More Gonzalo Lira: No More Lies, No More BS

May 21, 2022

And this is the real issue:

And a little real history and situation today, that would be fine to discuss at a barbecue and probably not at a formal summit.

WHY Sanctions have FAILED against RUSSIA – Inside Russia Report

May 21, 2022

A lovely conversation detailing how the ordinary Russian adapted to sanctions.

So How Serious is Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Romance?

May 20, 2022

Source

By Cynthia Chung

In the history of civilization, Politics has more often than not, been a matter reduceable to the question of “whose side are you on?

Granted it is not an easy affair to discern what most-nearly approaches truth in the fog of “the present.” Hindsight is 20/20 they say, although that is also not entirely true, for the interpretation of history is just another battlefield, albeit in much slower motion.

In a world of increased division, where we are told there is only black or white, the best we mere “civilians” can hope for is to not get hit by the crossfire. However, that is becoming increasingly harder to do.

It is not a matter of holding “opinion” any longer, it is about upholding a “conviction,” not earned with your own personal scrutiny and research, but by your “faith” in such a conviction and the authorities who shape it.

Increasingly, it does not truly matter what the “facts” are, but the question of “whose side are you on?

If that is what “reality” has been reduced to by those forces controlling the state, then any enemy to those forces controlling that state will be a villain, regardless of their actions, regardless of their ideology; and any ally to those forces controlling that state will be a hero, regardless of their actions, regardless of their ideology.

And thus, in our shaped reality of today, what makes a “Hero” or a “Villain” will be determined by the simple question “whose side are you on?

If this is troubling to you, I suggest we do a little exercise together. Let us dare to discern the “facts” for ourselves. Only then, will we cease being mere cheerleaders for a team; only then, can we qualify ourselves to ask in all honest sincerity, “whose side are we truly on?”

Are Nazis Now the New “Good Guys”?

There is a bit of mixed messaging that has been going on, especially in the last few weeks. Are there significant numbers of Nazis in Ukraine and are these “bad” or “good” Nazis in the context that they are fighting the Russian “invaders”?

In one breath we hear the counter, how can there be Nazis in Ukraine when there is a Jewish President calling the shots? In another breath we hear Facebook is now allowing users to praise the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion while they are fighting Russians. In yet another breath we hear, well its complicated, Ukrainian Nationalism should be considered at the forefront of any debate, even if it overlaps with Nazi ideology.

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On Feb. 27, 2022, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland held a scarf bearing the slogan “Slava Ukraini,” meaning “Glory to Ukraine,” with the “Blood and Soil” colors of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII and massacred thousands of Jews and Poles).

She then proceeded to post this picture onto her Twitter account (replacing it hours later with a picture of her without the “Blood and Soil” scarf) and accused her detractors of “reeking of Russian disinformation”. This controversial picture of Freeland was reported by Canada’s National Post.

According to Freeland’s press secretary, this was just another case of a “classic KGB disinformation smear… accusing Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Canadians of being far right extremists or fascists or Nazis,” which is a confusing statement on multiple levels.

It is not clear how this is a case of “Russian disinformation,” since the picture is indeed authentic, Freeland does not deny this. And she is indeed holding a “Blood and Soil” emblem, which originated with the Nazis, clear for everyone to see. Lastly, it is confusing as to why the Canadian government seems to be unaware that the KGB no longer exists. Are they also under the impression that the Soviet Union still exists?

Not irrelevant in all of this is the fact that Freeland’s grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper during WWII in Galicia and that she is indeed aware of this and apparently unapologetic. Whenever she is questioned about this, she does not deny anything, but simply blames such a focus of inquiry on Russian disinformation with the intent to “destabilize Western democracies.” That is, it is not a question of what is one’s historical or ideological background, but a question of “whose side are you on?

Interestingly, it was the Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail” who reported this story, titled “Freeland knew her grandfather was editor of Nazi newspaper,” thus, not a Russian publication last time I checked. And upon whom did they base such information? None other than Freeland’s own uncle, John-Paul Himka, who is now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

According to the Globe and Mail, Freeland was aware for more than two decades that her grandfather Michael Chomiak, was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper that vilified Jews and supported the Nazi cause.

Globe and Mail writes:

“Krakivski Visti [Krakow News] was set up in 1940 by the German army and supervised by German intelligence officer Emil Gassert. Its printing presses and offices were confiscated by the Germans from a Jewish publisher, who was later murdered at the Belzec concentration camp.

The article titled ‘Kravivski Visti and the Jews, 1943: A contribution of Ukrainian Jewish Relations during the Second World War’ was written by Ms. Freeland’s uncle, John-Paul Himka, now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

In the foreword to the article, Prof. Himka credits Ms. Freeland for ‘pointing out problems and clarifications.’ Ms. Freeland has never acknowledged that her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator and suggested on Monday that the allegation was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

In 1996, Prof. Himka wrote about Mr. Chomiak’s work for Kravivski Visti, a Ukrainian-language newspaper based in Krakow that often published anti-Jewish diatribes including ‘certain passages in some of the articles that expressed approval of what the Nazis were doing to the Jews.’” [emphasis added]

Oddly, Freeland helped to edit and clarify Prof. Himka’s article discussing her grandfather as the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper, however, refused to acknowledge her grandfather’s role publicly and accused any reference to this as part of a “Russian disinformation campaign.” According to this topsy-turvy logic, Freeland’s uncle, Prof. Himka is part of this “Russian disinformation campaign,” and she is guilty of providing assistance to this “Russian disinformation campaign,” all to ruin her political career and “destabilize Western democracies.”

Freeland also told her uncle, Prof. Himka, which is included in his article, that according to her father, her grandfather Michael Chomiak was also working to some extent with the anti-Nazi resistance. However, Prof. Himka was unable to verify this information, which he described as “fragmentary and one-sided.”

This past April, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova delivered an explosive response to Chrystia Freeland’s recent obnoxious efforts to ban Russia from all international organizations and financial institutions, revealing the real sort of work Freeland’s grandfather was in the business of. You can read the full speech here.

Then there is the strange case of NATO tweeting in celebration of international women’s day, this past March 8, a picture of a female Ukrainian soldier wearing the Black Sun symbol which is tied to Nazi occultism, and Satanism. NATO wrote in their post “All women and girls must live free and equal,” sending a very mixed message. NATO also ended up taking down their picture of the Black Sun symbol.

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The timing of Freeland and NATO’s twitter posts are most strange. It also begs the question, why post something at all if you are just going to delete it? Is this just a matter of not being aware of such things, or is it a matter of certain groupings getting increasingly bolder and unapologetic as to where their true allegiance lies? Has Chrystia Freeland or NATO undergone any real questioning or backlash for such public displays? Not really.

Fact Checking the “Fact-Checkers” on Ukraine

Before we go through the situation of Ukraine today, I wanted to share with you a very relevant story of how the CIA buys News.

Udo Ulfkotte was a well-known German journalist and author of numerous books. He worked for 25 years as a journalist, 17 of which were for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), including his role as editor. In his 2014 book “Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys News,” Ulfkotte goes over how the CIA along with German Intelligence (BND) were guilty of bribing journalists to write articles that either spun the truth or were completely fictitious in order to promote a pro-western, pro-NATO bent, and that he was one of those bought journalists.

In an interview, Ulfkotte describes how he finally built up the nerve to publish the book, after years of it collecting dust, in response to the erupting 2014 crisis in Ukraine stating:

I felt that the right time had come to finish it and publish it, because I am deeply worried about the Ukrainian crisis and the possible devastating consequences for all of Europe and all of us…I am not at all pro-Russia, but it is clear that many journalists blindly follow and publish whatever the NATO press office provides. And this type of information and reports are completely one-sided”. [emphasis added]

In another interview Ulfkotte stated:

it is clear as daylight that the agents of various Services were in the central offices of the FAZ, the place where I worked for 17 years. The articles appeared under my name several times, but they were not my intellectual product. I was once approached by someone from German Intelligence and the CIA, who told me that I should write about Gaddafi and report how he was trying to secretly build a chemical weapons factory in Libya. I had no information on any of this, but they showed me various documents, I just had to put my name on the article. Do you think this can be called journalism? I don’t think so.

Ulfkotte has publicly stated:

I am ashamed of it. The people I worked for knew from the get-go everything I did. And the truth must come out. It’s not just about FAZ, this is the whole system that’s corrupt all the way.” [emphasis added]

Udo Ulfkotte has since passed away. He died January 2017, found dead in his home, it is said by a heart attack. His body was quickly after cremated, thus preventing any possibility of an autopsy from occurring. His book has been made pretty much impossible to find available for purchase at this point.

Today’s situation concerning media reporting on Ukraine does not seem to be any different, if anything, it is much much worse.

To bolster support for the Ukrainian military, Kiev has churned out a steady stream of sophisticated propaganda aimed at stirring public and official support from Western countries.

Ukraine’s propaganda strategy earned it praise from a NATO commander who told the Washington Post, “They are really excellent in stratcom — media, info ops, and also psy-ops.” The Post ultimately conceded that “Western officials say that while they cannot independently verify much of the information that Kyiv puts out about the evolving battlefield situation, including casualty figures for both sides, it nonetheless represents highly effective stratcom.”

Dan Cohen for Mint Press News writes:

“Key to the propaganda effort is an international legion of public relations firms working directly with Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to wage information warfare. According to the industry news site PRWeek, the initiative was launched by an anonymous figure who allegedly founded a Ukraine-based public relations firm…

According to the anonymous figure, more than 150 public relations firms have joined the propaganda blitz.

The international effort is spearheaded by public relations firm PR Network co-founder Nicky Regazzoni and Francis Ingham, a top public relations consultant with close ties to the UK’s governmentIngham previously worked for Britain’s Conservative Party, sits on the UK Government Communication Service Strategy and Evaluation Council, is Chief Executive of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation, and leads the membership body for UK local government communicators, LG Comms.”

Thus, Ingham who has been a member of the UK government and continues to have very high-level connections within the British government, is playing a leading role in shaping how the Ukraine war is being represented.

Dan Cohen provides a thorough explanation of how these “PR firms” have been responsible for reporting and spreading fabricated news and that even when such reports are found conclusively to be untrue, they continue to use them nonetheless. These PR tools include propaganda graphics, which are created in order to encourage radicalisation and promotion of ultra-nationalist identity; using xenophobic and racist language (not just to Russians), outright praise of Ukrainian neo-Nazis as heroes, the idolisation of Nazi affiliated Unit-B leader Stefan Bandera, and the encouragement of violent acts against other individuals (see Cohen’s article for examples).

Why would someone like Ingham be involved in something like this? Well, if you have already read my paper on “How the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement was Bought and Paid for by the CIA Post WWII”, you will see that this is just a continuation of a several decades-long script.

If you have ever wondered who is behind the omnipotent “fact-checkers”, in the case of StopFake who have self-described themselves as such, they are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) aka the fully-rogue department of the CIA, the Atlantic Council, the International Renaissance Foundation (funded by Open Society Foundation’s billionaire George Soros), the British Embassy in Ukraine, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the German Marshall Fund, among others.

StopFake was hired by Facebook in March 2020 to “curb the flow of Russian propaganda” but was found to be employing multiple figures closely tied to violent neo-Nazis. This has, however, not deterred Facebook from continuing to work with StopFake.

At the end of the day, it does not seem to matter how many times these arbiters of truth are found to be wrong, for US officials have already admitted that they are literally just lying to the public about what is going on in Ukraine.

So How Serious is Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Romance?

Interestingly, the Atlantic Council itself acknowledges it is quite serious, in an article published in 2018 titled “Ukraine’s Got a Real Problem with Far-Right Violence (And No, RT Didn’t Write This Headline).”

Josh Cohen for the Atlantic Council writes [links are from the original article]:

It sounds like the stuff of Kremlin propaganda, but it’s not. Last week Hromadske Radio revealed that Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports is funding the neo-Nazi group C14 to promote “national patriotic education projects” in the country…”

Yes, you read right, C14 along with the Azov Battalion has been training children, with encouragement and funding by the Ukrainian government via Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports under the title “national patriotic education projects”, including in terror tactics.

Josh Cohen continues [links are from the original article]:

“Since the beginning of 2018, C14 and other far-right groups such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich, and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitionsLGBT events, and environmental activists. On March 8, violent groups launched attacks against International Women’s Day marchers in cities across Ukraine. In only a few of these cases did police do anything to prevent the attacks, and in some they even arrested peaceful demonstrators rather than the actual perpetrators.”

After the March 8 2018 attacks against International Women’s Day marchers, Amnesty International wrote “Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions.”

Josh Cohen writes:

“To be clear, far-right parties like Svoboda perform poorly in Ukraine’s polls and elections, and Ukrainians evince no desire to be ruled by them. But this argument is a bit of “red herring.” It’s not extremists’ electoral prospects that should concern Ukraine’s friends, but rather the state’s unwillingness or inability to confront violent groups and end their impunity.” [emphasis added]

However, we heard it, straight from Yevhen Karas’s mouth, the leader of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi group C14, what determines who holds power in Ukraine has never really been about polls and elections.

As the famous “f*ck the EU” tape revealed to the dumbfounded world, the Ukrainian people don’t actually have a say in who runs their government. After the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” where Ukrainians literally died for “democracy,” the US went on to “influence” the roster of the newly formed Ukrainian government, specifically around members of Svoboda and Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) who held five senior roles in the new government, including the post of deputy prime minister.

But neo-Nazis have not just been receiving western support in the political sphere.

Just this past October, as a reaction to her failed diplomatic visit to Russia, Victoria Nuland, according to French journalist Thierry Meyssan, went ahead and “imposed” Dmytro Yarosh onto President Zelensky. On Nov. 2, 2021, President Zelensky appointed Dmytro Yarosh (leader of the neo-Nazi affiliated ultra-nationalist paramilitary group Right Sector 2013-2015) as Adviser to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

This is the very same Dmytro Yarosh who has been on Interpol’s “wanted list” since 2014.

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Neo-Nazis have also received ongoing training by the CIA, British SAS (Special Air Service) as well as other NATO countries such as Canada since at least 2014. This training has continued despite Russia’s entry into Ukraine, which has been confirmed by The TimesOttawa CitizenCTV News, and Radio Canada.

The Canadian government has attempted to deny any knowledge of training neo-Nazi militants in Ukraine and have made the claim that they are not responsible for verifying who they are in fact training, but that this is the responsibility of the Ukrainian government. However, such claims of ignorance fell through when the very neo-Nazis they were training went ahead and posted pictures on their social media accounts, showcasing their neo-Nazis badges identifying them as such, plain for everyone to see.

On the same day as the untoward NATO tweet on International Women’s Day of a Ukrainian soldier with the Nazi Black Sun occult symbol, photographs appeared on NEXTA’s twitter feed showing the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion receiving training by instructors from “NATO countries” on how to use NLAW grenade launchers.

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The badge on the sidearm is that of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion

The ultra-nationalist Right Sector have also appeared in the field with UK-made NLAW launchers.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on March 9 that “as of today, we have delivered 3,615 NLAWs [to Ukrainian forces] and continue to deliver more. We will shortly be starting the delivery of a small consignment of anti-tank Javelin missiles as well.”

For a full list of all the weapons sent to Ukraine since 2014 by all involved countries, refer here.

For those especially adamant that neo-Nazis are not “officially” a part of the Ukrainian army, you should be informed that the Azov Battalion is part of Ukraine’s National Guard, and thus, yes it is officially part of Ukraine’s military.

Andriy Biletsky, the Azov Battalion’s first commander and later a National Corps parliamentarian previously led the neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation “Patriot of Ukraine,” and once stated in 2010 that it was the Ukrainian nation’s mission to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade… against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].”

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In 2019, the Soufan Center, which tracks terrorist and extremist groups around the world, warned:

The Azov Battalion is emerging as a critical node in the transnational right-wing violent extremist network… [Its] aggressive approach to networking serves one of the Azov Battalion’s overarching objectives, to transform areas under its control in Ukraine into the primary hub for transnational white supremacy.

The Soufan Center described how the Azov Battalion’s “aggressive networking” reaches around the world to recruit fighters and spread its white supremacist ideology. Foreign fighters who train and fight with the Azov Battalion then return to their own countries to apply what they have learned and recruit others.

In 2014, Newsweek published an article titled “Ukrainian Nationalist Volunteers Committing ‘ISIS-Style’ War Crimes.” Is this an indication of how both the Azov and ISIS have received their funding and training from the very same sources? Hmmm.

NATO has recently gone so far as to make a short film honoring the Baltic Nazi collaborators the “Forest Brothers.” The NATO film lionises the “Forest Brothers,” former Waffen SS fighters who voluntarily collaborated with the Nazis, as anti-communist heroes.

Dovid Katz, a leading historian and anti-Nazi investigator condemned the NATO film for rewriting history:

By going beyond turning a blind eye to the worship of pro-Hitler forces in Eastern Europe…[NATO] is crossing the line right into offering its moral legitimization of Nazi forces such as the Latvian Waffen SS.” [emphasis added]

David Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist and reliable voice of the US intelligence apparatus, noted that even prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “the United States and NATO allies [were] ready to provide weapons and training for a long battle of resistance.”

This is the very same David Ignatius who was once President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (aka specialists in color revolutions), who arrogantly stated in a 1991 interview that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA…The biggest difference is that when such activities are done overtly, the flap potential is close to zero. Openness is its own protection”.

I guess the NED has had a change of heart on “openness is its own protection.”

Jeremy Kuzmarov for Covert Action Magazine writes in an article titled “National Endowment for Democracy Deletes Records of Funding Projects in Ukraine” [links from the original article]:

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)—a CIA offshoot founded in the early 1980s to advance “democracy promotion” initiatives around the world—has deleted all records of funding projects in Ukraine from their searchable “Awarded Grants Search” database.

The archived webpage captured February 25, 2022 from 14:53 shows that NED granted $22,394,281 in the form of 334 awards to Ukraine between 2014 to the present. The capture at 23:10 the same day shows “No results found” for Ukraine. As of right now, there are still “No results found” for Ukraine…

The erasure of the NED’s records is necessary to validate the Biden administration’s big lie—echoed in the media—that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was ‘unprovoked.’” [emphasis added]

Who will suffer the most in this plan for a long battle of resistance? The Ukrainian people.

If Putin’s top reason for going into Ukraine is to “denazify” the country, and the CIA, NATO and co. are persistently “nazifying” the political and military components of Ukraine, you can see how this is making a situation for peace in Ukraine impossible, and that it is the CIA and NATO that are to blame for this.

You can also understand how Ukraine’s entry into NATO was unacceptable merely by its geographic location (the distance between Ukraine’s border and Moscow is 450 km), however, add in the fact that NATO is involved in the promotion of neo-Nazi militants in Ukraine and that now both Sweden and Finland have also expressed a desire to join NATO (with no referendum since democracy is officially dead in Cold War 2.0) and we have ourselves a real sh*t storm.

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However, this is not just a threat to Russia. The reality of the situation is that Ukraine has been in a civil war these past 8 years, though the western media refuses to acknowledge this very important fact.

Ivan Katchanovski, Professor of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, told MintPress:

People who take at face value the Western media coverage would have a very distorted perception of the Ukraine conflict and its origin… They omit or deny that there is a civil war in Donbas even though the majority of scholars who [have] published or presented concerning this conflict in Western academic venues classify it as a civil war with Russian military intervention. The Western media also omitted that recent ‘unity marches’ in Kharkiv and Kyiv and a staged training of civilians, including a grandmother, were organized and led by the far right, in particular, the Neo-Nazi Azov [Battalion].”

Robert Parry from Consortium News writes [link is from original article]:

On Sunday, a Times article by Andrew E. Kramer mentioned the emerging neo-Nazi paramilitary role in the final three paragraphs…In other words, the neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of anti-Yanukovych protests…have now been organized as shock troops dispatched to kill ethnic Russians in the east [of Ukraine] – and they are operating so openly that they hoist a Swastika-like neo-Nazi flag over one conquered village with a population of about 10,000.

Burying this information at the end of a long article is also typical of how the Times and other U.S. mainstream news outlets have dealt with the neo-Nazi problem in the past. When the reality gets mentioned, it usually requires a reader knowing much about Ukraine’s history and reading between the lines of a U.S. news account.” [emphasis added]

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In the above image which outlines the population distribution of ethnic Ukrainians and Russians within Ukraine, you can understand how an ultra-nationalist view that identifies as solely ethnic Ukrainian would be a catalyst for a civil war.

The people of Donbass have understandably asked for independence from Ukraine, yet the Ukrainian government has refused to allow this nor intervene for a peaceful resolution. What does this mean? The war can only end when one side is fully dead.

Not only is it publicly known that the US and NATO have been funding and training neo-Nazis, but they have also been supplying a massive supply of arms (as previously mentioned). It got to such a point where in 2018, Congress had to ban the United States from sending further arms to Ukraine militia linked to neo-Nazis, specifically mentioning the Azov Battalion. For some reason this ban was to only last for three years thus it is apparently fair game now?

But you may say, what about Russia’s crimes against the Ukrainian people, aren’t they far worse than even vicious neo-Nazis? Namely the bombing of the Mariupol theater and the Bucha massacre. Thorough journalistic investigations have already been done on the former, which can be found here, that conclusively shows the bombing of the Mariupol theater was a false-flag.

As for the Bucha massacre, there has been no evidence presented as of yet that conclusively proves who committed this atrocity, there have only been assertions. Recall that the chemical attacks in Syria were also full of assertions, to which investigative journalist Seymour Hersch wrote a report titled “Whose Sarin,” which conclusively proved that the popular assertions being pushed by the Obama government in their attempt to incriminate the Syrian government, were in fact false. Rather, it was pointing to the fact that the actual terrorists were the ones using sarin on the Syrian civilians, who were receiving American and co. funding and arms.

Unfortunately, time is of the essence in investigating crimes such as these, and despite the outcries of the inhumanity of such events, there is always heavy foot-dragging if not outright dismissal over an official and neutral investigation of such crime scenes. Why is this?

Russia has asked the UN Security Council for an investigation and to discuss the Bucha massacre. China has also called for an official investigation into this and has received backlash for withholding blame until all facts are known. However, an official investigation has been repeatedly refused. Why? This should be the official protocol for such matters.

Instead, the response to this was for the UN to suspend Russia from its human rights body. Thus, not only denying an official investigation, but denying Russia a voice in responding to the matter.

The disturbing elephant in the room in all of this, is that the Azov Battalion has already been found guilty of similar atrocities against its own Ukrainian people, which has been thoroughly investigated by Max Blumenthal and Esha Krishnaswamy and which can be found here (warning there is graphic content).

The Azov Battalion has also been found guilty of purposefully putting Ukrainian citizens in jeopardy by positioning their artillery and military in residential areas and buildings, including daycares and hospitals, to which even the Washington Post had to acknowledge in their misleadingly titled article “Russia has killed civilians in Ukraine. Kyiv’s defense tactics add to the danger.

However, these are not simply “defense tactics,” they are blatant war crimes that are recognised as such by international law. These war crimes are publicly acknowledged to be going on, causing the deaths of a significant number of Ukrainians. Just to be clear here, during times of war, to which the Washington Post also acknowledges, Ukrainian soldiers and weaponry are legitimate targets for the Russian military. It is not Russia that is committing the war crime here, it is the Ukrainian government. They have literally been caught using their own people as human shields.

Does this still sound like a patriotic nationalist movement for the welfare and sovereignty of the Ukrainian people?

According to an interview with Scott Ritter, former US Marine Intelligence Officer, the Russian military have made it clear that they are using “Syrian tactics” in Ukraine.

Scott Ritter explains, the Russian military’s tactic in Syria was:

“…to surround urban areas where these jihadists had been gathered, terrorizing the population, surround them and give them the opportunity to evacuate on buses with their security guaranteed by Russian military police. A soft approach that protected civilians, that protected civilian areas.”

It was this tactic that allowed the Russians along with the Syrian army to defeat ISIS and other terrorist affiliates. Today they only occupy the Idlib province. These terrorists who remain would not have been possible without Turkish support. This initiative to rid Syria of ISIS was something that the United States has clearly never been interested in supporting.

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In the image on the left the red and largely the blue represent the region controlled by terrorists, or as Obama liked to call them “moderate rebels” in the year 2017, in the image to the right the purple and grey represent the region controlled by terrorists in the year 2021. The green is the United States and co.’s illegal presence in the country.

Interestingly, when the Russians entered Syria to combat the terrorists at the behest of the Syrian government, this was also called a “Russian invasion” by certain quarters of western media. However, it was not the Russians who bombed Syrian cities to the ground, that was the good ol’ US of A.

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In the same interview, Scott Ritter stated that these very terrorists who have been stationed in Idlib are now being brought into Ukraine:

“…[Zelensky] has opened the door for illegal warriors, the mercenaries from Europe…the exploiters of conflict…[and] they brought in the jihadists…they brought in the people..[who] ostensibly want to kill Russians…It’s a poison pill…now we are going to have these jihadists, who are being armed by the way with javelin missiles and stinger missiles. Imagine what happens when a bunch of bloodthirsty jihadists take these weapons into Europe. Would you like to be the German Chancellor driving on a highway knowing that up in the hills could be a jihadist hit-team armed with javelins?…This is literally the worst kind of decision-making ever to put that much weaponry into Ukraine in an uncontrolled fashion. Even before the jihadist came in you were giving it to neo-Nazis who can’t surrender. They can’t surrender because they will be killed, rightfully so. So what do desperate people do when they can’t surrender and they don’t die? They run away with the weaponry they have. They’ll be burying it, making caches, falling back on it, continuing the futile resistance and in their anger to the West they’ll lash out at the West…that is how global terrorism is born.”

How is this in the best interest of anyone’s welfare in Europe, let alone Ukraine? It isn’t.

In November 2015, a UN resolution was brought forward condemning the glorification of Nazism. Of the total 126 member states, 53 countries including member nations of the European Union abstained from voting, four countries voted against the resolution: Canada, Palau, the United States, and Ukraine.

Why do you think that is?

Zelensky: the Enigma

Many have been especially confused as to how Ukraine can have such a serious neo-Nazi problem, when they have a Jewish President.

There is something you should know about the position of “President” of Ukraine since 2014, in a country where neo-Nazis have been made more confident than the mafia ever was, that they literally cannot be touched since they have the direct backing and protection of the United States and NATO.

When President Poroshenko (June 2014 – May 2019) negotiated the Minsk agreements in September 2014, he agreed, with Germany and France, to the special autonomous status of Donetsk and Lugansk, and that under this special condition, they would stay part of Ukraine.

According to an interview[1] with Scott Ritter, this was unacceptable to the neo-Nazis who threatened Poroshenko’s life, if such a thing were to be implemented.

The Minsk agreements were never put into action. Instead, Ukraine entered a civil war that has gone on for 8 years and continues to this day. The Minsk agreements were officially expired on February 21st, 2022, the same day that the State Duma of Russia passed a bill officially recognizing Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states. This ultimate rejection by the Ukrainian government was a clear indication that their war against Donbass would be escalated.

The situation with President Zelensky is no different.

In October 2019, President Zelensky (who assumed office in May 2019), had a recorded face-to-face confrontation with the militants from the Azov Battalion, who had launched a campaign to sabotage the peace initiative called “No to Capitulation.”

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Kyiv Post translated the conversation as such:

“’Listen, Denys [Yantar], I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons. Don’t shift the conversation to some protests,’ Zelensky said, videos of the exchange show. As he said this, Zelensky aggressively approached Yantar, who heads the National Corps, a political offshoot of the far-right Azov volunteer battalion, in Mykolaiv city.

‘But we’ve discussed that,’ Yantar said.

‘I wanted to see understanding in your eyes. But, instead, I saw a guy who’s decided that this is some loser standing in front of him,’ Zelensky said.”

The Kyiv Post continues in their article, that this reaction by President Zelensky received a strong backlash from certain quarters of Ukraine:

“Andriy Biletsky, head of National Corps and the Azov Battalion, threatened Zelensky on his YouTube channel that more veterans would head to Zolote if the president tried to evict them from the town. ‘There will be thousands there instead of several dozen,’ he said…

Singer Sofia Fedyna, who is a lawmaker with the European Solidarity party of former President Petro Poroshenko, which has 27 seats in parliament, was particularly aggressive in her response. She issued physical threats against Zelensky.

‘Mr. President thinks he is immortal,’ she said in a video shared on Facebook. ‘A grenade may explode there, by chance. And it would be the nicest if this happened during Moscow’s shelling when someone comes to the front line wearing a white or blue shirt.’

Zelensky has previously visited the front line dressed in civilian clothing, rather than military fatigues.”

Thus, the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion publicly threatened Zelensky if he were to intervene on attempting to negotiate peace and end Ukraine’s civil war.

However, this is not the full story.

President Zelensky is also backed by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who sponsored Zelensky’s rise to presidency, not just with his presidential campaign, but also in the tv show “Servant of the People,” that Zelensky literally “play-acted” as President for three seasons, which ran from November 16th, 2015 to March 28th, 2019. Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine less than two months after the last episode, on May 20th, 2019.

Former President Poroshenko even publicly called Zelensky “Kolomoisky’s puppet” during the presidential campaign.[2]

Kyiv Post reports:

“For years, Zelensky’s company has produced shows for Kolomoisky’s biggest TV channel, 1 + 1. In 2019, Kolomoisky’s media channels gave a big boost to Zelensky’s presidential campaign. After, Zelensky’s victory, Kolomoisky kept up his relationship with the president, nominating over 30 lawmakers to Zelensky’s newly established party, and maintaining influence with many of them in parliament.”

Since Zelensky’s presidency, Kolomoisky has been able to secure control over a significant portion of Ukraine’s energy sector, including Ukrnafta and Centrenergo, as well as Burisma Holdings.

2012 study of Burisma Holdings done in Ukraine by the AntiCorruption Action Centre (ANTAC) found that the true owner of Burisma Holdings was none other than Kolomoisky.

