Russia denies downing US Reaper, Pentagon declines disclosing if armed

14 Mar 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US summons the Russian ambassador to Washington to protest the crash of a US MQ-9 drone into the Black Sea.

A US MQ-9 Reaper drone in Afghanistan, March 2016 (Reuters)

The Russian Defense Ministry denied US allegations and said its fighter jets did not come into contact with the US MQ-9 drone that crashed into the Black Sea earlier, pointing out that the drone crashed due to “sharp maneuvering”.

Earlier, the US European Command claimed that a Russian fighter jet dumped fuel on an American drone over the Black Sea and then collided with it, causing the drone to crash. The White House called the crash a result of “reckless” behavior by Russia.

“The Russian fighters did not use their onboard weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV and returned safely to their home airfield,” the Ministry confirmed.

The Russian Defense Ministry indicated that the US drone fell into the Black Sea on Tuesday morning due to its own sharp maneuvering, confirming that Russian fighters did not come into contact with it and did not use weapons.

“As a result of sharp maneuvering around 09:30 Moscow time [06:30 GMT], unmanned aerial vehicle MQ-9 went into an uncontrolled flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface,” the Ministry said.

The Ministry clarified that on Tuesday morning, the airspace control of the Russian Aerospace Forces had recorded the flight of the US unmanned aerial vehicle MQ-9 over the Black Sea in the region of the Crimean peninsula in the direction of the Russian state border.

The flight of the drone “was carried out with transponders turned off, violating the boundaries of the area of the temporary regime for the use of airspace, established for the purpose of conducting a special military operation, communicated to all users of international airspace and published in accordance with international standards,” the statement read.

It added that Russian fighters from the air defense forces on duty were scrambled in order to identify the intruder.

US summons Russia ambassador over drone crash

Following the incident, the US summoned Russia’s Ambassador to protest the crash, the State Department confirmed.

“We are engaging directly with the Russians, again at senior levels, to convey our strong objections to this unsafe, unprofessional intercept, which caused the downing of the unmanned US aircraft,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

Price said the Russian Ambassador in Washington has been convened at the State Department Tuesday afternoon and the American ambassador in Moscow registered a “strong objection” to the incident.

The spokesperson said the incident marked a clear violation of international law.

US had to crash drone in Black Sea after damage: Pentagon

On the other hand, the Pentagon claimed that the US military was forced to essentially crash its MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone because of the damage caused when it was allegedly struck by a Russian jet.

“Because of the damage, we were in a position to have to essentially crash into the Black Sea,” Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters, adding that the drone was basically unflyable after the damage.

Ryder said Russia had not recovered the crashed drone at this point.

The Pentagon spokesperson declined to disclose whether the Reaper drone was armed, saying he is not “going to get into the specific profile of this particular aircraft. As you know the MQ-9 does have the ability to be armed.”

Austin not in contact with Shoigu over drone crash

Elsewhere, Ryder said that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has not talked to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu after the recent incident.

“In terms of Secretary Austin talking to his counterpart, not at this time,” Ryder said. “To my knowledge, DOD [Defense Department] officials have not spoken specifically to Russian authorities on this particular incident.”

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Revisiting Russian objectives in the Ukraine

January 17, 2023

Check out this list of headlines, all from one source only, RT and all from the past week or so:

Some are only “more of the same” (like the Ukronazis making the Aussies ban Russian flags at the Open), some are rather disgusting (like the Ukronazi blogger who wants to exterminate the Russian people), some are revolting (like the French warning 5000 Russian graves that “their concession is expiring”!), some are hilarious (like the idea of bust of “Ze” at the Capitol building), some are outright crazy (like the idea of a “Ukraine peace summit” without Russian participation).  Some are weird but encouraging (like the Kentucky gubernatorial candidate, a Democrat, calling for an impeachment of Biden for war crimes).  But some are very, very serious indeed (like the increase of the size of the Russian military to 1.5M or the fact that both the General Milley and Defense Minister Shoigu visiting their troops at the same time.

One could certainly say that these headlines are “signs of the time” (“but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Matt 16:2-3), but what does this all mean?

First, these headlines are like a snapshot of the West’s collective insanity.  Please keep in mind that the past week was no more and no less rich in crazy ideas and statements than previous weeks.  This snapshot is what one could call the “West’s homeostasis” or, in other words, that is the norm, the stable mental condition in which the West operates.  Future historians, assuming the AngloZionists freaks in power allow us to have a future other than a nuclear apocalypse, will marvel at the collective insanity which overcame an entire continent.

Second, both the rabid #CancelRussia mass phenomenon and the discussions about sending NATO weapons, including MBTs, fighter aircraft, SAMs and the like are an expression of the same impotent rage felt by the leaders of the West.  And headlines like this one “Russian economy doing much better than expected (…)” The financial results for 2022 have exceeded many forecasts, the president [Putin] says” certainly do not help.

The obvious danger here is that frustrated, hate-filled people are typically not capable of rational decision-making.  Let’s, for example, take the “clever” idea of sending the Ukronazis (well, NATO, really) more tanks or aircraft.  If you look at the numbers discussed, they are so small as to make no difference.  But once you sent them to the Ukraine and they get destroyed by Russian missiles, what do you do next?  Send more?

It took the Russians about one month to basically destroy the (original) Ukrainian armed forces.

Then it has taken Russia about 9 months to destroy most of the hardware former Warsaw Treaty Organization (no, it is *not* called a “Pact” – that is pure propaganda and why not call NATO the Atlantic Pact by the same logic?).  The sad part here is that in the process of destroying all that WTO kit, Russia had not choice but to inflict horrendous casualties with Ukrainian KIA/MIA going well into the several hundred of thousands.  “Ze” sent wave after wave after wave of mobilized men straight into the Russian meat-grinder with no chance of prevail and very little chance of survival.

It might take Russia a year or more to fully destroy all the hardware (and “volunteers”) sent by NATO.  Russia is certainly making plans for a long and major war, hence the re-creation of the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts (you can think of them as “fronts” once a war starts) or the massive increase in weapons procurement up to and including strategic deterrence forces (nuclear and conventional).

Right now, Russia seems to be focusing on destroying the (comparatively) better trained units of the mixed NATO-Ukronazi forces in the eastern Ukraine.  The Russian strategy is very simple: Russia can kill NATO soldiers and hardware faster than NATO can provide reinforcements.  Obviously, this is only a temporary situation, and there are three groupings of Russian forces (North, East, South) all along the frontlines which can intervene at any time and give Russia something she never had since the initiation of the SMO: a full combined arms offensive and a numerical superiority over the other side.

Most knowledgeable observers, such as Col Maggregor, believe that a Russian offensive is all but certain.  Wars can be very unpredictable, and Putin does have a genius ability to act in unpredictable ways, so I would not say that this offensive is absolutely certain, but I agree that it is highly likely.  However, such an offensive is not risk free.

In purely military terms, there is no force on the European continent which could take on the Russian forces currently aligned along the Ukrainian border.  In political terms, there is a major issue for Russia: any terrain that she liberates will have to be protected.

During the first phase of the SMO, the Russians sent in a comparatively small force, which did great in combat against the Ukronazis, but which did not hold ground (which you never do in economy of force and maneuver warfare), resulting into absolutely awful optics including:

  • The perception that Russia promises to come and protect the people she liberated only to then abandon them.
  • The perception that the Russian retreated because of Ukronazi military successes.

The fact that neither of these statements is quite true does not help as they are “close enough” to the truth to sound convincing.  As a result, the Russian side completely lost control of the narrative, for a while even inside Russia!  It took the appointment of Surovikin to reassure the Russian public that while mistakes were made (including in the early phase of the war or during the mobilization), those mistakes would be addressed and corrected.  Now with the Russian Chief of General Staff in final and personal control of the war, nobody doubts that the Kremlin does mean business.

There is also a small, but noticeable change, in the western propaganda with more and more voices dissenting from the official AngloZionist party line.  Of course,  the economic disaster facing the EU is most helpful in sobering up the Europeans: now that more and more EU citizens have to say “bye bye” to the comforts and jobs they used to enjoy (including first and foremost, dirt cheap energy costs), we can count on an increasingly loud rumble of protests.  Maybe not “pro-Russian” ones, no – most Europeans, especially northern Europeans, *do* hate Russia – but at least anti-Establishment ones.  Having silenced your conscience does not keep you warm or, for that matter, employed.  The EU will now discover the very real costs of rabid russophobia.  And sending tanks to the Ukraine obviously won’t help.  Hence the current strikes and protests in several EU countries.

So when the promised offensive materializes, there will be only two options left: ditch the Ukronazi regime “Kabul style” or full commit NATO (or a subset of NATO states) to invade the western Ukraine.  My money is on the latter option.

Actually, this is not one option, but two very different ones.

  • In the first case, NATO (or a subset) will move in unilaterally hoping that Russia will not strike the occupation force.
  • In the second case, the US and Russia could strike a deal and jointly agree to partition the rump-Ukraine.

Obviously, the second solution in infinitely safer and preferable, but just like Hitler and his goons did not want to negotiate with Russian subhumans, neither do the AngloZionists.

Still, here is a truism which must be always kept in mind:

==>>There is nothing in the Ukraine Russia wants or needs<<==

This was true of the Ukraine before the SMO, and it is even more true today.  Country 404 is basically deindustrialized and a prototypical failed state, while the population has been so brainwashed that it will take years to deprogram them.  Russia only wants two things:

  • Protect the Russian speaking population from genocide
  • Deny NATO the use the Ukraine territory to attack Russia

Notice that neither of these options necessarily requires making major territorial gains.  I would even argue that, with one exception (see below), it would be ideal for Russia to achieve these objectives by liberating as little as possible of the currently Nazi occupied land.  As I have said it many times, the Ukrainians need to clear their own house and not expect Russia to do it for them.  Alas, it will take another generation of Ukrainians to do that, assuming they ever will.  But as long as country 404 is sufficiently demilitarized, Russia can wait for the denazification to seep into the minds of millions of brainwashed Ukrainians.

The first consequence of this, is that the Russians are more than happy not to move forward and have the US push NATO forces into the Russian meat grinder.  True, it is unlikely that Russia will be able to demilitarize and denazify the Ukraine without a major offensive to finish up the Nazi forces.  However, the seizure of land is not the Russian goal, only the means to achieve it.

Then there is the issue of the Nikolaev-Odessa-PMR (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic).

While the Kremlin might have other plans, I personally don’t see any other option than to open a land corridor to PMR.  This would also have the immense benefit of cutting the rump-Banderastan from the Black Sea.  For NATO, however, the loss of Odessa and the Black Sea Coast would be a major setback, both politically and militarily.  There were some really dumb ideas circulated about this in the West,including sending in the 101st as a “tripwire” force.  Why is that dumb?  Simply because *IF* the Russians have concluded that the liberation of the entire Ukrainian coast is vital to the security of Russia, then no “tripwire” force will stop them.  And what will the US do if that tripwire force is attacked?  Launch a fullscale nuclear attack on Russia?

Are the US Neocons willing to lose Washington DC, New York, Miami or Los Angeles over Odessa?  I don’t know, but if they are the typical self-worshiping Nazis (which they are), then a nuclear holocaust might seem preferable to these hate-filled freaks.  Can somebody sane stop them?  I don’t know that either.

The headlines above suggest to me that no real decision has been made and that right now there is a tug of war inside the western ruling elites about what to do when the (almost certainly) inevitable Russian offensive happens.  By the way, this fact by itself might be a good reason for the Russians not to move in too soon.  Yes, it is unlikely that saner voices will prevail, but being a nuclear superpower Russian must act with utmost caution and not listen to the Russian turbopatriots and the western “friends of Russia” would have been advocating for total war for months, if not years.

Maybe the “Georgian model” is what might save the day?

Remember how during the three day war in 08.08.08 Russian forces were closing on Tbilissi with nobody left to defend the Georgian capital?  The Russians decided to call back their forces (no, Russia has no need for either the land or the people of Georgia.  Sounds familiar?) but Saakashvili reinterpreted this withdrawal as “our heroic and invincible forces stopped the Russians”.  And two years before that, Dubya who declared with a straight face that Israel defeated Hezbollah the “Divine Victory” war.  So maybe the AngloZionist can save face by declaring that they “prevented Russian from seizing Lvov or Ivano-Frankovsk”?  And if the Russians decide not to try to liberate Kiev, then NATO will be able to declared that “we stopped Russia from seizing Kiev”.  Yes, that would be a rather transparent lie, at least for those few still capable of critical thought, but I personally much prefer a lie, however, silly, to a fullscale war.

So maybe Russia needs to have a third, unspoken, objective: give the crazies in the West a face-saving “out”, no matter how thin or ridiculous.  In fact, I am pretty confident that there are folks in Russia working on this right now.


U.S. Jackals Smelling Blood i.e. a Prohibitively Huge Potential for Profit in the Russian Arctic

January 13, 2023


Natasha Wright

The Russian military industry in 2022 switched to the unprecedented work pace to be able to deliver the needed weaponry for the special military operation. At the same time, the hard work on prospective patterns of armament, which is mercifully not used at present yet.

On 1 December 2022, the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed the new law pertinent to the internal seas of the Russian Federation, which in practice limits the freedom of navigation and even forbids foreign military and civil ships from entering and seafaring in the Northern Sea route. We shall illustrate the reasons as to why action was put in place and what its consequences may be in the near future. In line with the new amendments to this law in the Northern Sea route, which is 5500 km in length, no foreign military or civil ship nor any other foreign country vessel will be allowed to be present without the prior special permission issued by the Russian Federation. In order that Russia issues an official permit, one needs to submit an official request but there is no guarantee that the permission will be issued within the 90 days. Even the permissions already issued can be revoked at any point. All the foreign ships must navigate in the Russian Arctic region under their own national flag and foreign submarines must navigate on the sea surface only. This literally means the embargo on foreign military presence in the Northern Sea route due to a huge number of military and civil facilities being built there. In introducing special seafaring and navigation supervision and controls, Russia will lessen the environmental risks as well. Yet, from the looks of things, the Americans do not seem to recognize these newly introduced bans. Kenneth Braithwaite, U.S. Secretary of the Navy stated that in accordance with the adopted doctrine, the Pentagon will shortly commence with the routine patrolling of the Arctic in close proximity to the Russian coastline in polar geographical widths so as to impede the Russian advance to the furthermost North or even make them impossible. Does that mean that the Russian American conflict is inevitable in the short run? And what can we expect in that case?

History repeats itself

Before passing these amendments to the law recently, the Russian Ministry of Defence and FSB had made a detailed plan to prevent the provocations in the Northern Sea Route. It is believed that the Americans will try to cause or provoke environmental catastrophes. Routine scouting and regular investigations will be increased so as to prevent these incidents or possible disasters. Weapons of destruction will be deployed and increased patrolling frequency will be in place if needs be and in case the territorial waters are endangered, practical actions will be put to good use for its utmost protection and defense. The incident in the Black Sea, normally referred to as the Black Sea Bumping Incident, which happened in 1988 can help us try to imagine what future incidents these might be like. The Americans at the time during the Cold War did not respect the sea borders of the then USSR even in 1986 near the Crimea when Gorbachev appears to have been there but back then the Soviets only warned that the next incursion would not go unpunished. Sadly, the USA would persistently carry out incursions and dangerously manuouver in the Soviet territorial waters in order to investigate the USSR military facilities but under the pretext of their right of innocent passage.

