Leadership

Kremlin coy about Putin’s future

The question whether Vladimir Putin will seek re-election in 2024 remains unanswered. Putin has led Russia as prime minister and president since 1999 and speculation has been building in Russian media, but a Kremlin official today said only that there has been no decision. [node:read-more:link]

Macron seeks huge defence boost

Seven months after launching a new “war economy”, French Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a 2024-2030 plan to spend €400-billion on defence priorities which, if enacted, would reflect a 35 per cent increase over the current 2019-2025 plan. He said the increase would enable France to “transform” services so as to more quickly respond to global threats to its territories. [node:read-more:link]

Russia renews nuclear threat

Former Russia President Dmitry Medvedev, who is close to Vladimir Putin, said today that a loss in the war with Ukraine “may trigger a nuclear war.” The implicit threat on social media was immediately endorsed by the Kremlin, which said doctrine permits the use of nuclear weapons in response to “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.” [node:read-more:link]

DND continued data collection effort

Six months after stating in November 2020 that it was shutting down collection of Canadians’ social media data, the Department of National Defence evidently continued its efforts by funding private sector development of new ways to analyze social media data. [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy advisor’s “fundamental error”

Oleksiy Arestovych, a senior advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, offered to resign today after suggesting that Ukrainian forces had downed a Russian missile which killed 44 people in Dnipro. What he acknowledged as a “fundamental error” was widely criticized when Russian propagandists used it to blame Ukraine for the attack. [node:read-more:link]

German defence minister resigns

Christine Lambrecht, 57, resigned today after only 13 months on the job , saying that “media focus on my person” had stood in the way of productive debate about her country’s defence and security policies. She had been widely criticized for her management of military modernization and supplying Ukraine with weapons but Chancellor Olaf Scholz said she had been a “first-class” minister. [node:read-more:link]

Sexual misconduct in cadet corps?

Michel Blois, a veteran representing former cadets in a $300-million class-action lawsuit, says the cadet program is grappling with sexual misconduct he calls cultural “overlap” with the Canadian Armed Forces. The statement of claim says the federal government has failed when it comes to “systemic sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination” in the civilian program supervised by CAF personnel. [node:read-more:link]

Japan defence pact with U.K.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his visiting Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, promised “unwavering commitment” to Indo-Pacific security by signing a Reciprocal Access Agreement. The January 11 pact positions their countries to “plan and deliver larger scale, more complex military exercises and deployments” while “rapidly” accelerating defense and security cooperation. [node:read-more:link]

Army modernization a glacial process

More than a decade after the Army identified the need for a range of equipment upgrades needed to ensure its status as a modern combat force, most of the plans have atrophied with age, a victim of a political indecision and a glacially-slow procurement process. The new gear includes ground-based air defence, modern anti-tank systems and long-range artillery, all top priorities for many of Canada’s allies in Europe as they face down a resurgent Russia. [node:read-more:link]

Cooperate or suffer: Eyre

“This has been a year like no other in my career,” says General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of the Defence Staff, predicting that “history will view this year as a turning point in the global order.” In a year-end interview, he also says “we need to be concerned because our national prosperity is based on the stability in the existing order . . . and if we can't defer or deter and defend that, or if we can't work with our friends, partners and allies to create stability in that order, we're going to suffer.” [node:read-more:link]

Kim’s No. 2 military chief fired

General Pak Jong Chon, second only to President Kim Jong-un in North Korea’s Central Military Commission, has been replaced without explanation. He is succeeded by General Ri Yong Gil, who has commanded forces station around the capital as well as along the border with South Korea. [node:read-more:link]

NATO’s long haul for Ukraine

As Russia shows no sign of relenting in its war on Ukraine and the latter maintains its counteroffensive with widespread support, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance must be prepared for the long haul. “Ukrainian forces had the momentum for several months, but we also know that Russia has mobilized many more forces,” he says. “All that indicates that they are prepared to continue the war and also try to potentially launch a new offensive.” [node:read-more:link]

Army recruitment shortfall worrisome

The commander of the Canadian Army, Lieutenant-General Joe Paul, says more demands at home and abroad are putting increased pressure on his resources. The situation has been exacerbated by continued shrinkage in the ranks. He says the loss of 1,200 soldiers in 2021 could be followed by 800 more once the final 2022 count is in. [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy urges more U.S. support

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was told by President Joe Biden today that the U.S. will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” in its war with Russia. On his first overseas trip since the war began 10 months ago – on a U.S. Air Force flight from Poland – Zelenskyy told Congress that continued aid for his country should not be seen as “charity” but as “an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.” [node:read-more:link]

Putin trying to shift blame for Ukraine

Ten months after launching his “special military operation” against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is claiming that the war is “the result of the policy of third countries” and that he still sees Ukraine as a “brotherly nation.” He says the West has “brainwashed” the former Soviet republics and Russia had tried unsuccessfully for years “to build good-neighbourly relations with Ukraine, offering loans and cheap energy.” [node:read-more:link]

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