Recall the Joe and Hunter Biden scandal over Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company. The Bidens ties with Kolomoisky and the situation of Ukraine today is not a coincidence.

In the 1990s, Kolomoisky set up PrivatBank, which quickly grew to be one of the biggest financial institutions in Ukraine.

In 2016, Ukraine nationalized PrivatBank from Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov. A U.S. Justice Department civil forfeiture complaint from December 2020, said the two men “embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars.” [emphasis added]

There is also the matter of the Pandora Papers, which has confirmed that Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky was funneling millions of dollars in concealed assets offshore. Zelensky was also implicated in this. And what this of course also means, is that the City of London is tied into all of this.

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Kolomoisky has a notorious history of being a literal “raider” of Ukrainian companies, as confirmed by Harper’s Magazine, and Forbes.

Forbes reports:

Bogolyubov and Kolomoisky fostered strong reputations as corporate raiders in the mid-2000s, becoming notorious for a series of hostile takeovers. Hostile takeovers Ukrainian style, that is, which often included the active involvement of Privat’s quasi-military teams.

Kolomoisky, who is Jewish, is also a funder of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion since it was formed in 2014, which has been confirmed by ReutersNewsweek, and Aljazeera.

He has also bankrolled private militias like the Dnipro and Aidar Battalions and has personally deployed them to protect his financial interests.

In other words, Kolomoisky is funding the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion who have been fighting Eastern Ukrainians for these past 8 years, and thus has been directly fueling the civil war in Ukraine. One of the reasons for this, is that Donbass is a region with many natural resources, especially for the energy sector, to which Kolomoisky would very much like to be in possession of. This could only occur with the extermination or occupation of the people of Donbass.

Interestingly, this past Victory Day (May 8th), First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky’s interview was cut short on Sky News when he brought up that Zelensky shared on his Twitter account for Victory Day the insignia of the Nazi 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf.

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After years of civil war, the city of Mariupol has now been liberated. Do you think the people in the West will ever hear about this?

Where do We go from Here?

Well, let me put it this way. The United States and NATO know they cannot defeat Russia or China in a direct war, hence all of these proxy wars these past several years under the guise of “War on Terror.” As David Ignatius honestly expressed, their desire is for a long-drawn war. This is because they believe that they can bankrupt Russia and/or set the stage for internal unrest and eventual coup. However, things are clearly not going as planned.

What has been greatly underestimated in this situation is 1) China’s solid alliance with Russia, 2) that Russia is the most resource abundant country in the world to which Europe is dependant on, and 3) the economic brilliance of Sergey Glazyev.

Russia’s rouble has also not tanked as expected. In fact, it has actually grown stronger than ever.

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Alasdair Macleod for Goldmoney writes:

Keynesians in the West have misread this situation. They think that the Russian economy is weak and will be destabilised by sanctions. That is not true. Furthermore, they would argue that a currency strengthened by insisting that oil and natural gas are paid for in roubles will push the Russian economy into a depression. But that is only a statistical effect and does not capture true economic progress or the lack of it, which cannot be measured. The fact is that the shops in Russia are well stocked, and fuel is freely available, which is not necessarily the case in the West.

The advantages for Russia are that as the West’s currencies sink into crisis, the rouble will be protected. Russia will not suffer from the West’s currency crisis, she will still get inflation compensation in commodity prices, and her interest rates will decline while those in the West are soaring. Her balance of trade surplus is already hitting new records.”

It is the West who has miscalculated in all of this, and it is their economy that will utterly tank from this “long-drawn” war these oligarchs have been having wet dreams about for God knows how many years.

We have done this to ourselves. And if we truly want to correct the matter, we should first have the respect to admit the truth in our complicity to much of the world’s woes during this Cold War period. Those of us who have lived in abundance, in comfort, and security, should take the first step to speak out and say no more to the rest of the world living in starved war-torn agony.

We must stop caring for ourselves first at the expense of all else. We must start caring for others first and foremost and acknowledge the crimes that have been committed in our name. Only then can we truly have the humility to see that the solution has been in front of our face the whole time.

If we fail in this, the western world will not be able to sustain itself for much longer economically. And when it falls, what sort of people do you think you will be surrounded by after all these years of supporting fascism under your very nose?

The author can be reached at cynthiachung.substack.com

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYm8pDrIXBg minute 19:33 
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXgli7TpINw Minute 0:49 

Sitrep Operation Z: The Ukrainian fighters’ will to resist is deteriorating fast

May 20, 2022

Source

by Saker Staff

Khodakovsky’s (commander of Vostok Battalion) noted that they have +1,800 prisoners of war in custody. Another 80-90 surrendered over the past 24 hours and the estimate is that a few hundred is still in the hole.

It is visible! It is palpalable! Morale in the both the Armed Forces of the Ukraine as well as in the general society is dropping like a stone. Soldiers are laying down their weapons, surrendering or simply try to walk home after Azovstal, because the fairy tale, the fantasy of proud and committed nazi soldiers bravely resisting, has shattered. The will to resist from the Ukrainian side is crumbling fast.

These are just a few and reports of Ukrainian forces surrendering are many and increasing.

  • 11 servicemen of the 25th airborne brigade and 17 soldiers of the 54th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine voluntarily laid down their arms and went over to the side of the DPR – Yevgeny Poddubny 2022-05-18 https://t.me/greatrussia1/8253
  • We are now witnessing the breakdown of Ukrainian forces in the Donbas. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdKWfPLO_Emwqd8HnTOeJkw/community?lb=UgkxXrkzaSFo2aE_q38cwwpgE-XuCwsIT1SC
  • The period of disintegration of the Ukrainian army has begun.  https://voenhronika.ru/publ/vojna_na_ukraine/period_raspada_ukrainskoj_armii_nachalsja_2022/60-1-0-12136
  • We are now witnessing the breakdown of Ukrainian forces in the Donbass.  http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/05/they-are-getting-message_18.html
  • RusVesna Reports: There is a mass surrender of Ukrainian soldiers in the LNR against the backdrop of the surrender of the Azov militants from Azovstal: “We want to live,” says a serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
  • … they were sent to go on the offensive, despite the fact that the commanders had already fled, abandoning their subordinate soldiers. The remaining Ukrainian servicemen surrendered because they “wanted to live”. https://t.me/EurasianChoice/13843
  • War correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny reports that in the DPR, twenty servicemen of the 95th Airborne Assault Brigade of Ukraine voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered.
  • During the night, five more servicemen from the 95th Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine surrendered to the DPR forces.
  • The prisoners said that the command recently used them as ordinary infantry, which was tasked with “being in the trenches and trying to hold back the offensive.”
  • In the trenches, from where the Ukrainian paratroopers surrendered, at least three dozen of their colleagues died, who could not withstand the attacks of artillery and armored vehicles, and then collided with an assault unit of the special forces of the allied forces of the DPR and the Russian Federation. The survivors refused further resistance and raised the white flag.

We can fill a page or two with similar reports.

The rule of thumb is that if you have a competent fighting force of say 600 ‘bayonets’, and 200 walk off the job, either by attrition or by surrender or by simply going awol, the fighting force cannot fight any longer. Yes, they can do a lot of damage still, and as many reports of surrenders as there are, unfortunately, there are as many reports of these forces willy nilly firing on villages and towns, taking over houses and larger structures (schools, hospitals) and hiding behind civilians and non-combatants where Kadyrov’s special forces take them out in brutal hand to hand combat while these combatants torture the civilian inhabitants.

It remains a hard and bloody grind. Yet, cauldrons are forming and the Russian forces continue the grind, day by day, and night by night. Here are some sketches of what looks like four forming now. Cauldrons https://t.me/russianhead/3173

It seems that these settlements have truly now been liberated by Russian forces/LPR National Militias over the last 24 hours as part of the offensive from Popasnaya:

  • Vladimirovka
  • Tripolye
  • Khamyshevaka
  • Vrybovka
  • Zolotoe.

At least in this area of the Lugansk People’s Republic the Ukrainian defense lines are crumbling.  Shoigu confirms:

Shoigu gave an overview of the situation:

Opening speech by the Russian Minister of Defence, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, at the Russian Defence Ministry Board Session  (https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1749)📑Key points

🔻About the special military operation

▫️ The liberation of the Lugansk People’s Republic is nearing completion. The Ukrainian Armed Forces, trying to delay the advance of Russian troops, are not letting local residents out of cities and towns and are using them as human shield.

▫️ Suffering defeat on the “ground”, the Kiev regime seeks to achieve at least short-term successes in certain areas, passing them off as major ones.

▫️ On the eve of Victory Day, the Ukrainian authorities made an adventurous attempt to seize Snake Island. This dubious action turned out to be a complete failure. Any provocation in the future would be severely dealt with

▫️ The blockade of the Azovstal plant continues. Nationalists blocked inside the plant are actively surrendering. To date, 1,908 people have laid down their arms.

▫️ The Russian Armed Forces are doing all they can to prevent civilian deaths. More than 1,377,000 people have been evacuated to Russia from dangerous regions of the people’s republics, as well as from Ukraine, since the beginning of the special military operation.

▫️ I would like the personnel for their professionalism, courage and heroism in accomplishing the tasks set by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

🔻On the situation in the Western strategic direction

▫️ The situation in the Western strategic direction is characterised by growing military threats near Russia’s borders. Over the past eight years, US strategic bomber flights in Europe have increased 15-fold. American ships with guided missiles have entered the Baltic Sea on a systematic basis.

▫️ Finland and Sweden have applied to join NATO. Tensions continue to rise in the Western Military District’s area of responsibility. Adopt adequate countermeasures.

▫️ By the end of the year, 12 military units will have been formed in the Western Military District. The ongoing organisational measures are synchronised with the supply of modern weapons and military equipment to the troops.

🔻On equipping the Aerospace Forces and the Navy with medium- and long-range unmanned aerial vehicle systems

▫️ Unmanned aerial vehicles are actively used by the Armed Forces for a wide range of missions. Over the past 10 years, their flight intensity has increased sevenfold and their annual flight time has risen 23-fold. Since 2015, unmanned aerial vehicles have been monitoring almost all of Syrian territory around the clock.

▫️ During the special military operation in Ukraine, UAVs conduct aerial reconnaissance and carry out selective point-blank strikes against enemy targets in dense urban areas, preventing damage to civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties. Information obtained from UAVs is transmitted in real time to consumers. This enables troops to react quickly to changes in the situation and act as effectively as possible.

▫️ The army and navy continue to receive modern systems with unmanned aerial vehicles for operational purposes.

▫️ Strategic UAVs are expected to be delivered in the near future. Their use will save pilots and significantly reduce the cost of reconnaissance and firing missions by reducing the consumption of ammunition and the resource of aircraft.

Let’s take a quick look at the battlefield through the eyes of the intrepid reporters at Readovka:

The topic of the day was the surrender of the touted “Azovstal hero” radical Sviatoslav Palamar with the call sign Kalina. Our sources reported in the morning that the “manure” was already (https://t.me/readovkanews/34318) in Rostov-on-Don. By evening, however, a video appeared online (https://t.me/russianonwars/701) in which “Kalina” himself was broadcasting that the 85th day of the war was going on, and that he and his command were still at the Azovstal plant. He also talked about some kind of secret special operation. Some authors ironically say that it is most likely a sex change operation.

⚔️ The situation on the fronts remains tense, but the successes of the Allied forces are hard to ignore:

▫️ On the Kharkov front, losses in manpower, equipment, and concentration by Ukrainian forces are beginning to be felt. Today ours were able to liberate (https://t.me/russianonwars/691) Ternovaya near the Russian state border.

▫️Izium front – fighting near Krasny Liman, where up to 1,500 enemy soldiers are under threat of being surrounded. Heavy fighting is going on in the woods near the village of Dolgenkoye.

▫️The Lugansk front is becoming a black mark for the Ukrainian army. Even the commanders on the ground themselves are already telling the top military leadership about the lack of heavy equipment and the incompetence of some leaders. So the 3rd battalion of the 115th brigade of the AFU refused (https://t.me/voenacher/18972) to go into battle near Severodonetsk. Meanwhile, our forces are developing a grandiose offensive from Popasna in several directions – it is not for nothing that they fought so hard for this bridgehead for almost a whole month. It is reported that Allied troops from the north of the city entered (https://t.me/boris_rozhin/49516) Viktorovka, to the south they took (https://t.me/boris_rozhin/49498) Troitskoye, to the northeast they half-cleared Toshkovka, and to the west they are fighting for Pilipchatino. There is also information that our paratroopers have liberated (https://t.me/boris_rozhin/49523) the village of Vladimirovka, near Soledar, and Wagner’s “music” has liberated Tripillya. In fact, all this work that has been done guarantees tight fire control of our artillery over the Soledar-Lisichansk highway. The storming of Severodonetsk does not stop either – the fighters go into battle from three directions at once.

▫️On the Donetsk Front, fighting is taking place near Novoselovka-2 and Novobakhmutovka, as well as on the outskirts of New York – the Avdeevka cauldron continues to “forge”, the front is pushing further away from Gorlovka.

▫️ In Mariupol, more than half of the garrison in bunkers left Azovstal (https://t.me/readovkanews/34327). This was reported by the head of the DNR Denis Pushylin. More than 2,000 heavily armed fighters have now surrendered (https://t.me/readovkanews/34329).

▫️The Southern Front appears to have taken an operational pause to bring in reserves and strike assets. “Courtesies” are being exchanged between artillerymen on both sides.

💣 Our border territories have once again been hit by chaotic Ukrainian shelling. This time it was (https://t.me/readovkanews/34319) the village of Tetkino in the Kursk region, where, according to the governor, one person was killed by shrapnel. In the evening, there was another report from Kursk region that AFU fired mortars at (https://t.me/readovkanews/34397) the villages of Alekseevka and Dronovka.

🚀Air Arrivals. Yasinovataya again received (https://t.me/RtrDonetsk/5970) strikes on civilians by the AFU. They also reached (https://t.me/RtrDonetsk/5953) the settlement of the mine named after them. Lenin. The Petrovsky district of Donetsk was also shelled (https://t.me/readovkanews/34326). There was air defense work in Kherson.

👁From interesting things: swastikas, prayers and pagan rituals – Azov people, who in a hurry left the base near Mariupol, abandoned (https://t.me/readovkanews/34361) all their nationalist paraphernalia on it

👁It’s no secret that stopping the supply of weapons and ammunition to the AFU on the front line is the main task of our army. We found (https://t.me/russianonwars/692) on the net a list of large ammunition depots in the central part of Ukraine, which is definitely worth “calibrating”.

The grind will continue and so will the reconstruction. The Russian government has now created a special office responsible for the restoration of the liberated territories of the Ukraine, says the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Marat Khusnullin.

It is interesting to note also if you read the Russian MoD early morning report, the numbers of military targets being hit, are increasing.  Notable this morning is: 17 Ukrainian Smerch multiple-launch rockets intercepted near Topolskoe, Malaya Kamyshevakha, Snezhkovka in Kharkov Region and Chernobaevka in Kherson Region.

We close with two wonderful reports on the Azovites where the meme: ‘I laughed my Azov’ took root.

Translate this one for sure. It is the journalist Steshin who was on the spot and probably still is.  https://www.kp.ru/daily/27393/4588115/

That is it for today. Enjoy your discussion and be careful with the Ukie propaganda. It is everywhere.

Gonzalo Lira: There Is No “Open Corridor” Through West and Central Ukraine

May 20, 2022

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, May 18, 2022 (Extensive)

May 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1813888/

Table of contents

  1. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting
  2. Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 100 Questions for the Leader project at the Yevgeny Primakov Gymnasium
  3. Update on Ukraine
  4. Involving minors in Ukrainian nationalist formations
  5. Statement by Western leaders accusing Russia of cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure
  6. EU allegations of Russia’s “responsibility” for global food insecurity
  7. Biological warfare research in Ukraine
  8. Closing Canada’s CBC bureau in Moscow
  9. Situation at the JCPOA reactivation talks
  10. The situation in the Republic of Moldova
  11. Russia’s stance on Cyprus settlement
  12. Growing terrorist activity in Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries
  13. Desecration of Soviet military graves in Gdansk
  14. Desecrating a memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died when crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge (Switzerland)
  15. 13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022
  16. 2nd Kostomarov Forum
  17. Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek

Answers to media questions:

  1. Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of the Baltic Sea States
  2. The transportation of grain from Ukraine
  3. The death of Al Jazeera journalist
  4. Calls for “regime change” in Russia
  5. Ukraine’s decision to nationalise Russian banks’ property
  6. Russia’s reaction to Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO
  7. Mass shooting in the United States
  8. Russian diplomats working in new conditions
  9. Russia’s reaction to the Western embargo on Russian energy exports
  10. Finland’s economic losses
  11. The future of Ukrainian militants who surrendered at Azovstal
  12. Situation with individuals detained in Ukraine
  13. Russia’s stand on NATO membership for Ukraine and Finland
  14. Russia’s response measures to Finland’s NATO membership
  15. Exchange of prisoners in Ukraine
  16. The possibility of Russia-Ukraine talks
  17. Trilateral working group
  18. Meeting of the Armenian-Azerbaijani commission on border delimitation and border security
  19. Acts of vandalism in Nagorno-Karabakh
  20. CSTO response to developments in Afghanistan
  21. Escalation in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region of Tajikistan

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting

On May 19, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the BRICS countries via videoconference.

The ministers will review global and regional issues, as well as the problems of maintaining peace and security and settling acute international conflicts. They will focus on coordinating the approaches of the BRICS nations at key multilateral platforms and intensifying cooperation in countering new challenges and threats.

The ministers will review the BRICS strategic partnership in three key areas – political, economic and humanitarian – in the context of preparing for the upcoming 14th summit of the association.

At the initiative of the Chinese Presidency in the Council of Foreign Ministers, a separate session will take place in BRICS-plus format with the participation of the foreign ministers from a number of developing nations.

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Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 100 Questions for the Leader project at the Yevgeny Primakov Gymnasium

On May 23, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with students at the autonomous non-profit general education organisation Yevgeny Primakov Regional Gymnasium as part of the 100 Questions for the Leader project.

The project represents a special format for trustworthy conversations held by students with famous politicians and outstanding representatives of science, art and sports. It provides a priceless experience for direct dialogue between the rising generation and today’s leaders.

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Update on Ukraine

The special military operation continues in Ukraine. As Russian leaders have said more than once, it is going according to plan, and new territories are being freed from the Nazis every day.

The Ukrainian military personnel and militants in Azov nationalist units that entrenched themselves in the underground bunkers of the Azovstal Plant, began to surrender in Mariupol this week. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 959 Ukrainian nationalists, including 51 with severe wounds, have laid down their arms over two days. They receive medical aid at the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR, and the rest were sent to a pretrial detention centre in Yelenovka in the suburbs of Donetsk. Indicatively, on May 17, this centre was shelled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine with multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs). The Kiev regime has always treated its citizens like this, and this case was no exception.

Russian leaders had repeatedly stated that resistance was senseless and announced the opening of humanitarian corridors for militants and Ukrainian military personnel to leave the Azovstal Plant after laying down their arms. They were urged to stop the hostilities. In the meantime, the Kiev regime was doing all it could to prevent civilians, military personnel and militants from leaving the plant. Why? They were brainwashing the public.

It was Russia that urged the UN to look into this situation and persuade the Kiev regime to let people walk out. Later, Russia organised humanitarian corridors in cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. I would like to emphasise that the initiative on announcing and opening these corridors was ours.

The wounded troops are provided with professional medical help. This fact is being turned upside down and misrepresented in the Ukrainian and international media. Remember the footage showing how the militants and the Armed Forces of Ukraine treat POWs in Ukraine? Everyone saw it. It horrified many, others pretended not to have seen it. Russian POWs were shot to death by militants from the nationalist units that became part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Russia has adopted a different approach. You see footage showing professional help being provided to the wounded [Ukrainian troops]. It is not being provided “for show.” It is provided to real individuals regardless of their background. Humanitarian law is not just something we abide by; it is of fundamental importance for us. No one should have any doubt about this.

According to Ukrainian POWs, the military leadership of Ukraine forbids the troops to retreat or surrender. Their key goal is to destroy as much civilian infrastructure as possible in order to leave behind uninhabitable ruins and make it hard to restore peaceful life. This is not our messaging, but the testimony received from the Ukrainian side over the past weeks.

The nationalists, who have long been using the tactics of ISIS terrorists, do not hesitate to use kindergartens, schools and hospitals as ammunition depots and strongholds. They are not hiding this. They take pictures inside preschools or with preschool buildings in the background to show how they fight there. The civilians are not allowed to evacuate. They are forcing people to leave their apartments so that they can set up firing positions there. They are driving people to basements that are used by militants or as weapons depots. The other day, Ukrainian nationalists began to bring in ammunition and deployed air defence systems on the grounds of the Odessa film studio. The territorial defence force militants go door-to-door in order to identify residents who do not accept the nationalist way of thinking. They are taken away to unknown locations and there’s no information about the fate of many of them.

Earlier, the Zaporozhye administration banned the evacuation of civilians under the pretext of security. All attempts by the citizens to leave the city in private vehicles and on foot are stopped by the territorial defence militants at checkpoints. Those who resist are subjected to physical violence. Their vehicles are seized and they are sent back on foot.

On May 16, Ukrainian nationalists used the Smerch MLRS to attack Kherson’s residential areas. There are no Russian troops in Kherson, which the Ukrainian side is well aware of. This means they specifically targeted civilians in retaliation for supporting Russia’s actions. This is yet another war crime committed by the Kiev regime. Fortunately, all 10 missiles have been intercepted by Russian air defence systems.

Unfortunately, we do not see the international organisations, Western countries or their media respond to the criminal methods used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To be sure, it’s because there is no response. Moreover, the Western countries continue massive arms supplies to the Kiev regime. We consider this as direct support for neo-Nazis and an effort to make the fighting last as long as possible. We cannot ignore the fact that Western weapons are used to kill Russian troops and shell Russian territory.

Arms deliveries are running into the billions of dollars which is comparable to military budgets of large states. The United States, Great Britain, France, Canada, Poland and the Baltic countries are doing the most to arm Kiev. Washington alone sent $3.8 billion worth of military equipment to the Kiev regime which is close to the military budgets of Austria, Portugal and Finland. The US Congress is considering a proposal to provide another $40 billion in “aid”, including about $25 billion worth of military equipment. This is half the military budget of Germany and France. I would like to draw the attention of the US public not so much to the size, which is comparable with the military budgets of other countries, as to the needs of the American people. They can put these funds to good use. If this money were sent as subsidies, aid, or sponsorship related in some way to humanitarian aid, one would understand it. But money is being sent to the Kiev regime for it to kill and to continue this phase of the crisis.

More and more weapons abandoned by the Armed Forces of Ukraine are becoming the spoils of war for the People’s Militia of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Armed Forces of Russia. These include Javelin and NLAW ATGMs, Starstreak and Stinger MANPADS, Bayraktar drones, Switchblade loitering munitions, Skynet Longbow EW systems, CAESAR and PzH 2000s self-propelled and M777 towed howitzers.

EU, US and UK officials keep saying that “victory must be achieved on the battlefield,” that “Russia must sustain a strategic defeat” and “cannot be allowed to win.” All these statements, in addition to the trade and economic blockade that has in effect been imposed on our country and the hybrid war unleashed against it, prove once again that the Western countries are waging war against Russia in Ukraine and that Ukraine itself and its citizens are an expendable resource for them. Our Chinese partners used the expression “cannon fodder.”

In their information war, the Western countries resort to outright lies. They are trying to accuse our country of creating a global food shortage. We commented on this many times. Each time we cite facts, figures and other information that cannot be refuted. But nobody is trying to refute them. Western-spread lies are not supposed to be refuted. They are too absurd to comment on. It is forgotten that crisis phenomena in the world food market are linked with the West’s accumulated mistakes and miscalculations in macroeconomic, energy and agricultural policy. The coronavirus pandemic has contributed as well. In the middle of 2020, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme David Beasley warned about the threat of “famines of biblical proportions.” Unilateral Western sanctions exacerbated this trend. So, millions of people will have to go hungry because of the geopolitical ambitions, egotism and stupidity of the collective West.

At the same time, we are seeing a striving of the Western curators to take out of Ukraine everything that may be of some value. This is also a repetition of history of 80 years ago. Hundreds of grain carriers are crossing the Ukrainian border on the way to Europe. The Kiev regime has organised massive daily exports of agricultural products to Europe in exchange for weapons by road and rail, as well as by river on the Danube to Romania via the port of Ismail.

Think of what is happening. Against the backdrop of statements by the collective West about the imminent famine (the Kiev regime is supposed to trust the West), the leaders of Ukraine are getting rid of food products. Ukrainian citizens need them now. The Armed Forces of Ukraine also need them since the Kiev regime is not going to stop hostilities. However, food products are being sent abroad instead. Where to? To NATO countries. The Ukrainians receive weapons in exchange for these products so that they can continue killing themselves. This is not Nazism. This are even more terrifying maniacal ideas that are even worse than the misanthropic concepts applied to the population of Ukraine, Russia and the rest of the former USSR in the middle of the 20th century.

These are tremendous amounts of grain, maize, oil crops and livestock animals. On May 10 of this year, US President Joseph Biden said that Washington was thinking about ways of exporting from Ukraine 20 million tonnes of grain, supposedly with a view to reducing prices in the world markets. You know how much the United States and the White House care about the needs of hungry people in Africa and Asia, how much they want all people in the world to live a better life, eat well and be wealthier. We know this bewitching American pacifism and striving to do good for everyone. But this is not the case. This is about robbing Ukraine, its citizens and military of the last things they have. Washington obviously is not concerned about what the Ukrainians will be left with after this feast. Ukrainian citizens did not believe us 10 years ago and five years ago. Maybe it’s time to wise up. To realise that they are being deprived of the last things they have. Food products, grain – the results of their labour – are being taken out of the country. When we were in school and university, we were told that the fascists and Nazis hauled away Ukrainian natural soil by railway and this was presented as the supreme manifestation of their hatred for Soviet citizens. Now the logic is even more gruesome – Ukrainian citizens are being deprived of the fruits of their labour at a time when their country is engaged in hostilities.

For our part, we are paying close attention to the humanitarian situation in the liberated areas and facilitating the restoration of peaceful life. Russian military are clearing Ukrainian mines in cities and farming lands. People in the DPR, LPR and a number of regions in Ukraine have already been supplied with 20,000 tonnes of basic necessities, food products, medications and medical devices.

We regret that the United States, Britain and several European countries are supporting and sponsoring those who are preaching in Ukraine the ideas of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism. They continue supplying the Kiev regime with arms and robbing the Ukrainian people. However, these efforts will not change the situation.

As the Russian leaders said more than once, Russia will achieve the goals of its military operation on denazifying and demilitarising Ukraine, defending the DPR and the LPR and removing the threats to its own security.

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Involving minors in Ukrainian nationalist formations

As the nationalist formations of Ukraine continue to be driven out of Donbass, new facts have come to light which confirm the involvement of children in these hate-crazed units. We have repeatedly stated that right-wing radical organisations operating under the patronage of the Kiev regime have systematically spread extremism among minors in order to embed the ideas of militant nationalism in Ukrainian society.

Neo-Nazis from Azov began large-scale recruitment of children back in 2015 when, upon the initiative of the National Corps leader Andrey Biletsky, they set up the Youth Corps’ “children’s camps.” In 2015, they took in children aged 9 to 18 and since 2016, 7 to 18.

A military youth wing called National Squads was formed at the National Corps in 2018. Hundreds of young people over the age of 14 joined it. The instructors from Azov taught them how to fight the “enemies of Ukraine,” including with firearms.

The specialised Youth Corps’ needs are covered by the Ukrainian state budget. Does that sound familiar? In 2019, organisations associated with the National Corps received $17,000 to hold events for children and youth. We see it. And we know what kind of values people with Azov insignia on their sleeves and nationalist and neo-Nazi symbols are teaching ​​young people. There are training camps for teenagers such as Azovets, Bukovynets, and Dnepryanin in different parts of the country. Teenagers were lured through social media and messengers.

Eyewitnesses are saying that neo-Nazis from Azov do not limit themselves to “children’s camps” and have expanded their group by bringing aboard minor orphans which fact is corroborated by the situation at the Piligrim orphanage in Mariupol. Azov worked closely with the children from this orphanage training them in combat, including sharp shooting, during eight years beginning in 2014. Reportedly, in 2014, children from Piligrim helped the Ukrainian army dig trenches outside Mariupol and build checkpoints later in October. Residents of Mariupol say that during the events of February-April 2022, the Respublika Piligrim Children’s Rehabilitation Centre was the headquarters of the territorial defence, where militants from Azov and other radical groups were based. There’s video evidence showing that teenagers from Piligrim took part in the hostilities on the side of the neo-Nazis, and also set fire to civilian homes.

“The neo-Nazi Ukrainian group Azov-operated Piligrim orphanage in Mariupol is a prototype of Ukraine that the Nazis wanted to build and what it would inevitably become if it were not for the special operation by the Russian Armed Forces,” Alexey Selivanov, former (until 2014) Advisor to the Defence Minister of Ukraine and Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of the Interior Ministry for the Zaporozhye Region, said. This is what someone who served in the Armed Forces of Ukraine had to say.

According to Selivanov, Piligrim can stand in for all of Ukraine, and the orphanage, in which children were converted into militants, is a clear confirmation of the fact that something drastic had to be done with this Ukrainian project.

These facts clearly show that Ukraine violated its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning the involvement of children in armed conflicts. When ratifying this international treaty in 2005, Ukraine declared that the minimum age for voluntary (on a contract basis) enlistment into national armed forces was 19.

We call upon relevant international organisations, such as the UN and the OSCE, as well as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, to pay special attention to Kiev’s involvement of children in criminal neo-Nazi organisations and spreading of radical ideas among minors.

There is no need to pretend that in a surge of patriotism these children went to the barricades in February 2022. They have been trained to make war for many years. And the militants of the nationalist battalions are the ones who did it.

