We the Silent Majority

September 08, 2022

Source

by Asia Teacher

History has an unfortunate habit of repeating itself, invariably drawing the minority into the same world of beliefs as those who previously fell for them. Removing moral, spiritual and intellectual values, aka traditions and replacing them with woke ideologies, green agendas and cultural equality follows a well-trod political path to disaster. As we head for collapse, can or will the silent majority stop the decline?

We’re not statesmen or diplomats and we don’t know Russia’s battle plans, nor are we ever going to be president of anything. We’re famous, but unknown, who are we?

We’re the silent majority!

If you’re over forty you’ll probably remember us. We’re the ones who told you not to put your finger in the fire as it would hurt. However, if you’re under forty you’ll have met us at the ballot box every four years as we try to stop the crazies among you from voting in the demagogues promising you a utopia.

We’re an odd lot and believe in things others find strange, such as God and think Justin Bieber is something found in a tissue after blowing your nose. We don’t get our news from twitter which is probably why we’re a bit behind the new-age times and we don’t believe Generation Z when they tell us Shakespeare was an African. However, we do remember the warnings from former dissidents Solzhenitsyn, Bukovsky and even President Putin who warned you not to go down the road you’re on now.

We the silent majority were laughing at the ‘Woke’ Cultural Revolution and diversity obedience training years before it became fashionable. It was already obvious what would happen way back in 1993, coincidently, shortly after the collapse of the USSR when the European Union emerged offering the gullible an unhealthy dose of Gramscian Cultural Marxism disguised as freedom. As the vocal minority now scratch their collective heads at the mess they’ve created, we’re the silent majority occasionally heard muttering “I told you so.”

Likewise, we are not responsible for the current political, economic and moral decline around you. We did not support corporate fascism in minimum wage gig-economies, lock downs, non-existent alternative energy sources, or an unhealthy obsession with homosexuality believing it had anything to do with freedom and democracy.

As attention spans wane due to a lack of sensationalism and the Ukraine becomes just another ongoing news item, the next self-inflicted crisis is an energy one. We silent majority raise an eyebrow as we’re told that Russia is an unreliable energy supplier sanctioned from supplying the oil needed and the reason behind rising food prices is the fault of a European drought as we had two weeks of hot sun in the summer.

In our brave new world, everyone’s smiling but no one’s happy. Moreover, when we glance around us we all know something is wrong. The only difference between us is who we point our fingers at. Currently, it’s all Biden’s fault but yesterday Trump was to blame. Today it’s Russia, tomorrow it will be China (again). Russian and Chinese societies aren’t collapsing, ours are and we’ve got nowhere to flee as the stupid lash out in all directions to prolong the agony of indoctrinated beliefs they’re hiding behind.

Our political system is broken, our multicultural societies are in chaos, inflation is soaring, we’re bankrupt and awaiting possible mass civil protests in the near future; that’s if the fools in charge don’t lead us into a nuclear conflict first.

Yet whilst muttering “here we go again”, nevertheless we the silent majority are prepared to join the coming mass civil disobedience protests as the minority complain about the agents of social programming they not so long ago cheered for and are too stupid to realize they’re the cause of, but think more of it is the solution.

Asia Teacher is a UK citizen, retired teacher of English plus Social and Political Science.

Unicorns Are Real

September 02, 2022

Source

by Batiushka

Unicorns Are Real or It Must Be True, the Western Media Told Me So

An autumn chill is descending on every European country, though in each country in different ways.

Gas-dependent Germany and Italy are desperate for Russian gas. It is not just homes, but whole factories which face imminent closure in energy-intensive industries. The result of that will be mass unemployment. By ‘mass’, I mean 20% and more.

In France there is popular rejection of President Macron who has told his people that they (i.e. not him) must suffer so that the Ukraine can ‘win’. September is the first month of the annual strike-season in France. French people do not like being cold. Expect some headlines.

In Latvia the Russian minority are fearful for their future, but so is everyone else. Heating will not be an option this winter. With a pension of just over 100 euros a month, many pensioners are simply going to die of the cold.

From Slovakia we have received the following:

‘Thanks for your email. Just to give you some idea of the current manufacturing costs here in Slovakia and to be brutally honest throughout the upside down world, We paid last year 85,000 euros for electricity, this year it’s going to be around 500,000 euros. As of 1 Jan2023 it’s going to be 1.2 million euros at best.

So that’s just the electricity, never mind the gas, the increase in raw materials, salaries and all other manufacturing costs, This is a hard way of saying it’s impossible to reduce and every customer of ours has to accept it or not. Surprisingly we have never ever been as busy! You cutting margins down low is of course difficult, but at least you have margins. We simply do not have anything to reduce’.

In Moldova the crisis is profound. As in Latvia and Lithuania up to half the population have fled their countries after they were pillaged by the EU (even though officially Moldova does not even belong to the EU!). Previously medicine came from the Ukraine. Now that is unobtainable, they have to use medicine from Germany. Only that costs ten times more. Quite simply, if you are very ill and you don’t have the money, this year you will die.

In Romania, which has lost a quarter of its population to emigration after the great EU pillage, and where a salary of 600 euros per month is considered very good, food prices are the same as in Western Europe, where average salaries are four to five times more, and diesel costs even more than elsewhere.

In Ireland restaurants are closing because they cannot afford their energy bills, which have increased by 1,000% (yes, one thousand per cent).

In London, the capital of the Brutish (sic) Empire, the Gauleiter Johnson finally admitted that, ‘British households will have to endure soaring energy bills as part of efforts to defeat Vladimir Putin….economic sanctions imposed on Russia have contributed to soaring global gas prices which have driven up household bills’. Analysts expect the UK’s energy price cap per household to rise from an already extremely high £1,971 today to £3,554 a year this October and to a completely unaffordable £6,089 in April 2023. A bill boycott is gathering momentum. Expect rioting and the looting of supermarkets by the hungry.

Did British people choose to endure this? No. Did British people plead to suffer so that they can defeat Putin in a local quarrel about a country most of them had never heard of until last February? No. Did British people refuse to pay for the abundant and cheap Russian oil and gas in roubles? No. Were they consulted about choosing the new Prime Minister? No. So much for ‘the mother of parliaments’….

In the oligarch-controlled UK there are now calls for Thatcher’s privatised utility companies, with their huge profits, generous payouts of dividends to shareholders, hopeless infrastructure, lack of investment and absence of government regulation, to be renationalised. Some have even commented that perhaps ‘the free market’ really meant the law of the jungle and that ‘privatisation simply meant Thatcher selling off public assets to her capitalist cronies and supporters’. Well, forty years late, but some people have finally got the message.

Enough. That is not what I wanted to tell you about.

In the last week of August I left France and went to Wiesbaden. There I visited the magnificent Russian church, built in the century before last. Going round the cemetery with the graves of old aristocrats with their masonic symbols on their headstones (now you know why the Russian Revolution took place), I saw the relatively new grave that I had been looking for.

This was the grave of a lovely old couple, whom I had long known. I won’t reveal their names, just to say that their story would make a film, only so romantic that you would not believe it. However, if you are past the age of forty, you should have realised by now that real life is far, far stranger and far, far more incredible than any fiction. All I will say is that he was born in Saint Petersburg in 1916, was taken by his fleeing parents to Finland after the rest of the family had been shot, that in 1943 he had become a monk and a priest in Nazi Germany, and that in late 1946 the family had fled ruined Berlin for Peronist Argentina as Russian Orthodox refugees. And there, in 1948, he met a desperately poor Argentinian street girl who had been born in Italy. It was love at first sight. I don’t think I have ever met such a devoted and exemplary couple or ever will. They died in great old age within hours of each other.

Enough. That is not what I wanted to tell you about.

After I had gone down from the high wooded churchlands into the town of Wiesbaden, I saw a middle-aged woman wearing a T-shirt which said: ‘Unicorns are Real’. The words were not in German, but in English (even though, no doubt the T-shirt was Made in China). I began to wonder.

Was it just infantilism? The sort of escapism that funded the UFO industry, or Star Wars, or Harry Potter? The irresponsible and immature who are running away from reality?

And I thought to myself that I could not imagine any middle-aged Russian, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, African, Cuban, Colombian or Brazilian woman wearing such a T-shirt (unless of course they were so futile that they had married oligarchs). And then there came to me the words written by the British author G.K. Chesterton in his short story of 1925, The Oracle of the Dog: ‘The first effect of not believing…is that you lose your common sense’.

In other words, to wear such a T-shirt simply shows a lack of faith – in anything. And I thought how significant it was that the words had been written in English, the language of the Hegemon. And I thought, yes, this really is the end of the Western world. Because if you want to advertise your belief that unicorns are real, you have quite simply lost your mind and that from now on you will believe anything the Western world tells you. After all, it is only one step from ‘Unicorns are Real’ to:

‘The great and noble Zelensky is winning the war in the Ukraine because our Western cause is just’.

Putin’s speech at the Eastern Economic Forum

September 07, 2022

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, Mr Min Aung Hlaing, Mr Pashinyan, Mr Oyun-Erdene, Mr Li Zhanshu, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to greet all participants and guests of the Eastern Economic Forum. Russia and Vladivostok are again hosting a forum of business leaders, experts, politicians, public figures and members of government from dozens of countries across the world.

As per tradition, the programme of the Eastern Economic Forum includes discussions on the projects and initiatives that are extremely important for the development of the regions in Russia’s Far East and for strengthening Russia’s cooperation and production ties with Asia Pacific countries, both our old, traditional partners and countries that are only developing dialogue with Russia in a broad range of areas and business projects.

Of course, this meeting in Vladivostok is a good opportunity to once again review the situation in the global economy and to exchange views on its main trends and risks.

Last year, the Eastern Economic Forum was held after a long pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic. At that time, the majority of experts agreed that global business activity was beginning to recover and that it would normalise soon after the lifting of the coronavirus restrictions, However, the pandemic has given way to new challenges, global ones that are threatening the world as a whole. I am referring to the Western sanctions frenzy and the open and aggressive attempts to force the Western mode of behaviour on other countries, to extinguish their sovereignty and to bend them to its will. In fact, there is nothing unusual in that: this policy has been pursued by the “collective West” for decades.

The waning dominance of the United States in the global economy and politics, as well as the stubborn unwillingness or even inability of the Western elites to see, let alone recognise objective facts, acted as a catalyst for these processes.

I have already mentioned that the entire system of international relations has recently undergone irreversible, or should I say, tectonic, shifts. Emerging states and regions around the world, primarily, of course, in the Asia-Pacific region, now play a substantially bigger role. Asia-Pacific countries emerged as new centres of economic and technological growth, attracting human resources, capital and manufacturing.

Despite all that, the Western countries are seeking to preserve yesterday’s world order that benefits them and force everyone to live according to the infamous “rules”, which they concocted themselves. They are also the ones who regularly violate these rules, changing them to suit their agenda depending on how things are going at any given moment. At the same time, other countries have not been forthcoming when it comes to subjecting themselves to this dictate and arbitrary rule, forcing the Western elites, to put it bluntly, to lose grip and take short-sighted, irrational decisions on global security, politics, as well as economics. All these decisions run counter to the interests of countries and their people, including, by the way, the people in those Western countries. The gap separating the Western elites from their own citizens is widening.

Europe is about to throw its achievements in building up its manufacturing capability, the quality of life of its people and socioeconomic stability into the sanctions furnace, depleting its potential, as directed by Washington for the sake of the infamous Euro-Atlantic unity. In fact, this amounts to sacrifices in the name of preserving the dominance of the United States in global affairs.

Back in spring, many foreign corporations rushed to announce their withdrawal from Russia, believing that our country will suffer more than others. Today, we see one manufacturing site after another shutting down in Europe itself. One of the key reasons, of course, lies in the severed business ties with Russia.

The competitive ability of European companies is in decline, for the EU officials themselves are essentially cutting them off from affordable commodities and energy, as well as trade markets. It will come as no surprise if eventually the niches currently occupied by European businesses, both on the continent and on the global market in general, will be taken over by their American patrons who know no boundaries or hesitation when it comes to pursuing their interests and achieving their goals.

More than that, in an attempt to obstruct the course of history, Western countries have undermined the pillars of the global economic system, built over centuries. It is in front of our eyes that the dollar, euro and pound sterling have lost trust as currencies suitable for performing transactions, storing reserves and denominating assets. We are taking steps to shed this dependence on unreliable and compromised foreign currencies. By the way, even allies of the United States are gradually reducing their dollar assets, as we can see from statistics. Step by step, the volume of transactions and savings in dollars is diminishing.

I want to note here that yesterday, Gazprom and its Chinese partners decided to switch to 50/50 transactions in rubles and yuan with respect to gas payments.

I want to add that with their short-sighted actions, Western officials have triggered a global inflation. In many developed economies, the inflation rate has reached a record-high level that had not been seen in many years.

Everybody is aware of this but I will reiterate: as of late July, inflation in the United States reached 8.5 percent. Russia has just over 14 percent (I will speak about this further) but it is declining, unlike in Western economies. The inflation there is on the rise, and in our country it is declining. I believe that as of the end of the year, we will have around 12 percent and, as many of our experts think, in the first quarter or by the second quarter of 2023, we will most likely reach the target inflation rate. Some say it will be 5–6 percent. Others say it will go down to 4 percent. We will see. In any case, the trend is positive. Meanwhile, what is happening with our neighbours? The inflation in Germany has reached 7.9 percent, in Belgium 9.9 percent, in the Netherlands 12 percent, Latvia 20.8 percent, Lithuania 21.1 percent and Estonia 25.2 percent. And it is still on the rise.

Rising prices in the global markets can be a real tragedy for most of the poorest countries, which are facing shortages of food, energy, and other vital goods. I will cite a few figures that underline the danger: while in 2019, according to the UN, 135 million people in the world were facing acute food insecurity, their number has soared by 2.5 times to 345 million by now – this is just horrible. Moreover, the poorest states have completely lost access to the most essential foods as developed countries are buying up the entire supply, causing a sharp increase in prices.

Let me give you an example. Most of the ships – you all know very well how high passions have been running, how much has been said about the need to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain at all costs, to support the poorest countries. And we certainly had no other choice but to respond, despite all the complicated developments taking place around Ukraine. We did everything to ensure that Ukrainian grain was exported, and we certainly assumed – I met with the leaders of the African Union, with the leaders of African states and I promised them that we would make every effort to uphold their interests and would facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain.

Russia did it together with Turkiye. We did it. And I would like to report the result to you, colleagues: if we exclude Turkiye as an intermediary, all the grain exported from Ukraine, almost in its entirety, went to the European Union, not to the developing and poorest countries. Only two ships delivered grain under the UN World Food Programme – the very programme that is supposed to help countries that need help the most – only two ships out of 87 – I emphasise – transported 60,000 tonnes out of 2 million tonnes of food. That’s just 3 percent, and it went to the developing countries.

What I am saying is, many European countries today continue to act as colonisers, exactly as they have been doing in previous decades and centuries. Developing countries have simply been cheated yet again and continue to be cheated.

It is obvious that with this approach, the scale of food problems in the world will only increase. Unfortunately, to our great regret, this could lead to an unprecedented humanitarian disaster, and perhaps, exporters need to think about limiting their exports of grain and other food to this destination. I will certainly consult with President of Turkiye, Mr Erdogan, because together with him we were the ones who developed a mechanism for the export of Ukrainian grain, primarily, I repeat, to help the poorest countries. But what happened in practice?

