Posts Tagged ‘NATO’


Ukraine report May 2022

May 7, 2022

Full disclosure

We are at war. Not only in Ukraine, but on every point of the planet. Humans wage war against the rest of living creatures. Until now we are quite successful and not even the COVID-pandemic was able to stop us. The following text though is not about the world wide war on nature, it is about the war of Russia against USA/NATO, misleadingly framed as a war of Russia against Ukraine.

Russia invaded the sovereign nation Ukraine, an action which cannot be condoned. As stated here before, Russia’s invasion is viewed even by staunch anti-imperialists as a terrible mistake, as unnecessary, callous, even counterproductive.

And yet, many (including the writer of this blog) quietly hope, that USA/NATO one day will pay the price for the millions of victims, the unimaginable destruction, and the pain, which USA/NATO wars in Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and quite a few other places have caused.

Furthermore, it is undeniable, that the USA/NATO alliance wooed Ukraine towards the West and away from Russian influence to the point where Russia feared Ukraine would join NATO and Russia would end up with nuclear ballistic missiles on its border, able to reach Moscow in five minutes.

NATO’s proxy war against Russia

Until now the United States has sent 3.7 billion US$ worth of weapons to Ukraine, but US President Joe Biden has called on Congress to approve another 20 billion US$ in weapons shipments for war against Russia. An additional 8.5 billion US$ are being requested in economic assistance and another 3 billion for humanitarian and food security funding.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “We want to see Russia weakened,” while former US Army Europe Commander Ben Hodges declared, “You know, we’re not just observers cheering for Ukraine here.” The United States, Hodges said, should declare: “We want to win,” concluding: “that means… finally breaking the back of Russia’s ability to project power outside of Russia.”

The USA succeeded in provoking Russia into launching an invasion by turning Ukraine into an informal NATO military base right at its borders and refusing to negotiate over Ukraine’s relationship with NATO.

The next logical step was to escalate the conflict by more and more overt and provocative involvement until Russia eventually strikes command centers or other facilities where NATO personal are. Such strikes and the resulting casualties can then be used to justify open war, with missile attacks from NATO territory, the declaration of a no-fly zone, and NATO troops pouring into Ukraine.

Yet, as the New York Times noted in an article with the titel: “Why Isn’t Putin Hitting Harder on the Battlefield?”, President Vladimir Putin’s tactics in recent weeks have appeared to be remarkably cautious, marked by a slow-moving offensive in eastern Ukraine, a restrained approach to taking out Ukrainian infrastructure and an avoidance of various other actions that could escalate the conflict with NATO.

NATO has shown no such restrains. According to recently leaked information, the USA trained over 20,000 Ukrainian troops in the last 7 years.

Georges Malbrunot, senior international correspondent of Le Figaro, reported that US officers are directly “in charge” of the war on the ground. Malbrunot had accompanied French volunteer fighters, to discover that to be able to enter the Ukrainian army, one has to get approval from the USA. The volunteers were forced to sign a contract “until the end of the war.”

Who is in charge? It’s the Americans, I saw it with my own eyes,” writes Malbrunot, adding, “I thought I was with the international brigades, and I found myself facing the Pentagon.”

Malbrunot further mentioned that the USA is providing Ukraine with switchblade suicide drones and Ukrainian soldiers were being trained on them in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Citing a French intelligence source, Malbrunot tweeted that British SAS units “have been present in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, as did the US Deltas.”

There are dozens of top level US and UK officers in the decision centers in Lviv and Kiev, organizing the war effort. Russia until now has not attacked Ukrainian headquarters, if it would target them, there would be for sure many top brass casualties and the USA would have a prime reason to officially enter the war.

The New York Times cited White House officials confirming that the US has provided intelligence to the Ukrainian military used to target and kill Russian generals, about 12 of whom are claimed to have been killed during the war.

The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently,” the Times wrote, adding that “the intervention by the US has had a decisive effect on the battlefield” and that the scale of “actionable intelligence on the movement of Russian troops that America has given Ukraine has few precedents.”

Washington Post and NBC News reported that the US was critically involved in coordinating the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, in the greatest Russian military disaster in decades.

A host of private companies have deployed spy satellites over Ukraine to track the movement of Russian forces from space, the Wall Street Journal reported. Some sell this data to Western governments and media outlets, while others send it directly to the government in Kiev. With the line between observation and participation blurred, many of the firms are keeping their work quiet.

