Permalink New $2.2 Billion Arms Package for Ukraine Includes Longer-Range Rockets

The Biden administration on Friday announced a new $2.2 billion arms package for Ukraine that includes longer-range rockets, marking the latest US escalation, although they won’t be delivered until much later this year. | The Boeing-made Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB) can hit targets up to 94 miles away, nearly twice the range of the munitions Ukraine is currently using with the US-provided HIMARS rocket systems. 💬 “This gives them a longer-range capability — long-range fires capability that will enable them, again, to conduct operations in defense of their country and to take back their sovereign territory in Russian-occupied areas,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters. The announcement comes after a series of other US escalations, including pledges to provide M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Each step brings the US and Russia closer to a direct conflict.

What's in the Latest US Arms Package? (The New Atlas)(VIDEO)
Setting the Record Straight; Stuff You Should Know About Ukraine (Mike Whitney)
Former Israeli PM Bennett Says US ‘Blocked’ His Attempts at a Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal (02/06/23)

Permalink US transferring Russian assets to Ukraine will hollow out US credibility

US sanctions against Russia are illegal and are unilateral moves unauthorized by the United Nations. Now the US is even transferring the personal assets of Russian individuals to others, which highlights the plundering nature of the US as a robber. | According to US media reports, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday the first transfer of forfeited assets from sanctions against a Russian oligarch during an appearance with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin at the US Justice Department. The assets, confiscated from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev after his indictment on sanctions evasions in April, will go toward aiding Ukraine.  The transfer of assets is a high-profile political stunt, which the US government is pretty good at. The $5.4 million assets can be just pocket money for the US - it offers to Ukraine as aid, while Ukraine would use it to buy weapons from the US to feed the US military-industrial complex. This reminds people of how the US dealt with the $7 billion in frozen funds from Afghanistan's central bank. In February 2022, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing approximately half of the $7 billion to be reserved for victims of 9/11 attacks, which means the US keeps the money for its own. This is the very US - robbing money while at the same time appearing to be compassionate for others.

Permalink Former Israeli PM Bennett Says US ‘Blocked’ His Attempts at a Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal

Bennett says the US and its Western allies decided to 'keep striking Putin' and not negotiate | Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview posted to his YouTube channel on Saturday that the US and its Western allies “blocked” his efforts of mediating between Russia and Ukraine to bring an end to the war in its early days.  On March 4, 2022, Bennett traveled to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. In the interview, he detailed his mediation at the time between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which he said he coordinated with the US, France, Germany, and the UK.  Explaining his decision to mediate, Bennett said that it was in Israel’s national interest not to pick a side in the war, citing Israel’s frequent airstrikes in Syria. Bennett said Russia has S-300 air defenses in Syria and that if “they press the button, Israeli pilots will fall.”

Kremlin Won't Disclose Details of Putin-Bennett Talks After Ex-Israeli PM's Bombshell Interview (RT.com)
More Evidence That The West Sabotaged Peace In Ukraine (Caitlin Johnstone)
The Missed Opportunities of the War in Ukraine (Ted Snider)
Les négociations Russie-Ukraine interrompues par les Occidentaux, selon l'ex-médiateur Bennett (RT France)
Bennett: Putin assured me at Moscow meeting he wouldn’t kill Zelensky (02/05/23)


Permalink Death toll in Ukrainian strike on Donetsk rises – authorities

Two more bodies were recovered from the debris of a residential block, the mayor has said | A Ukrainian artillery strike on the Russian city of Donetsk which took place on Saturday killed at least three people, according to the local authorities.  Writing on Telegram on Sunday, Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin said that while clearing the debris of a residential block in the northern Kievsky District, the body of a 30-year-old woman was found. Two hours later, he said that another body was uncovered from the rubble, describing the deceased as a man, but providing no further details.  The Emergencies Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) confirmed the information, adding that rescue operations are still underway.