I would like to stress once again that this situation has been caused by the reckless steps taken by the United States, the UK and the European Union, which are obsessed with illusory political ideas. As for the wellbeing of their own citizens, let alone people outside the so-called golden billion, they have been pushing it to the backburner. This will inevitably lead Western countries into a deadlock, an economic and social crisis, and will have unpredictable consequences for the whole world.

Colleagues,

Russia is coping well with the economic, financial and technological aggression of the West. I am talking about a real aggression; there is no other word for it. Russia’s currency and financial market has stabilised, inflation is going down, as I have already mentioned, and the unemployment rate is at an all-time historical low of less than 4 percent. The assessments and forecasts of our economic performance, including by businesspeople, are more optimistic now than in early spring.

I would like to say that our economic situation has stabilised overall, but we also see a number of problems in some sectors, regions and individual enterprises, especially those that relied on supplies from Europe or supplied their products there.

It is important to continue working with businesses to take prompt decisions and launch effective targeted support mechanisms. I would like to ask the Government Commission to Increase the Sustainability of the Russian Economy under the Sanctions to keep track of the situation. It is true that we are doing this almost on a daily basis. Nevertheless, despite the evidence of stabilisation I have mentioned, we are also aware of the risks and so we must keep an eye on them.

Russia is a sovereign state. We will always protect our national interests while pursuing an independent policy, and we also appreciate this quality among our partners, who have demonstrated their reliability and responsible attitude in the course of our trade, investment and other types of cooperation over many years. I am referring, as you are aware, to our colleagues from the Asia Pacific countries.

An absolute majority of Asia Pacific countries reject the destructive logic of sanctions. Their business relations are focused on mutual advantage, cooperation and the joint use of our economic capabilities to the benefit of our countries’ citizens. This adds up to a huge competitive advantage of the regional countries and a guarantee of their dynamic long-term development, which has been growing faster than the world’s average for a long time.

You are aware of this, but I would like to remind everyone that over the past 10 years Asian countries’ GDP has been increasing by approximately 5 percent every year, while the figure is 3 percent in the world, 2 percent in the US and 1.2 percent in the EU. But it is even more important that this trend persists. What will this ultimately lead to? As a result, the share of Asian economies in global GDP will grow from 37.1 percent in 2015 to 45 percent in 2027, and I am sure that this trend will persist.

It is important for Russia that the economy of the Russian Far East grows together with Asia Pacific economies, that this region provide modern living conditions, boost people’s incomes and well-being, and that it create high-quality jobs and cost-effective production facilities.

We have already tested unique national tax, administrative and customs privileges in the Far East. They help implement landmark projects, even by global standards, in such fields as natural gas conversion and the shipbuilding sector, bioengineering technologies and clean energy.

In the past seven years, industrial production volumes in the Far East have increased by about 25 percent. This exceeds nationwide levels by one third. I want to stress this: growth rates of industrial production in the Far East greatly exceed similar nationwide growth rates.

We will continue to promote the priority development of the Far Eastern regions by using new advanced state support measures and by creating the best and highly competitive business environment. For example, we intend to continue adjusting the mechanism of priority development areas for modern and joint projects with other countries, to create the best possible business climate for attracting the most advanced technologies to Russia and for manufacturing high value-added goods in the Far East.

Events of this year confirm the special significance of such a factor as accessible and affordable raw materials without which it is impossible to organise any production process or to set up co-production chains. Russia is just about the only country that is completely self-sufficient in terms of natural resources, and the Far East plays a substantial role here. This region is a highly important supplier of crude oil and natural gas, coal, metals, timber and marine biological resources to the domestic market and our foreign partners.

We are staking on the prudent and rational development of Russia’s natural riches under the most stringent environmental standards. First of all, we will refine all extracted raw materials domestically as much as possible. We will also use these raw materials to strengthen the sovereignty of this country, to ensure industrial security, to raise incomes and to develop the regions.

We have already protected the resource extraction industry from unfriendly actions. From now on, only companies with Russian jurisdiction have the right to develop natural resources in Russia.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and leading business associations has determined the national economy’s demand for strategic raw materials. This information will become the foundation of the revised Strategy for the Development of Russia’s Mineral Resources Base with an extended planning horizon up to 2050.

At the same time, special focus should be placed on geological exploration and processing of rare raw materials (such as titanium, manganese, lithium, and niobium), which are used in metallurgy, medical and chemical industries, microelectronics, aircraft manufacturing and other industries, as well as in new energy storage and transmission technologies.

I would like to separately ask the Government to have a look at the bioresources harvesting sphere, where we have a mechanism of investment quotas. Here, it is important to achieve balanced growth and full utilisation of production capacities, as well as to ensure the harmonious development of the regions’ infrastructure.

I would like to stress that the funds the state receives from the utilisation of water bioresources must above all be allocated for developing the infrastructure of rural areas, employment support, and increasing incomes of local residents. I ask the Government to take specific measures on this. We have discussed this many times.

Next, over the past years Russia has implemented big plans for the development of transport infrastructure, railways and roads, seaports and pipelines. These timely decisions have made it possible for businesses to quickly rebuild logistics in today’s conditions, and redirect cargo flows to those countries that are ready and willing to trade with Russia and prefer civilised and predictable business relations.

It is noteworthy that despite the attempts of external pressure, the total cargo of Russian seaports has only slightly decreased over the seven months of this year; it has remained at the same level as a year earlier, which is about 482 million tonnes of cargo. Last year there were 483 million, so the figure is practically the same.

At the same time, Far Eastern ports are seeing a real logistics boom. The volume of cargo transhipment and container handling is such that specialists are working 24/7 to handle the workload. In a word, no matter how much someone might like to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do it, as we have always said so. It is enough just to look at the map.

We will use natural competitive advantages to build up our further transport capabilities, expand the road and railway network, build new access roads to sea terminals and expand their capacity.

I mentioned earlier that our focus is on building the eastward infrastructure and developing the North-South international corridor and ports of the Azov-Black Sea basin which we will keep working on. They will open up more opportunities for Russian companies to enter the markets of Iran, India, the Middle East and Africa and, of course, for reciprocal deliveries from these countries.

The total volume of freight and cargo transportation along these routes and arteries will be able to grow by about 60 percent by 2030. We are absolutely realistic about our predictions, and this is how it will be. To achieve these numbers, the Government has drafted specific “roadmaps” in the three areas I outlined earlier, which will enable us to make this work consistent, consolidate and coordinate our efforts in terms of deadlines and capacity to break up the bottlenecks and upgrade border checkpoints and related infrastructure.

In addition to our plans to expand transport corridors, it is important to put in place new rolling stock and railway traction vehicles, to provide Russian shipyards with orders for modern high-quality tankers, dry cargo ships and container vessels, including ice-class ships, for the further expansion of the Northern Sea Route as a potent transport corridor of national and global importance with, I want to stress this, year-round navigation. The state-of-the-art icebreakers that we are designing and building make it possible for us to do this already now.

This year, a container vessel made its first run between Murmansk and Kamchatka along the Northern Sea Route to reaffirm the reliability and safety of shipping operations in the Arctic zone.

Notably, the point is not just about authorising the passage of ships in the Arctic or simply connecting two destinations. What we need to do is make sure that ships are properly serviced and cargo is properly handled at each port along the route, and the traffic schedule is sustainable, predictable and reliable. Then, every Northern Sea Route waypoint and region will benefit from the logistics corridor. That is what we should be striving for.

The Government has approved a development plan for the Northern Sea Route until 2035 with plans to allocate 1.8 trillion rubles from various sources to implement it. As forecasted, the cargo traffic along this corridor will go from the current 35 million tonnes per year to the targeted 220 million tonnes per year.

The availability of freight vehicles is certainly a key factor in the transportation of goods to and from the Russian Far East. This means we need to offer economically justified and competitive freight rates. I am asking the Government to study all these issues carefully.

Aviation is a special issue for the Far East. Here, the availability of flights from the European part of Russia to the Far East is not the only issue, but connectivity between the Far Eastern regions themselves also matters – air services should cover as many destinations, cities and regions of the Far East as possible.

That is why we have established a single Far Eastern airline. It offers almost 390 destinations, some of them subsidised by the state. In the next three years, this airline’s traffic should increase, and the number of destinations will exceed 530. And as we could see after those flights were opened, these destinations are in great demand.

To implement these plans, we need to expand the company’s fleet, to make sure it has modern aircraft, including small aircraft. A decision has been made in this regard, and I ask the Government to strictly implement it.

I would like to note that in general, Russian air carriers will soon be thoroughly re-equipped. Our airlines, including Aeroflot, have placed the largest order package in modern history, for about 500 Russian-made mainline aircraft. By the way, as far as I know, the United Aircraft Corporation and Aeroflot have signed a respective agreement on the sidelines of this Eastern Economic Forum, and the figures in there are quite impressive – over a trillion, I think.

This high demand should become a powerful incentive for aircraft factories and design bureaux, for many related industries, including electronics and aircraft components, and, of course, for the schools training professional personnel including engineers and skilled blue-collar workers in the aviation industry.

I would like to add that a decision has been made on another sensitive issue for the Far East. I am referring to the development of air medical services and increasing the availability of medical care for people living in remote areas. Starting next year, we will more than double federal funding for these purposes, which means that the number of flights will also increase, and there will be faster and better provision of healthcare in the region.

Friends, colleagues,

All our decisions involving the economy and social sphere, all the mechanisms that we are implementing in the Far East have the same important purpose – to make this region a truly attractive place for living, studying, working, for starting families, to ensure that more children are born.

Several important initiatives in this regard have been included in the package of measures that the Government is now considering. One of them is to create an up-to-date environment for living, to improve the local cities and towns.

Let me remind you that at the last forum, we set a task to develop master plans for the development of the largest Far Eastern cities. These include all administrative centres of the regions, and cities with a population of over 50,000 people, as well as Tynda and Severobaikalsk, the key stations on the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway.

We had in mind an integrated approach to the development of communities, where plans for the modernisation of infrastructure, social facilities, and creation of public spaces and so on would be combined competently and conveniently, and economic and industrial projects would rely on thoroughly calculated business models.

In all cities, the initial task was to make strategic development plans. Master plans are already being actively developed on the basis of those strategic plans in 17 cities and metropolitan areas. One of them has to do with the development of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky urban area, and the day before yesterday, we discussed this issue with our colleagues on the spot. Once again, I ask the Government to provide maximum assistance in implementing this and other master plans in order to have them unconditionally implemented.

Here, among other things, it is important to use tools such as the Far Eastern concession, the government’s infrastructure loans and infrastructure bonds. It is necessary to determine target limits for the Far East in these programmes. The funds should be used for urban development and improvement, and of course, for infrastructure, including the upgrade of existing networks and connections to utilities.

I would like to add that at the recent St Petersburg Economic Forum, I instructed the Government to allocate an additional 10 billion rubles annually for improvement projects in Russian cities. I think it would be right to channel half of this financing, that is, 5 billion a year, towards upgrading Far Eastern cities and towns with populations below 250,000.

Separate resources should also be allocated under all our main infrastructure development programmes for projects to modernise Far Eastern cities. I have already given such an instruction, and I ask you to ensure its implementation as quickly as possible. Target limits should be stipulated in the federal budget for the next three years.

Something else I would like to stress – we need to increase the volume of housing construction in the Far East, while also widely applying the most advanced ‘green’ and energy-efficient construction technologies.

This year, the Far Eastern Quarters programme was launched. Under this programme, developers will be able to take advantage of priority development areas, including tax and infrastructure benefits, which will reduce the cost of flats and the price of finished housing. This will increase the availability of housing for people. The plan is to build about 2.5 million square metres of housing by 2030 using this cost-reduction mechanism. I ask the regional authorities and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East to hold the first tenders by the end of the year, to select developers and start designing and developing the residential buildings.

Next, the Far Eastern residents are entitled to special, preferential mortgage terms. As many as 48,000 families have already purchased new housing using mortgages with a rate of 2 percent. This year, we have expanded the Far Eastern mortgage programme so that doctors and teachers, regardless of their age, can apply for it along with young Far Easterners.

Let me remind you that the programme is planned until 2024. But given the demand and efficacy – and this programme is working effectively – I propose extending it until at least 2030. I hope that the Far Eastern residents will also appreciate this.

(Applause.)

A separate decision concerns the support of young professionals who come to the Far East or graduate from local educational institutions, get a job and consider local accommodation. As many as 10,000 rental apartments will be built for them. The rental rate will be significantly below the market level due to subsidies from the regional and federal budgets. The Government has already envisaged such a measure. I ask you to work out all the details in order to start building rental housing for young professionals without delay. And I would like to specifically point out that the location of this housing should be included in the development master plans for Far Eastern cities, which means all the necessary infrastructure should be available – in short, such accommodation should be convenient and enjoy demand.

I would like to note that the Far Eastern regions, like many other regions of the Russian Federation, are experiencing a shortage of workers today. We will also take several important steps to intensify personnel training in key competencies. Over 900 modern workshops will be opened in Far Eastern colleges by 2030, and in the near future, until the end of 2025, we will launch 29 production and educational clusters. In addition, businesses will receive compensation for employing young workers.

Another important area is improving the quality of higher education in the Russian Far East. The goal is to attract qualified instructors, upgrade facilities and equipment in higher education institutions, and provide grants to stimulate academic research and prospective developments in the crucial areas of the technological agenda.

There are network programmes for Far Eastern universities that connect education institutions in the region with the country’s leading universities such as St Petersburg State Marine Technical University, Moscow Aviation Institute and others. We will undoubtedly support this area of cooperation.

Finally, branches of the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS), the National State Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) and the Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute will open in 2025 in the Russian Far East to train cultural and art workers. I would like to ask the Government to provide all necessary assistance.

I would like to note that the Far Eastern regions offer their own professional development initiatives. For example, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives in the Sakhalin Region supports a pilot project called Earning Money Together. Participants in the project will be able to undergo free additional training, receive career guidance and get help with starting a business. Based on the outcome of these pilot projects we will think about scaling up.

I also want to mention a training programme for a new generation of managers in the Far East. The programme focuses on cultivating a local pool of talent, and on integrating study programmes and internships in public offices and development institutions. This programme is already running and I suggest that the heads of all regions in the Far Eastern Federal District get involved.

Colleagues, I want to conclude my remarks by stressing once again that the modern global economy and the entire system of international relations is going through challenges. However, I believe that the logic of cooperation, aligning the potentials and mutual benefits that our countries and our friends in the region adhere to, will prevail no matter what. By reasonably taking advantage of the competitive sides and strengths of the Asia-Pacific countries, by creating constructive partnerships we will open new colossal opportunities for our peoples. We are ready to work together for the sake of a successful future. And we are grateful to our partners for participating in this work.

Thank you.

Western Propaganda and its Aftermath

August 31, 2022

Source

by Asia Teacher

As President Zelensky attains celebrity media status, revered by western political leaders and Hollywood’s glitterati all jostling for a photo shoot, let’s not forget the propaganda behind it and the consequences now beginning to emerge.

The western propaganda we’re currently experiencing is nothing new. Today’s President Putin joins yesterday’s Middle East “monsters” as current Ukrainian Nazi militias become “freedom fighters” and the Russians become “Nazis.” Likewise, the previous Middle Eastern terrorist groups became “moderate Islamist’s” but only if they were fighting for a US led NATO in Iraq and Syria. Yet such is the power of belief on an already stupefied majority western population that it’s become factual.

