Permalink Defense minister announces major expansion of Russian army

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced the need to make a number of structural changes to the country’s armed forces in light of NATO’s attempts to bolster its presence on Russia’s border and expand its membership to Finland and Sweden. | During a Russian Defense Ministry meeting on Wednesday, Shoigu proposed a number of measures to strengthen the security of the Russian Federation, including creating a special grouping of troops on the country’s northwestern border and expanding Russia’s armed forces to amount to 1.5 million servicemen in total, with some 695,000 of them being contract soldiers.  Shoigu’s comments come as Helsinki and Stockholm have submitted bids to join NATO, citing a perceived threat from Russia in light of its ongoing military operation in Ukraine. Their accession to the US-led bloc is currently stalled by Türkiye and Hungary, but all other members have already welcomed their membership.

Permalink Foreign media remain silent about Ukraine’s shelling of Donetsk civilians — Putin

Acting head of the DPR Denis Pushilin, during a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation, noted that the system of double standards in this case is obvious | Foreign media and human rights organizations remain silent about Ukraine’s shelling attacks targeting civilians in Donetsk, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during talks with the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, on Tuesday. 💬 "I call attention to the fact that not a single foreign media outlet or human rights organization has broken the silence on this issue," Putin said, commenting on intensified shelling attacks on Donetsk.  In turn, Pushilin said the situation has been like that since 2014. 💬 "Let’s face the truth: Donbass was seeking to resolve the conflict peacefully, and so did Russia, who, as a guarantor nation was doing everything within its power and even more. If only we could foretell back then - based on what we saw during negotiations - that Europe and the West cannot be trusted," Pushilin said, adding that he was shocked by former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent confessions. 💬 "They said they were not planning to honor any commitments, that they signed documents only to win time, [and] rearm Ukraine," Putin said.

Permalink Zelensky headed to Washington

The Ukrainian president may visit the White House as Congress votes on a $45 billion aid package | Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky may be going to Washington, multiple US outlets reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources. While the administration of President Joe Biden would neither confirm nor deny the rumor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter asking all members to attend in person on Wednesday for “a very special focus on Democracy.”  Officially, Zelensky has not left the country since Russia began its military operation on February 24. He has addressed anyone who would listen via video-link, including the UN Security Council, in breach of standing rules.  CNN cited “two sources familiar with the planning underway” to say the former actor is supposed to meet with Biden at the White House and address Congress on Wednesday evening, but that it all depends on security concerns. Axios added, citing “multiple senior leadership sources,” that the Capitol Police were already preparing security arrangements for the potential visit.

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Permalink Hungary outlines West’s key mistake in Ukraine

Western capitals miscalculated when they tried to convert the nation into a military base against Russia, the parliament’s speaker has said | The West made a huge blunder when it tried to turn Ukraine into an anti-Russian stronghold, leaving Moscow no other choice than to intervene, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, Laszlo Kover, said on Tuesday.  Speaking to InfoRadio, Kover noted that the Ukraine conflict has changed the global geopolitical map. He added that as the West introduced new sanctions against Russia, European political elites, 💬 “for some reason, became enthusiastic about destroying Russia economically [and] politically” while separating it from the EU by “creating a new iron curtain.”  While condemning Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the speaker noted that the West had been pushing Moscow back from its “old imperial borders” for several decades. Moreover, Moscow saw that “this is not enough for the West”, as it was getting closer to the nation’s core territories, he said. 💬 “I think the Western world made a strategic mistake when it tried not only to remove Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of interest, but also to turn it into a large population and military base against Russia,” he stressed, adding that Moscow felt it could no longer sit idle in the face of these efforts.  He went on to point out that the sanctions regime against Moscow 💬 “has hurt Europe much more than Russia,” stressing that Central Europe should do its best to avoid becoming “the eastern periphery of a North Atlantic empire.”

Permalink Twitter ‘directly assisted’ Pentagon’s propaganda campaigns

Newly released docs show how the social media giant helped the US military “amplify certain messages” | Twitter executives have granted the US Defense Department special privileges to use the social media platform for its covert online influence campaigns for at least five years, newly released internal company communications show.  Investigative journalist Lee Fang published the eighth batch of documents on Tuesday, after the company’s new owner, Elon Musk, authorized the release in an effort to provide transparency about Twitter’s past decision-making. 💬 “Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the US military’s influence operations,” Fang wrote. The journalist was allowed to make requests for internal Twitter documents through an attorney, “meaning that the search results may not have been exhaustive.”

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