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Statement by Western leaders accusing Russia of cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure

The West continues its attempts to portray Russia as a cyber-aggressor. We perceive the recent statements, made on May 10, 2022, by foreign policy agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies in precisely this context. These statements accuse Russia of launching cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure in February 2022. Predictably, they did not provide any evidence. As usual, they follow their favourite “highly likely” logic.

Western capitals think of themselves as supreme rulers of cyberspace. They rubberstamp accusations that have nothing to do with reality. They probably believe that they will also get away with this anti-Russia provocation. They think all states will perceive this propaganda as a sufficient reason for bringing to account culprits arbitrarily appointed by the US administration. After depleting the potential of sanctions, they are now resorting to other ploys from their rich cinematographic legacy, including promises to pay handsomely anyone who will testify in favour of Washington’s allegations.

Obviously, the policy of intimidation and deception is called on to camouflage the futile US attempts to impose its own perception of an international political order, to conceal its own flaws regarding protection of personal data, the right to privacy and inability to maintain constructive cooperation between specialised agencies to thwart illegal activities in the IT sphere.  Consequently, they want to continue their long-term digital dictate against the public at home and in other countries and to plunder their intellectual resources with the help of companies and agencies affiliated with security services.

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EU allegations of Russia’s “responsibility” for global food insecurity

The EU, the United States and their supporters have unleashed a campaign accusing Russia of provoking a global food crisis. The main thesis is that Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, including the “blocking” of the Ukrainian grain exports via Black Sea ports, are leading to food shortages and hunger in the world’s poorest countries. We know how the “collective West” is “helping” these countries. They are considering ways to turn ordinary countries into poorest states (by transporting grain to their own countries), and they never or hardly ever think about the poorest countries.

As usual, Brussels is deceiving the international community by openly distorting the reasons for the current situation. The EU is openly trying to use the allegation of Russia’s “responsibility” for the deteriorating global food security to convince other countries to support the anti-Russia policies of the West. They simply tell the countries that have a neutral and balanced position that there is a dire shortage of food in their region and that this situation can be remedied if these countries assume the anti-Russia position. They ask them to sign certain documents, vote the “right way” or make a required statement, saying that this will ensure food supplies. It’s a staple of the genre, not a new invention. At the same time, Brussels is using open blackmail, offering food for loyalty.  It has not yet stooped to heavy-handed interference, but this approach cannot be ruled out in the ideological and political spheres. Countries are being forced to make a choice, and this is being done with media assistance.

Meanwhile, the EU has done nothing to prevent the “Ukrainian crisis” and continues to send weapons to Kiev, which makes it responsible for tensions on the global food market. There are numerous indications of this.

The EU has openly declared a total trade and economic war on Russia. We know that Washington actually pressured the EU into doing this, which the United States has openly admitted and trumpeted. The EU politicians who are advocating and shouting about new sanctions are comfortable with the fact that Russia is a global leader in the supply of basic agricultural products, which have no or very few alternatives, such as grain, barley, sunflower seeds and feed crops, as well as mineral fertilisers, a major share of which are exported to the low-income countries that are facing food shortages. The EU politicians do not care about this, because nobody has ever called them to account.

The disruption of trade, logistics and financial chains and, consequently, a sharp rise in food prices throughout the world are a direct result of the irresponsible adoption of even more anti-Russia restrictions and threats of increased sanctions pressure on Russia. Russia’s bank settlements and flights to and from EU countries have been blocked. Isn’t this a direct cause of the situation on the food market? Only those who live in a vacuum can think so. Brussels has adopted unprecedented restrictions on Russian fertiliser exports and individual sanctions on major Russian fertiliser producers and exporters. The declared goal of this policy is to undermine Russia’s economy, including agriculture, which moved into top gear over the past years. Blinded by their hatred for Russia, nobody stopped to think about the consequences for the countries which traditionally depend on our supplies. When they became aware of what happened, they attempted to shift the blame on Russia. It’s crossing the line beyond good and evil.

Cynically claiming to be concerned about humanitarian matters, Brussels is rushing to offer its help. They simply love to create problem and then break their brains over them. The question is who should tackle the current problem. The so-called “solidarity lanes” plan to improve EU-Ukraine connectivity for grain export, which the European Commission presented the other day, is nothing other than requisitioning. Actually, Brussels has declared a full-scale mobilisation campaign to remove the available Ukrainian grain to the EU. When Ukraine, prompted by the West, shouted about the Holodomor, when grain was taken from producers in a bad harvest year, and presented it as the genocide of Ukrainians, the West applauded and looked for other pretexts to accuse Russia of unimaginable sins. What will it do now? It has announced that “hungry times” are coming. Why are they trying to remove the last remaining grain stocks from Ukraine? This is impossible, but it’s a fact. This is requisitioning.

The EU plan provides for creating alternative lanes to export Ukrainian agricultural produce to the EU and other countries, because the sea route has been blocked through Kiev’s fault. The EU will ease the formalities, expedite the sending of additional freight rolling stock, vessels and lorries to the Ukrainian border for transporting grain, transfer mobile grain loaders, make rail slots available for these exports, and suspend customs duties on Ukrainian exports for a year. Is this a licence to take advantage of Ukraine’s situation? To grab what you can lay your hands on? That’s rich!

Brussels views the large-scale transportation of grain from Ukraine as part of its “fundamental geostrategic goal.” The EU intends to achieve it even though international experts believe that Ukraine’s grain harvest will be much smaller this year. They expect problems in Ukraine, and yet they are taking away its last grain stocks. To present this as a noble act, Brussels has announced that it is guided above all by a desire to protect the world from Russia, which allegedly wants to take advantage of the global insecurity problem it presumably created in the first place, and to “steal” Ukraine’s share on the global market, so as to gain geopolitical weight in its confrontation with the West by supplying food to the most vulnerable poor countries. This is inhuman. We would like to tell our EU neighbours that this is not our but their methods.

The soaring prices of grain, feed crops and fertilisers, not to mention energy, and the unprofitability of farming and fishing businesses were a major concern for the EU member states long before the current crisis. Take a look at your own statements, reports and television shows. In late March 2022, a regular EU summit adopted a decision on the need to ensure food affordability in the member states. Several weeks later, the European Commission presented a detailed initiative on the urgent transportation of 20 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain, which can seriously undermine the food security of Ukraine. However, Brussels, which is being guided by “the worse for Ukraine, the better for the West” principle, is not concerned about that.

We urge the international community not to rise to Western provocations, to accept reality and to rely on facts, since the West is willing to use the global food security problems, which it itself is actively creating and which did not appear yesterday, to attain its time-serving political interests. This is a historical fact. The “collective West” is accusing us because it is “highly likely” that we did it because we “always did it.” They say that we “always” did it, but they are not providing examples, let alone any proof. The West is plundering Ukraine now, just as the colonial West plundered other countries in the past, taking whatever it needed. It is doing exactly the same now.

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Biological warfare research in Ukraine

The Russian Federation has obtained materials indicating that biological laboratories in Ukraine operating with support from the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and its affiliated companies – Black and Veatch and CH2M Hill – engaged in biological warfare research in violation of Articles I and IV of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC).

The laboratories conducted research into dangerous and highly dangerous pathogens in the interests of the Pentagon’s National Centre for Medical Intelligence, with the BSL-3 Central Reference Laboratory based at Ukraine’s Mechnikov Anti-Plague Research Institute in Odessa playing the key role in these programmes.

The following research centres were also actively involved in their implementation:

– State Scientific and Research Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics and Veterinary and Sanitary Expertise,  Institute of Veterinary Medicine of the Academy of Agrarian Sciences, and the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Station of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Kiev;

– Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, State Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine, and Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Lvov;

– State Regional Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine in Dnepr;

– Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Kherson;

– Sanitary and Epidemiological Station Laboratory in Ternopol;

– Transcarpathian Regional Laboratory Centre of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Uzhgorod;

– Regional Laboratory Centre of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Vinnitsa;

– National Scientific Centre Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine in Kharkov.

Thirty Ukrainian laboratories in 14 cities were involved in full-scale biological warfare research in Ukraine. The registration card of the relevant programme was signed by Deputy State Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Viktor Polishchuk.  The legal framework was provided by the Agreement between the Department of Defenсe of the United States of America and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine Concerning Cooperation in the Area of Prevention of Proliferation of Technology, Pathogens and Expertise That Could be Used in the Development of Biological Weapons.   The RC determined the commissioner of the work – the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency – and a list of biological facilities.

The employees working with dangerous pathogens in Ukraine were US citizens who had diplomatic immunity. The group included biological weapons experts; they established contacts with Ukrainians, who were previously involved in Soviet biological warfare programmes. For example, Project UP-8 studying the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and Hantaviruses is evidence that all serious high-hazard research was directly supervised by US specialists.

The documents obtained allow us to state that the Ukrainian biological laboratories (including divisions of the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry) engaged in activities aimed at enhancing the pathogenic properties of agents inducing plague, anthrax, tularaemia, cholera, and other deadly diseases, using synthetic biology methods.

On February 24, 2022, the Ukrainian Health Ministry publicly issued instructions to immediately dispose of the reserves of dangerous and especially dangerous pathogens stored at biological facilities, which proves that the Kiev regime did try to sweep any traces of these operations under the carpet. The review of the disposal statements confirmed that these facilities worked with the plague, anthrax, leptospirosis, and brucellosis agents. In the Lvov laboratory alone, they destroyed 232 containers of leptospirosis agents, 30 of tularemia, 10 of brucellosis, and 5 containing plague pathogens, and in total, over 320 containers. This inventory, coupled with the excessive quantity of pathogens, demonstrates that we are dealing here with biological weapons programmes carried out in violation of Article 1 of the BWC.

We also obtained evidence that two biological laboratories in Mariupol were working with the Pentagon. The preliminary review of the remaining documents showed that Mariupol served as a regional hub for collecting and classifying cholera agents. The selected strains were then transferred to the Public Health Centre in Kiev, which then forwarded these biological samples to the United States. Carried out since 2014, this activity is evidenced by statements confirming the transfer of the strains. Why did it start in 2014? The reason lies in the anti-constitutional coup. It upended Ukraine’s independence in making decisions, and overseeing and analysing activities of this kind. People from the United States, Canada and other NATO countries flocked to Ukraine to take charge of the main domestic, foreign policy and economic activity and everything related to defence, military and strategic affairs, etc.

A statement was discovered in a sanitary and epidemiological laboratory. Dated February 25, 2022, it provides for the disposal of a collection of pathogenic microorganisms, demonstrating that the facility worked with cholera, tularemia, and anthrax agents.

In the rush to dispose of the inventory, part of it remained in this veterinary laboratory. The fact that it contained agents that are not typically found in livestock, such as typhoid, paratyphoid, and gas gangrene, is quite perplexing. This could mean that this laboratory, too, took part in the biological weapons programme.

We have every reason to assert that the DTRA focused its operations in Ukraine on collecting strains of dangerous microorganisms and exporting them to the United States, as well as studying naturally occurring agents in this region, which can be transmitted to people, with the aim of potentially using them in biological weapons. In 2020, two mobile laboratories arrived in Donbass in order to collect biological samples from the local population, primarily in the country’s eastern regions, and study them. Black and Veatch acted as DTRA’s contractor in this project.

It was with DTRA’s support that the laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa in Ukraine took part in the UP-4 project before 2020 to study the transmission of especially dangerous infections (highly pathogenic influenza A H5N1, which has a mortality rate of over 50 percent for humans, as well as the Newcastle Disease, which affects poultry) by wild birds migrating between Ukraine, Russia and other Eastern European countries.

In addition, the documents we obtained show that the United States planned to work on bird, bat and reptile pathogens in Ukraine this year, followed by a study of whether they could transmit the African swine fever and anthrax (P-781, UP-2, UP-9, UP-10 projects). This was a system-wide research effort carried out since at least 2009 and controlled directly by US specialists as part of projects P-382, P-444 and P-568. DTRA’s office head at the US embassy in Kiev was among those overseeing this activity.

One of the goals of the UP-2 project consisted of locating places where animal carcasses had been buried and collecting soil samples from burial sites of cattle infected with anthrax. The epidemiological situation in Ukraine as far as anthrax was concerned was quite positive, which begs the question: What was the Pentagon actually looking for? I would like to remind all geography buffs out there in NATO (we saw incredible people who thought that the Baltic and the Black seas form one big lake) that the United States does not share a border with Ukraine. Even if they want to find one, it is still not there. Attempts by the Pentagon to present this as a national security concern are groundless and do not hold water. But what was the Pentagon doing in the Ukrainian biological laboratories in the first place? The fact that the US military biologists were so keen to study disease-transmitting insects near cattle burial sites was not a coincidence, since during the 2016 anthrax outbreak in Russia there were cases where flies, including horseflies, transmitted the disease.

In addition, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation discovered three drones, equipped with 30-litre containers and sprays, in the Kherson Region on March 9, 2022. In late April 2022, they discovered 10 more devices of this kind near Kakhovka, after Russia released documents demonstrating Ukraine’s attempts to obtain drones equipped with sprays from the maker of the Bayraktars.

More than 4,000 people took part in studies under project UP-8. According to the Bulgarian media, some 20 Ukrainian soldiers died and 200 were hospitalised in the Kharkov laboratory alone during the experiments. The United States cannot carry out this activity on its own territory, so its military carry it out abroad. Where? Where they can, where there are no laws, where there is nobody to implement or enforce the law. This happened to be Ukraine.

It is an established fact that potentially dangerous biological agents were tested on the most vulnerable social group – patients at Kharkov’s regional psychiatric hospital No. 3. We have evidence describing in detail the Pentagon’s inhuman experiments with Ukrainian citizens at psychiatric hospital No. 1 (Strelechye, Kharkov Region).

The research results on the spread of dangerous deadly diseases like cholera, smallpox, anthrax, and botulinum toxins, were sent to military biological centres in the United States. These include the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Naval Medical Research Centre, as well as US Army Biological Warfare Laboratories at Fort Detrick, which used to be the key facilities in the US biological weapons programme. The US virologists focused on analysing the obtained samples to identify gene mutations in the agents and assess their virulence, pathogenic power and resistance to treatment.

Incidentally, about 2,000 blood serum samples taken from Ukrainian citizens of predominantly Slavic ethnic background have been sent to the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. More than 140 containers with bat ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks have been transferred to Germany.

The programmes were financed either directly under DTRA contracts with private American companies (mainly СН2М Hill) as part of the Defence Department’s project to counter especially dangerous pathogens in Ukraine until 2024, or through the Science and Technology Centre in Ukraine. Overall, more than $1.5 billion has been allocated for the implementation of bioprojects over the past 10 years. In particular, the Rosemont Seneca investment fund with financial resources of at least $2.4 billion has been involved in financing this activity. At the same time, it has been found to be closely linked with the main Pentagon contractors, including Metabiota, which, along with Black and Veatch, is the main equipment supplier for Pentagon’s biolabs across the world.

According to reports, DTRA informed the Pentagon in early March that the facilities in Ukraine used by US biological research programmes were a growing danger for European countries due to the hostilities on Ukrainian territory.

Worse still, the experiments with dangerous and highly dangerous pathogens carried out in Ukraine in the interests of the Pentagon had long been attracting attention from Ukrainian nationalist groups. In case of a military defeat, the nationalists could use those materials to implement the so-called scorched earth tactic, which was an additional threat.

Furthermore, during the special military operation, Russia obtained materials that evidenced the deliberate use, in 2020, of a multidrug-resistant tuberculosis pathogen to infect the population, including minors, in the Slavyanoserbsky District of the LPR by distributing flyers that looked like counterfeit banknotes. According to the Lugansk Republican Sanitary and Epidemiological Station report, “… the banknotes have most likely been infected artificially because the sample contains extremely dangerous strains in a concentration that can ensure infection and the development of the tuberculosis process.” The chief physician of the Lugansk Republican TB Prevention Centre has confirmed in a letter that “there are all signs of deliberate, man-made contamination of flyers with highly pathogenic biomaterial.” Do you know what they are testing the Ukrainians’ samples for in the EU? Tuberculosis. Why? Because they know what NATO agencies have been doing there.

DTRA has proposed to the Pentagon chiefs to take additional measures to monitor the epidemiological situation in Ukraine and neighbouring European countries. In case of any infection outbreaks, the recommendation is to immediately accuse the Russian Armed Forces of “attacking research and medical institutions,” or blame “Russian sabotage groups.” They have already established the necessary communication channels with the Pentagon’s partners in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

According to available information, DTRA demanded that the Ukrainian ministries of defence and health ensure the guaranteed destruction of all remaining materials from the bio-research projects in Ukraine. The people who are now in the EU countries, many of them suffering from tuberculosis, are not victims of airstrikes on Ukrainian research centres used by the Pentagon. They weren’t subjected to any of that. They are just carriers. Because the United States has been carrying out that activity on the territory of the country where they lived. DTRA was afraid the international community would interpret the information about the results of their experiments as a violation of the BTWC by the United States. Most of the documents have been removed from the labs in Kiev, Odessa and Kharkov to the Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene and American diplomatic institutions in Lvov.

The materials obtained by the Russian Federation suggest an unambiguous conclusion that private American companies affiliated with the Pentagon had been supporting the development of bioweapons in labs on the territory of Ukraine in the immediate vicinity of Russia. The urgent destruction of especially dangerous pathogens was required to prevent the discovery of violations of Articles 1 and 4 of the BTWC. This has confirmed the validity of Russia’s repeated claims, in the context of the implementation of the BTWC, about the biological warfare activities the United States and its allies have been conducting in post-Soviet countries.

We are preparing to invoke the mechanisms of Articles 5 and 6 of the BTWC, according to which the states parties must consult one another and cooperate in solving any problems that may arise in relation to the purpose of the Convention or the implementation of its provisions, as well as cooperate in any investigation of possible violations of BTWC obligations.

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Closing Canada’s CBC bureau in Moscow 

With deep regret we continue to note blatant attacks on Russian media in the countries of the “collective West.” They call themselves civilised, developed democracies. Among recent examples is Canada’s ban on the Russian television channels RT and RT France. We said that we would respond. The response would be symmetrical, similar, proportional, it does not matter. But it would be adequate.

We have repeatedly warned that such unilateral restrictive measures that defy the principles of freedom of speech and hinder the work of the Russian media will not be left unanswered. Everybody must realise that our response is inevitable and will happen following any such incident.

In this regard, a decision has been made to respond to Canada’s actions, namely, to close the Moscow bureau of CBC, the Canadian state television of radio broadcasting corporation, including cancelling the accreditations and Russian visas of its journalists.

Unfortunately, it is blatantly clear that the official Ottawa is pursuing an openly Russophobic course. It is understandable. Who had been steering the country’s foreign policy for many years? A person with roots going back to mid-20th century collaborationism. It is clear why they turn a blind eye to neo-Nazism in Ukraine: they were the ones who encouraged it. In addition to direct political, military and financial support of the Kiev regime, the attacks on dissenting views and media censorship have been part of their Russophobic course. Any alternate point of view is always dubbed the Kremlin’s disinformation.

Ottawa’s anti-Russia policy is reflected in the most negative way in the actions of Canada’s state television and radio. In fact, CBC has transformed into the voice of propaganda that distributes fake news and questionable information regarding Russia, consigning journalist ethnics and even elementary rules of decorum to oblivion. We would have put up with that. We did for many years; we ignored or disavowed fake information, disclosed and refuted it. But there have been actual restrictions against Russian media. So, we respond in kind.

Once again, we emphasise that Moscow’s retaliation measures towards the hostile actions of the Trudeau’s government are not aimed against the people of Canada, who our country traditionally respects. The problem is with Canada’s ruling elite and the media that serve it. They are deliberately destroying Russia-Canada relations to the detriment of its own national interests.

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Situation at the JCPOA reactivation talks

Despite a certain lull at the talks in Vienna, the countries, parties to the nuclear deal, as well as US representatives, continue to exert vigorous efforts, while searching for the most effective and mutually acceptable way of resuming the full-fledged implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under its initial parameters. All the concerned parties realise that there is no alternative to the nuclear deal.

The parties to the negotiating process continue to maintain their contacts. Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service and Coordinator of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, visited Tehran last week. European and Iranian colleagues positively assess the meetings that took place during this visit, and note incipient progress. This instils a certain hope that we have taken one more step towards our main goal, namely ensuring the full-fledged reactivation of the JCPOA.

In turn, we intend to continue doing everything possible to ensure the positive outcome of the talks in Vienna, which require wholehearted efforts from all the participants, including Iran, the United States and European countries. This is our firm and objective position. We are urging all healthy forces to use their energy to preserve the JCPOA and restore the calibrated balance of interests on which it hinges.

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The situation in the Republic of Moldova

We have noted a number of events in Moldova that are a cause for concern.

On May 11, 2022, Moldova’s TV-8 television channel broadcast a Skype interview with Leonid Volkov, a member of the Russian opposition. He is a person of interest in criminal cases that have been opened in Russia, and arrest warrants have been issued for him in CIS member states under the Agreement on Interstate Search for People of December 10, 2010, of which the Republic of Moldova is a party. At the same time, the country stipulates tough broadcasting restrictions for Russian media outlets, claiming “unbalanced” information content provision. Has Moldova banned CNN or BBC broadcasts? Has it banned the websites of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Financial Times? Or do they provide completely balanced information content?

On May 13, 2022, the Moldova Post said it was temporarily suspending the delivery of all letters and parcels to the Russian Federation, citing “technical reasons.” Over 220,000 Russian citizens now live in Moldova, and Moldovan diaspora in Russia has more than 200,000 members. The Moldova Post’s decision infringes upon the right of Russian and Moldovan residents to maintain business, cultural, humanitarian and personal contacts.

The above-mentioned actions of official Chisinau, as well as some of its other actions and statements, make one doubt that the country’s leadership is really committed to the Republic’s neutral status, to honouring the rights and interests of its residents, as well as to maintaining pragmatic and mutually beneficial partnership with Russia.  I know that Chisinau reacts sensitively to our statements, but we are no less sensitive to their actions.

Although the Moldovan authorities did not announce this, various national agencies are applying Western anti-Russian sanctions in the banking sphere and during the re-export of Russian goods. With the connivance of the Moldovan authorities, protesters have been staging daily anti-Russia rallies near the Russian Embassy in Chisinau for almost 60 days, and these rallies hamper the normal work of the diplomatic mission. A recent outrageous ban on using St George ribbons in the Republic caused a public outcry in Russia and Moldova.

We are once again urging the Moldovan party to refrain from actions that are detrimental to relations with Russia and not to follow in the wake of forces striving to involve the Republic of Moldova in the anti-Russia campaign. This negatively affects the citizens of our countries, in particular.

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Russia’s stance on Cyprus settlement

Once again, we are seeing certain media outlets spreading rumours that Russia is changing its principled stance on the Cyprus settlement. These provocative rumours have nothing to do with reality and pursue just one goal: to discredit our country and its foreign policy.

We have never questioned the principles of the peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue. We continue to consistently support a solution in line with international law and UN Security Council resolutions, which provide for creating a bicommunal bizonal federation with common international identity, sovereignty and citizenship.

Once again, our approach to the situation in Cyprus is widely known and remains unchanged concerning all aspects, including the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFYCIP), which plays an exceptionally important stabilising role in the current environment of uncertainty. We believe it is important to continue the operation of UNFYCIP as it was important to appoint a UN Secretary-General Special Representative in charge of the settlement that reports to the UN Security Council.

I would like to note for Cypriot media that we are always ready to comment on any leaks they may get to prevent misinformation on their pages.

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Growing terrorist activity in Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries

We are concerned about significantly intensified extremist activity in Burkina Faso and increasingly frequent cases of the extremists crossing over to the neighbouring countries.

In particular, on May 14‒16, 2022, a series of attacks on gendarmerie posts and self-defence groups, as well as attacks on a column of civilians near the border with Benin took place in the northern and eastern regions of Burkina Faso. The attacks resulted in more than 40 victims, including among civilians.

Earlier, in the early hours of May 11, 2011, as a result of a large-scale attack from the northern territory of Burkina Faso targeting an advance outpost of the Togolese armed forces, eight members of the military were killed and 13 sustained injuries of different severity levels. This was the first terrorist attack with casualties in the history of the state.

We strongly condemn these crimes and extend our condolences to the loved ones of those killed and wish speedy recovery to the injured.

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Desecration of Soviet military graves in Gdansk

We were outraged by an act of vandalism committed on May 11, 2022, in Gdansk, where perpetrators tore out and damaged 20 stars on the memorials to Soviet liberators on the graves of the Red Army soldiers killed while liberating the city.

The nature of this heinous act is absolutely clear: insulting the memory of the dead is now an integral part of Polish political provocateurs’ arsenal. This latest incident is not a random occasion but part of a deliberate campaign pursued by official Warsaw to disparage everything that is sacred for the people of Russia and those who fought against the brown plague.

Sadly, regular reports on criminal and immoral acts against the Soviet military legacy in Poland have long become ordinary news indicating that Polish officials have unleashed a Russophobic campaign. Recently, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki publicly confessed to his hatred of everything Russian thus revealing the nature of Warsaw’s policy against our country. Or is it just his personal opinion?

We can confidently say that Warsaw, neglecting all moral and international legal norms, has embarked on a course of state-supported vandalism against the memory of Soviet soldiers who gave their lives to save Poland from extermination by Nazis.

We want to remind any frenzied Russophobes that all their barbaric acts and dirty pillaging will not destroy the truth about the Victory. We will not allow it.

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Desecrating a memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died when crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge (Switzerland)

On May 15, 2022, unidentified individuals desecrated the memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died while crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge in Switzerland. The memorial cross and inscription were splashed with paint. What did Suvorov do to offend them?

We are deeply outraged by this horrendous act of vandalism. The incident demonstrates the level of culture in Switzerland. It has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with you and those who stand behind this kind of campaigns, condone them and fail to search for or covers for the perpetrators.

We sent a protest note to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation demanding that it takes urgent measures to rectify the damage caused, find and prosecute the guilty and ensure proper security of the memorial.

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13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022

On May 19‒21, 2022, the 13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022 will take place in Kazan. The event is held under the aegis of the Russia – Islamic World Strategic Vision Group, chaired by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov.

KazanSummit is a well-established platform for presenting the Russian Federation’s economic opportunities and investment potential to its partners from Islamic countries. It serves as a modern dialogue platform for building new connections between representatives of international organisations, financial institutions and government bodies, embassies, and the senior managers of major Russian and foreign companies. Several events are scheduled on the sidelines of this year’s summit, including Russia Halal Expo 2022, the Machine Engineering Cluster Forum, World Halal Day and festivities marking the 1,100th anniversary of Volga Bulgaria’s adoption of Islam.

Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East Mikhail Bodganov and Ambassador-at-Large Konstantin Shuvalov will take part on behalf of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The 6th OIC Young Diplomats’ Forum (hereinafter the “forum”) will also take place during the summit, to be attended by representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Council of Young Diplomats, as well as invited guests and experts.

The forum will focus on issues of indivisible security, prospects for cooperation with OIC countries, countering new challenges and threats, and the role of young diplomats from the Islamic world in forming a major foreign political agenda. The International Association of Young Diplomats will hold its first induction ceremony.

The forum has been held since 2015, with more than 160 representatives of the OIC foreign ministries and agencies attending over the years. The forum is organised by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Council of Young Diplomats, the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Academy of Youth Diplomacy public organisation.

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2nd Kostomarov Forum

One of our country’s priorities on the foreign humanitarian track is supporting and promoting the Russian language abroad. The Kostomarov Forum, organised by the Alexander Pushkin State Institute of the Russian Language, significantly contributes to developing international cooperation in this area.

This year, the forum will be held on May 24‒25 and will focus on the role of the Russian language and its functioning in the new conditions created by the information revolution and technological breakthrough of recent decades.

The forum programme includes a presentation of the Pushkin Institute’s research paper, 2021 Russian Language World Index, a panel discussion on preparations for the Year of the Russian Language as a Language of Interethnic Communication Across the CIS, to be held in 2023. The Cyril and Methodius Readings research and practice conference will comprise 30 sessions on sharing experience in linguistics, literature studies, teaching Russian as a foreign language, and social sciences and humanities. A roundtable meeting on the history and modern issues concerning the Cyrillic alphabet will be held. The detailed programme is available on the forum’s website.

Russian and foreign scholars, teachers, literature researchers and journalists, as well as representatives of government bodies, professional and public associations and business organisations are expected to attend.

The forum’s working language is Russian. The event will be held in the hybrid format. Sessions will also be streamed online on its website.

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Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek

On May 26, Bishkek will host the Eurasian Economic Forum. Its topic will be ‘Eurasian economic integration at the time of global change. New investment opportunities.’

We expect the forum to serve as a networking platform where businesses, government agencies, academia and experts can discuss the key matters on the development agenda of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), promoting entrepreneurship across its space and green energy, as well as strengthening region-to-region ties and cooperation.

The forum’s main programme includes six panel discussions covering the strategic prospects for Eurasian integration, ensuring economic stability for EAEU member states, manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and transport infrastructure, the digital agenda, as well as new areas of cooperation for the EAEU.

You can register for the forum and explore its programme on its website. You can also follow its online stream.

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Answers to media questions:

Question: Russia withdrew from the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, citing the lack of dialogue. What is your assessment of the diplomatic contacts in this region?

Maria Zakharova: Let me draw your attention to the statement that we made yesterday announcing Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

The situation within the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) has been deteriorating. NATO and EU countries within CBSS rejected equal dialogue and the principles that lie at the very foundation of this regional structure in the Baltic, consistently striving to turn it into a tool of their anti-Russia policy. Illegal and discriminatory decisions have been made in violation of the consensus rule. Russia has been suspended from further participation in the Council’s activities and projects, and Belarus, which has an observer status within the Council, was also suspended.

