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Blinken and NATO in Latvia for Pow-Wow

by Oui Wed Dec 1st, 2021 at 08:48:11 PM EST

Earlier diary …

NATO's Battleground Ukraine v. Russia

Blinken and NATO: Let's Talk Russia and Ukraine

If the EU and Old Europe won't comply, the US Treasury has means to enforce our will.

After Decades of NATO Aggression ...

US warns Russia has plans for 'large scale' attack on Ukraine | The Guardian |

.... [Blinken] said he had found solidarity among his fellow Nato ministers in the Latvian capital, Riga ...

The secretary of state stopped well short of saying the US or the alliance would intervene militarily. "Should Russia follow the path of confrontation, when it comes to Ukraine, we've made clear that we will respond resolutely, including with a range of high impact economic measures that we have refrained from pursuing in the past."

He did not specify the nature of those measures, but most observers believe that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, intended to bring Russian gas to Europe, could be cancelled if there is another invasion. The new German coalition government is already sceptical about the scheme.

Blinken said the US would spell out the consequences to Russia's leaders "at the appropriate time". His remarks represent the strongest warning from the Biden administration so far, and were delivered a day before Blinken is due to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Stockholm under increasingly tense circumstances.

Under leadership of VP Joe Biden and friend John McCain in support of the Maidan regime overthrow, President Biden is now ready to put deeds to complement threats. Implementing McCain's staunch anti-Russian policy ...

McCain mocks Biden: 'Or else what?' | Politico - April 22, 2014 |

Sen. John McCain was unimpressed with Vice President Joe Biden's comments in Ukraine on Tuesday and the Arizona Republican suggested that the Obama administration was not backing up its tough talk against Russia.

The Senate Armed Services Committee member has been a frequent critic of the Obama administration on many foreign policy issues, including Ukraine and Syria. McCain said the administration needs to show greater support for Ukraine and back up its rhetoric. He also urged the White House to "tell the American people why it's important that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's aggression not continue."

After watching clips of Biden's speech, McCain responded: "Well, when he said it's time to act and not have rhetoric, why don't we act? Why don't we sanction some more people? Why don't we say that we've got a plan to give them energy independence? Why don't we give them defensive weapons so they can defend themselves?"

The Arizona Republican did say that the additional $50 million in aid to Ukraine offered by the Obama administration is "helpful," but said the Ukrainians "have had their country dismembered. Crimea is gone."

"The West should respect the red lines of Russia" - OpEd Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, former SG NATO

NATO Arms Sales to Ukraine: the Spark That Starts a War with Russia? | CATO Institute |

Western leaders are pursuing a reckless strategy that is generating increasingly pointed warnings from Kremlin officials. On two occasions since early April, Russia also has made ominous military deployments near its border with Ukraine. Shortly before the earlier episode, the Biden administration had announced a new $125 million arms sale to Ukraine. Although the transaction was put on hold temporarily in June, $60 million of that package was delivered during U.S. secretary of defense Lloyd Austin's visit to Kiev in late October.

The United States is not the only NATO member that has made destabilizing arms sales to Ukraine. Turkey is equipping the Ukrainian military with drones, and in late October, Kiev's forces launched a drone attack that destroyed rebel artillery batteries in the Donbas. Moscow issued strong protests about the escalation to both Ukraine and Turkey. A new deployment of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border also followed, and U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken expressed concern that Russia might execute a "rehash" of its 2014 military offensive when Vladimir Putin's government seized Crimea and then provided military support for secessionists in eastern Ukraine.

Putin warns West: Moscow has 'red line' about Ukraine, NATO | AP News - Nov. 30, 2021 |

Atlantic Council - Former US Amb to NATO Ivo Daalder: "It's our intent to make Russia a pariah state." (2013)

NATO Aggression Europe's Eastern Border

Russia will act if Nato countries cross Ukraine ’red lines', Putin says  | The Guardian |

In his most expansive comments on the crisis yet, the Russian president on Tuesday complained of Nato's historical expansion to Russia's borders and warned that substantial Nato military support for Ukraine would cross a "red line" for Russia.

"You asked about Ukraine, where are these red lines?" he said in televised remarks during an investment conference. "They are above all in the creation of threats to us which could come from [Ukraine]."

In particular, he warned against the stationing in Ukraine of missile defence systems similar to those in Romania and Poland. Putin claimed they could serve as cover to deploy offensive weapons such as Tomahawk missiles capable of reaching Moscow in minutes.

Since 2017, Nato has deployed four international battalion groups to Poland and to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, in order to deter Russia from launching an attack.

The UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, met British soldiers stationed in Estonia. She called the country, which borders Russia, the "frontier of freedom".

"Britain stands with our @NATO allies to defend liberty and democracy and counter malign threats," she wrote in a tweet.

The opening of Nord Stream 2 in a quid-pro-quo for continued belligerent sanctions on Russia due to military conflict Donbas and sovereignty of Crimea may collapse within a fortnight. Putting Chancellor Schulz in a real bind ...