On 12 February 1988, U.S. cruise ship Yorktown and the destroyer Caron performed a gross violation of the then Soviet territorial waters by merely believing they had the right of exercising innocent passage. The Soviet Patrol ships Bezzavetnyy SKR 6 did not have the permission to open fire but they performed a so-called ‘deliberate crash’ with the uninvited guests regardless of them being of much smaller dimensions by displacement. After being shouldered by the Soviet Mirka frigate class frigate, Yorktown suffered huge damage and complete with the U.S. destroyer Caron left the troubled territorial waters in question. Both U.S. warships stayed on even course afterwards and left Soviet territorial waters for the international ones without further incidents. But anybody with longstanding military experience and expertise could confirm that it must have involved an elaborate chain of command and the decision to engage in this provocative mission was most probably taken at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

For those who tend to think that the Russian seamen are not willing nor ready to repeat this superb bravado, let us remind you that on 12th February 2022, exactly 34 years after the bumping incident in the Black Sea, U.S. nuclear submarine entered the Russian territorial waters in the region of the Kuril islands, in the Russian Sakhalin region, and after ignoring the Russian request to leave the area, Marshal Shaposhnikov Frigate resorted to a number of extreme means and measures, which got the Americans to run for the ‘hills’ in despair. Why were the U.S. ships engaged in a risky penetration of Soviet territorial waters at a particularly sensitive time in the Soviet U.S. relations and why again on the very same date after 34 years? Regrettably, this will most probably not be the last incident of this sort.

Fancy reading about these newest Russian beasts of warfare? 

The Russian military industry in 2022 switched to the unprecedented work pace to be able to deliver the needed weaponry for the special military operation. At the same time, the hard work on prospective patterns of armament, which is mercifully not used at present yet. The most impressive novelties in 2022 are as follows:

In April last year the trial on the newest intercontinental ballistic missile was carried out for the first time RS 28 Sarmat is the Russian strategic rocket system of the 5th generation based in the land silo. It is supposed to replace the obsolete Soviet missiles 36 M 2 Duke. While designing the new rocket, the Russian engineers did not place an emphasis on the maximum weight of its warheads but on the protection against the anti rocket defense devices

Sarmat 200 tonnes in weight equipped with hypersonic warheads, avangarde blocks, which cannot be intercepted by no existent anti air defense system and 18 000 km which makes the attacks on enemies possible from any direction, which complicates the odbijanje napada. It is a known fact that the Russians produce Sarmats in a serial production, which are already in place in the rocket divisions in the Siberian and the Ural regions. In 2022 the additional armament of two rocket divisions was completed with the mobile rocket systems YARS.

The Russian military Navy on 8th July 2022 got a nuclear submarine for special purposes by the name Belgorod. Its main assignment is to transfer nuclear unmanned torpedo Poseydon, which can have both conventional, non-conventional and nuclear charge. Poseydon is the continuation of the work of the academic Saharov from the Soviet hydrogen bomb who used to suggest that these torpedos should be permanently positioned on the bottom of the U.S. East Coast. In case of a war the explosion by way of new bombs a gigantic radioactive tsunami would rise who would literally wipe out the most heavily populated region of the USA off the face of the Earth. Poseydon has one great advantage. It is completely invisible and undetectable because it has an unlimited range of activity because of its nuclear fuel and high velocity of movement. This unmanned device is capable of lying down on the sea bottom and in being so invisible, waiting for the command for any further actions.

At the beginning of October 2022, Belgorod set off on a journey towards the Kara Sea when it vanished from NATO radars and thus caused great disturbance in the main stream media in the West. After two weeks, Belgorod returned to the base. It remains a mystery still where it was and what it did during that time.

Su – 57M

Modernized, multirole fighter Su – 57M performed its first flight on 21 October.

During that successful flight the new cabin equipment was checked and tested and its modernized version has a new engine with the stronger propulsion so as to achieve the desired height and velocity due to which it gained in its end flight range. Its engine has a low thermic perceptibilty, which significantly lowers the possibility of interception. The modernized Su – 57M testing will last for a few more years. In general, Russia is rapidly working on the newest types of weapons and in the given context of this new conflict with NATO the armament process will be at an accelerated speed.

Biden: Nuclear war cannot be won, must never be fought

21 Sep 2022 20:53

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US President claims that the United States does not seek conflict with China or a new Cold War.

US President Joe Biden during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York (Reuters)

    US President Joe Biden accused Wednesday Russia of violating the core tenets of membership in the United Nations over the war in Ukraine, claiming that Moscow was making “irresponsible” threats to use nuclear weapons.

    During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Biden criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war.

    “Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the nonproliferation regime,” Biden said.

    “A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter,” the US President claimed.

    Earlier, Putin announced a partial mobilization in Russia as the war in Ukraine has now lasted for almost seven months.

    “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” Biden said.

    The US President claimed that Russia was not threatened by any side and that Moscow had sought conflict, vowing that the United States would stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

    US does not seek ‘Cold War’ or ‘conflict’ with China

    Regarding the ongoing tensions with China, Biden told the United Nations that the United States does not seek “conflict” with China or a new Cold War.

    “Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China. As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader,” he said.

    He also claimed that “we do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner.”

    Nuclear wars ‘cannot be won,’ US ready to negotiate arms treaties

    In a different context, Biden warned that nuclear wars “cannot be won” and claimed that Washington is ready to pursue arms control measures.

    “A nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought,” Biden told the UN General Assembly, saying that Moscow made “irresponsible nuclear threats.”

    “The United States is ready to pursue critical armed control measures,” said Biden, vowing that Washington will not allow Tehran to obtain atomic weapons, which the Iranian President denied seeking only a few hours earlier at the same session. 

    Americans ‘stand with the brave women of Iran’

    Regarding the case of young Iranian journalist, Mahsa Amini, Biden claimed that Americans “stand with the brave women of Iran.”

    “Today we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights,” the US President told the UNGA, completely disregarding Iranian reports and CCTV footage which clearly show that Amini was not touched by the police officer and that her death was the result of a medical condition she is suffering from. 

    Biden supports expanding UN Security Council

    Furthermore, Biden indicated that Washington supports the expansion of the UN Security Council to better represent areas including Africa and Latin America.

    “The United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the council,” he said, adding that “this includes permanent seats for those nations we’ve long supported — permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean. The United States is committed to this vital work.”

    Biden calls for the extension of grain deal

    During his speech, Biden said, “The United States will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change. Climate diplomacy is not a favor to the United States or any other nation and walking away hurts the entire world.”

    Biden said that US sanctions allow Russia to export food and fertilizer, claiming that it was “Russia’s war that is worsening food insecurity.”

    He also called for the extension of the July grain deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, which allowed Ukraine to resume Black Sea food and fertilizer exports.

    Read more: Iran that was a victim of terrorism became a haven of security: Raisi


    India-Russia-Iran: Eurasia’s new transportation powerhouses

    No longer just an ‘alternative route’ on a drawing board, the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is paying dividends in a time of global crisis. And Moscow, Tehran and New Delhi are now leading players in the Eurasian competition for transportation routes.

    July 19 2022

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Matthew Ehret

    Tectonic shifts continue to rage through the world system with nation-states quickly recognizing that the “great game” as it has been played since the establishment of the Bretton Woods monetary system in the wake of the second World War, is over.

    But empires never disappear without a fight, and the Anglo-American one is no exception, overplaying its hand, threatening and bluffing its way, right to the end.

    End of an order

    It seems no matter how many sanctions the west imposes on Russia, the victims most affected are western civilians. Indeed, the severity of this political blunder is such that the nations of the trans-Atlantic are heading towards the greatest self-induced food and energy crisis in history.

    While the representatives of the “liberal rules-based international order” continue on their trajectory to crush all nations that refuse to play by those rules, a much saner paradigm has come to light in recent months that promises to transform the global order entirely.

    The multipolar solution

    Here we see the alternative security-financial order which has arisen in the form of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. As recently as 30 June at the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin described this emerging new multipolar order as:

    “A multipolar system of international relations is now being formed. It is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes and is objective in nature. The position of Russia and many other countries is that this democratic, more just world order should be built on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and, of course, on the generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter.”

    Since the inevitable cancellation of western trade with Russia after the Ukraine conflict erupted in February, Putin has increasingly made clear that the strategic re-orientation of Moscow’s economic ties from east to west had to make a dramatically new emphasis on north to south and north to east relations not only for Russia’s survival, but for the survival of all Eurasia.

    Among the top strategic focuses of this re-orientation is the long overdue International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

    On this game-changing mega-project, Putin said last month during the plenary session of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum:

    “To help companies from other countries develop logistical and cooperation ties, we are working to improve transport corridors, increase the capacity of railways, trans-shipment capacity at ports in the Arctic, and in the eastern, southern and other parts of the country, including in the Azov-Black Sea and Caspian basins – they will become the most important section of the North-South Corridor, which will provide stable connectivity with the Middle East and Southern Asia. We expect freight traffic along this route to begin growing steadily in the near future.”

    The INSTC’s Phoenix Moment

    Until recently, the primary trade route for goods passing from India to Europe has been the maritime shipping corridor passing through the Bab El-Mandeb Strait linking the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, via the highly bottlenecked Suez Canal, through the Mediterranean and onward to Europe via ports and rail/road corridors.

    Following this western-dominated route, average transit times take about 40 days to reach ports of Northern Europe or Russia. Geopolitical realities of the western technocratic obsession with global governance have made this NATO-controlled route more than a little unreliable.

    Map of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), linking Russia, Iran, India
    The International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

    Despite being far from complete, goods moving across the INSTC from India to Russia have already finished their journey 14 days sooner than their Suez-bound counterparts while also seeing a whopping 30 percent reduction in total shipping costs.

    These figures are expected to fall further as the project progresses. Most importantly, the INSTC would also provide a new basis for international win-win cooperation much more in harmony with the spirit of geo-economics unveiled by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013.

    Cooperation not competition

    Originally agreed upon by Russia, Iran and India in September 2000, the INSTC only began moving in earnest in 2002 – albeit much more slowly than its architects had hoped.

    This 7,200 km multimodal megaproject involves integrating several Eurasian nations directly or indirectly with rail, roads and shipping corridors into a united and tight-knit web of interdependency. Along each artery, opportunities to build energy projects, mining, and high tech special economic zones (SEZs) will abound giving each participating nation the economic power to lift their people out of poverty, increase their stability and their national power to chart their own destinies.

    Beyond the founding three nations, the other 10 states who have signed onto this project over the years include Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Syria and even Ukraine (although this last member may not remain on board for long). In recent months, India has officially invited Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to join too.

    While western think tanks and geopolitical analysts attempt to frame the INSTC as an opponent to China’s BRI, the reality is that both systems are extremely synergistic on multiple levels.

    Map of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), The 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR)
    China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

    Unlike the west’s speculation-driven bubble economy, both the BRI and INSTC define economic value and self-interest around improving the productivity and living standards of the real economy. While short term thinking predominates in the myopic London-Wall Street paradigm, the BRI and INSTC investment strategies are driven by long-term thinking and mutual self-interest.

    It is no small irony that such policies once animated the best traditions of the west before the rot of unipolar thinking took over and the west lost its moral compass.

    An integrated alternative

    The INSTC’s two major bookends are the productive zone of Mumbai in India’s Southeast region of Gujarat and the northern-most Arctic port of Lavna in Russia’s Kola Peninsula of Murmansk.

    This is not only the first port constructed by Russia in decades, but when completed, will be one of the world’s largest commercial ports with an expected capacity to process 80 million tons of goods by 2030.

    The Lavna Port is an integral part of Russia’s Arctic and Far East Development vision and is a central piece to Russia’s current Comprehensive Plan for Modernization and Expansion of Main Infrastructure and its Northern Sea Route which is expected to see a five-fold increase of Arctic freight traffic over the coming years. These projects are integrally linked to China’s Polar Silk Road.

    Between these bookends, the INSTC moves freight from India into Iran’s Port of Bandar Abbas where it is loaded onto double-tracked rail to the Iranian city of Bafq and then to Tehran before coming to the Anzali Port on the southern Caspian Sea.

    ‘Be like water’

    Because the INSTC is based on a flexible design concept capable of adapting to a changing geopolitical environment (very much like the BRI), there are a multitude of connecting lines that branch off the main North-South artery before goods make it to the Caspian Sea.

    These include an eastern and western corridor branching off from the city of Bafq towards Turkey and thence Europe via the Bosporus and also eastward from Tehran to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and thereafter into Urumqi in China.

    Railway is still relevant

    From the Anzali Port in the north of Iran, goods may travel by the Caspian Sea towards Russia’s Astrakhan Port where it is then loaded onto trains and trucks for transport to Moscow, St Petersburg and Murmansk. Inversely goods may also travel over land to Azerbaijan where the 35 km Iran Rasht-Caspian railway is currently under construction with 11 km completed as of this writing.

    Once completed, the line will connect the Port of Anzali with Azerbaijan’s Baku, offering goods a chance to either continue onwards to Russia or westward toward Europe. A Tehran-Baku rail route already exists.

    Additionally, Azerbaijan and Iran are currently collaborating on a vast $2 billion rail line connecting the 175 km Qazvin-Rasht railway which began operations in 2019 with a strategic rail line connecting Iran’s Rasht port on the Caspian to the Bandar Abbas Complex in the south (to be completed in 2025). Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Rostam Ghasemi described this project in January 2022 saying:

    “Iran’s goal is to connect to the Caucasus, Russia, and European countries. For this purpose, the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway is in the spotlight. During the Iranian president’s visit to Russia, discussions were conducted in this regard, and construction of the railway line is expected to begin soon with the allocation of needed funds.”

    In recent months, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lobbied to incorporate the joint Iran-India built Chabahar Port into the INSTC which will likely occur since another 628 km rail line from the port to the Iranian city of Zahedan is currently under construction.

    Once completed, goods will easily move onward to the city of Bafq. While some critics have suggested that the Chabahar Port is antagonistic to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, Iranian officials have constantly referred to it as Chabahar’s twin sister.

    Since 2014, a vast rail and transportation complex has grown around the co-signers of the Ashkabat Agreement (launched in 2011 and upgraded several times over the past decade). These rail networks include the 917.5 km Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan route launched in 2014, and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan rail/energy project launched in 2016 which is currently seeing extensions that could easily go into Pakistan.

    In December 2021, the 6540 km Islamabad to Istanbul rail line (via Iran) recommenced operations after a decade of inaction. This route cuts the conventional sea transit route time of 21 days by half. Discussions are already underway to extend the line from Pakistan into China’s Xinjiang Province linking the INSTC ever more closely into the BRI on yet another front.

    Map of Islamabad to Istanbul rail line (via Iran)
    Islamabad to Istanbul rail line (via Iran)

    Finally, June 2022 saw the long-awaited unveiling of the 6108 km Kazakhstan-Iran-Turkey rail line which provides an alternative route to the under-developed Middle Corridor. Celebrating the inaugural 12 day voyage of cargo, Kazakhstan’s President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev stated: “Today, we welcomed the container train, which left Kazakhstan a week ago. Then it will go to Turkey. This is a significant event, given the difficult geopolitical conditions.”

    Despite the fact that the INSTC is over 20 years old, global geopolitical dynamics, regime change wars, and ongoing economic warfare against Iran, Syria and other US target states did much to harm the sort of stable geopolitical climate needed to emit large scale credit requisite for long term projects like this to succeed.

    Caspian Summit Security breakthroughs

    As proof that necessity truly is the mother of invention, the systemic meltdown of the entire post-WW2 edifice has forced reality to take precedence over the smaller-minded concerns that kept the diverse nations of Sir Halford John Mackinder’s “World Island” from cooperating. Among these points of endless conflict and stagnation which has upset great economic potential over the course of three decades, the Caspian zone stands out.

