What to Expect in the Coming Weeks

It’s About to Get Much Worse

“Don’t depend on the enemy not coming; depend rather on being ready for him” — Sun Tzu.

Just as it appears we are closing the chapter of our history entitled “COVID,” we seem to be opening the next chapter entitled “World War III.”  It’s easy to be complacent and dismissive of our uncertain future by thinking that the conflict is over there, far from our borders. Still, war has changed as we have become far more globalized and far more dependent on a global economy and supply chain.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the main things to watch for in the coming weeks as the Russo-Ukrainian conflict continues.  This new war will impact you directly from the more extreme possibility of radioactive fallout to the almost certainty of markets and economies collapsing.  Here is what you can expect next…

Download the How to Protect Yourself from Cyberattacks guide today.  We’ll post a link below or visit cityprepping.com/cybersafe for a free guide to help you get started on your journey of preparedness. 

RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT

Nuclear PlantSince this Russo-Ukrainian conflict began, we have seen Russia shell two nuclear power plants in Ukraine. Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined they would do something so incredibly dangerous and reckless. It seriously could have ended in catastrophe. They’ve already taken Chernobyl, which introduces uncertainty.  If Putin is forced to withdraw, he may adopt a scorched Earth policy, rendering parts of Ukraine uninhabitable for years to come and an ecological disaster of a never before seen scope.  Chernobyl is under Russian control at the moment.  That incident in 1986 led to over 100,000 people needing to be evacuated, 40,000 people hospitalized, and 1.8 million people given the status of victims of the disaster.  The fallout zone after that single disaster had a fallout zone that covered almost 60,000 square miles (150,000 kilometers) and left an uninhabitable area twice the size of the city of London.  Even on the borders of this uninhabitable zone, people still suffer the long-term effects of excessive radiation level exposure.  

That was just one nuclear power plant.  Ukraine has four nuclear power plants with 15 active reactors between them.  The Russian army has been firing on all sides of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.  If it the containment walls are breached and the cores melt down, it will be ten times larger than Chernobyl was.  From the physiological effects to the poisoning of everything from food to wool to livestock and water, the threat posed by this conflict around these nuclear power plants could have a global impact far beyond the official fallout zone.  After the Chernobyl disaster, which could seem small in comparison, traces of radioactive deposits were found in most of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. 

With this kind of potential threat, the world has two things it must do: prepare for potential radioactive fallout, and enter the conflict to secure the nuclear power plants and prevent them from being damaged by either side. Even if radioactive fallout from one of these plants doesn’t occur, the direct deployment of U.S. or NATO forces escalates the conflict and could result in tactical nuclear usage. Having Potassium Iodide tablets in your inventory and depending on whether you are anywhere around 1,000 miles of Ukraine, you may want to consider a CBRN mask and filter for each of your family members and some type of protective suit.

WWIII

Armored CarsBefore this all started, I wouldn’t have given it serious consideration, but much is happening in real-time today, and it’s not off the table. With Nato approving the sending of jet fighters into Ukraine, we’re ratcheting up the pressure on Russian soldiers. How Putin reacts is to be seen. As one subscriber aptly put it, “Putin is homicidal, not suicidal,” so the threat of an all-out nuclear exchange is elevated but still unlikely.  That being said, Putin has put the world on alert with his very high-stakes nuclear posturing by putting his nuclear forces on “high alert.”  Putin thrives off ambiguity– will he or won’t he?  Assuming his mental faculties are still intact and there is a way for him to possess and balkanize the areas of Ukraine his army has seized to come back later after crippling sanctions have been lifted, the threat of even limited tactical nukes is low but probably as high as it was during the Cuban missile crisis.