The CBSS has been riddled with contradictions for a long time now, and we pointed out many of them. You can find this in our briefings, statements and comments. Our former partners sought to politicise the Council’s activity by promoting their own ideology-driven agenda. Russia, in turn, focused on practical cooperation, prioritising stable socioeconomic development for the Baltic region. Unfortunately, the destructive logic of the other side prevailed.

The Western countries – to call them what they are – monopolised the Council for the sake of their momentary interests and they want to make it work against Russia’s interests. They project extra-regional issues onto the Baltic, pressure those who are interested in continuing full and unabridged cooperation, threatening to undermine everything that has been achieved over the past years, as well as regional stability. On May 25, 2022, Kristiansand, Norway, is expected to host the CBSS Ministerial Session without Russia. They de facto stole our contribution to the CBSS budget and refuse to return it, citing sanctions.

We don’t see any prospects for putting the Council back on track. Instead, it is sinking deeper and deeper into Russophobia and lies. We believe staying in the CBSS would be unreasonable and counterproductive for our country. Russia will not participate in turning this organisation into yet another platform for subversion and Western self-admiration.

In response to these hostile acts, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a message to CBSS ministers, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as well as the Council’s Secretariat in Stockholm to notify them of Russia’s withdrawal from this organisation. At the same time, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation took the decision to leave the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference.

Ending Russia’s CBSS membership will not affect its regional presence. Attempts to expel our country from the Baltic are doomed to failure. We will continue working with responsible partners and hold events on the key issues on the development agenda of the Baltic region that we all share, as well as to defend and promote the interests of our compatriots.

The current situation within the CBSS rests on the conscience of those who undermined the very foundations of this organisation.

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Question: The United States, the EU and UN have stated they are willing to assist in the removal of grain from Ukraine. Have they discussed these initiatives with Russia?

Maria Zakharova: The EU member states were seriously concerned over the rapid rise in the prices of grain, fodder and fertilisers, let alone energy prices, even before the current crisis, as well as the unprofitability of private farming and fishing. All of this was put in black and white. The EU summit held in late March passed the decision on the need to guarantee, under the existing circumstances, the affordability of food in the EU member countries.  A few weeks later, the European Commission came up with a detailed initiative to this effect (I spoke about it earlier today).

We urge the international community not to succumb to provocations. I have no information confirming that the initiatives I have mentioned were in any manner discussed with Russia.

Question: What can you say about the murder of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh?

Maria Zakharova: This tragedy has stirred up the entire Arab world. Few people remain indifferent to it. The Palestinian journalist was killed in the line of duty as she was selflessly covering an Israeli raid on the refugee camp in Jenin on the West Bank.

Yesterday, while meeting in Moscow with Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), member of the Fatah Central Committee and Head of the General Authority for Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, Sergey Lavrov expressed condolences on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and voiced his support of the Palestinian demand to hold an unbiased investigation into her death.

We should focus separately on the outrage that occurred during her funeral, when the military assaulted the people carrying the body and accompanying the funeral procession. I can tell you honestly that I have never seen anything like that.

As for a response to what was going on at the funeral from related international institutions… Were they there?

I would like to note that the lack of progress in the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the stalemate in the negotiating process repeatedly explode into fierce standoffs that leave in their wake numerous victims among peaceful civilians, including women and children. These tragedies could be avoided by achieving mutually acceptable compromises regarding the final status via a direct dialogue based on the generally recognised international legal framework of Middle East settlement that provides for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The Russian leaders have repeatedly spoken about this.

Question: How will the Russian Foreign Ministry respond to the Lithuanian Foreign Minister’s call for a regime change in Russia? 

Maria Zakharova: This is an attempt to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs and destroy what remains of our bilateral relations. He is trying to curry favour with his overseas masters.

Mr Landsbergis, who lives in a state that tramples underfoot the basic human rights and freedoms, has clearly forgotten that the Russian President is elected by the people. This has nothing to do with his personal views or his country’s position. But the pathological hatred that he feels for Russia is blurring his vision and depriving him of the last of his reason. Consequently, he can’t see the obvious. This is Russophobia, pure and simple.

Let us take a look at the people who make these statements. We always comment only on statements. But who makes them? They are made by people who have Russophobia in their blood. It is inherited as a specific “legacy” or, possibly, a genetic trait.

I have a lot to say about the Landsbergis regime. They are a dynasty. Let me give you just a few widely available facts. You will understand who I am talking about. All materials are from open sources. They are also available in the archives.

Suffice it to recall the great-grandfather of the current Lithuanian foreign minister, Vytautas Landsbergis-Zemkalnis, who in 1941was the utilities minister in the Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis Government that collaborated with the Nazis. Landsbergis was directly involved in the effort to create concentration camps all over Lithuania, including in Kaunas. He was the Landsbergises regime’s great-grandfather. It was there, at Fort Nine, that on October 29, 1941, the Nazis committed a heinous crime, executing 9,200 Jews, including 4,273 children.

Landsbergis-Zemkalnis also collaborated with Gestapo, the German secret police. After the war, he fled to Australia (which also does not notice neo-Nazism in today’s Ukraine, but has introduced all sorts of sanctions against Russian citizens) but was granted the right to return to the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1959 after he contributed information about other Nazi fugitives to the Soviet security bodies.

The foreign minister’s grandfather, Professor of the Vilnius Philharmonic Society Vytautas Landsbergis, continued the family tradition of conformism and change of political position. He actively collaborated with the USSR secret services: at their recommendation he was appointed the leader of the movement of the Lithuanian intellectuals in support of the perestroika (Sajudis). At his will, it later transformed into a separatist movement for the withdrawal of Lithuania from the USSR. So much for the family.

Vytautas Petkevicius, Landsbergis’s colleague at the Sajudis action group, wrote the following about this grey eminence of Lithuanian politics: “From the very first days, Landsbergis sought to turn the organisation into his pocket political party, with membership, party cards and membership fees.”  In all evidence, he was motivated by his knowledge of the best totalitarian practices. Later he started mixing up Sajudis money with his own. This was something in the liberal economy genre. Still later, contributions from compatriots became this gentleman’s personal money box, a source of payments to his allies, extras for participating in rallies, and funds for foreign travel. The same pocket ate up one million dollars collected by Canadians for Lithuanian orphans and a Norwegian donation to the Lithuanian people. But Landsbergis again managed to get himself out of the mess, declaring that he had created a fund bearing his name.

Autocracy pales in comparison with the Baltic democracies and their representatives. If you only knew how Baltic officials start cringing when you come to citing facts from their biographies or those of their relatives who have directly influenced their civil service promotion or career advancement.  Do you know how much they dislike it? But why are you so embarrassed about it? These are the facts of your biography, and you should be proud of them. We didn’t invent anything. We have just facts and quotes. And you have disproved nothing. So, take it and sign for it.

Question: Could you comment on the Ukrainian authorities’ recent decision to nationalise the property of Russia’s banks VEB and Sberbank?

Maria Zakharova: The Kiev regime stopped caring about the norms and principles of international law and the Ukrainian Constitution long ago, both with regard to its own citizens and those of other states. It is hardly surprising that, on May 12, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the executive order of President Vladimir Zelensky on the so-called enforced confiscation of Russian property in the country. In effect, this amounts to a brazen theft of assets owned by subsidiaries of Russia’s Sberbank and the State Development Corporation of Russia VEB.RF located in Ukraine. These assets are worth $860 million. This is a continuation of the same logic. However, no one in Kiev has any misgivings about the fact that the nationalised subsidiary banks also manage the money of Ukrainian citizens and legal entities, and that the Ukrainian authorities are simply robbing them.

This unconstitutional escapade of the Kiev regime replicates the worst actions of this kind by Washington, Brussels and London. Let them call it whatever they like. In reality, this is banal theft.

Question: The President of Finland described Vladimir Putin’s response to his country joining NATO as surprisingly calm. How does this calm Russian response tally with the Deputy Foreign Minister’s statement that Russia will not simply reconcile itself to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO?

Maria Zakharova: This was how the Finnish party perceived reality. You should ask them why they got this impression and whether it was correct. This is their perception. Let’s not confuse things. Everyone has a right to perceive things the way he or she sees fit.

The Russian party has set forth its position regarding the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. We have published our arguments and statements.

Every state has a sovereign right to choose specific options to ensure its national security. However, no one should ensure its own security at the expense of other countries’ security.

The Russian Federation will respond, and the content of its countermeasures, including military-technical elements, will largely depend on specific NATO membership terms for Finland and Sweden, including the deployment of foreign military bases and strike weapons systems on their territory. Our response will feature less words and more actual steps.

Question: An 18-year-old neo-Nazi who shot at a crowd in the United States sported the insignia of the Azov battalion. Can you comment on this coincidence?

Maria Zakharova: This is not the first mass shooting based on such hatred. It goes without saying that a comprehensive investigation should be conducted, including confirmation of the fact that the shooter used Nazi symbols, the so-called “black sun.”  We saw the video and think that an investigation must be held. This is important because a lot of unverified information is now circulating. Let’s be guided by the facts.

However, the very atmosphere of a deep public fissure in American society, as well as neglected problems of racism and institutionalised violence, due to free access to weapons, generate new manifestations of crime that are horrendous in terms of their scale and the ways they are carried out.

Regarding the link with Nazi symbols and Azov, which you have mentioned, this amounts to the flirtation of the US administration and its security services with neo-Nazis all over the world, with obvious consequences. They forget that all this will also spill over into the United States. In fact, this has already been happening for a long time. If they see nothing unusual in the fact that neo-Nazi ideas are spreading in “client” countries, then why should they be surprised that such symbols are actively used in various US states? The problem lies elsewhere. This isn’t just about symbols, it is about a revival. Many do not grasp the gist of this. We are talking about the actions that these symbols provoke. They explain a person’s planned future actions, and they are like a warning danger sign or a semaphore.  Many perceive this as an endorsement of such symbols and the related actions in the United States. This flirtation, which we have mentioned, leads to such tragic results.

Question: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy that “in the current environment, we are witnessing a serious shift in the mindsets of many of our comrades in all spheres of Russia’s life.” What effect is this having on the staff of the ministry’s central office, the embassies and consulates general?

Maria Zakharova: Like the rest of the country, we have rallied even closer together. Awareness of the historical shift underway in the world, which is life-changing for Russia, has given a fresh impetus to the resolve of our personnel to do their professional duties even more professionally and diligently.

Crises can catch you unawares, when you can’t think straight, feel at a loss and lose heart, or it can give you more inspiration. The latter is our case. We have rallied together and joined forces and efforts to attain the goals set for us by the nation.

The completely unprovoked outbreak of Russophobia in the West, the illegal trade and economic restrictions and the desire to demonise everything Russian have reinforced the belief of our staff and their families that truth, justice and moral probity are on the side of Russia and its people. They have found themselves at the forefront of the political stage, that’s for sure. You can’t imagine the situation they’re living in now and the actions that are being taken against them, from provocations and threats to open violence, psychological pressure and the creating of conditions that those behind these things believe will make their work impossible. We are proud of our people!

They have shown remarkable personality traits, such as comradeship and professionalism. I am referring both to our rank-and-file employees and to the senior officials in our foreign offices, as Sergey Lavrov pointed out.

We are reshuffling our personnel. Those who are returning home will be offered new positions. The relevant departments are regularly reporting on this to the minister.

As for foreign policy guidelines, we have redoubled efforts to strengthen our diplomacy on the eastern track and in Africa, Latin America and the CIS. The results will not be long in coming.

Question: Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the Department of Economic Cooperation at the ministry, noted recently that the EU’s decision to suspend Russian oil and gas imports would have an extremely negative effect on the European and global economies. What effect will this embargo have on Russia? What countermeasures can your ministry take?

Maria Zakharova: The physical volume of Russian hydrocarbon exports has decreased amid the foreign sanctions pressure. However, we believe that our export revenues will at least not decrease, due to rapidly rising oil and gas prices. The so-called embargo, which the EU is now considering, could send oil prices soaring.

Our obvious logical response in this event would be to reorient our oil and gas exports.  This is not an easy task. It will involve changing logistics routes, as well as legal and business matters. Russia is already reorienting its coal, oil and gas export infrastructure towards the East. It is worth noting that energy needs around the world, and especially in the Asia Pacific region, will be growing. We have no doubt about demand for Russian energy resources. The Foreign Ministry is helping Russian companies find counterparties, including in Asia Pacific.

Question: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has pointed out that joining NATO will not strengthen the security of Sweden and Finland. As for economic ties, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has made several other unfriendly moves towards Russia, notably regarding the nuclear power plant project with Rosatom. Maybe a picture of possible economic losses should be provided to Helsinki?

Maria Zakharova: Finland is aware of its economic losses because of the European sanctions and our response measures. We regard the decision taken by Finland’s Fennovoima to stop cooperating with Rosatom companies within the framework of the agreement on the construction of the Hanhikivi 1 Nuclear Power Plant as openly politicised. It is obvious that the decision to stop that commercial project was forced on the client by the Finnish authorities, who were pressured by their foreign partners. It is not a coincidence that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, which is responsible for energy matters, hastily welcomed that decision, which it described as “principled and consistent.” We know very well where such instructions are issued.

Rosatom State Corporation put forth its position on that matter in a May 2 statement. It expressed disappointment at the decision of Fennovoima Oy, which was taken without any detailed consultation with the project’s shareholders, the largest of which is RAOS Voima, which has a 34 percent stake in the project. Rosatom concluded that it reserved the right to defend its interests in accordance with applicable contracts and laws.

Question: Can you provide any information about those who left Azovstal? We know of discussions on a possible exchange on the Ukrainian side. Is there any discussion underway in Russia? We heard that Russian lawmakers are considering reinstating the death penalty for these people. What is the real situation?

Maria Zakharova: This is the competence of the Russian Ministry of Defence. At the same time, we would like to note that all the wounded and seriously injured people and anyone who needs medical assistance has been receiving it. They are in the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR. The rest have been placed in a pre-trial detention centre in Yelenovka, a suburb of Donetsk.

As for other issues, they will be resolved in due course. At this stage, the most important issue is the safe exit of everyone from Azovstal, and providing them with medical care, other necessary humanitarian assistance and accommodation.

As for other questions, we will certainly provide regular updates.

Question: Is an exchange being discussed?

Maria Zakharova: At this stage, the information I shared is all I have. I have nothing to add.

Our priority, the one we have been stating for three weeks, was their exit from Azovstal. We have persuaded people to come out every day, and made several announcements of humanitarian corridors for everyone including civilians, militants and military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Only now has the Kiev regime allowed them to do so. At the moment, our priorities are their safe exit and the provision of assistance to them. This problem needs to be solved, and it is being solved now.

Question: What happens to those civilians who came out through the humanitarian corridors, but were stopped by the “filtering” procedure? Where are they being held? Will they be entitled to due legal procedure? What are the conditions of where they are kept?

Maria Zakharova: You mean the people who came out – when? Today? Who are exiting now? Those who needed medical assistance are receiving it, or have received it by now. I can check where the rest went, because this matter is the competence of the Russian Ministry of Defence. I promise to find this information. I’ll check and get back to you.

Question: Why does Russia consider Ukraine’s NATO membership and its cooperation with NATO such a big threat, while, according to Sergey Lavrov, Finland’s NATO membership does not have such great importance for Russia?

Maria Zakharova: I do not remember Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying it the way you quoted. Let me find the exact quote.

We have long insisted that any expansion of NATO has a bearing on, and significance in the context of global international and, in particular, European security. This was the security guarantees we demanded, because we have seen the alliance expand and reach our borders. You certainly understand the difference between the situations in Finland and Ukraine.

I don’t know, maybe you have some additional information about growing numbers of nationalist battalions in Finland, for example? Maybe dozens of Pentagon biological laboratories are deployed in Finland and experimenting with dangerous pathogens? I am unaware of any information about Finland being pumped full of the same types of weapons that have been supplied to Ukraine under contracts or without contracts to an area of an armed intra-Finnish conflict, but perhaps you know about it? I don’t know anything about it. This is just a brief overview of the differences between Finland and Ukraine in the last decade.

The developments in Ukraine followed a dramatic scenario due to blatant interference by Washington, with the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev being one of the strongest catalysts. Perhaps you have information on a similar revolution in Finland? I don’t know anything about it. This is why the two situations are different, in broad strokes.

The choice of ways to ensure national security is (this is our underlying approach) the sovereign right of each country, but at the same time, it should not be ensured at the expense of other states.

We have no other choice left but to take retaliatory measures. The specifics – including the military-technical aspect – will depend on the terms of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership, including the deployment of foreign military bases and strike weapon systems on their territory.

As for the differences in our reactions to Finland joining NATO and Ukraine’s ambition to become a member of this military bloc, as the Russian side emphasised earlier, in particular, they stem from Kiev’s decision to include in its doctrinal documents its intention to return Crimea, a sovereign Russian territory, possibly by military means. Finland has no territorial claims to the Russian Federation. There are no documents where it would say it could use any means to return any Russian territory. This is another argument to add to the previous ones.

Question: What kind of military-technical measures does Russia plan to apply to Finland, and what might their timeframe be?

Maria Zakharova: It will be a surprise. A question is for the Defence Ministry. The corresponding decision will factor in the full scope of details and specifics of how Finland’s membership in NATO will unfold. The decision will be made based on all these parameters, and primarily, it will be up to the military.

Question: Is there any discussion on exchanging Azovstal prisoners for the Russian, DPR or LPR soldiers being held captive? We would also like to know something about the fate of Artyom Ryabovichev and Daniil Romanov from a DPR tank brigade. Some Russian journalists wrote about them. According to their reports, they have been prisoners since May 1. Ukrainian militants were torturing them on camera and posting the videos online. Earlier, Ukraine refused to exchange them, saying it would negotiate only with Russia rather than with the DPR. Is the Foreign Ministry aware of the fate of Ryabovichev and Romanov and are there plans to put them on the exchange lists?

Maria Zakharova: Normally, we join in when there are diplomatic relations. After February 24, when Kiev broke off diplomatic relations with Russia and closed the Russian foreign missions in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry lost its channels for dealing with issues like this. Nevertheless, during the special military operation, these problems are being handled by the Defence Ministry of Russia and Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova. The Foreign Ministry constantly informs them of any case of a Russian citizens being detained in Ukraine. All this information is being consolidated.

We are able to raise these issues at international venues. We put these questions to Kiev’s Western sponsors, drawing their attention to the Ukrainian neo-Nazis’ cruel and inhuman treatment of detained Russian soldiers and of People’s Militia fighters from the DPR and LPR. We demand that the standards of international humanitarian law be rigorously observed with respect to these men. We urge related international organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, to take exhaustive measures for their protection, specifically to gain access to them and honestly inform the international community about the results. We hope these efforts will help us find out more about the fate of these two DPR servicemen.

Question: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went on record as saying that Moscow has information indicating that Ukraine lacks independence at the talks and that it is “guided” by London and Washington. He also said that Russia had received no concrete proposals on Ukraine from the West. Does this mean that Moscow is losing interest in direct negotiations with Ukraine and wants the “collective West” to join the process?

Maria Zakharova: We showed an interest and displayed a lot of patience, an interest in all types of talks, for eight years. We came up with many possible scenarios on how these talks could be conducted. Currently, everything is being decided primarily on the ground.

When Ukraine showed an interest and signaled a desire to hold talks with Russia, we responded. But they started doing all they could to drag out the talks. When there was interest on the Ukrainian side, it was supported by Russia. At this point – the Russian Foreign Ministry and other agencies have commented on this – the Kiev regime is doing everything it can to prevent the talks from being held in a normal negotiating format.

The West has always been behind the Kiev regime, both the current and previous authorities. A “Western hand” has always guided the pen that was allegedly held by any representatives from Kiev. There is nothing new here, no breakthrough.

Question: How would you assess the work of the trilateral working group engaged in unblocking regional economic ties and communications, which is co-chaired by the deputy prime ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan? What stage is the process at now and when can we expect obvious results?

Maria Zakharova: We have high regard for the work of the Trilateral Working Group (TWG). The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan gave similar assessments during their meeting with Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Dushanbe on May 12.

We believe that the unblocking of all transport and economic connections in the South Caucasus is one of the key goals in the context of the effort to normalise Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and, more broadly, to harmonise cooperation in the region.

The TWG co-chairs have regular meetings designed to work out solutions that will suit all sides. Last week, the Russian co-chair, Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk, visited Yerevan for talks with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. Among other things, the officials discussed how to open communications in the region. The co-chairs inform the media of the specific results of the joint work on an individual basis.

Question: Are there any clear agreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding a possible meeting of the Commission on Border Delimitation and Security, where Russia is expected to provide advisory support?

Maria Zakharova: We are consistently advocating the creation of a bilateral commission for the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, with its subsequent demarcation with Russia’s advisory assistance. Simultaneously, as the trilateral statement from the November 26, 2021 Sochi summit stipulates, steps are to be taken to increase stability and security on the border between the two countries.

This matter was discussed during the trilateral meeting of foreign ministers in Dushanbe. Our partners said they were close to completing the formation of their national delegations. Russia has already built an expert team. We hope that in the near future, we could launch practical work on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

We would like to emphasise that Russia has unique expert potential in border delimitation and settlement of border disputes between post-Soviet countries. We will be happy to share our experience and practices with our Armenian and Azerbaijani friends as part of the commission.

Question: The Azerbaijani side continues to violate the ceasefire on the border. On May 7, at around 1.50 pm, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired from different calibre firearms at the Sotk gold mine, injuring one of the mine employees. How would you comment on the Azerbaijani side’s actions against the civilian population?

Maria Zakharova: We are confident that the expeditious launch of the commission on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border would effectively prevent any further border incidents. The commission could contribute to developing confidence-building mechanisms, including, for example, by creating contact groups to ensure stability in the border areas.

Question: Recent photos of the Armenian Holy Resurrection Church in Hadrut, a province controlled by the Azerbaijani side, on social media show that its cross has been dismantled and the Armenian inscriptions erased. How would you assess the acts of vandalism against Armenian cultural and religious sites in Nagorno-Karabakh?

Maria Zakharova: I have no information on this score. As Russian representatives have repeatedly emphasised, we call on both parties to preserve the region’s cultural and historical heritage, involving specialised international agencies including UNESCO, if necessary.

Question: The situation in Afghanistan and border security was one of the main issues at the CSTO summit in Moscow. What measures are planned to ensure the security of member countries within the framework of this organisation?

Maria Zakharova: The situation in the CSTO area of responsibility and in the immediate vicinity of our borders makes us be as vigilant as possible and ready, if necessary, to respond timely and appropriately to emerging threats to the security of member nations. This is a task of the organisation.

Pursuant to the instructions given by the leaders at the CSTO Extraordinary Summit on August 23, 2021, CSTO member states prepared proposals for joint response measures to challenges and threats from the territory of Afghanistan. The Russian Federation has proposed a number of specific measures through its foreign policy departments, including:

– Strengthening foreign policy coordination to ensure a unified position of CSTO member states on the political settlement in Afghanistan. Involving representatives of the CIS and SCO secretariats in the meetings of the Working Group on Afghanistan under the CSTO Foreign Ministers Council;

– Intensifying contacts between the CSTO and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia;

– Stepping up cooperation between the competent agencies and special services of CSTO member states in detecting and neutralising extremist and terrorist cells in the countries of the Organisation;

– Taking a range of preventive measures as part of the unscheduled operations Nayomnik (Mercenary), PROXY and Nelegal (Illegal Alien);

– Focusing Kanal (Channel), a CSTO’s anti-drug operation, on suppressing drug trafficking along the “northern route”;

– Implementing joint measures to counter subversive propaganda by terrorist organisations in cyberspace on the basis of the CSTO’s 2016 List of Additional Measures to Counter International Terrorism and Extremism;

– Increasing cooperation between the CSTO and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee.

All these measures are being consistently implemented and serve to strengthen the security of all member states of the Organisation, as well as to maintain stability in the region as a whole.

Question: How does the Russian Federation view the escalating tensions in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan?

Maria Zakharova: We are concerned by the information provided by the official authorities of Tajikistan on the escalation of tensions in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, which, according to reports, was provoked by criminal elements and extremist sympathisers, who joined them. As a result, there were victims and casualties, including among Tajik law enforcement officers.

The Russian Embassy in Dushanbe is in constant contact with the country’s competent authorities. According to preliminary information, there are no Russian citizens among the victims.

The Tajik authorities promise to take the necessary measures to stabilise the situation and ensure the safety of Russian citizens who may be present on the scene.

Sitrep Operation Z: NATO surrenders in Azovstal

May 18, 2022

Source

by Saker Staff with thanks to Pepe Escobar for that prescient title

Nazi Azovites – from rats in a hole to fish in a barrel – This is what denazification looks like!

The New York Times prevaricates as follows:  Ukraine ended its “combat mission” in Mariupol and said fighters were being evacuated, signaling that the battle at a steel plant was over. https://nyti.ms/3sIon9B

Zelensky adds some Ukrainian/Cocainian dreams to that: “The evacuation mission from Azovstal continues. It is led by our military and intelligence officers.”  (OK, Mr PianoDick, they’re being led straight into war criminal prison! – thank your military and intelligence officers for doing the job for the world!)

Dmitry Polyansky says it differently:  “I didn’t know English has so many ways to express a single message: the #Azovnazis have unconditionally surrendered.”

Nightfall did not stop the surrender process.  Ukrainians are still surrendering in crowds without stopping.  Sufficient forces to deal with this are on the terrain and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DPR are kicking ass and taking prisoners.

Illumination rockets are constantly launched into the sky, which at least somehow facilitates the crawling out of underground inhabitants 🙂

These invincible heroes are emaciated, ragged, hungry and a pitiful sight.

Donetsk Defense HQ – 962 Azovites surrendered and the process continues.  In the meantime, 11 servicemen of the 25th airborne brigade and seventeen of the 54th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine voluntarily laid down their arms and went over to the side of the DPR.  We hope this is the start of a mass surrender.

This is denazification and movies will be made and books will be written.  After this major loss of prestige, expect a doozy of a false flag.

Starting point today is the MoD report and somewhat reformatted for ease of use.

💥Over a day, high-precision air-based missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces have hit

  • 2 command posts, including the territorial defense headquarters near Soledar in the Donetsk People’s Republic,
  • as well as 31 areas of concentration of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment, including locations of foreign mercenary units from European countries in Nikolaev and Krasnogorovka.
  • In addition, 2 Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft have been destroyed at a military airfield near Dnepropetrovsk, 1 division of Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems near Nikolaev, as well as 4 ammunition depots for missile and artillery weapons and ammunition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Ugledar, Pokrovskoe, Soledar and Bakhmut, Donetsk People’s Republic.

✈️💥Operational-tactical and army aviation have hit

  • 3 command posts,
  • 41 areas of concentration of AFU manpower and military equipment, as well as
  • 1 ammunition depot near Ugledar, Donetsk People’s Republic.
  • The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 270 nationalists and up to 54 armoured and motor vehicles.

💥Missile troops and artillery have hit

  • 76 command posts,
  • 421 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration, as well as
  • 147 artillery and mortar units at firing positions, including
  • 1 Ukrainian battery of US-made 155mm M777 howitzers near Pogornoe.
  • 1 pontoon crossing point equipped by Ukrainian Armed Forces to cross the Severskyi Donets River has been destroyed near Protopopovka, Kharkov Region.

💥Russian air defence means have shot down

  • 1 Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft over Tripolie, Donetsk people’s republic.
  • 1 Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 has been shot down near Kamennaya Yaruga, Kharkov Region.
  • 15 Ukrainian UAVs have been shot down near Semenovka, Velikie Prokhody, Balakleya, Malye Prokhody, Velikaya Kamyshevakha in Kharkov Region, Rudnichnyi, Grabskoe, Staromikhailovka, Volnoe in Donetsk People’s Republic, Belyaevka, Chernobaevka in Kherson Region.
  • 8 Ukrainian Smerch multiple-launch rockets have been also intercepted near Kamenka and Malaya Kamyshevakha, Kharkov Region.

Not too shabby for a day’s work. And they will repeat it, and repeat it, and rinse, and repeat it again.

Secrets from Azovstal and surroundings are beginning to be revealed.  There will be many!

How the OSCE mission cooperated with the Azov terrorists

The filming crew of IA “Arbelet” was the first to visit the territory where the OSCE mission in Mariupol was located. Among other valuable finds, they found two mortar positions, equipped directly near the mission’s administrative building. The mortars themselves and their ammunition are of Italian origin, as evidenced by the markings. Another noteworthy fact: the last delivery of the Italian BC is dated March 11, 2022.

Do ordinary Italians know that their authorities are helping outright terrorists of the national battalions? How will the OSCE comment on the fact that they were in clear collusion with the terrorists, allowing “Azov” to fire from their territory? How, after these facts, will the OSCE be able to clean up their reputation at all?

(Sidebar:  Do you now understand why Russia is leaving international organizations?  Simple, these organizations are corrupt to the extent that they cannot be reformed but they have to be broken.  Mr Lavrov today is meeting with SCO Secretary-General Ming where new structures are being built.)

Update from Brian Berletic:  He views the canoodling from western sources and he hoists them on their own petard.  Do take a listen, specifically Brian’s explanation of how the Russian command and soldiers keep certain areas ‘fixed’.

Here is another example of such a ‘fix’. The Russian army attacked Ukrainian defense facilities in the Odessa region with precision weapons from the Black Sea. This information is confirmed by the Ukrainian operational command “South”. https://t.me/intelslava/29149

(Sidebar:  Today in Odessa – On this day “Russian Spring”

May 18, 2014 – “Odessa is a Russian city”, “Donbass – we are with you” – such slogans sounded at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa.

Hundreds of protesters with Russian flags and banners of the Victory came out not only to honor the memory of those killed in the May 2 tragedy, but also to show the Ukrainian Nazis that Odessans are Russian people who are not afraid of the Kyiv punishers.)

Is the Russian SMO beginning to touch hearts and minds?  Remember the stories that Russia underestimated the willingness of the Ukrainian people to support the denazification. 

