Western media continue to cover the war in Ukraine: on April 15, the media reported about Russia's threats to the United States over the supply of weapons to Kyiv. Over the private diplomatic note from Moscow to Washington, analysts fear that Moscowia will also strike with missiles on convoys transporting weapons for Ukraine in NATO countries as well.
At the same time, the media are also reporting that the sinking of the Moskva cruiser has become a personal disgrace to Vladimir Putin and could scuttle Russia's plans to attack Odesa. Tokyo warned the Kremlin that a cruise missile test in the Sea of Japan could undermine stability in Southeast Asia and simultaneously condemned the invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow threatens Washington with "unpredictable consequences"
The Washington Post reports that Russia this week sent a formal diplomatic note to the United States warning that U.S. and NATO shipments of the "most sensitive" weapons systems to Ukraine were "adding fuel" to the conflict there and could bring "unpredictable consequences."
The diplomatic démarche came as President Biden approved a dramatic expansion in the scope of weapons being provided to Ukraine.
This refers to a $800 million package including 155 mm howitzers — a serious upgrade in long-range artillery to match Russian systems — coastal defense drones and armored vehicles, as well as additional portable antiaircraft and antitank weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition.
"What the Russians are telling us privately is precisely what we’ve been telling the world publicly — that the massive amount of assistance that we’ve been providing our Ukrainian partners is proving extraordinarily effective," said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Is Russia attacking convoys with weapons on NATO territory?
Among the items that Russia considers the most "sensitive" are "multiple launch rocket systems".
Russia accused the allies of violating "rigorous principles" governing the transfer of weapons to conflict zones, and of being oblivious to "the threat of high-precision weapons falling into the hands of radical nationalists, extremists and bandit forces in Ukraine."
It also accused NATO of trying to pressure Ukraine to "abandon" sputtering, and so far unsuccessful, negotiations with Russia "in order to continue the bloodshed."
"We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarization of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security," the note said.
Experts assume that Moscow may attack convoys with weapons arriving in the country.
"They have targeted supply depots in Ukraine itself, where some of these supplies have been stored," said George Beebe, former director of Russia analysis at the CIA.
According to him, the real question is will the Russians try to hit the supply convoys and the NATO countries on the Ukrainian periphery that serve as transfer points for the U.S. supplies.
If Russian forces stumble in the next phase of the war as they did in the first, then the risk of an attack on NATO countries will increase, Beebe believes.
Cruiser Moskva as a disgrace for Putin
Sky News notes that the sinking of Russia's Black Sea flagship is a blow to Moscow's war effort and a big embarrassment for President Vladimir Putin.
The Moskva may turn out to be the largest warship to sink in wartime since 1945, as it displaces about 12,500 tons, more than the ill-fated General Belgrano.
Russia has not confirmed any attack. Instead, it said a fire onboard caused ammunition to explode, triggering the damage. The ship then sank while being towed to shore because of stormy weather.
At the same time, the West does not believe such statements and notes that Ukraine's statement, on the contrary, sounds credible.
"President Putin will also have to explain why his lead warship in the Black Sea is no more," the outlet writes.
It also signals Ukraine's ability to attack ships from the shore, hence other Russian ships in the Black and Azov Seas are at risk.
Loss of Moskva will make it difficult to capture Odesa
The New York Times quotes military analysts as saying that the loss of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet flagship will make it more difficult to gain full control over Ukraine’s southern coast and ultimately move on the port city of Odesa, although it is unlikely to derail Moscow’s war campaign entirely.
The main role of the ship, the Moskva, had been to launch precision cruise missile strikes at Ukrainian logistics centers and airfields, and a fire onboard the vessel on Thursday led the Russians to pull back several other warships farther from the Ukrainian coast.
"The loss of the Moskva will reduce Russia’s ability to conduct cruise missile strikes, but is unlikely to deal a decisive blow to Russian operations on the whole," according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War, a think tank in Washington.
Japan warns Russia about cruise missile tests
According to CNN, Tokyo has "conveyed its concerns" to Moscow over Russia's cruise missile tests in the Sea of Japan.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi urged the Kremlin at a press conference on April 15 to refrain from any action that could increase tension in Northeast Asia.
Hayashi emphasized that Japan "strongly condemns" Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as it "shakes the foundations of the international order."
Earlier, Japan’s Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi said Moscow is aiming to show off its strength in the Far East region and the modernization of its naval power.
On April 14, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said two submarines from its Pacific Fleet successfully test-fired Kalibr cruise missiles from an underwater position in the waters of the Sea of Japan.
Russia withdrew from peace treaty talks with Japan in March 2022 and froze joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril Islands because of sanctions imposed by Tokyo over the invasion.
Moody's believes that Russia's default is about to be served
According to Reuters, Moody's said Russia may be in default because it tried to service its dollar bonds in roubles, which would be one of the starkest consequences to date of Moscow's exclusion from the Western financial system.
If Moscow is declared in default, it would mark Russia's first major default on foreign bonds since the years following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, though the Kremlin says the West is forcing a default by imposing crippling sanctions.
Russia made a payment on two sovereign bonds — maturing in 2022 and 2042 — in roubles rather than the dollars.
Russia "therefore may be considered a default under Moody's definition if not cured by 4 May, which is the end of the grace period," Moody's said in a statement.
The bond contracts have no provision for repayment in any other currency other than dollars, it stressed.
Moody's said that while some Russian eurobonds issued after 2018 allow payments in roubles under some conditions, those issued before 2018 — such as those maturing in 2022 and 2042 — do not.
Instead of an afterword. While Russia is trying to take revenge on Ukraine for the flooded cruiser Moskva with missile attacks, as best they can, bring their own default closer and send threats directly to the United States, and also bother Japan with tests at sea, the West reports about how the latest losses and failures in the war have disgraced personally Vladimir Putin.
This, of course, means that the Kremlin will try to inflict even more devastating blows on Ukraine, but, as already reported, they are gradually running out of high-quality missiles, and they will not be able to break through in several directions at once (for example, Russia has already started talking about the capture of Kyiv). Meanwhile, the allies have already begun to supply us with serious weapons, and a strike on NATO countries is unlikely to end well for Moscow. Ukraine continues to fight for its existence for 51 days.