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

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    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)

    Introduction

    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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Delimkhanov and here https://web.archive.org/web/20090501060723/http://www.interpol.int/public/data/wanted/notices/data/2009/68/2009_11968.asp) 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

    Andrei

    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:  https://t.me/mod_russia_en

    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 (https://disk.yandex.ru/d/62hsNB8kC7MXPQ)related 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 (https://disk.yandex.ru/d/62hsNB8kC7MXPQ)


    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

    Source

    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.

    Andrei

    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

    Source

    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.

    Cheers

    Andrei

    RUSSIA ASSEMBLES UNPRECEDENTED GROUPING OF WARSHIPS IN BLACK SEA

     12.02.2022

    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.

    MORE ON THE TOPIC:

    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.

    Russian draft documents on legal security guarantees from the United States and NATO

    December 17, 2021

    This document is in six sections.

    • The first is a preamble.  It is from ColonelCassad and is a machine translation.  This would form a necessary overview and is a description of the current situation.
    • The second is Russian Deputy FM Ryabkov’s special video briefing in Moscow and contains some incisive Q&A
    • The third is a short press release
    • The fourth is a proposed draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on security guarantees
    • The fifth is a cohesive complement to the draft treaty and is an agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
    • The sixth is Jen Psaki’s initial response as reported by RT

    We await the Saker’s Analysis in the next few days.

    Preamble

    The Russian Foreign Ministry presented a draft Russia-NATO agreement, which in fact sets forth in writing the security guarantees desired by Russia, which in fact is what was not done when Gorbachev liquidated the Soviet bloc.
    Thus, the following text presents Russia’s vision of the current state of Russian-NATO relations and the vector of their desired correction in a way that would be beneficial for Russia.

    Bilateral relations between Russia and foreign countries and regional organizations

    Russian-NATO relations are in a protracted crisis. The decisions of the 2018 NATO summit in Brussels confirmed the line of military-political “containment” of Russia. The long-term course of building up NATO’s coalition capabilities to create troop groupings and further improve military infrastructure near our borders has continued.

    The military presence and the bloc’s forced development of military infrastructure in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states is consistently increasing. The number and intensity of military exercises of the alliance and its member countries have increased significantly, for which additional contingents of troops and heavy military equipment of NATO countries are being transferred to the regions bordering Russia.

    Sweden, Finland and other partner countries are more and more actively involved in the military activities of the alliance. Advanced command and staff units are being formed, the decision was made to create new joint commands of the coalition forces – in Norfolk (USA) to ensure safety of transport corridors in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions, in Ulm (Germany) on the management, planning and logistics for the organization of military transport in Europe. Pentagon plans for forward storage of military equipment in the CEE and Baltic states have been announced. Groups of ships patrolling the waters of the Baltic Sea were strengthened. The number of visits and duration of stay in the Black Sea of naval ships of non-Black Sea alliance countries, primarily of the USA, has increased. NATO Navy continues to patrol the air space of the Baltic Sea with increased strength, and “interception” sorties are carried out even when there have been no violations from the Russian side. The missile defense complex in Romania is deployed. A similar facility is planned to be commissioned in 2020 in Poland. Of particular concern are the plans for permanent deployment of U.S. troops there and the recent agreements to increase the American contingent, which jeopardize the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, one of the few remaining documents meant to ensure military stability in Europe.

    Gradually but systematically, the effective European security architecture and the norms of international law are being destroyed. The abandonment of key agreements that ensure military restraint, with the tacit agreement of most members of the alliance – the situation around the New START treaty is a vivid example here – is fraught with the development of a new arms race, a throwback to the principles of the confrontation era.

    Of course, such NATO military preparations cannot remain without our adequate response.

    The continuing dragging of the Balkan countries into NATO and the desire to “drive” them into the bloc at any cost confirms the invariability of the course taken to recklessly expand its geopolitical space. Disregard of legal norms and opinion of a considerable part of the population in closing the issue of state name of Northern Macedonia, forcing Bosnia and Herzegovina to join NATO, creating “Kosovo army” with connivance of the “Force for Kosovo” only aggravate already existing contradictions and seriously destabilize the situation in the region.