Telescoping into the current pic on a map­ we see that cauldrons do not come in onesies any longer but in threes:

Readovka on the fronts

Kharkiv Front. The fighting in the area of Kazachya Lopan and the village of Liptsy is of a positional nature. The enemy in the area of Ternovka reached the border MASS MEDIA: Ukrainian Armed Forces have reached the Russian-Ukrainian border in Kharkiv region. Ukraine conducted a counterattack in the north-east of the Russian Federation, and is also probing the positions of the Russian Armed Forces in the area of Volchansk. The Russian Armed Forces do not conduct active offensive operations in the Kharkiv direction.

On the Izyum part of the front, fighting continues in the area of Kamyshevakha, Kurulka and Dolgenky. The enemy continues to try to strain the flank of the Russian group to the north-west of Izyum, forcing the Seversky Donets. In the Slavic direction, the troops took Drobyshevo and Krasny Liman in a semicircle. The front also approached Svyatogorsk.

In the Luhansk-Donetsk part of the front, fighting continues in the area of Kamyshevakha, north of Popasna. There are also battles for Toshkovka. There are attempts to enter the flank and rear of the fortified area in Gorsky and Zolotoy. Fighting continues on the outskirts of Severodonetsk, as well as to the west of Lisichansk in the area of Privolye and Belogorovka. According to unconfirmed reports, Russian troops occupied the town of New York.

On the Zaporozhye part of the front without any special changes. An attempt by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to attack in the area of Malinovka ended in failure and heavy losses. The battles here are of a positional nature all the way from Gulyai-Pole to Velikaya Novoselovka. The enemy is moving part of the reserves from the Zaporizhia direction to the Donbass, where the situation for the Severodonetsk group is rapidly deteriorating. Heavy fighting continues in the area of Novomikhailovka and Ugledar.

On the Southern Front, the development of the offensive is not yet taking place. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are waiting for the landing of Russian troops in the Odessa region and are working on mining the entire coast. In the Nikopol and Kryvyi Rih directions, the Ukrainian command is accumulating forces to uncover weaknesses in the Russian positions.

On arrival, it is already traditional – the APU shelled Petrovsky district Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled Petrovsky district of Donetsk.  The shell hit the school grounds Donetsk, a shell hit the school territory. The Ukrainian side also shelled the outskirts of Kherson, which resulted in the death of one civilian.

SmoothieX12 is correct when he says that the only battle that the Ukrainians know, is the battle taught to them by their NATO advisors, which is to shell civilian territory and hide behind civilians.

The battlefront is still in a relatively chaotic state, but Russia is now forming and shaping it.

Let’s take a look at Martyanov’s levels of war as we can categorize from this handy depiction:

Finland and Sweden formally submit applications to join NATO – currently, it is harassment but may well move up the scale to major operations.  We cannot say where Russia will stop.

FM Lavrov: “Ukraine… No one wants Ukraine. They are an expendable country in this hybrid war against Russian Federation. No one has doubts anymore”.   The language from Russian sources has changed and they now say clearly that Ukraine is a tool and the fight is against Russia by the West.

Weapons

Russian self-propelled howitzers “Msta-S” and “Acacia-M” are being put to good use and they destroy armored vehicles and fortified positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.  Distance of fire is up to 30 km and they use high-explosive fragmentation projectiles that can destroy buried concrete fortifications of the enemy. https://t.me/intelslava/29140

Incoming weapons.  On the Polish-Ukrainian border, seven South African-made Mamba Mk2 EE armored vehicles transferred to Ukraine by Estonia as military assistance were seen. These vehicles were specifically produced for the Estonian army.

We have to conclude if we can see these armored vehicles via telegram channel on the Polish border, then the Russian forces can see them too.  And ditto for all other incoming weapons.

There are smaller reports of new Russian artillery weapons appearing in the field of battle, but it is limited as yet.

Major Fail, other than war. 

Washington failed to get the summit with the ASEAN countries to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ASEAN nations are Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

Another failure of freezing funds:  Switzerland released $6.33 billion of Russia’s frozen funds.

We end with biolabs

Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy gives key takeaways from the last UN Security Council meeting on US biolabs in Ukraine:

  1. The US refuses to explain its engagement in military bio activities in Ukraine. Keeps shrugging off several hundred pages of evidence. “These are all lies and Russia’s propaganda, and we are good guys because it can’t be otherwise”. Not a word on the point of discussion.
  2. Western delegations are praising the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and calling on us to make use of its mechanisms. They fail to mention however that it is the US who is blocking the elaboration of BWC verification mechanism. Such a hypocricy!
  3. The US refuses to explain why it doesn’t want an effective international verification mechanism for bio weapons. Why act like this unless you are trying to conceal something? Why does Washington position itself above the international law? American exceptionalism at its best.

Main conclusion: we have definitely hit their soft spot. It’s clear for any unbiased observer that they are obscuring the issue and trying to divert attention from this uncomfortable topic trying to discourage us to raise it by repeating mantras on “Russian aggression” etc.

So stay tuned, there’s more evidence on US military biological programs to follow!

Top level headline in China’s Global Times today:  ‘Neo-Nazism’ poisons Ukraine, Europe under US, West’s connivance

That is it for today. Enjoy your discussion and be careful with the Ukie propaganda. It is everywhere.

Ukraine’s Mariupol Falls to Russia

May 17, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

The Ukrainian military says efforts are underway for the evacuation of the country’s remaining soldiers from their last stronghold in Mariupol as the city falls to Russia.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a statement on Tuesday that 264 soldiers, including 53 wounded ones, had left the Azovstal metal plant in Mariupol, and efforts were underway to evacuate others still inside.

“The ‘Mariupol’ garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,” the statement said. “The supreme military command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel… Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time.”

Russia also confirmed that 256 Ukrainian forces had “laid down their arms and surrendered” in Azovstal, including 51 severely wounded soldiers.

In a nightly address on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised his country’s military forces as evacuation efforts continued in the besieged city, saying, “Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive.”

“Thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian military, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, intelligence, the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations, we hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys. Among them are the seriously wounded, they are being provided with medical aid,” Zelensky said.

“The 82nd day of our defense is coming to an end. A difficult day. But this day, like all others, is aimed precisely at saving our country and our people,” he added.

The Russian Defense Ministry had earlier said that a ceasefire had been established to allow the passage of wounded Ukrainian servicemen, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Russian sources have estimated that about 2,200 people have been trapped in the basements of the huge Azovstal complex.

According to the deputy minister of defense of Ukraine, Anna Malyar, and the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, those who surrender will be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war taken captive by Kiev; however, the terms of the exchange have yet to be decided.

Mariupol is the biggest city Russia has managed to capture since President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24.

The United States and its allies have stepped up military support for Ukraine, sending an array of sophisticated weapons meant to hold off Russia’s rapid advances. The operation has also drawn unprecedented sanctions from the US and its European allies.

SMO is an excellent demonstration of Operational Art

May 17, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Meeting of the heads of state of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (update, transcript is now complete)

May 16, 2022

CSTO summit

Taking part in the meeting, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the organisation, were the heads of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

The main focus of the summit was on key issues of cooperation within the CSTO, topical international and regional problems, and measures to further improve the collective security system.

During the meeting, the leaders signed a Statement of the CSTO Collective Security Council (CSC) in connection with the 30th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. They also signed a resolution of the CSTO CSC to award the participants in the CSTO peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon!

I am glad to welcome you all in Moscow.

At the suggestion of our chairman, and today Armenia chairs the organisation, we gathered in Moscow, because this is where 30 years ago the Collective Security Treaty was signed, and 20 years ago, on the basis of this Treaty, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation was created.

This means we have two anniversaries almost on the same day: on May 14 and 15 in 1992 and 2002, respectively. I congratulate you on this.

I hope that the organisation, which has become a full international structure over the years, will continue to develop, even through difficult times. I would like to note in this context that both 1992 and 2002 were difficult times; they never end.

The organisation plays a very important role in the post-Soviet space – a stabilising role. I hope that in this sense its capabilities and influence on the situation in our area of responsibility will only grow.

Here I would like to finish my welcoming remarks and give the floor to the Chairman [of the CSTO Collective Security Council], the Prime Minister of Armenia.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Putin.

Colleagues, I would like to welcome all of you!

I would also like to add my congratulations on the two anniversaries the President of Russia noted. The Treaty on Collective Security was signed on May 15, 1992, and the decision on establishing a Collective Security Treaty Organisation was made on May 14, 2002. We meet today partly in commemoration of both anniversaries.

I suggest we express our views on these anniversaries and on the current situation as always – in alphabetic order. Please hold your comments to 3 to 5 minutes – this is the open section.

Afterwards, we will sign the documents that are ready for signing, and will then continue our discussion behind closed doors.

I give the floor to the President of the Republic of Belarus. Go ahead, please.

President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Pashinyan, dear friends!

I will talk a bit longer than usual since I am the first to speak, and the current situation deserves attention.

Today’s meeting is taking place in a difficult time, as the President of Russia has just said – a time of repartitioning the world; the unipolar international system is irretrievably receding into the past, but the collective West is fiercely fighting to keep its position.

Anything goes, including actions in the zone of responsibility of our organisation: from NATO’s sabre rattling at our western borders to a full-scale hybrid war unleashed against us, primarily against Russia and Belarus.

NATO is aggressively building its muscles, drawing Finland and Sweden into its net, countries that only yesterday were neutral. This is based on the attitude, “those who are not with us are against us,” and, hypocritically, NATO continues to declare its defensive nature. The truly defensive and peace-loving position of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation is in contrast to this background.

The United States is building up its military presence on the western flank of the CSTO, its military infrastructure is being upgraded at an accelerated pace and many NATO exercises are taking place. The large-scale exercise, Defender Europe 2022, the likes of which we have not seen before, are now being held on the territory of 19 European countries, in part, near our borders in Poland. You can guess for yourselves whom they are defending themselves against.

Until now, there is a force of about 15,000 military personnel stationed at the Belarusian-Polish border, which were deployed there last year under the pretext of a migration crisis, in addition to the troops that are stationed there permanently. Last year, 15,000 troops, mostly Americans, were redeployed. The migrants left that area a long time ago, but the troops are still there. The question is why?

Clearly, no country is posing any threat to NATO today. Moreover, an additional force of over 10,000 military troops was brought there to reinforce the alliance’s eastern flank with 15,000 troops already deployed in Poland and the Baltic countries as part of the US armed forces’ Atlantic Resolve and NATO-allied Enhanced Forward Presence. For perspective, seven or so years ago, there were 3,500 troops in this location (addressing the CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas) on your watch, now there are about 40,000 troops right on the territory of Poland and the Baltic states. And I am not talking about Ukraine yet.

Our military interaction within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, and Belarus’ membership in the CSTO, are the very stabilisers that have a certain sobering effect on the hotheads on the other side of the border. This shows that if it were not for this, I am afraid that a hot war would already be underway in Belarus. By the way, they tried to do this in 2020.

Today, there is no more pressing or important issue than the Ukraine conflict. Since 2014, all of us have been assisting in every way possible in resolving it. In principle, all of us sitting at this table are ready to do this even now and in any format.

Clearly, Ukraine was fomented, incited and fed nationalism and Nazism. We saw that in Odessa, when people were burned alive. Ukraine was fed Nazism, Russophobia and weapons. They used every approach to poison it.

After the election in Belarus in August 2020, regarding interaction with us, Belarus, Ukraine completely succumbed to the West. We have constantly experienced unfriendly actions from our southern neighbour for over two years now.

Ukraine proactively imposed sanctions on us even before the West, including the Americans. Ukraine was the first to do so. Remember? Their airspace was closed, then railway service, and then they began to train militants and send them to Belarus and ship weapons across the border. Everyone knows that. Provocative actions were carried out with Ukrainian drones conducting reconnaissance missions in Belarus’ airspace.

The facts indicating a threat to our national security are indisputable. This is exactly why we were absolutely right to activate the support mechanism in the framework of our alliance with Russia.

Belarus paid attention to the unjustified growth of the Western military presence in Ukraine and the region as a whole even before the start of the Russian special military operation. We talked about this more than once and warned that a conflict was looming. We expected the West, primarily the US, to accept Russia’s proposal to enter into talks on security guarantees. This process will start eventually in the foreseeable future but what will remain of Ukraine and our region by this time is a big question.

Right now, we are seeing that the West, including Washington, is only interested in prolonging the conflict as much as possible. This is why Ukraine is being flooded with weapons. The goals are clear: to weaken Russia as much as possible by miring it in this war. The flames may reach beyond it – we are seeing this, too. If this is the idea, likely nobody will be able to sit it out.

Currently the most dangerous trend in Ukraine are the attempts to partition the country. Thousand-strong units have already been formed to enter Ukraine in the guise of peacekeepers to “protect” it.

Unity and solidarity among like-minded people are particularly important at a time when norms and principles of international law are being completely ignored. The CSTO member states displayed such solidarity and support in January of this year in a time of trial: you remember the events in Kazakhstan. By acting rapidly when needed, we graphically demonstrated to the entire world our close allied relations and the capacity of our organisation to ensure the security of its members. Nobody in the West even dared think about interfering in this situation because we are stronger together.

But is it possible to claim today that the members of this organisation are really united and bound by ties of solidarity and support as before? Recent events suggest probably not. This is from our perspective, and I may be wrong. But it is enough to recall the ban imposed by some of our CSTO partners on the flights to their countries by national airlines of other CSTO members.

The concepts of unity and solidarity are not always enough, given the brutal, rabid sanctions pressure by the consolidated West. Unfortunately, this is clear from the voting in international organisations.

With the tacit agreement of our partners, Belarus and Russia are being vilified and expelled from international organisations against all laws of international life, just on a Western whim. Yes, you, CSTO members are subjected to pressure – tough and unprincipled pressure – but this is where collective, mutual support is so helpful. We may not exist tomorrow if we do not unite as soon as possible, if we do not strengthen our political, economic and military ties.

Our enemies and detractors are systematically degrading our strongholds and allied ties, and we ourselves are partially helping the West in this regard. I am sure that if we had acted as a united front right off the bat, the hellish, as they say, sanctions would be out of question.

Look how united the European Union is when it votes or acts, and how strong its intra-bloc discipline is. It applies automatically even to those who disagree with its decisions. This begs the question: What is keeping us from using this bloc resource? We need to follow their example. If divided, we will simply be crushed and torn apart.

Back in January, I said that the main goal of certain external forces is to undermine stability and to disrupt the evolutionary path of development throughout the post-Soviet space. They started with Belarus, then the infection spread to Kazakhstan, and now it is Russia’s turn, as we see, and problems are being created in Armenia as well. Make no mistake, no one will be spared.

It is absolutely clear that, without united pushback from the CSTO allies and other integration associations in the post-Soviet space, the collective West will ratchet up its pressure.

What do we need to do to reinforce the CSTO in this unprecedented situation at hand? Off the top of my head, I can visualise the following top-priority steps, which are many, and the President of Tajikistan covered them at length when he talked about the challenge facing that region.

The first is to strengthen political interaction and coordination of the CSTO member states. It is important to improve the efficiency of the foreign policy and security consultation mechanism. We need to speak more often on behalf of the CSTO on international platforms so that its voice and position can be seen and heard, and this voice and position must be united as they are in the West.

Let our foreign ministers consider how best to go about this, and where. Let them think about our political response to a new wave of NATO expansion in light of the intentions declared by well-known states.

We must work out in advance the CSTO position on this matter and make our interests known to the international community. We must act as one in this. Russia should not be alone in voicing its concern and fighting the attempted NATO enlargement.

The second point is to increase the effectiveness of efforts to counter challenges and threats in the information space, including the fight against fake news and disinformation. It is clear that we are facing a hybrid war, the main part of which is an information war.

In order to counter this, we should make the most of the 2017 CSTO Agreement on Information Security Cooperation and actively promote the CSTO on social media, which our Western opponents intensively use, in order to effectively respond to fake news and planted information. Moreover, we need to think seriously and, perhaps, follow China’s policy in the information confrontation, especially on the internet.

Relevant tasks should be assigned to all foreign ministries, special services and the CSTO Secretariat.

Third, there is a clear need to strengthen the forecasting and analytical component in the CSTO Secretariat’s work. I am sure that there are similar departments in the UN, the European Union and NATO. It might be worth considering creating a unit responsible for analysis and strategic planning at the CSTO Secretariat. I think the Secretary-General needs to study this issue.

Fourth, it is worth thinking about combining the potential of the analytical centres of the CSTO member states and forming a network of these centres to assist in the development of conceptual documents on current issues on the international agenda.

Dear friends,

I am offering such seemingly simple proposals at these extremely difficult times because we may not immediately agree on more complex ones. Therefore, these may be the first steps, but we need to go further and deeper, as we used to say in the past

Colleagues,

Everyone understands that the historical era that existed before is ending, and there will be no return to the previous international order. We cannot allow the creation of a new international architecture without us, while the West is already planting false stories and holding talks about it.

I believe that the CSTO should firmly strengthen its status in the international system of checks and balances. The organisation has a powerful collective potential for further progressive development, but it depends only on us today, it is up to us, how effectively the CSTO will use this potential and whether it will continue to exist in the next 10, 20 or 30 years.

After Armenia, the CSTO chairmanship will rotate to Belarus. In addition to the promising areas of work outlined above, we are already seriously considering new proposals aimed at the further development of our organisation, and you will learn about them in the near future. We hope for maximum support and constructive work from all of you, our colleagues. We have no other choice.

Sorry for such a long speech.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Lukashenko.

I will give the floor to President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: Mr Pashinyan, colleagues!

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to President of Russia Vladimir Putin for organising this anniversary summit of the Collective Security Council. It is true that our summit today is distinct in marking two CSTO anniversaries.

Over the years our organisation has proven to be an effective mechanism of multilateral cooperation with serious potential for further development.

Once the CSTO was established, a reliable system for collective security was built in the vast expanse of Eurasia. The main goals are to strengthen peace and stability as well as international and regional security, and protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of its member states.

The CSTO’s permanent working bodies operate successfully; there are various formats for close cooperation and interaction. The CSTO’s authority, law enforcement and peacekeeping potential are being strengthened.

We focus on countering international terrorism and extremism, illegal drug and weapons trafficking, and illegal migration. In this context we attach great importance to the developments in Afghanistan. The unstable situation there as well as the unrelenting activity of armed groups on the territory of Afghanistan continue to threaten the security and stability of our states. I believe the CSTO must consider every potential threat while paying even more attention to ensuring the security of the southern borders of Central Asia.

In the mid-term, developing the organisation’s peacekeeping potential is an unconditional priority. Active work is underway in this area. CSTO peacekeeping forces have been created and are being improved every year; a plan is being developed to equip them with modern weapons, equipment and special tools.

As you know, the institute of Special Representative of the CSTO Secretary-General for peacekeeping has been established, at Kazakhstan’s initiative. This means that all the necessary tools have been created, and we suggest that it is time to set the goal of getting the CSTO involved with the United Nations’ peacekeeping activities.

This step would promote the legal status of the CSTO and ensure the organisation’s participation in international peacekeeping operations.

Colleagues,

Our assessments of the CSTO’s development and common view of the current aspects of international and regional security underlie the anniversary statement of the Collective Security Council. I would like to thank Armenia for its productive chairmanship and Russia for its timely initiative to hold this forum.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan:Thank you, Mr Tokayev.

Next to speak is President of the Kyrgyz Republic. Mr Sadyr Japarov, please, take the floor.

President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov: Good afternoon.

Mr Putin, Mr Chairman of the CSTO Collective Security Council Nikol Pashinyan, Messrs heads of state,

I am happy to meet with you in hospitable Moscow.

I would like to begin with congratulations. First, I want to extend my congratulations to our fraternal peoples on the 77th anniversary of the Great Victory. On May 9, many thousands of people across Kyrgyzstan took part in the Immortal Regiment march carrying the slogans “Eternal Glory to the Heroes” and “Nobody Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Forgotten.” The republic holds this holiday sacred, as it epitomises the defeat of Nazism and Fascism by the Soviet people and invariably pays a sincere tribute to the memory of the heroic deed of our fathers and grandfathers.

Second, I want to extend my congratulations to all of us on the 30th anniversary of signing the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. We fully support the political statement to be adopted today in connection with these two historic dates.

The international events taking place in recent years show that the strategic decisions taken to ensure shared and collective security from Brest to Vladivostok were right.

At the same time, I am pleased to note that throughout its existence the Collective Security Treaty Organisation has fulfilled the responsible mission assigned to it and developed as an institution, with its potential becoming ever stronger. In this connection, I would like to express my gratitude to CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas, all his predecessors in the post and the CSTO Secretariat staff for their loyal service in the interests of the security of the Organisation’s member states.

Colleagues,

The current international situation does not offer cause for optimism, in terms of both global security and the world economy. Threats to security and military and political tensions have come too close to the borders of the CSTO zone of responsibility. Attempts are being made to interfere from the outside in the internal affairs of the CSTO member states.

For example, earlier this year we had to help a CSTO member state get out of a security crisis it had unexpectedly found itself in. Our response was quick and effective. I fully support the decision to award participants in this peacekeeping mission.

The situation at the southern borders of the CSTO remains alarming, primarily due to the unhindered activities of radical religious terrorist groups in some Afghan provinces. The external sponsors of these groups have far-reaching plans for Central Asia. I think we should keep focusing our attention and analysis on the Afghan issue. It is necessary to carry out an entire package of political-diplomatic and military-technical measures to ensure security in this area. At the same time, it is important to provide humanitarian aid for the Afghan people. Our fellow countrymen are among them.

Colleagues,

We are seriously alarmed by the sanctions war. The Kyrgyz economy has not yet recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, and now the sanctions are already creating a threat to food and energy security, macroeconomic sustainability and social stability.

Under the circumstances, we must discuss and draft a common approach to alleviate the consequences of sanctions and prevent the deterioration of the socioeconomic situation in our countries. We will soon have an opportunity to do so at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and the First Eurasian Economic Forum in the city of Bishkek.

Colleagues, I hope for your personal participation as heads of your delegations, in which I am asking you to include heads of sectoral ministries and business structures.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate you again on the Day of the Great Victory and the two anniversaries of the Collective Security Treaty.

I sincerely wish you and the friendly nations of the CSTO peace, stability, wellbeing and prosperity.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Japarov.

I am giving the floor to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Mr President, go ahead, please.

Vladimir Putin: Friends and colleagues,

I will agree with the previous speakers – indeed, in the past few decades, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation has become considerably stronger and won a well-deserved reputation as an effective regional defence structure that ensures security and stability in the Eurasian space and reliably protects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its member countries.

Importantly, cooperation in the CSTO has always been built in the spirit of true allied relations, on the principles of friendship and neighbourliness, respect and consideration of each other’s interests, mutual assistance and support. The same principles guide our cooperation in the current difficult situation.

The CSTO’s successful peacekeeping operation, held in Kazakhstan in January 2022 at the request of its leaders, showed the maturity of our Organisation and its real ability to adequately withstand acute challenges and threats.

The contingent of the collective CSTO forces, sent into Kazakhstan for a limited period of time, prevented extremists, including those directed from abroad, from seizing power and helped to quickly stabilise the internal political situation in the republic.

The use of peacekeeping forces at the request of the Kazakhstan leadership was the first operation of this kind in the CSTO’s history. The operation revealed the strong points of practical cooperation between our military structures and security services, and, at the same time, showed what we should work on to improve it.

Today, we will sign a joint statement reaffirming, taking into account the experience gained, among other things, during the afore-mentioned operation, the resolve of our states to continue acting as partners in different areas of military and defence development, and building up our coordinated actions in the world arena.

At the same time, it is quite logical that our current high-priority task is to further improve and streamline the work of the CSTO and its governing bodies. We will also provide the collective CSTO forces with modern weapons and equipment, we will enhance the interoperability of their troop contingents, and more effectively coordinate the joint actions of our military agencies and secret services.

We streamline the relevant operations all the time during CSTO exercises, and we are set to expand such exercises. This autumn, there are plans to hold an entire series of joint CSTO exercises in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. I am confident that these measures will boost the combat readiness of our states’ military agencies and improve their coordination, as well as increase the entire peacekeeping potential of the CSTO.

We also believe that the CSTO should continue its efforts to counter terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. Law enforcement agencies of our countries interact rather effectively in this field, so as to prevent the recruitment of people and to neutralise the resource potential of international terrorist organisations.

Efforts to maintain biological security also require the most serious attention. For a long time, we sounded the alarm about US military biological activity in the post-Soviet space.

It is common knowledge that the Pentagon has established dozens of specialised biological laboratories and centres in our common region, and that they are by no means merely providing practical medical assistance to the population of the countries where they are operating. Their main task is to collect biological materials and to analyse the spread of viruses and dangerous diseases for their own purposes.

Now, during the special operation in Ukraine, documentary evidence was obtained that components of biological weapons were developed in close proximity to our borders, which violates the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and possible methods and mechanisms were worked out to destabilise the epidemiological situation in the post-Soviet space.

In this regard, we count on our colleagues supporting the earliest possible implementation of Russia’s initiative to operationalise the designated CSTO council. Once again, I would like to note the importance of close coordination between CSTO members in matters of foreign policy, coordinated actions at the UN and other multilateral platforms, and promotion of common approaches to the multiplying international security issues.

In this context, it is important to build up cooperation with our “natural” partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Commonwealth of Independent States. By the way, we think it would be appropriate and correct – we will discuss this – to grant the CIS observer status in the CSTO.

I would like to highlight our priority task of jointly defending the memory of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the feat of our peoples who saved the world from Nazism at the cost of enormous and irreparable sacrifices, and to counteract any attempts to whitewash the Nazis, their accomplices and modern followers.

This is extremely important particularly now, when monuments to the heroes liberators are being barbarously demolished in a number of European countries, laying flowers at memorials is forbidden, and cynical attempts are being made to rewrite history, while praising murderers and traitors and insulting their victims, thus crossing out the feats of those who selflessly fought for Victory and won the war.

Unfortunately, in our neighbouring country, Ukraine, neo-Nazism has been on the rise for a long time now, to which some of our partners from the “collective West” turn a blind eye, and thus actually encourage their activities. All this goes hand-in-hand with an unprecedented surge in frenzied Russophobia in the so-called civilised and politically correct Western countries.

Indeed, we hear, and I hear people say that extremists can be found anywhere, which is true. Extremists are everywhere and one way or another they are leaving their underground hideouts and make themselves known. Nowhere, though – I want to underscore this – nowhere are Nazis being glorified at the state level and not a single civilised country’s authorities are encouraging thousands of neo-Nazi torchlight processions with Nazi symbols. This is something that is not practiced anywhere. But unfortunately, this is happening in Ukraine.

The expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance is a problem that, in my view, is being created in an absolutely artificial manner because it is being done in the foreign policy interests of the United States. Generally, NATO is being used, in effect, as the foreign policy tool of a single country, and it is being done persistently, adroitly, and very aggressively. All of this is aggravating the already complex international security situation.

As for the expansion, including the accession of two prospective new members, Finland and Sweden, I would like to inform you, colleagues, that Russia has no problems with these states. No problems at all! In this sense, therefore, there is no direct threat to Russia in connection with NATO’s expansion to these countries. But the expansion of its military infrastructure to these territories will certainly evoke a response on our part. We will see what it will be like based on the threats that are created for us. But generally speaking, problems are being created from nothing. So, we will respond to it in a fitting manner.

Apart from everything else, apart from this interminable policy of expansion, the North Atlantic Alliance is emerging beyond its geographical destination, beyond the Euro-Atlantic area. It is increasingly active in trying to manage international issues and control the international security situation. It wants to wield influence in other regions of the world, but its actual performance leaves much to be desired. This certainly demands additional attention on our part.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate that Russia will continue to contribute to deepening relations of strategic alliance with all CSTO member states. We will do our best to improve and develop effective partner cooperation within the CSTO and, of course, we will support the Armenian chairmanship’s ongoing work in this area.

As for Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, we will certainly discuss this, and I will inform you in detail about its causes and the current combat effort. But, of course, we will do this behind closed doors.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Putin.

President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon is our next speaker. Please go ahead.

President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon: Colleagues,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the creation of the CSTO.

I would like to thank the President of Russia for convening today’s meeting dedicated to these milestone events that are important for all of us. Anniversaries are a good opportunity to reflect on the path traveled and the development of the CSTO and to identify prospects for multilateral cooperation seeking to strengthen the common collective security system in light of new realities.

Over the period under review, the CSTO has established itself as an important factor in strengthening peace and ensuring regional security and stability. The organisation’s successful peacekeeping mission earlier this year clearly showed it.

We have created an extensive legal framework, the necessary working and coordinating bodies, as well as mechanisms aimed at fulfilling the organisation’s goals.

In practice, due attention is paid to strengthening and consolidating mutual trust within the CSTO. The CSTO’s international ties are expanding. Last year, we completed the ratification procedure and launched the institutions of observers under the CSTO and the CSTO partners as part of the Tajik chairmanship.

Field and command-staff exercises are conducted on a permanent basis, and measures are being taken to supply modern weapons and military equipment to the collective security system’s forces and means. All this helps maintain a high degree of combat readiness, mobility, training and skills of command and service personnel for bringing joint solutions to common tasks.

Today, the CSTO is an important platform for equal dialogue and cooperation between member states in all three basic dimensions: political interaction, military cooperation and joint efforts to counter modern challenges and threats.

The CSTO Collective Security Strategy to 2025, which reflects the principles of our interaction in the mid-term, is an important document that is guiding our organisation along its own path of development. Our common assessment of the state and development prospects of the organisation is reflected in a joint statement that we will adopt following the summit.

Notably, today we are facing no less important tasks to strengthen our common security. Given the manifold growth of challenges and threats to security, we will have to step up joint efforts to strengthen the Organisation’s potential and capabilities.

For example, we can see that negative factors have been accumulating in Afghanistan over the past 40 years, and they have worsened the military-political and socioeconomic situation in that country. In this regard, the CSTO needs to be prepared for various scenarios on the southern borders.

