Morning Consult Political Intelligence is currently tracking the approval ratings of government leaders and country trajectories in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. This page will be updated weekly with the latest data for all 22 countries, offering real-time insight into the shifting political dynamics across the globe.Current Approval Ratings: The latest approval ratings are based on data collected from December 7-13, 2022. Approval ratings are based on a seven-day moving average of adult residents in each country, with sample sizes varying by country. MORE

Permalink Russian Donbass Commander: "nuclear escalation inevitable"; Elite Belarusian Forces begin staging for sweep into Western Ukraine

"Russia is unable to 'defeat the NATO bloc' without using nuclear weapons, a Russian commander has admitted. | Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of Russian forces in Donetsk, stressed that Russia is fighting against the entire Western world, so the next escalation of the war in Ukraine 'can only be one: nuclear'. The commander went on to say 'We know our capabilities. We realize the limits of our resources. If NATO countries exceed certain limits, e.g. dispatch of Leopard tanks. They are very close to crossing the red line."  Meanwhile, elite Belarusian forces with new tactical markings have been deployed on the border with Ukraine: 💬 "At 8 km from the border with Ukraine, elite Belarusian forces have been deployed, bearing new distinctive tactical markings. This fact and the large transfer of forces to the Ukrainian border has caused alarm in Kyiv. Belarusian elite forces have marked with red squares the equipment being driven to the border with Ukraine. Usually, tactical signs are drawn up before the start of hostilities. Everything shows that the first target of the joint Russian-Belarusian attack will be Lviv, Lutsk, Rivne, Zhytomyr, these four regions. An attack is also being prepared for Kyiv from a second axis with the aim of besieging it. Without power and with supply routes cut off, the remaining civilians and soldiers in the Ukrainian capital will not last. According to information so far, the Belarusian military command has deployed the airborne forces of the 38th Brigade to the border with Ukraine"

Permalink 'Shameful': US Warship Named 'Fallujah,' Site of Civilian Massacres in Iraq

"Some of the most heinous U.S. war crimes committed during the Iraq War took place in the city of Fallujah," said journalist Jeremy Scahill. | Peace advocates responded with disgust to the Navy's decision to name its new warship after the two battles of Fallujah, during which U.S. troops massacred Iraqi civilians. 💬 "Fallujah was a giant American war crime in Iraq." "The future America-class amphibious ship will be named the USS Fallujah, LHA-9," Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced Tuesday in a speech at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. "The future USS Fallujah will commemorate the first and second battles of Fallujah, American-led offenses during the Iraq War." Del Toro called it "an honor for me, and for our nation, to memorialize the Marines, the soldiers, and coalition forces that fought valiantly and those that sacrificed their lives during both battles of Fallujah."  U.S. troops slaughtered approximately 600 Iraqi civilians—including more than 300 women and children—along with 200 insurgents during the First Battle of Fallujah. Code-named Operation Vigilant Resolve, the battle was launched in April 2004 to avenge the deaths of four Blackwater contractors. Twenty-seven U.S. soldiers were killed during the retaliatory siege.  The Second Battle of Fallujah, known as Operation Phantom Fury, was fought from November to December 2004 to recapture the city from insurgent forces. In the process, U.S.-led occupation forces killed between 581 and 670 civilians across nine neighborhoods, according to Iraq Body Count.

The Third Battle of Fallujah (Stephen Lendman)
us massacres iraq fallujah (Qwant search)

Permalink Ukraine hits Donetsk with worst shelling in eight years – mayor

A barrage of 40 Ukrainian rockets hit homes, shops and a cathedral in the frontline city’s center, causing severe damage | The city of Donetsk has been subjected to the largest-scale Ukrainian artillery attack since the region rebelled against Kiev in the wake of the 2014 armed coup in Kiev, local officials have said. A cathedral was among the buildings hit by Kiev’s artillery.  Ukrainian troops fired 40 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at several neighborhoods of central Donetsk at around 7 a.m. local time (4 a.m. GMT), Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin said on social media. Several conventional shells also hit the city both before and after the barrage, he added.  Official images following the strikes show damaged buildings and cars amid widespread destruction. The central dome of a cathedral has been hit, according to photos published on social media. At least one projectile landed near a school, while others struck homes, shops and a children’s playground, according to the mayor.

US to answer for Ukraine's terrorist actions against Russian civilians — diplomat (TASS)
More than 4,500 people have been killed since mid-February (RT.com)
Donetsk's Mayor Says Thursday's Attack on City Center Most Massive Strike Since 2014 (Sputnik News)
US Planning to Provide Kiev With Equipment to Convert Rockets Into 'Smart Bombs' - Reports (Sputnik News)
U.S. To Send More Wunderwaffen To Ukraine (Moon of Alabama)

Permalink Council of War: EU, NATO expected to issue joint declaration on Ukraine soon

The European Union and NATO are about to formally issue a joint call for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, and to pledge their full support to authorities in Kiev, Politico reported on Wednesday. | According to a draft declaration seen by Politico, the document has been in the works for more than a year but work on it was stalled over tensions between Cyprus and Turkey. The declaration is expected to be presented soon, diplomats told the newspaper.  The document also includes a separate section addressing China, which was added at Germany’ initiative, one of the diplomats told Politico.  The newspaper described the text as "largely unremarkable," but said making it official would be a major diplomatic achievement after it has been delayed for months: initially, the declaration was expected to be signed at last June’s NATO summit in Madrid. However, frustration has been mounting over the delays, Politico added.

Permalink Germany is now ‘total dictatorship’ – Dutch journalist to RT

Western nations have used the Ukraine conflict as a pretext to destroy what was left of the freedom of speech, Sonja van den Ende says | The EU is reportedly planning to target Russian media channels with the upcoming ninth sanctions package, freezing the assets of ANO TV-Novosti, RT’s parent company, and revoking licenses from those few outlets which still hold them within the bloc.  RT spoke on the new planned broadside against Russian media with Sonja van den Ende, a Dutch journalist, who believes the ongoing crisis has become a pretext to intensify the years-long crackdown on freedom of speech in the West. 💬 “This is what the Western countries are doing since the start of the special military operation, even before that. Even before the Syrian war, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya,” van den Ende said. But now it intensified a lot, and we see every day new things coming out. They clearly want to control the media, this is what they do already, and everything that is said in favor of Russia or just neutral about Russia is straight away banned everywhere.  Germany has repeatedly targeted RT and its German-language division RT DE in particular. The latest initiative in the field was floated this week by MP Andrea Lindholz, a CDU/CSU parliamentary group chair, who proposed to set up a special reporting office to tackle “Russian disinformation.”

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