Biden and Putin to hold talks after diplomats make no progress on Ukraine | The Guardian |

Josep Borrell: EU's unwavering support to Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity

by Oui on Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 at 07:27:58 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 at 07:29:36 PM EST
As the Ukraine leadership of 2016 was quite happy with the Democrats under the Obama/Biden administration, they were a voice of support for a HRC win ... it was  wrong choice and 4 years of withering through the Trump presidency left Ukraine an orphan. Their great promoter Joe Biden quickly took up the slack to detriment of Old Europe ...

Ukraine's Zelenskyy to Visit Biden in August, Weeks After Nord Stream 2 Deal Made | Newsweek - July 21, 2021 |

On the same day of the Zelenskyy announcement, Germany and the U.S. reached an agreement on the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with the U.S. allowing the pipeline's construction to continue without further sanctions against it.

Ukraine has been vehemently opposed to the pipeline, and Zelenskyy publicly raised concerns last month over Biden's decision to discuss the pipeline with Russian President Vladmir Putin.

Nord Stream 2 Deal Is Not a Gift to Putin but a Realistic Choice | GMF - Sept. 9, 2021 |

Opposition to the Biden administration's deal with Germany over the lifting of sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project has continued in Washington and European capitals despite Chancellor Angela Merkel's meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv last month or his recent meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington.
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In both exchanges, Zelensky voiced his discontent with Nord Stream 2. Merkel and Biden affirmed U.S. and German commitment to Ukraine with serious offers of economic and military support without changing course on the pipeline.

This controversy is understandable, but it also reflects differing strategic and economic interests. Germany's government has long stressed that the deal was to secure the acquisition of sustainable energy resources based on reliable supply lines not only for Germans but also for Europeans, a position anchored in the alliance with Austrian, Dutch, and French companies engaged in the project. Of course, the geopolitical is impact of the pipeline is apparent to those who see Russian leverage on Europe emerging as a threat with this initiative, especially in those countries whose histories with Russia are burdened by Cold War legacies and those which now feel threatened by the aggressive posture of President Vladimir Putin.

These clashes notwithstanding, the decision by the Biden administration to recognize the fact that the pipeline is a reality makes strategic sense. Biden's choices are about shaping the framework of confrontation not only with Russia but equally important with China in the future. The Geneva meeting between Biden and Putin following the G7 and NATO summits signaled the need to continue the dialogue despite the ongoing clashes over Ukraine. In both cases, Germany must be a strategic partner without which these policies will falter.

Not pleased with the outcome in the White House, follow the lobby route to US Congress and one will always have an ear to advocate your grievance ... opposing parties and interests.

Ukraine publicly pleads with U.S. Senate to sanction Putin's pipeline

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin's pipeline | Axios - Nov. 28, 2021 |

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.  

Pompeo Cancels Berlin Visit .. Flies East Out of Moscow | May 2019 |

by Oui on Sat Dec 4th, 2021 at 08:31:54 AM EST
Russia expels U.S. Embassy staff in retaliatory move as tensions mount between Washington and Moscow | CNBC - Dec. 1, 2021 |

For Russia's part, Putin has said that NATO countries who deploy weapons or soldiers to Ukraine would cross a "red line" for Moscow, and could trigger a strong response.
Putin was asked about Russia's "red lines" when it came to Ukraine as he spoke at VTB Capital's investment conference Tuesday.

He responded by saying that red lines would "probably be threats emanating from that territory [Ukraine] ... if they station and deploy attack systems on Ukrainian soil the flight time to Moscow would be five to seven minutes .... and we would have to respond with something similar, against those who are menacing us and we can do that, we're capable."

Putin said Russia was concerned about military exercises he claimed were being carried out near Russian borders, saying these posed a threat to Moscow.

Problems of Russian and US envoys can be mitigated quickly, says top diplomat | Tass |

On Saturday, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov noted that as many as 27 Russian diplomats and their families would be forced to leave the US on January 30, while the same number of the Russian diplomatic mission was going to leave the country on June 30, 2022. The envoy mentioned that the problems with visas that the Russian diplomats faced had not been resolved so far, and their families were deliberately separated.

Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker III in Moscow - Feb. 9, 1990

by Oui on Sat Dec 4th, 2021 at 07:27:46 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Dec 4th, 2021 at 07:55:49 PM EST
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by Oui on Sat Dec 4th, 2021 at 07:57:00 PM EST
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by Oui on Sat Dec 4th, 2021 at 08:26:14 PM EST

Moscow has accused the United States of putting civilian lives at risk after a reported mid-air near-miss on Friday, involving two civilian aircraft and a NATO reconnaissance plane.

Russia's foreign ministry specifically accused the US Air Force of creating a "threat to civil aviation" over the Black Sea.

"Just because an air incident over the Black Seas' Int waters has been prevented, this does not mean the US and NATO can further put lives at risk with impunity," Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted as saying on Twitter.

NATO spy plane forced flight from Tel Aviv to dive to avoid 'catastrophe' -- Russia | Times of Israel |

by Oui on Mon Dec 6th, 2021 at 08:57:14 AM EST
What does Russia say happened?