Tajikistan plans to continue to actively contribute to ensuring common security in the organisation’s regions of responsibility.

Thank you.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you very much.

Colleagues, I will now speak in my national capacity, if I may.

First of all, I would like to thank the President of Russia for hosting the anniversary CSTO summit in Moscow and the warm welcome. Of course, our organisation’s anniversary is also an excellent occasion to sum up the intermediate results and to discuss prospects for the further development of our organisation.

The President of Belarus raised important questions about interaction between the CSTO member countries and touched on, frankly, rather problematic issues. In general, there are a lot of positive developments in the history of the CSTO, because in reality it was, is and will be the most important factor in ensuring security and stability in the region.

But, as we see, we are discussing not only anniversary-related issues at this anniversary summit, because the situation is fairly tense in the CSTO area of ​​responsibility. I want to touch on some of the issues that the President of Belarus mentioned.

Regarding voting by the CSTO member countries, this issue does exist, indeed. Often, our voting is not synchronised, but this is not something new. This has been typical of our organisation for a long time now. Armenia has repeatedly raised this issue, and we have repeatedly discussed it in the regular course of business. Clearly, this issue needs to be further discussed as well.

With regard to interaction as well as response and rapid response mechanisms, this is also a critical issue for Armenia, because, as you are aware, last year on these days, Azerbaijani troops invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia. Armenia turned to the CSTO for it to activate the mechanisms that are provided for in the Regulations governing the CSTO response to crisis situations of December 10, 2010 which is a document approved by the Collective Security Council. Unfortunately, we cannot say that the organisation responded as the Republic of Armenia expected.

For a long time now, we have been raising the issue of sales of weapons by CSTO member countries to a country that is unfriendly to Armenia, which used these weapons against Armenia and the Armenian people. This is also a problem.

Frankly, the CSTO member countries’ response during the 44-day war of 2020 and the post-war period did not make the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people very happy, but I want to emphasise the special role played by the Russian Federation and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin personally in halting the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

I would like to reaffirm that Armenia remains committed to the trilateral statements of November 9, 2020. I am referring to the trilateral statements by the President of the Russian Federation, the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia, as well as the trilateral statements of January 11, 2021 and November 26, 2021.

I think it is critically important to sum up the results, but Armenia, as a founding member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, is committed to the organisation’s further development and considers it a key contributor to stability and security in the Eurasian region, as well as the security of the Republic of Armenia, and is positive about providing its full support for the organisation’s further development.

Now I give the floor to CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas so that he tells us about the documents that we are going to sign.

CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas: Mr Chairman, members of the Collective Security Council,

First, I would like to thank you for today’s meeting devoted to the CSTO’s anniversary. Twenty years is not such a long period for an international organisation. However, it has traversed a very long road during these years – from the formation of the idea of collective defence to the well-established, multi-faceted international organisation that it is today.

Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, heads of state, on the anniversary and to thank you for your hard work on establishing, developing and strengthening our organisation. I am saying this because, of course, all this would have been impossible without your constant attention and support.

You have an analytical review of the CSTO activities over 20 years of its existence in your folders on the table. This review was prepared at the instruction of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. Incidentally, our work on this review was very interesting and useful. On the eve of such great anniversaries, we tried to look back at the path travelled and to assess the CSTO’s status. We developed a good feeling that stayed with us: We have reasons to be proud.

The mechanism of foreign policy coordination is functioning well in the CSTO format. Using this mechanism, we form the consolidated position of our states on urgent regional and global issues. That said, I agree with the President of Belarus that this is clearly not enough these days. We should not avoid answers, consolidated answers to the most pressing issues.

We have developed cooperation with international regional organisations and their relevant structures. We have preserved and, importantly, are cultivating the principle of prioritising political and diplomatic means to achieve CSTO goals. This is, probably, one of the main pillars of our organisation.

Over these years, we have considerably built up the CSTO’s

military capacity. We are upgrading the structure, equipment and training of the bodies in charge of managing and forming a collective security system.

We consider the formation of a uniform system for training personnel, management bodies and troops an important achievement of the CSTO. Of course, the highest form of this system is embodied in the planned joint miscellaneous exercises that we hold every year.

We created and are developing an effective mechanism to counter modern challenges and threats, such as drug trafficking, illegal migration, international terrorism, and crime using information technology. To this end, joint emergency and preventive measures are taken and special operations are carried out regularly. The results prove their relevance and effectiveness.

The formation of a collective biological security toolkit is nearing completion. This topic was raised today, and I think we will return to it.

An important place is occupied by the CSTO crisis response system. Considering the first practical experience gained in Kazakhstan in testing this system, it probably makes sense that today we will also consider issues of improving the crisis response system.

The further development of our organisation will be carried out taking into account your decisions and instructions – I am grateful for today’s initiatives and instructions – and based on the plan for implementing the CSTO Collective Security Strategy until 2025.

By the way, next year we need to start preparing the initial data to develop a new CSTO Collective Security Strategy for the next period, 2026–2030. It is high time, and the situation now is significantly different than it was five years ago. This also means a lot of work to be done, and it probably requires that our countries join analytical forces.

Mr Chair and members of the Collective Security Council,

The following two documents have been submitted for your consideration and signing: a draft statement of the CSTO Collective Security Council on the 30th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation; and a draft decision of the Collective Security Council “On awarding participants in the CSTO peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Kazakhstan.”

The draft decision recognises the most distinguished participants in the peacekeeping operation. Six members of our militaries, including commander of our peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan, Colonel General Andrei Serdyukov, are recommended for the CSTO honourary badge, I and II Class, for their skillful leadership, preparation and conduct of this operation, and a number of military personnel are recommended for the medal For Strengthening Collective Security for active participation and selflessness in this operation.

The documents have passed the necessary approval procedure, have been adopted by the statutory bodies and are ready for signing.

I would ask you to consider and support these two documents.

Thank you.

Nikol Pashinyan: Colleagues, I propose to move on to the signing of the documents.

Gonzalo Lira: Why Did Lloyd Austin Call Sergei Shoigu?

May 14, 2022

Sitrep Operation Z: Two very bad days for the Ukraine & The Big Refuse

May 14, 2022

Source

For the Saker Blog

This is too good not to be credited to Brian Berletic:

The United States (and small collective west) is refusing to choose the option that makes sense. This option is coexistence with the rest of the world. Their objective of maintaining primacy over the rest of the world is no longer attainable.

The Big Refuse is of course Lloyd Austin demanding that Russia cease fire.  Yeah, NO!  See Gonazalo Lira here:  http://thesaker.is/gonzalo-lira-why-did-lloyd-austin-call-sergei-shoigu/

Gonzalo Lira calculated the current rate of attrition:

At the current rate of attrition, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will see 10,000 soldiers die by the end of this month, another 20,000 dead by the end of June. This war cannot be won by Ukraine—it’s over. The only solution is to sue for peace. But the US won’t allow this.

Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Polyansky stated that the Russian position on Kiev’s desire to join the EU has changed. It is now similar to the position on Ukraine’s accession to NATO. He also noted that he does not see diplomatic options for resolving the situation in Ukraine at the moment, given Kiev’s position. Polyansky added that without demilitarization and denazification, peace in Ukraine cannot be achieved.

OK, the non-news of the last days: The pontoon bridges

It was stunning in a not very positive way to see how many concern trolls simply kept reporting a purported failure of the Russian soldiers to cross the pontoon bridges over the Severnyi Donets river as well as misinterpreting the supposed loss of a bunch of tanks. Up to five times, these trolls reported, the Russians tried to cross a pontoon bridge.

The hint though was that nothing was reported in reliable Russian sources, yet, it did not stop the concern trolls. Martynov weighs in:

This overall change of the background of SMO may be in the foundation of obviously grossly exaggerated “peremoga” (victory in Ukie) by “annihilating” some whole battalion of “Russian” armor at some Severnyi Donets river crossing, which, as VSU said (red flag immediately) was “attempted five times in a row”. That doesn’t sound like Russian Armed Forces. I cannot find anything on this in Russian sources…

Once you know that this is propaganda, you can understand things like this:

After blowing up the pontoon, we were surrounded: the appeal of the captured AFU officer

The captured military officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Roman Tushevsky called on the Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms and stop the senseless bloodshed.

He said that he was captured while performing a combat mission – undermining the pontoon. On the way back he was surrounded and, after being wounded, surrendered.

“I want to appeal to my comrades: lay down your arms, nobody needs this war,” said the captive “VSUshnik”.

The commentator here from Defense Politics Asia has the right idea. He shows the footage available in the first half of his video and in the second half he explains without doubt that those pontoon bridges mean nothing to the overall Russian advance, the shape of the battlefield and Russian forces crossed the river as they had set out to do. There is no evidence of a batch of dead Russian soldiers, although there must have been casualties. This is a longer video so stay with it and hear the second half.

And if you do not know yet that this is Ukrainian BS, please hear the Russian MoD as to who destroyed who:

🇷🇺📹Footage of destruction of pontoon crossing and AFU units attempting to cross Seversky Donets River

◽️ During reconnaissance and search operations of a motorized rifle unit of the Russian Armed Forces, a UAV crew detected an AFU unit with infantry fighting vehicles attempting to cross using an induced pontoon crossing.

💥 Artillery fire completely destroyed the pontoon crossing and sank. The enemy armoured vehicles with their crews that had managed to cross on the pontoons were destroyed by Russian artillery fire and infantry fighting vehicle crews during the battle. Some of the AFU armoured vehicles were seized by Russian servicemen.

https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1632

The next bit of propaganda is out there: Ukraine of course wins the battle of Kharkov/Kharkiv (of course, this battle has not happened yet and the Russians are just fixing the Ukrainian forces in place and denying them maneuverability).

We have to explain again:

  • Russia is fighting a limited action.
  • The Ukraine is trying to fight a full scale war.

Russia is advancing steadily without letting itself be massacred at some pontoon bridge. Be careful out there with this kind of irresponsible reporting.

Remember in the previous sitrep we said .. Watch Now! Things are beginning to move right through the length of the LOC. Yesterday it looked like this:

The Readovka map is a little more detailed:

Take a look at one situation only – around Severodonetsk.

  • 1. The enemy failed in his attempts to hold Voevodovka. The bridge between Rubezhnoye and Severodonetsk was blown up.
  • 2. The battles for Belogorovka continue. The main supply route Soledar-Lysichansk is under fire from the Russian Armed Forces. Vehicle traffic is unsafe. The enemy shells the crossing near Belogorovka.
  • 3. An offensive is developing north of Popasnaya in the direction of Kamyshevakhi + Russians are probing the defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the direction of Artemovsk.
  • 4. There are battles for Orekhovo and Toshkovo.
  • 5. There is also fighting on the outskirts of Severodonetsk.
  • 6. The battles for Privolye have begun.

With the Russian offense across the complete LOC, we are of course in Fog of War and details are not immediately available, or even relevant.  By the time we post something like this, the situation has changed.

Special Forces of the Interior Ministry of the DPR storm “Azovstal”, breaking through the walls – https://t.me/intelslava/28694  There are also whispers from the Chinese media that another attempt at an exchange of some kind is being talked about.

On Snake Island and in the late afternoon briefing … 💥 1 Bayraktar-TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle (https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1597) is shot down in the air over Snake Island and 3 Ukrainian Tochka-U ballistic missiles are intercepted. This of course has value only for the interest and it is clear that those that are pulling the Ukrainian strings here, really want to have Odesa.

Early Briefing by Russian Defence Ministry

💥High-precision air-based missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces have hit

  • – 5 command posts and
  • – 2 ammunition depots near Spornoe and Berestovoe in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
  • The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 100 nationalists and up to 23 armoured and motor vehicles.

✈️💥Operational-tactical and army aviation have hit

  • – 43 areas of AFU manpower and military equipment concentration.

💥Missile troops and artillery have hit

  • – 18 command posts,
  • – 543 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration,
  • – 1 ammunition depot near Lubomirovka, Kherson Region, as well as
  • – 23 AFU artillery units at firing positions near Verkhnekamenskoe, Krasnyi Liman, Drobyshevo, Yarovaya, Korobochkino and Gusarovka throughout the night.

💥Russian air defence means overnight have shot down

  • – 13 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles near Chkalovskoe, Demetievka, Klinsk, Glubokoe, Balakleya, Goptovka in Kharkov Region, Staromikhailovka, Spartak, Elenovka in Donetsk People’s Republic, Petrovenki and Severodonetsk in Lugansk People’s Republic, including
  • – 1 Bayraktar-TB2 over Mankovka in Kharkov Region.

In addition, 3 rockets of Smerch multiple-launch rocket system have been intercepted Izyum, Semenovka and Snezhkovka in Kharkov Region.

Not too bad for a night’s work!

All those weapons being purportedly sent to the Ukraine? – Well the logistics are fut

https://odysee.com/$/embed/uk’s-soviet-weapons-shopping-spree/609191a57913cb290f18a5981f58a52a87f3dacc

The video summary is: The UK Ministry of Defence admits it is scouring the globe for Russian and Soviet stockpiles of military equipment;

  1. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admits that the most optimal equipment to send Ukraine is equipment they are already familiar with;
  2. Western equipment takes weeks, months, and in some cases years to not just learn to operate, but integrate tactically and strategically into combined arms warfare;
  3. The army the US and NATO spent 8 years building before this most recent conflict is being destroyed faster than the US and NATO can replace it – and it wasn’t an optimal force to begin with;
  4. A similar process played out in Syria from 2015 onward, ultimately failing and necessitating the direct military intervention by NATO (the US and Turkey) in Syria to occupy parts of the country, spoil victory/reconstruction, and preserve the remnants of their proxy force;
  5. Direct Western involvement in Ukraine, similar to the “buffer zones” created in Syria, is likely the best choice among the West’s poor choices left.

And then, you see things like this:

🇺🇦⚡️The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine forbade soldiers and officers to publicly criticize foreign military equipment

  • 1. A new order was received by the troops.
  • 2. Servicemen are forbidden to speak publicly in the media and social networks negatively about military equipment supplied from abroad.
  • 3. Violators are waiting for disciplinary action, as well as removal from office.
  • 4. The new document was developed at the request of the media people of Zelensky’s office.
  • 5. The Kiev leadership is closely monitoring the situation. It was revealed that Ukrainian militants are now actively criticizing American M-113 armored personnel carriers, Javelin complexes, and British anti-aircraft systems. In addition, Polish tanks and Czech Dana howitzers began to be criticized.

Clearly weapons delivery to the Ukraine is not as rosy as what you see in the western reports.

Now that you’ve seen the mod report, it should be easy to follow the detail from Readovka – here machine translated:

  • Over the past day, the topic of the loss of an entire battalion at the Seversky Donets River crossing near Belogorovka was actively discussed. There are a lot of versions of events: from the negligent attitude of the command staff on the ground, to the heroic feat of the soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces during heavy battles. For example, former DPR Defense Minister Igor Strelkov chose an interesting tactic – ” I know, but I won’t tell you about the BTGr’s personal losses at the crossing.” One thing is for sure-the losses are great, but without having been in this “infernal hell” it is impossible to say with certainty why they were incurred.
  • The situation on the fronts today is as follows:
  • The situation on the Kharkiv front continues to be very tense. Units of the Russian Armed Forces shelled the positions of Ukrainian troops in the areas of the settlements of Petrovka, Nursery, Russkie Tishki and Ternovaya in order to prevent their further advance.
  • The Izyum front. Last night, the village of Dolgenkoe was liberated from the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Slavyansk direction. Unfortunately, traces of terrible outrages were once again found on the site.  Ukrainian nationalists abused and killed a woman in Kharkiv region.  The body was found in the village of Dolgenke, liberated from the Ukrainian Armed Forces last night, by Ukrainian militants against the civilian population. According to unconfirmed reports, another Ukrainian Air Force plane was shot down north-west of Izyum.
  • Luhansk front. The bridge connecting Rubizhne and Severodonetsk was blown up. The main supply route Soledar-Lisichansk is under fire from the Allied forces. To the north of Popasnaya, an offensive is developing in the direction of Kamyshevakha. The beginning of the battles for Privolye is celebrated. In turn, the AFU command continues to strengthen the group in Artemivsk (Bakhmut )in order to prevent a breakthrough from Popasna.
  • On the Donetsk front, the Allied forces are trying to advance towards the settlements of Marinka and Novomikhailovka. In the afternoon, it was reported that the People’s Militia of the DPR and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation stormed the settlements of Kamenka and Novoselovka-2.
  • Zaporozhye front. Heavy fighting is taking place on the outskirts of Ugledar. The locality of Pavlovka, which is adjacent to the south-western outskirts of Ugledar, passed several times from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
  • On the southern front, there is another loss of the Ukrainian Air Force near Zmeyny. This time, a 4th-generation MiG-29 fighter crashed into the Black Sea. The Ukrainian command is preparing an offensive by the forces of the 28th and 60th Separate Mechanized Brigade in the Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih directions. There is a systematic artillery attack on the positions of our troops in Vysokopolye and Knyazevka.
  • Calibration today looked as follows: In Nikolaev the warehouse with ammunition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is destroyed.  Eyewitnesses report a column of black smoke at the rear of the Ukrainian Armed Forces; 3 bridges necessary for the transfer of Ukrainian forces were blown up in the Kharkiv region; work was carried out on separate objects in Odessa.
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to shell Kherson.  The cities of the Donetsk People’s Republic continue to be under heavy shelling. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been shelling the territory of the DPR since morning.  Two people were killed, at least eight were injured, and the Kuibyshevsky, Petrovsky, and Kirovsky districts of Donetsk and Staromikhailovka were the most affected. Also, the Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled Dokuchaevsk – one person was killed, four were wounded, among them two RT cameramen were injured.
  • The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation will conduct an investigation into the fact of the shelling of the Belgorod region.  Bastrykin instructed to open a criminal case.
  • An interesting fact is that NATO, in the course of saturating the Ukrainian front with its own weapons samples, sends outdated Western scrap metal under the “Russian press”. Surprisingly, sometimes it even comes to anti-aircraft guns of the Second World War.

And even now, the situation has changed.

Detail:

And we end with a partial quote from Mr Lavrov. This complete video and transcript will be posted when available as it was still live when someone snagged the quote. Seemingly the Russian forces will strengthen the rear echelons. We have to abide by the fact that it now looks like Russia is going to own the Ukraine, or part of it.

As other analysts suggested we also believe it’s now time for Kremlin to deploy more troops on the rear, the current number of Russian troops involved in the special military operation in Ukraine is enough to win the war but it will take more time than expected and it’s impossible to avoid overstretching as the involved brigades (100/120k soldiers in total) cannot fight simultaneously on too many fronts, latest advances in Donbass have been achieved thanks to a massive redeployment, in the region, of the troops initially deployed in other areas, thus some peripheral areas like several settlements in the Northern Kharkov region lately had to be abandoned without fighting, leaving behind their citizens at mercy of Neo-Nazi militias, which is unacceptable.

While it was acceptable to withdraw from areas that were under Russian control for just a few days, it’s simply immoral to withdraw from areas that have been under Russian control already for 2 months.

That is it for today. Enjoy your discussion and please be careful on the Ukie propaganda. It is everywhere.

The US wants to keep its status as a superpower at any cost

May 14, 2022

Source

By Zamir Awan

The US is desperate to sustain its hegemony and supremacy. It is taking extreme measures and can go to any extent to keep its hegemony and supremacy. Its Petrodollars policy has been playing a significant role, but, facing challenges recently and the US is getting nervous and crazy.

The petrodollar is any U.S. dollar paid to oil-exporting countries in exchange for oil. The dollar is the preeminent global currency. As a result, most international transactions, including oil, are priced in dollars. Oil-exporting nations receive dollars for their exports, not their own currency.

In addition, most oil-exporting nations own their oil industries. That makes their national income depends on the dollar’s value. If it falls, so does their government’s revenue. As a result, most of these oil exporters also peg their currencies to the dollar. That way, if the dollar’s value falls, so does the price of all their domestic goods and services. That helps these countries avoid wide swings in inflation or deflation.

The petrodollar system is tied to the history of the gold standard. After World War II, the United States held most of the world’s supply of gold. It agreed to redeem any U.S. dollar for its value in gold if the other countries pegged their currencies to the dollar. Other countries signed this deal at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. It established the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

On February 14, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the alliance with Saudi Arabia.1 He met with Saudi King Abd al-Aziz. The United States built an airfield at Dhahran in return for military and business training. This alliance was so critical that it survived subsequent years of differences of opinion over the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The 1945 agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia cemented the relationship between the dollar and oil. The petrodollar was born. In 1971, U.S. stagflation prompted runs on the dollar. Many countries asked to redeem their U.S. dollars for gold. To protect the remaining U.S. gold reserves, President Richard Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard. As a result, the value of the dollar plummeted. That helped the U.S. economy as its export values also decreased, making them more competitive. A falling dollar hurt oil-exporting countries because contracts were priced in U.S. dollars. Their oil revenue dropped along with the dollar. The cost of imports, denominated in other currencies, increased.

In 1973, Nixon asked Congress for military aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The newly-formed Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries halted oil exports to the United States and other Israeli allies. The OPEC oil embargo quadrupled the price of oil in six months. Prices remained high even after the embargo ended. In 1979, the United States and Saudi Arabia negotiated the United States-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation. They agreed to use U.S. dollars for oil contracts. The U.S. dollars would be recycled back to America through contracts with U.S. companies. These companies improve Saudi infrastructure through technology transfer.

The United States uses the power of petrodollars to enforce its foreign policy. But many countries don’t fight back. They are afraid it would mean the collapse of the petrodollar system.

However, there was strong thinking against the Petrodollar concept and few Arab leaders declared to trade oil; in local currencies or any other currency, de-linking from dollars. The leading role was played by President Sadden Hussain, Col. Qaddafi of Libya, and the Syrian President. The US has punished them and changed the regimes in such countries.

China called for a replacement of the U.S. dollar as a global currency. Although, it is one of the largest foreign holders of the dollar. China influences the U.S. dollar by pegging its currency, the yuan, to it. China has signed a currency swap agreement with more than twenty countries and already trading with them in Yuan or local currencies. China is importing oil and gas from a few Arab nations in Yuan.

Russia has demanded to settle Gas bills in Rubles and a few European countries are already agreed to pay in Rubles. EU has also no objections if any member state pays in Rubles instead of Dollars. Russia is trading with few other nations in Rubles or local currencies instead of Dollars.

Russia has slashed the value of the dollar and the euro by 30% in a jiffy by linking the Russian Ruble to the value of gold and declaring to supply oil only against the Russian Ruble. Russia’s move means that now the entire world, especially Western Europe and Japan will buy the Russian Ruble by selling dollars in huge quantities, as the Russian Ruble has become the world’s most stable currency overnight after being linked to gold.

America, which does not mass-produce anything other than weapons and ammunition, is caught in a terrible economic crisis. In the event of a shrinking dollar, the US cannot cover its 306 billion budget deficit. This will cause severe unemployment and adversely affect the social safety net. This is the economic atom bomb that Joe Biden was aware of when he was talking about the removal of Putin in Poland.

Putin orders European countries to make payments of Gas and Oil in terms of Rubble and open the account in Russian banks. It will weaken the American sanctions on Russia. Although Russia has not retaliated against the American sanctions so aggressively, introduced its policies to counter the sanctions successfully.

The rapid decline of the US has made its leadership nervous and crazy. They are taking all possible measures to sustain their hegemony and supremacy. Even, though the Ukraine war is only a phenomenon, the objective is to maintain status-co. unfortunately, the US is not interested in global peace, stability, or saving human lives. The only priority is to maintain its hegemony and supremacy. To achieve this goal, the US can sacrifice Ukraine, Europe, or any heavy price. The US policy in the Ukraine war is to add fuel to fire, there is no will to stop the war, ceasefire, or save human lives. They are providing weapons, and arming civilians to lead toward a prolonged civil war, to bleed Russian and keep many countries over-engaged and let the US maintain its monopoly and the upper hand.

Russia was reluctant to attack Ukraine and has been observing restrains for quite along. Showing its genuine security concerns and alarming the US with serious consequences, but, the US kept its policy to encircle Russia.

The haphazard joining of NATO by Finland and the defense agreement with the UK is also equally a genuine threat to Russia. Russia and Finland share a long common border. Joining NATO, means, the deployment of NATO forces along the Russian border, which is a direct threat. Joining NATO by other Scandinavian nations is also a serious and matter of deep concern for Russia.

It seems the US has only one priority which is to sustain its position in the geopolitics, it ignores the genuine concerns of other nations. We are scared of the future of geopolitics and afraid the days to come may be harsh for humankind.

In history, many nations rose to the status of superpowers and ruled the world for a certain period of time, then, meltdown and passed the status of superpower to other rising nations. Like Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire, Greek Empire, British, and French empires, etc. But, The US is not willing to accept the natural cycle of superpowers and can go to any extent to keep its status of superpower forever, which is not rational nor natural, it might cause irrecoverable loss to humankind. Unfortunate!


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

(Updated with transcript) Ben Norton aka Multipolarista interviews Michael Hudson: Destiny of Civilization

May 12, 2022

Source

The decline of the US dollar, the three ‘systems’, the sanctions war on Russia, on the eve of the publication of Prof. Hudson’s new book:  The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism.”

UPDATE:  This wonderful transcript is now available just underneath the video

Transcript

BENJAMIN NORTON: Hey, everyone. I’m Ben Norton, and this is the Multipolarista podcast. And I have the great pleasure of being joined today by one of my favorite guests, one of I think the most important economists in the world today. I’m speaking with Professor Michael Hudson.

If you’ve seen any of the interviews I’ve done with Professor Hudson over the past few years, you probably know that he’s a brilliant analyst. He always has, I think, the best analysis to understand what’s going on economically and also politically, geopolitically, in the world today.

And right now is, I think, a very important moment to have Professor Hudson on today. We’re going to talk about the economic war on Russia and the process of economic decoupling between Russia and China and the West, which is something that Professor Hudson has talked about for many years. And that really has accelerated with the Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

We’re also going to talk about the decline in U.S. dollar hegemony. A recent report from the International Monetary Fund, which is dominated by the U.S., acknowledged that the use of the dollar in foreign bank reserves is gradually declining.

Now, it’s not going to disappear overnight. But even the IMF is acknowledging that dollar hegemony is eroding. And, of course, the IMF acknowledged that the Western sanctions on Russia are going to further erode the hegemony of the U.S. dollar.

We now see Russia doing business with China in the Chinese yuan. Russia is also doing business with India with the Indian rupee. And of course Russia has been telling Europe that if it wants to buy Russian energy, it has to do so with Russian rubles.

So there’s so much to talk about today, Professor Hudson, but I want to begin in the first half of this interview today talking about a new book that you’re just about to publish.

Today is Monday, May 9th. You said on Wednesday, May 11th, the book comes out. And it’s called “The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism.”

And everything that I just prefaced this interview with, discussing the economic war in Russia and sanctions and decoupling, this is all deeply related to what you talk about in this book. And I had the pleasure of getting an early copy and reading through it. It’s a really important book, I think.

And you talk about this fundamental divide internationally – and this is a divide that actually goes back historically as well – between these three models for different economic systems you discuss: finance capitalism, industrial capitalism, and socialism.

And your argument is that the U.S. empire has been a force for imposing neoliberalism, which is a particular form of finance capitalism, which is nonproductive, in which finance capital destroys productive industries in pursuit of rent-seeking, and what you call the rentier class.

So instead of producing, as the classical bourgeois economists had said capitalism would be a productive system instead, finance capitalism is fundamentally a system of destruction and debt.

And your argument is that this is deeply rooted in U.S. foreign policy. This is the U.S. foreign policy strategy for expanding its economic power, is imposing this finance capitalist model on the world.

So can you expand further on your argument about the fight between finance capitalism, industrial capitalism, and socialism, and why you decided to publish this book now?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well the book came out of a series of 10 lectures that I did for my Chinese audience. I’ve been a professor at Peking University for a number of years in economics, and have professorships at other universities, Wuhan and Hong Kong.

And I have a fairly large audience of about 65,000 people per lecture there. And I was asked to give my general overview, sort of a history of economic development in the West, for the Chinese.

And in order to understand today’s finance capitalism, you have to understand what industrial capitalism was, as it was described in the 19th century.

And it’s often forgotten, or played down, that industrial capitalism was revolutionary. What it was trying to do – from the physiocrats in France in the late 18th century to Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Marx, and the whole late-19th century flowering of socialism – the ideal of classical value theory and rent theory, was to say what is the actual value, the cost value of producing goods and services?

And what is earned by the capitalist, when he employs labor to make a profit, and what is unearned? And what is unearned was the landlord class. That was the hereditary warrior class that conquered all of the European kingdoms in the Middle Ages.

And the attempt by England’s industrialists was saying, look, we cannot become the workshop of the world; we cannot undersell foreign countries if we have a landlord class ripping off all of the money in land rent.

And if we have predatory banking, or the wealthy people just lend really for buying property, or making distressed loans or predatory loans that have nothing to do with financing actual capital formation.

Well, what made this capitalism revolutionary was the British industrialists and advocates of industry, even the bankers in Ricardo’s time, said, well, in order to overthrow the landlord class, which controls the House of Lords and all of the upper chambers of government in Europe, we have to have democratic reform.

If we have democratic reform and give voting to the people, they’re going to vote against the landlord class, and then we can have an efficient economy where our prices of our exports and our goods and services reflect the actual cost of production, not the rake off for the rentiers class, not the rake off of what landlords take, not the rake off of what predatory bankers take.

And the whole long 19th century leading up to World War One was this revolutionary value theory that depicted land rent and monopoly rent and financial returns as being unearned income and wanting to strip it away.

And all of this seemed to be moving toward socialism. The industrialists were all in favor of government public utilities, of government enterprise, because they said, if the government doesn’t provide health care, then individuals are going to have to pay it, and it’ll cost a lot of money, like it does in the United States.

And so you had the conservative prime minister of England, Benjamin Disraeli, saying, health, all is health, we’ve got to provide public health for the people.