    It is in this oil and natural gas rich hub that the five Caspian littoral states (Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) have found a power to break through on multi-level security, economic and diplomatic agreements throughout the June 29-30, 2022 Sixth Caspian Summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

    This summit placed a high priority on the INSTC with the region becoming both a north-south and east-west transportation hub. Most importantly, the leaders of the five littoral states made their final communique center around the region’s security since it is obvious that divide-to-conquer tactics will be deployed using every tool in the asymmetrical warfare tool basket going forward.

    Chief among the agreed-upon principles were indivisible security, mutual cooperation, military cooperation, respect for national sovereignty, and non-interference. Most importantly, the banning of foreign military from the land and waters of the Caspian states was firmly established.

    While no final agreement was reached over the disputed ownership of resources within the base of the Caspian, the stage was set for harmonization of partner states’ security doctrines, a healthy environment was established for the second Caspian Economic Summit which will take place in Autumn of this year and which will hopefully resolve many of the disputes pertaining to Caspian resource ownership.

    Although geopolitical storms continue to intensify, it is increasingly clear that only the multipolar ship of state has demonstrated the competence to navigate the hostile seas, while the sinking unipolar ship of fools has a ruptured hull held together by little more than chewing gum and heavy doses of delusion.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.I

    Putin heads to Tehran for talks with Iranian and Turkish leaders

    19 Jul, 2022

    The trilateral talks will focus on Syria but other key issues will also be addressed in the Iranian capital, the Kremlin has said

    Putin heads to Tehran for talks with Iranian and Turkish leaders
    FILE PHOTO: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin leaving his plane. © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to arrive in Tehran on Tuesday for talks with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    It will be his second foreign trip since the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine on February 24. In late June, he visited Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to meet the countries’ leaders and attend the sixth Caspian Summit, in which Iran also took part.

    The trilateral negotiations in the Iranian capital will be held as part of the so-called Astana Peace Process, which was launched by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara in 2017 with the aim of achieving a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria.

    According to the Kremlin, the three heads of state will discuss steps to fully eradicate the hotbed of international terrorism in the country, the facilitation of the inter-Syrian peace process and solutions to humanitarian issues, including post-conflict reconstruction.

    Putin, Raisi and Erdogan will issue a joint statement after the negotiations, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov said on Monday, adding that its draft had already been prepared.

    Bilateral talks between the leaders will also take place, while Putin is also expected to meet with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    During those meetings, the Russian president and his interlocutors will discuss the situation around the stalled talks on restoring the Iranian nuclear deal.

    Trade will also be on the agenda, with Moscow and Tehran preparing a new major cooperation deal, Ushakov said.

    Iran is an important partner of Russia. Our relations are friendly, have a centuries-old history, and are developing very effectively in many areas. Both sides have plans to take bilateral cooperation to a new level – the level of strategic partnership,” he pointed out.

    Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, who earlier gave an interview to the Iranian media, said trade between Russia and Iran had surpassed $4 billion in 2021, and grew by 31% in the first four months of this year.

    With Russia and Iran being among the most sanctioned nations in the world, Peskov expressed confidence that the two countries would be able to build relations that will allow them to minimize the effect of international restrictions on their economies.

    When it comes to Ukraine, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made it clear that Tehran would not provide assistance to any of the sides of the conflict as it believes that the conflict “has to be stopped.” By saying so, the minister refuted the US claims that his country was planning to provide Russia with hundreds of drones, including combat drones.

    At the same time, Raisi has said on multiple occasions that Tehran stands ready to contribute to a diplomatic resolution of the Ukrainian conflict.

    Putin’s bilateral meeting with Erdogan is expected to touch on the issue of Ukrainian grain exports from the Black Sea ports, according to Ushakov. Turkey, which declares itself a neutral country when it comes to the situation in Ukraine, has been engaged in various issue-resolving initiatives. It recently hosted multilateral consultations on the grain issue, with the participation of Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations.

    Food security was also one of the main subjects of the phone conversation between Putin and Erdogan last week. The Turkish leader said at the time that “it was time for the United Nations to take action for the plan regarding the formation of secure corridors via the Black Sea.”

    In March, Istanbul hosted a crucial round of peace negotiations between Kiev and Moscow.

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    St. Petersburg sets the stage for the War of Economic Corridors

    In St. Petersburg, the world’s new powers gather to upend the US-concocted “rules-based order” and reconnect the globe their way

    June 18 2022

    The Cradle

    By Pepe Escobar

    At St. Petersburg on Friday, backers of multipolarity pushed forward integration of their networksPhoto Credit: The Cradle

    The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum  has been configured for years now as absolutely essential to understand the evolving dynamics and the trials and tribulations of Eurasia integration.

    St. Petersburg in 2022 is even more crucial as it directly connects to three simultaneous developments I had previously outlined, in no particular order:

    First, the coming of the “new G8” – four BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China), plus Iran, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico, whose GDP per purchasing parity power (PPP) already dwarfs the old, western-dominated G8.

    Second, the Chinese “Three Rings” strategy of developing geoeconomic relations with its neighbors and partners.

    Third, the development of BRICS+, or extended BRICS, including some members of the “new G8,” to be discussed at the upcoming summit in China.

    There was hardly any doubt President Putin would be the star of St. Petersburg 2022, delivering a sharp, detailed speech to the plenary session.

    Among the highlights, Putin smashed the illusions of the so-called ‘golden billion’ who live in the industrialized west (only 12 percent of the global population) and the “irresponsible macroeconomic policies of the G7 countries.”

    The Russian president noted how “EU losses due to sanctions against Russia” could exceed $400 billion per year, and that Europe’s high energy prices – something that actually started “in the third quarter of last year” – are due to “blindly believing in renewable sources.”

    He also duly dismissed the west’s ‘Putin price hike’ propaganda, saying the food and energy crisis is linked to misguided western economic policies, i.e., “Russian grain and fertilizers are being sanctioned” to the detriment of the west.

    In a nutshell: the west misjudged Russia’s sovereignty when sanctioning it, and now is paying a very heavy price.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the forum by video, sent a message to the whole Global South. He evoked “true multilateralism,” insisting that emerging markets must have “a say in global economic management,” and called for “improved North-South and South-South dialogue.”

    It was up to Kazakh President Tokayev, the ruler of a deeply strategic partner of both Russia and China, to deliver the punch line in person: Eurasia integration should progress hand in hand with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Here it is, full circle.

    Building a long-term strategy “in weeks”

    St. Petersburg offered several engrossing discussions on key themes and sub-themes of Eurasia integration, such as business within the scope of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership; what’s ahead for the BRICS; and prospects for the Russian financial sector.

    One of the most important discussions was focused on the increasing interaction between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, a key example of what the Chinese would define as ‘South-South cooperation.’

    And that connected to the still long and winding road leading to deeper integration of the EAEU itself.

    This implies steps towards more self-sufficient economic development for members; establishing the priorities for import substitution; harnessing all the transport and logistical potential; developing trans-Eurasian corporations; and imprinting the EAEU ‘brand’ in a new system of global economic relations.

    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk was particularly sharp on the pressing matters at hand: implementing a full free trade customs and economic union – plus a unified payment system – with simplified direct settlements using the Mir payment card to reach new markets in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Persian Gulf.

    In a new era defined by Russian business circles as “the game with no rules” – debunking the US-coined “rules-based international order” – another relevant discussion, featuring key Putin adviser Maxim Oreshkin, focused on what should be the priorities for big business and the financial sector in connection to the state’s economic and foreign policy.

    The consensus is that the current ‘rules’ have been written by the west. Russia could only connect to existing mechanisms, underpinned by international law and institutions. But then the west tried to  “squeeze us out” and even “to cancel Russia.” So it’s time to “replace the no-rules rules.” That’s a key theme underlying the concept of ‘sovereignty’ developed by Putin in his plenary address.

    In another important discussion chaired by the CEO of western-sanctioned Sberbank Herman Gref, there was much hand-wringing about the fact that the Russian “evolutionary leap forward towards 2030” should have happened sooner. Now a “long-term strategy has to be built in weeks,” with supply chains breaking down all across the spectrum.

    A question was posed to the audience – the crème de la crème of Russia’s business community: what would you recommend, increased trade with the east, or redirecting the structure of the Russian economy? A whopping 72 percent voted for the latter.

    So now we come to the crunch, as all these themes interact when we look at what happened only a few days before St. Petersburg.

    The Russia-Iran-India corridor

    A key node of the International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC) is now in play, linking northwest Russia to the Persian Gulf via the Caspian Sea and Iran. The transportation time between St. Petersburg and Indian ports is 25 days.

    This logistical corridor with multimodal transportation carries an enormous geopolitical significance for two BRICs members and a prospective member of the “new G8” because it opens a key alternative route to the usual cargo trail from Asia to Europe via the Suez canal.

    The International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC)

    The INSTC corridor is a classic South-South integration project: a 7,200-km-long multimodal network of ship, rail, and road routes interlinking India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia all the way to Finland in the Baltic Sea.

    Technically, picture a set of containers going overland from St. Petersburg to Astrakhan. Then the cargo sails via the Caspian to the Iranian port of Bandar Anzeli. Then it’s transported overland to the port of Bandar Abbas. And then overseas to Nava Sheva, the largest seaport in India. The key operator is Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (the IRISL group), which has branches in both Russia and India.

    And that brings us to what wars from now will be fought about: transportation corridors – and not territorial conquest.

    Beijing’s fast-paced BRI is seen as an existential threat to the ‘rules-based international order.’ It develops along six overland corridors across Eurasia, plus the Maritime Silk Road from the South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean, all the way to Europe.

    One of the key targets of NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine is to interrupt BRI corridors across Russia. The Empire will go all out to interrupt not only BRI but also INSTC nodes. Afghanistan under US occupation was prevented from become a node for either BRI or INSTC.

    With full access to the Sea of Azov – now a “Russian lake” – and arguably the whole Black Sea coastline further on down the road, Moscow will hugely increase its sea trading prospects (Putin: “The Black Sea was historically Russian territory”).

    For the past two decades, energy corridors have been heavily politicized and are at the center of unforgiving global pipeline competitions – from BTC and South Stream to Nord Stream 1 and 2, and the never-ending soap operas, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipelines.

    Then there’s the Northern Sea Route alongside the Russian coastline all the way to the Barents Sea. China and India are very much focused on the Northern Sea Route, not by accident also  discussed in detail in St. Petersburg.

    The contrast between the St. Petersburg debates on a possible re-wiring of our world – and the Three Stooges Taking a Train to Nowhere to tell a mediocre Ukrainian comedian to calm down and negotiate his surrender (as confirmed by German intelligence) – could not be starker.

    Almost imperceptibly – just as it re-incorporated Crimea and entered the Syrian theater – Russia as a military-energy superpower now shows it is potentially capable of driving a great deal of the industrialized west back into the Stone Age. The western elites are just helpless. If only they could ride a corridor on the Eurasian high-speed train, they might learn something.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Black Sea Geopolitics and Russia’s Control of Strategic Waterways: The Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

    June 05, 2022

    By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

    Global Research,

    Since the union of Crimea with Russia in March 2014, the entry into the sea of Azov is fully controlled by Russia. (see image below).

    The following article is a revised and update of an earlier GR article by Michel Chossudovsky   It provides a brief summary of the Geopolitics of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as well as some observations on the Ukraine War. (Updated on June 5, 2022)


    Historically, the Kerch strait in Eastern Crimea has played a strategic role.

    It constitutes a narrow maritime gateway which links the Black Sea via the Sea of Azov to Russia’s major waterways including the Don and the Volga.

    It also ensures maritime transit from the Black Sea to Moscow not to mention the strategic maritime route between the Caspian Sea (via the Volga-Don Canal) to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. 

    Map: The United Deep Waterway System of European Russia.

    The Volga also links the Caspian Sea to the Baltic Sea as well as to the Northern Sea route, via the Volga–Baltic Waterway.  (See above)

    The Volga is connected to a system of canals (via lakes Onega, Ladoga) to the Neva River and St Petersburg. (See map below)

    What is at stake is an integrated system of waterways which connects the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea to the Baltic and the Northern Sea Route.

    In this regard the narrow Kerch Strait in Eastern Crimea is strategic.

    The 2014 Union of Crimea with Russia Redefines the Geography and the Geopolitical Chessboard of the Black Sea Basin

    Since 2014, the reunion of Crimea to the Russian Federation, represented a major setback for US-NATO, whose longstanding objective was to integrate Ukraine into NATO, while extending Western military presence in the Black Sea basin. (See details below)

    Brief Observations on the Ukraine War: The Sea of Azov is Strategic. Ukraine Has No Maritime Access. 

    In regards to the Ukraine War, Russia’s control of the Kerch Strait plays a key role. In recent developments (June 2022), Russia now controls the entire basin of the Sea of Azov.

    Ukraine has no maritime access to the Sea of Azov and Eastern Ukraine, nor does it have naval power in the Black Sea.

    Without a navy, Ukraine is not in a position to win this war. The Peace Negotiations initiated in Istanbul in late March, which were the object of sabotage constitute the only solution. 

    Ukraine’s Naval Base Berdyansk (a 2020 initiative of Zelensky) on the Western Azov coastline is under Russian control. All major ports extending from Mariupol to Kherson are under Russian control.

    Russia occupies Kherson and  controls the access of Ukraine’s major river-way the Dnieper to and from the Black Sea  (see second map below: The Dnieper is in some regards a seaway.The Dnieper is a major corridor of grain cargo transportation.

    In the context of the Ukraine War, through their military deployments in Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian forces have  consolidated their control over the entire Sea of Azov basin.

    The map below (June 2, 2022) indicates the areas of deployment and Russian control from the North of Lugansk (territories opposite Kharkov) to Kherson on the Dnieper.

    Flashback: The 2014 Treaty between Russia and Crimea

    With the March 18, 2014 Treaty signed between Russia and Crimea, the Russian Federation has extended its control over the Black Sea as well as over the Sea of Azov.

    Under the agreement between Russia and Crimea announced by president Putin in 2014, two “constituent regions” of Crimea joined the Russian Federation: the “Republic of Crimea” and the “City of Sevastopol”. Both have the status of “autonomous regions”. The status of Sevastopol as an autonomous entity separate from Crimea is related to the location of Russia’s Naval base in Sevastopol.

    Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia retained its naval base in Sevastopol under a bilateral agreement with Ukraine. With the signing of the March 18th 2014 Treaty, that agreement became null and void. Sevastopol including the Russian naval base became part of an autonomous region within the Russian Federation. Prior to March 2014, the naval base was not within Ukraine under a lease agreement. Moreover, since 2014, Crimea’s territorial waters belong to the Russian Federation.

    Following the union of Crimea to Russia, The Russian Federation now controls a much larger portion of the Black Sea, which includes the entire coastline of the Crimean peninsula. The Eastern part of Crimea –including the Kerch strait– are under Russia’s jurisdiction. On the Eastern side of the Kerch strait is Russia’s Krasnodar region and extending  southwards are the port cities of Novorossiysk and Sochi. 

    The Geopolitics of  Oil and Gas Pipelines

    Novorossiysk is also strategic. It is Russia’s largest commercial port on the Black Sea, at the cross-roads of major oil and gas pipelines between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea.

    While the main strategic oil pipeline route is between Novorossiysk and Baku, there is a nexus of gas pipelines between Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan, linking up with China.

    Prior to Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Putin signed “a wide-ranging agreement” with the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

    Kerch Strait: History

    Historically, the Kerch strait has played a strategic role. It constitutes a gateway from the Black Sea to Russia’s major waterways including the Don and the Volga.

    During World War II, the Kerch peninsula was occupied by Nazi Germany (taken back by the Red Army) was an important point of transit by land and water.

    In the coldest months of Winter, it became an ice bridge linking Crimea to the Krasnodar region.