Permalink Bennett: Putin assured me at Moscow meeting he wouldn’t kill Zelensky

Ex-PM says Russian president also agreed not to push for Kyiv’s disarmament; former premier says everything he did was in coordination with US | Former prime minister Naftali Bennett said in a video published Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin assured him, in the early days of the war, that he wouldn’t kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 💬 “He gave me two great concessions,” Bennett said of his March 5, 2022, meeting with Putin, when he flew to Moscow in an effort to mediate shortly after Russia began its invasion. “I knew Zelensky was under threat, in a bunker… I said to [Putin], ‘Do you intend to kill Zelensky?’ He said, ‘I won’t kill Zelensky,’” Bennett recalled in the interview, which was published on his own YouTube channel. “I need to understand. Are you giving me your word that you won’t kill Zelensky?” Bennett said he asked Putin. Bennett said the Russian president repeated: “I won’t kill Zelensky.”  Bennett said he called the Ukrainian president immediately after the three-hour encounter with Putin, and told him, “I’ve just come out of a meeting — [Putin] is not going to kill you. 💬 “[Zelensky] asked me, ‘Are you sure?’ I said 100 percent. [Putin’s] not going to kill you.”

Permalink Ukraine ‘will burn’ if it strikes Crimea, ex-Russian president warns

Moscow could retaliate “in any way possible” should Kiev decide to attack Crimea, Dmitry Medvedev has said | Washington’s decision to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles and allow Kiev to use them at will can only lead to further escalation, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday. He added that the US appears to not want the Ukraine conflict to end. In an interview with Russian journalist Nadana Fridrikhson, Medvedev denied that Ukrainian strikes against the Crimean peninsula would force Moscow to sit down at the negotiating table. “The result would be exactly the contrary. There would be no talks in such a case. There would only be retaliatory strikes,” he warned.

Longer-range rockets included in $2 bln U.S. pledge for Ukraine (Reuters)
DMITRY MEDVEDEV @medvedev_telegram replied in writing to several of my questions (02/05/23)


Permalink Putin issues warning to West at Stalingrad event

The Russian president has condemned Western tank deliveries to Ukraine, promising a response that goes beyond armored vehicles | Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit out at the looming deliveries of Western-made tanks to Ukraine, warning that Moscow’s response to the threat will span far beyond armored vehicles. The Russian leader made the comments during a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of victory at the Battle of Stalingrad. 💬 "Unbelievable, but true – we are once again threatened with German Leopard tanks, with crosses on their hull. And once again seeking to battle Russia in Ukraine with the help of Hitler’s followers, the Banderites. Those seeking to defeat Russia on the battlefield apparently do not realize that a modern war with Russia would be entirely different for them. We’re not sending our tanks to their borders. Yet we have something to respond with, and it would not be limited to armor use only, everyone must realize that,” he said.

Response to potential strikes ‘inside Russia’ to be hard, convincing — Medvedev (TASS)
Les 80 ans de la Victoire de Stalingrad : les leçons de l'histoire (Russie politics)

80th anniversary of victory in Battle of Stalingrad (President of Russia) | The Battle of Stalingrad (July 17, 1942 – February 2, 1943) went down in history as one of the longest WWII land battles, involving the highest number of troops. It marked a major turning point in the war and became a symbol of a moral victory over fascism. On February 2, commemorative events marking the 80th anniversary of Soviet troops defeating the Nazis in the Battle of Stalingrad are held throughout the country. Every year, the Volgograd Region becomes the centre of a national celebration. In 2011, the Battle of Stalingrad State Historical and Memorial Museum and Reserve was recognised as a particularly valuable cultural heritage site of the peoples of the Russian Federation.

Permalink The Russian armed forces destroyed the Norwegian-made NASAMS air defense system for the first time since the beginning of a special military operation to protect Donbass

The Moscow Post | For the first time since the beginning of a special military operation to protect Donbass, the Russian Armed Forces destroyed the Norwegian-made NASAMS anti-aircraft missile system. The Russian Defense Ministry said that this anti-aircraft complex was eliminated near the village of Krasnoarmeysk, where a launcher for Tochka-U missiles, which Ukrainian nationalists used to attack civilians in the Donbas, was also destroyed. Also, the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter during an air battle. (Translation: yandex.ru)