And it was the conservative Bismarck in Germany that said, we’ve got to provide pensions. If labor has to save up for the pensions, then it’s not going to have enough money to buy the goods and services that we Germans are producing. We have got to make pensions public.

So all of this move towards socialism was not only in favor of increasing living standards, which soared in the 19th century, but also in freeing the economy from the rentier class, from the landlords, from the bankers.

And for the classical economists, a free market was a market free from landlords, free from bankers, free from monopolists.

Well, needless to say, the rentiers fought back. And by after World War Two, we’ve seen a continual anti-classical theory replacing the classical idea of free markets with a value of free theory, saying, well, everybody earns whatever they they have. All wealth is earned, not unearned. And if Goldman Sachs partners are paid more than anyone else, that’s because they’re so productive.

So you had a move rejecting classical economics, a junk economics, and a kind of artificial economics that doesn’t really talk about how finance capitalism has worked.

And as it turns out, the business plan of finance capitalism was so predatory that it was anti-industrial.

That’s why President Clinton in the United States moved to invite China into the International Labor Organization, saying, well, we can fight wage rises in America by a race to the bottom. We can we can hire Asians to do work, and that will cause unemployment here. And that’s wonderful for the industrialists. It will basically cut wages and keep American wages down.

Well, that basically is the strategy of finance capitalism, and the aim of finance capitalism is not to invest in factories, and plant equipment, and research and development, but to live in the short term, but to make money by financial engineering, not industrial engineering.

And it becomes predatory, and so you have the whole ideological attack on public enterprise. You have Frederick Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” where you say, if government provides public healthcare, that’s “the road to serfdom,” where actually it’s finance capitalism that is the road to debt peonage and serfdom.

And you have now a whole disparagement of government. And all of this is a counter-revolution to the revolutionary impetus of industrial capitalism in its early stages.

And it’s true that corporations now are just as right-wing as the the banks and the hedge funds. But that’s because corporate industry has been taken over by the financial sector, and the heads of almost every industrial corporation are rewarded the how high they can push the stock price, to exercise the stock options they’re paid in.

And you increase the stock price not by investing more, not by hiring more labor or increasing productivity or increasing sales, but simply by using whatever income you have to buy back your stocks. And by buying back your stocks, this forces up their price.

And, most of all, by giving political contributions in this country to the Democrats and Republicans alike, who appoint Federal Reserve heads that have spent $7-9 trillion buying up stocks and bonds to increase the price of buying a retirement income, to increase Wall Street prices, to increase housing prices, and make America even less competitive industrially.

So finance capitalism is what has essentially de-industrialized the United States and turned the Midwest into a Rust Belt.

Well, the alternative, obviously, are the societies that have not followed this neoliberal finance capitalist plan. And the most successful economy, obviously, has been China, which is why it has been spending so much time there.

And China has done exactly what 19th-century United States, Germany, England, and France did. It has kept basic utilities, basic needs, housing, and above all, finance and banking, in the public domain, as public utilities.

Instead of having an independent financial sector operating on its own self-interest, the Bank of China creates the money. And the Bank of China lends money by deciding, where do we need to have investment in real estate to provide housing for the population at as low a price as we can make it? How do we build up the industry? How do we provide an educational system with training? How do we provide health?

And the fact is that the central planning in an efficient socialist style, not the Stalinist planning that everybody refers to of Russia, but a mixed economy as you have in China, which is truly a mixed economy, with guidance, like the French planification.

Well, that is obviously the way in which you survive and you avoid the kind of overloading the economy with debt service, with high rents, with high payments to the health-care monopoly in the United States, by avoiding all of this payment to a rentier class that has what the classical economists call unearned income, predatory income.

And instead of unseating them, we’ve put them in charge, and made the banks and Wall Street, and the city of London, and the Paris Bourse, the central planners.

So we do have central planning much more centralized than anything that was dreamed by the socialists. But the planning, the centralized planning is done by the financial sector.

And financial planning is short-termism; it’s short-term planning; it’s take your money and run. And that’s what is stripping and impoverishing the global economy today.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Absolutely. And, in your book, you write about the important distinction between the classical economic idea of a so-called free market, and how, you argue that, neoliberals turn that idea on its head.

So this is what you write in your book. And this is, again, Michael Hudson’s new book, “The Destiny of Civilization,” which is out this week. You write:

“The neoliberal ideology inverts the classical idea of a free market from one that is free from economic rent to one that is free for the rentier classes” – that is the rent-extracting classes – “to extract rent and gain dominance.”

So they they completely flip the idea of what it means to have a free market.

And then you note that, “in contrast to classical political economy, this neoliberal ideology promotes tax favoritism for rentiers, privatization, financialization, and deregulation.” And you discuss all of that.

That is, of course, what we could call the Washington consensus.

And then you argue that “U.S. foreign policy seeks to extend this neoliberal rentier program throughout the world.”

And you have a very interesting section of your book where you discuss this concept as “free-trade imperialism.”

So can you talk about what your idea of “free-trade imperialism” is and how it relates to U.S. foreign policy?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, the Nobel Prize is given basically for junk economics. And probably the worst junk economist of the century was Paul Samuelson.

He made the absurd claim that he proved mathematically that, if you have free trade then, and don’t have tariffs, and don’t have any government protection, then everyone will become more equal. At least the proportions between labor and capital will be more equal. Well, the reality is just the opposite.

And the term “free-trade imperialism” was actually created by a British historian of trade theory who pointed out that, wait a minute, when England went for free trade, the idea was, if we have free trade, we can stifle other countries from being able to industrialize, because if we have free trade, then we can tell America, we will open our doors to your markets – meaning the markets of the slave South, that Britain supported – and in exchange, you will open your markets to our industrial goods.

And America followed that until the Civil War, which was fought not only over slavery, but by the Republican Party after 1853 that said very explicitly, if we’re going to win the election – the Whigs never could win – if we, the new party, are going to win the election and industrialize America, we’ve got to integrate ourselves with the anti-slavery issue, with emancipation, but for us, the economic war of America is a war of, either we’re going to have protective tariffs in the North, or we’re going to end up as a non-industrial, raw materials-producing society, as the South wants.

And that was the debate from 1815, when the Napoleonic wars ended and world trade began again, until really the Civil War.

And America became strong in the way that Germany became strong too, by having protective tariffs, in order to have prices large enough to nurture what was called infant industry, to nurture American manufacturing.

And I wrote a long book about this, published some years ago based on my PhD dissertation, “America’s Protectionist Takeoff.”

Well, the English tried to fight against other countries protecting their economy, saying that if you just have free trade, you’ll get rich. Whereas the reality is, if we have free trade, you’ll get poor, if you’re not already able to have industrial and labor productivity and agricultural productivity on par with the most advanced countries.

Free trade was an attempt to prevent other countries from investing government money and building up their agriculture, and building up their industry, and building up their productivity, and creating a school system, to raise wages, to make wages more productive.

And the American protectionists said, well, we’re going to have a high-wage economy because high-wage labor undersells pauper labor. And skilled, well-fed, well-rested American labor can produce much more than the pauper labor of other countries that have free trade.

Well, what the leading American protectionist economist, Erasmus Peshine Smith, went to Japan and helped industrial help Japan break away from British free trade, helped Japan industrialize.

And other American economists, other foreign economists, all picked up the ideas of the American protectionist, like Friedrich List went to Germany promoting protectionism.

And Peshine Smith’s book, “The Manual of Political Economy,” was translated into all the foreign languages – Japanese, Italian, French, German.

And you had Europe realizing that free trade polarizes economies. Well, it was this that after World War One, and especially World War Two, when you had orthodox economics turning into basically propaganda.

That’s where you and Samuelson and others try to convince other countries, governments are bad, leave everything to the wealthy people, to the finance people, trickle-down economies, it’s all going to trickle down, don’t worry, just give more money to the rich, and don’t have any government interference with markets.

Whereas America had got rich by interfering with markets, to shape them in the years leading up to World War One.

But after World War One, America had already achieved its industrial dominance. And it was after World War One that America said, ok, now our protective tariffs have enabled us to outproduce all the other countries, and our protectionist agriculture especially – the most protected sector in America, has always been agriculture, since the 1930s.

Basically it said, well, now we can outproduce other countries, we can undersell them, now we can tell them to go for free trade.

And after World War Two, the Americans created the World Bank for economic impoverishment, and the International Monetary Austerity Fund.

And the World Bank’s leading objective was to prevent other countries from investing in their own food production.

The guiding line of the World Bank was, we’ve got to provide infrastructure for building up plantation agriculture in Latin America, and Africa, and other countries, so that they will grow tropical export crops, but they cannot be permitted to grow grain or wheat to feed themselves; they must be dependent on the United States.

And so the function of free trade, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund has been to finance dependency, backed up by the American support of dictatorships throughout Latin America who agree to have client oligarchies supporting pro-American trade patterns and avoiding any kind of self-reliance, so that the United States can do what it has recently done to Russia and other countries, impose sanctions – say, well, now that you depended on us for your grain, we can now impose sanctions, and you can’t feed yourself if you don’t follow the policies we want.

That was the policy that America tried to use against China after Mao’s revolution. And fortunately for China, Canada broke that monopoly, and said, well, we’re going to sell grain to China. And China was always very friendly to Canada in those earlier decades.

So basically, free trade means no government, no socialism. It means central planning essentially by Wall Street – countries should let American firms come in, buy control of their raw materials, resources, control of their oil and gas, and mineral rights, and forests and plantations, and basically let other countries send their whole economic surplus to the United States, where it will be duly financialized to buy out other countries’ raw materials and rent yielding resources.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Yeah, and in your book, you have a very funny passage that I think really encapsulates this ideology that you’re talking about here.

You referred to Charles Wilson, who was the secretary of defense under Eisenhower in the U.S., and he was also the former CEO of General Motors.

And he famously said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” And that idea has morphed into the idea that, “What’s good for Wall Street is good for America.”

And then you note that “this merged with evangelistic U.S. foreign policy that says ‘What’s good for America is good for the world.’ And therefore the logical syllogism is clear: ‘What’s good for Wall Street is good for the world.’”

And you describe this, you link it to the new cold war, this idea that what’s good for the U.S. is good for the world and what’s good for Wall Street is good for the U.S., therefore, what’s good for Wall Street is good for the world.

You argue, “We must recognize how finance capitalism has gained power over industrial economies, above all in the United States, from which it seeks to project itself globally, led by the financialized U.S. economy. Today’s new Cold War is a fight to impose rentier-based finance capitalism on the entire world.”

And this is such an important analysis. Because among those very few people of us who talk about this idea of the new cold war and how dangerous it is, there are very few people who frame it in economic terms.

Usually we frame it in political terms, right, the geopolitical interests between the US and the EU on one side, and China and Russia on the other.

And going back to Brzezinski and The Grand Chessboard, his 1997 book, where he talks about the importance of preventing near strategic competitors from emerging in Eurasia. That’s of course a geopolitical discussion and economics is part of it, but it’s often not at the forefront.

But your analysis I think is even more important, and more accurate, because your argument is not only is it geopolitical, but the geopolitical struggle is rooted in economics. And this is an economic struggle between systems.

So talk talk more about the new cold war and how you see it.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, as we’re seeing now, the world is dividing into two parts. We can see that in the fight against Russia, which is also a fight against China, and against India, as you noted. And it seems Indonesia and other countries as well.

The United States is pushing a world that can be controlled by American investors. The ideal of the American neoliberal plan is to do to other countries what it did to Russia after 1991: take all of your public domain, your oil companies, your nickel mines, your electric utilities, give them all to the wealthy oligarchy, that can only make money once it’s taken control of these companies, by selling the stocks to the West.

The West will buy out oil, just like Mikhail Khodorkovsky tried to sell Yukos oil to Standard Oil in the West. And we’ve got to put an oligarchy that will sell all of the national domain, all of the patrimony and natural resources, and all the companies, to American investors on the cheap.

The Russian stock market led all the stock markets in the world from 1994 up to about 1998. This was a huge rip off. The United States wants to be able to do that to the rest of the world.

And it was furious when Russia said, we’ve lost more population as a result of neoliberalism than we did in all of World War Two fighting against Nazism. We’ve got to stop.

And Russia began to say, we’ve got to use Russia’s population, and industry, and natural resources for Russia’s benefit, not for the United States’ benefit.

Well, the United States was absolutely furious with this. And the fury has erupted in the NATO war against Russia in the last few months, and what’s ongoing now.

And the United States says, U.S. State Department officials have said, what we want to do is carve up Russia into maybe four different countries: Siberia, western Russia, southern Russia or Central Asia, maybe northern Russia.

And once we’ve done that, we cut Russia off from China, then we go into China. We finance, we send ISIS and al-Qaeda into the Uyghur areas, the Muslim areas, and we start a color revolution there. And then we break up China, into a northern part, a southern part, a central part.

And once we break them up, we can more or less control them. And we can then come in, buy up their resources, and take over their industry, their labor, and their government, and get richer to obtain from China, Russia, India, Indonesia, and Iran the wealth that we’re no longer producing in the United States, now that we de-industrialized.

So the world is dividing into two parts. And it’s not simply the United States and its European satellites on the one hand versus the non-white population on the other hand; it’s finance capitalism versus the rest of the world, which is protecting itself by socialism, which in many ways fulfills what was the ideal of industrial capitalism during the 19th century, when industrial capitalism was actually progressive.

And it was progressive. That’s part of the whole theme of my book. It was revolutionary. It tried to free economies from the legacy of feudalism, from the legacy of hereditary landlords.

And now the financial class is no longer the landlord class, but the landlord class pays most of its rent to the financial class in the form of mortgage interest, as it borrows money to buy property and housing and commercial sites on credit.

And you have the kind of financialization that has increased housing prices in the United States to over 40% of income, that is officially guaranteed for mortgages. That has priced American labor out of the market.

Privatized health care, 18% of GDP, that is pricing America out of the world market. Debt, auto debt, student debt, which in other countries education is free; that’s pricing America out of the market.

So you have a basically un-competitive economy that’s committing financial suicide, following the same dynamic that destroyed the Roman empire, where a predatory oligarchy took over and maintained power by an assassination policy of its critics, just very similar to what America has been doing in Latin America and other countries.

So you’re having history repeat itself with this same kind of world split. And this split couldn’t have occurred back in the 1970s, with the Bandung Conference in Indonesia. There were other attempts by the Non-Aligned nations to break free of American imperialism, but they didn’t have a critical mass.

So right now, for the first time, you have a critical mass. And you have the ability of China, Iran, Russia, India, other countries together to be self-sufficient. They don’t need relations with the United States.

They can handle their own; they can create their own monetary system outside of the International Monetary Fund, which is basically an arm of the Defense Department. They can give loans to build up the infrastructure of countries outside of the World Bank, which is basically an arm of the Defense Department, the deep state.

So you have the American economy – essentially a merger between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street FIRE sector, finance, insurance, and real estate – really cannot develop any more than the Roman Empire could develop, by trying to obtain militarily what it could not produce at home anymore.

Well, China and other countries, now that they have their industrial base, the raw materials, the food, the ability to feed themselves, the agriculture, and the technology, they can go their own way.

And so we’re seeing in the last few months the beginning of a war that is going to go on for, I think, 20 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. The world is splitting away.

And it won’t be a pretty sight, because the United States and its European satellites are trying to fight to prevent an inevitable break away they cannot prevent, any more than Europe’s landlord class could prevent industrial capitalism from developing in the 19th century.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Yeah, and this is a good segue to what I wanted to ask you about, Professor Hudson, which is the economic war on Russia.

And I should say, of course, that today is May 9th. Today is Victory Day in Russia, celebrating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two. Not the US and British victory over Nazi Germany, the Soviet victory, in which 27 million Soviets died.

And actually I should say that, here on YouTube, in the comment section, there are some Russians who are your fans, Professor Hudson, saying they’re thanking you for your cogent analysis of Russia.

But on the subject of Russia, Professor Hudson, we now have seen that since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine on February 24th, we saw really what could be referred to as financial shock-and-awe. That’s a term that’s been used.

Just as when the U.S. invaded Iraq, it waged a military shock-and-awe campaign on Iraq. Well, now it is waging economic or financial shock-and-awe on Russia.

And Russia has been referred to as the most heavily sanctioned country in history. Which I think is probably accurate, although maybe the DPRK, maybe North Korea, is more sanctioned. But I mean we’re talking about levels of sanctions not seen against a country of this size ever.

And you can also refer to it as the contemporary equivalent of medieval siege warfare against Russia.

Joe Biden, in a speech in Poland, made it clear what Washington’s goal is: it’s regime change. The U.S. wants to overthrow the Russian government, as it did in the Soviet Union in 1991, and clearly install a a pliant alcoholic neoliberal puppet like Boris Yeltsin.

So can you talk about, from an economic perspective, what do you see as the effects of this economic war on Russia?

And specifically in terms of the concept of decoupling, which you have talked about for years, and you have said that the Western sanctions on Russia and China were accelerating that process of decoupling. And this was before the financial shock-and-awe we’ve seen.

So you talked about a move away from this neoliberal globalization where everything is interconnected, or at least capital is interconnected globally, to the creation of a kind of, what you could say is kind of an economic iron curtain.

But how do you see that also in terms of integrating the Eurasian economies more deeply?

And also what is the effect on the European economies, which my impression is that Europe is going to become what you call an economic dead zone, more and more reliant on the U.S., whereas Russia, China, and Iran, and even potentially India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia – we’re seeing much more economic integration of Asia, which is, of course, where the majority of humanity lives.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well you have used the words shock-and-awe, picking it up from the U.S. statements of shock-and-awe. There hasn’t been any shock-and-awe; there’s been a self-defeating piffle, and laughter.

That’s not all. There was an attempt to grab $300 billion of Russia’s foreign reserves, saying, well, any country that leaves their reserves in American banks or in the American Monetary Fund to stabilize their currency, we can grab if we don’t like their policy.

So the idea was, now Russia is going to go broke. It can’t afford to buy anything without U.S. dollars. And the people are going to get so angry, they’re going to vote against Putin. And then we can pour in our money to twerps like Navalny and other right-wingers who have promised to be the new Yeltsins.

Well, it didn’t work that way. They did grab the $300 billion of Russia’s reserves. Russia immediately said, ok, we have our own money. We now, fortunately, have enough oil and gas that we don’t have to sell to Europe and Germany. If they want to freeze in the dark and let their pipes burst when the weather gets cold, that’s their problem. We’ll sell to India, and China, and other countries.

And there was, for a few days, the ruble plunged, by saying, uh oh, what is Russia going to do? So all the foreign exchange traders thought, you can trust Biden to have a really brilliant policies.

I think Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winner, said Biden is the greatest American president since Roosevelt, or since Truman, that he was so smart. Well, that’s why Krugman got the Nobel Prize, for making statements like that.

So immediately Russia said, well, obviously we can’t get paid in dollars anymore, or in euros, because, you’ll just grab them, so you’ll have to buy oil and gas in rubles. We’re going to price it in our own currency. Just like China had talked about pricing its exports in yuan.

And so what has happened is that immediately the ruble not only recovered, but is now selling at a higher rate than it was before the American sanctions. So there was no shock at all. The Americans felt shock.

The Americans are shocked. The Americans are awed. The Russians are laughing and everything is going their way.

So it’s almost as if – I would not accuse Biden of being on the pay of Russia, and I would not say that the leaders of Congress are the Russian agents, but if they were Russian agents, if they were paid by Russia, they could not have done a better job of helping Russia catalyzing its protectionism that it wouldn’t do itself.

The fact is that President Putin and many of the people around him still were neoliberals. I mean, they began as neoliberals, in the ’90s.

They began by hoping that they could make an arrangement with Germany and Europe, that Europe would develop their industry and make Russia as efficient an economy as Germany or the United States. Well, obviously that hasn’t happened.

All the same, they didn’t think of imposing protective tariffs as the United States did. They didn’t protect their agriculture. They bought grain, and cheese, and other agricultural products from the Baltics, and from other countries.

Well, now that, once the Americans put on the sanctions, beginning already under the Trump administration, all of a sudden Russia had to produce its own food.

And it did. It made the investment. It is now the largest agricultural exporter in the world, not a food-deficit country. It’s not importing any more cheese from Lithuania and the Baltics. It has its own cheese segment.

And the sanctions are forcing Russia to do exactly what the United States, Germany, and other protectionist countries did in the 19th century, developing their own industry by isolating it from low-priced foreign imports that would be priced so low that the Russians otherwise could not afford to make the investment in factories, plants, equipment, research, and development.

So what the United States has done is actually catalyze Russia moving together.

And also, for three or four years, I have been talking with Russians, and with the Chinese, and other countries about the need to de-dollarize. If you want to develop your own economy, you have to develop your economy in your own interest with public spending and planning, independent from the United States.

Well, now everybody thought that, well, in a few years it may take a decade for China, Russia, Iran, all these countries to break away from the U.S. But America said, we’re going to help you, we’re going to speed up the breakaway process. We’re going to isolate you. So you’ve got to band together against us.

So that’s exactly what it has done. You can just imagine how the Russians are crying all the way to the bank about this.

And how China is watching what the Americans are doing to Russia, and listening to President Biden saying, you know, Russia is not our real enemy, our real enemy of China. And when we’re finished with Russia, then we’re going to go against China and do the same thing to it.

Well you can imagine what this is leading the Chinese government to try to plan to be sufficiently independent from the United States, so that similar type sanctions will not hurt it.

And President Xi in the last few weeks has said we’ve got to make China as independent as possible. We’ve got to make our own computer chips. We’ve got to not depend on the United States for anything, except maybe Walt Disney movies. That’s basically about it.

So it’s as if – you know, I had mentioned earlier that finance lives in the short term. American policy, being financial policy, lives in the short term. And it’s looking at if it can make a quick, a quick victory, and forget about what’s going to happen next.

I’m told that, years ago, already from the war with Iran, and then Iraq and Syria, in the State Department, if there were Arab specialists who spoke Arabic, they were all fired. Because they said, well, if you can speak Arabic, you must’ve learned Arabic because you’re sympathetic with them. You’re fired. We won’t have anyone who can read Arabic here.

Well, now in the last decade or so, they fired all the Russia specialists from the the State Department and CIA, saying, well, if you can read Russian, why would you want to learn Russian? You must like something in Russia. You wanted to learn it. You’re fired.

So they have people who have no idea of what’s happening in Russia, no idea what’s happening in these other countries. And they’re blinded by their ideology.

And if anyone would say, wait a minute now, public planning and making education a public utility is actually making them more competitive, well, that’s against the ideology. That’s not the corporate type.

And they’re taught, well, we really can’t trust people, maybe they’re tending toward socialism, and they’re out the door.

So you’re having American policy pretty much run by the blind, and the Europeans are simply taking orders, and money in little white envelopes from the United States, to just show their loyalty, and basically are willing to spend three to seven times as much for their energy, for their liquefied natural gas and oil, by buying from the United States, than they are by a long-term contract with Russia.

Europe is willing to spend now $5 trillion on putting together ports that can handle shipping tankers for liquefied natural gas instead of relying on the Russian pipeline, the Nord Stream Two, that’s already there.

So Europe is making an enormous sacrifice. If it doesn’t have Russian gas, and it refuses to pay rubles, it says, if you don’t give us our gas and oil for free, you’re attacking us, because we’ve been getting all of your oil and gas for free, because all the dollars, all the money we pay, you’ve recycled to the United States in your foreign reserves. Thank heavens, the U.S. can grab it all. If you don’t continue to give it to us for free, then you’re attacking us.

To the United States, other countries protecting their economy, other countries trying to raise their living standards, and especially other countries undertaking land reform, are viewed as enemies of the United States, because they’re an enemy of the neoliberal American financial system.

And the idea of the unipolar world where the United States gets all of the profits, and rents, and interests of the world economy, just as ancient Rome stripped its provinces by getting all of their wealth and income for themselves, not producing it at home, while impoverishing their own domestic population. It’s just an exact parallel.

So Europe is willing to say, well, ok, if we don’t have a Russian gas, well, that means that our chemical companies cannot buy the gas to make the fertilizer to make our crops grow, and our agricultural productivity is going to fall by about 50%.

We’re also going to spend a lot more money on America’s military, NATO arms to support NATO. So higher food, higher military spending, higher energy costs.

This ends Europe as an industrial rival to Asia, and Eurasia, I should say, because now the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and other spending investment, capital investment, throughout Western Asia is creating a new productive plant that is not only self-sufficient, but is leaving the United States and Europe without any industrial competitive power. They’ve priced themselves out of the world market. They’re no longer competitive.

So the world is developing. And I’m sure the only way that the NATO countries can fight against it is militarily, by threatening to bomb. But they can’t fight economically. They can’t fight financially. They tried by disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system. It put it in its own system very quickly.

It really is left without a strategy, except that it’s done a wonderful job of controlling the public relations dimension of this war, making it appear as if somehow other countries are the aggressors, in not letting America exploit them, and making it appear as if Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine, instead of NATO prodding and prodding Russia to say, we’re going to capture your port at Crimea, and we’re going to attack the Russian-speakers if you don’t fight back, and we’re going to keep bombing them year after year, from 2014 on, we’re going to keep bombing them until you protect them.

So all of this is treated as if America is purely defending itself. Well, this is what the Nazis said in World War Two. Hitler and Goebbels said, we can always mobilize a population to support our war by saying it’s a war to defend ourselves.

And that’s how the United States in Europe are doing it. Not only are they pulling a strategy out of Goebbels’ Nazi book, but a few weeks ago, Germany went to the museums, the military museums, where they had the old Panzer tanks from World War Two, and they sent the Panzer tanks, the Nazi tanks from World War II, to Ukraine, saying this is symbolic, now we can fight Russia with the same German Nazi tanks run by the neo-Nazi groups, that Zelensky is supporting, the same Nazi fight against Russia. We can reenact World War Two with the same tanks, even symbolically, to show that this is a fight of Naziism, and neoliberalism, against Eurasia.

BENJAMIN NORTON: We’ve also seen Germany not only re-militarizing, but also boosting its relations with Japan. There are some terrifying echoes of of World War Two.

But you mentioned something that I want to analyze a little bit more, which is the strength of the Russian ruble. I talked about the concept of financial shock-and-awe that was waged on Russia. And President Biden said, “the Russian ruble has become rubble,” he joked. He said the Russian ruble has become rubble.

Well, that’s actually not at all what happened. This is the value of the dollar to Russian rubles, right now [showing a graph]. Russian rubles are at 69 to the dollar. A few days ago, it was at 64, or 65 to the dollar, which is actually better than it was even before the Russian war in Ukraine, which began in February 24th.

And it did spike, and there was a peak here, at which it was devalued to 139 to the dollar, about half the value it has now. But in the months leading up to the Russian military intervention, in November and December, it was around 75 to the dollar.

So the ruble has actually strengthened despite these sanctions. And here’s a report from Reuters from five days ago, that was May 4th: the “Rouble leaps to over 2-year high vs dollar, euro as EU ups sanctions.” So the ruble is doing quite well.

And you talked about the Russian mechanism to force Europe to buy energy exports from Russia in the Russian ruble. And this graphic here, for people watching, it’s in Russian, but really it just shows this mechanism in which a European firm that wants to buy gas from Russia’s state owned gas giant Gazprom, it has to send the money in euros to the Gazprombank, which is the obviously the bank that works with Gazprom, and then it puts it in a special account in euros, and then that is sold in the Moscow exchange for Russian rubles.

And then those rubles are put in another special account, called a K account, that belongs to that European firm. It has two accounts, two special accounts with Gazprombank, one in euros, one in rubles. And then this special ruble account sends that money to Gazprom. And then once the money reaches Gazprom, that’s when Russia considers that the payment officially went through.

So this is the mechanism by which Russia is getting paid in rubles. And much of Europe claimed at first that they would not do so, but eventually they gave in. So that’s an incredible development.

And related to that, what I wanted to ask you about, is I think another reason that the Russian ruble has strengthened and stabilized is not only because Russia continues to maintain constant exports of energy to Europe and other parts of the world.

You can talk about the central bank policies. But one of the policies is that the Russian central bank has basically put the ruble on gold, which I think is a very interesting and historic development.

And we saw that from the beginning of April until the end of June, the Bank of Russia says that it’s going to buy gold at a fixed price of 5000 rubles per gram of gold. And then the question is whether or not in July, when this policy ends, if it’s going to continue, and if the ruble will basically become fixed, it become pegged to gold like the U.S. dollar was up until 1971.

So you don’t think it will be? So talk about this policy. Do you think that that the gold standard is going to come back? Or apparently you don’t think so.

MICHAEL HUDSON: No, Russia is not going on on the gold standard. What it is doing is investing, its foreign exchange in the only way that is not grabbable. It’s investing it in gold; it’s putting gold in its reserves.

It is not setting its exchange rate according to the price of gold, but it is buying gold with what it has been getting.

I want to go back to your talk about rubble. You talked about, “from ruble to rubble,” what President Biden said.

There have been a lot of pictures of rubble in the news for the last few days. For instance, there are talks of, here’s a Ukrainian picture, and look at this picture of a Russian tank, we shot it down, it’s rubble. Turns out it’s a Ukrainian tank, that they just say it was the Russian tank we shot down.

So basically, they’re taking their own destruction, and they’re saying that, while they’re being destroyed, they’re saying, no, this is a picture of Russia being destroyed, Russian assets, not Ukrainian assets being destroyed.

Well, the similar thing is with the Russian ruble. America says, look, we’ve isolated the the ruble. Well, what has happened? If you isolate the ruble and you say we’re not going to export anything more to Russia, so it’s not going to be able to spend any of its rubles on buying American or European products.

Well, meanwhile, Russia can continue to earn rubles from Germany and Europe, and it can continue to earn foreign exchange from other countries that it’s selling its agriculture to at rising prices, its oil and gas at rising prices, too. So obviously, the balance of payments is going way up.

And they believe that what is in store is a new monetary system that is an alternative to the dollar IMF system.