Maxar’s satellites for instance can take photographs from space with a resolution down to 12 inches. These companies are not just deploying their satellites to help the Western media land scoops but are also supplying military intelligence to Ukraine and NATO allies, which is then being used by Kiev to target Russian forces.

Planet Labs PBC and HawkEye 360 are tracking Russian troop movements, with the former relaying this information to the Pentagon. MDA, a space technology company, says it’s working with other companies to supply imagery to the Ukrainian government, while BlackSky Technology, which tracks radio signals, is reportedly supplying data to unnamed “customers.”

Although less sophisticated than the kind of satellites operated by state-level actors, some of these privately-operated eyes in the sky can see through clouds and function at night.

The Wall Street Journal pointed to “a series of attacks inside Russian territory and unexplained explosions at Russian targets.”

The blaze at the Central Research Institute for Air and Space Defense of the Russian Defense Ministry in Tver, a city about 180 kilometers northwest of Moscow, took authorities a day to put it out. At least 17 people died. The research institute was involved in the development of some of the state-of-the-art Russian weapons systems, reportedly including the Iskander missile.

The Pentagon is sending Ukraine laser-guided rockets and new advanced surveillance drones. These highly complicated weapons systems will have to be handled and maintained by specialists, which for sure will not be Ukrainians. Drone operators don’t have to be in Ukraine, they can be in any NATO base, even far away across the ocean.

All the new weapons brought in from NATO countries have of course first to be transported from western Ukraine to the frontlines in the east and south. A venture which could be facing serious obstacles.

Russia for instance just reported that it fired two Kalibr cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets from a submarine in the Black Sea and reiterated a warning that it would seek to hit shipments of NATO weapons.

Russia’s defense ministry said earlier that it had disabled six railway substations in Ukraine crucial to supply Ukrainian forces in the country’s east with Western-made weapons.

All at all Russia has put out of service a total of 16 electric substations along the railway lines and damaged a major railway bridge over the Dnieper. Another railway bridge on the line from Romania to Odessa was completely destroyed.

About 1600 locomotives in Ukraine are electric, only 300 are diesel powered. A repair of the substations is difficult, because the only factory making the transformers is out of action. Locomotives have a wider track than Western Europe and cannot be replaced from Western inventories.

Transformers are a well known point of infrastructure fragility. The number of spare transformers is not known, but it could be somewhat limited, because Ukrainian railroads were in a bad financial shape and there are most likely not big stockpiles of spare parts.

Russia has also started to destroy refineries and depots of diesel or petrol, causing a fuel crisis with many gas stations out of service, long lines of cars at the few stations which remain open, and, most important, shortages of diesel for the army.

The Western alliance needs war

The USA needs a major escalation of the war in order to divert massive internal tensions outward. The cost of living is soaring with inflation at 8.5 percent and rising, increasing interest rates, a looming recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic remaining out of control, with one million casualties until now – more deaths than in every war the USA ever fought.

An anonymous person from Odessa sent the following message:

I want to share the disturbing observations of the residents of Gvardeysky and Grigorovka. They say that for the last two weeks, tanker trucks marked with chemical hazard signs have been constantly entering the territory of the Odessa port plant. Only now the plant has been mothballed since the beginning of April, and there are no employees! There is no production there but chemicals continue to be imported.

Residents of the surrounding settlements are afraid of a man-made disaster and are looking for an opportunity to get away from the plant. And this aspiration is fully justified: Washington has already said that “they will take decisive measures” if the Russian Federation uses weapons of mass destruction. Maybe we are talking about new supplies of weapons to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, maybe about some more serious intervention in the conflict. In any case, there are hotheads in Kiev who are willing to risk everything to involve the West in the war.

An explosion at a chemical plant in Odessa is completely suitable for such purposes. Russia can be accused of using chemical weapons at the cost of the lives of Odessa residents. There are many ways to implement such a plan. You can simulate the work of a Russian sabotage group, you can simply blow up the tanks and throw the wreckage of a Russian missile there. One way or another, a poisonous cloud will cover the whole of Odessa very soon. It is difficult to call it a provocation, but a terrorist attack.

Russia’s defeat in Western media 

Reporting about Ukraine has been epic and the evening news programs of the three dominant US television networks in March devoted more coverage to the war in Ukraine than in any other month during all wars, including those in which the US military was directly engaged, since the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq:

Combined, the three networks — ABC, CBS, and NBC — devoted 562 minutes to the first full month of the war in Ukraine. That was more time than in the first month of the US invasion of Panama in December 1989 (240 mins), its intervention in Somalia in 1992 (423 mins), and even the first month of its invasion of Afghanistan in November 2001 (306 minutes).