In our upside down world, reality has long vanished to 15% of our western leaders who regard themselves as the “international community.” On August 24th, only 54 countries out of 193 supported a UN resolution which condemned Russia for not stopping its intervention in the Ukraine, which begs the question of why, if the majority population loathe today’s western politicians, do they passionately and often even fanatically believe their every word?

Supplying weapons and financial aid to the Ukraine which enables Russia to get bogged down in an endless war with mounting casualties, coupled with sanctions to bring down Russian middle-class living standards is just another attempt at regime change. Moreover, having failed to control the Middle East oil producers, it has not gone unnoticed that Russia is itself a major gas and oil producer.

Bathsheba Crocker, US Ambassador to the UN warned in the New York Times on February 21st before the incursion occurred that Russia had a ‘hit list’ of people destined for arrest, detention and torture including “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons.” How she knew that is not explained, but the inclusion of homosexuals as a vulnerable group now appears mandatory in any media story.

From allegations presented as facts by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova and picked up by The British Daily Mail and the US New York Times in May, of multiple repeated child rapes and murders near Kiev. Meanwhile, Newsweek also in May ran the headline “Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team”; what kind of sick minds dream this up?! Although written in a news format, both headlines carried disclaimers that the content remained unverified. In which case, why report it as news? One assumes that in time these stories will join Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and the Ghost of Kyiv hoaxes.

The problem with current western propaganda is that it relies on sensationalism and each manufactured story must outdo the last to retain its WOW effect. In today’s world, neighbors Poland and Slovakia propose building an oil “peace pipeline” as opposed to what Polish President Morawiecki refers to as the German Nordstream “war pipeline.” Meanwhile, debate continues to rage over why Russia is shelling itself in the Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant with American made missiles and fragments of US HIMARS missiles found in Yelenovka, where 57 Azov prisoners died and 130 were wounded whilst giving testimony for the upcoming War Crimes trials. Getting rid of the evidence?

Who will western politicians blame if the weapons they’re sending to the Ukraine are responsible for another Chernobyl type incident as inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrive at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and before entering suggest the facility be handed back to the Ukrainian authorities. Am I the only one aghast at the thought of a nuclear plant in the hands of the Ukraine armed forces which number Neo-Nazi militia battalions in their ranks?

That the Ukraine is not about freedom and democracy but Russian regime change isn’t a well-kept secret. A year before the 2014 overthrow of Yanukovych, Carl Gershman, Director of US NGO National Endowment for Democracy (NED) had already stated: “Ukraine is the biggest prize … If it could be pulled away from Russia and into the West, Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.” More recently, on the first of March 1st 2022, a spokesman for the British Prime Minister said, “but the measures [sanctions] we are introducing, that large parts of the world are introducing, are to bring down the Putin regime.” Or as Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy and Finance stated, “We are going to wage a total economic and financial war on Russia.”

Conversely, the opposite has happened. At the beginning of the intervention the ruble stood at 85 to the dollar. Yet today it’s 61.35; in other words, the ruble is actually strengthening against the dollar. No matter the amount or severity of sanctions, major oil producers, despite what any other calamities befall them, do not go bankrupt.

Yet six months into the incursion, the adverse effects of sanctions on energy and industrial fertilizers are becoming all too visible in the west. Soaring inflation and food prices, record bankruptcies and huge energy price increases as millions of Ukrainian immigrants flood into an already weakened and recession hit Western Europe. Who will blink first?

Although the west is currently in dire social and economic straits, removing President Putin and replacing him with another 1990’s Yeltsin type puppet would be a major boost for the west and Wall Street of course.

In our highly technologically advanced western societies, cheap energy and lots of it is why we exist as first-world societies. The alternative and sustainable green energy myth hasn’t happened as it doesn’t exist. If we take away our lifeblood support, what we’re beginning to experience is a terminal collapse. Despite the political pessimism and hype, when the present situation comes to an end our economies are not going to bounce back, the lost jobs aren’t going to return and inflation will not magically return to near zero. This is it, the final battle of civilizations and personally, I can do without identity politics, the homosexuality agenda, drug and crime epidemics and open borders.

Asia Teacher is a UK citizen, retired teacher of English plus Social and Political Science.

Tucker Carlson: Things are falling apart every quickly

August 30, 2022

Putin To Macron: Ukraine’s Shelling Near Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant Poses Danger of Large-scale Disaster

August 21, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have had their first phone call in almost three months to discuss the Ukraine conflict and nuclear security in the area of Zaporozhye, the Kremlin announced on Friday.

The call was initiated by the French side and saw the two leaders discuss “various aspects of the situation around Ukraine,” according to the Kremlin’s readout.

Putin emphasized that “the systematic shelling of the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant by the Ukrainian military poses a danger of a large-scale disaster that could lead to radiation spillover onto a large territory,” Moscow said.

The two leaders agreed that a mission under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] should be dispatched to the NPP “as soon as possible” in order to assess the situation on site.

“The Russian side confirmed it’s ready to provide the Agency’s inspectors with all the necessary assistance,” the Kremlin said.

According to the Elysee Palace, Putin agreed that the IAEA mission to Zaporozhye NPP would be dispatched on the terms already arranged by Ukraine and the United Nations. This would mean that the IAEA delegation might travel via the territory currently controlled by Kiev’s forces. Previously, Moscow insisted that such a mission could arrive only via Russian-controlled territory.

The two sides will address this issue again in the coming days, after technical teams discuss the matter in detail, the Elysee said.

According to the Kremlin, Putin once again invited international experts to visit a detention facility in Yelenovka, in the Donetsk People’s Republic. An artillery attack on the prison, which Moscow says was carried out by Kiev’s forces, killed 50 Ukrainian POWs and injured dozens more last month.

Putin also informed Macron on the implementation of the deal for Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea. This agreement, which was brokered by the UN and Turkey, is also supposed to allow Russia to deliver fertilizers and food products to the global markets. However, the Kremlin noted, “obstacles for the Russian grain [export] persist,” which continues to have an adverse effect on global food security.

The most recent call between the two leaders took place on May 28 and also involved German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. During that conversation, Putin blamed Ukraine for the stalled peace talks, assuring his counterparts that Moscow remained ready to negotiate an end to the ongoing conflict and condemning the West for supplying Kiev with weapons.

Why is Russia selling energy to her enemies? The answer in one picture

August 18, 2022

Folks, it ain’t Russia who is going bankrupt!

The New York Times Exposed Kiev’s Latest Lie: No Newly Exported Grain Is Going To Africa

Aug 11, 2022

Source

By Andrew Korybko

Observers might have thought that the Golden Billion’s Ukrainian proxy would have dispatched at least a single ship to one African country in order for their patron’s Mainstream Media to manipulate perceptions about this to falsely claim that Kiev is helping to counteract the consequences of the global food crisis that the US-led West’s sanctions immensely worsened, but that’s obviously not what happened.

Ukrainian officials have a track record of not telling the truth so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Foreign Minister Kuleba lied when he tweeted that his country’s resumption of grain exports “sends a message of hope to every family in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia”. The New York Times (NYT) exposed his lie after reporting that while some ships are going to China and Turkiye, which represent East and West Asia respectively, literally none of those that just departed from that crumbling former Soviet Republic are en route to Africa. In order to cover up for him, however, the outlet quoted a UN official who implied a belief in former US President Reagan’s theory of trick-down economics to predict that Kiev’s grain exports to non-African countries will eventually lead to prices falling in that continent over time.

Just last week, Ukrainian leader Zelensky tweeted that he told his counterpart from Guinea-Bissau about his country’s “readiness to be a food security guarantor in the region”, yet the whole world now knows that he lied after what the NYT’s latest report just revealed. He also told African journalists that their countries supposedly gain nothing from their ties with Russia, but the reality is that they don’t gain a single thing from their relations with Kiev as was just proven by one of the world’s most influential Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets. Moscow, by contrast, provides bespoke “Democratic Security” solutions to partners like the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali for counteracting Hybrid War threats, which also includes fertilizer, food, and fuel for sustainably ensuring socio-economic stability.

African leaders and their people are well aware of the differences between Russia and Ukraine. This is proven by the first-mentioned snubbing Zelensky en masse during his virtual speech at the African Union in late June, while the second are sincerely inspired by President Putin’s global revolutionary manifesto and especially Foreign Minister Lavrov’s related promise that Moscow will help them fully complete their decolonization processes. No African government or the society that they represent sincerely supports Ukraine over Russia since they simply have nothing tangible to gain by doing so. Nevertheless, the US’ new “Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa” very clearly conveys Washington’s intent to coerce them into a zero-sum choice under the implied pain of Color Revolution unrest if they refuse.

This isn’t just due to that declining unipolar hegemon’s self-professed belief in its own discredited “exceptionalism”, but also because Africa is now a major battleground in the New Cold War. The recently accelerated global systemic transition to multipolarity has resulted in the US-led West’s Golden Billion fiercely competing with the BRICS-led Global South (in this context represented by Russia) over which model of International Relations should define the 21st century: the neo-colonialist one of unipolarity or the multipolar model that aspires to make the world system more equal, fair, and just. The choice is obvious for all African countries, but therein lies the reason why the US and France are poised to step up their destabilization operations in a desperate attempt to reimpose their hegemony.

Returning back to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister’s latest lie, there’s no doubt that it was directed towards the Western audience and not the African one since the latter would obviously know that Kiev hasn’t exported grain to any of the continent’s several dozen countries. Nevertheless, his crumbling former Soviet Republic is being used as a stand-in by his US-led Western backers to impose the zero-sum choice upon those states that was earlier described whereby they’ll become increasingly pressured to support Kiev at the expense of their ties with Moscow. Be that as it may, it’s expected that this will still remain a struggle for the Golden Billion since African countries have thus far proven their strategic sovereignty in the New Cold War by hitherto refusing to sanction that Eurasian Great Power.

Observers might have thought that this bloc’s Ukrainian proxy would have dispatched at least a single ship to one African country in order for their patron’s MSM to manipulate perceptions about this to falsely claim that Kiev is helping to counteract the consequences of the global food crisis that the US-led West’s sanctions immensely worsened. That obviously didn’t happen though, which shows that the Golden Billion still practices an extremely condescending and racist policy towards Africa. This American bloc wouldn’t even order its Eastern European proxy to send one boatload of grain for an easy photo op, instead choosing not to give anything at all to those countries while still demanding that they dump Moscow for Kiev.

The resultant outcome is that Africans will likely become more suspicious than ever about the true cause of the global food crisis. African Union Chairman Macky Sall already agreed with President Putin in early June during the former’s trip to Sochi that the US-led West’s sanctions exacerbated the crisis that the Russian Ambassador to the UN earlier explained predates the latest phase of the Ukrainian Conflict and is actually attributable to a combination of factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and reckless Western fiscal policies during that time. Furthermore, CNN surprisingly discredited Western officials’ prior claims accusing Russia of full responsibility for that crisis by pointing out the same things as its aforementioned representative to that global body did almost one-quarter of a year ago.

Considering this sequence of events, some might conclude that the global food crisis’ consequences for the African people are being deliberately exacerbated by the Golden Billion through their refusal to order Kiev to dispatch even just a single ship’s worth of grain to the continent. This form of Hybrid War punishment is being inflicted against them in response to their governments’ principled neutrality towards the Ukrainian Conflict after they all without exception declined to sanction Russia. Nevertheless, those states are still unlikely to unilaterally concede on their objective national interests in maintaining mutually beneficial relations with Russia, especially since doing so would be very unpopular after their people already realized the literal “hunger games” that the Golden Billion is playing.  

Russia offers monthly donation of 40,000 tons of wheat for Lebanon

Lebanon has been dealing with bread shortages over recent months, in the latest dilemma to hit the crisis-hit nation

August 06 2022

ByNews Desk- 

The Russian Ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Rudakov, has reportedly obtained initial approval from Moscow to provide Lebanon with a donation of 40,000 tons of wheat per month until the end of the year.

This deal could be extended past December to help the Levantine nation overcome a worsening food crisis, according to information obtained by Al-Akhbar.

Russia’s offer comes just days after Beirut cleared the Syrian-owned Laodicea vessel to depart the port of Tripoli, despite protests from the Ukrainian embassy, which claimed the ship was carrying “stolen grain.”

However, customs officials revealed to The Cradle that the ship’s grain cargo originated in Russia.

Lebanon’s top prosecutor allowed the ship to leave after revealing Kiev failed to present evidence to back their claim of theft against Russia and Syria.

Before the ship’s release, the Ukrainian embassy offered to retract their claim if Beirut paid them for the Russian grain.

Since 2019, Lebanon has been faced with the dire consequences of a severe economic meltdown.

The situation has pushed over 80 percent of the population below the poverty line and all but wiped out the value of the local currency.

Lebanon used to import as much as 80 percent of its wheat from Ukraine, but since the start of the Russian war, it now faces a major food crisis.

Another factor that limits Lebanon’s wheat supply is the destruction of the country’s grain silos during the Beirut Port blast of 2020 —  considered to be the largest non-nuclear explosion in history.

As all of this unfolds inside the country, Lebanon is facing a serious threat of war from Israel; the two nations are mired in a dispute for control of an offshore gas field that could provide billions in revenue.

Europe hypnotized into war economy

July 29, 2022

By Jorge Vilches

Thirty two years ago Germans enthusiastically took down the Berlin wall. Now, captured by cunning Anglo-Saxon global elites, Germans are helping other European “useful idiots” to erect a much higher and thicker wall to cut themselves off from Russia leading them into a war economy. But as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned… “the approach has clearly failed — sanctions have backfired — and our car now has 4 four flat tires” … Question: vehicles don´t carry more than 2 spare tires on them, do they? So, one quick and innocent way to explain such unfathomable European miscalculation is to assume the EU leadership is immersed in a deep hypnotic trance and just blindly following US-UK instructions under Stoltenberg-Johnson war-mongering policies. Per “The Telegraph” Ref #1 https://www.rt.com/news/559682-johnson-uk-nato-ukriaine Ref #2 https://www.rt.com/news/559785-orban-eu-gas-war-economy/

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suicidal non-supply

The supply lines that up to 2022 successfully linked Europe and Russia took decades of very hard work to develop. This now means that almost all of such over-abundant contracts necessarily have no effective substitute because (a) no other vendors have such high quality at low price plus decades of vetting and proven experience + (b) the un-replaceable short freight distance and shipping time from nearby Russia. So, by definition, both (a) + (b) mean that today no equivalent supply lines could ever be found no matter how much Europe tried simply because it would be either too soon or too far …and always too hard and too pricey. So short cuts will be taken and corners rounded-off…. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. The impact of the above cannot be overstated though as the now-broken Euro-Russian supply lines were essential for the Just-In-Time strategy that Europe and world markets still require and cannot wait years to develop and iron out. Logistics 101: proven experience and performance with excellent price plus quick delivery from nearby sources cannot be substituted fast enough, or possibly ever. On purpose, Europe´s worst enemies couldn´t have inflicted worse harm than what a US-UK mesmerized Europe (what else ?) is doing to itself.

