Author Topic: Russia/US-- Europe  (Read 160544 times)

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #750 on: February 14, 2023, 09:29:45 AM »
The Hersch piece certainly is inherently plausible, but as I previously mentioned a highly knowledgeable friend of mine reminds me of Hersch's wild claims in the past and tells me that there are some implausible aspects to Hersch's piece.  Given my friend's professional competence in these matters, particularly with regard to conflict with Russia, I take note.


G M

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #751 on: February 14, 2023, 09:45:18 AM »
The Hersch piece certainly is inherently plausible, but as I previously mentioned a highly knowledgeable friend of mine reminds me of Hersch's wild claims in the past and tells me that there are some implausible aspects to Hersch's piece.  Given my friend's professional competence in these matters, particularly with regard to conflict with Russia, I take note.

If out RINOs in Congress weren’t just wasting oxygen, they’d drag people in and question them under oath to answer these questions.

ccp

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Biden already told us he wanted to destroy the pipeline
« Reply #752 on: February 14, 2023, 09:57:41 AM »
so no surprise who did it

on another note

interesting that pilots stated the lower flying craft interfered with their sensors

yet at least one of the "objects" took 2 side winder missiles to shoot down because the first one missed

I recall reading during the anthrax scare
that 200 lbs of anthrax released over DC would be enough to kill everyone
(as a conservative not necessarily a revolting thought)

I am thinking China could send balloons overhead loaded with anthrax making shooting them down totally dangerous ......


Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #753 on: February 14, 2023, 10:44:02 AM »
"interesting that pilots stated the lower flying craft interfered with their sensors.  yet at least one of the "objects" took 2 side winder missiles to shoot down because the first one missed"

I had not put these two things together!!!

"I recall reading during the anthrax scare that 200 lbs of anthrax released over DC would be enough to kill everyone , , , I am thinking China could send balloons overhead loaded with anthrax making shooting them down totally dangerous ......"

Quite the blackmail!!!

G M

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #754 on: February 14, 2023, 10:48:55 AM »
"interesting that pilots stated the lower flying craft interfered with their sensors.  yet at least one of the "objects" took 2 side winder missiles to shoot down because the first one missed"

I had not put these two things together!!!

"I recall reading during the anthrax scare that 200 lbs of anthrax released over DC would be enough to kill everyone , , , I am thinking China could send balloons overhead loaded with anthrax making shooting them down totally dangerous ......"

Quite the blackmail!!!

Anthrax is the equivalent of black powder muskets when it comes to bio weapons. Imagine the nightmares Fauci funded at Wuhan.

G M

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A lengthy piece undercutting Hersh on NS
« Reply #755 on: February 14, 2023, 01:27:59 PM »
The Hersch piece certainly is inherently plausible, but as I previously mentioned a highly knowledgeable friend of mine reminds me of Hersch's wild claims in the past and tells me that there are some implausible aspects to Hersch's piece.  Given my friend's professional competence in these matters, particularly with regard to conflict with Russia, I take note.



https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/sy-hersh-swings-big-misses-lee-smith

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #756 on: February 14, 2023, 02:08:30 PM »
Quality find GM.

Does it affect your previous analysis?

G M

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #757 on: February 16, 2023, 07:30:09 AM »
Quality find GM.

Does it affect your previous analysis?

Ability: Although other western nations have some ability with underwater demolitions, the US and UK could easily do it without question.

Opportunity: The US and UK had easy access to NS during BALTOPS (Cover for action).

Motive: To prevent Germany from cutting a side deal with Russia in the short term, and preventing a Russian-German alliance in the long term.

Another version of events here:

https://twitter.com/JohnBasham/status/1626078491560099840


Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #758 on: February 16, 2023, 09:41:56 AM »
On top of my Boomer bias against Twitter as a place for serious convo, I am not familiar with the author.

Certainly, you make very fair points as to the inherent plausibility of the idea that we did it-- indeed, if not us, then who?

Crafty_Dog

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Belarus
« Reply #759 on: February 16, 2023, 04:06:54 PM »
Minsk clarified under which circumstances it would send troops across its southern border.
By: Geopolitical Futures

Setting parameters. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said his troops will fight in Ukraine alongside the Russians only if Belarusian territory is attacked. At a press conference on Thursday, he also said Minsk is making preparations for any possible aggression but will not announce a military mobilization. He made the comments as Kyiv and some in the West have warned that Belarus could deploy its troops to Ukraine to help its closest ally, Russia. Lukashenko also said he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: What if Ukraine falls?
« Reply #760 on: February 17, 2023, 08:49:03 AM »
February 17, 2023
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What Happens If Ukraine Falls?
Thoughts in and around geopolitics.
By: George Friedman

I recently wrote about Russian preparations for a major offensive in Ukraine: a pincer movement that would close Ukrainian forces in from the north and the south. There is now general discussion of such a move by Russia in the next months, albeit configured in many different ways, most different from mine. Still, the important issue is whether Ukraine can defeat such an attack. Over the past year, Ukraine has fared much better than expected, and Russia much worse. But major powers have the luxury of early stumbling, their size giving them the resources needed to recover from early defeats. The successes of weaker powers sometimes die on the vine. And though Russia could, in theory, hold on and send Ukraine reeling through sheer stamina, doing so would be a move of last resort. Such is the uncertainty of war.

Belarus seems to be thinking of entering the war, and though its utility is limited, its knowledge of the balance of power in Ukraine could be beneficial to Moscow. Russian aircraft – and intelligence operatives, I suspect – are now operating in Moldova, and Romania, its neighbor and occasional protector, is on alert. Anxieties are high. France and other European countries have ordered their nationals to leave Belarus, and the U.S. has warned its citizens to leave Russia.

If the Ukrainians can no longer resist effectively, and if the flanks represented by Belarus and Moldova are opening a path to Poland and Romania, what will the United States do? Europe will follow Washington’s lead, for better or worse. The worst-case scenario, of course, would be the war that was avoided during the Cold War. That war never happened because Russia did not have the power to engage and defeat NATO and its U.S. benefactors. The Russians were not prepared to attack given the risk of failure and the riskier, albeit unlikely, possibility of a nuclear exchange.

Still, the U.S. must consider the risks of intervention. If Russia occupies Ukraine, it would effectively border Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. It’s no secret that President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB operative, considers the collapse of the Soviet Union a geopolitical catastrophe, which means he may well see the collapse of Russian power in Central Europe equally lamentable. A return to the borders of the Cold War after defeating Ukraine would go far in redeeming Russia’s geopolitical position. And it would raise the question of whether and when Russia would press farther west. It would put Europe in a position it never conceived it would be in: living with a hostile and powerful enemy at its border, and a not-always-predictable America guaranteeing its frontiers.

Now, as always, Russian occupation of Europe would threaten U.S. control of the Atlantic – something for which Washington fought two world wars. Under those circumstances, it would more easily justify direct American intervention. After all, it would be able to maneuver more easily in Ukraine, and it would have a network of allies near and needy.