On Friday, Russia claimed to have destroyed NASAMS air defences for the first time in eastern Ukraine. (ABC Nyheter) | In an update on the Telegram messaging service on Friday, the Russian Ministry of Defence claimed to have destroyed a NASAMS air defence system in Donetsk, Ukraine. The ministry claims in the message that this is a weapon manufactured in Norway. 💬 "One must expect to take material losses in such a conflict, and it is not unlikely that NASAMS will be deployed relatively [close] to the front," says Ole Jørgen Maaø, Associate Professor at the Air War College to the Norwegian Defence Forum.  NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air-Missile System) is a modular and mobile air defence system developed by Norway's Kongsberg Group, according to the newspaper. In June last year, US President Joe Biden announced that the US would supply Ukraine with NASAMS. In November last year, Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksij Reznikov confirmed that they had finally received the air defence system. (Translation: www.DeepL.com/Translator)


Permalink The Ukraine Conflict — A Primer (Gonzalo Lira)

I like Gonzalo Lira’s videos A LOT, but today I am posting one without seeing it (I don’t have the time), so I cannot say that I approve (or disapprove) of what he says. If you disagree with X he says, please don’t blame me :-) That being said, I am pretty sure that he will be spot on. Andrei

Permalink Poll reveals most Finns back joining NATO without Sweden

A point worth highlighting is that different age groups have different views on the issue | More than half of the Finnish population believes that the Nordic country should join NATO without waiting for Sweden, according to a poll conducted by Taloustutkimus from January 30 to February 1 among 1,000 adult Finns aged 18-79.  The poll’s results noted that 53% of Finns believed that Finland's entry to NATO should not depend on the ratification of Sweden's membership. "This is a clear political signal from the public to the decision-makers that the NATO issue must be resolved as soon as possible. There is no way back," top pollster Juho Rahkonen said. Nevertheless, 28% of the respondents think that Finland should join NATO together with Sweden, while 19% could not answer the question.  The older population tends to think that Finland should wait for Sweden. "According to their world view, cooperation between the Nordic countries is more important than for young people," Rahkonen noted.  Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership, however, their entry bid was immediately stonewalled by Ankara who demanded that the Nordic countries officially declare Kurdish organizations as terrorist entities, extradite persons to Turkey, who are accused of terrorist activity or aiding and abetting the 2016 coup d’etat attempt, along with removing bans on arms supplies to Turkey.  Pekka Haavisto, Helsinki’s top diplomat, [...] revealed that Finland was ready to consider joining NATO separately from Sweden if the ratification process for Stockholm’s bid dragged on indefinitely. His statement, however, was later retracted.

Finnish FM backtracks on NATO comment (01/25/23)

Permalink Norwegians Jeer as NATO Boss Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

According to Alfred Nobel's will, the peace prize should go "to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses" - a definition hardly met by the leader of the world's largest military alliance. | As the deadline for nominating candidates for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has expired, a Norwegian MP from the populist Progress Party Christian Tybring-Gjedde has admitted that he was the one who proposed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for the award.  Justifying his choice, Tybring-Gjedde claimed that Stoltenberg "managed to bring NATO together at a very important and demanding time, which is perhaps the biggest crisis since the Second World War." He also lauded Stoltenberg for "acting diplomatically" in defending Swedish and Finnish membership, while at the same time "showing an understanding" of Turkey’s objections.  In an interview with Norwegian media, Tybring-Gjedde said he saw no paradox in nominating a leader of a military alliance for a peace prize, stressing that Alfred Nobel, the founder of the prize, maintained that "actively seeking peace" was the main criteria. This despite the fact that members of NATO are actively fanning the flames of the Ukraine conflict by donating arms and providing military training to Kiev.



Permalink Brazilian leader ready to mediate between Putin, Zelensky

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also proposed establishing a broad international format of talks that could be similar to the G20 to discuss peace in Ukraine | Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he would be ready to mediate talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky, if needed. 💬 "If I can help, I will help. But if the need arises to hold talks with Putin and Zelensky, I will be ready to discuss peace settlement efforts, no problem. What we really need is to bring together a group of people powerful enough to be respected at the negotiating table. And we should engage with both of them," da Silva said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday.  The politician also proposed establishing a broad international format of talks that could be similar to the G20 to discuss peace in Ukraine. The Brazilian leader said he had already discussed this with Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron and that he intended to raise the issue at negotiations with US President Joe Biden in February and with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in March.