We’re clearly in unchartered water with Vladamir Putin at the moment.  The moment NATO or U.S. forces, anti-missile batteries, or air defense systems are overtly deployed in the Ukraine conflict is also the moment an all-out World War becomes possible.  The frontlines of the conflict jump everywhere worldwide.  From Finland to Alaska, Taiwan to Venezuela, Iran to Myanmar, the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, fronts and skirmishes could open anywhere.  Some leaders will seek to capitalize on the chaos for their own gains, which will create sub-conflicts in a world already ablaze.  Individual incidents that can occur as dramatically as a radioactive dirty bomb in a major city could be ordered and directed from the Kremlin but made to appear as though it originated from North Korea or a terrorist organization.  The direct line of attack, the sequence of orders, may be obfuscated to such a degree as the true origin with Putin may be unclear.  This is how the war could come directly to your city or town.

Incidences of sabotage in allied countries could occur as part of this WWIII where, again, the clear path to the original orders and culprits may be vague and unprovable to the rest of the world.  Russian citizens worldwide and people of Russian descent should be aware that increased scrutiny and hostilities directed towards them may occur.  North American and European citizens should remain hyper-vigilant that they may be directly targeted worldwide.

Today’s war may look very different from the World Wars of the past. A world war will not have clear militarized zones but will span the globe. Don’t expect ships full of GI’s storming beaches, but do expect possible acts of sabotage and possibly explosions in a city near you.  The US and European allies are already bolstering a line of defense that stretches through every country along or near the Russian border.  The potential for any mile of that five-thousand-plus mile western border with the rest of the world is a potential conflict zone.  One jet that flies too close to contested air space, one ship in the wrong waters, one border incursion could have a domino effect that could set the entire world on fire.

Currently, only two things are certain.  First, Putin likely never expected either the level of resistance the Ukrainians would present or the extent and magnitude of the sanctions that would be put on his country and his ruling oligarchy.  Second, nobody can say with certainty when and if this conflict will end nor the extent of the humanitarian crisis it creates.  Ukraine had a population of 44 million before the war, up to 5 million exiles from Ukraine, as is estimated right now, could impact European nations for years to come.  So far, this is on a path to get worse and worse by the day.

HIGHER PRICES

High Price SuppliesIn just the last week, the futures for Crude Oil are up 31%, Brent Crude is up 18%, natural gas increased by 12%, and wheat increased an additional 22% over its 31% increase in February.  Retail fertilizer has gone up over 163% over the last year, shattering all previous records, and gasoline prices are heading to a never-before-seen all-time high.  You have probably noticed that.  Likely, by the time you view this video, prices will be far beyond what we have cited here.  We think we will quickly see a national average price of $7.00 before this year is out if the conflict continues.  We will also see a lifting of the restrictions on drilling and fracking and more of a wartime emergency effort to drill to keep prices down.  Even with ramped-up production and tapping into reserves, oil prices will continue their ascent, as they tend to take giant leaps on mere rumors of scarcity.

Expect that there will be a more comprehensive embargo of Russian oil and gas.  The U.S. is announcing its ban even as we write this.  Expect that the U.S. and other partners will ramp up production and remove some of the restrictions recently implemented.  Expect some countries, like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran, to not be very helpful in either increasing output or seeking to contain prices.  These countries have warmed to Russia over the years and will profit mightily from an ongoing conflict.  China, which is feared to be aligning more and more with Russia, does not appear to be interested in doing anything other than remaining neutral in the conflict.  Even their condemnations have been lackluster.  China will instead seek to profit from this conflict by inking new trade agreements and contracts with both sides.  As the price of oil goes up and up, so does the cost of manufacturing, shipping, and all other facets of production across every industry.

Beyond fuel, expect food prices to go up, possibly even doubling.  Part of that increase is related to the fuel prices, as the cost of transporting, processing, manufacturing, and shipping all go up.  However, the significant part of that is that one of the major byproducts of fuel production is fertilizer.  Fertilizer prices are at record highs right now, and Russia stopped exporting any fertilizer months ago.  China has been hoarding fertilizer for several months.  The fact is that without fertilizer, farmers of every ilk will see higher costs and lower harvest yields.  You will see this most dramatically in wheat production because Russia and Ukraine combine for so much of the world’s wheat production; however, you can expect the rising costs to crossover into every grain, including livestock feed.  Ukraine and Russia account for 80% of the world’s supply of Sunflower oil.  Belarus accounts for 15% of the world’s supply of fertilizer.  So, every crop and every livestock product will go up in price the longer this conflict continues.

