Posted by BW Actual on May 23rd 2023
BLACKWATER USA | DAILY BRIEF
- The NYT sent a photo drone over Bakhmut to survey the damage done by nine months of brutal battle, concluding that the destruction is just as extensive as Pres. Zelensky said it was.
- The U.S. estimates that over 100,000 Russian soldiers were killed or injured in the battle for Bakhmut. Ukraine likely suffered losses on a similar scale.
- Separately, pro-Ukrainian partisans launched drones and raids into Russia's Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said their government has "nothing to do" with the saboteurs.
- DRC announced that Pres. Tshisekedi will meet China's Pres. Xi in Beijing later this week. Pres. Tshisekedi's government is unhappy with the $6.2 billion infrastructure-for-minerals agreement his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, signed with China in 2008: it trades mineral rights that DRC values at $20 billion for just $3 billion in Chinese infrastructure investment commitments (the remaining $3.2 billion China agreed to invest was for a majority stake in Sicomines).
- Tshisekedi hopes China will agree to invest billions more in DRC infrastructure. He's especially keen to find new investors in the massive Grand Inga hydroelectric project, which has been developing more slowly than expected under its current Australian management.
- The timing is politically motivated: Tshisekedi is up for reelection in December and wants to show voters he can secure foreign investment in projects that benefit them.
- Nigerian billionaire Aliku Dangote commissioned what will be Africa's largest oil refinery. It's the first privately-owned refinery in Nigeria, which currently imports over 80% of its petroleum products because broken state-run refineries can't meet the country's demand.
- Armenian PM Pashinian told a press conference he's willing to concede Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan under certain conditions - including a security guarantee for the ethnic Armenians living in the long-disputed territory. Both sides seem motivated for a resolution, but a final agreement will still take time to hash out.