    The Kerch strait is about 5 kilometers in length and 4.5 km. wide at the narrowest point between the tip of Eastern Crimea and the peninsula of Taman. Kerch is a major commercial port linked to railway, ferry and river routes.

    image right: Kerch strait, photo taken from Crimean side, (prior to the construction of the bridge) narrow width, aerial view of strait and Taman peninsula. 

    The Sea of Azov: Geopolitical Hub

    Of significance, as a result of the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation in 2014 Moscow gained full control of the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine governing the maritime route through the Kerch straights was scrapped.

    The strait also constitutes an entry point into Russia’s major river waterways.

    The Sea of Azov connects with the Don River and the Volga, through the Volga Don Canal. In turn, the Volga flows into the Caspian sea.

    The Kerch strait is strategic.  The Kerch-Yenikalskiy Canal allows large (ocean) vessels to transit from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.

    As outlined above, the Kerch Strait links the Black Sea to the Volga via the sea of Azov and the Volga Don Canal which in turn connects to Saint Petersburg and the Baltic Sea. The Volga also connects to Moscow, via the Moscow river through the Volga-Moskva canal.

    Note: The Caspian sea basin is in sense “landlocked”. It’s only access to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean is via the Volga. The same applies to its access to the Atlantic via the Baltic Sea, or via the White Sea, the Barents Sea and the Northeast Arctic Passage to the Pacific.

    Strategic waterways. In Summary

    1. Caspian Sea- Volga, Volga-Don Canal, Don, – Sea of Azov -Black Sea, Mediterranean
    2. Black Sea- Sea of Azov -Don- Volga Don Canal -Volga -Volga-Moskva Canal, Moscow River, Moscow
    3. Black Sea- Sea of Azov -Don- Volga Don Canal -Volga -Neva, St Petersburg, Baltic Sea
    4. Caspian Sea, Volga, Neva, Svir, Onega Lake, White Sea Canal, North Sea and Northeast Arctic Passage

    Volga-Don Canal

    Russia-Ukraine Relations Regarding the Kerch Strait

    In December 2013, Moscow signed a bilateral agreement with the Yanukovych government in Kiev pertaining to the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait, connecting Eastern Crimea (which was part of Ukraine) with Russia’s Krasnodar region.

    That agreement was a followup to an initial agreement signed in April 2010 between the two governments.

    The Russia-Ukraine 2013 agreement pertaining to the construction of the bridge had, for all purposes already been scrapped before March 16, 2014.

    Image right: new Kerch bridge links Eastern Crimea (road and rail transportation) to  Russia’s Krasnodar region. (image right).

    Crimea’s union to Russia was already in the pipeline prior to the referendum, it was a fait accompli.

    Less than two weeks before the March 16 2014 Referendum, at the height of the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the state-road building corporation Avtodor, or “Russian Highways” “to create a subsidiary company that would oversee the building of a bridge across the Kerch Strait”.

    This bridge is geared towards train transport routes linking Western and Eastern Europe to the Caspian Sea basin, Kazakhstan and China. It is therefore an integral part of the Eurasian Project (linking up with China’s Belt and Road initiative).  

    The original source of this article is Global Research

    Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2022

    Turkey swings west: the Ukraine war and domestic elections

    Ankara’s rapprochement with the US has been accelerated by events in Ukraine. These ties will also shape Turkey domestically, with or without a 2023 Erdogan electoral win.

    May 17 2022

    While Ankara has always sought to maintain a careful balance between east and west, Turkey’s 2023 election candidates believe they need US support to win.Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Erman Çete

    On 7 April, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chaired a videoconference meeting with his counterparts from five other states to discuss, among other things, the pressing issue of naval mines drifting into the Black Sea.

    According to Akar, the origin of the mines could not be identified, but an investigation is ongoing.

    The meeting’s agenda was ultimately less notable than its curious participant list. Five of the attending countries – Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine – have borders with the Black Sea, but Russia, a major littoral state, was not invited, while Poland, which has no borders with the waterway, was present.

    The mines threat has emerged amid the escalating armed conflict in Ukraine. Russia’s principal intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), warned on 21 March that several hundred mines had drifted into the Black Sea after breaking off from cables near Ukrainian ports. The claim was dismissed by Kiev which accused Moscow of disinformation and trying to close off parts of the strategic waterway.

    Nevertheless, since the onset of the conflict in February, four mines have ‘drifted’ into the Black Sea, including one discovered off Romania’s coastline, and three stray mines found in Turkish waters which were safely neutralized.

    Turkey’s balancing act

    Throughout the crisis, Ankara has had to navigate between Russia and Ukraine and balance its diplomatic ties with both states carefully. As an important NATO member, this has not been a straightforward task for Turkey.

    Between 19 to 22 April, NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) organized  Exercise Locked Shields 2022, the largest cyber defense exercise in Tallinn, Estonia. The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) attended this drill with TAF-affiliated defense company HAVELSAN.

    The following day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Turkey would close its airspace for a three-month period to Russian planes flying to Syria. But the Turkish minister also announced the cancellation of a pre-planned NATO drill to avoid provoking Russia.

    Concurrent with this precarious balancing act, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has worked overtime to thaw relations between Ankara and Persian Gulf states and Israel. There are also plans afoot to add Egypt to Turkey’s various regional diplomatic forays.

    Resetting relations with the US

    At the same time, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has tried to exploit any opportunity to present itself as an indispensable ally to Washington. Talks hosted in Istanbul between Russia and Ukraine may have failed to lead to a breakthrough in negotiations, but US President Joe Biden endorsed Turkey’s role as mediator, while State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Turkey was “in full coordination and consultation with the US” during the process.

    Ankara’s role as a mediator has also been encouraged by US think-tanks such as the United States Institute of Peace, which has called on the US and Europe to support Turkey as the only mediation channel between Russia and the west.

    Undoubtedly, the Ukraine conflict has enabled Turkey to reposition itself with Washington as a valuable NATO ally. This has become evident with reports that US military F-16 sales to Turkey are now back on the table again after a period of doubt.

    Naturally, pro-AKP media has been praising Erdogan’s role as ‘peacemaker’ and are keen to parlay his accomplishments into a domestic political bonanza. But according to Turkish journalist and commentator Murat Yetkin, AKP’s initial prognosis on the Ukraine conflict was that it would cool down around June and Turkey could shortly thereafter reverse its economic losses arising from the crisis.

    It has become apparent, however, that the AKP may have been too rash with that timeframe. Ankara’s leading NATO allies appear less concerned about the destruction of Ukraine and its fallout across Europe than about ‘weakening’ Russia via proxy, with a prolonged war of attrition in mind. For the AKP brass, if the conflict continues into next year, Erdogan’s chances of eking out a victory in Turkey’s 2023 elections could be seriously jeopardized.

    Ukraine, a foreign policy tool

    Rear Admiral Turker Erturk, Turkey’s former Black Sea commander, believes that the US government gave Turkish military operations in northern Iraq (Operation Claw Lock) the green-light, mainly because of the war in Ukraine. Washington, according to Erturk, will need Turkey in the upcoming stages of the conflict, and has thus become more flexible and transactional with Ankara.

    For Erturk, this is a major reason why Erdogan’s government is seeking a balanced approach – in order to negotiate with the US and win the upcoming elections. “Promises made to the US regarding the Ukraine War will be implemented after the election,” he predicts.

    Erturk also claims that Washington favors former chief of staff and current Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as the next president of Turkey. The retired rear admiral interprets the Black Sea mines meeting led by Akar – which included the Poles and excluded the Russians – as an message of support to the US. It should be noted that even at the height of US-Turkish tensions and its accompanying leverage contest, Akar stuck his neck out by guaranteeing that Ankara would never break with the western world.

    The role of the Turkish Army, post-Erdogan

    Akar is not the only military man with a shot at the presidency. Erdogan’s son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar, who masterminded the famous Turkish armed drone Bayraktar could also be a political successor. He has also openly voiced support for Ukraine, a gesture likely not intended for domestic audiences.

    Bayraktar’s now deceased father, Özdemir Bayraktar, threw his support behind the jailed army officers during the highly politicized Ergenekon (2008-2019) and Balyoz (Sledgehammer, 2010-2015) ‘coup d’etat’ trials. That makes the Bayraktars respected even amongst Kemalist circles – not just for their game-changing armed drones, but also for placing their political clout against the trials.

    Foreign Affairs piece earlier this year by Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, provides an insight into a hypothetical scenario involving an Erdogan-opposition deal for a transition. If a deal cannot be reached, Cagaptay says, Turkish democracy will crumble.

    A possible solution to ease this transition, Cagaptay argues, is for the two sides to accept the Turkish Army’s mediation as a “non-partisan” institution, with backing from the US and the EU. The opposition ensures that Erdogan and his family will not be tried, while Erdogan transfers power to the opposition’s candidate and the TAF acts as a guarantor.

    Intact foreign policy

    Turkey’s opposition alliance, Millet (Nation), which consists of six parties for now, has not decided on its presidential candidate yet. The governing coalition, Cumhur (People), has accused Millet of being agents of the west.

    Although both the government and opposition are pro-NATO, some parties in Millet, such as the pro-west Turkish nationalist IYI (Good) Party, want to play a more proactive role in Ukraine against Russia. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who belongs to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), sparked a debate when he was spotted out with the British Ambassador amidst a heavy fall of snow last winter.

    Imamoglu once was a leading opposition figure against Erdogan. He defeated the Turkish president twice in local 2019 elections, and his right-wing/moderate political stance was influential even among Erdogan supporters. However, his recent tour in the Black Sea region where his hometown is located, unleashed angry reactions amongst Millet supporters for including pro-Erdogan journalists to cover his visit. Even his own party, CHP, criticized Imamoglu for “breaking the party discipline.”

    Now an underdog, Ankara’s Mayor Mansur Yavas, also a CHP member, is leading in Turkey’s election polls. He is a former member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and popular amongst Cumhur’s voter base. Yavas gives the impression that he could be a bipartisan president, a statesman who would oversee a smooth Turkish transition to the post-Erdogan era.

    But will the upcoming 2023 elections signify a sharp geopolitical shift in the country’s bearings? A close look at Turkey’s economic situation, and its government’s overtures to the west, suggests not.

    Turkey’s relations with Russia, even as a bargaining chip against the west, will likely continue independently of election results, as Ankara has historically sought to maintain its east-west equilibrium. Today, however, both wings of Turkish politics seem set on soliciting western support – to different degrees and in various arenas – to secure an electoral win.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    How Mariupol will become a key hub of Eurasian integration

    Mariupol was battered by Ukraine’s right-wing Azov battalion well before Moscow launched its military ops. In Russian hands, this strategic steelworks port can transform into a hub of Eurasian connectivity.

    March 29 2022

    Mariupol sits on the strategic Sea of Azov at the tip of the Black Sea, and is the ‘Mecca’ of Europe’s steel industry. Its conquest by Russia can pave the way for a Eurasian railroad and connectivity surge.

    By Pepe Escobar

    Mariupol, the strategic Sea of Azov port, remains in the eye of the storm in Ukraine.

    The NATO narrative is that Azovstal – one of Europe’s biggest iron and steel works – was nearly destroyed by the Russian Army and its allied Donetsk forces who “lay siege” to Mariupol.

    The true story is that the neo-Nazi Azov batallion took scores of Mariupol civilians as human shields since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, and retreated to Azovstal as a last stand. After an ultimatum delivered last week, they are now being completely exterminated by the Russian and Donetsk forces and Chechen Spetsnaz.

    Azovstal, part of the Metinvest group controlled by Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, is indeed one of the biggest metallurgic plants in Europe, self-described as a “high-performance integrated metallurgical enterprise that produces coke and sinter, steel as well as high-quality rolled products, bars and shapes.”

    Amidst a flurry of testimonials detailing the horrors inflicted by the Azov neo-Nazis on Mariupol’s civilian population, a way more auspicious, invisible story bodes well for the immediate future.

    Russia is the world’s fifth largest steel producer, apart from holding huge iron and coal deposits. Mariupol – a steel Mecca – used to source coal from Donbass, but under de facto neo-Nazi rule since the 2014 Maidan events, was turned into an importer. Iron, for instance, started to be supplied from Krivbas in Ukraine, over 200 kilometers away.

    After Donetsk solidifies itself as an independent republic or, via referendum, chooses to become part of the Russian Federation, this situation is bound to change.

    Azovstal is invested in a broad product line of very useful stuff: structural steel, rail for railroads, hardened steel for chains, mining equipment, rolled steel used in factory apparatus, trucks and railroad cars. Parts of the factory complex are quite modern while some, decades old, are badly in need of upgrading, which Russian industry can certainly provide.

    Strategically, this is a huge complex, right at the Sea of Azov, which is now, for all practical purposes, incorporated into the Donetsk People’s Republic, and close to the Black Sea. That implies a short trip to the Eastern Mediterranean, including many potential customers in West Asia. And crossing Suez and reaching the Indian Ocean, are customers all across South and Southeast Asia.

    So the Donetsk People’s Republic, possibly part of the future Novorossiya, and even part of Russia, will be in control of a lot of steel-making capacity for southern Europe, West Asia, and beyond.

    One of the inevitable consequences is that it will be able to supply a real freight railroad construction boom in Russia, China and the Central Asian ‘stans.’ Railroad construction happens to be the privileged connectivity mode for Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And, crucially, of the increasingly turbo-charged International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

    So, mid-term, Mariupol should expect to become one of the key hubs of a boom in north-south routes – INSTC across Russia and linking with the ‘stans’ – as well as major BRI upgrades east-west and sub-BRI corridors.

    Interlocked Eurasia

    The INSTC’s main players are Russia, Iran and India – which are now, post-NATO sanctions, in advanced interconnection mode, complete with devising mechanisms to bypass the US dollar in their trade. Azerbaijan is another important INSTC player, yet more volatile because it privileges Turkey’s connectivity designs in the Caucasus.

    The INSTC network will also be progressively interconnecting with Pakistan – and that means the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key BRI hub, which is slowly but surely expanding to Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s impromptu visit to Kabul late last week was to advance the incorporation of Afghanistan to the New Silk Roads.

    All that is happening as Moscow – extremely close to New Delhi – is simultaneously expanding trade relations with Islamabad. All three, crucially, are Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members.

    So the grand North-South design spells out fluent connectivity from the Russian mainland to the Caucasus (Azerbaijan), to West Asia (Iran) all the way to South Asia (India and Pakistan). None of these key players have demonized or sanctioned Russia despite ongoing US pressures to do so.

    Strategically, that represents the Russian multipolar concept of Greater Eurasian Partnership in action in terms of trade and connectivity – in parallel and complimentary with BRI because India, eager to install a rupee-ruble mechanism to buy energy, in this case is an absolutely crucial Russia partner, matching China’s reported $400 billion strategic deal with Iran. In practice, the Greater Eurasia Partnership will facilitate smoother connectivity between Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India.

    The NATO universe, meanwhile, is congenitally incapable of even recognizing the complexity of the alignment, not to mention analyze its implications. What we have is the interlocking of BRI, INTSC and the Greater Eurasia Partnership on the ground – all notions that are regarded as anathema in the Washington Beltway.

    All that of course is being designed amidst a game-changing geoeconomic moment, as Russia, starting this Thursday, will only accept payment for its gas in rubles from “unfriendly” nations.

    Parallel to the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, since it was launched in 2013, is also progressively weaving a complex, integrated Eurasian network of partnerships: financial/economic, connectivity, physical infrastructure building, economic/trade corridors. BRI’s role as a co-shaper of institutions of global governance, including normative foundations, has also been crucial, much to the despair of the NATO alliance.

    Time to de-westernize

    Yet only now the Global South, especially, will start to observe the full spectrum of the China-Russia play across the Eurasian sphere. Moscow and Beijing are deeply involved in a joint drive to de-westernize globalist governance, if not shatter it altogether.