If Ukraine's defenses crumble, the U.S. would have to make some rapid decisions (or rapidly implement decisions already made). It could send forces into Ukraine to try to force a Russian retreat, or it could decline combat. Directly engaging Russian troops with limited force can be a long, painful and uncertain engagement. But accepting the outcome opens the door for Russia to rearrange Europe again. A second cold war would be a necessary but undesired outcome. Reinforcing Ukraine before its collapse would therefore be the lower risk and cost option.
If Ukraine falls, the U.S. will be forced to engage Russia. Fighting directly in Ukraine will be a choice, which means doing so will be politically painful. Presidents are rarely rewarded for avoiding a threat that has not yet materialized, even if it’s inevitable.

I am not predicting the imminent fall of Ukraine, of course. I’m simply gaming out all the options if it does fall. Prudence – and the coming Russian offensive – demands it.

Crafty_Dog

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The View from inside the Deep State: Fiona Hill
« Reply #761 on: February 19, 2023, 03:43:08 AM »
I trust we remember who this woman is , , ,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5SMm4i1YqY&t=2s

I can't help but note her comments at 03:20 about not knowing the state of the Uke military.  Ummm, if memory serves, President Trump had SOCEUR Green Berets train them and that is a big piece of why they are fighting so well, and know how to use our equipment.  There is also the matter of the seasoning that comes from fighting the Russian "little Green Men" in the Donbass for several years , , ,

04:20 in her discussion of provocations she leaves out:
our backing the overthrow of the Russian backed Uke govt in 2014 and that the Russian taking of Crimea was a RESPONSE to this (I think I have this right)
our discussions of bringing the Ukes into NATO

Signing off at 06:50
« Last Edit: February 19, 2023, 03:53:05 AM by Crafty_Dog »


Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #763 on: February 22, 2023, 07:08:16 AM »
A point well worth noting.

I am playing this meme forward.


Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Putin: If the West provides Ukraine w long-range weapons systems, then
« Reply #765 on: February 23, 2023, 05:58:15 AM »
Daily Memo: Putin Pulls Out of Nuclear Treaty
In an annual speech, the Russian president also warned the West against supplying Kyiv with long-range weapons.
By: Geopolitical Futures
Putin's message. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his first address to the Federal Assembly since the war in Ukraine began nearly a year ago. In the speech, he said Russia would suspend its participation in the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty. (Washington accused Moscow in January of violating the treaty by refusing to allow inspections on Russian territory.) He also warned that if the West provides Ukraine with long-range weapons systems, Russia will be forced to push back the threat even farther from its borders. Putin devoted the second half of his speech to economic issues, boasting that the Russian economy was stronger than the West believed it would be after imposing its strict sanctions against Moscow.

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Moldova and other items of interest
« Reply #766 on: February 23, 2023, 05:31:06 PM »
   
Daily Memo: Moldova Responds to Russia's 'Destabilizing' Actions
The animosity is building between the two countries.
By: Geopolitical Futures

Moldovan response. Moldova’s foreign minister said Chisinau will begin the process of renouncing several agreements signed under the Commonwealth of Independent States in response to Russia’s attempts to destabilize the country. This comes after the Russian president earlier this week revoked a 2012 decree recognizing Moldova’s independence in resolving the dispute over the Russian-backed separatist region of Transnistria, which borders Ukraine. Moscow has also accused Kyiv of planning a provocation in Transnistria and framing it as a Russian assault on the territory.

MARC:  As usual Russia's word is meaningless.  Remember the Budapest Memorandum?  Look how shamelessly a deal supposed to put things to rest is jettisoned.

Putin's promise. In a speech to mark “Defender of the Fatherland Day,” Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to provide Russian troops with more advanced weapons and equipment. He said the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile system will be deployed this year, that mass production of air-based hypersonic Kinzhal systems will continue, and that mass deliveries of sea-based Zircon hypersonic missiles will begin. He made the comments on the eve of the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Possible summit. The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan could meet in Brussels for a summit hosted by European Council President Charles Michel, according to U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price. Price also said significant progress has been made over the past few months toward settling the two countries' dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. The U.S. and EU are playing mediator here, blocking Moscow’s efforts to do the same in its traditional sphere of influence.

Worsening drought. The Horn of Africa is facing its sixth consecutive year of below-average rainfall, which could severely worsen the ongoing drought there, according to the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center. The drought covers areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and its effects have been exacerbated by political instability in the region. Militant groups including al-Shabaab have taken advantage, disrupting relief efforts and recruiting fighters from local populations with promises of food.

Chinese concerns. During talks with Japanese officials, China’s assistant commerce minister said on Thursday that Beijing is highly concerned about Tokyo’s moves to control semiconductor exports. He expressed hope that Japan would abide by international rules and provide Chinese companies with a “fair, non-discriminatory and predictable” business environment. Japan is set to introduce new export controls this spring, the details of which have not been disclosed publicly.

Trade networks. Kazakhstan’s prime minister said his country will speed up development of transport routes to Russia and China, as well as the trans-Caspian route, to remove bottlenecks in the trade network. Four routes to Russia are already being repaired, while corridors to other destinations are set to be modernized by 2030.

Gas imports. Belarus signed a deal with Russia’s Gazprom agreeing that the price of its natural gas imports will be fixed to the ruble. The price of gas for Belarus in 2023 will stay the same as last year. Minsk began paying for Russian gas in rubles last April.

G M

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Crafty_Dog

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GFP: Russia-Moldova-Transnitia
« Reply #768 on: February 27, 2023, 05:14:27 PM »
Note the point about massive ammo stores!
===================================

February 27, 2023
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In Moldova, Ukraine Buys Time
An ongoing war of words with Russia could spell another offensive.
By: Antonia Colibasanu

A war of words has troubled Moldova for more than two weeks. It started when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of a Russian coup plot against Moldova on Feb. 10. Two days later, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that Ukraine sent intelligence to her government, according to which the Russians had a plan to destabilize the country by organizing protests and by employing “violent actions.” It would have been the perfect cover for inciting a coup in a country that is prone to violent protest-induced governmental change.

In fact, Moldova had been on high alert even before Zelenskyy’s warnings. Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – in a not-so-veiled threat – accused the West of “having its sights” on Moldova as a country that might “follow Ukraine’s path.” Even before that, Sandu enraged Moscow in January by implying Moldova might consider joining NATO. Two influential Russian lawmakers responded by saying Moldovan membership in NATO could lead to the country’s destruction. Following the threat, Sandu requested that the parliament pass draft legislation to provide the Prosecutor's Office and the State Information System with tools to combat risks and threats to the country's security more effectively.

News of the coup added to the already high anxiety in Moldova and triggered a change in government. Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita resigned and was replaced by Sandu’s security adviser and National Security Council secretary – a signal that the government was prepared to operate from a mandate to protect Moldova from Russian threats. This is no small thing for a country usually committed to a policy of neutrality. Sandu and the new prime minister promptly issued statements on the shortcomings of neutrality and a potential constitutional change to join a “larger alliance” – that is, NATO.