    The unilateral decision of NATO to suspend practical cooperation with Russia on military and civilian lines also remains in force. At the same time, NATO countries do not show readiness to discuss Russian proposals on de-escalation of tensions and prevention of military incidents, handed to them at the May 31, 2018 Russia-NATO Council meeting. These proposals include resuming dialogue on the military line (starting with expert consultations) to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern to Russia and our partners; taking measures to reduce military activity along the line of direct contact between Russia and NATO (the Baltics, There has been no reaction from NATO so far.

    All these actions are fraught with long-term destabilizing consequences for both regional and entire Euro-Atlantic security.

    Despite the unfriendly steps taken against us, Russia has no intention of getting drawn into the senseless confrontation imposed on us.

    We continue to firmly believe in the strategic commonality of aims with all the States and organizations of the Euro-Atlantic region to maintain peace and stability and to counter common threats to security – international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking and piracy. We remain convinced that there is no real alternative to mutually beneficial and broad pan-European security co-operation on the solid basis of international law.

    Russia’s position remains unchanged – our country is ready to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equal rights in order to strengthen comprehensive security in the Euro-Atlantic region. The depth and content of such relations will depend on the alliance’s reciprocal readiness to take Russia’s legitimate interests into account.


    The video is forwarded to start playing at the start point at 21:47


    17 December 2021 13:36

    Press release on Russian draft documents on legal security guarantees from the United States and NATO

    During the December 15, 2021 meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry, the US party received a draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on security guarantees and an agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

    The US party was given detailed explanations regarding the logic of the Russian approach, as well as the relevant arguments. We hope that, the United States will enter into serious talks with Russia in the near future regarding this matter, which has critical importance for maintaining peace and stability, using the Russian draft treaty and agreement as a starting point.


    17 December 2021 13:30

    TREATY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ON SECURITY GUARANTEES

    Unofficial translation

    Draft

    The United States of America and the Russian Federation, hereinafter referred to as the “Parties”, guided by the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations, the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as the provisions of the 1982 Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, the 1999 Charter for European Security, and the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Russian Federation,recalling the inadmissibility of the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations both in their mutual and international relations in general,

    supporting the role of the United Nations Security Council that has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security,

    recognizing the need for united efforts to effectively respond to modern security challenges and threats in a globalized and interdependent world,

    considering the need for strict compliance with the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs, including refraining from supporting organizations, groups or individuals calling for an unconstitutional change of power, as well as from undertaking any actions aimed at changing the political or social system of one of the Contracting Parties,

    bearing in mind the need to create additional effective and quick-to-launch cooperation mechanisms or improve the existing ones to settle emerging issues and disputes through a constructive dialogue on the basis of mutual respect for and recognition of each other’s security interests and concerns, as well as to elaborate adequate responses to security challenges and threats,

    seeking to avoid any military confrontation and armed conflict between the Parties and realizing that direct military clash between them could result in the use of nuclear weapons that would have far-reaching consequences,

    reaffirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and recognizing the need to make every effort to prevent the risk of outbreak of such war among States that possess nuclear weapons,

    reaffirming their commitments under the Agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War of 30 September 1971, the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas of 25 May 1972, the Agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers of 15 September 1987, as well as the Agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities of 12 June 1989,

    have agreed as follows:

    Article 1

    The Parties shall cooperate on the basis of principles of indivisible, equal and undiminished security and to these ends:

    shall not undertake actions nor participate in or support activities that affect the security of the other Party;

    shall not implement security measures adopted by each Party individually or in the framework of an international organization, military alliance or coalition that could undermine core security interests of the other Party.

    Article 2

    The Parties shall seek to ensure that all international organizations, military alliances and coalitions in which at least one of the Parties is taking part adhere to the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations.

    Article 3

    The Parties shall not use the territories of other States with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other Party or other actions affecting core security interests of the other Party.

