The end?

Thought he was supposed to be dead

"thought/believed/assumed" to be dead or "otherwise incapacitated". ... on the grounds that he has not been seen or heard (according to intelligence analysts anyway.)

Without a DNA test on a corpse, I presume "proof" would be hard to come by.
This guy apparently not dead -

It's hard to know which media to trust. They're not the least reliable source, but definitely not the best. They've published corrections to inaccurate reports quite a few times.
Lots of propaganda and misinformation out there.
It's hard to know which media to trust. They're not the least reliable source, but definitely not the best. They've published corrections to inaccurate reports quite a few times.
Lots of propaganda and misinformation out there.

Absolutely there is, 100% agree.
I’m not actually sure where it’s claimed he died, other than on social media. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I was just curious as it’s reasonably significant if he’s been topped off live in tv, but on searching I could only find this article about it, and then lots of Twitter and Reddit users talking about him dying. Maybe just folk putting 2 + 2 together and getting 7? And if so, it illustrates perfectly how potentially incorrect information makes it half way round the world and is taken as read, with the truth never even coming into it.
Anyway, didn’t want to derail the thread, I enjoy (if that’s the right word) checking this thread but wanted to see what had happened on to that guy and couldn’t find anything one way or the other.
Ok, some stuff to come out from Xi's visit, followed by some "informed guess work".
So the first part should be largely on the money, even if the "crystal ball" stuff isn't.

"Let us kick off with the facts.
-A 3 day visit was cut short by more than a full day.
-China cancelled two pipelines, nulling completely the Russian energy swing to the East.
-China publically lambasted Russia on ever using nukes.

The trip was intended two sign contracts for those pipelines, and delivery contract on the full capacity of the first.
It was also intended as a tour de force of Chinese diplomacy as they entered the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
The ground was set for all of this, and Xi had even gotten Iran and Saudi Arabia to broker a peace treaty.
China was back on the map bigtime with softpower and economic power.
Within a days all of this crumbled.

From sources we know that Xi arrived in an uncredibly foul mood to Moscow.
The reasons are simple and as follows:
1. The arrest warrant from the ICC. The optics for Xi meeting a person who is wanted for theft of Children was not good anywhere for China.
2. The gas deal was looking ever more threatening to China.
3. Prigozhin killing 9 chinese workers in Central African Republic right before Xi landed broke the camels back. Xi was in a blind rage as he landed over Russian attitude.

And to make Xi's day even worse, the Russians was openly defiant to him, with Lavrov and Medvedev openly laughing at him behind his back.
And then he saw that it was an unmitigated PR disaster...

In the end he renegged on the deals, did not get involved in any peace attempt, he threatened Russia in regards of nukes, and he diminished the previous agreement.
Then he just ***ed off removing an entire day of scheduled meetings.

And it did not stop there.
As he came back he banned Chinese container vessels from docking in Russian ports and blocked container traffic via the Transsiberian from China.
Let this sink in now.

This means that almost all trade between Russia and China came to a screeching halt as ships diverted at sea, and trains was piling up in trainyards on the border to Russia.

Then China went quiet.
No call to Zelenskyy, no call to anyone.
Just a single statement, "The situation with Taiwan will be solved by peaceful agreements".
The more silence.
It is obvious that Xi is sitting at his office pondering how to move forward and how China will adapt to this into the future.

Xi actually has a headache.
He has lost softpower and economic power globally.
Russia has basically stolen China's thunder in Africa and parts of SE Asia.
In Africa they stole it quite literally in armed robberies.
India is openly beefing with China.
The US is on the path to an armed conflict with China in a few years.
EU is frosty but talking, and could easily swing into the US trail at a whim.
Xi is feeling lonely to say the least.

Xi is many things, but stupid is not one of them.
He knows that China alone is not as strong as he would like.
He is dependent on a lot of raw materials and food from the rest of the planet, and China is depending on the trade with the West.

Raw materials can only be had from Australia, Africa and Russia.
Australia can cut him off, he learned that very quickly, he also learned that India can gobble up that stream quickly and that Australia will not hurt from not trading with him.
Russia is not trusted at all, furthermore, he is miffed with them.
Africa was his prefered choice for the last decade.
Africa was willing to deal with him against cash and development, but then came Russia and stole it from him.

Trade? Well he sees that EU and US has started the process of moving back production to their own territories.
So, he needs to somehow convince those that China is a trusted trading partner again. He is as I mentioned not stupid, so he knows that the production relating to security is gone forever, but consumer goods is anyway the bulk of the Chinese offering.
So, what can China do to ameliorate the West, prove their worth, without seeming to give in to the West?

Xi needs a mutual punching bag with the West.
Thankfully for Xi there is one.
Obviously he can't enter the coalition against Russia openly in Ukraine, but he can do other things to hurt Russia and help himself at the same time.
And he could do it coming out smelling like roses and shining of peaceful bliss.
Here is what I think he will do.

