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The Ukrainian military controls decision-making to the lowest level possible. This is a problem for Russia

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When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered unmarked troops to be sent to Ukraine in 2014, first in Crimea and then in the eastern border regions of Donbas, they were better equipped, trained and organized — and crushed their opponents.

Eight years later, the roles reversed. This is due to many factors: modern weapons and training provided to Ukraine by its allies, better morale of its army, the level of its commanders, intelligence and planning from the United States, as well as disastrous tactical errors by the Kremlin and its generals.

However, one reason stands out: the very different ways in which two armies of Soviet origin learned to fight.

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The impact on and off the battlefield was profound, with Ukrainian forces managing to conduct rapid, combined force operations in September from Kharkiv in the northeast to the Donbass region, which, only months earlier, had proven beyond the capabilities of their Russian opponents. .

In the southern Kherson region, Ukraine added a third major front where Russian forces are forced to retreat, after Kharkiv and, in April, the capital, Kyiv. on Saturday, A massive explosion hit the bridge Putin built to connect Crimea to the mainland.

“He’s not joking,” US President Joe Biden said Thursday of Putin’s threats to deploy tactical nuclear weapons. “Because his army, you might say, is a noticeably underperforming.”

Russia’s poor performance sparked a backlash at home, as hard-line figures from Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov to famed mercenary commander Yevgeny Prigozhin criticized the failures of the military leaders. On Saturday, Putin for the first time publicly appointed a single general – Sergei Sorovikin – in charge of the entire Ukraine operation. Surovkin commands the Russian Air Force and was responsible for the southern invasion theater.

People close to the Russian Defense Ministry said they recognized the efficiency of the most advanced Ukrainian command structure from the early stages of the war. Meanwhile, Russian military bloggers have described the disorienting effect of attacks from behind by small mobile Ukrainian units, because it is difficult to know how dangerous an encirclement is in real time.

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After his defeat in 2015, the Ukrainian regular army had to be rebuilt almost from scratch. After decades of underfunding, corruption and subsequent deliberate decline under former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, it could only send 6,000 soldiers ready to fight against the mixed Russian forces.

Since then, a group of Yanukovych-appointed defense ministers have since been prosecuted before being forced out of their posts in 2014; In one case the charge was “treason of the interests of the Russian Federation”. By the time Andrey Zagorodnyuk, a civilian businessman, joined the ministry to push for reform in 2015, it was clear to him that the Russian plan to “disarm Ukraine” had been underway for years.

“It was not just about Donbass,” said Zagorodnyuk, in an interview in Kyiv. “It was from the beginning about controlling all of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian military reform

When Putin launched his invasion earlier this year, he had been with the military for eight years on more spending and equipment. If the United States and the Kremlin agreed on anything, it meant that the Ukrainian defense force was superior and Kyiv could fall within days.

This did not happen in part because the core of Ukrainian military reform, according to Zagorodnyuk, was the principle of “mission-mission leadership”, in which the decision-making process is handed down to the lowest possible level.

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“It is the complete opposite of what happened in the Russian and post-Soviet armed forces. The armies – they were learning from a completely different past: one authoritarian and imperial, the other rebellious and individualistic,” said Zagorodniuk, who served as defense minister from 2019 to 2020. reason to go to war.

The army was among the last institutions to be changed in Ukraine. However, according to Zagorodnyuk, the reforms were “transformational”. Add NATO training, the development of a new American-style non-commissioned officer corps with greater decision-making powers and respect, plus eight years of combat experience in the Donbass, and the image of the Ukrainian army is dramatically different from Russia. .

On Sunday, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that the European Union had agreed to train an additional 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers in EU countries, starting with Germany and Poland.

According to Zagorodnyuk, as many as 500,000 Ukrainian men and women traveled through the trenches along the 2015 Donbass ceasefire line, where fighting continued daily despite the armistice, until Putin’s invasion on February 24.

After directly, albeit covertly, intervening to report the 2014-2015 Donbas conflict, Russia mostly sent officers to coordinate the fighting in the trenches. As a result, it did not have a training ground for its troops. While the vast majority of Russian soldiers who came to Ukraine in February had never taken part in the war, Ukraine had military strength and deep bases of reserves.

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No less important are the young officers who have served in Donbass since 2014, trained with NATO and rose to become generals – including 49-year-old Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valery Zalogny.

This difference has major implications as Putin orders combat-age men who once served in the armed forces to mobilize, months after Ukraine ordered its own enlistment. Russia’s mobilization aims to gather about 300,000 new recruits, but there are few qualified officers available to train them into a combat force, and no non-commissioned officers authorized to direct them within units.

Nor can the rigid nature of Russia’s military command structure be easily altered in the political system that Putin has established since he came to power more than 20 years ago.

While the outcome of the war is still undecided, and the Russian armed forces retain advantages in key areas such as large quantities of artillery, long-range missiles, and aircraft, for the time being they have lost the lead to Ukraine.

“I think our experience since 1991 has contributed a lot,” says Mykola Beliskov, a research fellow at the National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Ukrainian government think tank. This includes the 2004 and 2014 Orange Revolutions in People’s Square, as well as the Donbass conflict that followed, when Ukrainians immediately organized themselves to feed protesters, form militias, or fund crowds for essential medical and military supplies.

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By February, when Ukraine was attacked by a much larger and better-equipped Russian force, it was the instinct of self-organization that saved cities such as Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih from collapse, because in many cases there was little or nothing. regular army to defend them.

“We needed to improvise in order to survive,” Beliskov said. If the people had waited for orders from Kyiv, or “we fought the way the Russians do, we would soon have been overwhelmed.”

As Ukraine went on the offensive, these advantages appeared again. Like Russia, it faced the challenge of having to break through defensive lines without the air superiority needed to protect its forces from ambush or counterattack.

Relying on slow-moving artillery, Russia could only bombard the defenses of Ukraine and then slowly advance forward into the Donbass. To the east of Kharkiv, by contrast, Ukraine could, according to Beliskov, advance its heavy guns forward in real time to perform the role of air cover.

This was partly due to the presence of some mobile systems such as self-propelled howitzers such as Caesar and Polish Krab. But it was also because the Ukrainian artillery quickly learned to disassemble and reassemble the more abundant and stable American M777 howitzers.

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“I think the Russians made a huge mistake by giving us eight years to prepare,” Beliskov said.

– With the help of Daryna Krasnolutska

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5 takes from Wall Street analysts

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There is no doubt that Costco (cost) had a good year.

For one thing, Yahoo Finance has outperformed the 2022 bear market — the stock is down 13% so far this year to about $495 a share compared to a 15% drop for the S&P 500 (^ The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) as of December 2. In addition, many investors love the big retail store because of its die-hard clientele and solid balance sheet.

Of course there are some critics. They worry about the company’s high valuation amid scary times in the markets and the economy.

So what are the prospects for COST? Yahoo Finance recently spoke with five Wall Street securities analysts to get their thoughts. Here are their edited excerpts:

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Evan Feneth, Tigress Financial Partners

What’s good about Costco stock: The Company consistently reports strong same-store sales growth in both good and challenging retail environments. Costco remains well-positioned to see increases in traffic online and in stores, largely because it provides consumers with an important low-cost value proposition. In addition, Costco is taking advantage of its expanding service offerings, including travel, home improvement, and expanded business services. Renewal rates are also at an all-time high.

What does it matter: What is always of concern are changes in consumer spending trends in light of economic changes.

Rating / Target Price: Buy / $678

Final thoughts: Costco continues to see the good times as consumers spend more on discretionary items (such as air travel). In tough economic times consumers are looking for bargains. You can see this in the strength of memberships that continue to grow. Their customers pay for the opportunity to shop there and believe it is worth the fee because of Costco’s strong value proposition.

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Oliver Chen, Quinn

What’s good about Costco stock: Costco continues to be a leading consumer brand for us — what we’re seeing is the company is well positioned for strong first-class performance given the encouraging historical consistency and unique membership model that focuses on deep value. We especially like Costco’s differentiation with its Kirkland Signature private label and limited assortment across 3,500 stock keeping units (SKU’s), which gives the company massive buying power.

What does it matter: In our view, the key arguments about Costco remain: (1) the emergence of more stringent comparable metrics as the company continues to drive steady growth; (ii) the evolution of consumer behaviors, the company’s ability to maintain loyalty, and consistent membership metrics; (3) High current given rating The price-to-earnings ratio, which contracted five percent from its three-year average.

Rating / Target Price: Exceed / $650

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Final thoughts: We believe the company has both the ability and experience to drive continued strong retail execution and believe core competencies. One of its main strengths is that Costco is one of the few American concepts that is relatively successful on a global scale. Also: Its size makes it one of the best buys with great buying power across a limited selection of items. Finally, Costco’s unique vertically integrated supply chain delivers outstanding distribution and cost effectiveness, (for this reason) we maintain a “Superior” rating.

Michael Baker, DA Davidson

What’s good about Costco stock: Inventory positives include significant and consistent same-store sales growth.

What does it matter: Our biggest concern and the reason we have a neutral rating is the above average COST multiplier. We also saw some declines in gross margin.

Rating / Target Price: Neutral/ $455

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Final thoughts: Costco is a top-tier operator with strong sales and earnings trends and forecasts. But we think that’s reflected in the current share price.

Chuck Groom, Gordon Haskett Research Consultants

What’s good about Costco stock: Consistency of the underlying comp business month to month, usually driven by healthy traffic trends. Also, the membership fee stream is an annuity for the long haul. The balance sheet is also very good with low leverage and ample cash.

What does it matter: Valuation has always been a sticking point for investors, but that’s been the case for the more than 20 years Costco has covered it.

Rating/Price Target: Buy / $600

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Final thoughtsCostco does what’s right for its customers first, employees second, and shareholders third. This approach makes it one of the best retailers we cover.

Corey Tarlow, Jefferies

What’s good about Costco stock: Well…for now [economic] The background, it’s a business with a really good standing. It has a membership model that drives recurring revenue; Very stable margins and predictable cash flow. It’s a business in times when inflation is at 8%, more consumers are looking for ways to save money. And Costco is a great way to do that at better prices than most other retailers in the US, it’s a company that also has several growth drivers (such as) a potential membership fee increase.

What does it matter: It’s been a really strong year this year. So this year’s winding may be a little tricky hurdle next year. But it is nonetheless something that I think Costco will be able to achieve.

Rating / Target Price: Buy / $610

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Final thoughts: It’s a business that’s really well-positioned in the current environment. We do not know what to expect from a macroeconomic point of view in the future. But it’s a business that, like I said, performs admirably in the good times, and even in the bad. It’s a stock you want to own today.

More Yahoo Finance coverage for 2022:

Dylan Kroll is a reporter and researcher for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @tweet.

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TherapeuticsMD enters into product licensing agreements for Mayne Pharma

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TherapeuticsMD enters into product licensing agreements for Mayne Pharma

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The Minister of the Interior welcomes the report calling for the suppression of asylum seekers

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Soella Braverman, Britain’s Home Secretary, has welcomed a report calling for a massive crackdown on asylum seekers who come to Britain using illegal methods, including placing them in indefinite detention.

Braverman is under increasing pressure from Tory MPs to control migration across the Channels in small boats, with 44,000 people arriving in Britain using the route already this year.

On Monday, a centre-right think tank will publish a report saying that “if necessary” Britain should change its human rights laws and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights in order to tackle the problem.

Refugee groups said the proposals, if implemented, would be a major breach of Britain’s international obligations and tarnish its reputation as a haven for desperate people seeking refuge.

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The Center for Policy Studies report, co-written by Nick Timothy, Theresa May’s former chief of staff as prime minister, calls for new laws that would make it impossible to seek asylum in Britain after traveling from a safe country, such as France.

It also calls for a ban on immigrants entering the country using illegal routes from settling in Britain, and for the “expedited transfer abroad” of such immigrants to Rwanda or other third countries willing to take them.

Timothy and co-author Carl Williams say Britain may have to leave the European Court of Human Rights to allow detention and transfers abroad. They also want to fix May Modern slavery lawthe main legislative tool in the UK to deal with abuses in supply chains, to avoid its alleged misuse.

They argue that all future grants of asylum should only take place through formal resettlement routes and no more than 20,000 people per year.

The issue of small boat immigration became a major political problem for the Conservative government, particularly in the working class seats in the North and Midlands.

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Braverman said she did not agree with “everything” in the report but said she welcomed it as “a vital and necessary contribution to the policy discussion about what can be done to address crossings.”

In the introduction to the report, she said: “There is a range of policy options. With clear thinking, political will and determination, we can defeat the smuggling gangs, and against those who abuse our system, and we will comprehensively address the problem of small boats.”

Tory MPs are tired of the tough talk of home ministers and want action from the government to tackle the surge in migrant crossings. Braverman’s allies have refused to say which parts of the CPS report they support.

They were also described as “wrong”. a report The Sunday Times reported that ministers were drafting laws to prevent illegal asylum-seekers from settling in Britain.

For his part, Robert Jenrick, the Immigration Minister, said it was “very difficult” to see how Albanians, who are currently The largest number of small boat crossingsthey must be able to successfully claim asylum when they come from a ‘clearly’ safe country.

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Inver Solomon, chief executive of Refugee Council, a UK charity, said of the CPS report: “The policies outlined in this report will lead to the UK withdrawing from the Refugee Convention, which we signed up to just over 70 years ago.”

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the government’s asylum policy was “a mess” and based on “a headline-hunting”.

“They have to adopt the Labor plan including a specialized unit in the National Crime Agency to go after the criminal gangs that lead this, and take immediate action to end the backlog and chaos from the asylum system,” she said.

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