So EU sanctions are now cutting off dozens of key and highly varied Russian produce without which Europe as we know it will cease to exist. This involves foodstuffs, minerals of every sort, energy re oil & gas & coal & refined products thereof, etc., etc., plus key technologies and products from space rocket engines to nuclear fuels. Even Roscosmos announced that Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) project with the West after 2024 while by that time with an orbital station of its own. At any rate, the new European vendor problems for hundreds of products include each and every aspect of sales & procurement, sourcing & logistics, negotiations, pricing, contract terms, payment, banking procedures, sampling and testing, delivery pathway coordination, additional trucking, roads, vessels and inland waterways for shut down pipeline delivery, on-the-fly solutions for new problems, railroads, loading and unloading yards, ports, process alignment & upgrade, synchronization, scheduling, building and adapting key infrastructure, insurance, guarantees, new administrative matters, buffer storage, vendor vetting, multiple regulatory compliance, etc., etc. So the most efficient and swift Euro-Russian trade routines have today turned into logistical and management nightmares. Europe now and for the near future — in most unfavorable circumstances — needs to run unexpected risks to re-do all such hard work in a hurry and for every banned Russian product, not just coal & oil & nat-gas. And it is not a “plug & play” process either. It takes time. Tons of changes have to be made even after finding a trustworthy vendor. It is costly, cumbersome, and prone to project creep & fatigue. All fully unnecessary and chaotic.

No country in the EU is anywhere ready for any of the above, let alone all of Europe at the very same time with the very same deadline. Furthermore, an impaired Germany would mean a very different Europe something which at this late stage cannot be avoided even if Germans wanted to get their feet wet in a hurry. Jim Rickards now says that “Almost everything you heard about the war in Ukraine from U.S. media over the course of March, April, and May was a lie.” Furthermore, the Western news regarding the impact of the Ukraine war contained very few truths that can confuse just as much. Per Rickards “The economies of the U.S. and the EU are in or very near to recession. Inflation is out of control in the West and commodity shortages will lead quickly to food shortages and more empty shelves in supermarkets… as economic sanctions have backfired ”. And now labor unions add fuel to the fire fully knowing they have the leverage to worsen inflation which is the hottest political topic nowadays. So they now demand better working conditions “with protests turning up at all spots in the global supply chain, including railways, trucking, warehouses, and ports…” At any rate, today Russia is taking full control and will probably retain for itself what up until 2022 were Ukraine´s best assets. That includes its industrial core, its enormously large and specialized natural resources, a most fertile land reminiscent of the Argentine Pampas, and all the ports and the major rivers with Russian territory unscathed. No wonder Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wants plain “out” of the current European non-strategy despite that Euroclear is raking in dozens of millions in profits from seized Russian bank accounts.

Ref #3 https://www.rt.com/russia/558846-us-uk-eu-sanctions/

Ref #4 https://news.antiwar.com/2022/07/24/hungarys-orban-says-us-russia-peace-talks-needed-to-end-ukraine-war/

Ref #5 https://dailyreckoning.com/needless-death-and-misery/

Ref #6 https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/labor-has-leverage-protesting-supply-chain-workers-threaten-worsen-worlds-inflation-crisis

Ref #7 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-24/world-s-key-workers-threaten-to-hit-economy-where-it-will-hurt?sref=6uww027M

Ref #8 https://www.rt.com/business/559647-eurozone-profits-frozen-russian-assets/

Ref #9 https://www.rt.com/russia/559598-jens-stoltenberg-calls-allies-pay/

add a low Rhine…

The Rhine River directly affects trade and industrial logistics of several key European countries namely, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands while indirectly affecting many others or, in some cases, all the others. In particular, the über-important German inland transportation system – and therefore its entire supply chains network – depends upon normal levels of Rhine River waters. Because it´s not only a matter of sourcing the right quality, quantity and price of any produce. It is just as important to receive it Just-In-Time at process destinations such as refineries or power plants as explained later. Simultaneously, all European stakeholders are competing with each other tooth and nail struggling to find, contract and retain exactly the same resources in order to solve the same unexpected problems all at once and by the same date. And it´s not only coal or oil or natural gas — and many other raw materials in and of themselves — but also for the means required to transport, deliver and process all of them.

So everybody and his sister would now in Europe be modifying the same things at the same time with the same resources by the same date. For example, looking for the very first – and certainly bad – resource, namely trucking fleets of every size and type and humongous amounts of EU-certified drivers thereof. This additional heavy truck traffic would require upgrading newer roads and building new ones. Also, the different processes required for these different commodities also require all-around modifications at refineries, new-feedstock power plants, petrochemical plants, etc., etc., etc. Furthermore, there were no plans for any of this nor for the abundant technical human resources required and/or vetted management staff. Managerially speaking, this is not a contingency. It is a fully unexpected European-wide revolution with a terribly demanding time frame and critical failures as the most probable result. This involves strategic value-chain upstream items with EU captive consumers cascading into multiple supply chain failures thru lack of nat-gas, rare earths, inert gases, potash, sulfur, uranium, palladium, vanadium, cobalt, coke, titanium, nickel, lithium, plastics, glass, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, ships, inks, airplanes, polymers, medical and industrial gases, sealing rings & membranes, power transmission, transformer and lube oils, neon gas for microchip etching, etc., etc.

Thousands of yet unknown people are needed to execute all of these projects with yet to be defined job descriptions, yet to be interviewed, hired, trained, teams put together, deployed, etc. Many oldies will be called back from retirement

For many good reasons – mostly obvious — roads & trucks many times cannot compete with seaborne or internal water-ways freight either by volumes shipped or final destination delivery requirements. Furthermore, the supply lines/production system is already set up in a given way and any change introduced to previous logistics is fully unforeseen. For instance, high-load storage facilities and high-consuming processing plants, refineries, power stations and the like are conveniently located for vessel access or pipelines or railways, not trucks. So, now with everyone scrambling for ultra-hard-to-find solutions, EU products will require higher transportation costs by, for instance, having to replace sintering ores with concentrates or pellets. And it is unlikely for higher costs to be absorbed by the market under current conditions of falling demand. So profit margins will get yet narrower – or negative – as already under heavy pressure from high energy prices and labor costs in an inflationary vicious cycle. Sooner or later this leads to either very high inflation, or recession… or even depression. Also, a tremendous food problem has arisen as a consequence of the EU sanctions, involving final produce and intermediate outcomes such as fertilizers which in turn affect yields.

hypnotized food

EU sanctions have prevented operations with Russian grain, including insurance and the admission of Russian ships to foreign ports and entry of foreign ships to Russian ports. Russia cannot solve that nor contribute to solving that in any way, shape, or form. Only the EU can solve that problem. What Russia can and will do is to develop its economy by counting on reliable partners instead of Western countries not willing or able to comply with the agreed terms of trade. No (Russian) gas no fertilizers, less (Russian) gas less fertilizers for everyone including Third World economies.

Higher oil prices – or no oil – mean more expensive distillates such as diesel oil required for farming food produce.

In view of less Russian gas, BASF has slashed ammonia production which is an essential component for fertilizers.

Ref #10 https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/basf-prepares-slash-ammonia-production-germany-amid-worsening-natgas-crunch

hypnotized energy

Up until Jan. 2022, coal (“brown” coal, the dirtiest of them all) was only responsible for 33% of power generation in Germany… but not anymore (more on that later). Let alone the case of oil & gas with ultra simplified door-to-door delivery of excellent, cheap products through quick and clean pipelines. BTW, the case of now badly-needed coal is probably the worst of all, as its complete phase-out was planned for 2030 but now fully reverted with de-commissioned coal-fired power stations most probably returning as Germany´s first line energy suppliers. Less Russian natural gas means less heating, less hot water, less power and less fertilizer among other important things. And the EU cannot print natural gas or Rubles.

“ Despite the aggressive Western sanctions… Russia has been very restrained as far as counter-measures are concerned. So after loudly saying that the EU wants nothing to do with Russian energy or Russian pipelines, the EU should hardly be upset if Russia is tired of laboring not to give them what they asked for, an economic divorce. The problem is Europe is now upset that it’s getting what it acted like it wanted.” – Yves Smith – “Naked Capitalism”

Ref # 11 https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/07/the-end-of-cheap-russian-gas-turning-the-lights-out-in-europe.html

On a recent press conference Russia´s President Vladimir Putin explained that the EU energy security problem is definetly not Russia nor Gazprom. Very simply put: with long winters, less sun, low winds, and EU banks that will not finance fossil fuels investments, plus insurance companies that do not insure them, and local governments that do not allocate land plots for new projects, so then pipelines are not built… while demand keeps growing. Then for political reasons the Ukraine government shuts down a pipeline station. Then the Siemens-Canada problem as, by contract, turbines require regular maintenance and repairs. In sum, the EU has shut-down — on its own — two Russian pipeline routes as Ukraine and Poland effectively cut off the Yamal-Europe pipeline. Ukraine overtly, Poland by refusing to pay under the new gas for roubles scheme. The EU has also sanctioned one turbine while not commissioning North Stream 2, thus completely tying down Gazprom´s hands. Furthermore, the documentation that Gazprom received from Canada and Siemens did not respond to the turbine sanctions-waiver questions. Also, Gazprom is unable to fully use another route as Ukraine has been rejecting its transit applications. In sum, Europe does not have a strategy. Add to that the shut-down of nuclear power stations. And as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, Russia no longer cares to relate to Europe – or the West at large — as it is not “agreement-capable”.

As if all of the above were not enough, many EU members now have to deploy the DE-conversion from natural gas and the RE-conversion into polluting coal. This back-to-coal ´solution´ is (a) very dirty and against Europe´s Green Plan plus other climate pledges and regulations (b) ultra-expensive (c) a major industrial, logistical and social upheaval that would not make it by this coming winter soon knocking on the European doors, and probably not even for next winter 2023-2024. This separate – yet overlapping – set of major madhouse back-to-coal projects also imply enormous logistics risks and major modifications and tight schedules all around, bids, bidders, contract oversight, certification, commissioning, etc., etc., etc for which nobody involved is prepared, neither regulators, nor vendors, nor consultants or engineering firms, nor end users, nor households, nor labor unions, nor the industry at large.

hypnotized renewables

Renewables have various serious problems including their variable power generation limitations. For example, in low wind or low sun seasons such as 2021-2022 which Europe suffers today. Renewables also have very poor optics – “not in my back yard” — plus impact upon bird life with unavoidable and undesirable consequences. And although there is more to be said, let´s conclude with the all-important de-commissioning problem in view of their rather shortish life-span. Furthermore — in order to see the light of day — manufacture of renewables requires humongous loads of nat-gas, oil, coal, minerals and commodities, all of them necessarily sourced in Russia not anywhere else. Unless the problem were to be compounded and worsened on purpose something quite in fashion today in Europe. For instance, manufacturing of wind turbines requires thousands of tons of nickel and rare earth minerals. Also, any such large structures and components thereof are to be transported to temporary and final destinations — and erected — with Russian fossil-powered equipment. Such is also required for the inevitable regular maintenance and end-of-life decommissioning. Solar photovoltaic energy requires humongous amounts of silver beyond belief, a process which also consumes (Russian) fossil fuels in enormous quantities, including the manufacture of the mining equipment required. Furthermore, as soon as renewables in large quantities are added to any electrical grid, costs go up – not down — as they have to be backstopped by fossil-fueled thermal plants that today should also run on Russian fuels. Please understand and accept that the more renewables added, the more natural gas that is needed. People do not accept rolling brown-outs let alone black-outs, so fossil fuel backstops are mandatory. With current existing technologies, promoting fully counter-productive and subsidized renewables expansion as Germany has and continues to do is reckless. EV lithium batteries require lithium mining which in turn has a whole new set of problems to be resolved Ref #12 https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/lighting-gas-under-european-feet-how-politicians-journalists-get-energy-so-wrong

hypnotized toilet paper

Per “Zeit On-Line” the new European hygiene status is now ready to deploy forces into rolling brown-out territory.

Is this another bad result of the hypnotic spell ? Ref #13 https://www.rt.com/business/559698-germans-warned-toilet-paper-shortage/

hypnotized fish´n´chips

Toilet paper orientation - Wikipedia

Russian sanctions would leave British pubs without fish’n’chips.

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\index.jpg

Ref # 14 https://www.rt.com/news/559748-fish-chips-uk-sanctions/

bottom line

Rachel Marsden at RT has summarized it very precisely as follows: “The conflict in Ukraine risks creating the ultimate nightmare for Western elites: an alternative group of allies over which the West has no control, but with the capacity to offer opportunities that are competitive with what their own governments or countries are offering… Western elites are doubling down in Ukraine to save the world order that protects their own selfish interests, thinking that it’s the way to prevent a parallel option from emerging. It’s as simple as that. And they don’t care if it’s the average citizen who has to pay the price”. Ref #15 https://www.rt.com/russia/558490-liberal-world-order-explained/

By banning Russian produce, the EU will bring the European sourcing matrix down on its knees, something which by now has already dawned on the average European also realizing that – at the very best and if not corrupted — their political class is just a bunch of ignorant fools. With these ´Russian sanctions´ EU politicians have unnecessarily set Europe up for hundreds of overlapping, cross-borders, gargantuan projects impossible to fulfill simultaneously, with absurd sequencing and scheduling coordination, plus peremptory timing limitations and deadlines, with countless of well- synchronized engineering specialties and very risky, highly demanding logistics, plus overwhelming legal, political, and environmental aspects. Accordingly, this glorious mismanagement in a decisive decade has the whole EU economy fully at risk with the obvious additional pain of potentially making non-performing rushed and poorly designed modifications everywhere.

Furthermore, Europe will spend a fortune it cannot afford while probably deploying soon-to-fail and trouble full reconversion projects ending up with many half-finished facilities that will not be anywhere ready on time, or ever.

The EU strategy regarding Russian sanctions and arming Ukraine has failed miserably as Europeans are being un-relentlessly ashamed with EU leaders despicably cheating on them and everyone else among other things per non-compliance of the Minsk Accords. Ukraine cannot ever come anywhere close to winning this war, corruption is everywhere rampant and the more weapons Ukraine receives from the West the longer their war will last and the larger territory that Ukraine will lose.

Massive migrations to Club Med countries (mostly PIGS) are highly probable even starting during 2022

Per The Guardian, “…Come October, it’s going to get horrific, truly horrific…a scale beyond what we can deal with”.

Ref #15 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/apr/19/energy-chiefs-fear-40-of-britons-could-fall-into-fuel-poverty-in-truly-horrific-winter

additional IMPORTANT references

https://www.dw.com/en/eu-prepares-for-russia-to-cut-off-gas-supply-over-sanctions/a-62493092

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_4608

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/amusing-tales-coal-bottleneck-germany-failure-plan

https://mishtalk.com/economics/amusing-tales-of-a-coal-bottleneck-in-germany-and-the-failure-to-plan

https://www.eurointelligence.com/

https://www.rt.com/business/559561-russia-sanctions-removal-lavrov/

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/21/ukraine-war-europe-turns-to-coal-as-russia-squeezes-gas-supplies.html

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220620-dutch-join-germany-austria-in-reverting-to-coal

https://www.rt.com/business/557503-austria-coal-green-energy/

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Gravitas: Zelensky poses for Vogue as Ukraine loses towns to Russia

July 28, 2022

Asking exactly the correct questions.

Is Russia a Terror State?