According to Russia's Federal Agency for Air Transport, a NATO CL-600 surveillance plane was flying over the Black Sea international waters on the morning of December 3. The aircraft was observed making a rapid descent from 11,000m to 9,200m, which allegedly crossed the designated path for civilian aircraft.

The reconnaissance aircraft's crew did not respond to Russian air traffic control, according to the Russian agency.

At that moment a Russian Aeroflot Airbus A330-300 flying from Tel Aviv to Moscow and a CL-650 plan belonging to Malta flew along their designated flight paths. It's understood that the two aircraft's travel paths had to be promptly changed to allow them to continue safely.

Russian fighter jets scrambled to intercept US reconnaissance planes over Black Sea | Tass - July 11, 2021 |

by Oui on Mon Dec 6th, 2021 at 08:58:12 AM EST
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A New Spy Plane Could Spot Targets For The U.S. Army's Thousand-Mile Weapons | Forbes |

by Oui on Mon Dec 6th, 2021 at 08:59:04 AM EST
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... not leaders!

by Oui on Tue Dec 7th, 2021 at 02:30:14 PM EST
Biden says he does not accept anybody's red lines referring to Ukraine

"We're aware of Russia's actions for a long time and my expectation is we're going to have a long discussion with Putin," US President added

An ultimatum in any language: experts on Russia's demand that NATO not expand | EuroMaidan Press |

by Oui on Tue Dec 7th, 2021 at 02:30:53 PM EST
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All options fraught with risk as Biden confronts Putin over Ukraine | The Guardian |

In confronting Putin over Ukraine, every policy option available to Biden is fraught with risk.

In a statement on Wednesday commemorating the Holodomor famine in Ukraine of the early 1930s, Biden restated "our unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine".

Such statements of support are meant as a deterrent, but each time they are repeated they heighten the dilemma that Biden will face if Putin calls his bluff.

"What I am worried about, frankly, is that if we, the United States, continue to make ironclad commitments to Ukraine and get ourselves in a position where we are obliged to defend it, or not to defend it and look completely weak, we will be putting ourselves in a very difficult position," said Rajan Menon, a professor of political science at the City University of New York.

Hanna Shelest, the director of security programmes at the Foreign Policy Council's Ukrainian Prism thinktank, said US support for Ukrainian sovereignty did not imply it would ultimately be drawn into combat.

"There has been panic and hype about new American boots on the ground. Come on, who is inviting you to fight?" Shelest said. "When we talk about a guarantee of security there are plenty of other options. For example, sharing intelligence, the satellite pictures of the buildup, and making it public is already a support. You don't need an American soldier to stand at the contact line. You can have diplomatic statements at the proper level that are very clear."

by Oui on Tue Dec 7th, 2021 at 02:31:48 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 7th, 2021 at 06:08:07 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 7th, 2021 at 08:47:18 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Dec 7th, 2021 at 08:36:24 PM EST
Clinton, Lavrov push wrong reset button on ties | Reuters - March 6, "2009 |

    Clinton joked to Lavrov: "We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?"

    You got it wrong," said Lavrov, smiling as the two pushed the reset button together before dinner at a Geneva hotel.

    He told Clinton the word "Peregruzka" meant "overcharge" to which Clinton replied: "We won't let you do that to us."

Reading the Tea Leaves In The White House

Joe Biden was a fervent backer of the Russian reset button - Cold War 2.0 - leading foreign policy during the Obama administration. With many advisors in key position, Putin and Lavrov will raise the castle bridge to weather the coming assault.

Trump Era - Interview Russian FM Lavrov

by Oui on Wed Dec 8th, 2021 at 02:53:55 PM EST

Readout of President Biden's Video Call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia

by Oui on Wed Dec 8th, 2021 at 08:51:21 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Dec 8th, 2021 at 08:52:40 PM EST
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Greek PM seeks to revive bilateral relations by visiting Russia, diplomat says

by Oui on Wed Dec 8th, 2021 at 08:53:36 PM EST
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Did Biden threaten a Cuba Style stand-off with military deterrent at the Eastern Front of NATO? Except the role of irritant is reversed.

"I will look you in the eye and tell you, as President Biden looked Putin in the eye and told him today, that things we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now," national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday afternoon after Biden's call with Putin.

Sullivan did not go into specifics, but added that the US is coordinating with European allies "at a deep level of specificity."

He said Biden "was direct and straightforward with President Putin, as he always is," later adding that "there was a lot of give and take. There was no finger-wagging, but the President was crystal clear about where the United States stands on all of these issues."

Along with the economic ramifications mentioned on the call, Sullivan said Biden relayed that the US is prepared to bolster defense capabilities in the region.

Poroshenko: Kremlin Orchestrated 2014 Kyiv Sniper Attacks

by Oui on Wed Dec 8th, 2021 at 08:55:45 PM EST
What I was reading about the meeting was that Biden administration put Zelensky on hold after the meeting and will only on Thursday tell him what was agreed on Ukraine.