    Article 4

    The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

    The United States of America shall not establish military bases in the territory of the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.

    Article 5

    The Parties shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and armaments, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas where such deployment could be perceived by the other Party as a threat to its national security, with the exception of such deployment within the national territories of the Parties.

    The Parties shall refrain from flying heavy bombers equipped for nuclear or non-nuclear armaments or deploying surface warships of any type, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas outside national airspace and national territorial waters respectively, from where they can attack targets in the territory of the other Party.

    The Parties shall maintain dialogue and cooperate to improve mechanisms to prevent dangerous military activities on and over the high seas, including agreeing on the maximum approach distance between warships and aircraft.

    Article 6

    The Parties shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories, as well as in the areas of their national territories, from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other Party.

    Article 7

    The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed outside their national territories at the time of the entry into force of the Treaty to their national territories. The Parties shall eliminate all existing infrastructure for deployment of nuclear weapons outside their national territories.

    The Parties shall not train military and civilian personnel from non-nuclear countries to use nuclear weapons. The Parties shall not conduct exercises or training for general-purpose forces, that include scenarios involving the use of nuclear weapons.

    Article 8

    The Treaty shall enter into force from the date of receipt of the last written notification on the completion by the Parties of their domestic procedures necessary for its entry into force.

    Done in two originals, each in English and Russian languages, both texts being equally authentic.

    For the United States of America                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           For the Russian Federation

    17 December 2021 13:26

    AGREEMENT ON MEASURES TO ENSURE THE SECURITY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND MEMBER STATES OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION

    Unofficial translation

    Draft

    The Russian Federation and the member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), hereinafter referred to as the Parties,

    reaffirming their aspiration to improve relations and deepen mutual understanding,

    acknowledging that an effective response to contemporary challenges and threats to security in our interdependent world requires joint efforts of all the Parties,

    determined to prevent dangerous military activity and therefore reduce the possibility of incidents between their armed forces,

    noting that the security interests of each Party require better multilateral cooperation, more political and military stability, predictability, and transparency,

    reaffirming their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the 1994 Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, the 1999 Charter for European Security, and the Rome Declaration “Russia-NATO Relations: a New Quality” signed by the Heads of State and Government of the Russian Federation and NATO member States in 2002,

    have agreed as follows:

    Article 1

    The Parties shall guide in their relations by the principles of cooperation, equal and indivisible security. They shall not strengthen their security individually, within international organizations, military alliances or coalitions at the expense of the security of other Parties.

    The Parties shall settle all international disputes in their mutual relations by peaceful means and refrain from the use or threat of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

    The Parties shall not create conditions or situations that pose or could be perceived as a threat to the national security of other Parties.

    The Parties shall exercise restraint in military planning and conducting exercises to reduce risks of eventual dangerous situations in accordance with their obligations under international law, including those set out in intergovernmental agreements on the prevention of incidents at sea outside territorial waters and in the airspace above, as well as in intergovernmental agreements on the prevention of dangerous military activities.

    Article 2

    In order to address issues and settle problems, the Parties shall use the mechanisms of urgent bilateral or multilateral consultations, including the NATO-Russia Council.

    The Parties shall regularly and voluntarily exchange assessments of contemporary threats and security challenges, inform each other about military exercises and maneuvers, and main provisions of their military doctrines. All existing mechanisms and tools for confidence-building measures shall be used in order to ensure transparency and predictability of military activities.

    Telephone hotlines shall be established to maintain emergency contacts between the Parties.

    Article 3

    The Parties reaffirm that they do not consider each other as adversaries.

    The Parties shall maintain dialogue and interaction on improving mechanisms to prevent incidents on and over the high seas (primarily in the Baltics and the Black Sea region).

    Article 4

    The Russian Federation and all the Parties that were member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as of 27 May 1997, respectively, shall not deploy military forces and weaponry on the territory of any of the other States in Europe in addition to the forces stationed on that territory as of 27 May 1997. With the consent of all the Parties such deployments can take place in exceptional cases to eliminate a threat to security of one or more Parties.