    Russia from now on will be even more meticulous in its institution-building, coalescing the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – a Eurasian military alliance of select post-Soviet states – in a geopolitical context of irreversible institutional and normative divide between Russia and the West.

    At the same time, the Greater Eurasia Partnership will be solidifying Russia as the ultimate Eurasian bridge, creating a common space across Eurasia which could even ignore vassalized Europe.

    Meanwhile in real life, BRI, as much as the INSTC, will be increasingly plugged into the Black Sea (hello, Mariupol). And BRI itself may even be prone to re-evaluation in its emphasis of linking western China to western Europe’s shrinking industrial base.

    There will be no point in privileging the northern BRI corridors – China-Mongolia-Russia via the Trans-Siberian, and the Eurasian land bridge via Kazakhstan – when you have Europe descending into medieval dementia.

    BRI’s renewed focus will be on gaining access to irreplaceable commodities – and that means Russia – as well as securing essential supplies for Chinese production. Commodity-rich nations, such as Kazakhstan and many players in Africa, shall become the top future markets for China.

    In a pre-Covid loop across Central Asia, one constantly heard that China builds plants and high-speed railways while Europe at best writes white papers. It can always get worse.

    The EU as occupied American territory is now descending, fast, from center of global power to the status of inconsequential peripheral player, a mere struggling market in the far periphery of China’s “community of shared destiny.”

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Testing the waters: Could Turkey’s Russian relations sink over Ukraine?

    Neither friend nor foe, Turkey and Russia have backed opposing sides in several regional conflicts, yet managed to avoid direct confrontation. Now the Ukraine crisis poses a serious challenge.

    March 22 2022

    Caught between NATO and Russia over Ukraine, Turkey is forced to walk a thin line to avoid confrontation with either side.Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Yeghia Tashjian

    The war in Ukraine has become the latest test for Turkey’s regional ambitions in confronting those of Russia, in what has clearly become a “cooperative rivalry.” This is where both sides, despite their opposite views on various regional conflicts ranging from Libya to Syria to the South Caucasus, have worked to manage these conflicts without directly challenging one another.

    The current crisis has raised Turkey’s concerns of being in the firing line of Russia’s hegemonic ambitions. It is important to note that Turkey and Russia are not allies, but bitter ‘frenemies.’ Despite having robust commercial, energy, diplomatic and military ties, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned back in 2016 that NATO has to act and increase its presence in the Black Sea.

    Over the past two decades, Russia has consolidated its presence in the Black Sea region by directly controlling Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008, and annexing Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014. The Black Sea Fleet is responsible for bringing supplies to Russian forces in Syria, mostly based in the port of Tartus and Khmeimim airbase, as well as for patrolling the eastern Mediterranean. Russia’s 2015 Maritime Doctrine clearly prioritizes the Black Sea as a pillar of its power projection.

    Turkey’s waning power in the Black Sea

    Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea tipped the balance of military power in the Black Sea in favor of Moscow. Not only has Russia significantly increased its Exclusive Economic Zone and its Black Sea coastline, it has also cancelled existing agreements with Ukraine, which limited the latter’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol.

    Additionally, Russia has stationed new military ships and submarines and installed a dense network of advanced weapons systems across the Crimean peninsula. From Ankara’s perspective, Turkey feels surrounded by Russian military presence from the north (Crimea), east (Armenia), and south (Syria).

    In response, Erdogan initiated the construction of the Istanbul Canal to put additional pressure on Russia using the 1936 Montreux Convention whereby Turkey can close the Black Sea Straits to all warships in times of war.

    Indeed, following NATO’s intensified pressure, Ankara has started exercising its right under Article 19 of the Convention, and has warned all coastal and non-coastal states that it will not allow warships through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. The convention also limits the period of stay for warships belonging to non-Black Sea states in the Black Sea.

    However, this action also exposed Turkey’s limitations by raising the questions: How will Turkey react if Russian naval warships seek passage through the Straits? Will Turkey prevent them? The answer is clear.

    As a Black Sea state, Russia has the privileged right to transit the Turkish Straits to return its warships to their bases. The treaty states that during armed conflict, belligerent warships “shall not” pass through the Straits unless the ships belong to a state that borders the Black Sea and are returning to their home ports.

    Once Turkey determined that Russia was “at war,” it had no choice under the treaty but to stop Russian warships from passing through the Straits. The only exception for passage is for Russian warships from other areas returning to their bases in the Black Sea.

    For example, a Russian fleet registered in the Black Sea but currently located in the Mediterranean Sea is allowed to pass through the Turkish Straits and return to its base. The condition also applies to Russian fleets currently in the Black Sea that belong to a base in the Mediterranean or Baltic Sea. Russia is free to take them out of the Black Sea. This option provides Russia with enough space to maneuver its naval power and downplay Article 19 of the Montreux Convention.

    Turkey is aware that blocking access of Russian warships through its Straits will be viewed in Moscow as a “declaration of war.” This is the last thing Erdogan wants, knowing full well that the economic and political consequences will be harsher than those Turkey tasted after it downed the Russian jet over Syria in 2015.

    Turkey’s balancing act between Russia and Ukraine

    While Turkey will not directly provoke Russia, it has increased its military cooperation with Ukraine. This includes the supply of Bayraktar TB2 drones to the Kiev government. The Russians, for their part, have shown their preparedness for Turkish drones. Despite the fact that the Bayraktar TB2 drones are still operating and useful to the Ukrainian side, the Russian Ministry of Defense almost daily announces that its forces are downing many drones, including TB2.

    This military relationship has also involved Ukraine supplying Turkey with military engines intended to boost Turkey’s growing arms industry; in particular, the Bayraktar’s successor drone and T292 heavy attack helicopters that are currently under production.

    For Russia, this poses a threat, as in the future it may shift the military balance of power towards Turkey and Ukraine in the Black Sea. It is for this reason that Russian forces destroyed most of the Ukrainian heavy military infrastructure (including its naval and air force) and arms industry.

    As such, Erdogan will aim to continue cooperation with Russia in the region; but he is equally likely to step up engagement with NATO to improve his global standing and reduce international criticism of his domestic conduct. Erdogan knows that standing against Russia and directly confronting Moscow is very risky as – excluding the ongoing war in Ukraine – he would start a war on three fronts in the region: in Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

    In order to extract itself from the ongoing difficulty of placating both sides, in recent days Turkey has engaged in proactive diplomacy and mediation between Kiev and Moscow. Ankara announced that the two adversaries have made progress on their negotiations to halt the war and are “close to an agreement.” However, Ukraine’s president responded by saying that any consequential agreement with Russia would be put to a referendum. This signaled that there is no agreement in sight and Ankara’s mediating efforts are fruitless.

    Turkey will not gamble with Ukraine against Russia

    Dr Maxim Suchkov, a Moscow-based expert in the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) expresses concern that Turkey may view the crisis as an opportunity to re-establish itself in the Black Sea and strengthen its relations with the west. Ankara enjoys good ties with both Moscow and Kiev and seeks to balance itself, supplying arms to Ukraine, on the one hand, but also refraining from sanctioning Russia.

    Suchkov argues that Turkey may indeed be useful to the Russian endgame here, but “Moscow should also be careful since President Erdogan is known for his penchant to fish in muddy waters.” Hence, even if the outcome of the conflict does not favor Erdogan’s interests, Turkey may try to wrest something out of this crisis.

    For this reason, President Erdogan cannot antagonize Russia and risk full-scale war as, domestically, the implications of this battle will be heavy on the Turkish government. Already, on 22 February, six Turkish opposition parties, not including the Kurdish HDP, called on a unified platform for the revival of the parliamentary system in the country with the aim of establishing an alliance to topple Erdogan in the coming parliamentary and presidential elections in June 2023.

    According to recent public surveys, the opposition coalition is polling ahead, and indeed may oust Erdogan, given the financial chaos Turkey is experiencing. The current crisis will worsen the economic and political situation of Turkey.

    One sector that is especially vulnerable is tourism, as between four to seven million Russian tourists and around two million Ukrainian tourists visit Turkey each year. Moreover, western sanctions on Russia will make money transactions difficult between both countries.

    Crucially, Turkey imports almost 50 percent of its gas from Russia, and with the increase in global gas prices, Turks find themselves in a difficult quandary. For these reasons, Ankara is unlikely to undertake any risky gambles and will continue to strike a balanced posture in the crisis.

    Turkey still has an important role to play

    Turkey has general elections scheduled for June 2023, hence any change in the leadership in Turkey would affect the current track of Russian-Turkish relations. In a post-Erdogan Turkey, Ankara is likely to move closer to the western camp due to the pro-western (pro-US) leanings of the Turkish military, entrepreneurs, technocrats, diplomats, and civil servants – regardless of their liberal or nationalistic personal views.

    This could form a long-term challenge for Russia-Turkey relations, given the successful “cooperative rivalry” both sides managed to arrange in Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh. It is worth mentioning that on 2 March, Meral Akşener, leader of the Turkish opposition İYİ Party, raised the alarm on whether there were any guarantees that Turkey’s eastern provinces would be safe from a similar kind of Russian aggression. She also called Russia a “security threat” for Turkey. This is another indication that the Turkish opposition is not on the same wavelength as Erdogan’s multi-vector foreign policy.

    Moscow has never viewed Ankara as an equal partner, but as a junior partner that could help configure a regional order which benefits Russian interests and decreases western influence. However, if Russia becomes stuck in a Ukrainian quagmire, it may need Ankara to arrange a temporary settlement.

    Will the Syrian and Nagorno-Karabakh scenario be repeated – in which both sides sidelined western influence and Russia accepted a Turkish role in the region? If Ukraine is divided into two zones, would Russia accept a Turkish ‘peacekeeping force’ in the western part of Ukraine? Would the Americans give Turkey the green light to enter such a game? What would Ankara gain in return? Is such a military adventure within Turkey’s capabilities?

    According to Dr Mitat Çelikpala, Professor of International Relations and the Dean of Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences at Kadir Has University, such a scenario is beyond Turkey’s financial and military capacities – and Turkey cannot act unilaterally. Hence, for now, Turkey must continue its role of mediation between both sides to avoid any spillover effect near its borders.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Day 26 of “Operation Z” in the Ukraine

    March 22, 2022

    Dear friends,

    First, a small announcement:  I am working with a few friends to try to get a daily “Operation Z SITREP” posted in our SITREP section.  This would contain the latest news and the maps that so many like so much.  This is still a work in the planning stages, but I hope to get the ball rolling reasonably soon.

    Next, according to Chechen sources, Chechen special operations have entered the Azovstal factory in Mariupol.  This is too important a claim to be accepted yet, but there are many indirect reports which seem to confirm the veracity of this claim.  If so, then that means that most of the residential areas of Mariupol have now been liberated from the Nazi terrorists of the Azov battalion.  If the combat operation inside or near the Azovstal buildings are still going on, well that means that very soon Mariupol will be denazified which, considering that the Nazi forces inside the city were just about the most evil and yet quite combat capable units available to the Ukronazi regime, the final liberation of Mariupol will mean a huge difference for the entire operation.

    Check this video by Gonzalo Lira to get a full picture of why Mariupol is so crucial.

    This is a photo of the head of the Chechen special forces of the Russian national guard, Adam Delimkhanov, coordinating combat activities this afternoon in Mariupol (look here: and here to see how much the West hates this man!)

    Speaking of Gonzalo Lira, I am extremely worried about him, he has said that he would post a YT report ever 12 hours, and by now it has been sixteen (16!).  And, considering this, I am frankly anxiously waiting for him to give a sign of life.  Gonzalo, if you read these words (who knows?) I recommend that you try to get out towards the Russian lines if at all possible.  If somebody has his email, please send it to me, I would like to contact him.

    If you have any news from/about him, please let me know.

    Now turning to Zone A:

    This is the kind of stuff one can see in the London subway, I was told.

    True or false?  Who knows, but the point is that it pretty much encompasses the traditional British view of the Russian people.  Again, these type of “coming outs” are fantastically important for the future of Russia, so I encourage them.

    Which brings me to the official narrative.

    I think that it is finally cracking.  Here and there in the official corporate media there are articles about some Ukrainian fakes, other articles question the wisdom to go to war with Russia over what is a dead, corrupt, Nazi country 404.

    The reports about the Russians loosing a million tanks, soldiers, missiles and men are gradually being replaced with more sober assessments and the maps produced by western outlets are gradually starting to look more or less similar to the maps produced by the various “Putin propaganda outlets”.

    I see two things coming next:

    • The much announced “Russian atrocity” false flag (several have failed over the past few days, including one chemical ones which was thwarted when the wind blew in the “wrong” direction – that is away from the targeted town.
    • Poland will try to convince the USA to allow it to hide behind Uncle Shmuel’s back and conduct a “peacekeeping operation” to create a mini-Banderastan in western Ukraine.

    Now there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the USA want three things:

    1. A war lasting as long as possible
    2. As many civilian victims as possible
    3. To flood the Ukraine with weapons to then direct a “stay behind” insurgency

    I am not at all convinced that the USA will go along with the Polish plan.  Why?  Because I believe that a Russian Iskander strike INSIDE POLAND (similar to the ones we saw in Iavorovo, the ammo dump in Kiev and in Novaia Liubomirka) is a quasi-certitude (remember: Russia IS ready to fight both NATO and the US together!).  BTW – the one in Iavorovo blew up a huge ammo dump which was buried under 60 meters of rock.  I have no explanation for how that was achieved.  Does anybody?

    Bottom line is that if the Polaks organize another little “peacekeeping training camp” and think that the Russians won’t dare to strike a NATO country they are quite wrong.  They are probably too dumb/delusional to realize that, but the folks at the US DoD probably do and don’t need this.  Why, well precisely because NATO member or not, Article 5 or not, nobody will come to aid the Polaks against the wrath of the entire Russian military, the manpower and resources needed a not there anyway…

    Unless the Russians and the US American agree to a partition of the Ukraine.  Not likely, but always possible.  It is going to almost certainly happen anyway, the only way to prevent that is Russian tanks at the Polish border, and not just for a quick visit, but to create something like the 201 base in Tajikistan.

    Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, this is all still in the future.

    Want a good laugh?

    No, this is not an early April’s First joke!

    Here is how low CNN has sunk, check out this truly priceless headline: twice poisoned and still very much alive, amazing!  Russian “biowarfare killers” really need more training if they can’t even kill a guy but kill his pets (Skripal), then can’t poison a Russian citizen inside Russia (Navalnyi) and fail to kill that guy (his name is Vladimir Kara-Murza, he is a common criminal) TWICE!

    KGB killers are not what they used to be…

    What about the events on the front line?

    I won’t into details here but I will offer a few bullet points

    • Very heavy combats near Avdeevka and Mariupol.
    • Combat pretty much everywhere the line of contact, which result in slow positional warfare with artillery exchanges and  very careful mopping up building buy building and even room by room.
    • On average Russian forces advance between 5 and 20 kilometers per day, which is rather fast against a defense in depth prepared for years.
    • The key cities of Kiev and Odessa are almost completely blocked, but not fully surrounded yet.
    • The Black Sea fleet basically controls the entire Ukie coast and all of the Black Sea itself.
    • The Black Sea fleet also prevents any resupply of Odessa from Romania.
    • Russia has full air superiority over the entire Ukie airspace
    • The Ukies are STILL firing both Tochka-U and Grad/Smrech missiles in the general direction of liberated cities just to create as many casualties as possible, but the Russians have become very stilled at not only shooting down these missiles (the destruction ratio has gone up very sharply) but also a destroying the key Ukrainian ammo dumps were they hide those missiles (this is what happened with the big building in downtown Kiev which the Russians totally vaporized with one perfectly aimed Iskander missile.  If you have not seen this amazing video, you can quickly re-watch it here:

    And here is a video of what the Ukies were hiding under this commercial building (photo from a local resident since disappeared by the Ukie SBU:

    And, finally, I want to share something very important with you: the Ukronazi forces cannot resupply or rotate themselves.  Why?