July 25, 2022

Note: our “friends” from Commentary Magazine show their true agenda 🙂  It is quite comical to see US Zionists pointing fingers are others for “terrorism” when the USA is by far the biggest supporter and user or terrorists organizations on the planet, from Gladio to al-Qaeda…
Andrei
*******

Is Russia a Terror State?
by Noah Rothman

source: https://www.commentary.org/noah-rothman/is-russia-a-terror-state/

“The security situation throughout Ukraine continues to be violent and unpredictable due to ongoing military attacks by Russia,” the U.S. State Department warned on July 14. “Avoid large gatherings and organized events as they may serve as Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine, including its western regions.” This was not the first time the American diplomatic mission in Kyiv warned civilians to avoid “gatherings and organized events,” but the atrocity that forced State to reissue this alert was horrific enough to take the admonition seriously.

Earlier that day, Russia fired three submarine-launched cruise missiles at targets in the Western Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, though it is unclear what the intended targets might have been. Those missiles fell on a populated shopping center, a dance studio, and a wedding venue, instantly killing 23 and wounding another 71 while burying scores more beneath the rubble. Some speculated that Russia’s intended target was a Ukrainian officer’s club, but the dubious military value of that target and the likelihood of collateral damage given the density of the city around it don’t do much to absolve Russia. Indeed, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that collateral damage is deliberate and that terrorizing the Ukrainian public is the desired outcome.

If the United States has concluded that Moscow is deliberately targeting civilian “gatherings,” that should make academic any debate over whether to deem Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. And yet, the debate rages on.

According to Politico last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken: Either you label Russia a terror state, or we will. Resolutions that would brand Moscow a terrorist actor have been circulating in both federal legislative chambers since the spring, but Congress has not acted in deference to the Biden White House. Pelosi said the designation is “long overdue,” but the administration has been dragging its feet. The State Department insists the existing suite of sanctions against Russia is sufficient to isolate Moscow and reduce its capacity to project force in Ukraine. Additionally, the “secondary” sanctions a terrorism designation would trigger against nations and individuals with business ties to Russia could perversely weaken the existing sanctions regime.

“The sanctions we have in place and have taken are the same steps that would be entailed by the designation of a state sponsor of terrorism,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price insisted. But given that the State Department is in effect alleging that Moscow is prosecuting a campaign of terror, Congress may not accept this rationale much longer. Indeed, evidence of Russia’s wartime atrocities mounts by the day.

A Human Rights Watch report published this weekend alleged that Russian forces have engaged in a systematic campaign of torture. Detainees have been electrocuted, burned, and had their ribs and teeth broken. Reporting from occupied areas of Ukraine is replete with allegations of summary executions and forced abductions. Many thousands of Ukrainians have been “evacuated” to Russia where they are re-educated in “filtration camps.” Although Moscow and Kyiv reached a tentative deal to once again allow the export of grain through the country’s Black Sea ports, which would relieve some of the pressure this war has put on global food prices, a Russian cruise missile strike on the port city of Odessa’s shipping infrastructure this weekend calls into question Moscow’s commitment to humanitarianism.

The U.S. government does not deny that these atrocities are occurring. Indeed, officials warn that the worst is yet to come. Moscow intends to annex into the Russian Federation the territory it presently occupies in Ukraine, at which point it can proceed unmolested toward the goal of this war: breaking and eliminating the very idea of a Ukrainian identity.

Meanwhile, Russia proper has become intensely repressive and militaristic. Any expression of dissent against the war in Ukraine has been criminalized. Academics and journalists have been arrested. The number of “foreign agents” subject to punitive legal measures has exploded. Ominously, Jewish organizations can now count themselves among the many “foreign agents” Russia seems set on persecuting. “Multiple Jewish organizations in Russia have received threatening letters in recent weeks from the Russian Justice Ministry regarding their work,” the Jerusalem Post reported. The writing on the wall is legible from orbit.

The Biden administration has valid reasons for wanting to avoid the complications that would follow designating Russia a terrorist state, but Russia’s terroristic actions are rendering the White House’s resistance untenable. The administration’s hand may soon be forced. If so, it will be Russia, not Congress or the community of democratic nations, that forced it.

Major news day for Russia: In conclusion of his working visit to Iran, Vladimir Putin answered questions from the media.

July 20, 2022

In conclusion of his working visit to Iran, Vladimir Putin answered questions from the media.

Question: Mr President, some would think the world has forgotten about Syria amid the numerous issues on the international agenda. But we have seen today that this is not so.

We would like to hear your views on the situation on the ground in Syria. A great deal has been said today about points of contact, but there are many differences as well. Have you discussed or coordinated any fundamentally new solutions today? I am referring primarily to these differences.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: What I would like to begin with is not the differences but the fundamental issues that allow us to work and continue our efforts in the trilateral format. All of us believe that it I necessary to guarantee the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to eliminate all sorts of terrorists, which I will not enumerate here. This is the fundamental and the most important thing, as we have pointed out again in our joint statement. I believe that this is very important.

Yes, there are certain differences, which is obvious, but all of us support the constitutional process. Thanks to our efforts, we have brought together various conflicting parties at one negotiating platform, including the opposition and the official authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic, experts and representatives of public organisations, as well as the UN. I believe this is extremely important. This is the first point.

The second. Humanitarian aid is being provided to Syria, for which there is particularly great demand today, because the sanctions imposed on Syria and the Syrian people have produced a deplorable result: nearly 90 percent of people in Syria are living below the poverty line. The situation in Syria is extremely serious.

Of course, it would be unfair to give priority attention to certain groups, to politicise humanitarian aid.

Third. There are different approaches to organising humanitarian aid. We have always believed that it should be organised in full compliance with international humanitarian law. This means that all humanitarian aid must be provided through the official Syrian authorities, through Damascus. However, we have agreed to extend the existing procedure for six months, including for deliveries to the Idlib zone, so as to have more time for coordinating our positions.

There is some disagreement about what is happening in Northern Syria. Incidentally, we also have some common ground here: all of us believe that US troops should leave this area. This is the first point. And they should stop looting the Syrian state, the Syrian people, taking their oil illegally. But there is disagreement about how to organise and stabilise the situation in that region. As you know, Russian-Turkish observation convoys are working there together.

However, in our view, in order to ensure a long-term, stable situation there it is necessary to transfer the entire territory under the control of the official authorities in Damascus, under the control of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and then it will be possible to hold a dialogue with those who are responsible – in this case the official Syrian authorities. I believe it would greatly stabilise the situation there.

But in general, it is work in progress. As I have said many times and would like to stress once again, the work of this tripartite group – Russia, Turkiye and Iran – this joint effort to search for compromises and find these compromises has led to the fact that over 90% of Syria is now under official government control and, as we say in such cases, we have broken the back of international terrorism there. This is a great result of this joint work.

Question: Mr President, you had three one-on-one meetings today, first with Mr Raisi, then with Mr Khamenei, and then with Mr Erdogan, and there were no news conferences after these meetings. All we know is the topic you were discussing, the official part.

In particular, you said that you discussed the grain issue with your Turkish counterpart, the issue of supplying Russian and Ukrainian grain to international markets. Could you tell us some more about that, please?

Vladimir Putin: There are no secrets here; in fact, almost everything is known. There are some subtleties; maybe I do not always have time to follow what is happening in the information field. I will tell you how I see it.

First, what was the highlight of the three meetings? At each meeting, there were issues that could be considered central to a particular bilateral meeting.

For example, as I said at the news conference, in my press statement, the main theme at the meeting with the Spiritual Leader of Iran was strategic issues, including developments in the region. This is natural, as it is the sphere of his activity. It was very important for me to hear his opinion, his assessment. I have to say that we have very similar views with Iran on many aspects. So, it was very important and very useful.

As for my meeting with President Raisi, we discussed primarily economic matters. I would like to note that Russian-Iranian trade has grown by 40 percent over the past six months. This is a very good indicator.

There are promising spheres for our cooperation, and there is a great variety of them, like infrastructure development. You may know that a deputy prime minister of the Russian Government chairs a group that is responsible for developing relations in the South Caucasus, including infrastructure projects in the South Caucasus, that is, in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. A great deal can be achieved in this sphere in cooperation with Iran.

As you know, the first pilot train is travelling along the North-South Railway line. It is a short route to ports in the south of Iran, which further leads to the Persian Gulf and India.

There is a practical project: the Rasht-Astara railway is a short 146-kilometre line across Iran. Azerbaijan is interested in its construction. I recently met with President Aliyev during the Caspian Summit, and we discussed this matter. Iran is interested in this as well, as our Iranian partners have told us just now. Russia is interested in this, because it will connect Russia’s northern region, St Petersburg, directly to the Persian Gulf. It is a very interesting and promising project. The task now is to build this line, which is only 146 kilometres. Russia is ready to do this.

We need to coordinate the conditions of this construction project. We have discussed its general outlines with our Iranian partners and friends, and we have coordinated it with Azerbaijan. I hope we will get down to business now. And then, it will be an interesting job for us. It actually amounts to exporting the services of Russian Railways (RZD). This is one of the relevant examples.

There are other spheres. There are security issues relevant to Iran’s nuclear programme. It was very important for us to understand the sentiments of the Iranian party regarding this work. It also involves Russia, which is contributing to the joint efforts aimed at relaunching interaction between Iran and the IAEA. I will not speak about this now, but Russia is playing a considerable role in this.

The grain issue. It is what we discussed with the President of Turkiye. I have already said that the Republic of Turkiye and personally President Erdogan have done a great deal to facilitate the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports. But initially we suggested that it should be adopted as a package, that is, we would facilitate the Ukrainian grain exports provided all the restrictions on the potential exports of Russian grain are lifted. This is what we initially agreed upon with international organisations. They pledged to formulate this as a package solution. Nobody has so far raised any objections, including our American partners. We will see what comes of it in the near future.

As you know, the Americans have actually lifted restrictions, for example, on the delivery of Russian fertilisers to the global market. I hope this will also happen with regard to the export of Russian grain if they really want to improve the situation on the global food markets. As I have said, we are ready to do this right now. We can export 30 million tonnes of grain, and our export potential based on this year’s harvest will be 50 million tonnes.

Question: Mr President, a serious energy crisis is developing in Europe, which is discussing the possibility of Gazprom cutting off gas deliveries. The company has allegedly issued an official notification to one of its German clients, citing force majeure circumstances.

Are there grounds for accusing Russia of causing this energy crisis? Will Gazprom continue to honour its obligations

Vladimir Putin: First of all, Gazprom has always honoured, and will continue to honour its commitments.

There are no grounds at all for the attempts by our partners to shift or try to shift the blame for their own mistakes on Russia and Gazprom.

What is the situation with energy deliveries? In 2020, in the first half of 2020, gas cost 100 euros per 1,000 cubic metres in Europe. The price rose to 250 euros in the first half of 2021. Today it is 1,700 euros per 1,000 cubic metres of gas.

What is happening? I have spoken about this on numerous occasions, and I do not know if we should go into detail regarding the energy policies of European countries, which underrate the importance of traditional sources of energy and have put money on non-traditional energy sources. They are big experts on non-traditional relations, and they have also decided to make a bid for non-traditional energy sources like the sun and wind.

Last winter was long, there wasno wind, and that did it. Investment in the fixed assets of traditional energy producers has decreased because of previous political decisions: banks do not finance them, insurance companies do not insure them, local governments do not allocate land plots for new projects, and pipeline and other forms of transportation are not developing. This is a result of many years, probably a decade of this policy. This is the root cause of price hikes rather than any actions by Russia or Gazprom.

What is going on today? Until recently, we supplied gas to Europe without Turkiye: we supplied around 30 billion cubic metres a year to Turkiye, and 170 billion to Europe, 55 billion via Nord Stream 1, and, if memory serves me, 33 billion were supplied via Yamal-Europe, via the two strings that run through Ukraine. About 12 billion were delivered to Europe through Turkiye via TurkStream.

Ukraine suddenly announced that it was going to close one of the two routes on its territory. Allegedly because the gas pumping station is not under its control but on the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic. But it found itself under the control of the Lugansk People’s Republic several months before, and they closed it just recently without any grounds. Everything was functioning normally there, no one interfered. In my opinion, they closed it simply for political reasons.

What happened next? Poland imposed sanctions on Yamal-Europe, which supplied 33 billion cubic metres of gas. They used to take 34, I think, 33–34 million cubic metres a day from us. They shut it down completely. But then we saw that they turned on the Yamal-Europe pipeline in reverse mode, and they started taking about 32 million a day from Germany. Where is the gas from Germany coming from? It is our Russian gas. Why from Germany? Because it turned out to be cheaper for the Poles. They used to get it from us at a very high price, closer to the market price, whereas Germany gets it from us 3–4 times cheaper than the market price under long-term contracts.

It is profitable for German companies to sell it to the Poles at a small premium. It is profitable for the Poles to buy it because it is cheaper than to buy it directly from us. But the volume of gas in the European market has decreased, and the total market price has gone up. Who has won? All Europeans only lost. This is the second point: Yamal-Europe.

So, first one of the routes in Ukraine was shut down, then Yamal-Europe was shut down, now Nord Stream 1, which is one of the main routes – we pump 55 billion cubic metres a year through it. There are five Siemens gas compressor stations working there, and one is on standby. One compressor had to be sent out for repairs. A repaired compressor was supposed to come from Canada, from the Siemens plant in Canada, to replace it. But it ended up under sanctions in Canada. So, one pumping station, just one piece of equipment was out of order because of scheduled maintenance work and it has not been returned from Canada.

Now we are being told that the unit will be delivered from Canada soon, but Gazprom does not have any official documents yet. We must certainly obtain them, because this is our property, it is the property of Gazprom. Gazprom should receive not only the hardware, not only the gas pumping unit, but also the accompanying documents, both legal and technical documentation. We must be able to see what Gazprom is taking – the turbine’s current condition as well as its legal status, whether it is under sanctions or not, what we can do with it, or maybe they are taking it back tomorrow. But that is not all.

The problem is that at the end of July, on July 26, I think – we can ask Gazprom – another turbine should be sent for routine maintenance, for repairs. And where will we get a replacement from? We do not know.

One more turbine is actually out of order because of some crumbling of its internal liner. Siemens has confirmed this. That leaves two operational units, which are pumping 60 million per day. So, if one more is delivered, fine, we will have two in operation. But if it is not, only one will be left, and it will pump only 30 million cubic meters per day. You can count how much time it will take to pump the rest. How is this Gazprom’s responsibility? What does Gazprom even have to do with this? They have cut off one route, then another, and sanctioned this gas pumping equipment. Gazprom is ready to pump as much gas as necessary. But they have shut everything down.

And they have fallen into the same trap with the import of oil and petroleum products. We hear all sorts of crazy ideas about capping the volume of Russian oil imports or the price of Russian oil. This is going to lead to the same situation as with gas. The result (I am surprised to hear people with university degrees saying this) will be the same – rising prices. Oil prices will spiral.

As for gas, there is another route we are ready to open, which is Nord Stream 2. It is ready to be launched, but they are not launching it. There are problems here as well, I discussed them with the Chancellor about six or maybe eight weeks ago. I raised this issue; I said that Gazprom had reserved the capacity, and that this capacity needed to be used, and it cannot be suspended in mid-air indefinitely.

The answer was that there were other issues on the agenda, more important things, so it is difficult for them to deal with this right now. But I had to warn them that then we would have to redirect half of the volume intended for Nord Stream for domestic consumption and processing. I raised this issue at the request of Gazprom, and Gazprom has actually already done it. Therefore, even if we launch Nord Stream 2 tomorrow, it will not pump 55 billion cubic meters, but exactly half that amount. And given that we are already halfway through this year, it would be just a quarter. Such is the supply situation.