Permalink US Openly Salivates Over Ukraine's Vast Untapped Titanium Reserves

The US and its allies set the stage for the Ukraine crisis by sponsoring the Maidan coup in 2014, which sparked a conflict in Donbass and escalated into a full-blown confrontation involving Moscow last February. One heavily underreported facet of the West’s Ukraine policy revolves around Kiev’s immense mineral wealth. | Ukraine could provide the United States and its allies with the titanium they need to build the fighter jets, warships, tanks, missiles, and other weapons required to confront Russia and China, sources on Capitol Hill with ties to the military-industrial complex have told US media. 💬 “Ukraine has really significant deposits of rare earth minerals, and if we play our cards right could actually be a really attractive alternative to Russian and Chinese sources, which is where a lot of dependency currently is,” one anonymous congressional staffer said. “As there are increasing debates throughout the West about why it’s in our interest to keep supporting Ukraine, I think this is one of the arguments that you’re going to start hearing more,” the person said.  Titanium is also a “key vulnerability” for the US, a source with knowledge of the US defense sector said. “We’re talking about our ability to produce more planes, we’re talking about our ability to produce munitions. They all rely on titanium, and we’ve allowed ourselves to grow reliant on foreign suppliers for these things. Russia has previously been one of those primary suppliers,” they added. The US depends on imports for over 90 percent of its iron ore, and does not maintain titanium in its National Defense Stockpile.


Permalink NATO ‘simulates’ cyberattacks on Kaliningrad, Moscow facilities — Russian Foreign Ministry

The UK is systematically targeting Russia with their offensive capabilities in the information sphere, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said | Cyberattacks on state institutions in the Kaliningrad region and Moscow's energy infrastructure are simulated during NATO exercises that the UK conducts on a regular basis, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said in an interview with TASS. 💬 "The UK is systematically targeting Russia with their offensive capabilities in the information sphere. Exercises are held on a regular basis, including under the auspices of NATO, to model attacks using information and communication technologies on Russian vital information infrastructure facilities. In particular, attacks on state institutions in the Kaliningrad region and the energy system of Moscow are simulated," he said.  Furthermore, he claimed that London is methodically promoting Russophobia on the Internet in order to change facts about Russia's foreign policy in the Western information sphere. Syromolotov further stated that the UK heavily encourages Ukrainian hackers' anti-Russian activity.

Permalink German FM under fire for ‘war with Russia’ comment

Opposition politicians say Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is unfit for her job | German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has faced waves of criticism after saying at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that Germany is at war with Russia. The comment led opposition politicians to question whether she is fit for the job. 💬 “A statement by Baerbock that Germany is at war with Russia shows that she is not suited for her job,” MP Sahra Wagenknecht, the former head of the Left Party in the Bundestag, tweeted on Friday. A foreign minister should be a “top diplomat” and “not act like an elephant in a China shop,” she added, accusing Baerbock of “trampling” on Germany’s reputation.  During the debate on Tuesday, Baerbock said European nations are “fighting a war against Russia” and must do more to defend Ukraine. 💬 Germany needs a foreign minister who is capable of acting “as a responsible diplomat and not a firebrand” amid the conflict in Europe, said Alice Weidel, the co-chair of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Bundestag, adding that a foreign minister should represent Germany’s interests exclusively.


Permalink Ukraine Expects to Get All the Western Weapons It Wants

After getting tanks, Ukraine wants fighter jets and longer-range missiles | Shortly after President Biden announced Ukraine would be getting the Western-made tanks it sought, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was demanding fighter jets and longer-range missiles.  Ukrainian officials have been lobbying for months to receive F-15 or F-16 fighter jets from the US and Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACAMS), munitions with a range of up to 190 miles. The US has held off on providing such arms due to concerns they could be used to target Russian territory. But the US has previously ruled out other equipment that it eventually sent to Ukraine, including the M1 Abrams tanks that Biden just announced the US would be supplying.