Reporting about Ukraine has been epic, as has been glaring hypocrisy, for instance when the assistant division commander of the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, John Kelly, expresses shock at Russia’s “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”, noting that anyone who violates international law in such a manner is “a thug.”

There is just one acceptable narrative about the Russia – Ukraine conflict in mainstream media: that it is an unprovoked and illegal aggression by Russia. Any alternative views are “far-fetched claims from Russia” to “discredit international concerns about war crimes.”

Western news channels never fail to highlight Russian incompetence, corruption, low morale, faulty equipment, and logistic problems. Russia’s reputation is in tatters, its military now a byword for ineptitude and brutality.

Russian jets reportedly need to fly below radar cover as Ukraine’s air defense network is very much up and running, and Russia’s losses are nevertheless exceptionally high, as Russian fighter jets flying low have become easy prey for shoulder-launched air defense systems like the Skystreak sent by the UK and the Stinger sent by the USA.

In further news, other shoulder-launched weapons like the Javelin are devastating Russian armored columns. The nimbler, more mobile Ukrainian forces are able to launch heavily armed raids against Russian targets and destroy them before quickly escaping.

Whatever NATO provides is allegedly gratefully received and Ukraine, so it is claimed, has clearly demonstrated it can use whatever weapons it has to great effect. Drones and loitering munitions (known as kamikaze drones) like the Switchblade, have made themselves felt on the battlefields of eastern Ukraine.

The German magazine SPIEGEL writes:

The world has overestimated Putin’s power. His army is much weaker than thought, his intelligence services have failed and sanctions are starting have an impact. Will all this weaken the Russian president or make him more dangerous?

Two and a half months after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s armed forces are no longer the feared power they once were.

Putin’s troops have experienced a military and moral fiasco in Ukraine. Poorly led, poorly supplied, poorly motivated and poorly equipped, they have failed against an enemy thought to be much weaker. They had to retreat from their positions near the capital city of Kyiv. And what had been planned as a blitzkrieg has turned into a tough slog, a war of attrition.

Associated Press reports:

The fight in Mariupol’s Azovstal plant, the remaining Ukrainian position in a city reduced to ruins is reported to be increasingly desperate amid growing speculation that President Vladimir Putin wants to finish the battle for Mariupol so he can present a triumph to the Russian people in time for Victory Day, the biggest patriotic holiday on the Russian calendar.

Some 2,000 Ukrainian fighters, by Russia’s most recent estimate, are holed up in a vast maze of tunnels and bunkers beneath Azovstal steelworks — and they have repeatedly refused to surrender.

Mariupol is still regarded as contested, even as bulldozers clean away debris, people sweep streets, workers start to repair infrastructure, and Russian flags are hoisted.

The extended standoff at the plant in Mariupol is helping to hinder Russia’s plans for the Donbass, the UK Defense Ministry said in a recent assessment. While Russian forces pound the plant, they reportedly are struggling to make significant gains elsewhere. The Ukrainian military’s General Staff states every day that its forces repelled numerous attacks in the Donbass, destroying tanks and other armored vehicles, further frustrating Putin’s ambitions after his abortive attempt to seize Kyiv.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Russian forces are making only “plodding” progress in the Donbass, while the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said, Russian operations there were “ineffectual” and had not secured any significant territorial gains.

Ukrainian chief of defense, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said that a counteroffensive could begin to push Russian forces away from Kharkiv and Izyum — two cities key to the Russian campaign in the Donbas, and that Ukrainian fighters have driven Russian troops already some 40 kilometers east of Kharkiv in recent days.

There are rumors, that Ukraine was able to kill several Russian generals with strikes on command centers, aided by Western intelligence. A big cargo plane with 200 Russian soldiers is claimed to have been shot down with NATO help.

Vladimir Putin is said to have cancer and will be soon be replaced.

In the Twitter-universe, armchair warriors across the West express the firm belief that the war in Ukraine verges on a dramatic reversal which will see a massive Russian retreat out of all Black Sea territories, leading to encirclements and a rapid collapse of the Russian army. Zelensky himself has announced there will be no ceasefire until Russia retreats from all territories, including Crimea.

Silencing the doubters

It is indeed an unprecedented propaganda campaign, waged by global social networks and Western media outlets, whose impartiality and independence have proven to be a mere myth.

This is brainwashing, mind control, indoctrination, reeducation. This is not only fake news, it is fake reality, it is a criminal act of deception, fooling, tricking, and deluding.

Access to information is being restricted and people are being inundated by all sorts of fake stories, propaganda, fabrications, and plain lies. It even goes to the point where US social media companies say straight out that it is allowed to post calls for the murder of Russian nationals.

The censorship on traditional mass media is total, but there are competent analysts and commentators emerging which have set up new alternative media operations and paint a picture complete different from the mainstream media narrative, most notably Alexander Mercouris, Jacob Dreizin, Scott Ritter, and Alex Christoforou.

They have to be careful and on guard.

Prominent blogger and critic of the Ukrainian government, Anatoly Shariy, has been detained by Spanish police on an international arrest warrant, the SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) announced.

Shariy, an otherwise patriotic Ukrainian, opposed the Maidan coup of 2014 and became a critic of the new government. Ukrainian nationalists threatened his life and he had to flee the country. Somehow he ended up in Spain, which granted him political asylum.

He is wanted on charges of treason, and accused of infringing Ukraine’s national security through his activities in the media realm, while allegedly acting on behalf of “foreign” forces. The case against the YouTube blogger with almost 3 million subscribers was launched in February 2021.

An artillery war

The USA has send 100 long range howitzers to Ukraine and a similar number of various artillery pieces will come from other NATO countries. There are several problems with these arms:

The first issue is training. Howitzers cannot be used by newbies and many Ukrainians with artillery experience have already been killed.

Delivered to the west-Ukrainian border the guns will need to be transported 1,000 kilometer to the east. Their heavy ammunition, and artillery needs a lot, will have to go the same way.

Russia has, as told already, destroyed a total of 16 electric substations along the railway lines and damaged a major railway bridge over the Dnieper. Another railway bridge on the line from Romania to Odessa was completely destroyed.

The Ukraine at the moment can only use its few diesel locomotives to transport the guns and ammunition. Whatever will come through to the eastern front will probably be too little too late.

For some time Russia had made it a priority to destroy Ukrainian artillery. A recent briefing by the Russian Defense Ministry noted:

High-precision air-based missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces during the day destroyed: 4 artillery batteries at firing positions, 3 ammunition depots near Mirnaya Dolina, Bakhmutskaya and Tashkovka, 20 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration, and 1 US-made counter-battery radar station near Popasnaya. Missile troops and artillery have hit 1 Ukrainian battery of BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers at firing positions, as well as 83 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration.

In total the Russian military claims to have destroyed “325 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,306 field artillery and mortars” during the war.

A new participant in artillery fights are drones which are used on both sides to direct artillery fire onto enemy positions. The Russian military claims that it took down 20 of the Ukrainian drones in one day for a total of 726.

Without artillery support in sufficient quantity the Ukrainian military has no chance to hold the line and to stop Russian moves. Any unit which attempts is hold the line will simply be decimated by Russian artillery until it is no longer able to fight. That is happening now. As the Ukrainians have orders not to leave or move their defense lines they either have to give up or die defending them.

This strategy is criminal and will only lead to mass slaughter. One has to ask US advisers and commanders why they hate the Ukrainian people so much.

For the moment, Russian military operations are largely limited to the destruction of the Ukrainian defense infrastructure, which Russia knows well because the USSR put it in place. The mobile phase of the war has not yet begun. After months of shelling, it is expected to start during summer and be over quickly.

In summer only the most skilled and loyal Ukrainian troops will be left as a capable force. They will probably take positions in big cities using human shields and holding administration and command centers. The rural lands will be weakly defended by demoralized regular troops or not defended at all.

Omitted news 

Not a single member of the BRICS grouping, which represents just over 40 percent of both global population and global GDP, has agreed to impose sanctions on fellow BRICS member Russia, despite concerted pressure to do so from both the USA and the EU. Three of the four  —  India, China and South Africa  —  abstained in the UN General Assembly resolution of March 2 condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Former, and quite possibly future, President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva spreads the blame widely for the conflict: Putin shouldn’t have invaded Ukraine. But it’s not just Putin who is guilty. The USA and the EU are also guilty. What was the reason for the Ukraine invasion? NATO? Then the USA and Europe should have said: “Ukraine won’t join NATO.” That would have solved the problem.

