Vladimir Putin’s forces have been defeated at Kyiv, but he’s not done with his invasion yet, U.S. officials said.
Mikhail Klimentyev | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration warned Monday that Russian forces are expected to intensify their military operations in Ukraine after weeks of stalled ground advances.
“When Russia started this war, its initial aims were to seize the capital of Kyiv, replace the Zelensky government and take control of much if not all of Ukraine,” national security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House, adding “Russia believed that it could accomplish these objectives swiftly and efficiently.”
He said U.S. officials believed the Kremlin is now revising its goal in the war. “Russia is repositioning its forces to concentrate its offensive operations in eastern and parts of southern Ukraine, rather than target most of the territory,” Sullivan said, citing the military’s failure to capture Kyiv.
For the past five weeks, Russian forces on the ground in Ukraine have been beset with a slew of logistical problems on the battlefield, including reports of fuel and food shortages.
“All indications are that Russia will seek to surround and overwhelm Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine,” Sullivan said. “We anticipate that Russian commanders are now executing the redeployment from northern Ukraine to the region around the Donbas.”
He added that Russia’s renewed ground offensive in eastern Ukraine will likely also “include air and missile strikes across the rest of the country to cause military and economic damage, and frankly, to cause terror.”
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows a residential building destroyed by shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 3, 2022. Picture taken with a drone.
Maksim Levin | Reuters
A senior U.S. Defense Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of the Pentagon’s thinking, said the Kremlin has moved about 65% of its forces near Kyiv to Belarus.
The official said the Pentagon believes those Russian troops are being resupplied with additional manpower in Belarus before deploying back to the fight in Ukraine. When asked where the troops would likely go, the official said the Pentagon believes the majority of them will move to the Donbas region.
The official added the U.S. believes the “vast majority” of Russian forces are still in Ukraine and that Kyiv is still under threat.
Later on Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby didn’t offer specifics surrounding how the U.S. expects Russian forces will reorganize.
“We don’t believe that this is a complete withdrawal from the war effort. These guys are not going home, I guess is the main point,” Kirby said, adding that the Pentagon was “not able to perfectly predict exactly how they’re going to reform their units.”
When pressed, Sullivan didn’t provide a timeline of how long the U.S. expects the war will last.
“It may not be just a matter of a few more weeks,” Sullivan said. “This next phase could be measured in months or longer,” he added.
IMF hikes global growth forecast as inflation cools
The IMF has revised its global economic outlook upwards.
Norberto Duarte | Afp | Getty Images
The International Monetary Fund on Monday revised upward its global growth projections for the year, but warned that higher interest rates and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would likely still weigh on activity.
In its latest economic update, the institution said the global economy will grow 2.9% this year — which represents a 0.2 percentage point improvement from its previous forecast in October. However, it said that number would still mean a fall from an expansion of 3.4% in 2022.
It also revised its projection for 2024 down to 3.1%.
“Growth will remain weak by historical standards, as the fight against inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine weigh on activity,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, director of the research department at the IMF, said in a blog post.
The Fund turned more positive on the global economy due to better-than-expected domestic factors in several countries, such as the United States.
“Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of last year, with strong labor markets, robust household consumption and business investment, and better-than-expected adaptation to the energy crisis in Europe,” Gourinchas said, also noting that inflationary pressures have come down.
In addition, China announced the reopening of its economy after strict Covid-19 lockdowns, which is expected to contribute to higher global growth. A weaker U.S. dollar has also brightened the prospects for emerging countries that hold debt in foreign currency.
However, the picture isn’t totally positive. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned earlier this month that the economy was not as bad as some feared, “but less bad doesn’t quite yet mean good.”
“We have to be cautious,” she said during a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The IMF on Monday warned of several factors that could deteriorate the outlook in the coming months. These included the fact that China’s Covid reopening could stall; inflation could remain high; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could shake energy and food costs even further; and markets could turn sour on worse-than-expected inflation prints.
IMF calculations say that about 84% of nations will face lower headline inflation this year compared to 2022, but they still forecast an annual average rate of 6.6% in 2023 and of 4.3% in 2024.
As such, the Washington, D.C.-based institution said one of the main policy priorities is that central banks keep addressing the surge in consumer prices.
“Clear central bank communication and appropriate reactions to shifts in the data will help keep inflation expectations anchored and lessen wage and price pressures,” the IMF said in its latest report.
“Central banks’ balance sheets will need to be unwound carefully, amid market liquidity risks,” it added.
Most Adani shares continue losses; founder loses $28 billion in month
Gautam Adani, chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group, at the World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai on Nov. 19, 2022. Founder Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and once second only to Elon Musk, fell out of the world’s top five richest to rank seventh on the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.
Indranil Mukherjee | Afp | Getty Images
Shares of most of Adani Group companies continued to see sharp losses for a third consecutive trading session as the company attempted to rebut short seller firm Hindenburg’s report, which accused the conglomerate of stock manipulation and an “accounting fraud scheme.”
Adani Enterprises erased earlier gains of up to 10% and last traded flat in Mumbai’s afternoon trade after the group published a lengthy response of over 400 pages to Hindenburg’s report over the weekend, saying that it will exercise its rights to “pursue remedies” to protect its investors “before all appropriate authorities.”
Adani Enterprises’ stock price remains more than 25% lower in the month to date, Refinitiv data showed. It proceeded with a secondary share sale worth $2.5 billion, which were overshadowed by a rout that wiped out a total of $48 billion as of last week’s close.
His net worth fell $27.9 billion year to date, the index showed. It peaked at $150 billion on Sept. 20, 2022, before falling to to $92.7 billion as of last week’s close, according to the index.
Despite small gains seen in Adani Enterprises, other affiliates of the Adani Group continued to plunge.
Adani Group said Hindenburg’s allegations were a “calculated attack on India, independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and growth story and ambition of India,” in the response it released over the weekend.
The group’s chief financial officer Jugeshinder Singh said in an interview with CNBC-TV18, an affiliate of CNBC, that the value of Adani Enterprises has not changed “simply because” of share price volatility, adding it instead lies in its “ability to incubate new businesses.”
He added that he is confident Adani Enterprises‘ follow-on public offering will be fully subscribed, calling Hindenburg’s report “simply a lie” and the timing of the report “malicious.”
Hindenburg on Monday morning described the group’s response “bloated” and claimed it “ignores every key allegation” against the conglomerate that it raised.
“Fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism of a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised,” the short seller titled its response to Adani Group.
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