Permalink Nobody told me we’re at war – NATO state's president

The US and Germany might be at war with Russia, but that is news to Croatia, said Zoran Milanovic | Commenting on the German foreign minister’s declaration that Europe is “fighting a war against Russia,” Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said on Thursday that this was news to him, and wished Berlin better luck than in WWII. 💬 “If we are at war with Russia, then let’s see what we need to do. But we won’t ask Germany for its opinion,” Milanovic added. “Let them figure out who is the actual chancellor over there. I’ve been in politics for a long time, and our country has been through a lot, but I’ve never seen this kind of madness before.” Unless the US and Russia are holding some kind of talks, the world is “slowly sliding into World War Three,” Milanovic added. “Some people think it has already begun, but I have my reservations.”

Germany ‘at war’ with Russia – FM (01/25/23)


Permalink US keeping with ‘best traditions of Nazis’ – ex-Russian president

Dmitry Medvedev has accused Washington of reaching the limits of ”moral degradation” | The US has reached the limits of “cynicism” and “moral degradation” by claiming to sympathize with Russians while providing weapons that kill them, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said in a Telegram post on Thursday.  The remarks came in response to a short video message published by the US embassy in Moscow on Wednesday, in which it highlighted the “commonness” of the cultures and achievements of both countries while stating that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine was “unworthy” of the Russian people. 💬 “The US spends tens of billions [of dollars] on the war in Ukraine, supplying enormous quantities of its weapons and exterminating thousands of people through a proxy [war],” the former president said, adding that Washington and its “lackeys” killing the Russian people would be never forgiven.


Permalink EU Lawmaker Calls for Switch to War Economy

Manfred Weber, leader of the European People's Party, the largest in the European Parliament, on Thursday said that the European Union needs to switch to war economy against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis. | European countries are currently unable to quickly provide the necessary weapons "neither for their own defense, nor for Ukraine." In this regard the EU countries should increase their capacities for the production of weapons and ammunition, he said. Weber added that he was disappointed by the recent German-French talks, which resulted in "nothing concrete." In his opinion, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron have not yet been able to respond to "historical challenges."

Now Send Fighter Jets: Ukraine Wants Air Superiority After Securing Battle Tanks (TPV)


Permalink Germany ‘at war’ with Russia – FM

Annalena Baerbock made the admission in a debate with EU colleagues, pushing for the delivery of tanks to Kiev | Arguing in favor of sending tanks to Kiev, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said EU countries were fighting a war against Russia. US and EU officials have previously gone out of their way to claim they were not a party to the conflict in Ukraine. 💬 “And therefore I’ve said already in the last days – yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Baerbock said during a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday. “But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”  While Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that Germany ought to support Ukraine but avoid direct confrontation with Russia, his coalition partner Baerbock has taken a more hawkish position. According to German media, her Green Party has been in favor of sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, and eventually managed to pressure Scholz into agreeing. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who was reluctant to send tanks to Ukraine, was pushed to resign.

Permalink US tanks will be ‘destroyed’ in Ukraine – ambassador

Moscow’s envoy to the US said Washington seeks to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia using Ukraine as a “proxy” | Any American battle tanks sent to Ukraine will be destroyed by Russian forces, Moscow’s ambassador to the United States has warned, after media reports said the White House now plans to supply Kiev with heavy armor despite its previous refusals.  Asked about the potential shipment of the M1 Abrams main battle tank to Ukraine, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said the move would only escalate American involvement in the conflict and goes far beyond offering “defensive weapons.” 💬 “If a decision to transfer to Kiev M1 Abrams is made, American tanks without any doubt will be destroyed, as all other samples of NATO military equipment,” the envoy said, adding that “The Americans are constantly raising the ‘bar’ of military assistance to their puppet government.”

US May Send Up to 50 Abrams Tanks to Ukraine This Week, Media Reports
Scholz Decided to Send Leopard 2A6 Tanks to Kiev, German Media Reports
Switzerland makes decision on weapons for Ukraine
Why Russia should win the war in Ukraine (Eric Zuesse)

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