Pope Francis, an Argentinean of Italian immigrant parents, averred that NATO’s “barking” at Russia’s door may have “facilitated” Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The pontiff also said he has offered to meet the Russian president in Moscow.

Argentina has refused to endorse sanctions against Russia. Its delegates at the recent G20 meeting, like those of Brazil and Mexico, refused to join a US-UK-EU-Canada walk out of the meeting when the Russian delegates began to speak. The US, UK, and EU are trying to get Russia barred from the next G-20 meeting but neither the host nation, Indonesia, China, India, South Africa or the three Latin American members are on board.

Opposition to the constant drumbeat of mainstream media war propaganda increases. An open letter to German Chancellor Scholz, warning of the danger of a Third World War and rejecting the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine has received more than 200,000 signatures within a few days.

Contradictions, inconsistencies, implausibilities

The Western leadership has fallen for its own propaganda. It believed that the Russian troops near Kiev were defeated by Ukrainian forces when in reality they retreated in good order.

It predicted that Russia will soon run out of ammunition and high tech weapons because supplies of crucial components from the West have stopped.

It predicted that the Russian economy will collapse because Western imports of key materials and gear are denied. The Russian Ruble just hit its highest level since March 2020.

The Russian columns approaching Kiev had maybe the vague objective to pressure Ukraine into a negotiated settlement or to instigate a collapse of the government, but as that didn’t materialize and soldiers were killed in ambushes, Russia retreated. At least the threatening of Kiev pinned down enough Ukrainian troops to let Russia conquer large parts of Kherson and Zaporizhia oblast.

The ports Mariupol, Berdiansk, Skadovsk, and Kherson are now in Russian hands.

Russia could be winning, despite Ukraine receiving billions of dollars of military support by US/NATO. The USA alone has pledged 33 billion US$. Pouring money into Ukraine without proper plan though will achieve nothing. Russia could prevail, while the war could destroy the Ukrainian military and many, many of its men.

And yet, why are Ukrainians still able to shell civilian areas of Donetsk (schools, clinics, residential areas) and kill women and children? It may be militarily insignificant, but this outrage needs to be stopped with increased Russian shelling and counter battery fire on Ukrainian positions.

There are reports of a strike on a second Russian warship operating south of Ukraine’s port city of Odessa.

Ukrainian MP for Odessa, Oleksiy Goncharenko, claimed on social media that the Admiral Makarov had been hit by a Ukrainian ‘Neptune’ anti-ship missile while reportedly sailing close to Snake Island.

According to preliminary information, the frigate was unable to dodge the Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile,” he said. “The ship is badly damaged, but remains afloat. For now. We wait.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Anton Gerashchenko also reportedly said the frigate was struck by a Neptune missile, adding that Russian navy ships stationed in Crimea were sent to help.

Ukrainian news website Dumskaya reported there was a fire on board the Russian frigate and Russian helicopters circled overhead, with rescue ships emerging from Crimea to help. Unverified footage circulated on social media that appeared to show smoke coming out of a vessel.

According to Forbes, the Makarov is the most modern ship in her class and is armed with 24 Buk medium-range surface-to-air missiles and eight Kalibr cruise missiles. It can escort other vessels while also attack targets on land. It is one of three of Russia’s major surface combatants.

The Russian warship Moskva sank after being hit on 14 April. The 510-crew Soviet-era missile cruiser had been leading Russia’s naval operation against Ukraine and its sinking was a major military and symbolic blow to Moscow.

Update: Just after this post was published, it came out, that the Makarov story was a complete fabrication. The story about killed Russian generals is also now regarded as fiction.

Covid-19 and measles

COVID-19 has caused one million US deaths and the US administration warns, that a coronavirus wave, driven by BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 subvariants this fall could infect 100 million citizens.

Yet, measures against COVID-19 are reduced, while military spending increases.

Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine came at the peak of the wave of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron strain. As there is no reliable system of reporting and counting cases (with data often just reported by telephone), there are only broad estimations of some 30,000 daily news infections and 18 million total cases. The war significantly exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic and the caseload is probably much higher now, but nobody has an idea how high.

Sick people in occupied or contested territories most times do not have the opportunity to seek medical help because many medical facilities have been destroyed and medical personnel has fled. The hospitalization of seriously ill patients is severely limited due to the overcrowding of hospitals with wounded military and civilians. There is reduced access to oxygen. Active hostilities make it impossible to deliver medicines to contested territories.