Also Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland (famous for the maidan revolution) went on television to tell Americans that Minsk 2 is a good plan and should be implemented asap.

So Biden was tough, looked Putin into the eye and found the way out of the stand off. The way that has been there for years and has been relentlessly pushed by Russians.

by pelgus on Wed Dec 8th, 2021 at 10:47:08 PM EST
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The lessons from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the use of missiles and drones.

h/t ATinNM The Air and Missile War in Nagorno-Karabakh: Lessons for the Future of Strike and Defense

Azerbaijan purchased the Israeli LORA ballistic missile and EXTRA (EXTended Range Artillery) guided rocket. Both are more accurate than the older Soviet missiles.

Azerbaijan also developed an impressive drone arsenal composed of Turkish and Israeli UAVs. It acquired the Turkish TB2 earlier this year, with reports suggesting the sale occurred as recently as June 2020. Previously, Azerbaijan had purchased numerous Israeli loitering munitions, also known as "suicide" or "kamikaze" drones, including the Harop, Orbiter, and SkyStriker UAVs.

Despite early Armenian threats to use its more advanced Iskander missiles, the attacks on Ganja used older Soviet weapons. It was only on November 9--right before the peace agreement was signed--that footage emerged of an Armenian Iskander launch. It seems that these small arsenals forced each side to use ballistic missiles sparingly to preserve inventory if the conflict lasted longer.

Putin was furious when the Ukraine military escalated warfare in the Donbas using Turkish drone in an attack on a artillery unit. NATO partner Turkey has a history of provoking war in the Bosnia and Kosovo by illegal and covert transport of arms and jihadists. Putin will have none of it and has delivered a stern warning to Erdogan -- the Ottoman Empire relived.

Ukraine Angers Russia by Buying Turkish Drones and Wants To Get Its Hands On More | Bloomberg |

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 06:32:43 PM EST
Ukraine: Government Deploys Turkish Combat Drone Against Donbas Separatists
Oct 27, 2021 | 19:20 GMT

Ukraine deployed the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone to attack separatists in the Donbas conflict for the first time, destroying an artillery unit belonging to pro-Russian separatists with a guided bomb, Reuters reported Oct. 27, 2021.

Turkey's Baykar to Provide More Combat Drones to Ukraine

Related reading ...

Putin's Ultimatum to America | Jamestown |

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 06:33:51 PM EST
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Israel's Azerbaijan Mistake

Defying Geography: The Israel-Azerbaijan Partnership | BESA - Aug. 31, 2020 |

Azerbaijan and Iran, divided over Israel, agree to mend ties `through dialogue' | TOI |

Last year's brief war ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire that saw Yerevan cede swathes of contested territory, including a section of Azerbaijan's 700-kilometer (430-mile) border with Iran that for decades had been under Armenian control.

Azerbaijan's decision to impose customs duties on Iranian truck drivers transiting to Armenia through that territory has also fuelled tensions.

The statement from Azerbaijan's foreign ministry said the two sides had agreed it was "necessary to establish direct dialogue between government agencies of both countries on transit issues."

Tehran has long been wary of separatist sentiment among its ethnic Azeri minority, who make up around 10 million of Iran's 83 million people.

Israeli Arms Exporter Demonstrated Drone to Azeri Buyers by Attacking Armenian Army Positions

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 06:36:05 PM EST
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by Oui on Thu Dec 16th, 2021 at 07:11:50 PM EST
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Speech by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on the occasion of her inauguration at the Federal Foreign Office

Germany's Post-Pacifist Generation Is Nearing Power | FP - May 3, 2021 |

In the days following her announcement as the German Greens' first-ever chancellor candidate, Annalena Baerbock said she would approach authoritarian powers like China and Russia with "dialogue and toughness," advocating for a harder stance than many other German politicians. She argued a common European foreign policy is crucial, saying without Germany's influential voice on issues like the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, "then Europe will be destroyed."

And she acknowledged military intervention can sometimes be necessary to end conflicts and save lives.

The Glorious Green Revolution in Germany is most likely postponed | Euro Intelligence - June 2021 |

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 08:22:07 PM EST
Germany's Olaf Scholz eyes stronger EU in first trip abroad as chancellor | DW News |

Normandy format back on the table

The newly sworn-in German chancellor first traveled to Paris for a working lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron.

First on the menu was how to deal with Russia, as tensions endure over Moscow's military presence near the border with Ukraine.

Scholz said: "It's very clear that Germany, the European Union and many other countries would react if border violations occurred."

But Scholz wanted to hold out an olive branch as he called for renewed diplomatic efforts, starting with fresh four-way talks with Russia.

"We have a good basis that needs to be revived -- for example the talks in the Normandy format," Scholz said in a joint news conference with Macron, referring to discussions between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine aimed at solving the crisis.