The price increases you will see are not the result of any national policy, federal bank, or political party.  If there is a single person to blame for the high rising prices worldwide, it has to be Vladamir Putin at this point.

CYBERATTACKS

Cyber AttacksUkraine anticipated Russia’s cyberattacks and had been hardening systems against them for several months leading up to the Russian Federation’s invasion.  As a result, they were able to minimize the impact.  Some power was knocked out here and there.  A system or two was brought down and later restored.  If the Russian cyberattacks aimed at Ukraine were any indicator of Putin’s first blitzkrieg-style attack, the Ukrainians did a great job defending themselves.  The Russian hacking, cyber attacking, and ransomware groups are still in full effect.  The real question is how much the Kremlin has weaponized these groups.  They aren’t fully weaponized if they were merely funded and allowed to do their previous hacks and ransomware attacks with maybe only a kickback to some Russian oligarchs.  It would be akin to throwing a spear sideways or a blunt object at a target.  However, if they are not only supported but also directed, trained, and aimed, it is akin to focusing the sharp end of a spear at any target they want.  Based on the minimal results seen in Ukraine, we are leaning towards a less organized and less weaponized group.

So far, only the state-sponsored Russian ransomware group CONTI has come forth with their full-throated endorsement of Putin’s criminal invasion.  While this group is fully capable of exploiting systems and bringing down infrastructure, most of the hacking community seems to be coming out on the side of Ukraine and freedom.  Russia may have difficulty mobilizing the cyber attacking wing of its war machine.  That’s not to say that systems will not go down.  Expect to see a dramatic increase in cyberattacks and misinformation through deep fakes.  Already some of the footage released on social media channels has been debunked.  It’s these seeds of doubt which can sprout and blossom into confusion, delusion, and inaction in the minds of many.

Even one successful ransomware or cyberattack can send prices skyrocketing, as we saw with the Colonial Pipeline attack and the JBS ransomware attack.  JBS paid 11 million dollars to get its systems back.  The Colonial Pipeline paid nearly 5 million dollars to get its systems back.  However, a fully weaponized attack may not result in the systems being freed even after a hefty ransom has been made through the dark web.  Cyberwarfare can result in the wanton destruction of systems rendering them incapable of coming back online in their previous form.  Prepare as if a cyberattack could bring down the systems you rely upon, especially with so many companies coming forward and refusing to do business with Russia.  IF Visa or Mastercard or some other fiscal system should go down, will you be able to spend money to get the things you need, or are you one who swipes your card for everything?  Be vigilant against cyberattacks, both big and small.  You might want to view our recent video on protecting against cyber attacks which we’ll post a link to in the cards above, so you can make sure you are prepped.

MARKET FAILURES

Rice 2They say war is good for business, so a global war has to be like Black Friday for businesses, right?  Wrong.  We have already witnessed massive upheaval and uncertainty in the futures markets, which will trickle down into all stock and index markets.  This will affect pensions and retirement accounts, large and small businesses, and push prices upwards.  As embargoes are enacted, and new trade deals have to be struck, there will be a significant lag in the global economy.  That will be a boon for some countries, and it could lead to an economic collapse for others.