People in combat zones are forced to hide from artillery and airstrikes in bomb shelters, basements, and subways. These places are characterized by high population density, lack of social distancing, no mask use, and insufficient ventilation, all factors which increases the circulation of the virus.

It is impossible to trace, test, and isolate contact individuals in war conditions, and it is impossible to identify epidemic chains. In the context of hostilities, self-isolation is impossible, and people with symptoms continue to infect others.

An essential factor in increasing the spread of the virus is the high population density during evacuations, both in trains and at stations. Many evacuees are children. In Ukraine, children under 12 years of age were not vaccinated, and vaccination of children from 12 years of age began only this year, so the vaccination coverage of children is low.

Over 5 million people have fled the Ukraine, and the refugees who settle in neighboring countries will of course further spread COVID-19 infections there.

The chaos of war and accompanying psychological factors have forced the problem of COVID-19 out of the minds of Ukrainians. Military operations and the humanitarian aspects force people to live in unsanitary conditions without observing COVID-19 prevention measures. The pandemic is no longer the top priority of Ukraine’s healthcare system. All these circumstances will increase the spread of coronavirus infections in Ukraine.

The WHO (World Health Organization) warns that immediate steps are needed to prevent a measles outbreak due to the ongoing hostilities and low vaccination rates. 85 percent of eligible children in Ukraine received their first dose of measles vaccine in 2020 – which, while a significant improvement compared to the low of 42 per cent in 2016, is still below the recommended 95 percent or higher each year to protect the population.

With first the COVID-19 pandemic and now the ongoing war leading to severe disruptions to the Ukrainian health system, including routine immunizations, the WHO is seriously concerned about a potential measles outbreak, which could have devastating health consequences. WHO said immunization gaps among Ukrainian children, adolescents, and adults led to measles outbreaks in 2012 and then again from mid-2017 to the end of 2019, when Ukraine had the second-largest measles outbreak reported globally.

Sanctions wars

The European Union is debating possible sanctions on Patriarch Kirill, the head of The Russian Orthodox Church, also known as the Moscow Patriarchate, who leads about 100 million believers. The EU has accused him of supporting the war and President Vladimir Putin. The sanctions would entail an asset freeze and a travel ban.

Sanctions and asset thefts are also in store for Russian and Belarusian oligarchs.

It will not make a difference, it will only backfire, because Europe is depending on energy imports, because Europe is depending on food imports.

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has revised down its eurozone growth forecast for 2022 to 2.8 percent from 3.9 percent in its January estimate, with the region’s biggest economy, Germany, taking a heavy hit. The main channel through which the conflict in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia affect the Euro area economy is raising global energy prices and energy security.

The shockwaves of the conflict hurt countries like Italy and Germany more than other European nations because they have relatively large manufacturing sectors and depend on energy imports from Russia. Germany’s economy is now expected to grow by 2.1 percent this year, down from the previous forecast of 3.8 percent. Italy will also drop, with a growth rate of 2.3 percent compared to an earlier forecast of 3.8 percent.

The Euro area’s annual inflation reached an all-time high of 7.5 percent in April, the inflation rates in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, and Slovakia have topped 10 percent.

Even the prominent British magazine The Economist had to admit, that Russia’s economy has not collapsed under US-led sanctions, defying Western expectations.

US strategists believes, that economic hardship in Russia will cause the people to rise up and overthrow Putin with the help of 5th column Color Revolution actors are pure phantasy. Russia is self-sufficient in energy and minerals, food production, and production of essential goods. It doesn’t need to import anything what is deemed as absolutely necessary for enabling a comfortable life. Most imports are plain luxury for the middle class.

If Russian’s cannot buy all the unnecessary gadgets Western consumer culture offers, if they have to buy Russian made replacements or save the money, it will only benefit Russia’s economy. In compatison, if Europeans are broke because food and energy gets ever more expensive, there will be mayhem!

Both the military and economic wars will hardly weaken Russia (as is the stated goal of Western leaders). On the contrary, Russian dependency on European markets and Western financial systems prevented Russia from acting in Ukraine in 2014. Now, after sanctions have forced Russia to unchain itself from these dependencies, it has a free hand to wage war in the Ukraine.

Europe froze 300 billion Euros of sovereign bonds.