These kinds of statements, meanwhile, have stirred up domestic partisan activity. Pro-Russia factions are expected to object, while nationalist factions seek to double down on their own agenda, which includes petitions to the EU to add Moldovan oligarchs and other sympathetic politicians to sanctions lists.

Moscow has responded to Moldova in kind. On Feb. 21, President Vladimir Putin canceled a 2012 foreign policy decree that committed Moscow to peacefully resolving the border crisis of Transnistria. The region is a narrow strip of land in eastern Moldova that has been controlled by a Russian-backed government since a war in 1992 fought between Transnistrian separatists and Moldova. And for 30 years, some 2,000 Russian soldiers have been stationed there. (The separatist region is said to host the largest weapons depot in Europe – about 20,000 tons of ammunition and military equipment, albeit likely from the Soviet era.) In 2012, Moscow agreed to help find a way to peacefully resolve the conflict, but that was at a time when Russia was seeking closer relations with the EU and the U.S. Clearly, that is no longer the case. In other words, Transnistria is a European region in which Russia has citizens to protect and military assets already in place to protect them.

Moldova and Borderlands
(click to enlarge)

This is why fears are well-founded that Russia’s escalation in Ukraine could embroil Moldova. And it explains the most recent exchanges between Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. On Feb. 23, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine was planning an operation to invade Transnistria. Moldovan media reported that the claim was merely Russian psyops. Still, Kyiv went out of its way to say it would act to help Moldova if Russia ever attacked.

These statements paint a picture of escalation that Russia would benefit from. Moscow’s frontal attacks in Ukraine haven’t been especially successful, so logic dictates the execution of a flanking maneuver. Belarus – helmed by a staunchly pro-Russia government – and Moldova are the only places in which Russia could launch such a maneuver. The cancellation of the Moldova decree, then, is meant to force Moldova to accept Russian dominance and influence. It does not indicate an attack, but it does make it clear that one is a very real possibility.

Imagine a scenario in which Moldova got militarily involved in the Ukraine war and opened a second front. Considering how quickly Kyiv responded to a potential Russian threat in Moldova, Ukraine could spare some soldiers along with weapons they received from the West to fight in Ukraine. This would allow Kyiv to ask for even more Western help. The U.S. and its allies may not want the conflict to escalate further – in fact, NATO has already urged Ukraine to use its arsenal for defensive operations, not for offensive ones – but if Moldova were attacked, and if Ukraine rushed to its aid, they would have little choice but to continue their support.

For Russia, sustaining an offensive in both eastern Ukraine and southern Ukraine, where the country borders Transnistria, would be a logistical nightmare. Opening a new front might be worth the effort so long as it doesn’t spread itself too thin, doesn’t lose territory it has gained, and doesn’t upset the U.S. so much that it needs to intervene directly. Ideally, it would lead to negotiations. The fact that U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned Moldova in a recent speech in Warsaw shows that a new front is the last thing Washington wants. With that in mind, Russia may determine it is better served by opening a new front in Belarus rather than Moldova. If Russia dominates Moldova, it would imperil NATO’s southern reach, and would thus draw in the United States. Belarus would be easier to ignore.

Meanwhile, the tension inside Moldova has benefited its pro-Europe governing party. The coup rumors helped Sandu and her party consolidate their position. Had it not been for the warning Ukraine delivered to Moldova, Sandu’s government would have likely fallen by the end of the month due to protests driven by general discontent with the country's poor economic performance. Installing a new government during what appears to be a security crisis has allowed Sandu to avoid further political instability.

The mere prospect of a Russian threat against Moldova allowed the government to establish better relations with the West, giving Sandu direct access to Western leaders like Biden with whom she met during his visits to Munich and Warsaw. Engaging with the U.S. and EU leaders directly makes it more likely for Moldova to obtain security guarantees and funding to improve its economy. Moreover, Russia’s cancellation of the 2012 decree has freed Moldova up from the negotiation process Russia had forced it into. De facto, the negotiating format set forth by the decree was already doomed; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine essentially put an end to the “5+2” setup in which Moscow and Kyiv, in addition to the Organization for Security and Economic Cooperation in Europe, sat next to each other as “mediators” and “guarantors” vis-a-vis Chisinau and Tiraspol, with the United States and European Union reduced to “observers.” It could no longer function, and Moscow’s cancellation only confirmed as much. If anything, through this cancellation Russia acknowledged its weakened position.

For Ukraine, the situation in Moldova buys much-needed time. It could help Kyiv negotiate more help from the West, and it could forestall another Russian offensive. It’s possible that none of this will come to pass, but the potential can’t be ruled out. For Russia, opening a new front, either in Belarus or Moldova, would give it a strategic advantage. If current anxieties lead to the destabilization of either country, Poland or Romania could be next.



ccp

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #771 on: March 03, 2023, 11:17:29 AM »
US marxists learned well from their mentors

https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-diplomat-said-ukraine-war-launched-against-us-crowd-laughs-2023-3

Insert Joe Biden for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
telling all problems are Trump's fault  , border is controlled , I am just a white boy but I am not dumb

no difference nada

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: George Friedman: Hungary and Russia
« Reply #772 on: March 07, 2023, 06:40:57 AM »

March 7, 2023
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Hungary and Russia
By: George Friedman
The Russian government has informed Hungary that its diplomats entering Russia will have to pay a fee rather than pass into Russia without paying for visas. Since levying a minor charge on diplomats entering countries is fairly common, Russia’s move seems inconsequential. However, Russia also said that the fee will be levied until the Hungarians rectify certain violations of an agreement, which is presumably the agreement governing diplomatic relations.

What makes this significant is that Hungary, fairly alone among European nations, has developed a singularly friendly relationship with Russia. Recall that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Moscow shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Orban was seen conversing with Russian President Vladimir Putin about war and making a deal for a large amount of Russian natural gas to be delivered to Hungary. More important, Hungary refused to join the coalition coalescing to resist Russia. As recently as last week, Orban said that the fight between Russia and Ukraine is not a matter of concern to Hungary. Hungary was therefore the country in Europe least committed to supporting Ukraine and most enjoying its relationship with Russia.

This is what elevates a seemingly trivial bureaucratic misunderstanding to something noteworthy. Russia has no positive relations with members of the EU aside from Hungary, and it’s odd that Moscow would allow any doubt to be cast on that relationship. It is not the importance of the policy shift; there is none. It is Russia's decision to impose this fee on a friendly nation, and then to publicize it, at a time when President Vladimir Putin needs to find a way to change Europe’s point of view on the war.

Key to understanding this is understanding the Hungarian-Russian relationship. Hungary has strained relations with many of its neighbors, not to mention the European Union and NATO. The EU has sought to fine Hungary for violations of European rules concerning the organization of the judiciary, freedom of the press, immigration and other things. The EU has withheld some funds as punishment and has threatened to suspend others. In turn, Budapest has obstructed Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership process. Perhaps most interesting, Orban visited the United States to attend meetings of conservative Republicans, many of them committed to former President Donald Trump. He has been a thorn in the side of the Western political establishment.

His reasons for doing this are partly ideological – he accepts the principles of American and European conservatives and, in accepting them, believes the West is corrupt and weak. When he saw that war with Russia was coming, he assumed the West would either fail to defend Ukraine or collapse in the face of Russian power. Like others, he expected Western help to be limited, Ukraine to be rapidly overrun by Russia, and a new political and institutional structure to be established in Europe. This reasonably led to moving close to Russia and separating himself from Western powers. The fact that his assumptions were wrong has forced him into a difficult position. If Ukraine falls, Russia will occupy the eastern border of NATO – a border shared by Poland, Hungary and Romania. The next Russian move, in the face of the defeat of NATO, would likely run through Hungary, whose terrain enables relatively easy passage. NATO would therefore have to deploy soldiers to Hungary to block Russia. Hungary is a marginal player in the Ukraine war, but if Russia overtakes Ukraine, moves into Central Europe and establishes a new balance of power, Hungary will be a key battleground – in which case Orban’s relationship with Putin will mean little. So long as the Ukrainian war continues Hungary is secure. That changes if either Russia or the West scores a decisive victory. From Budapest’s point of view, the situation can get out of control.

Ingratiating itself with the West, then, would make sense for Hungary. It knows it cannot control Russia, and that it will need to be at least congenial with the West if or when it wins in Ukraine. This is why Russia’s decision to levy fines is strange. For now, Russia needs Hungary, and Hungary needs room to maneuver. It’s unclear if this is meaningful, or if this little more than a slap on the wrist of a nation Russia values is part of a broader shift on the battlefield and thus on the global stage.

P.S. After completing this article we received an update that Orban is now calling for an immediate cease-fire and negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, and is preparing to go to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and act as a kind of mediator.


Crafty_Dog

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RANE: New revelations about NS 2 hit
« Reply #774 on: March 08, 2023, 05:29:11 PM »
New Revelations About the Nord Stream Attacks Put Ukraine in Hot Water
9 MIN READMar 8, 2023 | 23:15 GMT






Allegations that pro-Ukrainian actors were behind last fall's sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines reduce the perceived Russian threat to European oil and gas infrastructure, but could also undermine Western support for Ukraine. The extent to which this occurs will likely depend on whether the Ukrainian government is believed to have participated in the attack. On March 7, multiple Western news outlets published stories that U.S. and European officials believe pro-Ukrainian saboteurs were behind the September 2022 explosions that severely damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines, which are operated by Russia's state-owned gas giant Gazprom. Officials reportedly have no evidence to indicate that top Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, directed or were aware of the operation. The anonymous sources cited in these reports say there remain many unknowns and declined to reveal any of the evidence informing their suspicions. However, the same day, Die Zeit and several other German media outlets reported that five men and one woman, all of whom used fake passports and were of unknown nationality, used a yacht hired by a Ukrainian-owned company in Poland to carry out the attacks. The yacht reportedly left a German port on Sept. 6, 2022 (nearly three weeks before the incidents began on Sept. 26) and was returned in an ''uncleaned'' fashion; German prosecutors were supposedly able to find evidence of explosives on a table in the yacht's cabin. On March 8, Germany's federal prosecutor's office confirmed that the yacht had been searched in January.

In late September 2022, four leaks were detected on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that carry Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Neither pipeline system was delivering gas to Europe at the time, though were under pressure which led to the leaks. The leaks were soon assessed to be deliberate explosions; they also appeared to be very precisely targeted because the two attacks on Nord Stream 1 occurred just outside of Denmark's territorial waters, while Nord Stream 2 does not go through the country's sovereign territory at all.
In the wake of the Nord Stream leaks, many Western governments immediately called out Russia as the likeliest perpetrator, accusing the Kremlin of orchestrating an attack as a form of coercive diplomacy against the West for its support for Ukraine. However, despite significant speculation, there has been no publicly revealed evidence clearly pointing toward Russia, which has always maintained its innocence and accused Kyiv and the West of being responsible.

On March 8, Germany's defense minister warned that it was too early to jump to conclusions, hinting it could have been a Russian false flag operation and that it may not have been ordered by the Ukrainian government.

If Ukrainian nationals were indeed behind the attacks, it would reduce the overall threat that Russia may pose to oil and gas infrastructure in Europe, despite lingering risks. Originally, the speculation that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 attacks were the work of Russia led many to believe that Moscow had demonstrated its willingness to strike energy infrastructure in Europe (even if technically outside of EU maritime territory, as the explosions occurred just beyond Denmark's 12 nautical mile territorial waters). This raised concerns that Russia could carry out sabotage operations against other infrastructure, such as Norwegian or U.K. oil and gas infrastructure in the North Sea or the Baltic Pipe connecting Norway to Poland in the Baltic Sea. But if it turns out that Russia was not behind the attacks, then there is no precedent of Russian sabotage against EU oil and natural gas infrastructure in territorial waters or exclusive economic zones to point to as evidence that the Kremlin is willing to take such risks against NATO or likely future NATO countries, like Sweden. Still, even if the perceived risk to European oil and gas infrastructure is lower, Russian sabotage or accusation of sabotage on natural gas pipelines going through Ukraine remains a distinct possibility, as Ukraine is a war zone and Russian forces have repeatedly attacked critical infrastructure in the country. For southeastern Europe, this represents a continued energy security risk since the Ukrainian pipelines delivering Russian gas to Europe remain in operation (but natural gas delivered through those pipelines also goes to Hungary, which the Kremlin may not want to harm with gas cutoffs for fear of alienating its closest ally in the European Union). Finally, if Russia was not behind the Nord Stream attacks, it does not exclude the possibility of Moscow conducting cyber and/or physical attacks against other European infrastructure in the future, even if the likelihood of this scenario is reduced.

U.S. and European leaders will see the revelations as another sign that the Ukrainian government is failing to constrain its own conduct or that of its citizens. But while this will damage their trust in Kyiv, Ukraine's Western allies are unlikely to significantly scale back their support unless the Zelensky administration is found to be directly implicated. The allegations add to a list of incidents suspected to be the work of Ukraine that Kyiv's Western backers have indicated risked not only alienating European allies but expanding the war — a scenario that NATO countries first and foremost want to avoid. But while these previous incidents drew some concern from Western governments, they were immediately linked to the Ukrainian military and intelligence services. All of the incidents were also significantly less controversial compared with the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which are infrastructure for delivering gas to NATO countries. As long as the allegations continue to suggest that the attacks took place without the approval of the Ukrainian government, it is unlikely that additional revelations will override the strategic imperatives driving high Western support of Kyiv. If, however, evidence emerges that the Ukrainian government approved the action, it could significantly fracture the United States and other major Western nations' willingness to continue funneling money and weapons into Ukraine. Some Western officials would use Kyiv's involvement in the Nord Stream leaks to argue that a Ukrainian government unwilling or unable to constrain its actions (or those of citizens claiming to act on its behalf) could conduct escalation or unauthorized provocations intended to draw NATO into the war with Russia in order to prevent the West from agreeing to a de-facto Russian victory in Ukraine by not providing sufficient weapons for it to retake more of its territory.

The incidents involving Ukrainian actions not necessarily approved by the West include the killing of ultranationalist journalist Daria Dugina inside Russia in an apparent attempt to assassinate her father, the strike damaging of the Kerch Strait Bridge linking Crimea to Russia, and drone strikes deep inside Russia that have destroyed Russian strategic bombers (which ultimately served as Moscow's primary argument for suspending its participation in the New START treaty with the United States).

Any Ukrainian involvement in the attack could undermine public support for Western governments' pro-Ukraine stance and embolden anti-war movements. Regardless of whether Kyiv was behind the attacks or if they were the actions of a pro-Ukraine sabotage group with no direct link to the Ukrainian state, media reports connecting the blasts to Ukraine could impact the public perception and narrative of the war in Ukraine across the United States and Europe. While the White House remains staunchly behind Kyiv, there are growing calls from some, mainly Republican, U.S. lawmakers to put upper limits on the amount of U.S. financial and military assistance to Ukraine. The recent news reports could thus not only add momentum to these calls, but also have longer-term impacts on the candidates vying for the U.S. presidency in 2024 elections. In Eastern Europe, support for Ukraine is likely to remain strong regardless of these events, because of the region's higher sense of threat regarding Russia. But in Western Europe, voices calling for an end to EU support for Ukraine could become louder — particularly in Germany, which has seen some of Europe's largest protests against the Ukraine war and Russian sanctions. These types of demonstrations in Germany and other Western European states (like Italy and France) will likely increase in frequency and intensity in the wake of the recent Nord Stream revelations. Such protests have so far had little effect on Western public opinion. But the allegations that pro-Ukrainian actors were behind the September pipeline attacks — combined with even bolder Russian propaganda that can now point to the incident as proof of Western lies about the war — could rally more widespread opposition against supporting Kyiv's war efforts and the country's accession to the European Union, especially if Kyiv's involvement is confirmed.

At two recent hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican lawmakers pressed Pentagon officials about where money and military support for Ukraine is going. On March 8, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also rejected an invitation from Zelensky to visit Kyiv, arguing that he didn't need to travel there to ensure that Ukraine did not receive a ''blank check.'' In addition, multiple recent surveys show that overall U.S. public support for Ukraine is decreasing, while the percentage of Americans who think their government is giving Kyiv too much aid is increasing.

Mainstream government parties across Europe will not downplay the significance of the sabotage. But to mitigate the potential for protest and public backlash, they may try to divert attention from it by arguing Russia had already halted natural gas flows through the pipeline and pointing to other direct Russian responsibilities in the conflict, while at the same time casting doubts on any Ukrainian involvement.

For months, regular anti-war rallies have taken place in Berlin and across several cities in eastern Germany, particularly Leipzig, that have stretched across both far-left and far-right political forces in the country. Before the sabotage incidents in September, German demonstrators had been demanding the reopening of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to ease spiraling energy prices in 2022. On Feb. 24, marking the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a demonstration against supplying Ukraine with weapons saw 13,000 people take to the streets in Berlin.

Other countries besides Germany have experienced similar demonstrations, including the Czech Republic, which in September 2022 saw 70,000 protesters gather in Prague to oppose the government's support for Ukraine. Such protests have also taken place in France, Italy and the United Kingdom, but on a much smaller scale

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Re: RANE: New revelations about NS 2 hit
« Reply #775 on: March 08, 2023, 05:33:12 PM »
RANE is pissng on your leg and telling you it’s raining.


New Revelations About the Nord Stream Attacks Put Ukraine in Hot Water
9 MIN READMar 8, 2023 | 23:15 GMT






Allegations that pro-Ukrainian actors were behind last fall's sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines reduce the perceived Russian threat to European oil and gas infrastructure, but could also undermine Western support for Ukraine. The extent to which this occurs will likely depend on whether the Ukrainian government is believed to have participated in the attack. On March 7, multiple Western news outlets published stories that U.S. and European officials believe pro-Ukrainian saboteurs were behind the September 2022 explosions that severely damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines, which are operated by Russia's state-owned gas giant Gazprom. Officials reportedly have no evidence to indicate that top Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, directed or were aware of the operation. The anonymous sources cited in these reports say there remain many unknowns and declined to reveal any of the evidence informing their suspicions. However, the same day, Die Zeit and several other German media outlets reported that five men and one woman, all of whom used fake passports and were of unknown nationality, used a yacht hired by a Ukrainian-owned company in Poland to carry out the attacks. The yacht reportedly left a German port on Sept. 6, 2022 (nearly three weeks before the incidents began on Sept. 26) and was returned in an ''uncleaned'' fashion; German prosecutors were supposedly able to find evidence of explosives on a table in the yacht's cabin. On March 8, Germany's federal prosecutor's office confirmed that the yacht had been searched in January.

In late September 2022, four leaks were detected on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that carry Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Neither pipeline system was delivering gas to Europe at the time, though were under pressure which led to the leaks. The leaks were soon assessed to be deliberate explosions; they also appeared to be very precisely targeted because the two attacks on Nord Stream 1 occurred just outside of Denmark's territorial waters, while Nord Stream 2 does not go through the country's sovereign territory at all.
In the wake of the Nord Stream leaks, many Western governments immediately called out Russia as the likeliest perpetrator, accusing the Kremlin of orchestrating an attack as a form of coercive diplomacy against the West for its support for Ukraine. However, despite significant speculation, there has been no publicly revealed evidence clearly pointing toward Russia, which has always maintained its innocence and accused Kyiv and the West of being responsible.

On March 8, Germany's defense minister warned that it was too early to jump to conclusions, hinting it could have been a Russian false flag operation and that it may not have been ordered by the Ukrainian government.

If Ukrainian nationals were indeed behind the attacks, it would reduce the overall threat that Russia may pose to oil and gas infrastructure in Europe, despite lingering risks. Originally, the speculation that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 attacks were the work of Russia led many to believe that Moscow had demonstrated its willingness to strike energy infrastructure in Europe (even if technically outside of EU maritime territory, as the explosions occurred just beyond Denmark's 12 nautical mile territorial waters). This raised concerns that Russia could carry out sabotage operations against other infrastructure, such as Norwegian or U.K. oil and gas infrastructure in the North Sea or the Baltic Pipe connecting Norway to Poland in the Baltic Sea. But if it turns out that Russia was not behind the attacks, then there is no precedent of Russian sabotage against EU oil and natural gas infrastructure in territorial waters or exclusive economic zones to point to as evidence that the Kremlin is willing to take such risks against NATO or likely future NATO countries, like Sweden. Still, even if the perceived risk to European oil and gas infrastructure is lower, Russian sabotage or accusation of sabotage on natural gas pipelines going through Ukraine remains a distinct possibility, as Ukraine is a war zone and Russian forces have repeatedly attacked critical infrastructure in the country. For southeastern Europe, this represents a continued energy security risk since the Ukrainian pipelines delivering Russian gas to Europe remain in operation (but natural gas delivered through those pipelines also goes to Hungary, which the Kremlin may not want to harm with gas cutoffs for fear of alienating its closest ally in the European Union). Finally, if Russia was not behind the Nord Stream attacks, it does not exclude the possibility of Moscow conducting cyber and/or physical attacks against other European infrastructure in the future, even if the likelihood of this scenario is reduced.

U.S. and European leaders will see the revelations as another sign that the Ukrainian government is failing to constrain its own conduct or that of its citizens. But while this will damage their trust in Kyiv, Ukraine's Western allies are unlikely to significantly scale back their support unless the Zelensky administration is found to be directly implicated. The allegations add to a list of incidents suspected to be the work of Ukraine that Kyiv's Western backers have indicated risked not only alienating European allies but expanding the war — a scenario that NATO countries first and foremost want to avoid. But while these previous incidents drew some concern from Western governments, they were immediately linked to the Ukrainian military and intelligence services. All of the incidents were also significantly less controversial compared with the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which are infrastructure for delivering gas to NATO countries. As long as the allegations continue to suggest that the attacks took place without the approval of the Ukrainian government, it is unlikely that additional revelations will override the strategic imperatives driving high Western support of Kyiv. If, however, evidence emerges that the Ukrainian government approved the action, it could significantly fracture the United States and other major Western nations' willingness to continue funneling money and weapons into Ukraine. Some Western officials would use Kyiv's involvement in the Nord Stream leaks to argue that a Ukrainian government unwilling or unable to constrain its actions (or those of citizens claiming to act on its behalf) could conduct escalation or unauthorized provocations intended to draw NATO into the war with Russia in order to prevent the West from agreeing to a de-facto Russian victory in Ukraine by not providing sufficient weapons for it to retake more of its territory.

The incidents involving Ukrainian actions not necessarily approved by the West include the killing of ultranationalist journalist Daria Dugina inside Russia in an apparent attempt to assassinate her father, the strike damaging of the Kerch Strait Bridge linking Crimea to Russia, and drone strikes deep inside Russia that have destroyed Russian strategic bombers (which ultimately served as Moscow's primary argument for suspending its participation in the New START treaty with the United States).

Any Ukrainian involvement in the attack could undermine public support for Western governments' pro-Ukraine stance and embolden anti-war movements. Regardless of whether Kyiv was behind the attacks or if they were the actions of a pro-Ukraine sabotage group with no direct link to the Ukrainian state, media reports connecting the blasts to Ukraine could impact the public perception and narrative of the war in Ukraine across the United States and Europe. While the White House remains staunchly behind Kyiv, there are growing calls from some, mainly Republican, U.S. lawmakers to put upper limits on the amount of U.S. financial and military assistance to Ukraine. The recent news reports could thus not only add momentum to these calls, but also have longer-term impacts on the candidates vying for the U.S. presidency in 2024 elections. In Eastern Europe, support for Ukraine is likely to remain strong regardless of these events, because of the region's higher sense of threat regarding Russia. But in Western Europe, voices calling for an end to EU support for Ukraine could become louder — particularly in Germany, which has seen some of Europe's largest protests against the Ukraine war and Russian sanctions. These types of demonstrations in Germany and other Western European states (like Italy and France) will likely increase in frequency and intensity in the wake of the recent Nord Stream revelations. Such protests have so far had little effect on Western public opinion. But the allegations that pro-Ukrainian actors were behind the September pipeline attacks — combined with even bolder Russian propaganda that can now point to the incident as proof of Western lies about the war — could rally more widespread opposition against supporting Kyiv's war efforts and the country's accession to the European Union, especially if Kyiv's involvement is confirmed.

At two recent hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican lawmakers pressed Pentagon officials about where money and military support for Ukraine is going. On March 8, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also rejected an invitation from Zelensky to visit Kyiv, arguing that he didn't need to travel there to ensure that Ukraine did not receive a ''blank check.'' In addition, multiple recent surveys show that overall U.S. public support for Ukraine is decreasing, while the percentage of Americans who think their government is giving Kyiv too much aid is increasing.

Mainstream government parties across Europe will not downplay the significance of the sabotage. But to mitigate the potential for protest and public backlash, they may try to divert attention from it by arguing Russia had already halted natural gas flows through the pipeline and pointing to other direct Russian responsibilities in the conflict, while at the same time casting doubts on any Ukrainian involvement.

For months, regular anti-war rallies have taken place in Berlin and across several cities in eastern Germany, particularly Leipzig, that have stretched across both far-left and far-right political forces in the country. Before the sabotage incidents in September, German demonstrators had been demanding the reopening of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to ease spiraling energy prices in 2022. On Feb. 24, marking the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a demonstration against supplying Ukraine with weapons saw 13,000 people take to the streets in Berlin.

Other countries besides Germany have experienced similar demonstrations, including the Czech Republic, which in September 2022 saw 70,000 protesters gather in Prague to oppose the government's support for Ukraine. Such protests have also taken place in France, Italy and the United Kingdom, but on a much smaller scale

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #776 on: March 08, 2023, 05:43:50 PM »
Maybe, but worth the posting.

Do note "If Ukrainian nationals were indeed behind the attacks"

G M

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #777 on: March 08, 2023, 06:15:19 PM »
Maybe, but worth the posting.

Do note "If Ukrainian nationals were indeed behind the attacks"

This has all the credibility of OJ’s search for the real killers.

CIA disinfo op.

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #778 on: March 08, 2023, 06:38:44 PM »
Could very well be.  But RANE (formerly STRATFOR) is a serious analytical source and if they make the case it should be read.   Of course, if they got taken, that too needs to be taken into account subsequently.

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Speaking of things any group of randos on a sailboat can do
« Reply #779 on: March 08, 2023, 07:08:19 PM »
https://cdrsalamander.substack.com/p/nord-streams-tap-on-the-shoulder?sd=pf

The PRC just accidentally severed a couple of Taiwan’s undersea cables.

Or maybe it was those Ukes on a sailboat!

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I am outraged by 39 Putin hits
« Reply #780 on: March 12, 2023, 09:09:45 AM »

Crafty_Dog

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RANE: Russia-Belarus
« Reply #781 on: March 13, 2023, 04:14:52 PM »
What's Ahead for Belarus-Russia Integration?
11 MIN READMar 13, 2023 | 21:53 GMT





Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, Russia, on Sept. 26, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, Russia, on Sept. 26, 2022.

(GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia's influence over Belarus will likely grow in the coming years, although Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will probably seek to slow Moscow's integration efforts to preserve his place in power. On Feb. 17, Lukashenko met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss the two countries' strategic integration within the Union State, which Minsk defines as a confederation of states and Moscow views as a more binding federation. Then on Feb. 20, investigative journalists from numerous Western media outlets reported that they had obtained a 2021 internal strategy document detailing the Kremlin's plan to use the Union State to take ''full control'' of — or even ''absorb'' — Belarus by 2030. The document, allegedly prepared by Russia's security agencies, military and other government bodies, outlines how Russia will use Union State integration to manage Belarus' foreign policy in the interests of Russia, increase the Russian military's presence on Belarusian territory, ensure the supremacy of the Russian language over the Belarusian language, and give Belarusians Russian citizenship. If confirmed, the moves outlined in the report would align with Russia's policy toward Belarus since the Union State's inception in 1999.

Russia and Belarus agreed to 28 integration programs in their 2021-2023 Union State agreement. At a press conference after his talks with Putin on Feb. 17, Lukashenko claimed that the two countries had completed ''about 80%'' of the programs focused on deepening economic integration, including ''key tasks in the tax and customs spheres.'' But Lukashenko noted that the ''measures in the humanitarian sphere,'' which relate to education and media, have yet to be implemented.
On Feb. 25, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya — the now exiled Belarusian opposition leader who opposed Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election — said that the leaked strategy document contained no new information, and reflects ''the policy that Russia has been pursuing in Belarus for a long time, since the end of the 18th century.'' Tikhanovskaya added that it is ''expressed as a fight against our national language, symbols, culture, history, and instead in glorifying everything Russian.'' Therefore, she concluded, everything related to the Union State is a ''threat to the sovereignty of Belarus.''
Competing Visions of the Union State

Lukashenko and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the Union Treaty in December 1999, less than a month before the latter's sudden resignation. The treaty was formed on the basis of preexisting treaties from 1995 that foresaw the creation of a customs union between Belarus and Russia. From the beginning, Lukashenko and Yeltsin had competing objectives for integration. Yeltsin's administration sought to ensure that Belarus would remain a reliable ''buffer'' between Russia and the West. At the time, Belarus was the only former Soviet state willing to engage in much deeper integration beyond the relatively limited mandates of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Collective Security Treaty Organization. As a Slavic nation, Belarus was also an easy and ideologically attractive target. By creating a common legislature, flag, coat of arms, anthem, constitution, army, citizenship and currency with Belarus, Russia ultimately hoped to attract others to join the Union State (namely Ukraine and Kazakhstan), though this never happened. Lukashenko, for his part, likely hoped that signing the Union Treaty would tie his otherwise weak economy to the stronger Russian one, particularly as Belarus' European neighbors were already limiting cooperation amid the president's increasingly brutal crackdowns on dissent in the mid-1990s. Lukashenko also reportedly hoped that him winding up in the hypothetical position of head of the Union State would enable him to effectively succeed the already ailing Yeltsin as Russia's de facto leader, although Putin's rise prevented that goal from being realized. Ultimately, the Union Treaty is ambiguous regarding the fundamental question of whether the Union State is, as favored by Minsk, a supranational confederation of states, or, as Moscow seeks, a regular federation or an EU-style union.


While in the past Lukashenko has used his skepticism regarding integration with Russia to bolster his domestic popularity, his government's growing international isolation and economic reliance on Russia are making it difficult to resist further integration. The issue of Union State integration had been largely stagnant since the late 2000s. But in 2019, it suddenly resurfaced amid a flurry of meetings between Russian and Belarusian leaders, prompting Belarusians to take to the streets in Minsk to protest against closer ties with Moscow. In February 2020, Lukashenko once again put the topic on pause by forcefully rejecting the idea and asserting that Russia did not seek to integrate with Belarus, but ''absorb'' it — something he would ''never'' allow. Lukashenko hoped this position would frame him as the guarantor of Belarus' sovereignty ahead of the country's August 2020 presidential election. But when the election did not go according to plan and mass protests swept Belarus, Moscow didn't rush to Lukashenko's aid. Eventually, Lukashenko did crush the protest movement without overt Russian intervention. However, Belarus' total reliance on Russia for external credit forced Lukashenko to agree in September 2021 to 28 ''Union State programs'' intended to unify Russia's and Belarus' policies, legislation and regulations in nearly all key policy areas related to the economy. In this way, Russia hoped to cement its influence in Belarus through bureaucratic alignment.

Lukashenko likely permitted Tikhanovskaya to participate in the 2020 presidential election to give it a veneer of competition and legitimacy compared with the country's previous ones, thereby enticing Europe to continue working with his regime. Instead, the election resulted in mass protests and expanded EU sanctions amid widespread claims of fraud.
This past January, Lukashenko held a cabinet meeting on integration with Russia and the implementation of programs of the Union State. During the meeting, he assured his cabinet members that ''the loss of some part'' of Belarus' sovereignty remained ''out of the question,'' once again suggesting the potential threat that Union State integration posed to Belarusian sovereignty.
Given Belarus' already deep economic reliance on Russia, the Kremlin's future aspirations for integration will likely focus on social and institutional issues. All the Union State programs authorized for 2021-2023 primarily pertain to greater economic alignment; in addition to steps such as harmonized monetary and tariff policy formalized in 2022, by the end of 2023, Russia and Belarus are supposed to agree to a common gas market, unified consumer protection rules and unified nuclear energy policy. This will bring Belarus' economic integration with Russia to near completion, with Russia already serving as the country's main trading partner. Starting this year Moscow will thus likely seek to deepen integration with Minsk in spheres increasingly unrelated to the economy. To this end, the September 2021 agreement specifically acknowledges that the two sides will ''intensify efforts to deepen cooperation in the fields of education, healthcare, science, and culture.'' Russia probably believes that it can use Union State integration to make itself a vital part of Belarus' media landscape, economy, legal and regulatory spheres to the point where Belarusian society would not be able to function normally without it. This would then reduce the risk of Belarusians eventually pushing for a more pro-Western leader by effectively making it impossible to uproot Russian influence in Belarus. Lukashenko, however, will remain loath to allow Russia such a greater role in his country's society and institutions, which would also risk further blurring the lines between Belarusian and Russian identity.

Russia accounted for 41.1% of Belarus' exports and 56.6% of its imports in 2021. The countries' mutual trade turnover rose 15% in 2022 in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In the coming years, Lukashenko's priority will be the survival of his regime, which will see his government selectively accelerate or delay particular integration policies. Lukashenko's primary goal is to maintain maximal control of Belarus for himself and his inner circle, rather than among political leaders and bureaucrats in Moscow. The integration to which Lukashenko has agreed up to this point serves this purpose: the country's heavily sanctioned economy can only continue to function thanks to support provided by Moscow. Lukashenko likely believes that the regulatory alignment with Russia that he's so far overseen will help his government maintain economic stability by outsourcing bureaucracy to Moscow and improving efficiency. But Lukashenko probably views anything other than further economic and some military integration as a threat to his rule, as Russian control over the Belarusian education system, media, security and defense spheres could lead Moscow to conclude that Lukashenko is expendable and easily replaced by an even more pro-Russian leader. However, stonewalling all integration with Russia would risk collapsing the Belarusian economy and turn Moscow sharply against Lukashenko. This will likely compel the Belarusian president to allow slow integration in the economic, legal and regulatory spheres, which he believes would be less politically risky. To get Moscow on board with this approach, Lukashenko will claim that quicker integration is unpopular in Belarus, risks undermining his regime and could inadvertently unnecessarily burden Russia — arguments Moscow will accept, for now.

Lukashenko allowed his country to be used as the primary staging ground for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, under the pretext of the Union State military exercise ''Allied Resolve 2022.'' But Russia's current military contingent in Belarus is estimated at around 15,000 troops — a number still insufficient to pose an immediate threat to Lukashenko's rule, or to Ukraine, as several thousand more Russian security personnel would likely be needed to forcefully oust the Belarusian government or launch an attack on Ukraine from Belarus.
On Nov. 26, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei died under sudden and mysterious circumstances at the age of 64. Makei was one of the main architects of Belarus' previous foreign policy of balancing Russia and the West. He had also advocated, even since Russia's initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014, for a ''friendly approach'' to Ukraine and, in the lead-up to Russia's February 2022 invasion, stressed that no attack on the country would be launched from Belarusian territory.
Lukashenko will also seek to deepen his regime's ties with China as a way to counter Russia's near-total control over Belarus' economy. On March 1, Lukashenko traveled to China for meetings with high-ranking Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping. During his visit, Lukashenko signed documents to increase Belarusian-Chinese cooperation in numerous areas, including trade, industry, agriculture, science and technology, health, tourism and sports. Particular emphasis was placed on plans to create a free trade and investment zone in Belarus for Chinese businesses later this year. Lukashenko's recent trip to Beijing aligns with his efforts to use China as a counterweight to Russia's growing economic influence. As Lukashenko is now even less capable of returning to his previous strategy of seeking economic benefits from both Russia and the West due to the latter's increasing sanctions on his regime, closer ties with Beijing have become critical in keeping his government from becoming totally reliant on Russia. Russia, for its part, would much prefer Minsk cozying up with China, its main strategic partner, over its adversaries in the West. Indeed, while Moscow seeks to ultimately secure total control over Belarus, deeper ties between Minsk and Beijing could serve to its benefit in the near term amid recent reports that China is ''strongly considering'' sending Russia lethal aid in Ukraine. Greater Chinese production of goods in Belarus and transit through the country to Europe would provide a clear avenue for Belarus to eventually transfer Chinese weapons to Russia, either after producing weapons domestically with Chinese support or claiming that it did. With no near end in sight to the war in Ukraine, speculation that China may use military-technical cooperation with Belarus as a way to provide military support to Russia will thus likely only grow in tandem with Beijing and Minsk's deepening bilateral ties.

Despite Lukashenko's efforts to slow the integration process, Russia's grip on Belarus will likely tighten in the years ahead. Unless Russia suffers a sudden and resounding defeat in Ukraine that triggers a drastic regime change in Moscow (which seems improbable at this point), Russia will continue its efforts to absorb Belarus, which Moscow sees as essential to protecting itself from potential Western aggression. In addition, the pro-democracy movement in Belarus that staged the massive 2020 protests is unlikely to pose a credible threat to Lukashenko's rule in the foreseeable future. The Belarusian opposition has not conducted any major protest activities in the past year and has been largely forced underground due to the severe risks involved with critiquing the Lukashenko regime or integration with Russia. Therefore, the Kremlin is likely confident in its ability to slowly squeeze Minsk into submission in the coming years without formal annexation or the use of force, which could cause instability and jeopardize the otherwise favorable trajectory of Russian control over Belarus. Therefore, annexation will instead likely remain a backup option for if something goes wrong.

On March 6, a Minsk court sentenced Belarusian opposition leaders Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Pavel Latushko in absentia to 15 and 18 years in prison, respectively.




Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #785 on: March 15, 2023, 10:45:17 AM »
To be precise, we managed to sink it to evade capture, yes?

G M

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #786 on: March 15, 2023, 11:13:58 AM »
To be precise, we managed to sink it to evade capture, yes?

We did?

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #787 on: March 15, 2023, 11:35:39 AM »
So we say.

Any indicators to the contrary?

Either way, the underlying point is an important one.

Remember how Obama-Biden did nothing when the Iranians hijacked one of our most advanced drones and presumably have reverse engineered it-- and now provide the results to Russia?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2023, 11:45:02 AM by Crafty_Dog »

Crafty_Dog

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From Gen. Keane on Martha McCallum today
« Reply #788 on: March 15, 2023, 01:24:48 PM »
Second

Big error to have withdrawn our navy from the Black Sea and NATO ally Turkey has closed the Bosphorus to war ships resulting in our having no ships to reclaim the drone.

We assert that the water where it sank is thousands of feet deep.  We assert nothing of intel value to be found at this point anyway.

OTOH the Russians have war ships in their Crimea/Sea of Azov port.

In other words, if the Russkis can get to it then , , ,


G M

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Re: From Gen. Keane on Martha McCallum today
« Reply #789 on: March 16, 2023, 07:18:18 AM »
Second

Big error to have withdrawn our navy from the Black Sea and NATO ally Turkey has closed the Bosphorus to war ships resulting in our having no ships to reclaim the drone.

We assert that the water where it sank is thousands of feet deep.  We assert nothing of intel value to be found at this point anyway.

OTOH the Russians have war ships in their Crimea/Sea of Azov port.

In other words, if the Russkis can get to it then , , ,

The same people who left billions of dollars of equipment and weapons and classified materials to the Taliban have assured us that Russia will get nothing of use from the drone. Cool!


Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #791 on: March 16, 2023, 08:05:00 AM »
Well played Vlady, well played.




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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #795 on: March 21, 2023, 01:31:46 PM »
A rather irrelevant to the subject at hand observation.

G M

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #796 on: March 21, 2023, 01:38:33 PM »
A rather irrelevant to the subject at hand observation.

Once upon a time, we were a free country and we offered an alternative to totalitarian governments we opposed. Not so much anymore.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #797 on: March 21, 2023, 01:44:38 PM »
Duh, we get that! 

But of interest in the posted article in question was to read of the perspective of someone at the highest levels of the game in Russia.  We don't stop knowing what we know because our minds are so feeble that we need continuous reminder.




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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #798 on: March 21, 2023, 01:48:40 PM »
Duh, we get that! 

But of interest in the posted article in question was to read of the perspective of someone at the highest levels of the game in Russia.  We don't stop knowing what we know because our minds are so feeble that we need continuous reminder.

Who is paying his bills? You might want to know that before you listen to what he is selling.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Russia/US-- Europe
« Reply #799 on: March 21, 2023, 04:53:02 PM »
Now you change the subject from your previous comment. 

Moving on.