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 08:23:47 PM EST
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Foreign Minister @ABaerbock @The green threatens Russia - "Harsh diplomatic and economic consequences"

by Oui on Mon Dec 13th, 2021 at 08:23:47 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Dec 13th, 2021 at 08:25:44 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Dec 13th, 2021 at 08:31:21 PM EST
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"Lobby ist in Deutschland sehr stark"
Politologe @UmlandAndreas sieht kaum Chancen, dass🇩🇪den Betrieb der Pipeline dauerhaft verhindert. Große Unternehmen und ostdeutsche Länder stünden an Russland's Seite Die Hoffnung für ein Aus liege auf EU-Gremien.

"The lobby is very strong in Germany" political scientist @UmlandAndreas sees little chance that the pipeline operation will be definitely prevented. Large companies and East German states are on Russia's side. The hope for exposure to EU regulations.

by Oui on Mon Dec 13th, 2021 at 08:39:58 PM EST
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UK seeks Western unity against Russia and China | TRT World |

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 11:15:35 PM EST

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, December 7, 2021

The United States and our European allies would engage in a discussion that covers larger strategic issues, including our strategic concerns with Russia and Russia's strategic concerns.

We managed to do this at the height of the Cold War, and we developed mechanisms to help reduce instability and increase transparency.

We've done this in the post-Cold War era through the NATO-Russia Council, the OSCE, and other mechanisms. There's no reason we can't do that forward -- going forward, provided that we are operating in a context of de-escalation rather than escalation.

The United States, as we have been for some time, is also prepared to support efforts to advance the Minsk Agreement in support of the Normandy Format. This could include a ceasefire and confidence-building measures that helps drive the process forward.

As I said before, the discussion between President Biden and President Putin was direct and straightforward. There was a lot of give-and-take. There was no finger-wagging. But the President was crystal clear about where the United States stands on all of these issues.

We believe, from the beginning of this administration, that there is no substitute for direct dialogue between leaders, and that is true in spades when it comes to the U.S.-Russia relationship. So President Biden welcomed the opportunity to engage clearly and directly with President Putin.

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 11:17:52 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Dec 16th, 2021 at 07:04:59 PM EST
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Joe Biden's Democracy Summit Is the Height of Hypocrisy | TIME |

Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte and Jair Bolsonaro walk into a democracy summit. But this isn't a joke.

Having recently abandoned Afghanistan to an Islamist autocracy and famine, and now finalizing a $650 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden thought it would be a fine idea to hold a two-day virtual gathering on democracy, where some of its worst offenders could pose as responsible upholders of freedom and dispense homilies on how to save the world from those like themselves.

by Oui on Thu Dec 16th, 2021 at 07:07:14 PM EST
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by Oui on Fri Dec 17th, 2021 at 11:44:31 PM EST
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by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 10:46:56 AM EST
by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 10:47:43 AM EST
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Brazil's Bolsonaro buries hatchet with China's Xi to fight coronavirus

by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 10:48:46 AM EST

The G7 meeting, attended in person by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada, comes amid international concern that Russia could invade Ukraine. Russia denies planning any attack.

Ahead of the formal discussions, British foreign minister Liz Truss met Blinken on Friday night where they expressed deep concern about the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine's border, Britain's foreign office said in a statement.

Any incursion by Russia "would be a strategic mistake for which there would be serious consequences," the foreign office added.

"We need to defend ourselves against the growing threats from hostile actors and we need to come together strongly to stand up to aggressors who are seeking to limit the bounds of freedom and democracy," Truss told foreign ministers at the start of the meeting.

by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 10:50:50 AM EST
by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 10:51:28 AM EST
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The thing I don't get here is that it's Ukraine that's supposed to implement the Accords, not Russia.

The first step is granting autonomy to Luhansk and Donetsk region, and letting international peacekeepers there. That's something neither Russia or the regions can do. Only Verkhovna Rada (if Zelensky lets it decide on anything) can do this.

As far as "incentives" go, these are pretty darn weird ones. Almost like they are meant to keep the crisis going?

by pelgus on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 11:11:08 AM EST
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Foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe's role in the world | Carnegie - Feb. 22, 2017 |

The Minsk agreement signed in February 2015, also known as Minsk II, is destined to fail because it was designed to fail.

The role of the European Union and the European Parliament

The EU has consistently supported Ukraine's territorial integrity, and backs the work of the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group (a group of representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE) to help end the war in the Donbass. The duration of the EU's economic sanctions against Russia is explicitly linked to complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 01:18:38 PM EST
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The right to freedom of speech and opinion in Ukraine: threats and opportunities | OSCE Publication |

The human rights platform "Uspishna Varta" was created on the initiative and with the support of the Ukrainian public figure and philanthropist Aleksandr Klymenko.

by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 01:20:39 PM EST
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by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 02:25:18 PM EST
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Chabad, Vekselberg, Putin and the Schneerson Library

Related reading ...

The Happy-Go-Lucky Jewish Group That Connects Trump and Putin

by Oui on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 10:52:38 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 14th, 2021 at 10:14:18 PM EST
In a time of spreading Covid gathering soldiers in a great big pile is a WONDERFUL! idea.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 15th, 2021 at 04:59:02 PM EST
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Biden returns to reality of fifty failed states ...