With all of the sanctions being put on it, the Russian economy could collapse in on itself.  The Russian people could suffer tremendously, and there isn’t much they can do about it.  Protesting Putin’s war could find them facing a prison sentence of 15 years or more.  Putin’s generals and oligarchs aren’t likely to implement a coup, either.  Vladamir Putin is well known for his fear of assassination and other paranoid ideas.  As for the European Union, expect the countries to adopt a wartime stance and form new partnerships; but this will take time.  Expect the U.S. and Canada to do the same and step up production to fill the void left by Russian products and exports.  All of this will take time, however, and we can expect to see markets falter and fail, and perhaps even some economies collapse altogether.  The world is already reeling from the effects of COVID, and a global war will only compound those problems and continue to complicate international commerce.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Woman At A Gasoline StationYou need to prep as if the war will disrupt your easy life because it will.  If you can safely store gasoline, like in a Wurx fuel storage container, you should get that filled up.  It won’t be enough to keep your car running for days and days, but it will be enough to keep your generator going.  Realize that when the price of gas goes that high, low-wage workers are more apt to call in sick even when they are not.  Sometimes a sick day will result in wages, whereas commuting to work would result in a loss.  While this might not affect you, it will impact the economy further and the services you receive.  Don’t be surprised when you see many businesses understaffed.   

You can also prep by growing something– anything to supplement your food supply and force you to cook and preserve your own food.  If you have contemplated a spring garden or you have been dreaming about it all winter, get your seeds now, and learn to save seeds from your harvest this year.  If things continue along their current trajectory, we will see a seed shortage in retail establishments, just like was witnessed at the start of lockdowns, which coincided with the planting season.  If you have never grown anything or have only contemplated it before, now is the time to do that.  If you have a balcony that gets sunlight, make this the year you grow cherry tomatoes or Amaranth.  Consult the City Prepping channel videos about growing food in your apartment, sprouting, and the 16 pounds of food to get you through the longest.  While these growing activities cannot solely sustain you with such a limited space, they will stretch your existing food supplies, provide vital nutrients, and save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars in food costs by not eating out.  Now would also be the time to spring for that 25-pound sack of flour or wheat berries and learn to process them into flour.  The prices will only go up from here on these staple products, and the cost of a loaf of bread will rise to never-before-seen levels.

Get any essential medicines on hand for several months out.  Push your doctor for a larger prescription.  As this situation continues to spiral out of control, the supply lines of medicines from APIs, Advanced Pharmaceutical Ingredients, to manufacturers to shippers and dispensers will become more complicated.  You may have already noticed this due to some of the other problems in the supply chain.  If you have experienced complications recently getting your prescriptions filled, imagine multiplying that in the future.  While on the subject of health, if you have put off any minor surgeries that may require more extensive surgeries later, get them taken care of as soon as possible.  If you have taken a little break from your New Year’s resolution to get physically fit, now is the time to remotivate yourself.  This situation could get even uglier very quickly.

Conclusion

The world faces a complicated future, and comparisons to previous global conflicts shed some light on what that future may look like.  It may be time for you to start that Victory Garden, learn to conserve and maximize your resources, and do more with less.  Realize, too, that the panic caused by market failures, cyberattacks, higher prices, and an escalating war will move many to panic and hoarding activities.  There is a difference between hoarding and prepping.  Prepping involves a whole strategy working towards greater self-sufficiency.  Hoarding is having 3,000 rolls of toilet paper in your garage but no food or water.  It’s never too late to start prepping.  If you have been following this channel for a while and are already prepping, now would be the time to download the guide or take a look at the Prepper’s Roadmap course when it opens again to make sure all your boxes are checked.  At the very least, don’t forget why you came here.  As these global events spin out and escalate beyond our control, don’t forget to prepare for the immediate threats you still might face, like natural disasters– hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and similar events.

What do you think?  What will be the most impactful thing on you stemming from the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, and how are you prepping for it?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We try to read the comments and respond to them when we can.

 

As always, stay safe out there.

 

Videos:

Sprouts: https://youtu.be/fy8HMojIT08 

Microgreen Seeds: https://bit.ly/41fDm9W

16 Pound of Food to Keep You Alive: https://youtu.be/TbUDuU0mmGA  

Items Discussed:

Potassium Iodide tablets: https://amzn.to/3CnxWhJ  

Protective Jumpsuit: https://amzn.to/3Mpd6Dk

CBRN Masks: SOF-77 (NBC/CBRN): https://bit.ly/3d5CoX4 , VK-450 (NBC/CBRN + Carbon Monoxide protection): https://bit.ly/3xJKQmM 

 

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