    • Because moving around when the air is full of Mi-24/35s, Mi-28Ns and Ka-52s in “free hunting” mode requires a type of courage very few people have.
    • Because most road as carefully monitored by multi-sensor Russian reconnaissance/intelligence capabilities
    • Because more big roads (you cannot use small dirt roads to resupply or rotate effectively) are either already physically controlled by the Russians or are “shot through”, which in Russian indicate that while Russian soldiers have to reached each other and hugged they can shoot at any location from these road from any side.

    So it does not matter how motivated the Ukrainians are.  Even with we assume 100% of the Ukrainians are well trained, well armed and would rather die than to retreat or surrender, they still need many TONS of stuff (food, ammo, water, MRE, medicine, batteries, petroleum, diesel, lubricants, oil and many more things!) EVERY DAY.  Just to give you an idea, read this pretty decent discussion of some aspects of logistics by the US military.

    So once the Ukies are blocked by Russians, it is essentially over for them.  Anybody with a basic understanding of modern warfare can confirm that to you.

    Add to this in the very first day Russian destroyed all the Ukie communication center and capabilities in the first few hours of the operation, and you will see that while the Ukrainian side this has “brigades” and “battalions” these are all under manned and, crucially, cannot cooperate with each other.  In other words, they cannot jointly maneuver to support each other.

    To put it in the simplest terms, the Ukrainians are not able to conduct any operations, and that is why all their so-called “counter-attacks” always fail and mostly never even materialized.  At best, they can destroy a Russian checkpoint, blow up a truck or even shoot down a helicopter, but none of that solves their real problem which is that they are now mostly reduced to WWI type of warfare against a 21st century ultra-modern military which has the total control of the situation.

    That’s it for today.  I really have to stop because I have a roaring repetitive stress injury (RSI) in my right hand because I spend waaaaaaaaaay to much time on my keyboard.  I already use a brace to protect my thumb, but even that does not help.  So I will sign off for the day and be back tomorrow, God willing.

    Kind regards


    PS: found a very decent map of the situation on Telegram (the place to go for good info!)

    Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation Statements and those biological labs

    March 10, 2022

    This will contain a few statements and this first one is from about 12 hours ago.  Source is MoD Russia Telegram Channel:

    Briefing by Russian Defence Ministry

     The grouping of troops of Lugansk People’s Republic, continuing offensive operations, took control of Blizhnee and Tavla. The advance was 4 kilometers.

    The operation to liberate Mariupol from nationalists continues.
    The units of People’s Militia of Donetsk Republic took control of Azovskiy, Naidenovka, Lyapino, Vinogradar disticts in the east of the city and went to Azovstal plant. “Western” neighbourhood has been liberated in the west part of the city.

     The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to strike at the military infrastructure of Ukraine.

     In total, 2,911 military infrastructure facilities of Ukraine were destroyed during the operation.

     Among them: 97 aircraft, 107 unmanned aerial vehicles, 141 anti-aircraft missile defence systems, 86 radar posts, 986 tanks and other armored vehicles, 107 multiple launch rocket systems, 368 field artillery and mortars, 749 special military vehicles.

      The Russian Ministry of Defence continues analysis of documents provided by employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories on the secret military biological activities of the United States on the territory of Ukraine.

    Russian specialists of the NBC protection troops have studied documents on the transfer of human biomaterials taken in Ukraine to foreign countries on the instructions of US representatives.

    Detailed information about the implementation of a project by the United States on the territory of Ukraine to study the transfer of pathogens by wild birds migrating between Ukraine and Russia and other neighboring countries was of particular interest.

    According to the documents, the American side planned to organize work on pathogens of birds, bats and reptiles in Ukraine in 2022. And further study of the possibility to transfer of African swine fever and anthrax by them.

    According to the documents, experiments with samples of bat coronavirus were carried out in biological laboratories created and funded in Ukraine.

    The purpose of these and other Pentagon-funded biological researches in Ukraine was the creation of mechanism for the covert spread of deadliest pathogens.

    In the near future, we will show another set of documents received from Ukrainian employees of biological laboratories and present the results of their assessment.

      Russian Defence Ministry continues to study materials of military biological programs of the United States and its NATO allies on the territory of Ukraine.

       Briefing on the results of the analysis of documents ( to the military biological activities of the United States on the territory of Ukraine

    The Russian Defence Ministry continues to study materials on the implementation of military biological programs of the United States and its NATO allies on the territory of Ukraine.

    The information received from various sources confirms the leading role of the US Defence Threat Reduction Agency in financing and conducting military biological research on the territory of Ukraine.

    Details of the UP-4 project became known, which was implemented with the participation of laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa and was designed for the period up to 2020.

    Its purpose was to study the possibility of the spread of particularly dangerous infections through migrating birds, including highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza, the mortality rate of which reaches 50 percent for humans, as well as Newcastle disease.

    Due to the fact that Ukraine has a unique geographical location where transcontinental migration routes intersect, 145 biological species were studied within the framework of this project. At the same time, at least two species of migratory birds were identified, whose routes pass mainly through the territory of Russia. At the same time, information about migration routes passing through the countries of Eastern Europe was summarized.

    Of all the methods developed in the United States to destabilize the epidemiological situation, this is one of the most reckless and irresponsible, since it does not allow to control the further development of the situation. This is confirmed by the course of the pandemic of a new coronavirus infection, the occurrence and features of which raise many questions.

    In addition, the R-781 project is interesting, where bats are considered as carriers of potential biological weapons agents.

    Among the priorities identified are the study of bacterial and viral pathogens that can be transmitted from bats to humans: pathogens of plague, leptospirosis, brucellosis, as well as coronaviruses and filoviruses.
    It is noteworthy that the research is carried out in close proximity to the borders of Russia – in the areas of the Black Sea coast and the Caucasus.

    The project is being implemented with the involvement of not only Ukrainian, but also Georgian biological laboratories controlled by the Pentagon in cooperation with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the US Geological Survey.

    The analyzed materials on the UP-8 project, aimed at studying the Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever virus and hantaviruses in Ukraine, clearly refute the US public statement that only Ukrainian scientists work in the Pentagon biolabs in Ukraine without the intervention of American biologists. One of the documents confirms that all serious high-risk studies are conducted under the direct supervision of specialists from the United States.

    The payroll of Ukrainian contractors clearly demonstrates how they are financed. It has been confirmed that the US Department of Defence paid the money for research participation directly, without the involvement of intermediaries. The extremely modest pay, by US standards, is noteworthy. This indicates a low estimation of the professionalism of Ukrainian specialists and the neglect of their American colleagues.

    In addition, the studied materials contain proposals for the expansion of the US military-biological program in Ukraine. Thus, there was evidence of the continuation of completed biological projects UP-2, UP-9, UP-10, aimed at studying the pathogens of anthrax and African swine fever.

    The Pentagon is also interested in insect vectors capable of spreading dangerous infectious diseases. The analysis of the obtained materials confirms the transfer of more than 140 containers with ectoparasites of bats – fleas and ticks from the biolab in Kharkov abroad.

    Significantly, similar research was carried out in the 1940s on the development of biological weapons components by the Japanese unit 731, whose members later fled to the US to escape prosecution for war crimes.

    I would like to remind you that representatives of Western countries are extremely cautious about handing over their biomaterials.

    At the same time, available documents confirm numerous cases of transferring biological samples of Ukrainian citizens abroad. For example, 350 cryocontainers with blood serum samples were transferred from the Public Health Centre of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to the reference laboratory for infectious diseases of the Australian Doherty Institute under the pretext of determining antibody titers.

    Another example is the German-funded project No. 68727 EN on the study of Congo-Crimean haemorrhagic fever pathogens and hantaviruses. As part of this project, one thousand blood serum samples of citizens from different regions of Ukraine belonging exclusively to the Slavic ethnic group were donated to the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (Hamburg).

    It is highly likely that one of the objectives of the US and its allies is to create bioagents capable of selectively targeting different ethnic populations.

    During a hearing of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on 8 March, Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland reported on the presence of bioweapons in Ukraine where biosecurity research had been conducted. She expressed concern about the possibility of these bio-laboratories and the materials there being taken over by the Russian Armed Forces.

    According to available information, the Americans have already managed to evacuate most of the documentation, including databases, biomaterials and equipment from laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa to the Lvov Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene and the US Consulate in Lvov. The possibility of transferring part of the collection to Poland has not been excluded.

    In fact, with her statement, Nuland indirectly confirmed the Pentagon’s military-biological program in Ukraine in circumvention of existing international agreements.

     Documents (

    Tucker Carlson comments:

    مفاوضات بوتين السريّة… من البلطيق للمتوسط: البحر لي

    الأربعاء 9 آذار 2022

     محمد صادق الحسيني

    كلّ شيء بات بيده شخصياً، ولا يترك صغيرة وكبيرة في روسيا إلا وهو يديرها ويحرّكها بناء على عقيدته القتالية الجديدة، التي تقضي بضرورة هزيمة أميركا بكلّ حزم وبأس…

    وفي هذا السياق كشفت مصادر دولية مطلعة أنّ الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين يعتمد في معركته المفتوحة هذه على أوسع مدى مع ما بات يسمّيها بـ “امبراطورية الكذب”، على طاقم خاص به يعمل لديه بشكل مباشر وبعيداً عن الأنظار تماماً.

    وأضافت: يقوم وفد من هذا الطاقم الديبلوماسي ـ العسكري الاستراتيجي يتواجد في باريس منذ بداية العملية العسكرية، وانه هو مَن يدير الآن المفاوضات الحقيقية والجوهرية مع الغرب ومع إدارة بايدن بشكل خاص هناك بعيداً عن مسرح العمليات.

    وفي هذا السياق، فإنّ المصادر المذكورة المواكبة لما يجري في باريس تؤكد بإنّ بوتين أكد لقادة الغرب بالأمس عبر هذه القناة العليا ما يلي:

    أولا ـ انّ القيادة الروسية لن تقبل في إطار نتائج عملية أوكرانيا أقل من إسقاط الطغمة الحاكمة في كييف واستسلام زيلينسكي او تسليمه من قبل أسياده ـ رغم معرفة مكان اختبائه والقدرة على أسره ـ ليودَع السجن ومن ثم ليقدّم للمحاكمة مع بقية النازيين الجدد على يد السلطة الجديدة التي ستفرزها نتائج المعركة.

    ثانيا ـ بعد الانتهاء من مهمة نزع سلاح أوكرانيا وتحييدها وإعادة تشكيل السلطة فيها، سيتجه بوتين الى مهمة إخراج أميركا من أوروبا، والخطوة الأولى ستبدأ من دول البلطيق وأوروبا الشرقيّة حيث سيكون المطلوب منها الانسحاب من الناتو وإعلان حيادها.

    ثالثا ـ انّ بوتين لن يقبل بعد اليوم ايّ تهديد وجودي لأمن واستقرار بلاده من جانب أميركا والناتو وقد أبلغ المتفاوضين معه في باريس ما يلي:

    إنّ بحار البلطيق والأسود والمتوسط أصبحت مليئة بالغواصات ذات الطبيعة الاستراتيجية وهي متأهّبة للقيام بمهامها القتالية في حال تعرّضت روسيا لعدوان، وستنطلق القذائف الاستراتيجية من جميع أنواع الغواصات لا سيما من غواصات “اليد الميتة” وهي غواصات روسية متطورة جداً مزروعة في كلّ البحار والمحيطات وهي بإمكانها إطلاق قنابل بعشرة رؤوس كلّ واحدة منها قادرة على تدمير إحدى المدن الغربية الكبرى…!

    يضيف المطلعون على خفايا ما يجري بعيداً عن وسائل الإعلام فيقولون:

    إنّ العالم الغربي لم يقدّر بعد حقيقة ما يملكه بوتين قدرة وقوة وعزم في سياسته الجديدة القاضية بإحداث النقلة العالمية الكبرى التي طال انتظارها من قبل القيادة الروسية!

    التغيير الذي آن أوانه ولا محيد عنه، وهي الإرادة المشتركة مع الحليف الصيني والآخر الإيراني وعشرات القوى العالمية التي سرعان ما ستنضمّ الى موسكو بمجرد تسارع الانحدار الأميركي الآتي…

    أميركا وصلت الى المحطة التي لطالما أخبرنا عنها كبار من قاتلوا أميركا وخبروها عن قرب من ماوتسي تونغ الى الإمام الخميني…

    صحيح أنها لا تزال مدجّجة بأسلحة الدمار الشامل لكنها

    باتت أقرب ما تكون الى المقولة التاريخية الشهيرة: نمر من ورق، فلا تخافوه…

    وكما يردّد الصينيون اليوم في ردهات الحزب الحاكم طبقاً لمصادر متابعة في بكين :

    إنّ اميركا باتت امبراطورية تسارع الخطى نحو قعر جهنم بما فعلته هي بأيديها وما فعلته بها أيدي شرفاء العالم أيضاً…

    وأما أوروبا ففي هذه الأثناء ورغم قدراتها الاقتصادية وادّعاءاتها فهي تفتقر للروحية والإرادة، فإنها سيجعلها تخرج من هذه المعركة أكثر ضعفاً ولا دور مؤثراً لها في المعادلة الدولية الجديدة…!

    كما أنّ الناتو سيكون مصيره هو الآخر التفكك والمزيد من التصدع.

    والمتضرّر الكبير في منطقتنا هو الكيان المؤقت الذي بدا ضائعاً وفاقداً لأيّ رؤية بل ومصاباً بالعمى الاستراتيجي كما يقول المطلعون على خفايا مطبخ القرار “الإسرائيلي”.

    أما أوكرانيا التي أرادوا لها دولة مدجّجة بالسلاح النووي والأسلحة الجرثومية ومنصة للعدوان على روسيا فإنها ستخرج لا محالة:

    مجموعة دويلات مجزأة وضعيفة ومنطقة حياد فاصلة بين عالم جديد صاعد بقيادة الثلاثي الأوروآسيوي الصين وروسيا وإيران، وعالم الغرب المتقهقر الذي ستظهر فيه أميركا ـ القوة العظمى سابقاً ـ إمبراطورية عجوز حان وقت خريفها منزوية داخل حدودها، المغتصبة أصلاً من سكانها الأصليين الأميركيين اللاتينيين!

    هذه مطالعة واقعية لمعادلة القوة في جغرافيا آخر الزمان، نوصف فيها العالم بمثابة صيرورة حاصلة وليس أمنيات او رغبات ثورية!

    ومثل هذا المسار أعلاه هو أصلاً جزء من السنن الكونية وقواعد وقوانين تحوّل القوى والإمبراطوريات الفاسدة عندما توغل في الشر والكذب والظلم والقمع الوحشي، تنزاح من الواجهة رويداً رويداً لتترك المجال والحياة لقوى الخير الصاعدة.

    عالم ينهار، عالم ينهض.

    بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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    Day 11 – Putin’s last warning before beginning of the 2nd phase of the operation

    March 06, 2022


    First, since Boris Rozhin did take the time to write up a summary for the day, I will begin by sharing with you a machine translation of his summary of the day:

    1. Negotiations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine will be held tomorrow on the territory of Belarus. Moscow has made it clear once again today that if Kiev does not accept the conditions (without any concessions), the consequences for Ukrainian statehood will be severe. The United States says that the second phase of the operation may begin on Monday, including operations to establish control over Odessa and Kiev, as well as the encirclement of the AFU group in the Donbas. In the statements of Zelensky’s gang, there are more and more hysterical notes and accusations against the West that he threw (there has never been such a thing).

