Global SITREP for Friday, 30 June 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Friday, 30 June 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Friday, 30 June 2023.

  1. FIRST UP: Zelensky orders Ukraine forces to strengthen the northern approach to Kiev in response to Wagner forces movement to Belarus.
  • Wagner Chief Prigohzin will now work out of Belarus as part of the post-coup agreement with Putin.
  • Belarus is constructing camps for upwards of 25,000 Wagner fighters expected to arrive in the country in the near future.

Why It Matters: Prigohzin and Wagner PMC arriving in Belarus puts a combat-tested army corps-sized force on Ukraine’s northern approach to Kiev. Ukrainian military leaders must honor the threat, whether Wagner is there to march on Kiev or not. This repositioning of forces will require at least some of Ukraine’s Western-trained assault brigades to be moved from the counteroffensive on the Donbas front to protect the northern lines of communication out of Kiev – a deft move by Russia, or at a minimum, a silver lining to an embarrassing internal spat. – M.M.

  1. CHINA CALLS TAIWAN’S BLUFF: Less than a week after Taiwan said it would attack any Chinese military plane or ship that crossed into its territory, China launched 11 warplanes across the median line in the Taiwan Strait.
  • 24 fighter jets and bombers as well as 5 warships were observed operating close along Taiwan’s territorial borders on Friday.
  • Taiwan officials said the Chinese demonstration was likely in response to a delegation led by the U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers visit to Taipei Friday.

Why It Matters: Earlier this week China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying official U.S. government delegation visits to Taiwan were forbidden. China’s response to the visit was cliche military theater. Taiwan, however, did not appear to act as aggressively as it promised in its earlier statement that it would attack Chinese warplanes and ships crossing into its territory. Both Taiwan and China are testing each other’s red lines and eventually one or both will “fire the first shot” in an armed conflict between the two neighboring countries. – M.M.


  1. FRANCE: ALL OPTIONS ON THE TABLE NOW: Senior French officials said all options were on the table now to regain control of Paris from rioters and armed gangs.
  • A third night of civil unrest has sparked concerns among government officials that they may have to declare a state of emergency.
  • Over 200 police and 875 civilians were injured by rioters last night.

Why It Matters: The French government is clearly on the edge of losing control, although President Emmanuel Macron appears disconnected from the reality in the streets. Over 40,000 national police have deployed to Paris and its suburbs as well as French military units in an effort to quell the ongoing violence. It is too early to tell whether this unrest will burn itself out or grow into something greater that will end up deposing an out-of-touch French government. – M.M.

  1. LAVROV: GRAIN DEAL IS WEST’S PROBLEM: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the failure of the Black Sea Grain deal was due to the West’s inaction.
  • Lavrov called the West’s attitude toward the deal “outrageous.”
  • Moscow said it will not renew the deal if obstacles to Russian agricultural products do not receive the same consideration as Ukraine’s exports.

Why It Matters: The Black Sea Grain deal has become a drama unto itself and a propaganda hammer that each side now uses against the other. The West is unlikely to grant Russia equal consideration under the deal’s safe passage rules and Russia is unlikely to agree to an extension of the deal without those concessions – effectively making the deal a dead horse which both sides should stop beating. – M.M.

  1. U.S. TELLS ASEAN TO GET THEIR HOUSE IN ORDER: Washington’s top diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink told ASEAN member states to settle their internal territorial disputes before trying to deal with China.
  • Kritenbrink’s comments were directed at Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia who have long-running territorial disputes among themselves.
  • The U.S. is focused on building up maritime security capabilities and cooperation among ASEAN nations to oppose Chinese expansion into their territorial waters.

Why It Matters: It appears U.S. policy is currently centered around coalition building in the South and East China China Seas, possibly as a shaping operation to oppose China’s military expansion outside the first island chain. While this is a smart first move, it would need to be followed up quickly with U.S. and Japanese military force reposturing to create a credible deterrent against Chinese malign activity. China is already bullying both Vietnam and the Philippines over vast oil and gas resources in their economic exclusive zones and making veiled claims to Japanese islands. – M.M.

DON’T MISS my next Early Warning report, focusing on developments in the global balance of power. It’s released to DailySA subscribers each Friday.

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – Max.

Max Morton is a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel and former CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer. He's now the Strategic Threats Analyst at Forward Observer.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *