Author Topic: Russia/US-- Europe  (Read 138732 times)

Crafty_Dog

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Record Russian LNG to Europe (France, Belgium)
« Reply #1000 on: December 04, 2023, 02:22:44 PM »


LNG to Europe. Russian exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe reached a record high in November, totaling 1.75 million tons, according to Russian news outlet Kommersant. France and Belgium were the top destinations. Exports to Japan also increased by 22 percent year over year and to South Korea by 50 percent. Supplies to China, meanwhile, fell sharply to 100,000 tons compared to the previous month’s 800,000 tons. Notably, however, the Financial Times reported last month that a fifth of Russian LNG supplies entering Europe is reshipped to other markets.

DougMacG

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Re: Record Russian LNG to Europe (France, Belgium)
« Reply #1001 on: December 04, 2023, 08:15:17 PM »


LNG to Europe. Russian exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe reached a record high in November, totaling 1.75 million tons, according to Russian news outlet Kommersant. France and Belgium were the top destinations. Exports to Japan also increased by 22 percent year over year and to South Korea by 50 percent. Supplies to China, meanwhile, fell sharply to 100,000 tons compared to the previous month’s 800,000 tons. Notably, however, the Financial Times reported last month that a fifth of Russian LNG supplies entering Europe is reshipped to other markets.


Those million of tons of LNG exported could've, should've been from the US.  But no...

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Russia threatens Moldova
« Reply #1002 on: December 06, 2023, 04:26:20 AM »
Russia Has Designs on Moldova
The tiny state near Ukraine is next on the Kremlin menu.
By
The Editorial Board
Follow
Dec. 5, 2023 6:40 pm ET



Still think Vladimir Putin’s territorial ambition stops at Ukraine? Listen to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who threatened tiny Moldova last week at the annual meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“Moldova is destined to fall the next victim in the West-unleashed hybrid war against Russia,” Mr. Lavrov said. The reality is that, as Moldovans politically gravitate to the West, their country has become a target of Russia’s hybrid aggression.

Moldova restricted flights to Russia and imposed sanctions on financial institutions after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Last month Chișinău also began enforcing additional European Union sanctions—a decision Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova vowed “will not be left unanswered,” according to the Russian news agency Tass. The U.S. estimates agricultural production accounts for some 12% of Moldova’s GDP, and on Monday Moscow commenced restrictions on imports of Moldovan fruit and vegetables.

Mr. Putin hopes to spread economic hardship to foment political instability and turn public opinion against the ruling pro-Western government. Moldova’s per capita GDP is less than $6,500, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The good news is that the European Union has helped shelter Moldova’s agriculture industry from Russian economic coercion by suspending tariffs and quotas on seven categories of produce since July 2022. This alternative market has flourished, with Moldova fruit exports surging.

But Russia is also meddling in Moldovan politics. A Moldovan informal document circulated to the EU says it “collected solid evidence” that Russia provided “illegal finances to its proxies” in Moldova “to organize electoral campaigns, to corrupt candidates, to buy voters and to increase the scale of disinformation campaigns” in the country’s recent local elections.

Shortly before the election, a fake video purported to show President Maia Sandu resigning and asking voters to support a candidate widely believed to be pro-Russian. Moldovan authorities worry about a proliferation of fake videos before next year’s presidential election.

Energy blackmail is another Kremlin tactic. Moldova has worked to reduce its reliance on Russian energy, and it also wants to limit its dependence on electricity generated from Russian gas in the territory of Transnistria that broke away from Moldova at Russian instigation in the early 1990s. The U.S. has provided Moldova with $80 million in direct budget support to offset record electricity prices last winter, as well as $220 million to strengthen Moldovan energy security.

If the Kremlin rolls over Ukraine, it will regroup and aim to foment unrest in other parts of the former Soviet Union. Better to help Ukrainians stop Mr. Putin there.

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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Peace with Russia is not possible
« Reply #1005 on: December 07, 2023, 04:50:14 PM »
The Peril of Abandoning Ukraine
If Congress forces Kyiv to accept a Russian victory, the result won’t be peace but a new war.
By David Satter
Dec. 7, 2023 4:41 pm ET
WSJ

With money for Ukraine running out, there is much talk in Congress about the U.S. southern border but scant attention to menacing developments inside Russia. If aid is cut off and Ukraine is forced to accept a Russian victory, the result won’t be peace but Russian preparation for a new war.

The war in Ukraine activated the Soviet totalitarian psychological inheritance in Russia, which was partially dormant but never disappeared. Freed of the restraints imposed by Western ties, Russia is more dangerous than it has been since the height of the Cold War. Militarization is being matched by a surge in nationalist fanaticism.

The budget for the next three years (2024-26), which Vladimir Putin signed Monday, increases defense spending for 2024 by almost 70%. Industries related to the war have seen spectacular growth. But that will be difficult to sustain without a fall in living standards, and any reduction in military spending would lead to a massive structural shock.

In an interview on Rossiya-1 television, Mr. Putin said that 99.9% of Russians would be willing to sacrifice their lives for the country. In a televised message to schoolchildren on Sept. 1, the first day of school, Mr. Putin said that he “understood why we won the Great Patriotic War,” as Russia calls World War II. “It is impossible to defeat such a people with such an attitude. We were absolutely invincible and still are.”

The death toll is rising, but Russia is celebrating. The once-insignificant budget for “military patriotic education” has been dramatically expanded and is being used for constant patriotic meetings in schools and stadiums. On Sept. 30, Putin announced a new holiday, the “Day of Unification,” to mark the 2022 annexation of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizha regions of Ukraine. Russians celebrate flag day on Aug. 22 and the Day of National Unity on Nov. 4, which marks the previously ignored liberation of Russia from the Poles in 1604. It was celebrated this year for several days in major cities.

Inflation has taken a toll, but Russians are accustomed to growing food and bottling it for the winter. At the same time, the war has created new opportunities. The pay for soldiers in Ukraine is 195,000 rubles a month, or about $2,100, nearly 14 times the median salary in the poorest regions of Russia. When a soldier is killed, his family receives a payment of some $55,000, a fortune by Russian standards.

Historian Sergei Chernyshov describes what he saw when he visited the small city where his parents live: “Tens of thousands of soldiers did not return from the front, but hundreds of thousands returned, and with so many millions of rubles that they previously could not have imagined it. In the villages of Russia, there are constant funerals, but there is a sense of taking part in something great—defeating Nazism in Ukraine and finally settling the score with gays, Jews, and the collective West.”

In one year, the Wagner mercenary group recruited 49,000 prisoners to fight in Ukraine. The late Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group’s leader, told prisoners, “We need your criminal talents,” and said that he preferred convicts who had committed more than one murder. The recruits were used in human-wave attacks, but the survivors returned as heroes to the communities they previously terrorized. According to the BBC Russian Service, former Wagner fighters are suspects in at least 20 serious offenses committed since their return, including rape and murder. The real number is probably much higher because many crimes aren’t recorded.

History, meanwhile, is being rewritten. Russia is depicted as a besieged fortress, defending not only itself but all of civilization. New high-school textbooks claim that Russian forces entering Ukraine found evidence of the mass murder of civilians, that the U.S. and other Western countries are using Ukraine as a “clenched fist” aimed at Russia, and that the West is fixated on destabilizing Russia.

Military instruction in the schools is being introduced as early as kindergarten. The training includes teaching children to kill “enemies” using weapons. Morning rituals in elementary schools include patriotic talks by soldiers who have returned from the front and the unveiling of memorial plaques for those who were killed.

At the same time, reminders of Russia’s real history are being eliminated. Since May, dozens of plaques marking the last residences of persons who died in Stalin’s purges in the 1930s have disappeared, and at least 18 monuments to victims of Soviet repression have been reported stolen or vandalized. In the town of Velikiye Luki, the private Russian Knight Foundation inaugurated a 26-foot-high statue of Stalin and argues on its website that the monument is crucial in that Russia is fighting a “real patriotic war.”

The transformation of Russia into a military machine presages future conflict in the event of a peace agreement with Ukraine. Moscow won’t honor any agreement. In 1997 Russia signed a peace treaty with Chechnya. Two years later, four apartment buildings were blown up in Russian cities and Russia launched a new invasion of Chechnya. All evidence shows that the buildings were blown up not by Chechens but by the Russian Federal Security Service as part of an operation to bring Mr. Putin to power.

Perhaps more important, Russia is looking for any sign that the West will shrink from defending its principles. In this respect, references in Congress to an unwillingness to support a “forever war” are not only disgraceful but dangerous.

In a television show marking the Day of Unification, propagandist Sergei Mardan said that the annexation of Ukrainian regions was the start of Russia’s journey to restoring its empire. He said that Russia had lost its purpose after the fall of the Soviet Union but had been reborn with the war in Ukraine. That, he said, is “something wonderful, something frightening.”

Russia’s position in the world is defined by the personal interests of its rulers. Under wartime conditions, they have made national fanaticism the key to their hold on power. A Russian victory would reinforce a war psychology that has gripped the population and can’t be abandoned without the leaders themselves being threatened. Allowed to win in Ukraine, they would defend their positions by looking for new conquests, creating a massive and long-term security threat for the West.

Mr. Satter is the author of “Never Speak to Strangers and Other Writing from Russia and the Soviet Union.” A second volume is scheduled for release in February.

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« Last Edit: December 10, 2023, 07:19:00 AM by Crafty_Dog »


Crafty_Dog

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DougMacG

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Russia's staggering losses, NYT
« Reply #1009 on: December 12, 2023, 08:56:49 PM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/12/us/politics/russia-intelligence-assessment.html

The Russian push in eastern Ukraine this fall and winter was designed to sap Western support for Ukraine, according to a newly declassified American intelligence assessment.

The drive has resulted in heavy losses but has not led to strategic gains on the battlefield for Russia, said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

Since the beginning of the war Russia has suffered from a staggeringly high number of losses, according to another newly declassified assessment shared with Congress. At the start of the war the Russian army stood at 360,000 troops. Russia has lost 315,000 of those troops, forcing them to recruit and mobilize new recruits and convicts from their prison system.

Moscow’s equipment has also been crushed, according to the assessment. At the start of the war, Russia had 3,500 tanks but has lost 2,200, forcing them to pull 50 year old T-62 tanks from storage.

The assessment says the Russian losses have reduced the complexity of Russia’s recent military operations in Ukraine.

“The war in Ukraine has sharply set back 15 years of Russian effort to modernize its ground force,” the declassified assessment said. “As of late November, Russia had lost over a quarter of its pre-2022 stockpile of ground forces equipment and has suffered casualties among its trained professional army.”
« Last Edit: December 12, 2023, 09:00:26 PM by DougMacG »


Crafty_Dog

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A DARK AND SERIOUS READ
« Reply #1011 on: December 23, 2023, 01:11:38 PM »

DougMacG

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Financial Times: The pitfalls of seizing Russian assets to fund Ukraine
« Reply #1012 on: December 26, 2023, 07:22:40 AM »
[Doug]  I post this without endorsing or necessarily agreeing with everything in it.
---------------------------------------------------------
The pitfalls of seizing Russian assets to fund Ukraine
Moscow must be made to pay, but without risking harm to global financial stability
https://www.ft.com/content/b46a3308-b048-44fd-b619-0b92c404c379?segmentId=b385c2ad-87ed-d8ff-aaec-0f8435cd42d9

   The case for making Russia pay for its unprovoked assault on Ukraine is morally and legally indisputable. How to achieve this is a trickier question. The US is coming around to the idea of seizing up to €260bn of Russian central bank assets held abroad that were frozen early in the war and using them to fund Kyiv; EU countries including France and Germany are reluctant. Great caution is merited. Confiscating Russian reserves risks setting harmful precedents and undermining the global financial architecture.