Biden's Exclusive Democracy Summit Disappoints

by Oui on Thu Dec 16th, 2021 at 07:08:40 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Dec 16th, 2021 at 07:09:56 PM EST
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by Oui on Thu Dec 16th, 2021 at 07:10:49 PM EST
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The demands include a ban on Ukraine entering Nato and a limit to the deployment of troops and weapons to Nato's eastern flank, in effect returning Nato forces to where they were stationed in 1997, before an eastward expansion.

The eight-point draft treaty was released by Russia's foreign ministry as its forces massed within striking distance of Ukraine's borders. Moscow said ignoring its interests would lead to a "military response" similar to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

Vladimir Putin has demanded that the west provide Russia "legal guarantees" of its security. But the Kremlin's aggressive proposals are likely to be rejected in western capitals as an attempt to formalise a new Russian sphere of influence over eastern Europe.

The demands, spelled out by Moscow in full for the first time, were handed over to the US this week. They include a demand that Nato remove any troops or weapons deployed to countries that entered the alliance after 1997, which would include much of eastern Europe, including Poland, the former Soviet countries of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and the Balkan countries.

by Oui on Fri Dec 17th, 2021 at 11:41:43 PM EST
NATO today: The sad decline of a grand alliance

This toxic issue has haunted relations between Russia and the West ever since, and became particularly dangerous when President George W. Bush said in April 2008 that he "strongly supported" NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine and wouldn't accept any Russian attempt to veto this. Bush's proposal, however, was strongly rebuffed by six NATO members led by Germany's Angela Merkel, who called such NATO expansion "needlessly provocative." An outraged Russian President Vladimir Putin [Medvedev president of Russia 2008-2012] declared that NATO membership for Georgia [Rose Revolution] and Ukraine [Orange Revolution] was a direct threat to Russia's national security and he viewed it as a "red line" that could not be crossed. [Obama/Clinton abused UN R2P principle for Libya and Syria regime overthrow in 2011]

Putin further countered by becoming involved in the savage ethnic politics of Georgia by supporting dissident separatist groups in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and ultimately recognizing them as independent republics backed economically and militarily by Russia. In 2014, when Western-backed mass protests led to the overthrow of a [democratically elected] pro-Russian president of Ukraine, Putin acted swiftly to intervene militarily in those areas of Eastern Ukraine whose inhabitants were largely Russian ethnically (Crimea 65 percent) or Russian-speaking (Donbas 70 percent).

Yeah ... dividing the EU for capitalist's sake and designation close allies to US as "New Europe". Success!

CIA Is Back: East-West Tensions In Europe

by Oui on Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 03:45:14 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Dec 23rd, 2021 at 06:53:11 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Dec 23rd, 2021 at 06:54:04 PM EST
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by Oui on Thu Dec 23rd, 2021 at 06:55:26 PM EST
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... Dog House. Just shut up for a while. He acts more like a German Shepard.

by Oui on Thu Dec 23rd, 2021 at 10:51:19 PM EST
US Congress in mode of fear mongering sets more sanctions on Russians ...

'We've heard it all before': Ukrainians brush aside talk of Russian invasion

An illuminated Christmas tree in front of St Sophia Cathedral in central Kyiv. In the capital and beyond, people carry on with the festive season despite rhetoric about imminent conflict.

Russia is threatening war on Ukraine, but in Kyiv the city council is putting up Christmas trees rather than bomb shelter notices, and organising concerts rather than army recruitment drives.

Amid a Russian military buildup on Ukraine's eastern border and in annexed Crimea, hostile rhetoric between Russia and the US and its allies is edging towards a cold war high, with Ukraine the battlefield for any actual fighting.

In Mariupol, 20km from the frontline of the east Ukraine conflict and a likely target of any possible invasion, many residents are also largely ignoring the threat and the council has gone all out on seasonal decorations and events.

"They're planning lots of concerts. City hall is trying to make Mariupol an example of security and cultural development of Ukrainian towns, in contrast to towns on the other side of the frontline," said Galyna Balabanova, an activist and project manager in Mariupol.

Alongside developing military capacity, one of Ukraine's strategies to counter the Russian threat is to develop cities such as Mariupol so as to win the "hearts and minds" of Ukrainians sympathetic to - or still living in territory de facto controlled by - Russia.

by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 04:39:11 PM EST
The two latest draft bills on reform of Ukraine's Security Service [SBU], including one from President Volodymyr Zelensky, "give virtually unlimited and uncontrolled powers to the SBU which are not typical for democratic countries". [June 2020]

Appeal regarding the draft law №3196-d "On the Security Service of Ukraine"

How is the investigation and prosecution case of alleged shooters responsible for the Maidan Revolt massacre in Februari 2014 proceeding?