    Article 5

    The Parties shall not deploy land-based intermediate- and short-range missiles in areas allowing them to reach the territory of the other Parties.

    Article 6

    All member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization commit themselves to refrain from any further enlargement of NATO, including the accession of Ukraine as well as other States.

    Article 7

    The Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization shall not conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine as well as other States in the Eastern Europe, in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia.

    In order to exclude incidents the Russian Federation and the Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization shall not conduct military exercises or other military activities above the brigade level in a zone of agreed width and configuration on each side of the border line of the Russian Federation and the states in a military alliance with it, as well as Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    Article 8

    This Agreement shall not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting the primary responsibility of the Security Council of the United Nations for maintaining international peace and security, nor the rights and obligations
    of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations.

    Article 9

    This Agreement shall enter into force from the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification, expressing consent to be bound by it, with the Depositary by more than a half of the signatory States. With respect to a State that deposited its instrument of ratification at a later date, this Agreement shall enter into force from the date of its deposit.

    Each Party to this Agreement may withdraw from it by giving appropriate notice to the Depositary. This Agreement shall terminate for such Party [30] days after receipt of such notice by the Depositary.

    This Agreement has been drawn up in Russian, English and French, all texts being equally authentic, and shall be deposited in the archive of the Depositary, which is the Government of …

    Done in [the city of …] this [XX] day of [XX] two thousand and [XX].


    White House responds to Russian security proposalsThe US “will not compromise” on NATO expansion, the White House reiterated on Friday, following proposals from Russia outlining how it believes Moscow and the West can deescalate ongoing tensions in the east of Europe.

    “We have seen the Russian proposals. We are discussing them with our European allies and partners,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told journalists onboard Air Force One on Friday when asked about the Russian documents.

    She added that the US won’t accept the idea of stopping NATO expansion in Europe, despite what Russia wants.

    “We will not compromise the key principles on which European security is built, including that all countries have the right to decide their own future and form policy free from outside interference,” she said.

    Moscow sees the expansion of NATO towards its border as a critical threat to its national security, based on the bloc’s confrontational stance toward Russia.

    A verbal promise not to move the organisation to the east was given to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during negotiations on the reunification of Germany. Those assurances were memory-holed after the dissolution of the USSR. In 2017, declassified US documents backed up Moscow’s version of events.

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, said that the potential dialog should include the alliance’s concerns and Ukraine’s point of view.


    Andrei Martyanov reacts to Senator Wicker idea to bomb Russia. With nukes.

    DECEMBER 09, 2021

    Please support Andrei Martyanov on his website and Patreon page:

    https://www.patreon.com/martyanov
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    Posted by permission from Andrei Martyanov

    أوكرانيا تشعل المواجهات الدولية فهل تجتاح موسكو أوروبا الشرقية؟

    روسيا تستنفر قواتها النووية
     محمد صادق الحسيني

    الأحداث تتسارع بقوة في موضوع المواجه الروسية الأميركية الأوروبية والأمور تتدحرج بسرعة فائقة على الجبهة الأوكرانية…!

    ولكن ثمة اجتياحاً روسياً لأوكرانيا فعلاً كما يروّج الغرب؟

    خبراء متابعون يؤكدون بانّ روسيا وقيادتها ليست بحاجة الى اجتياح هناك، في الوقت الذي تستطيع فيه اللجوء الى القيام بانقلاب عسكري وهي التي تملك نفوذاً واسعاً في الجيش الأوكراني، خاصة أنّ باستطاعتها ان تواكب ذلك مع خطوة تحريك الشرق الأوكراني الذي يميل بأكثريته للتعاطف مع موسكو…

    الرئيس بوتين في هذه الأثناء أطلق تصريحات في غاية الخطورة قال فيها: ما يجري في شرق أوكرانيا هو إبادة جماعية.