And in this system other countries will hold their reserves in each other’s currencies. In other words, Russia will hold Indian rupees and Chinese yuan. China will hold rupees and Russian rubles.

There will be the equivalent of what Keynes thought of as something like artificial special drawing rights that the banks will be able to create to help fund governments to undertake capital investment.

But for settlements settling balance of payments deficits among countries, once they don’t have enough foreign exchange to make a swap, they will use gold as the means of settlement, because gold is a pure asset. It’s not a liability.

Any foreign currency basically is held in a foreign country that has the power to do what America did to Russia and just grab it all, and say, we’re just wiping it all out.

It’s as if you have a bank account, and the bank says, we’ve just emptied out your account to give it to one of our friends, and you don’t have it anymore. You can’t do that if gold is held in your own country.

Venezuela made the problem of keeping its gold in England, trusting England, saying that, even if there is war, they’ll never interrupt gold and finance. And England just grabbed Venezuela’s gold.

So, obviously, countries are not going to leave their gold in other countries. Even little Germany has asked America to begin sending back the gold that it has in the Federal Reserve Bank of America because it’s worried that what if it ever buys Russian gas again? America will grab all of Germany’s gold, grab all the German money, and it’ll be like World War One all over again.

So this act that America did of grabbing Russian money, Afghanistan’s foreign reserves it grabbed, this is telling all the other countries, pull all your money out of dollars. What are they going to put it in? There’s not that much they can put it in that it is absolutely safe.

So gold is a flight to safety today, because it’s one of the things that all of the world realizes as having an international value for settling balance of payments deficits, that is independent of world politics.

So that’s the explanation. Russia is not going on gold. It’s going on an independent standard from the United States with gold as an element of its foreign reserve, just as it’s holding Chinese yuan and Indian rupees.

It’s not going on the rupee standard. It’s not going on the yuan standard. And it’s not going on the gold standard. But these are elements of its foreign reserves.

BENJAMIN NORTON: I have a question for you. It’s kind of a more technical question that I’ve always wondered. And I’ve tried to do research on this, because there’s not much information.

So we know that that the U.S. and European Union have frozen over $300 billion from Russia’s central bank foreign exchange reserves. And of course they did this after doing the same to Iran, to Venezuela, to Afghanistan, which is now threatening a famine in Afghanistan that could kill more people than died in the 20-year NATO-U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan, which is another topic that really needs to get more coverage.

And I should add, by the way, that the US and the EU, they’ve frozen nearly half of Russia’s central bank’s foreign exchange reserves, and are now saying they’re not going to give it back. So they stole it. I mean, they stole half of its reserves.

My question is, what is the mechanism by which they effectively freeze and steal those reserves?

Because my understanding is that there is of course a physical element of those reserves, which you’re talking about, which is gold. But not all of the $640 billion in Russia’s central bank reserves is physical currency, right? A lot of it is just computerized? It’s number in computers and bank accounts.

So when when the U.S. and the EU steal this money from central banks like in Russia or Afghanistan – obviously in the case of Venezuela, as you mentioned, they physically stole the gold. But if it’s not gold, is it physical cash stored in Moscow, like physical dollars and euros? Or it’s mostly just numbers in a computer, which is why they can steal it?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Every country needs to manage its exchange rates, and there’s always like an up-and-down and a zigzag in the flow of payments for imports and exports, investment, capital movements, debt service, all of that.

So countries want to stabilize their exchange rate. How do they do that? Well, most of the big exchange markets are in New York and in London.

So countries would leave their money in correspondent banks. Like when Iran, at the time under the shah, kept that foreign reserve in the Chase Manhattan Bank. So when Iran, after the revolution and Khomeini came in, and Iran wanted to pay interest on the foreign debt that the shah had run up, they told Chase, please, here’s our bondholders, please pay them.

Well Chase was told by the Treasury, don’t pay them, just take the money and hold it. So Chase said, we put a freeze on your account. And so Iran defaulted, and then Chase and the State Department said, oh, Iran defaulted, it missed the payment. Now, all the money that it’s due for foreign debt has to be paid all at once. And Chase paid all of the bondholders off. No more money in the account. It was all emptied out.

Suppose you had an account in Chase Manhattan. And they said, ok, now you’ve done something really bad, you put Michael Hudson on the show. We’re going to grab your account. We’re going to give it to Mr. Guaidó, because he needs the money in Venezuela because the people still are not voting for him. So all of a sudden, you won’t have money in your account. It’ll go to Mr. Guaidó’s account.

Well, that’s what happened with Russia. They took the money. They grabbed the money from Russia’s account. And they said, half the money we’re going to give to, I think, to the 9/11 people, because we all know that it was Russia that bombed the World Trade Center on 9/11.

And we’re going to give it to all sorts of other people who suffered all over the world. It’s all Russia’s fault.

BENJAMIN NORTON: But Professor Hudson, when you say that they seized Russia’s assets, you mean the assets held by the Russian central bank in foreign bank accounts?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes, yes.

BENJAMIN NORTON: And these are not physical assets, these are numbers in a computer, right?

MICHAEL HUDSON: In Venezuela’s case, Venezuela had used some of its oil company earnings to buy oil stations and refining companies and the United States actually grabbed the ownership of the gas stations and the refineries and distribution system that Venezuela had in America.

BENJAMIN NORTON: It’s called Citgo.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Citgo, yeah. Russia doesn’t really have any capital investments in the United States. It did have bank accounts, and that was all that the United States could grab.

BENJAMIN NORTON: So when you say that, when Russia, at least for now, the central bank is allowing convertibility of rubles at a set rate into gold, that’s a temporary policy to make sure that they have a physical asset that their central bank can hold on to, because if they have dollars or euros in their reserves, my understanding is that’s not physical cash, it’s actually just numbers in a computer, so they don’t have it physically in their bank reserves, so it’s easy to steal that money.

Obviously, if they had billions of dollars worth of cash, of paper cash, it would be much harder to steal it, but if it’s just on a bank account, if it’s numbers in a computer, then they can just freeze it.

So I think this is also a reflection of a point that you’ve also made about the financialization of the economy, is it’s also just a lot of this capital is not even physical capital.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes. Savings take the form – one person’s savings is another person’s debt. So these are Russia’s deposits in American banks that it used to buy or sell rubles, or to buy goods from America, or to receive payments in, if Russia exports something such as oil. Americans buyers of Russian oil would put the money into the Russian bank account.

They never dreamed that this would be grabbed. But now Russia says, ok, you’ve grabbed our money, now that means that we get to grab all of your assets in Russia. This is great! All of your stock holdings in nickel, and Yukos, and all these other companies, ok, you’ve got the money, we have the assets, look at us as just buying the assets on the cheap.

And the Western investors in Russia have all been selling their Russian assets to show that they’re good American citizens in NATO, and the Russians are buying up these European and American assets on the cheap, largely by borrowing money from the banks, that get the money from the central bank, now that they’re so wealthy, and all of the foreign exchange reserves is a result of the American shock-and-awe statement, that’s sort of shock-and-awe in reverse.

So Russia is coming through just fine. And you can imagine how the American strategists are gnashing the teeth. They don’t understand how Russia was able to avoid being bankrupted by this.

They really are not economists. They’re not really financiers. They’re foreign-policy strategists. They’re ideologues that are not very well educated in how to think about the future and how to recognize the fact that the world can actually change from what it is today into something else. And sometimes that change is not in America’s interests. That is sort of not a permitted thought over here.

So essentially, Americans and Europe are operating in the blind, and Russia and China, and Iran, and India, are all looking at how are we going to restructure the world so that we come out of it more prosperous than we were before, not more impoverished. That’s really what the world is dividing into.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Professor Hudson, I don’t know if this is directly related, but it’s it’s something that’s always been a very curious question in my mind.

Germany, back in 2016 and 2017, it moved, physically moved, its central bank’s gold reserves, which had been stored in New York, London, and Paris, and it physically moved those reserves, those gold reserves, to Frankfurt.

Now this was before the U.S. and Britain stole Venezuela’s gold reserves and other reserves. But do you know anything about what motivated Germany’s central bank to move the physical location of its gold reserves into Germany itself?

MICHAEL HUDSON: I don’t think it’s all moved yet. It’s still going on. Gold is very heavy, as heavy has lead, basically. And America said, well, we can only do a little bit, trickle by trickle. So America has been returning the gold very slowly.

So I think Germany, with all of its history of hyper inflation, I think just realizes that, now that gold is not used to settle balance of payments deficits anymore – the gold that Germany had in America was all of the exports that it made to the United States during the Vietnam War. This is Vietnam War gold.

You remember that President de Gaulle would every month cash in, the dollars that America spent in Vietnam would all be spent from Vietnam to Paris, the dollars would end up there, the central bank of Paris would essentially buy gold on the London exchange and keep the gold either in New York or in London.

Well, Germany, because America defeated Germany, and it wasn’t going to keep its gold in Russia, that defeated it even more, it said, well, ok, we’re cashing in our surplus dollars for gold, but we’re going to hold the gold in America.

But now it says, well, America is never going to settle its balance of payments deficits and its foreign debt in gold again, because it doesn’t have any balance of payments surplus, any ability to do that.

It’s going to spend its export surplus and its investment surplus on war. So it’s never going to be able to pay. That’s obvious. Let’s get the gold back.

That was the calculation that every country was making already a decade ago. They realized that America can never repay its foreign debt, unlike other countries.

When other countries can’t pay their foreign debt, they have to go to the International Monetary Fund, that tells them, well, we’ll make you a loan, but you have to sell off your natural resource reserves to the Americans, or we won’t lend you the money.

Well, basically, that’s not going to happen anymore. They realized that America is just going to say, haha, we’re just not going to pay.

Well, now other countries are saying, wait a minute, if America’s never going to repay its foreign debt, why do the Global South countries have to pay their debt to the IMF and the World Bank, all this dollar debt to dollar bondholders?

If America won’t pay, we don’t have to pay. Let’s have a clean slate. Let’s start from the beginning. And we’re only going to have debt and credit relations with friendly countries, not countries that want to go to war with us like America did in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and now Russia.

So that’s basically what’s happening.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Great. And just to wrap up here, I have another question. And I know your time is limited, so I really appreciate you being here.

I have a quick question about the decline in U.S. dollar hegemony. We were talking about the strength of the ruble, the economic war on Russia; we talked about the bilateral trade that’s growing between Russia and China using the Chinese yuan, between Russia and India using the Indian rupee. And Iran also is talking about doing business with a basket of currencies.

I want to point to a report that was recently published by economists who work with the IMF. And I published an article about this over at Multipolarista.com, “IMF admits US dollar hegemony declining due to rise of Chinese yuan and sanctions on Russia.”

And there is this report that was published by the IMF, by these economists, and I cite you, Professor Hudson, in this report. It’s a working paper from the IMF, published in March, titled “The Stealth Erosion of Dollar Dominance.”

And here’s a graph, for people watching, here’s a graph from the report. And it shows not a large, but a noticeable and consistent decline in the use of the holding of the U.S. dollar in the foreign exchange reserves of central banks around the world. So this is around the world.

And it has declined in the past years from about 70% of central bank exchange reserves to about 60%. So a 10% decline. That’s not massive, but it’s steady and I think it’s going to accelerate.

And at the same time they’ve also found an increase in the use of what they call “non-traditional currencies” in the foreign exchange reserves of central banks around the world.

And here you can see this graph. I mean it looks like a significant influence because if you look at the y-axis it’s only from 90 to 100. But there is a significant increase in the use of other currencies in foreign exchange reserves, aside from the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, and the British pound. And the currency that is increasingly popular is the Chinese yuan.

So that’s one half of my question. The other half is about this interesting report that was published in the Financial Times, and it’s titled “Russia Sanctions Threaten to Erode Dominance of Dollar, says IMF.”

And the FT interviewed the IMF’s first deputy managing director, Gita Gopinath, who acknowledged that the sanctions imposed on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine could lead to what she says “fragmentation at a smaller level.”

And she did say that the dollar is eroding influence, but “would remain the major global currency.”

So, that’s a two part question. I’m wondering if you could talk about the decline in U.S. dollar hegemony and how the sanctions will potentially erode that. And then the other half of the question is, can you comment on the declining use of dollars in foreign exchange reserves?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, this is what my book “Super Imperialism” was all about. When I first published it in 1972, I could see how the whole thing was unfolding for the next 50 years. And we just published last year a third edition of it, bringing it up to date.

Dollar hegemony means America’s entire balance of payments deficit in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s was military. So the dollars that were being pumped into the world economy were the result of military spending.

But the dollars would end up in foreign central banks, especially from Asia to France, Germany, others. What were they going to do with it? Well after 1971 they could not buy gold anymore, so all they could do was buy U.S. Treasury securities. IOUs.

And so they re-lent to the Treasury all the money that America was spending militarily. And the more money America spent in waging its cold war militarily against the world, the more money central banks would lend to the U.S. government to finance the U.S. deficit that was spent largely on the military-industrial complex and foreign military operations.

So dollar hegemony was a free lunch financing America’s almost 800 military bases across the world, to fight against communism, defined as any country that doesn’t let American industry and finance buy control of its raw materials, agriculture, resources.

And this has now come to an end. Right now America has grabbed Afghanistan’s, and Russia’s gold. All of a sudden it’s obvious that, this summer, there’s going to be an enormous squeeze on Third World countries, on the Global South.

Their energy prices are going to go way up, and that’s going to hurt them just like the oil shock of 1974 and 1975 did.

They’re going to have to pay higher food costs, because of food prices are going to go way up now that the Ukraine war is erupting.

And a lot of their foreign debt, dollarized debt service, is coming due. And they’re facing a choice: if they pay the foreign debt, they can’t afford to buy the oil and energy that they need to run their factories and heat their homes. They can’t afford to buy the food to feed their people. Whose interests are they going to put first?

Well of course their leaders are going to put America’s interests first, and their own interests second, because their leaders, if they’re a client oligarchy, are put in power by the U.S. military, as sort of miniature Pinochets, throughout Latin America and other countries.

So suppose other countries decide, well, we’re going to feed ourselves and we’re not going to wreck our economy just to pay foreign bondholders. We’re a sovereign country. We’re going to put our national interests first.

Well, then the United States can say, aha, we’re going to grab all of your foreign assets in the United States.

Well, other countries can say, oh, they’re going to do to us just what they did to Afghanistan and Russia. Let’s move our money out of the United States quickly. If we don’t have dollars, well, it’s true, we can’t pay our dollar bondholders, but at least we can, in international markets, we can buy the food and the energy we need.

And so the tensions, the disruption of world prices, and inflation, and trade that is a result of the NATO attack on Russia, now threatens to drive all of the southern hemisphere countries into an alliance with Russia, China, India, and all the rest.

So America basically is creating a new Berlin Wall, but the wall is isolating itself from other countries, and driving other countries all together into what I hope will be a happy, self-sufficient, non-U.S. globalized economy.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Well, I want to thank you, Professor Michael Hudson. It’s always a real pleasure having you. I know you’re very busy, so thank you for giving us so much of your time.

I’ll say that the comment section here on YouTube has been very vibrant, with some interesting conversation. And what’s nice is there are people from all over the world, from the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and from Russia. So it’s good to see a mix of people.

And for anyone who wants to listen to this, you can check out the podcast version if you look up Multipolarista on Spotify, and iTunes, and all the other podcast platforms.

And I’ll just say, while I wrap up here, that today we were talking about, at the beginning of this discussion, a new book that Michael Hudson is publishing this week. It is called “The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, or Socialism.”

It’s a very good book. I had the privilege of getting a review copy early. So definitely check out that book.

You can also find all of Professor Hudson’s writings at michael-hudson.com.

Thanks, Professor Hudson.

MICHAEL HUDSON: It’s really good to be here. It was a good discussion.

From the Finlandization of Ukraine to the Ukraine-ization of Finland

May 12, 2022

Source

Translated by Ricardo Nuno Costa for the Saker Blog

The Finnish President and Prime Minister today announced their support for the country’s membership of NATO at the forthcoming summit in Madrid on 29-30 June.

I have no illusions, this is bound to happen without the will of the Finns for which a popular referendum had been promised on the matter, or that it will even be submitted to Parliament, where it would be approved anyway.

The main internal requirement for the admission of new countries is that they “add security” to the bloc. Since when does this move make Europe safer? But there are more conditions and clauses of the international legal framework that are being purposefully violated, and shameless disregard for signed agreements.

Let us not even mention the still pending demands that the Kremlin notified in writing to NATO in December, which NATO chose not even to respond to, and which obviously clash with the current situation. Russia had already made it known that the entry of Sweden and especially Finland into NATO is perceived as a threat. Perhaps it was reasonable to understand the Russian point of view.

The President of Croatia has recently made it known that he will veto the planned extension as it is “a very dangerous adventure”, in the words of his MFA. Any country can and should oppose this clear provocation, but we know that if this happens, those who are interested in the militarisation of Europe will spin the issue one way or another, as there have never been legal or procedural limits of any kind to this complex.

So, if this “express” entry of the Nordic country into the Alliance goes ahead, it will suppose an increment of more than double the length of the current border between NATO and Russia. This should be viewed with great caution, since all members will be affected by whatever may happen from there. This has been said here before, but today the irresponsibility becomes clearer and the concomitant danger more imminent.

After long years of discussion about the so-called possible and reasonable Finlandisation of Ukraine’ as a militarily neutral zone between Europe and the nuclear superpower Russia, we are now much closer to the Ukraine-ization of Finland. Do you know what that means?

Sitrep Operation Z – Where are we?

May 11, 2022

Source

The main observation which one cannot help but agree with, comes from Andrei Martyanov and I rephrase somewhat:

The rate of change is markedly accelerating as the first result of the crumbling and implosion of the Ukraine as a state and the structure of its armed forces.

Things will go quicker now and they are, as discussed further!

First though, pure fantasy. We call it ‘narrative’ but it is fantasy!

This was found on a Ukrainian site : https://t.me/ice_inii

Take a look at a few things here: The US influence, the fantasy of being the Robin Williams character in the movie Good Morning Vietnam and the fantasy of being the gook! These fighters live in a movie. And then, the breakdown of the fantasy. This is another example of exactly what Martyanov means.

We stay for a moment in fantasy.

Andrei Martyanov commented on Lieutenant-General Kellog who, contrary to his statement about “everything he learned about war”, never learned shit.  http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/05/when-bs-meter-goes-off-scale.html

A quick comparison of the US and the UK commentary on Putin’s speech

Here we have UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. This can only be classified as repugnant and if Kellog according to Martyanov ‘never learned shit’, this one only ‘talks shit’. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/speech-by-defence-secretary-on-russias-invasion-of-ukraine

A short snippet:

“I thought about the scale of their (ordinary Russian soldier) suffering across the Soviet Union, but also how the suffering was used, then as it is now, to cover up the inadequacy of those ruling in safety and comfort from behind the Kremlin walls above and within the General Staff nearby.

Foreign Minister Baerbock has no idea what she is saying and her grasp of history is non-existent.

“Germany is responsible for the defense of Ukraine and all of Europe,”

Zelensky, besides his other problems, is tone deaf ..

Nothing to Celebrate?

May 11, 2022

Source

by James Tweedie

On May 8, when Victory in Europe (VE) Day is celebrated in the West, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN that Russia had “nothing to celebrate” on its own Victory Day on May 9.

Her reasoning, faithfully transcribed on the US mission’s website, was that “They have not succeeded in defeating the Ukrainians.”

Given that Victory Day and VE Day both specifically commemorate the allied defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Thomas-Greenfield’s comments were like saying the US, Britain and France had nothing to celebrate this year because they got chased out of Afghanistan by the Taliban last August.

The ambassador is either an apologist for Nazism or merely too ignorant to do her job. She should at least read some objective reports about the conflict in the Ukraine.

In fact Russians had two immediate military victories to celebrate that Monday. Russian and Lugansk People’s Republic troops captured the town of Popasna, a lynchpin in the Ukrainian army’s defensive line that it had held for eight years.

Meanwhile Kiev, apparently desperate for a victory of its own to rain on the parade through Moscow’s Red Square, launched an airborne and marine assault on the now-famous Zmeinyy (Snake) Island off the coast of Odessa oblast.

Some sources say the Russians withdrew their small force holding the island as bait for a trap, but either way it went horribly wrong for the Ukrainians. They lost four jet fighters and strike aircraft, up to 10 helicopters, a corvette and three infantry landing craft. More than 60 of their personnel were killed, of which 27 were abandoned on the island.

The Ukraine is like a bull elephant that has been shot right in the heart in mid-charge. The beast keeps on bellowing and rampaging around, not yet realising that it’s already dead.

It becomes clearer by the day that the Ukrainian army attempting to occupy the remains of the Donbass republics, newly recognised by Russia just as the West ‘recognised’ its creations of Kosovo and South Sudan, is dead on its feet.

Its navy, air force, artillery, tanks and transportation are almost destroyed. Its casualties are replaced with boys and old men press-ganged off the streets of Kiev and Lvov, some without proper boots. Its senior officers are fled or dead.

Meanwhile the collective West, dominated as always by the Washington, pours in its hodgepodge of arms that belong in a museum, not on the battlefield. The latest arrivals are the 90 much-vaunted 155mm howitzers donated by the Pentagon — and made in UK, because the US military-industrial complex seemingly can’t produce a simple towed cannon any more.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin insisted on April 28 that the artillery pieces would prove “decisive” in the war with Russia. The former Raytheon executive can’t stop speaking in his arms industry sales patter. 90 guns is about what the Ukrainian army is losing every week. What use are they anyway against Russia’s hypersonic missiles, with a range of hundreds of miles and an accuracy radius of seven metres?

Pouring random assortments of arms into a country and expecting it to win against a well-organised and equipped opponent is just as incoherent a strategy as the war of attrition the US waged in Vietnam, or sending a whole army into a frontal assault on a mountain pass defended by a thousand.

Who is going to operate all this stuff if most of the experienced weapon and vehicle crews have become casualties or prisoners? How is it even supposed to get to the front when Russia has air superiority over the country and stand-off weapons that can reach right out to the border with Poland and kill hundreds of foreign mercenaries?

“Ukraine clearly believes it can win and so does everyone here,” Austin told his NATO counterparts at the Rammstein airbase a few days earlier, in a touching display of mass delusion on a US-occupied piece of Germany. “Ukraine needs our help to win today and they will still need our help when the war is over.”

In a pre-recorded virtual address to the Ukrainian parliament on May 3, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made similar exhortations. “The so-called irresistible force of Putin’s war machine has broken on the immoveable object of Ukrainian patriotism,” Johnson declared triumphantly. “Ukraine will win, Ukraine will be free.”

Kiev is claiming it can rebuild its exhausted, demoralised, bled-white army in the west of the country — or better yet, in NATO-member Poland — and march east in a great wave of self-righteous retribution to reclaim the Donbass and Crimea.

This is accompanied by bizarre fascistic artwork of crusader knights, flying the 30-year-old Ukrainian flag, slaughtering Russian army orcs — literal fantasy role-playing game orcs with the letter ‘Z’ marked on their foreheads. And Western leaders are actually taking this stuff seriously.

Austin believes that fighting this war the last drop of Ukrainian blood will weaken the Russian military enough that it won’t be able to fight another war for years to come. Not so long ago this retired four-star general publicly referred to present-day Russia as the Soviet Union, whether by accident or on purpose we do not now.

Perhaps Austin should read a little history and discover that the USSR lost 27 million human lives in the war against Nazi Germany and its many European fascist allies, all now current or prospective NATO members.

Six million Soviets soldiers and partisans fell on the battlefield. Three million more were murdered by the Nazis as as prisoners of war, along with 18 million civilians.

Yet the Soviet Union emerged from that cataclysmic war stronger than ever, as the superpower that counter-balanced the US in the post-war order.

Like Germany in 1945, the Ukraine is marching fanatically towards its terrible Götterdämmerung, leaving a trail of footprints in its own blood. And NATO is standing behind, cheering it on and prolonging the death-agony.

This is just too ‘delicious’ not to sitrep quickly – Ukraine calls force majeure and halts 1/3 of European gas

May 10, 2022

Posted by Amarynth

Kiev cites ‘force majeure’ in Lugansk to halt third of gas flow to Europe, while Gazprom says there have been no issues that would justify the halt.

Russian gas conglomerate Gazprom has received no confirmation of force majeure or any obstacles to continued transit of gas through a junction in Lugansk, the company said on Tuesday, after Ukraine’s operator OGTSU announced it would halt further deliveries starting May 11, due to the presence of “Russian occupiers.”

https://t.me/EurasianChoice/13335

RT is still reporting, but here it is:  https://www.rt.com/russia/555265-gazprom-gas-ukraine-europe/

Be aware this is up to the minute, so details may change.  (But is it too early to say … the Ukraine is sanctioning Europe?)

Andrei Martyanov: Victory Day, May 9th, How To Make A Decision. Real War Planning.

May 09, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Sitrep Operation Z: Yeah, we have some Big Deals

May 08, 2022

Prepared by Saker Staff

From the Russian Mod:  “Thanks to unprecedented measures taken by the leadership of the Russian Federation, with the active participation of representatives of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, humanitarian operation to evacuate civilians from Azovstal plant is now complete.”

There still are rumors of high level military in the plant but humanitarian corridors are closed.  A group of reportedly about 1,000 soldiers walked out with white flag.  The Russians have taken into custody enough people now to be able to stitch together who else is down there.  We wait, with a good level of inquisitiveness, for some perp walks.

From the Field:  The settlement of Popasna under full control – this is a Big Deal.

A very important strategic settlement, the capture of which breaks the first, most powerful line of defense of Ukraine in the Donbass.  We have the first videos from refugees detailing their struggle:  

https://t.me/intelslava/28203

Take a look at this map and it should not be hard to understand why this is a Big Deal.

Snake Island 🐍 near Odessa:  not even a little help from our ‘NATO colleagues’ could save the snake and the Russian Mod reports 💥 Near Zmeinyi Island (https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1398) the following have been shot down in the air: 1 Ukrainian Su-24 bomber, 1 Su-27 fighter jet, 3 Mi-8 helicopters with paratroopers and 2 Bayraktar-TB2 UAV. The Ukrainian amphibious assault boat Stanislav has also been destroyed.  This is a Big Deal.

A series of Warnings from the Russian Mod:

On the occasion of the 77th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the many military parades, we can expect Ukie action.

⚠️ Ukrainian armed formations have mined the dam of Kurakhovskaya thermal power plant reservoir (https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1403) in Pokrovskiy district of the Donetsk People’s Republic, which the nationalists plan to blow up, blaming “allegedly advancing units of the Russian troops”.

⚠️ The Kiev regime carried out yet another sophisticated actionIn Seversk and Serebryanka settlements of the Donetsk People’s Republic (https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1402) to discredit the Russian Armed Forces before the world community. During the provocation, fighters of nationalist battalions dressed in Russian uniforms and driving armoured vehicles with “Z” sign fired on private houses, forcibly took valuables and personal vehicles from people, and physically assaulted civilians who showed the slightest resistance.

Nevertheless, plans and rehearsals for the parades are ongoing:  Dress rehearsal (https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1376) of a military parade was held in Moscow.

Intel Slava Z has the minute details for today, as well as Readovka.

The captured Chief of Staff of the Ukraine has this to say:   “Ukraine could make concessions in order to end the conflict, the main points are a regime without NATO and a guarantee of non-aggression,” Colonel Dmitry Kormyankov, captive chief of staff of the 36th Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

And is this a signal or was Pyotr Tolstoy just musing about the Polish border?:

“Russia’s military operation in Ukraine won’t end until the country is “completely denazified and demilitarized, so that it no longer poses a threat to the Russian Federation and cannot be transformed into an anti-Russia, as the West has tried to do in the past 30 years,” says (https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2022/05/03/news/russia_intervista_pjotr_tolstoj-348021441/deputy speaker of Russian parliament Pyotr Tolstoy.

“I think we will stop once we reach the border with Poland,” added the lawmaker, who is also the great-great-grandson of acclaimed Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.

The collective west supplies Rubbish!

Becoming more clear now is that the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance are using the conflict in Ukraine in order to get rid of obsolete and decommissioned weapons.  Rubbish is being brought to the Ukraine, and then the Russians destroy it.  This is now obvious. The disgusting quality of the Javelin anti-tank missile systems (ATGM) supplied by the United States and the Swedish-British portable anti-tank guided missiles NLAW were recently reported by a prisoner – a former soldier of the Ukrainian army.

Vadim Zholko, a soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine:  “Their Javelin and NLAW grenade launchers, which were very much advertised, showed themselves in practice as they really were. There were misfires. They usually shoot one out of four, ”said the prisoner.  The fired projectiles explode at fifty meters before reaching the target, or do not work at all. “That is, there were many of those whose batteries were expired,” the prisoner of war shared his impression of what he saw. The man complained that the training at the training grounds was mainly theoretical – “they showed it in a fast way.” Why misfires regularly occur was not explained to recruits. The reason became clear during the fighting – most of the batches of weapons had an expired shelf life.  Cheaper NLAW complexes also turned out to be far from perfect.

Bloomberg reported that Kyiv is losing a week-long supply of weapons every day.

This all indicates that we will see more fighting in spots, but then, seemingly, it will all fall down and the Ukrainian forces will simply stop firing.

The information war is not neglected by Russia, although they fumble.  On Friday, the permanent Russian staff to the UN held an informational meeting (Arria Formula) for the UN Security Council.  It was not Hollywood (Nebenzya is a serious man, but he is not an actor!).  It was heart-wrenching.  The outcome is that the UN Security Council could do no less, they were unable to maneuver out of this one and had to agree to a statement to search for a peaceful solution.  Even with the United States holding the chairmanship this month, this united action could not be forestalled.  As the cauldrons tighten around the fighting Ukrainians, so the cauldrons are tightening around the actions of the very small united west.

This is the presentation: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1p/k1pvngjn8e

Is this worth anything?  Yes, because these countries now cannot say they did not know.  This is the list of 15 countries.  Hold them to account!

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