    2. Humanitarian corridors in Mariupol and Volnovakha are still being disrupted by the Nazis from Azov, despite all agreements. Is anyone surprised? I’m not. So far, it has been possible to free about 300 people from the hands of terrorists who were holed up in Mariupol. Several dozen more were able to escape from Volnovakha. Ukrainian terrorists do not want to get rid of their human shield in any way. Which condemns many people to death when the counter-terrorist operation begins in Mariupol itself and the active cleaning of Volnovakha continues.

    3. Misunderstandings continue with Zelensky’s real whereabouts, and Ukrainian and American sources are dispersing the news about Zelensky’s impending evacuation to the West, and the search for spies and traitors is also continuing. Kivu was accused of “high treason” and put on the wanted list. They’ll catch him, probably kill him like Kireev. And there they will already think who he is a “traitor” or a “hero”. Zelensky himself said today that the West wants Ukrainians to be killed (woke up) and that “we are fighting for where the new border will be.” The old border will obviously no longer exist. The borders will change in any case – the question of course is interesting, where they will pass.

    4. Anti-war rallies are taking place in the Russian Federation today, with the help of which Zelensky called for stopping the operation in Ukraine. Judging by the number of people gathered, even the arrest of Navalny (who is this, by the way?) and coronavirus restrictions (by the way, where is covid?) they worried citizens more. But let’s see, maybe by the evening the number will grow up. In the meantime, everything is pretty pathetic, which was apparently facilitated by a fierce information sweep, which continued today.

    5. The enforcement of the law on fakes on the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has begun today. The first lucky person got off with a fine of 60,000 rubles. I had the idea to write about the problems in the offensive operation (of course, they also exist), but I’ll wait for now – we need to see how the law works in practice. Well, or after the end of the operation there will be material when military censorship will not be so fierce.
    With regard to the operation itself, it is worth noting that even in the West there are discrepancies regarding the plans of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, although the progress on the map gives some idea of what they are striving for. From a subjective point of view, priority No. 1 is the destruction of the AFU group in the Donbas by encircling and defeating this group, which will deprive Ukraine of most of the armed forces and heavy equipment.


    Yesterday Putin had a most interesting conversations with members of what look like members of an flight attendant union.  We hope to bring the the whole thing subtitled in English later today, but here is the key sentence made by Putin during that conversation:

    Translation:  If the leadership of Ukraine continues to do what they are doing, it will call into question the future of Ukrainian statehood, and that will be entirely their responsibility

    I think that it is important to understand the context in which Putin made this statement.  As a reminder

    • The Ukronazi armed forces are down to less than 25% of its original size.
    • Almost all the remaining forces are in some type or another of cauldrons.
    • Russia has full air supremacy
    • The Ukronazi fleet does not exist anymore
    • In spite of all the propaganda, no help from abroad will affect the outcome of this war
    • It appears that Russia will surround Odessa and eventually take control of the entire Ukrainian Black Sea coast

    In other words, what seems to be shaping up is that Russia will soon have control over the entire Ukraine except for the western provinces (west of Vinnitsa and Zhitomir).  In other words, the war is over, at least militarily.  There will be a meeting between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators tomorrow, and it shall be interesting to see if something, anything, will come out of it.

    The west is clearly determined to heroically fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian.  Russia wants to stop this operation as soon as possible, but only after her double goals of 1) disarmament and 2) denazification are achieved.

    Right now the big question is Kiev.  It’s a big city with plenty of civilians and probably 30-50 thousand combatants of all different kinds (VSU, SBU, Volkssturm, deathsquads, looters, etc.).  The logical solution would be to offer the combatants (and the civilians) corridors to exit the city, but the West can’t have that.

    Now if the Ukies won’t vacate Kiev, then some rather serious fighting will take place inside the city and clearing the city from the Nazis will demand the involvement of a major Russian force.  It appears that these forces are now in their staging areas all around the city (except for the south).

    Think about it this way: the frontline (line of contact) is now very long and the Ukies don’t have enough forces to even try to hold any frontline in such a context.

    However, remember the number of Russian forces deployed along the Ukrainian border – about 100’000+ or so soldiers?  It appears that there are currently not enough Russia forces to fully exploit the Russian advances over the past ten days.  Alternatively, we could say that  the Russian force is big enough, but that now it has to sharply increase its use of firepower to further develop its operations.

    For all these reasons, here is what I suppose is in the making:

    • If the Ukrainian delegation agrees to a surrender, then things can be resolved with the least amount of needless deaths and suffering.  However, the West will not allow the Ukrainians to surrender and those Ukrainians who might agree to talk will get shot by their own (it is happening all over Banderastan right now).
    • Having received a Ukrainian rejection, I believe that Russia will bring in more forces and will begin by clearing out the Mariupol and Odessa cauldrons (or “soon to be cauldrons”).
    • In at least one case (near Voznesensk) a Ukrainian counter-attack did break through the Russian defensive lines.  This shows that the Russian lines are thinning out as a consequence of their own successes, and that then allows the Nazi forces to mount successful counter-attacks.
    • It is also quite clear that the US/NATO is offering the Ukrainians its full reconnaissance/intelligence support and that while their own networks and command posts are gone, the US/NATO continue to support Ukie operations.

    For all these reasons, and failing some kind of ceasefire, the next 7-10 days ought to see a sharp increase in Russian operations not only in the air and on the ground, but also on the sea where the Black Sea Fleet will be engaged to secure the Ukrainian coast line.  The Russian might also have to do something about NATO’s intel/recon support for Ukrainian forces, either overtly or with a modicum of plausible deniability.

    Which begs one question: how far west are the Russians willing to go?

    I don’t know.  But I know that during his talk yesterday Putin indicated that “only” supporting and defending the LDNR would not be enough because the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass would receive a constant flow of support from the West.

    Hence the Russian General Staff decided that it needed to do two things first: destroy the Ukrainian defense infrastructure and 2, encircle the Ukronazi forces in the Donbass by a envelopment/pincer movement from the south and the north.  I still am waiting for a confirmation that this operational-level cauldron is locked, but nobody (that I know of) produced any recent map for today.  Still, I think that we can safely assume that cauldron will be locked very soon (or has already been locked).

    Still, major (relatively speaking) Ukrainian force concentrations have dug in and are ready for long urban combat operations in at least the following cities: Odessa, Dnepr and Kiev.  Could the Russian military evict the Nazis from these cities?  Yes, Mariupol is being cleaned up as we speak, but only at a high human cost (on all sides) and by bringing in more firepower (on the ground and in the air).

    My guess is that the Russians have decided to clear the entire south front first.  Russian forces are already in between Nikolaev and Odessa, and the Black Sea Fleet has reportedly conducted strikes southwest of Odessa.  Right now the Black Sea Fleet is keeping the Ukrainians guessing whether there will be an amphibious assault and if yes, were.

    I am no prophet, but a securing a bridgehead southwest of Odessa to then land an amphibious assault force and develop it all from there seems like a reasonable idea to me.

    Once both Odessa and Nikolaev are either taken or, at least, solidly surrounded then Russia can free more forces to move north.  Likewise, as soon as the operational cauldron in the Donbass is locked, this will also free more forces to then move west.  If this is successful, then Russia will have achieved a strategic cauldron encompassing the entire Ukraine west of the Vinnitsa-Zhitomir line.

    If this is not successful and Russians lose their tempo, then the only solution left will be to sharply increase the intensity of the entire operation.  I think that this is exactly what Putin had in mind when he said “If the leadership of Ukraine continues to do what they are doing, it will call into question the future of Ukrainian statehood, and that will be entirely their responsibility“.

    So, to sum it all up:

    1. Russia would prefer to end this war at the negotiations table
    2. The West wants to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian
    3. and the Ukrainians…   …actually, I have no idea what they are up to, what they still hope for, what they understand or not, but the best thing they could do would be to rise up against the Nazis, disarm them and declare their cities open.  Either that, or emigrate.

    This is a totally depressing thought, but I see no other option for Russia but to turn up the “pain dial” on both the Ukrainians and the West and see if they are now willing to stop this war.

    If not, then turn it up again, and then repeat as many times as needed until either 1) the West capitulates or 2) the Ukraine is unilaterally disarmed and denazified by Russia.

    Here is what is also crucial to understand:

    Russia was willing, when forced, to intervene in the Ukraine.  If forced, Russia will take on any country, including any NATO member country, which will assist the Ukrainians militarily.  If forced, Russia will even fight all of NATO and the USA together and, if forced, she will use all her weapons, including nuclear ones.  And if that means that the entire planet is nuked then, as Putin said, “we have no need for a planet without Russia”.  All this is to say that Russia is not bluffing, Putin will not back down and that there is no price which Russia would not be willing to pay to prevail in this existential war.

    Russia will not stop until her existence is made safe again.

    What about the West?

    I believe that the West has a “smartass policy”: we do fight down the the last Ukie, and we get as many Steppe Niggers and Snow Niggers to kill each other, but then we stop just short of nuclear war with Russia.

    Question: do you trust the geniuses in power in the West to successfully walk this tightrope?

    I sure don’t.

    Reach your own conclusions.


    تركيا تغلق المضائق: مجازفة معلَنة بالمصالح الروسية

    الثلاثاء 1 آذار 2022

    تتخوف تركيا كثيراً من تداعيات الحرب الأوكرانية على الاقتصاد التركي (أ ف ب )

    محمد نور الدين 

    لم يستغرق الأمر طويلاً حتى اعترفت تركيا بأن مصطلح «حالة الحرب» ينطبق على الوضع في روسيا وأوكرانيا. فبعدما قال وزير الخارجية التركي، مولود تشاووش أوغلو، إنّ بلاده كلّفت لجنة من خبراء القانون والدبلوماسية لبتّ مدى مطابقة «حالة الحرب» لما يجري على الجبهة الروسية ــــ الأوكرانية، أَعلن أمس أن هذين البلدين هما فعلاً في حالة حرب. ويكتسب هذا الاعتراف أهميته لجهة استعداد تركيا لتطبيق أحكام «اتفاقية مونترو»، التي بناءً عليها، أعلن تشاووش أوغلو، حظر مرور السفن العسكرية من مضيقي الدردنيل والبوسفور. وقال: «أبلغنا الدول المطلّة وغير المطلّة على البحر الأسود بألّا ترسل سفنها الحربية للمرور عبر مضائقنا».

    هذه الاتفاقية، التي وُقّعت في 20 تموز 1936، تنظّم حركة الملاحة من البحر الأسود وإليه عبر مضيقَي البوسفور والدردنيل. وتقول المادة العشرون منها إنه في حالة وجود تركيا في حالة حرب مع أيّ دولة أخرى، يمكنها أن تغلق المضائق وفقاً لما تريد. لكن أنقرة ليست الآن في حالة حرب مع أيّ دولة. ولذا، اتّجهت الأنظار إلى المادة 19 التي تنصّ على أنه في حالة دخول أيّ دولة من دول البحر الأسود حرباً مع دولة أخرى، فبإمكان تركيا إغلاق المضائق أمام حركة السفن الحربية التابعة للدول المتحاربة في الاتجاهَين. إلا أنه يمكن للسفن الموجودة في البحر المتوسط، والمسجَّلة مثلاً في قاعدة في البحر الأسود، أن تطلب من أنقرة السماح لها بعبور المضائق للعودة إلى قاعدتها الأم، والعكس بالعكس.

    سبقت أنقرة أيّ خطوة في هذا الاتجاه بالقول إنّ إغلاق المضائق لا يعني خطوة عدائية تجاه روسيا، بل هو تطبيق حرفي لـ»مونترو». كما أن تركيا تواجه تحديات أخرى تتعلّق بالاتفاقية ذاتها، حيث تَبرز مطالبات أو تلميحات من قِبل دول لا تنتمي إلى البحر الأسود، مثل الولايات المتحدة، بوجوب تعديل الاتفاقية، بحيث يُسمح لسفن هذه الدول بالعبور بحرية إلى البحر الأسود، وبالعدد والحجم الذي تريد، علماً بأن «مونترو» تمنع دخول أكثر من سفينتَين تابعتَين لدولة واحدة يزيد وزنهما على 45 ألف طن، وتفرض ألّا تزيد مدة بقائهما في البحر على 22 يوماً. وقد واجهت الولايات المتحدة صعوبات بسبب ذلك، أثناء المناورات التي قادتها في البحر الأسود لدول «حلف شمال الأطلسي» ومنها تركيا، ولمّحت ضمناً إلى الرغبة في تعديل الاتفاقية، الأمر الذي واجه معارضة شديدة داخل تركيا، لأن أيّ تعديل مهما كان صغيراً، يفتح باباً لن ينغلق على مطالبات بتعديلات واسعة من قِبل دول كثيرة.

    الآن، تجد الحكومة التركية نفسها أمام تحدٍّ أساسي، يتمحور حول ما إذا كانت روسيا ستعتبر إغلاق المضائق خطوة عدائية ضدها. ويأتي هذا التحدّي بعدما تخطّت أنقرة تحدٍّ آخر، يتمثّل في واقع أنه لو لم تُقْدم على خطوة كهذه، كان ذلك سيعني أنها تنتهك أحكام الاتفاقية بنفسها، الأمر الذي سيفتح باب المطالبة بتعديلها، علماً بأن الأتراك يرون أن «مونترو» ركيزة أساسية لأمنهم القومي، ومكمّلة لـ»معاهدة لوزان» عام 1923، والتي رسمت أسس الكيان التركي. وتشكّك المعارضة التركية في نيات الحكومة، وتتهم الرئيس رجب طيب إردوغان بالسعي إلى هدم كلّ الإنجازات التي حقّقها أتاتورك، وعلى رأسها «لوزان» و»مونترو». وتدرك الحكومة التركية عواقب مثل هذه الخطوة، التي ستؤدّي إلى توتير علاقاتها مع روسيا، فيما تعتقد المعارضة أن ضرب تلك العلاقات يصبّ في مصلحتها، باعتبارها ركيزة من ركائز استمرار سلطة إردوغان. ولعلّ من تجلّيات ذلك، تقديم نائب إسطنبول عن «حزب الشعب الجمهوري المعارض»، محمود تانال، دعوى لدى المدعي العام للجمهورية في أنقرة، يتّهم فيها الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، ووزراء الدفاع والخارجية ورئيس الأركان في روسيا، بـ»ارتكاب جرائم ضدّ الإنسانية وانتهاك القانون الدولي» في أوكرانيا.

    تركيا مهدَّدة بفقدان العديد من الامتيازات والمكاسب الناتجة من علاقاتها المتشابكة

    كما كان لافتاً مانشيت صحيفة «قرار» المعارِضة والمؤيّدة لأحمد داود أوغلو وعلي باباجان، وفيه: «عُد إلى بلادك يا فلاديمير»، فيما انطلقت حملة عامة ضدّ روسيا في وسائل الإعلام المؤيّدة للحكومة وتلك التابعة للمعارضة. لكن محمد علي غولر في صحيفة «جمهورييات»، يدعو الرأي العام إلى التذكّر بأن الأزمة الأوكرانية هي مجرّد نتيجة لسبب، هو رغبة «حلف شمال الأطلسي» في التوسّع شرقاً لخنق روسيا، بعدما أرادت الولايات المتحدة أن تنقل ثقلها إلى الشرق لخنق الصين. ويرى غولر أن روسيا «تعمل لمنع حرب عالمية من خلال غزو أوكرانيا»، بينما الولايات المتحدة تمثّل «ماكينة الحرب التي يجب القول لها توقّفي». ويقول غولر: «إن كلّ سنّ ينكسر من أسنان حلف شمال الأطلسي هو ضمانة لمستقبل وسلام الإنسانية جمعاء».