    فهل هذا الكلام تهيئة لظروف الانقضاض الروسي على الأطلسي، أم مجرد تعبئه للرأي العام الروسي؟

    من جهة إخرى… وبعد فشل قمة بايدن ـ بوتين التلفزيونية

    واستمرار الاستفزازات الأطلسية للروس في البحر الأسود، كانت قد خرجت تصريحات هامه جداً لرئيس الأركان الروسي يقول فيها انّ 95% من الصواريخ النووية الروسية في حالة جهوزية قتالية…

    كلام رئيس الأركان الروسي، عن جاهزية الصواريخ النووية الاستراتيجية القتالية، جاء خلال لقاء عقده مع الملحقون العسكريون الأجانب في موسكو.

    وهذا يعطي الكلام أبعاداً غاية في الأهمية.

    فهذا كلام استراتيجي وهو بمثابة تحذير نهائي للغرب بأن يتوقفوا عن اللعب بالنار وإلا… خاصةً انه جاء بعد قمة بوتين ـ بايدن الفاشلة عملياً.

    في هذه الأثناء فإنّ إطلاق إعلان جديد لوزارة الدفاع الروسية يقولون فيه: بأن اقتراب سفينه حربية أوكرانية من مضيق كيرتش (يربط البحر الأسود مع بحر آزوف الروسي) يعرّض الأمن للخطر.

    واقتراب تشكيل جوي كامل لحلف الأطلسي من القوات الروسية المتوثبة على الحدود القومية للأمن الروسي، فقد يراه البعض بأنه مزيد من الاستفزاز الأميركي لجر الجبهة هناك الى صدام يفتر من عضد الجبهة الداخلية الروسية كما يخطط الأميركيون!

    محللون استراتيجيون يعتقدون بانّ ما يجري على هامش القضية الأوكرانية بات أشبه بما حصل في ستينيات القرن الماضي في ما سمّي في حينه بأزمة الكاريبي التي كادت ان تشعل حرباً عالمية عندما اكتشف الأميركان في حينها قواعد نووية في كوبا، وأطلقوا العنان يومها لقواتهم في تركيا ووضعها في الوضعية القتالية في محاولة للانقضاض يومها على الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق.

    هذه الأجواء المشتعلة بين واشنطن وموسكو يعتقد كثيرون انّ هدف اميركا من ورائها هو إشغال الروس بأزمة استراتيجية خانقة إما لتوجيه ضربة استباقية لهم لتفجير الوضع الداخلي الروسي او لإبعادهم عن الصين التي تعتبر العدو الأخطر الذي يعرقل واشنطن في كلّ استراتيجياتها.

    الخبراء بالشأن الروسي يعتقدون بانّ بوتين وجنرالاته لديهم تخوّف من احتمال تمادي الأطلسي في التصعيد وصولاً الى توجيه ضربة عسكرية في العمق الروسي بحجة منعه من اجتياح روسي لأوكرانيا.

    وبالتالي فانّ القيادة الروسية باتت تفكر جدياً بالقيام بضربة استباقية اكبر تتمثل باجتياح كلّ أوروبا الشرقية سابقاً للتخلص بشكل جذري مما بات يُعرف بالمسألة الأوكرانية، وتنهي بذلك أحلام الأطلسي وواشنطن بضربة واحدة بالتوسع شرقاً حتى تخوم الكرملين..!

    اخيراً وليس آخراً فانّ هذه الأجواء المتشنّجة والمتوترة على جبهة أوكرانيا ربما كانت بنظر البعض فرصة تاريخية لتضع إيران في أحسن حالاتها لانتزاع تنازل أميركي في الاتفاق النووي، او جرّ الغرب الى مفاوضات استنزافية تخرجه من عنق الزجاجة الى حين اكتمال ترتيباتها الداخلية والخارجية الاقتصادية منها والأمنية والاستراتيجية لتجعلها في غنى كامل عن الاتفاق النووي.

    ومثل هذا السيناريو قد يكون قد تمّ التفاهم عليه بين موسكو وبكين وطهران…

    بانتظار المزيد من المفاجآت من الآن حتى دخول العام الميلادي الجديد…

    بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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