Central bank reserves are generally considered to be protected by sovereign immunity — the doctrine that one country’s national courts cannot sit in judgment on the acts of another, or use its assets to execute judgments. International lawyers headed by Philip Zelikow, a former senior US diplomat, have set out a legal basis for transferring Russian sovereign reserves. They argue this would be a justified “countermeasure” against Moscow’s gross breach of international law through its assault on Ukraine. They point to how Iraqi reserves were used in internationally imposed compensation after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Some other legal scholars challenge this reasoning. US officials now seem privately to back it, along with Britain’s foreign secretary, Lord David Cameron. Having a potential legal basis, though, is one thing; whether it is economically or politically wise to use it is another. A powerful concern is that doing so could harm international financial stability — and the dollar and euro’s status as reserve currencies — by undermining the essential trust involved in depositing reserves with other nations.

Freezing Russian assets was a sound way to squeeze its ability to fund its war. EU plans to tap windfall profits generated from holding them do not affect their underlying ownership. But going further and confiscating the reserves crosses a line. Countries such as China might come to fear reserves held in euros or dollars were no longer safe.

There is also a risk that even if Russian assets were seized under, say, a special G7 mechanism, countries elsewhere might then think it acceptable to settle disputes by grabbing reserves. Rightly or wrongly, many nations of the “global south” would see it as another example of wealthy democracies adapting the rules to their own interest. The US and its allies have couched Ukraine’s war against Russia as defending a rules-based international order. Even if Moscow has trampled on global norms, the west’s response must be seen to be legally irreproachable.

Russia must of course pay towards the vast costs of rebuilding Ukraine. The G7 has pledged to keep Moscow’s assets frozen until Russia compensates Kyiv for the damage — which could be potent leverage in a future settlement. But it is no coincidence that the idea of Russian asset seizures has gained momentum just as US and EU support for Kyiv’s war effort is hitting political roadblocks. It risks becoming a mechanism for western democracies to shirk their own responsibilities. Having stayed out of direct military engagement, they have a profound duty to keep funding Ukraine’s defence of European security and values.

Proponents of using Russian assets argue that “western taxpayers won’t pay”. But the world’s wealthiest economies, and their financial institutions, ought together to be up to this task — and to making the case to their electorates for why this must happen. With careful preparation, and by building the broadest possible coalition in support, there may be ways to lessen the risks of confiscating Moscow’s reserves. As 2023 moves into 2024, however, it is on unblocking and locking in their own financial support for Kyiv that western leaders should focus their efforts.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2023, 07:38:11 AM by DougMacG »

ccp

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #1013 on: December 26, 2023, 07:44:04 AM »
I remember in 1990 I wrote a letter to the editor.

Everyone was asking who is gonna pay for the cost of the Gulf War and I wrote in that Iraq should pay.  Seize their oil.  Very *simple* fix actually.

My 24 hrs of fame when I got to be the *lead* letter to the editor in the Palm Beach Post that day.

:))

Of course, GH Bush did not take my advice.


Crafty_Dog

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Dutch commander: We must be ready for war with Russia
« Reply #1014 on: December 30, 2023, 08:34:58 AM »
news.yahoo.com/dutch-commander-chief-call-netherlands-155800659.html

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Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Things coming to a boil- Balkans, Hungary, Russia
« Reply #1018 on: January 12, 2024, 08:46:04 AM »
Europe Comes to Boil: the Balkans, Hungary and Russia
By: George Friedman
A few months ago, when Gaza joined Ukraine as a theater of intense war, I wrote about another potential conflict emerging in the Balkans. I do not listen much to sources, but two people I trust for their insight on the region warned me that a war was highly probable. I reported as much to our readers, noting that I was torn between sources and my own model, which suggested the opposite. I have not been proved a failure yet, but a war – one that could implicate more than just the Balkans – is becoming increasingly probable.

Central and Eastern Europe

(click to enlarge)

Part of this has to do with deep unrest in the region. Demonstrations have broken out in Serbia, over allegations of government corruption. This would not be significant in itself were Russia not a close ally of Serbia. Russian involvement in a potential conflict there brings consequences unknown but potentially significant given the regional balance of power.

Next door, Bosnia-Herzegovina is facing an insurrection by ethnic Serbs who charge that Bosnians are endangering them. The demonstrators dedicated their uprising to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who had recently visited the country. The United States sent F-16s to signal its opposition to the protests in a move that greatly complicates the situation.

Serbia has been close to Russia for years. Hungary grew close to Russia just before Russia invaded Ukraine. From my perspective, it appears as though Russia is working with its newfound friend in Hungary to project influence – and potentially power – into Serbia, where Budapest also has political interests. This sounds conspiratorial, but then sometimes there are conspiracies.

In any case, Russia is bogged down in Ukraine despite its claims to the contrary. Were this not the case, Russia would show much more movement and not be so desperate to recruit new forces – even by going so far as to, say, offer Russian citizenship to foreigners. Moscow isn’t losing the war but neither has it taken control of the battlefield. It is perhaps creating a foundation south of Ukraine. Its significance is not clear, but it could be read as a major Russian maneuver. At this point, the government must create new dimensions to the war. The problem faced by anyone in Russia’s position is that in looking for new dimensions they might overstretch themselves and exhaust time and resources.

Let’s assume the unlikely: that Russia will use the advantages gained in the Balkans to threaten Ukraine’s flank and rear by posting troops there, or simply threatening a flanking maneuver. If that were the case, the important question would be what it would do next. The reason the U.S. supports Ukraine is that it is afraid of what moves Russia might make if victory opens new avenues of attack. If Russia can break through, it will have won land broken by war. Moscow is losing much in this war and may be looking for something more.

Hungary is closer to Russia because it assumed a rapid Russian victory in Ukraine. That didn’t happen, and its miscalculation came at the expense of ties with the West. Hungary’s relationship with the European Union is near collapse. Like others, Hungary did not see the war lasting this long and therefore did not expect this degree of alienation. However, it has not been touched by the war, nor is it invested deeply in it. This gives Hungary options.

In supporting Serbia – and the ethnic Serbs in Bosnia – Hungary has also brought itself closer to Russia. Hungary’s military capability is limited, but its military value potential rests in its geography. If Russia definitively crushed Ukraine, it could have claimed cities in western Ukraine, such as Uzhgorod in the Carpathian Mountains, that are just north of Hungary. Hungary is generally flat, and a sophisticated force could easily defeat it. If Ukraine collapsed, there would be little blocking a Russian attack, particularly if the Russians treated them as allies and were just passing through to Austria on Hungary's western border.

There are a staggering number of steps and challenges facing this analysis, of course, but there is a certain logic to it. Russia has suffered great losses, politically and economically, from the Ukraine war. President Vladimir Putin has called the fall of the Soviet Union the greatest catastrophe in Russia’s history. Putin, a former KGB operative in East Germany during the Cold War, does not, I think, confine the collapse to Russia but to Russian control of Central Europe. A drive through Hungary would open the door if not to a return to empire then at least to the recognition that Russia is a great European power.

I may be reading too much into what could be random events, but it seems to me that all three players share a common interest that must be taken seriously. Certainly a coalition is forming regardless of what it turns out to be.


ccp

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #1020 on: January 22, 2024, 12:57:49 PM »
why not
it was a greatly successful strategy in France circa 1940.   :wink:

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #1021 on: January 22, 2024, 02:09:56 PM »
A counter argument would be that the fortification Russia built in eastern Ukraine stymied the Uke counter offensive.

