This is an open thread for discussion of everything Saker related.

Two notes to start it off:

The Russian MoD released a very interesting additional statement, beyond their usual factual briefings.  It reads as follows:

◽️Successful offensive of Russian units towards Lugansk within 5 days has resulted in the liberation of Loskutovka, Podlesnoye, Mirnaya Dolina, Shchebkaryer, Vrubovka, Nyrkovo, Nikiolayevka, Novoivanovka, Ustinovka and Ray-Aleksandrovka.

◽️Group of Ukrainian units has been completely isolated near Gorskoye and Zolotoye.

◽️This pocket has encircled 4 battalions: 3rd Mechanised Battalion of 24th Mechanised Brigade, 15th Mountain Assault Battalion of 128th Mountain Assault Brigade, 42nd Mechanised Infantry Battalion of 57th Mechanised Infantry Brigade, 70th Battalion of 101st Territorial Defence Brigade, as well as an artillery group of 57th Mechanised Infantry Brigade, a group of Nazis from Right Sector organisation and a detachment of foreign mercenaries.

📊 In total, the Gorskoye pocket has isolated up to 2,000 people: about 1,800 servicemen, 120 Nazis from Right Sector, up to 80 foreign mercenaries, as well as over 40 armoured combat vehicles and about 80 guns and mortars.

◽️41 servicemen abandoned their resistance and surrendered voluntarily just over the past 24 hours.

◽️According to the prisoners, the encircled Ukrainian units are exhausted. The units are currently manned by less than 40%. Higher Ukrainian command has lost control over these units. Armament, munitions, fuel and other logistic supply is completely stopped.

◽️Russian troops are straitening the Gorskoye encirclement by launching uninterrupted attacks at the enemy. Half of Zolotoye had been taken under control over yesterday.

◽️The enemy suffers considerable losses in other directions, too.

💥High-precision attacks of Russian Aerospace Forces at three bases of foreign mercenaries in Nikolayev, Golitsyno (Nikolayev region) and Oleshki (Kharkov region) have resulted in the elimination of more than 200 ‘soldiers of fortune’ and up to 100 Ukrainian nationalists.

◽️Desertion and refusals to be involved in operations are becoming widespread in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). Over 30 Ukrainian servicemen from one of the battalions of 25th Airborne Brigade have abandoned their positions and personal weapons near Aleksandropol (Donetsk People’s Republic).

◽️To replenish the losses in manpower, Ukrainian command are forced to form separate rifle battalions formed by untrained, mobilised citizens in each region towards Donetsk and Lugansk.

This tells the story in full and no more comment is required.

On the broader world front, the economists are discussing Mr Putin’s announcement of a new International reserve currency based on a basket of BRICS currencies.

There is little detail available currently and what it looks like on the face of it, is that the efforts currently are toward the integration of systems and currency swaps, rather than huge monetary changes.  The details here will be world changing and fascinating.

Use as open thread.

Finally, a visual aid from a Chinese spokesperson, Zhao Lijian:

The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA