by Using Oil and Gas

Russia is mainly an economy like Saudi Arabia but a country with nuclear weapons. A US economic punishment for these actions would be to ramp up oil and gas production from 11 million barrels per day now in the USA back to 13 million barrels per day which was achieved throughout 2019 and then go beyond that oil production level.

Europe imports 2.3 million barrels of oil per day from Russia. US increasing production and exporting to Europe will reduce oil prices. Russia makes $3 billion per year for every $1 increase in the price of a barrel of oil. Oil is now about $100. Oil was about $60 per barrel in 2019.

The US increased oil production from 8.6 million barrels per day in 2016 to 13.0 million barrels of oil per day in March 2020.

World oil prices can move from $100 to $30 when world oil supplies go from being short 2 million barrels per day to an oversupply of 2 million barrels per day.

Nextbigfuture went over how to reduce European dependence on Russian Gas.

* Germany can keep all six of their nuclear reactors running and not need to import 60 TWh per year of energy
* France can increase nuclear electricity exports to Germany which France has done for decades. This could replace half of Germany’s natural gas for electricity needs in 2022 and all of it by 2023.
* The US could increase nuclear energy generation to free up natural gas. This could be used to reduce non-European Liquified natural gas demands. Building up liquified natural gas production facilities and import and export terminals would take some time. But substantial progress could be made by next year.
* 2 out of the 5 million barrels per day of Russian oil exports could be replaced in 2022 and probably 1-2 million barrels per day for each of the next two years.
* there is also some short pipelines that would need to be built to move oil and gas around to new Eastern European locations
* The GDP hit could be minimized to 2-3% and it would be one year and less in 2023. Germany keep running their nuclear reactors. This is 60 TWh/year. The natural gas imports remaining would be 60 TWh/year. 30 TWh/year less than just one month ago and the shutdown of the three nuclear reactors. France increasing electricity would replace the natural gas needed for German electricity. France would need to move around their shutdown for maintenance and refueling schedule to keep more generators online and then during a shutdown they need to perform stretch uprates 2-7% non turbine boosts. Maxing LNG imports as is already being done minimizes disruption. Maybe 10-20% drop in natural gas instead of 40% which is Russia’s share of Europe natural gas. Full recovery next year.
* It would likely end up being global swapping. China would take all of Russias oil and gas. Europe would then shift to its own nuclear energy and US, Canada, Saudi and Qatar oil and natural gas. But Russia would have no more energy leverage in Europe.

Military Situation

In 2014, Ukraine’s defense minister said the country had 6,000 combat-ready troops. Today in 2022, Ukraine’s army numbers around 145,000-150,000 troops and has significantly improved its capabilities, personnel, and readiness. Over the last eight years of war with Russia, the army and special ops have improved but have limited heavy gear. The Navy and Air Force are even weaker than before the 2014 invasion.

The Ukrainian military can slow the Russian forces but would need to avoid getting crushed by Russian air superiority. Good Special Ops and a combat-ready army would be effective for causing a lot of problems for Russian occupation.

Nextbigfuture reviewed a 36 page study from December 2021 of Putin’s military options for an invasion. The analysis estimates that Russia would need 325,000 troops to take and hold Kyiv. Russia is likely to take the eastern parts of Ukraine and hold the port of City of Odessa.