Ex-Berkut officer on trial for Maidan killings reinstated in Ukraine's police force

by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 04:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 08:01:32 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 08:02:35 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 08:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 08:43:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Far-right extremists in Ukrainian military bragged about Canadian training, report says

Evidence uncovered in this paper suggests that since 2018, the Hetman Petro Sahaidachny National Army Academy (NAA), Ukraine's premier military education institution and a major hub for Western military assistance to the country, has been home to Centuria, a self-described order of "European traditionalist" military officers that has the stated goals of reshaping the country's military along right-wing ideological lines and defending the "cultural and ethnic identity" of European peoples against "Brussels' politicos and bureaucrats." The group envisions a future where "European right forces are consolidated and national traditionalism is established as the disciplining ideological basis for the European peoples."

The group, led by individuals with ties to Ukraine's internationally active far-right Azov movement, has attracted multiple members, including current and former officer cadets of the NAA now serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Apparent members have appeared in photos giving Nazi salutes and made seemingly extremist statements online.

Yeah... vetting by the State Department under auspiciën of Vicky Nuland ...

by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 08:06:19 PM EST
Ukrainian President Zelensky deepens alliance with far right

Amidst the ongoing military confrontation with Russia, reports have emerged proving that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seeking to appoint the far-right Serhiy Sternenko as head of Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) in Odessa, in an attempt to further his alliance with neo-Nazi forces.

As the former head of the neo-Nazi Right Sector in Odessa, Sternenko was directly implicated in the 2014 Trade Unions House massacre of 46 people. He is a convicted criminal and currently under investigation for murder.

Ukrainian court frees activist Sternenko from prison | RFE/RL - June 1, 2021 |

by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 08:47:11 PM EST

Ukrainian presidential office in Kiev vandalized by radicals protesting against sentence handed to notorious Ultra-nationalist leader Sergey Sternenko

Related reading ...

Promoting Human Rights Starting In Ukraine

by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 08:47:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Just maybe the masters with nuclear weapons will make the decisions ...

Exists as a vassal state by grace of US aggression.

The extent of the Obama administration's meddling in Ukraine's politics was breathtaking | Cato Institute |

Related reading ...

A Decisive Turn? Risks for Ukrainian Democracy After the EuroMaidan | Carnegie Endowment |

by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 10:38:22 PM EST

Nice task for German FM Annalena Baerbock ...

Annalena Baerbock's difficult first visit to Warsaw - Poland

by Oui on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 11:03:38 PM EST

More than 10 thousand military personnel of the Southern Military District completed field training

by Oui on Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 04:13:31 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 04:14:54 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 08:12:59 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 08:15:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin draws lines over NATO, Ukraine: Let the negotiations begin

Russia's military build-up on Ukraine's border has two objectives -- one is to force a settlement, on its terms, between Kyiv and the Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's east, in line with the February 12, 2015, Minsk II Agreement. Moscow's second but more immediate goal is to pressure NATO to meet a list of demands: a legal guarantee that it will not admit Ukraine to its ranks, essentially a renunciation of the April 3, 2008, Bucharest Summit declaration that all but promised membership; a commitment not to emplace NATO's troops or strike weapons on Ukrainian territory; a pledge that American weapons capable of striking Russia will not be stationed in states neighboring it; and an agreement to revive the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty), which President Trump formally exited in August 2019. On Friday, the Russian foreign ministry presented many of these proposals in the form of a draft treaty.

I have cited this key moment many times ...

Russia Is Connected to Western Europe

by Oui on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 08:16:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I intended to write a diary and finished an outline ... someone beat me to it!

Book review: Deterrence in the 21st Century - Insights from Theory and Practice

by Oui on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 08:17:39 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 08:18:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 08:52:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Claims Polish government used spyware is `crisis for democracy', says opposition | The Guardian |

by Oui on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 10:34:15 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 04:35:23 PM EST
Soon the U2 affair of US spying will get a new chapter as the Cold War heats up ...

US spy planes fly sortie over Ukraine amid ongoing tensions over Russian border buildup | Stars and Stripes |

Two Of US Air Force's best surveillance planes were spotted over eastern Ukraine on Monday. The E-8C and RC-135V/W were involved in a joint surveillance mission just a few miles away from the Russian territory. The timing of the Recon Mission is considered important as tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine.

by Oui on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 04:36:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait until the blood starts flowing, we'll see who and what counts!

Author Kori Schake, Director of foreign/defense at the American Enterprise Institute. About CNAS

US and NATO Gray Zones

by Oui on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 04:37:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Russia aware of the NATO installation in East Karelia?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 05:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there are any, I guess they should be aware, considering that East Carelia is on Russian territory, and a lot of it is still border area, where foreigners can't have permanent residence nor own property.

Ladogan Carelia, also (mostly) Russian territory has successfully managed to get the border area restrictions  limited to much narrower zone. Just to be able to allow Finns (most with roots in the area) to own property and operate companies.

by pelgus on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 06:26:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 08:22:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was signed: VP Joe Biden. Is president Joe Biden looking for one win at the expense of Europe by forcing NATO into Ukraine? Where diplomacy is the way forward, military threats and economic sanctions will lead to war.