The theft of Russian assets by NATO countries and the severing of economic ties have not collapsed Russia’s economy, while the robbing of Russian oligarchs has even done Putin a favor. The oligarchs have lost all influence, and the Atlanticists (5th column), the St. Petersburg intelligentsia have finally to burry their dreams of Western consumerism.

Russia has found a way not only to survive, but even to thrive in a hostile environment.

All pundits and think tanks predicted that the Russian economy will collapse because Western imports of key materials and gear are denied. There is no collapse, the supermarket shelves are full, there are no shortages. The Russian Ruble just hit its highest level since March 2020.

While Europe sees energy prices go through the roof and politicians running for cover as they face rolling election defeats by enraged voters.

Russia doesn’t need the European market, it can sell oil and gas to Asia, selling for a discount but nevertheless making more profit because of high market prices. India and China are waiting. In the end Russia will exports less oil but will earn more for each barrel, while Europe will suffer from significantly higher oil prices and painful shortages.

BBC and other media report: BP’s profits for the first three months of this year have more than doubled after oil and gas prices soared. The energy giant made an underlying profit of 6.2 billion US$ compared to 2.6 billion in the same period last year, far ahead of expectations.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that several European gas suppliers to Russia have agreed to new payment terms in rubles, but are keeping it quiet and disseminating misleading information about Hungary’s attitude on the subject.

Hungary has opened a euro account, to which a gas price is credited in Euro, and then a bank converts it into Rubles… Beside us, nine other countries are doing the same, but they do not admit they are doing the same, just because in Europe ‘being good for Europe’ now means that the leadership of the country is not speaking honestly with its people and internationally.” Gulyas told broadcaster Kossuth Radio.

Gazprom said that four European gas buyers have already paid for gas deliveries from Russia, complying with the Kremlin’s resolution to only accept rubles in exchange for Russian gas.

The New York Times writes, that Europe’s quest to replace Russian gas faces plenty of hurdles, and that climate concerns, investor reticence, and political disputes complicate a shift to supplies from the USA, North Africa, or the Mediterranean.

The EU tries to ban European vessels and companies from providing services — including insurance — linked to the transportation of Russian oil and products globally as part of its new sanctions package. This is a potentially powerful tool because 95 percent of the world’s tanker liability cover is arranged through a London-based insurance organization called the International Group of P&I Clubs that has to heed European law.

Without insurance cover, Russia and its customers would have to find alternatives for risks including oil spills and mishaps at sea that can quickly run into multi-billion-dollar claims.

The proposed rules also ban European citizens and companies incorporated in Europe from transporting Russian oil anywhere in the world, not just to the continent. This means that vessels owned, chartered or controlled by European entities and individuals, even if they don’t fly the flag of one of the EU’s member states, can’t transport crude oil and petroleum products which originate in Russia.

The tanker Sunny Liger took on about 60,000 tons of diesel at Russia’s Primorsk port in late April, but was refused entry to a Swedish port, before being turned away from Rotterdam and then Amsterdam, after Dutch dockworkers allegedly refused to unload the tanker. While the Sunny Liger is anchored offshore, another ship carrying diesel from Primorsk, the CB Caribic, entered the Amsterdam port area without problems.

Leave it in the ground

Leave the fossil fuels in the ground, save energy, use energy more efficiently. It is not a preferred solution for politicians (no kickbacks, no lucrative board seats). It would be an essential step to avoid the climate catastrophe.

Oil and gas sanctions are fine, degrowth is fine, reducing industrial activity is fine. If this dreadful war has any positive aspect, this is it.

A few more links:
State socialism or oligarch capitalism?‘Biden-is-surrounded-by-a-band-of-rogues-who-want-to-destroy-Russia’
An emotional and deeply disturbing text. It offers the quiet plausible explanation that Western accusations of war crimes and genocide have not only the purpose of demonizing Russia and preparing the public for wider war but also seek to drown out evidence of Ukrainian barbarity and crimes.
Biden’s escalation against Russia threatens nuclear war.
Evaluation of the Russian military’s performance by an US think tank.
“Who, if push comes to shove, will move beyond training missions and provide direct, in-country military support?” Which means NATO troops marching into Ukraine and a no-fly zone. Which means direct War between US/NATO and Russia.
Ukraine is ready to attack Crimean Bridge at first opportunity.—Chinese-Spox-20220429-0017.html
Washington is preparing to massively escalate US involvement in the war, including directly sending troops or even using nuclear weapons against Russia.