CAR & Mali
It is no secret that Wagner has redone these two countries into Prigozhins private kingdoms.
Mali was under a UN Peacekeeping Mission that failed as we and the French had to pull out to many troops as the invasion of Ukraine started.
In came Wagner and filled the void, and then they stole the country.

CAR, this is a hellhole that nobody is even trying to make peace in.
China has tried for a few years, at least so much that they can sort of safely extract values from there.
But, then Wagner entered, and basically took over the country, and started to kill even Chinese there.

And Wagner is technically not Russia, he can attack them as much as he wish.
Mali is under UN even, he can just send 10 000 Chinese soldiers with blue barrets and whack Wagner looking like a hero while doing it.

CAR is so bad that if he could bring at least some stability he would also smell like roses.
Chinese troops there would make nobody angry, instead it would be seen favourably by everyone.
And, he could get the AU to sign off on it, they want this problem solved anyway possible.

I think China will pick attacking in Africa over attacking Russia, at least for now.
Better to let the West continue to bleed Russia dry over Ukraine, and then he can walk in and take his pickings as Russia crumbles.
China is about longterm always.

I think Prigozhin will have a very bad day soon as his retirement kingdoms get taken from him."
Just so you know, there is nothing forthcoming on the denied "offensive" at the moment as the Ukrainians are asking for silence.

There is an update on other stuff. I'll give brief version.

T-55 Scare
The Mighty T-55 have been brought out of storage.
The reason for this is that it fields a 100mm rifled tank canon that is different than the T-62 115mm smoothbore, and the T-72/T-90 125mm smoothbore.
Russia has shells left in 100mm, and not a lot of the other two remains.
So, shell hunger is bringing out the T-55.
Against tanks and even lighter manpad anti-tank weaponry it is absolutely useless.
But, as a somewhat protected short range canon it can be used, unless Ukraine have tanks around."

I do expect the T-34/85 to be brought out sooner or later for the same reason.
Russia has a lot of 85mm rifled shells."

There was a bit about the combined Nordic forces which he posted at length about. It seemed a bit off topic for this thread, so I didn't post it.
The long and short of the update is that they managed to play nice for about 5 hours before militarising the arctic with airforce bases, ice breakers and subs.

After Russia managed to completely loose China as a friend, they are now sitting alone in Moscow wondering what the heck to do.
How bad are relations?
Xi called for a security conference of the -Stan countries, and did not even bother with inviting Russia.
Russia answered by peeing back through renegging on their agreement with China to not spread nuclear weapons to other countries, and are now deploying nuclear weapons to Belarus.

I think that the meeting is all about Xi informing the -Stans about the wisdom in staying out of what China is about to do with Russia.
Problem is that I am not entirely sure that even Xi knows what he will be doing in/against Russia.

Russian Fires
Ukraine has one missile and one jet-drone that can reach Moscow.
Problem is that these are produced in very small numbers, roughly 1 per week of each are built.
And they are used immediately.
On top of that they have a very limited number of things that can reach out to 300km.
These are very seldomly used since they will be needed to take out the Kerch Bridge and other highly coveted targets.

So, what is then causing all of those high priority factories to burn?
Yes, Russia is prone to fires due to lax building codes and lack of maintanence.
But, the increase of fires in weapons industries has gone up 50 times, whereas normal factory fires has doubled.

Yes, since the arms industry factories are used more they should burn more often, but not 50 times more.
Seeing military vehicle engine factories, military paint factories, explosives factories, chemical factories, shell forgeries, ordinance plants, etcetera, burn down to the ground at a rate of at least one per day is just... wow.

Something else is at play here, and I seriously doubt that Ukraine can be behind all of them.
Some are obviously likely to have been caused by deep infiltration agents, but at least half must have a different origin.
Due to the lack of convictions in Russia it must be well organised.
It seems like a very sollid resistance movement constituted by Russians seems to have formed, and it is formed with hundreds of resistance cells spread out all over Russia.

Russia Economy
So far Russia has held together their internal economy through various means.
The only remaining source of cash is the Social Security Fund, ie., pensions and other government pay-schemes like for children etcetera.
Russia is now burning through it like a wildfire.
The money will at the going rate run out in June.
Imagine all those mothers not getting paid in July, all those babushkas not getting their pension...
It is now 4 months before societal unrest breaks out bigtime in Russia.
Obviously the Russian government will try to solve this by printing money, but that will devalue the rouble so fast that the payment at the beginning of the month will have half the value at the end of the month...
This in turn will rapidly reduce ordinary peoples savings in roubles into savings in rubble.
Societal unrest... Putins greatest fear was a colour revolution in Russia, they are now nearing one I would say."