Crafty_Dog

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WT: Turkey signs off on Sweden into NATO. Hungary not yet on board
« Reply #1022 on: January 24, 2024, 06:13:13 AM »
Turkey signs off on Sweden joining NATO

Stockholm clears major hurdle for bid

BY BEN WOLFGANG THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Turkish parliament on Tuesday approved Sweden’s bid to join NATO in a major boost for thetransatlantic alliance, which is now poised to gain its second new member in less than a year after Finland’s accession last April.

Separately, Hungary also signaled Tuesday it may be on the verge of dropping its own opposition to Sweden joining NATO. The two developments in key NATO capitals represent significant movement on NATO’s long-running effort to bring Sweden into the fold, and also underscore how the Western military alliance has only grown stronger in the nearly two years since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Turkish legislators ratified Sweden’s accession protocol by 287 votes to 55, with four abstentions. The ratification will come into effect after its publication in the country’s Official Gazette, which is expected to happen in the coming days.

The vote in Turkey ends a long-running saga that saw Ankara stand in the way of Sweden’s NATO membership bid for over 18 months. NATO Secretary- General Jens Stoltenberg hailed the Turkish vote, saying he hoped Sweden would become the alliance’s 32nd member “as soon as possible.”

“Sweden’s membership,” he added, “makes NATO stronger and us all safer.”

Finland and Sweden both dropped longstanding foreign policies based on official neutrality in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ironically, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the decision to invade as a reaction to previous rounds of NATO expansion which had brought the alliance deep into Eastern Europe.

The opposition was driven largely by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s insistence that Sweden do more to crack down on Kurdish groups operating in Sweden that Ankara considers to be terrorists, along with other objections among top Turkish officials.

Turkey has long been critical of Sweden and Finland for their approach toward the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a rebel group with links to the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF. The SDF has been the chief U.S. partner in the years-long fight against the terror group the Islamic State in Syria. Sweden in particular is home to a large community of Kurdish exiles.

Turkish officials in recent weeks have praised some of the tangible steps taken by Sweden to address Turkey’s concerns, including amending some anti-terrorism laws. Sweden also has pledged closer cooperation with Turkey on anti-terrorism efforts.

NATO, U.S. and European officials have lobbied hard behind the scenes to convince Turkey to change its position. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for example, met with Mr. Erdogan earlier this month during a whirlwind tour across the Middle East, and the State Department confirmed that Sweden’s bid to join NATO was a key topic of their discussion.

Tuesday’s vote indicates those efforts were successful.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on social media Tuesday that he’s extended an invitation toPrime Minister Ulf Kristersson to come to Budapest to discuss Sweden’s NATO membership. In a letter to the Swedish prime minister, Mr. Orban wrote that “a more intensive political dialogue” could contribute to “reinforcing the mutual trust” between Sweden and Hungary. He said the two men can discuss ”future cooperation in the field of security and defence as allies and partners” during their meeting.

Mr. Orban has said he supports Sweden joining NATO, but there is deep opposition among other Hungarian officials who object to comments made by Swedish lawmakers about the current state of Hungary’s democracy. Hungary also has closer ties to Russia than virtually any other NATO member, and the Kremlin deeply opposes Sweden’s accession to NATO.

Crafty_Dog

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Will Russia lose Kalinigrad?
« Reply #1023 on: January 25, 2024, 04:33:19 AM »

Crafty_Dog

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ccp

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another Obama miscalculation
« Reply #1025 on: January 27, 2024, 12:17:58 AM »
2008 remove nucs from GB
2024 replace nucs in GB

https://news.yahoo.com/us-station-nuclear-weapons-uk-190000208.html

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #1026 on: January 27, 2024, 05:10:53 AM »
Nice catch.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #1027 on: February 01, 2024, 04:06:06 PM »
By: Geopolitical Futures
Turkey falls in line. Turkish banks have begun closing the accounts of Russian companies over fears of incurring secondary U.S. sanctions, according to Russian business daily Vedomosti. A Kremlin spokesperson said Moscow was in touch with Ankara on the matter. This comes after U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in December threatening penalties on foreign banks that help Russia circumvent sanctions.

Support for Ukraine. EU member states reached a deal on Thursday to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in economic support. European Council President Charles Michel said all 27 EU leaders agreed to the package, despite Hungary having threatened to veto it.

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GPF: Chinese banks bend knee to US sanctions threat
« Reply #1028 on: February 07, 2024, 10:07:09 AM »


By: Geopolitical Futures
Tightening the screws. China’s Chouzhou Commercial Bank is no longer conducting transactions with Russian and Belarusian clients, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported. Transactions using not only the SWIFT payment system but also Russia’s SPFS and China’s CIPS are affected. The bank is one of the main payment methods used by Russian importers. Several financial institutions in China and elsewhere have recently suspended transactions with Russia, following an executive order signed in December by the U.S. president threatening penalties for banks that help Moscow evade sanctions.

Crafty_Dog

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A level headed analysis on Trump and NATO
« Reply #1029 on: February 12, 2024, 05:20:26 AM »
NATO appears to be less worried about Trump's remarks than the Dems and the Trump haters. Here is what was said by the head of NATO. "The leader of NATO said he’s not concerned about the U.S. pulling out of the alliance even if former President Donald Trump wins reelection in November.

“I’m confident that the United States will remain a staunch ally” no matter who wins, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview Wednesday during his dayslong visit to Washington.

The NATO chief is in town to make his pitch that supporting Ukraine and rearming NATO — issues that are inexorably intertwined — helps the U.S. in the Pacific and creates American jobs.

“I worked with former President Trump for the four years he was president,” Stoltenberg told POLITICO, when Trump repeatedly threatened to leave the alliance as he thundered about NATO allies failing to keep up with defense spending pledges.

The NATO chief also pointed to the traditional bipartisan support for NATO in Congress, something he said he witnessed on Tuesday while meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Stoltenberg also noted that Trump’s criticism of NATO wasn’t really aimed at the alliance, but at individual countries that have failed to live up to the 2014 pledge to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense by 2024. “It’s important to listen,” he said, because the criticism from Trump “is not a criticism of NATO not investing enough in NATO.”https://www.politico.com/.../nato-chief-trump-ukraine...

In 2014, three Allies spent 2% of GDP or more on defence; this increased to seven Allies in 2022. Moreover, 2022 was the eighth consecutive year of rising defense spending across European Allies and Canada, amounting to a rise of 2.2% in real terms compared to 2021. One last point, NATO nations still aren't paying their fair share, but they are doing better. Trump's statement which basically pushed back on the idea of "Let Mikey do it." And scared a few nations into waking up. Today more nations are expanding their spending on defense, which was all that Trump wanted. For all of you who believe that Trump will just leave NATO. He can't it is a treaty, and it take a vote of congress to remove ourselves from a treaty....


ccp

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NYT 2021 Biden spoke via phone with Putin for 2 hrs
« Reply #1031 on: February 13, 2024, 09:12:57 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/12/07/world/biden-putin

Not release of recording of this of course.
Can anyone imagine Putin up against our leader even 2 yrs ago or for that matter anytime in Joe's career?


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Looks like Trump's threats are working
« Reply #1033 on: February 16, 2024, 08:21:42 AM »
GPF

Backing Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a security pact in Berlin on Friday. With the deal, which likely resembles a 10-year security agreement signed last month between Ukraine and the United Kingdom, Germany is pledging long-term support to Kyiv in its fight against Moscow. Zelenskyy is expected to travel to Paris also on Friday to sign a similar deal with French President Emmanuel Macron. Earlier this week, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin will increase its supply of artillery shells to Kyiv by three to four times in 2024.

Crafty_Dog

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Trump wins again
« Reply #1034 on: February 19, 2024, 11:20:35 AM »