DailySA: Russian warns West with ‘Satan II’ ICBM launch – Forward Observer

DailySA: Russian warns West with ‘Satan II’ ICBM launch

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Thursday, 21 April 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • Russian warns West with ‘Satan II’ ICBM launch
  • Rich Chinese flee Shanghai
  • Yellen, Powell, and Co abandon G20 meeting
  • Drones built for U.S. military sent to Ukraine
  • Mexico nationalizes lithium

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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

RUSSIA WARNS WEST WITH ‘SATAN II’ ICBM LAUNCH: Russia tested its RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile in what’s being described as a warning to the United States and NATO. Russian President Putin said the test is “food for thought for those who try to threaten Russia.” The test occurred at the Plesetsk spaceport, about 500 miles north of Moscow. The missile’s exact capabilities are publicly unavailable but it’s believed to feature a Fractional Orbital Bombardment capability, can carry up to 15 hypersonic glide vehicles, and circumnavigate the South Pole to avoid Western missile defenses. (Analyst Comment: Meanwhile, Russia’s emergency ministry issued “Recommendations in case of a retaliatory nuclear strike by NATO countries.” Western leadership remains publicly skeptical of nuclear threats and is ratcheting up military support for Ukraine, which may prove counterproductive. – D.M.)

RICH CHINESE FLEE SHANGHAI: Wealthy Chinese citizens are attempting to flee Shanghai due to draconian government lockdowns. Consultants are working to push through emigration paperwork for many of the most well-to-do families in China. WeChat searches for emigration topics increased seven fold in the past few weeks after Chinese health officials extended the COVID lockdowns in Shanghai as part of its zero-COVID policy. (AC: China’s zero-COVID lockdowns have caused considerable chaos across 45 of China’s major cities. Many working class Chinese are without food and clean water and many have gone without essential health care with sometimes fatal results. Authorities in Shanghai this week, for instance, noted that hospitals were turning away patients for lack of a negative COVID test. Some hospitals require three negative tests before admitting a patient. – M.M.)

YELLEN, POWELL, AND COHORTS ABANDON G20 MEETING: Treasury Secretary Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, along with European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde, Canadian Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland, and the Ukrainian Finance Minister, walked out of a G20 meeting when Anton Siluanov, the Russian Finance Minister, started speaking. Several other foreign representatives and bank officials joining virtually reportedly turned off their cameras while the Russian representative spoke. Immediately after the walkout, the U.S. Treasury Department released information on its latest round of sanctions on Russia, targeting a Russian commercial bank offering services to China, the Middle East, and more than 40 individuals and entities, including organizations facilitating sanctions evasion efforts. (AC: G20 is a meeting of the world’s 20 largest economies that discusses the health of the global economic environment. The walkout reflects attempts to completely isolate Russia from the international community in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. More economic sanctions targeting Russia, Russian interests, and individuals can be expected as the war in Ukraine drags on. – R.P.)

DRONES BUILT FOR U.S. MILITARY SENT TO UKRAINE: The U.S. unmanned aircraft system (UAS) manufacturer, AeroVironment, said it is donating half its inventory of Quantix Recon UAS to Ukraine’s military. AeroVironment’ CEO, Wahid Nawabi, stated their drone can “fly undetected by enemy forces and unaffected by radio frequency jammers to deliver accurate and rapid reconnaissance of remote, inaccessible areas of the dynamically changing battlefield.” The move comes after multiple reports of successful commercial drone use in Ukraine. Another American UAS manufacturer, Teal Drones, sent a shipment of their “Gold Eagle” UAS to Ukraine earlier this month. (AC: AeroVironment and Teal specifically designed their drones for the U.S. military, and both are members of the Department of Defense’s “Blue UAS” program. While the drones are more capable than their commercial counterparts, such as DJI, the number sent is low compared to the number of commercial drones available. U.S. manufacturing challenges have hindered the domestic UAS industry from building drones at low cost and at large scale. – D.F.)

MEXICO NATIONALIZES LITHIUM: The Mexican legislature approved a proposal by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) to nationalize its lithium stores, revoking private ownership of mining leases and land purchases. While transnational mining operations may continue, the Mexican government will retain ownership of the minerals, likely taking a portion of the profits. (AC: Despite pledges that he would not expropriate private property, AMLO continues efforts to nationalize privately-run industries. If state control over oil firm Pemex is any indication, Mexico’s lithium mining industry will be poorly run and experience lost production due to increased corruption. – M.S.)

This week’s High Side briefings:

Thursday: Economic Early Warning

Friday: Early Warning Roundtable

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