    على أيّ حال، تعتقد تركيا أن إغلاق المضائق ربّما يمثّل فرصة لتوجيه رسالة «حسن نيّة» إلى القوى الغربية. كذلك، وعلى رغم المخاطر التي تكتنفها الحرب الأوكرانية على المصالح التركية، إلّا أن البعض يرى فيها «فرصة» لإعادة الاعتبار إلى أنقرة في أكثر من مجال. وعلى رأس هذه الفرص، يأتي رفض أوروبا تشغيل خطّ «نورد ستريم 2» الروسي، والذي قد يكون مناسبة لتركيا لتذكير أوروبا بأنها الممرّ الإجباري والأكثر جدوى لنقل غاز شرق المتوسط من إسرائيل ومصر إلى ميناء جيهان التركي، ومنه عبر الأنابيب المارّة في الأناضول، وصولاً إلى أدرنة فاليونان وأوروبا، ولا سيما بعدما سقط مشروع خطّ غاز شرق المتوسط من إسرائيل إلى قبرص الجنوبية، فاليونان وإيطاليا إلى أوروبا، والذي تبلغ كلفته حوالي 9 مليارات دولار، وإعلان الولايات المتحدة أخيراً أنها لن تساهم في هذا المشروع.

    مع ذلك، تتخوف تركيا كثيراً من تداعيات الحرب الأوكرانية على الاقتصاد التركي. فعلى سبيل المثال، يبلغ حجم التجارة بين تركيا وروسيا حوالي 35 مليار دولار، منها 28 ملياراً واردات الأولى، والتي يذهب معظمها إلى شراء الطاقة، حيث تستورد أنقرة من موسكو 34 في المئة تقريباً من حاجتها إلى الغاز الطبيعي، وحوالي العشرة في المئة من حاجتها إلى النفط. أيضاً، تستورد تركيا من روسيا حوالي 65 في المئة من حاجتها إلى القمح، فيما يأتي السيّاح الروس إلى تركيا في المرتبة الأولى، وعددهم حوالي 5 ملايين سائح بمعدّل خمسة مليارات دولار. يُضاف إلى ما تَقدّم أن ثمّة استثمارات تركية في روسيا بقيمة 21 مليار دولار عبر 150 مشروعاً. كما أن الروس هم الذين يبنون المفاعل النووي في مرسين، ويزوّدون تركيا بصواريخ «أس 400» (كعب أخيل التوتر التركي ــــ الأميركي)، في حين يعدّ خطّ نفط «الدفق التركي» من روسيا عبر البحر الأسود إلى شرق إسطنبول شبه منتهٍ. وتتعاون تركيا وروسيا في عدد كبير من القضايا الإقليمية، مثل القوقاز وسوريا وليبيا وغيرها.

    في المقابل، لتركيا علاقات متطوّرة اقتصادياً وعسكرياً مع أوكرانيا، حيث يبلغ حجم التجارة بينهما حوالي 7 مليارات دولار، والسيّاح ثلاثة ملايين أوكراني، والاستثمارات التركية في أوكرانيا 5 مليارات دولار. وتستورد أنقرة، أيضاً، 15 في المئة من حاجتها إلى القمح من كييف، فيما تُعتبر الأخيرة سوقاً مهمّة لطائرات «بيرقدار» التركية المسيّرة، والتي شكّلت أحد أهم أسباب انزعاج روسيا من تركيا، ورفضها التجاوب مع محاولة إردوغان التوسّط في الأزمة. بالنتيجة، تركيا مهدَّدة بفقدان العديد من الامتيازات والمكاسب الناتجة من هذه العلاقات المتشابكة، في حال تصاعد وتيرة الحرب أو خسارة أحد البلدين إذا ما انحازت إلى أحدهما.

    على صعيد آخر، يرى محلّلون أن انفجار الحرب الأوكرانية يؤكد للأوروبيين أن مركز التهديد العالمي لا يزال على الأرض الأوروبية وليس قرب الصين، وهذا ما يعيد الاعتبار إلى الجغرافيا الأوروبية، والأهمية إلى دول أخرى مثل تركيا في الصراع ضد روسيا. كما أن الأزمة الأوكرانية سوف تشدّ من جديد العصب الأطلسي بشقَّيه الأميركي والأوروبي، بما فيه أنقرة، وقد تدفع بايدن نفسه إلى التخلّي عن محاولات التخلّص من إردوغان.

    من ملف : روسيا: فلْتكن حرباً اقتصادية

    مقالات متعلقة

    A few disjointed thoughts about the current military situation

    February 24, 2022


    I parsed some info source and I can offer a few quick reactions to what is taking place.  The operation is bigger than what I had predicted.  However, I STILL don’t believe that Russia wants to invade the Ukraine.

    Let’s first see what Russia has already done using ONLY HER STANDOFF WEAPONS:

    • The Ukrainian air defenses have ceased to exist
    • The Ukrainian air force has ceased to exist
    • The Ukrainian navy has ceased to exist
    • The Ukrainian command and control are severely disrupted with many command posts destroyed
    • All the military airfields in the Ukraine are now not operational
    • Numerous supply dumps of ammo, petroleum and lubricants have been destroyed.
    • Russia controls the entire Ukie airspace and all the Ukie coastal waters in the Black and Azov seas.

    Next, let’s see what LDNR and Russian forces are, apparently, doing right now:

    • The LDNR forces have broken through the Ukie defenses in two locations and have penetrated 7-10km behind the LOC.
    • These forces advanced with fire support from Russia
    • The Ukie forces have built fortifications for 8 years, so the progress against the bulk of the Ukie ground forces is slow.  HOWEVER
    • It appears that the Russian have decided to encircle the entire Ukronazi force on the Donbass by a pincer movement from the north and south

    It is my opinion that Russia will encircle the Ukie forces, the entire Ukrainian force along the LOC and then wait for them to surrender thereby minimizing losses on both sides.  In other words, the Russians are trying to lock the Ukies in an operational cauldron and basically remove these forces from the equation.

    Second, Putin has clearly stated the Russian goals: demilitarize and denazify the Ukraine.

    The first element, disarmament, is already well under way.

    The denazification implies some kind of regime change.  There are reports of Russian forces near Kiev and I believe that a “hunt for Nazis” will be conducted in one way or another.

    Interestingly, the Russians have totally surrounded the city of Kharkov, but have not moved in (yet).  This makes perfect military sense, but it also signals, or so it seems to me, that Russia wants to avoid as much as can be to get involved in offensive combat operations in big cities and also wants to avoid killing civilians. Mind you, the military which could take Grozny in 2000 can *easily* and *quickly* storm any Ukie city (if only because Ukies and Chechens are almost polar opposites in terms of their combat abilities).  But why do through the bother?

    When possible, the Russian will surround the Ukie cities, blockade them and wait for the white flags to appear.

    Whether that is possible or not I can’t tell, and what will happen to Mariupol next will be interesting: this time, yes, the city shall be liberated, but it will be interesting to see how much resistance the LDNR/Russian forces will encounter.

    BTW – does anybody now about any webcams/geocams for Mariupol?

    Intermediate conclusions:

    Basically, this 08.08.08 on a much larger scale: move in, disarm, withdraw.

    My guesses (not more, it is waaaay too early to tell!) is that:

    • The Ukie forces along the LOC will be surrounded and neutralized.  Once that goal in achieved, most of the Ukrainian ground threat will simply disappear.  True Nazis will be shot, the rest disarmed and sent home.  Their weapons will go to the LDNR.
    • LDNR and Russia forces will advance deep inside the Ukraine, but only to execute specific missions, after which they will be pulled back to the legal border of the LDNR (with a few exception possible for specific, local reasons).
    • The Ukronazi leadership will run away and Kabul like scenes are possible.  Some will be caught.

    The Nazi regime in Kiev will be regime changed to some other regime which will accept a Russian ceasefire and the opening of direct negotiations with both the LDNR and Russia.  Eventually, a general ceasefire will be proclaimed.

    I still think that a NATO (Polish?) ground operation into the Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk regions is likely.  Officially to “protect our allies and friends” but in reality with two goals:

    • Save face
    • Establish a mini-Banderastan under Polish control in western Ukraine
    • Feed the hyena of Europe

    The Kremlin might think otherwise, but I don’t have a problem with that as long as a semi-civilized and semi-sane regime is put in power in Kiev.

    There will be elections, of course, which nobody in the West will initially recognize.  That’s fine.  Nobody in Russia cares about Uncle Shmuel or his Eurorodents.

    Now Biden (I forced myself to listen to him, again!) is aping Obama and promises that sanctions from hell will cripple Russia.  Bernhard, at Moon of Alabama, made an interesting comment today: “The Russian stock market is down but gold, oil and gas are up and Russia has so far lost zero money“.  I am sure that he is correct.

    And, yes, in the short to mid term, sanctions will also have some negative effects on some sectors of the Russian economy.  However, in the mid to long term I think that energy costs will provide Russia with a real windfall of money.  At the Russian SC meeting, Mishustin appeared to be fully relaxed, focused and calm.

    Besides, as I mentioned yesterday, the recent surge in energy prices over the past month have already refunded Russia all the money invested into NS2, and that is BEFORE the (inevitably upcoming) lawsuits against Germany 🙂

    In a recent post I “recognized” both President Biden and Chancellor Scholtz for doing everything in their power to force Russia to intervene.

    Today I want to recognize the truly immense contribution of “Ze” himself, and the Nazi nutcases around him.  He was the first to mention that Banderastan wanted to acquire nuclear weapons.  The Nazi nutcases in the Ukie regime and social media immediately picked up this truly “brilliant” idea.

    I want to sincerely thank “Ze” specifically for:

    • Forcing the Russian to intervene (Nazi and nukes are a bad combo in any Russian’s mind!)
    • Giving them a legal basis to do so under Art. 51 of the UN Charter

    Frankly, “Ze” did a lot for Russia, and I think that Putin should let him flee to the West.  But the one guy I want to see in handcuffs and tried in Odessa is Aleksei Goncharenko.

    Yeah, I did say in Odessa, didn’t I?

    Which brings me to one more possibility: Russia cannot leave the Ukie Black Sea coast under any kind of Nazi or pro-NATO control.  Hopefully, the next regime in power in Kiev can deal with that, and Russia can help if needed.  But if not, I think that the Black Sea Fleet might have to conduct the operations needed to make sure that no part of the Black Sea coast is ever used to threaten Russia again.

    I would MUCH prefer if the Ukrainian people themselves cleaned their own house.  But if they can’t, then, okay, Russia can help as long as her intervention is temporary.

    In fact, I would categorically oppose any longterm Russian intervention in the Ukraine beyond the LDNR.  I don’t think that it will happen anyway.  But a short term denazification operation might be unavoidable and I accept that.

    Putin had no good option left.  Russia, as a nation, had no good options left.  So they chose the “least bad option” possible.  So far, I like what I see very much.

    But while the initial standoff strikes are now mostly over, it will take time to liberate, disarm and stabilize the LDNR and the Ukrainian territories adjacent to it.

    Also, I can’t imagine the CIA/MI6/Bellincat/CNN and the rest of them not executing at least ONE major false flag of some kind.  Not because that will change anything, but because that is what they are (kinda) good at.

    Last, and very deliberately least, its over for the EU.  The EU was always a US colony, but now it will sink to a new low with Europeans losing any remnants, however tiny, of self-respect they might have retained.  From now on, the EU is Uncle Shmuel’s punkass bitch (forgive the profanity, but that is what fits best in my opinion).  All I can say about that is this: those who have no self-respect cannot expect to be respected by others.

    That’s it on my end.

    Your turn now.





    South Front

    As part of the fleet exercises in the Black Sea, an unprecedented grouping of Russian warships is being assembled for the first time in many years.

    Excluding small landing craft, small missile, small anti-submarine ships, submarines and auxiliary ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, the naval strike group of Russia consists of:

    • Varyag Cruiser
    • Cruiser Moscow
    • Cruiser Marshal Ustinov
    • Frigate Admiral Grigorovich
    • Frigate Admiral Makarov
    • Frigate Admiral Essen
    • Frigate Admiral Kasatonov
    • BOD (large anti-submarine ship) Admiral Tributs
    • BOD Admiral Kulakov
    • BDK (large landing craft) Korolev
    • BDK Minsk
    • BDK Kaliningrad
    • BDK Olenegorsky miner
    • BDK George the Victorious
    • BDK Pyotr Morgunov
    • BDK Yamal
    • BDK Azov
    • BDK Caesar Kunikov
    • BDK Novocherkassk
    • BDK Nikolay Filchenkov
    • BDK Saratov
    • BDK Orsk
    • SRZ (reconnaissance ship) Vasily Tatishchev
    • Valentin Pikul minesweeper
    • Vice Admiral Zaharin minesweeper

    Also, two more corvettes will be relocated from the Atlantic grouping of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Federation, which, while in the Celtic Sea and now headed south to Gibraltar.

    Russia Assembles Unprecedented Grouping Of Warships In Black Sea

    The cruisers of the Moscow type have on board the S-300F air defense system, with a range of up to 100 km and an ammunition supply of up to 150 long-range missiles in total. That is, they create a powerful air defense umbrella for the entire group. The frigates are equipped with Caliber (Kalibr) missile launch systems, which are designed for strikes on point coastal targets, totaling at least 50 missiles, not counting missiles from small missile ships and submarines.
    Modern rapid-firing artillery systems are installed on Russian cruisers, which, almost at the pace of a machine gun, can fire projectiles weighing 33 kg at coastal targets, at a range of up to 27 km.

    Russia Assembles Unprecedented Grouping Of Warships In Black Sea

    In case of provocations by Ukraine or NATO and the subsequent need to land troops near Odessa.
    The air defense of cruisers can completely deprive them of the opportunity to use aviation against them, the artillery of the ship group can be used to suppress enemy resistance centers on the shore, and the Caliber complexes will not allow the use of any anti-ship systems.

    Up to 2 brigades of marines with equipment can be transferred to 13 BDK, with the possibility of landing a group of troops directly in the port in Odessa, or on the beaches.

    Russia Assembles Unprecedented Grouping Of Warships In Black Sea

    The combined combat potential of the Russian group in the Black Sea is unprecedented over the past few decades.
    At the same time, it is more likely that such forces are concentrated not for an aggressive attack on Ukraine, but as a measure to deter the adventurous provocations of the Kiev regime and its Anglo-Saxon patrons.


    Andrei Martyanov: The Timing of Russia’s Ultimatum to NATO

    December 20, 2021

    New trade corridor connecting Iran and Europe

    19 Dec 2021

    Net Source: Agencies

    By Al Mayadeen

    The Iranian ambassador to Baku says a new trade corridor will be activated this week linking Iran and Europe via Azerbaijan.

    The new corridor comes after the revival of the ECO and the INSTC corridor

    Iran’s ambassador to Baku, Abbas Mousavi, announced Saturday that the new corridor linking Iran to Europe via Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Black Sea will be activated this week.

    On Twitter, Mousavi said that the new corridor comes after the revival of the ECO Corridor between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, and the International North-South Transport Corridor (Finland, Russia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Iran, the Persian Gulf, and India).

    The ECO corridor’s objective is to strengthen economic relations between Tehran, Ankara, and Islamabad and to facilitate trade and investment in the region.

    On the other hand, the INSTC corridor is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes to link and increase trade between countries of the region including India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe, mentioned Mehr news agency.

    It is noteworthy that on December 10th, Moscow witnessed the first meeting between deputy foreign ministers of a new regional cooperation titled 3+3, which consists of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia from the South Caucasus and three neighboring countries, namely Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

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