But – I said this at the beginning of my answer to your question and I want to end with this – Gazprom has always fulfilled and will always fulfil all of its obligations, as long as, of course, anyone needs it. First, they themselves close everything, and then they look for someone to blame – it would be comical if it were not so sad.

Question: You spoke with Mr Erdogan today. He has repeatedly stated his readiness to arrange talks between you and Vladimir Zelensky. Has this issue surfaced today? Are you ready to meet with the President of Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin: President Erdogan is making a lot of efforts to create the necessary conditions for normalising the situation. It was during our talks in Istanbul that we actually reached an agreement, and it only remained to initial it. But, as you know, after that, when our troops, in order to create the right conditions, withdrew from central Ukraine, from Kiev, the Kiev authorities backed off on those agreements. These were agreements that had actually been achieved. So, you see that the final result depends, of course, not on intermediaries, but on the parties’ commitment to fulfil the agreements reached. And we can see today that the Kiev authorities have no interest in that.

As for Turkiye’s efforts, as well as other countries’ proposals – Saudi Arabia has offered its mediation services, and the United Arab Emirates, and they do have such capabilities – we are grateful to all our friends who are interested in resolving this crisis for providing their opportunities. Even their willingness to make some contribution to this noble cause is worth a lot. We are deeply grateful for that.

Operation ZOV: quagmire and fog

July 22, 2022

Source

By Saker Staff

Russian Defence Ministry report on the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine

▫️The enemy is suffering considerable losses of armament delivered by Western countries.

▫️From July 5 to 20, 4 launching ramps and 1 reloading vehicle for the U.S.-manufactured HIMARS MRLS delivered to Ukraine were eliminated by high-precision ground- and air-based armament.

▫️Among them, 2 launching ramps were destroyed near Malotaranovka, 1 HIMARS and 1 reloading vehicle was destroyed near Krasnoarmeysk, as well as 4th launching ramp at the eastern suburb of Konstantinovka (Donetsk People’s Republic).

Battery and counter-battery is the order of the day, with the Ukrops holding out for a unicorn promise of more weapons at some date in the future.

💥 Attacks by high-precision ground-based armament have resulted in the elimination of a provisional base of Black Hundred nationalist group deployed in the school №23 in Kramatorsk (Donetsk People’s Republic). Up to 300 nationalists and over 40 units of special equipment have been eliminated.

💥 Attacks launched by high-precision armament of Russian Aerospace Forces have resulted in the elimination of a missile and artillery armament depot of 59th Mechanised Infantry Brigade of the AFU deployed at an industrial area in the eastern part of Nikolayev. The enemy has lost up to 30 servicemen, 6 armoured and motor vehicles, over 2,000 projectiles for Grad MRLS, about 1,000 projectiles for Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers.

✈️💥 Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery continue launching attacks at the military facilities in Ukraine.
The list of neutralised targets includes: 6 command posts, including one of 92nd Mechanised Brigade near Rogan (Kharkov region), 1 command and observation post of 72nd Mechanised Brigade of the AFU near Serebryanka (Donetsk People’s Republic), as well as 5 missile and artillery armament and munitions depots near Zaytsevo (Donetsk People’s Republic), Vishevoye and Uspenovka (Zaporozhye region).

You can pick up the rest of this morning’s report here: https://t.me/mod_russia_en/2871

From Military Summary, the understanding is the same.  We will have to wait to see how the front changes after these heavy artillery battles.   It is worth taking a look at this one, as he has the imaging of a town (difficult to catch the name) fully within entrenchment.  It would be interesting to hear from the armchair generals how they could attack that town, without a major civilian death toll.

Although we are unable to put our arms around LOC or front-line changes, there are no reports of shelling the Donbass in the last number of hours.  The reason probably is this quite comical statement from https://t.me/levigodman/4224 

The Russian Ministry of Defense reports that from July 5 to July 20, 4 HIMARS launchers and one transport-loading vehicle were destroyed in Ukraine.  The Pentagon denies this 🌝  Lockheed Martin stock is back to pre 24th February levels so I‘d be denying it too. 😄

Progress is reported in terms of neutralizing terrorist activity.

The activities of the special services in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions are in fact similar to what they did in the North Caucasus during and after the 2nd Chechen war, catching and shooting cells of local and international terrorists. The work is complex and lengthy, the success of which is systematic and methodical.  Partisanen kaput! https://t.me/russianhead/5452

Douglas McGregor stated that Russia is preparing for a massive offensive to end this war once and for all, they will do it in the next 30 days – military observer, retired US Army Colonel Douglas McGregor.

And President Putin will be holding a meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation today.

Regarding the wider scope of this war, there is a lot of news.  This one defies imagination.   US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley said at a joint press conference that sending Iranian-made drones to Russia for use in Ukraine would prolong this conflict.  So, they may do it, but if Iran does it (bear in mind this is mainly western reporting), it will prolong the conflict.  One rule for thee, and another for me.

Important is that reportedly Ukraine agreed to partially clear its ports in the Black Sea (which is demining of course), according to export the little bit of Ukrainian grain.  Today is the day that we will hear if the agreement is a go or a no-go.  Sergey Shoigu has arrived in Istanbul to sign the grain agreement as the issue is weapons movement really, and not the paltry amount of grain.

Mercosur, the trading bloc of South America declined a request by Zelensky to address its upcoming summit.

Gas has begun to flow to Germany again via NS1 after the completion of maintenance work. It is unclear what the flow rate is and its long-term stability.

Everyone is trying to stagger backward from their own sanctions.  The EU has blocked a proposal to impose sanctions against the Russian company VSMPO-Avisma which is the world’s largest titanium producer.  (We hate you, but please sell us your titanium!).  The Russian government has expanded the list of “unfriendly” foreign states to include Greece, Denmark, Slovenia, Croatia, and Slovakia.

And from China, it is so far a China win.  The US announced the 5th tranche of weapons to Taiwan since Joe Biden took office.  Pelosi also announced a visit to Taiwan in August.  China exploded and made strong demarch to cancel the sale and keep Pelosi home.  Pelosi will not be going as China threatened both diplomatic as well as possible military action.

There also is movement in Syria.  https://t.me/IntelRepublic/2149

Finally, the US is not paying its UN dues and their UN Ambassador is crying about it!

US Losing Influence at UN – Envoy

The US being billions of dollars behind on its UN commitments is hurting Washington’s ability to influence the world organization, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.

While the American delegation has resisted attempts at shaming over the issue, it has created an opening for China, she told lawmakers.

“That is really the crux of the challenge that I face in New York every single day, as we are put in a position of having to compete with our adversaries on being able to influence the UN actions,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Every gap that we leave is an opening for the Chinese. They flow into every open space that we leave,” she added.

Kick ’em out!  As they also do not follow international law agreed upon and documented at the UN.

The power troika trumps Biden in West Asia

The presidents of Russia, Iran, and Turkey convened to discuss critical issues pertaining to West Asia, with the illegal US occupation of Syria a key talking point

July 20 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Oil and gas, wheat and grains, missiles and drones – the hottest topics in global geopolitics today – were all on the agenda in Tehran this week.

By Pepe Escobar

The Tehran summit uniting Iran-Russia-Turkey was a fascinating affair in more ways than one. Ostensibly about the Astana peace process in Syria, launched in 2017, the summit joint statement duly noted that Iran, Russia and (recently rebranded) Turkiye will continue, “cooperating to eliminate terrorists” in Syria and “won’t accept new facts in Syria in the name of defeating terrorism.”

That’s a wholesale rejection of the “war on terror” exceptionalist unipolarity that once ruled West Asia.

Standing up to the global sheriff

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his own speech, was even more explicit. He stressed “specific steps to promote the intra-Syrian inclusive political dialogue” and most of called a spade a spade: “The western states led by the US are strongly encouraging separatist sentiment in some areas of the country and plundering its natural resources with a view to ultimately pulling the Syrian state apart.”

So there will be “extra steps in our trilateral format” aimed at “stabilizing the situation in those areas” and crucially, “returning control to the legitimate government of Syria.” For better or for worse, the days of imperial plunder will be over.

The bilateral meetings on the summit’s sidelines – Putin/Raisi and Putin/Erdogan – were even more intriguing. Context is key here: the Tehran gathering took place after Putin’s visit to Turkmenistan in late June for the 6th Caspian summit, where all the littoral nations, Iran included, were present, and after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s travels in Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, where he met all his Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts.

Moscow’s moment

So we see Russian diplomacy carefully weaving its geopolitical tapestry from West Asia to Central Asia – with everybody and his neighbor eager to talk and to listen to Moscow. As it stands, the Russia-Turkey entente cordiale tends to lean towards conflict management, and is strong on trade relations. Iran-Russia is a completely different ball game: much more of a strategic partnership.

So it’s hardly a coincidence that the National Oil Company of Iran (NIOC), timed to the Tehran summit, announced the signing of a $40 billion strategic cooperation agreement with Russia’s Gazprom. That’s the largest foreign investment in the history of Iran’s energy industry – badly needed since the early 2000s. Seven deals worth $4 billion apply to the development of oil fields; others focus on the construction of new export gas pipelines and LNG projects.

Kremlin advisor Yury Ushakov deliciously leaked that Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in their private meeting, “discussed conceptual issues.” Translation: he means grand strategy, as in the evolving, complex process of Eurasia integration, in which the three key nodes are Russia, Iran and China, now intensifying their interconnection. The Russia-Iran strategic partnership largely mirrors the key points of the China-Iran strategic partnership.

Iran says ‘no’ to NATO

Khamenei, on NATO, did tell it like it is: “If the road is open for NATO, then the organization sees no borders. If it had not been stopped in Ukraine, then after a while the alliance would have started a war under the pretext of Crimea.”

There were no leaks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) impasse between the US and Iran – but it’s clear, based on the recent negotiations in Vienna, that Moscow will not interfere with Tehran’s nuclear decisions. Not only are Tehran-Moscow-Beijing fully aware of who’s preventing the JCPOA from getting back on track, they also see how this counter-productive stalling process prevents the collective west from badly needed access to Iranian oil.

Then there’s the weapons front. Iran is one of the world’s leaders in drone production: Pelican, Arash, Homa, Chamrosh, Jubin, Ababil, Bavar, recon drones, attack drones, even kamikaze drones, cheap and effective, mostly deployed from naval platforms in West Asia.

Tehran’s official position is not to supply weapons to nations at war – which would in principle invalidate dodgy US “intel” on their supply to Russia in Ukraine. Yet that could always happen under the radar, considering that Tehran is very much interested in buying Russian aerial defense systems and state of the art fighter jets. After the end of the UN Security Council-enforced embargo, Russia can sell whatever conventional weapons to Iran it sees fit.

Russian military analysts are fascinated by the conclusions Iranians reached when it was established they would stand no chance against a NATO armada; essentially they bet on pro-level guerrilla war (a lesson learned from Afghanistan). In Syria, Iraq and Yemen they deployed trainers to guide villagers in their fight against Salafi-jihadis; produced tens of thousands of large-caliber sniper rifles, ATGMs, and thermals; and of course perfected their drone assembly lines (with excellent cameras to surveil US positions).

Not to mention that simultaneously the Iranians were building quite capable long-range missiles. No wonder Russian military analysts estimate there’s much to learn tactically from the Iranians – and not only on the drone front.

The Putin-Sultan ballet

Now to the Putin-Erdogan get together – always an attention-grabbing geopolitical ballet, especially considering the Sultan has not yet decided to hop on the Eurasia integration high-speed train.

Putin diplomatically “expressed gratitude” for the discussions on food and grain issues, while reiterating that “not all issues on the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports are resolved, but progress is made.”

Putin was referring to Turkiye’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who earlier this week assured that setting up an operations center in Istanbul, establishing joint controls at the port exit and arrival points, and carefully monitoring the navigational safety on the transfer routes are issues that may be solved in the next few days.

Apparently Putin-Erdogan also discussed Nagorno-Karabakh (no details).

What a few leaks certainly did not reveal is that on Syria, for all practical purposes, the situation is blocked. That favors Russia – whose main priority as it stands is Donbass. Wily Erdogan knows it – and that’s why he may have tried to extract some “concessions” on “the Kurdish question” and Nagorno-Karabakh. Whatever Putin, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev may really think about Erdogan, they certainly evaluate how priceless is to cultivate such an erratic partner capable of driving the collective west totally bonkers.

Istanbul this summer has been turned into a sort of Third Rome, at least for expelled-from-Europe Russian tourists: they are everywhere. Yet the most crucial geoeconomic development these past few months is that the western-provoked collapse of trade/supply lines along the borders between Russia and the EU – from the Baltic to the Black Sea – finally highlighted the wisdom and economic sense of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INTSC): a major Russia-Iran-India geopolitical and geoeconomic integration success.

When Moscow talks to Kiev, it talks via Istanbul. NATO, as the Global South well knows, does not do diplomacy. So any possibility of dialogue between Russians and a few educated westerners takes place in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the UAE. West Asia as well as the Caucasus, incidentally, did not subscribe to the western sanctions hysteria against Russia.

Say farewell to the ‘teleprompter guy’

Now compare all of the above with the recent visit to the region by the so-called “leader of the free world,” who merrily alternates between shaking hands with invisible people to reading – literally – whatever is scrolling on a teleprompter. We’re talking of US President Joe Biden, of course.

Fact: Biden threatened Iran with military strikes and as a mere supplicant, begged the Saudis to pump more oil to offset the “turbulence” in the global energy markets caused by the collective west’s sanction hysteria. Context: the glaring absence of any vision or anything even resembling a draft of foreign policy plan for West Asia.

So oil prices duly jumped upward after Biden’s trip: Brent crude rose more than four percent to $105 a barrel, bringing prices back to above $100 after a lull of several months.

The heart of the matter is that if OPEC or OPEC+ (which includes Russia) ever decide to increase their oil supplies, they will do it based on their internal deliberations, and not under exceptionalist pressure.

As for the imperial threat of military strikes on Iran, it qualifies as pure dementia. The whole Persian Gulf – not to mention the whole of West Asia – knows that were US/Israel to attack Iran, fierce retaliation would simply evaporate with the region’s energy production, with apocalyptic consequences including the collapse of trillions of dollars in derivatives.

Biden then had the gall to say, “We have made progress in strengthening our relations with the Gulf states. We will not leave a vacuum for Russia and China to fill in the Middle East”.

Well, in real life it is the “indispensable nation” that has self-morphed into a vacuum. Only bought-and-paid for Arab vassals – most of them monarchs – believe in the building of an “Arab NATO” (copyright Jordan’s King Abdullah) to take on Iran. Russia and China are already all over the place in West Asia and beyond.

De-Dollarization, not just Eurasian integration

It’s not only the new logistical corridor from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Astrakhan and then, via the Caspian, to Enzeli in Iran and on to Mumbai that is shaking things up. It’s about increasing bilateral trade that bypasses the US dollar. It’s about BRICS+, which Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are dying to be part of. It’s about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which formally accepts Iran as a full member this coming September (and soon Belarus as well). It’s about BRICS+, the SCO, China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) interconnected in their path towards a Greater Eurasia Partnership.