It is a small world and w need to survive man-induced climate change. Stop f***ing around with weapons and mini-nukes for the battle-field. Looking for the nuclear winter?

One can easily add Afghanistan, Iran and many more countries across the globe. The long reach of Uncle Sam.

by Oui on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 04:39:00 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 04:39:48 PM EST
Not a form of International Diplomacy ...

Russian foreign minister warns west over `aggressive line' in Ukraine crisis | The Guardian |

by Oui on Sat Jan 1st, 2022 at 02:00:57 AM EST
German Protest Against Economic Sanctions Dec. 2019

Where is the backbone in Europe under Joe Biden?

by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 06:59:58 PM EST
Lift the sanctions obstructing the flow of desperately needed gas through Nord Stream 2 .... extreme and unnecessary hardship on Europeans  ... energy poverty. The surge in price has caused hardship on the low income families in poor quality housing. Hypocrisy!

President Biden Announces Release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve As Part of Ongoing Efforts to Lower Prices and Address Lack of Supply Around the World

by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 10:46:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strategic Petroleum Reserve ... AmericaFirst!

Europe held in a stranglehold by the White House and US Congress.

by Oui on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 10:47:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secretary Blinken's Call with Czech Foreign Minister Lipavsky

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky.  Secretary Blinken congratulated Foreign Minister Lipavsky on his new role and expressed his strong commitment to continued close collaboration with the Czech Republic as a valued Ally.  The Secretary emphasized their shared commitment to transatlantic security as the cornerstone for regional stability and prosperity.  Secretary Blinken reiterated the United States' firm commitment to Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity in the face of continued Russian aggression, and briefed the Foreign Minister on U.S. efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Busy times for the thirty some NATO allies about non-member Ukraine, Russia-US Summit and OSCE Meeting. Ned Price quite capable spokesperson ... copy/paste 😄.

Czech president rejects nominee for foreign minister over `low qualifications' | The Guardian - Dec. 10, 2021 |

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 08:12:56 PM EST

Individual states should break the deadlock of NATO's unrelenting pressure to expand arms to the Russian frontier. If dialogue is the best option, time to act and not hide.

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 08:14:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The weirdest think (if I haven't already said so) to me is that for all I know, the majority of Ukrainians don't want to join NATO and majority of NATO members loathe the very idea of Ukraine joining.

It's very odd hill to choose to die on.

Unless, of course, one accepts the idea that maybe, just maybe the purpose of NATO is not to be a defense alliance seeking security and stability, but to be an aggressive tool of US foreign policy while keeping Europe in leash and insignificant.

Which it can't be, because the current policy would drive Russia even more towards east and make China the true top dog. Unless that is what US is after?

by pelgus on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 08:32:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine is a divided nation more or less like Belgium with two major languages. The political power elite in Kiev are revising history and banning all links to Russian language in media, organizations, education, and so on. A number of NGOs are banned. Economic corruption is an uniting factor.

The White House and US Congress sees the EU as a competitor. Trump was quite clear, the Republicans were supportive of Brexit and supported a policy of divide and rule. The sanctions on Germany and corporations linked to the Nord Stream 2 has been quite effective. Is hurting the EU due to dependency on energy imports and sky rocketing gas price for consumer and business alike. This will feed unrest and soon riots in the streets.

My nightmare is, as you sketch, the positions will harden. Blinken, Nuland and Sherman are propagating the will for further talks and giving diplomacy a chance. These is obvious hollow rhetoric as positions are entrenched ... just listen to most NATO partners.

Russia has initiated these talks and made clear time is of the essence. The West are positive contrary to Russia who have stated across the MFA and Ambassadors that they are disappointed. Even some signals perhaps Russia should add arms and missile into Venezuela and Cuba. This is likely bluff, as both sides do not want escalation.

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 09:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Jan 14th, 2022 at 01:38:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget, in the Obama administration foreign policy was on the desk of VP Joe Biden. Joe was humiliated with defeats/failures in Libya, Syria and Iraq. A lot blamed on Russia and Putin. The Democrats are hysteric about the evils of Russia. Ukraine was Joe's baby ... well rehearsed with friend John McCain to overthrow a democratically elected President Yanukovych. In 2008, Georgia with Saakashvili didn't quite pan out well and with Putin's strategy to support separatists in Donbas and occupy Crimea with naval port Sevastopol, the coup was not a true grand victory.

Adding the own defeat in Afghanistan, the Biden administration is seeking a big foreign policy success.

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 09:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Kosovo's `decisions' have no legal force -- Russian embassy about expulsion of diplomats | Tass |

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 08:16:01 PM EST

Russia sees no reason to restart talks on Ukraine crisis, threatens action after `dead end' | France24 |

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 11:09:36 PM EST

Russia threatens military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela as diplomacy stalls | The Guardian |

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 11:32:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Senate turns down bill on sanctions against Nord Stream 2 | Tass |

Power to Putin 😏🌏

by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 11:33:22 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 11:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Building Back Better just became a dud ...

by Oui on Thu Jan 20th, 2022 at 09:15:49 AM EST

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