West Asia may still harbor a small collection of imperial vassals with zero sovereignty who depend on the west’s financial and military ‘assistance,’ but that’s the past. The future is now – with Top Three BRICS (Russia, India, China) slowly but surely coordinating their overlapping strategies across West Asia, with Iran involved in all of them.

And then there’s the Big Global Picture: whatever the circumvolutions and silly schemes of the US-concocted “oil price cap” variety, the fact is that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – the top powerful energy-producing nations – are absolutely in sync: on Russia, on the collective west, and on the needs of a real multipolar world.

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

قمة بوتين – رئيسي – أردوغان: الأسد المنتصر

July 18, 2022 

 ناصر قنديل


غالباً ما كانت الدولة السورية تتعرّض لضغوط مواطنيها في الشمال مطالبة بعمل عسكريّ يُنهي الاحتلال الأميركي والاحتلال التركي ومشروع الكانتون الكردي الذي تقيمه قوات قسد، وكان كثيرون يذهبون للتحذير من خطورة أن تكون صورة تقاسم جغرافيا الشمال السوري نهائيّة، وتعني تحوّل وحدة التراب السوري إلى شيء من الماضي، بينما كان كثيرون يرمون سهام الاتهام على حلفاء سورية، روسيا وإيران، بسبب علاقاتهما الجيدة مع تركيا ما يتيح اتهامهما بالتردد في دعم أية عملية عسكرية سورية نحو المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة الجماعات الإرهابيّة المدعومة من تركيا. وبالمثل لعلاقاتهما الجيّدة بقوات قسد التركية، واعتبار هذه العلاقة سبباً لتردد مماثل؛ بينما كان كل من القيادتين التركية والكردية يتقاسمان عدم الوفاء بالتعهدات، وتطبيق التفاهمات، ويواظبان على الخداع، فكلما اشتدت الضغوط العسكرية يبديان الاستعداد السياسي الإيجابي، ثم لا يلبثان يعودان إلى لغة المماطلة وأسلوب الخداع والتنصل من الالتزامات.

خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية، وبينما الأجواء السائدة محكومة بالإعلان التركيّ عن اكتمال الاستعدادات لعمليّة عسكريّة كبيرة شمال سورية، مرّة تحت ذريعة ضرب الجماعات الكردية التركية المناوئة، ومرة تحت عنوان ضمان منطقة آمنة لعودة النازحين المقيمين في تركيا، دخل الجيش السوري بلدة منبج الواقعة تحت سيطرة الميليشيات التابعة لقسد، والمرشّحة لتكون أول أهداف العملية العسكرية التركية، وبلغ عدد البلدات والمدن والقرى التي انتشر فيها الجيش السوري، بما فيها تل رفعت، أكثر من عشرين، وتجري الاستعدادات المتسارعة لتوسيع حجم الانتشار ليشمل المزيد، بينما تتجه المزيد من الحشود العسكريّة للجيش السوري شمالاً مزوّدة بالأسلحة الثقيلة.

يجري ذلك عشية انعقاد القمة الثلاثية الروسية الإيرانية التركية في طهران، التي تستضيف القمة التي ستجمع الرؤساء فلاديمير بوتين والسيد إبراهيم رئيسي ورجب أردوغان، وقد سبقتها تحضيرات ومشاورات ورسائل متبادلة ومبادرات، منذ إعلان الرئيس التركيّ محاولاً الاستفادة من حرب أوكرانيا، عن نيّته بتوسيع نفوذه داخل الأراضي السورية، وكان أول المواقف هو القرار الذي اتخذته الدولة السورية بالتصدّي العسكري لهذه العملية التركية، بمعزل عن كيفية تفاعل الميليشيات الكردية من جهة، وحدود قدرة الحلفاء على اتخاذ مواقف داعمة من جهة أخرى. وقد أبلغت سورية القيادتين الروسية والإيرانية بموقفها، كما أبلغت قيادة قسد أن قوات الجيش السوري ذاهبة الى الحدود لمنع التوغل التركي، وسنتصدّى لكل من يقف في طريقها.

تبلور الموقف الروسيّ الإيرانيّ المشترك الذي تبلغته سورية بالوقوف معها في قرارها، وتمّت صياغة موقف سياسيّ استراتيجيّ مشترك عنوانه، مسار أستانة سيسقط مع انطلاق العملية العسكرية التركية، وتبلغت القيادة التركية بذلك، وبدأت مبادرة روسية وأخرى إيرانية لبلورة مسار سياسي سوري تركي، يضع الاعتبارات السيادية السورية أولاً، حيث الالتزام التركي بالانسحاب العسكري من الأراضي السورية، واعتبار اتفاق أضنة أساساً لتنظيم الوضع عبر الحدود، كما تبلغت قيادة الميليشيا الكردية موقف كل من روسيا وإيران، بأن انتشار الجيش السوريّ وحده يمثل ضمانة تجنيب مناطق سيطرة هذه الميليشيات وسكانها مخاطر الحرب، وبدأت المساومة التركية التقليدية على جوائز ترضية، سواء في تولي ملف تجارة الحبوب الأوكرانيّة، أو الاتفاقيات التجارية التركية الإيرانية والروسية في مجال الطاقة وأسعار الغاز الذي يشكل أعلى فاتورة تركيّة بالعملات الصعبة، واحتمالات تسديدها بالعملة المحلية.

قمة طهران نقطة تحوّل في مسار الوضع شمال سورية، حيث الصبر الاستراتيجي، والتربّص عند المنعطفات، والمصداقية في التحالفات، عناصر منحت سورية فرصة أن تكون المنتصر الذي يخرج رابحاً في جغرافيا يتقاسمها الاحتلال التركي والاحتلال الأميركي، لتعود وحدة سورية وسيادتها في المقدّمة مجدداً.

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سجّلوا هذه المعادلة.. بتوقيت تموز

 يوليو 15, 2022

موقع قناة المنار-

جعفر خضور:

بتوقيتِ تموز الانتصار، وبزمنية استحضار الذكرى الحاضرة دوماً في العقولِ والقلوب، أطلّ صادق الوعد ومهندس الانتصارات المخطوطة بالدّم الطّاهر، والمكتوبة ببارودِ بنادقٍ ضغط على زنادها رجالٌ آمنوا بربهم، وعدوا وصدقوا، قاتلوا فغلبوا، السيد حسن نصر الله، معلناً معادلات جديدة منطلقةً من الإيمان بالقدرات المرتكزة لسردية التّاريخ المؤطّرِ بالنصر الكبير، ليطمئن قلوب المقاومين ويحيي في قلوبهم نشوة الفرحِ بذكرى حرب تموز التي دقّت المسمار في نعش مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد، وحملت مع لحظاتها الأولى عند الساعة 9:05 صباحاً من يوم 12 تموز، صدق الوعدِ وقوة العقيدة، فحسمت القرار وأحسنت الاختيار وغيّرت المسار قبل أن تبرُد فوهات بنادق مقاوميها، وليؤرق العدو المتبجّح بأمانيه الوهميّة مذكّراً إياه بالتاريخ الذي لم يتقدم فيه من بعده متراً واحداً.

عند الحديث عن المستقبل لا بد من تقييم الحاضر، الذي يحمل مقومات النجاح أو الفشل، الاستمرارية أو الانحسار، النمو أو الاضمحلال، لتكون مؤشرات التقييم مساعدةً في رسم الصورة المستقبلية المحتملة.

فإذا عدنا إلى جزئيات تاريخ المقاومة الإسلامية التي ربت ونشأت وترعرعت بين أهلها وفي أحضانِ أصحاب البصيرة، نجد كل عوامل القوة المتنامية والمطردة مع تفاقم حدّة الأزمات المتعاقبة التي ألمّت بلبنان أولاً، وبالمنطقة ككل ثانياً، والتي أثبتت فعلاً القدرة والاقتدار في صنع الانتصار.

يكتسبُ خطاب السيد نصر الله أهميته الكبرى من الحركة السياسية الحامية التي تشهدها الساحتين الإقليمية والدولية، ولا سيما في ظلّ زيارة الرئيس الأميركي جوزيف بايدن من جهة وفي الوقت الذي يسعى فيه إلى شدّ رباط العلاقة بين الكيان الصهيوني والدول المطبّعة على خلفية الحدث المستحدث بين روسيا وأوكرانيا من جهةٍ أخرى، في خضم التحضير لمواجهة أزمة الطّاقة العالمية الناتجة عن الإجراءات الروسية، فهو يسعى من خلال زيارته المبتدأة من البوابة الصهيونية التي وصّفت الزيارة بأنها مخيّبة للآمال، وبالأخص بعد تعيينه ساعة واحدة للاطلاع على المؤسسة العسكرية الصهيونية، يسعى إلى تطمئنة “إسرائيل” بالوقوف إلى جانبها من قبل أميركا، وجعلها مفتاح أنبوب الغاز إلى أوروبا، بعد أن يكون قد أقنع شركاؤها في المنطقة (دول الخليج) بزيادة انتاج النفط تحسّباً لما هو قادم وبطبيعة الحال ما يندرج ضمن حياكة الواقع الجديد المشكّل للعب دور مناوِر ربما.

في الصدد نفسه، وعلى الرغم من تهافت أخبار كثيرة شدّت الانتباه نحو أن الزيارة ستكون لإعلان “ناتو عربي – إسرائيلي”. ألا أنَّ الأمر لا يمكن حسمه الآن، أو بالحد الأدنى لا يمكن قرائته بمعزل عن التطورات الدّولية الحامية، التي برهنت حتى لمن يصبّ في كأس مشربهِ نقاط الأمل بالأميركي والصهيوني، عن تحريكهما للنزاع وليس الانغطاس الكامل فيه، وحتى على مستوى الاستثمار الممنهج والذي انقلبت نتائجه بشكلٍ عكسيّ ما دفع للتعاطي مع النتائج المخالفة بطريقة أخرى وبتكتيك جديد، على الضفة الأخرى.

إذ ما تكوّن فعلاً “ناتو” فأين سيكون دوره وموقعه؟
وهل سيكون حقاً قادر على التأثير وتحقيق حلم “إسرائيل” في الضغط على إيران؟

ولا يفوتنا التنويه إلى الاستشراف الرّوسي والإيراني لمراحل المحطات القادمة عبر توثيق التعاون الثنائي بينهما، فالغرب اليوم وبالرغم من حراكه الململم للجراح وقبل التفرّغ لانشغالات الجبهة الداخلية، يقع ضحية تناقض الرؤى واختلاف النظرات فيمن يتعاطى معه.

جاءت رسائل السيد حسن نصر الله باتجاهين لهما أبعادهما الاستراتيجية والكبيرة، الأولى إلى رمي الحجر في بركة المفاوض اللبناني الراكدة وحثّه على التحرّك الجدّي في ملف ترسيم الحدود البحرية، وعدم الخضوع والركون لمغبّات طلبات الطرف الأميركي، وهي رسالة وطنية بامتياز تعطي الفُرَص.

قبل اتخاذ قرار معادلة “كاريش وما بعدَ كاريش وما بعدَ بعدَ كاريش”، التي تحمل في مضامينها حربٌ بمعطياتٍ جديدة تدخل فيها شرايين الطاقة المغذّية لداخل الكيان الصهيوني في مرمى صواريخِ المقاومة التي تملك كل معلومات الميناء وإحداثياته وإمكاناته.

وبحسب الخرائط التي توضح توزّع الحقول في المياه الفلسطينية المحتلّة، فإن “ما بعد كاريش” يعني أن حقول “أثينا”، “تانين”، “دولفين” “ليفياثان” “داليت” و”أفروديت” باتت في مرمى نيران المقاومة وهي الحقول التي يرتكز عليها الاحتلال في استخراجه للغاز والنفط وتؤمن له حاجته الداخلية وتوفر له العائدات المالية. أمّا توسيع دائرة الاستهداف إلى “ما بعد ما بعد كاريش” يهدّد الحقول الواقعة قبالة شواطئ عسقلان المحتلّة وغزّة، وأهمها “كيرين”، “نوا” و”ماري بي” التي، إن حددت مدينة صور الجنوبية كنقطة إطلاق الصواريخ، فإن مياه غزّة تبعد حوالي 190 كلم.

أمّا الرسالة الثانية والأهمّ في سياق البُعد السياسي الساعي لفرض واقع جيوساسي جديد وهو ما أسماه السيد “بنسخة جديدة عن المشروع الشرق أوسطي الجديد”. والتي يمكن القول أنها فجّرت آمال أميركا وزرعت القلق في نفوس الصهاينة وبعثرت متن نصوص خططهم، هي المنع من الاستخراج ومن التغذية في آنٍ معاً، أي أن المقاومة الإسلامية دخلت على خطّ التوازن الدولي بعد أن نجحت وبامتياز في كل الاستحقاقات الإقليمية منذ ١٩٨٢ مروراً بحرب تموز وإفشال فكرة ربط القلمون بالحرمون، وصولاً لوضعها المعادلات الجديدة الأقوى والأبعد أثراً والممهدة لاتخاذ القرار البات المبرم التي كانت وما زالت تعمل جاهدةً على اتخاذه.

على صعيد قدرات حزب الله العسكرية، فإنه يمتلك صواريخ بر – بحر قادرة على اجتياز تلك المسافة ومن بينها صاروخ “نور” (كروز مضاد للسفن إيراني الصنع، يتراوح مداه من 120 كيلومتر إلى أكثر من 220 كم)، وكان حزب الله قد استخدمه في قصف البارجة الإسرائيلية “ساعر 5” عام 2006. وتعترف أوساط الاحتلال بترسانة حزب الله البحرية وتتوقّع امتلاكه لصاروخ “ياخونت” (مجنح مضاد للسفن) الذي يستطيع ضرب أهداف على بعد 300 كليومتر وله ميزات خاصة تسمح له بتخطي الرادات. بالإضافة الى الزوارق والغواصات.

في ختام الحديث، حمداً لله على نعمة المقاومة مغيّرة المسارات ومنجم الانتصارات ومقلع التطورات وحمداً وشكراً عظيماً على أعظم الشهور تموز، ففيه صُنعَ نصراً دحر مشروع سعى لصياغة المنطقة وفق أهواء أميركا، وفيه أيضاً وضعت معادلات لن تقلّ مفاعيلها عن مفاعيل معادلة “حيفا وما بعدَ بعدَ حيفا”.

فالمقاومة التي حررت وفكّت قيد الأسر وصاغت تفاهم نيسان بتغيير كلمة تحفظ انتصاراتها وتصنعها من جديد، لن تكون إلا المنطلق من كلّ نصرٍ وصبر نحو كلّ عزّ وشرف، سلاماً لوعدنا الصّادق.

اضرب بعصاك البحر فكلّنا معك وافلق أمواجه لنعبُرَ نحو الخلاص الأكيد..

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Biden in Jeddah: mending fences, not building bridges

President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia will likely end in face saving gestures, but no major geopolitical concessions

July 12 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Kristian Alexander and Giorgio Cafiero

Before 2019, never had a US president referred to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a ‘pariah’ on his campaign trail. Joe Biden’s Saudi-bashing as a presidential candidate, plus a host of other delicate issues, have fueled significant friction between the White House and Riyadh.

Today, relations between the US and Saudi Arabia are probably at their worst since the events of September 11, 2001, stymied by a major trust deficit in the relationship between Biden’s White House and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS).

By the same token, the Biden administration views Saudi Arabia as a critical partner in the Persian Gulf and continues to sign massive arms deals with the kingdom.

For all the rhetoric on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose brutal murder MbS is said to have sanctioned, team Biden never imposed state-level sanctions against Saudi Arabia, nor on the crown prince himself.

Meanwhile, the administration praises the role of Riyadh in the Arab world’s trend toward normalization with Israel.

Within this context, Biden’s first presidential trip to West Asia – in which he will go to Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Saudi Arabia this week – will be important to White House efforts to mend fences with Riyadh and salvage this decades-old partnership.

In a US mid-term election year that will likely lead to significant gains for his Republican opposition, Biden seeks to score major foreign policy points in Jeddah that can be used for domestic consumption back in Washington this summer.

Incentivizing Biden to convince the Saudis to increase their oil production are the millions of US motorists struggling with high gas prices and the many average American voters grappling with generational high inflation.

Energy prices are therefore extremely important to Biden’s controversial trip to the kingdom. Yet, this month’s summit in Saudi Arabia is unlikely to give Americans much relief at the gas pump between now and the elections in November.

Shifting the narrative from oil to peace

Determined to ensure that the US public does not tie this tour’s success specifically to a Saudi oil production hike – which could easily result in the Biden administration’s humiliation – the White House message is that this visit to Jeddah largely concerns peace in the region.

As Biden wrote in the Washington Post, avoiding a future in which the region is “coming apart through conflict” is of “paramount importance” to the White House, and he will “pursue diplomacy intensely – including through face-to-face meetings – to achieve our goals.”

According to Biden, if the region comes together through “diplomacy and cooperation” there is a lower chance of “violent extremism” threatening US national security or “new wars that could place new burdens on US military forces and their families.”

This trip comes at a time in which there is a fragile truce in Yemen, where the Saudis and Emiratis have waged a devastating seven-year war. Although the conflict remains unresolved, the drastic reduction in violence and increased humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country have given millions of Yemenis desperately needed relief.

The truce in Yemen has been possible in part because of Saudi and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member support, which makes it easier for Biden to justify his visit to Jeddah. After all, it was the Khashoggi affair and the conflict in Yemen that ‘Biden-the-candidate’ cited as reasons for his ‘pariah’ treatment of Riyadh.

Thus, moving toward a settlement to this conflict, in which the last two US presidents were heavily involved in escalating, helps Biden save face as he makes this trip. If the president leaves the kingdom with some guarantees from the Saudis about their commitment to future truce extensions, that could be interpreted as a win for Biden.

“The US administration is beginning to realize that President Biden can’t just ignore Saudi Arabia and that it’s in the best interest of the two countries to start working together, not just to reduce oil prices and pressure on US consumers, but also to further the stability of the Middle East and contain [the Iranian] threat whether in Lebanon or Yemen,” Najah Al-Otaibi, an associate fellow at the Riyadh-based King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said in an interview with The Cradle.

Expanding on her point, Al-Otaibi said that “Saudi Arabia has recently agreed to extend the United Nations-mediated ceasefire with Yemen, and Prince Mohammed [bin Salman] played a critical role in this move, according to Biden’s officials who thought it is a step forward to solving the conflict.”

Last month, Biden clarified that, for him, bolstering Israel’s security was a major motivation for the trip to Saudi Arabia. Despite some speculation among pundits that Saudi Arabia will soon join the Abraham Accords, this is highly doubtful, especially with King Salman still on the throne. However, with MbS “the reformer” as future king, normalization between “the Land of the Two Holy Mosques” and Israel is all the more likely.

Insecurity and an ‘Arab NATO’

Even if Riyadh remains outside the Abraham Accords, there is much that Saudi Arabia can do to make it easier for other Arab-Muslim countries to normalize with Tel Aviv, and for the kingdom’s allies, already signatories to the Abraham Accords, to build on their overt relations with the Israelis.

While in Jeddah, Biden will likely push the Saudis to take some more baby steps toward a de facto normalization with Israel, even if it remains unofficial. One way for the kingdom to do so would be by granting permission for Israeli planes to transit Saudi airspace on their way to the UAE, Bahrain, and other countries.

Other avenues could include bolstering involvement by Israeli technology firms in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Saudi–Israeli military cooperation, and more visits by high-ranking Israeli officials to the kingdom that could build on former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s November 2020 visit to Neom.

Shoring up US–Arab partnerships in preparation for the increasingly likely scenario that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks with Iran will collapse in acrimony is a high priority for Biden.

Against the backdrop of Iran’s nuclear advancements as negotiations further stall, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states attending the GCC+3 summit are preparing for a post-JCPOA future in which friction between the US and Israel, on one side, and the Islamic Republic, on the other, appears set to intensify in the coming weeks and months.

“I think Iran, not oil, is the main issue as Iran moves closer and closer to having all the parts it needs to put together a nuclear bomb,” David Ottaway, a Middle East fellow at the Wilson Center, told The Cradle. “Only a revival of the Iranian nuclear deal can stop that trend, and nobody is optimistic about that happening now.”

Although Riyadh and Tehran have been in direct talks via Baghdad since April 2021, the Saudi leadership wants assurances from team Biden that Washington remains committed to the kingdom’s security regardless of the fate of the 2015 nuclear accord, and that the US will work with its Arab allies to counter Iran in regional hotspots, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Yet, mindful of the little trust Saudi officials have in the Biden administration, it is difficult to imagine the US president gaining enough confidence from Riyadh during this upcoming trip vis-à-vis Iran-related issues. As Ottaway told The Cradle:

“I suspect [Biden] will declare another US commitment to defending the kingdom from its foreign enemies, but after Trump’s failure to take any action after Iranian attacks on Saudi oil facilities in 2019, he needs to say or do something to back up [what are] just words.”

In recent weeks, there has been much discussion about an Arab NATO that includes Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other US-friendly Arab states. Biden will seek to advance this initiative as the west and its allies and partners in West Asia remain worried about Iran’s regional foreign policy agenda.

“[Biden] wishes to reaffirm the historical strength and enduring reciprocity of the alliance, but also to press Riyadh on cooperating more on the energy side – particularly as the US moves as well to create a region-wide defense platform, the so-called Middle East NATO,” Sean Yom, an associate professor at Temple University, pointed out in an interview with The Cradle.

“There is, however, one sticking point that will probably cause a difference: the Saudis continue to desire a strong US presence in the Gulf, one that can police Iran and intervene in a potential militarized conflict, whereas Biden clearly is continuing his predecessors’ anti-interventionist stance,” added Yom.

Nonetheless, many experts have doubts about an Arab NATO ever manifesting into a real alliance, and expect the initiative to remain merely conceptual. This assessment accounts for the opposition of some Arab states to an open military coordination with Israel, as some GCC states, like the Sultanate of Oman, do not want to join an alliance aimed at weakening or intimidating Tehran.

There are also logistical hurdles which would make it difficult for these state militaries to integrate in a NATO-like manner.

“Biden’s plan for a US-backed ‘Arab NATO’ of GCC states plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan seems as unlikely to succeed as Trump’s Middle East Strategic Alliance, which never got off the ground,” Ottaway says.

Virtue-signalling human rights

Although Biden’s administration has determined that the moral costs of this presidential trip do not outweigh the perceived benefits, the Khashoggi affair remains a delicate issue – though significantly less so now than in the immediate aftermath of the grisly murder in October 2018.

MbS wants the US government to drop the Khashoggi issue, but elements within Biden’s party maintain that any interaction between him and the crown prince would be “profoundly disturbing.” To placate more progressive politicians, high-profile media pundits, and human rights activists who criticize Biden for “legitimizing” MbS on this trip, the president will seek some human rights concessions, like those which his administration secured at the start of his presidency.

If Biden is successful on this front, he could return to the US claiming that his visit to the kingdom helped advance, rather than hinder, the cause of human rights. Such an achievement would help Biden save face and tell his base that he did not abandon certain principles or so-called ‘American values’ by meeting MbS in the Saudi kingdom.

“His campaign trail rhetoric, like all political campaign rhetoric, was never going to bear much resemblance to executive policy and official diplomacy,” cautioned Yom. “But I do think Biden will exit the meetings by claiming that he squarely put human rights concerns, and potentially even democratic awareness, onto the agenda for Riyadh.”

Yet, whether the Saudi leadership feels it is under sufficient pressure to release any political prisoners, or provide liberties to some recently released Saudis who are banned from traveling, remains to be seen.

From the perspective of the Saudi government, the US and other western governments are inappropriately virtue signaling when raising human rights concerns in the kingdom. The view from Riyadh is that these issues are internal issues that do not concern Washington or European capitals.

Saudi and other Arab officials will often point to US sins in Iraq or police brutality against African-Americans to highlight elements of hypocrisy on the part of US politicians lecturing the Saudi government on the human rights front.

MbS reportedly “shouting” at US national security adviser Jake Sullivan after the high-ranking official brought up the Khashoggi case underscores the effect of these discussions on the leaders of Saudi Arabia.

The grander geopolitical picture 

Biden will visit Saudi Arabia amid a period of increasing east–west bifurcation and intensifying great power competition. Although neither China nor Russia is on the verge of replacing the US as security guarantor of Saudi Arabia or any GCC states, US influence in the Gulf has declined with Beijing and Moscow gaining greater clout at Washington’s expense.

Biden’s trip to Jeddah aims to reassert US influence in the Persian Gulf and attempt to prevent Riyadh and other Arab capitals from moving closer to the Chinese and Russians. An objective of Biden’s is to bring GCC states back into the geopolitical orbit of the west, while slowing down the growth of their partnerships with Beijing and Moscow.

“There were undeniable hiccups in the relationship last year, relating to halting support to the Yemen war, aggressive rhetoric against MbS, and more scrutiny on arms sales,” Yom explained.

“Fundamentally, none of these factors perturbed the great structural core of the US–Saudi alliance, built upon mutual perceptions of energy security, sovereign protections, and regional hegemony. But those hiccups were enough to make the decision-making circles in Riyadh a bit uncomfortable, enough at least to entertain Russian and Chinese overtures for military and energy cooperation.”

The White House and the entire US foreign policy establishment have grave concerns about Sino–Saudi ballistic missile cooperation and the extent to which the Chinese and Emiratis are making their defense and security relations more robust.

It is safe to say that while in Jeddah, team Biden will make it clear that the US will withhold future military assistance if GCC states move militarily closer to China. The extent to which such pressure has any impact on Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s relationships with Beijing remains an open question.

Nonetheless, team Biden must understand that this visit will occur against the backdrop of serious tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has grown frustrated with many aspects of Washington’s agenda in the Biden era.

The Saudi government’s view is that Biden is an ’Obama 2.0’ – a perspective that is not unreasonable when mindful of how many Obama administration veterans, including Biden himself, are serving in the White House.

By moving closer to China and Russia, the Saudis are sending a message, loud and clear, to Washington that Riyadh has other options on the international stage as the world moves towards multipolarity with more Arab statesmen perceiving the US as a power that is withdrawing from West Asia.

Riyadh can exaggerate the extent to which the kingdom has grown closer to Beijing and Moscow to gain leverage over the US and secure more concessions from Washington. That is likely to continue, and Biden would be making a mistake in placating the Saudis in every instance to merely try to stop Riyadh from tilting closer to China and Russia.

Simultaneously, Saudi Arabia is showing itself to be increasingly confident and Biden’s visit to the kingdom will add to Riyadh’s sense of being emboldened, giving the Saudi leadership more reason to pursue its own interests in ways that sometimes align more closely with Beijing and Moscow’s foreign policy objectives than those of western powers.

Despite these geopolitical tensions, the Biden administration and Al-Saud rulers both value Washington and Riyadh’s decades-old partnership, and neither side wants to abandon it. Much anger and a significant trust deficit, however, have built up between these two countries.

Biden will not be leaving Saudi Arabia later this month with all these issues resolved. But the dialogue in Jeddah has the potential to begin a process of mending fences.

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

As West blames Moscow for ‘food crisis’, ships sail from Mariupol with Moscow’s help while Ukraine holds vessels in its ports

July 9, 2022

Western media and state officials keep blaming Russia for the ‘food crisis,’ but Moscow is trying to reopen Ukrainian and Donbass ports

July 1, 2022, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Russia’s Defense Ministry on May 20 announced the liberation of the Azovstal plant from Ukraine’s Nazi Azov Battalion, and some days later stated that sappers had demined an area of one and a half million square meters around the city’s port.

In early June, the ministry declared the facility ready for use anew. “The de-mining of Mariupol’s port has been completed. It is functioning normally, and has received its first cargo ships,” Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the time. 

Russia promised to give ships safe passage, and on June 21, the Turkish ship Azov Concord left with a Russian escort. At Mariupol port that day, prior to setting off, the captain of the ship, Ivan Babenkov, spoke to the media, telling us that the vessel, without cargo, was heading to Novorossiysk for loading, and then on to its destination.

Rear Admiral Viktor Kochemazov, commander of the Russian naval base in Novorossiysk on the Black Sea’s northeastern coast, down the Kerch Strait from Mariupol, explained that while the corridor has been operational since May 25, the nearly one-month delay in departing was because “ships were significantly damaged during the conduct of hostilities.” Notably, he also said that some ships were deliberately damaged by Ukrainian forces in order to prevent them from leaving. 

From aboard a Russian anti-sabotage forces boat, media watched the Azov Concord leave port. Further on, the ship would be met by warships of the Novorossiysk base and escorted to the Kerch Strait where FSB border control ships would continue to escort the ship.

A Bulgarian ship, the Tsarevna, was readying to depart the port next, “also following the same humanitarian corridor to its destination in accordance with plans for the use of the court by the owner,” Rear Admiral Kochemazov said.

Western press ignoring developments

Predictably, just as the Western media continues to ignore Ukraine’s war crimes against the Donbass republics, including not only the bombing of houses, hospitals, and busy markets –  plus the killing and maiming of civilians – so too do they omit coverage of anything positive emanating from areas where Ukrainian forces have been ousted and stability restored.

Instead, Western media continues to spin the story that it’s Russia that’s blocking ports and preventing grain exports, and blame Moscow for “aggravating the global food crisis” – when in reality, it is Ukraine that has mined ports and burned grain storages.   

In fact, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, “70 foreign vessels from 16 countries remain blocked in six Ukrainian ports (Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhniy). The threat of shelling and high mine danger posed by official Kiev prevent vessels from entering the high seas unhindered.”

While Russia maintains it has opened two maritime humanitarian corridors in the Black and Azov Seas, Kiev is apparently not engaging with representatives of states and ship-owning companies about the departure of docked foreign ships.

Meanwhile, in the same vein, media outlets like the New York Times (writing as always from afar) claim that Mariupol is “suffering deeply” under Russian rule (citing the runaway former mayor, nowhere near the city for months, who is the source of previous war propaganda) even describing the Azov Neo-Nazis as “the city’s last military resistance.”

Yet, what I’ve seen in multiple trips to Mariupol in the past couple of weeks is rubble being removed so that the rebuilding process can begin, newly established street markets, public transportation running, and calm in the streets.

The people of Mariupol have indeed suffered, but now that the Azov Nazis and Ukrainian nationalists no longer reign, they can live without fear of persecution, execution, rape, torture, and all of the other ‘democratic values’ of the forces backed by the West.

The rebuilding will take time, but with the port functioning anew, and the possibility now of also bringing reconstruction materials by sea, it can begin, ship by ship.

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