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NATO Holds Arctic War Games Hours From Russian Border

By Kyle Anzalone | The Libertarian Institute | May 31, 2023

The North Atlantic alliance began military drills hosted by Finland just miles from the Russian border. An American defense official said the war games show the bloc’s commitment to the newest member of NATO.

US Army Major-General Gregory Anderson said on Tuesday, “We are here, we are committed. The US Army is here training with our newest NATO ally to build that capability, to help defend Finland if anything happened.”

About 7,500 NATO soldiers are participating in the exercises – dubbed “Northern Forest 23.” The drills are taking place just a two-hour drive from the Russian border in northern Finland and will run from May 27 to June 2. Reuters described the war games as “Finland’s biggest modern-time land force drill above the Arctic Circle.”

A Finnish Army press release detailed the multiple weapons systems allies will deploy for drills.” The equipment of the international forces will include, among others, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles [from the UK], MLRS rocket launcher systems [from the US and UK] and CV90 infantry fighting vehicles [from Sweden and Norway],” the statement said.

Helsinki is NATO’s newest member. When Finland became a member of the North Atlantic alliance, it doubled the bloc’s border with Russia. At over 800 miles, Helsinki has a longer border with Moscow than any other member of NATO.

Tensions between Brussels and Moscow have soared due to the alliance’s support for Kiev. However, the confrontation between Russia and the West has spread to other regions of Europe as well. Washington has increased its military presence in the Arctic as a show of force eyeing Moscow.

Last week, the USS Gerald Ford – the world’s largest aircraft carrier – made a port call in Norway. The Ford is the first American aircraft carrier to visit Oslo after six decades.

The warship will now travel into the Arctic Circle to conduct war games. A spokesperson for Oslo said, “This visit is an important signal of the close bilateral relationship between the US and Norway and a signal of the credibility of collective defense and deterrence.”

The Russian embassy in Norway denounced the Ford’s maneuvers as unnecessary. “There are no questions in the (Arctic) north that require a military solution, nor topics where outside intervention is needed,” the embassy posted on Facebook.

June 1, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

US to set up military bases in Finland

By Drago Bosnic | May 5, 2023

The formal admission of Finland on April 4 was the latest move in the process of “globalizing” NATO. At the time, the belligerent alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that Helsinki’s membership “will be good for [its] security, for Nordic security, and for NATO as a whole.” Nobody ever explained how exactly this is “good for Finland’s security”. Russia and Finland share a border over 1300 km long, meaning its ascension has nearly tripled the line of direct contact between NATO and Russia, as the combined border between them has previously been approximately 700 km. Now being well over 2000 km long, the border could be a major source of tensions.

Precisely this is happening now, as the United States and Finland are finalizing a deal that would allow the Pentagon to establish a permanent military presence in the Scandinavian country. According to a report by Newsweek, published on May 2, a senior official of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mikael Antell, confirmed that Helsinki and Washington DC are negotiating a so-called “Defense Cooperation Agreement” (DCA) that would allow for the construction of significant military infrastructure on Finnish soil. Apparently, the aforementioned agreement doesn’t include the deployment of US nuclear weapons, yet. However, the Finnish government and military officials are yet to specifically rule out the possibility of hosting nukes.

Considering the fact that, for months, Helsinki has been refusing to give any guarantees such weapons will not be deployed on its territory, this is quite telling and concerning. While the US already has nuclear weapons stationed in five NATO countries under several bilateral nuclear sharing programs with each, specifically Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey, these are relatively far away from core Russian regions. On the other hand, Finland is not. Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second most important city, is less than 200 km away from the Finnish border, putting it well within the range of tactical ballistic, cruise and, most alarmingly, prospective hypersonic missiles (provided the US deals with its technological shortcomings).

If Helsinki and Washington DC were to go ahead with such plans, it would be the first case that a country has hosted American nuclear weapons after the end of the (First) Cold War. The same goes for Poland, whose insistence on having nuclear weapons deployed on its territory has already pushed Russia to deploy its own tactical warheads in Belarus. Finnish Foreign Ministry official Mikael Antell stated that the DCA “enables troops to enter the country, stay on the ground, the pre-storage of material and possible infrastructure investments through the funds granted by the US Congress to the Pentagon”. The US and Finland have allegedly been in talks on the DCA since last fall, with the latest round of discussions on the deal taking place in Helsinki last week.

“The agreement also defines the facilities and areas where the cooperation would be focused,” Antell said, adding: “They are basically military areas and garrisons. In principle, there can be more than one, but the discussions are still open in this regard.”

Commenting on the aggressive military buildup, Russian military expert Yuri Knutov told Sputnik: “The Northern Sea Route – a shipping lane that runs along Russia’s Arctic Sea coast – has become a prominent transport artery of late, and Moscow now seeks to increase maritime traffic and cargo flow along that lane. Therefore, the emergence of NATO military bases at the entrance to the Northern Sea Route would require us to boost security measures, to bolster our Northern Fleet and maybe even to deploy our warships to escort cargo vessels in order to protect the latter from any provocations or from some restrictions concocted by Western countries.”

The exact nature of permanent US military presence in Finland is not officially disclosed, although Knutov pointed out that “Helsinki did not attempt to negotiate issues such as the maximum number of foreign NATO troops that could be deployed on its soil, which appears to suggest that Finland is willing to let NATO use its territory without any limitations”. This notion is particularly worrying when counting the strong possibility of nuclear weapons being deployed so close to core Russian regions. Moscow previously never saw Finland as a direct threat, but its membership in NATO, a hostile and extremely aggressive military alliance that openly declared and targeted Russia as its primary enemy, completely changes the geopolitical calculus, a move that Helsinki chose to do unilaterally.

After Finland joined NATO, several high-ranking Russian officials stated that Moscow will respond in kind in case of further escalation and NATO military buildup, but insisted that Helsinki is still not seen as a primary military threat. However, from a purely strategic standpoint, the situation can hardly be considered optimistic. Finland directly broke from its apparent neutrality after it decided to acquire F-35 fighter jets in late 2021. The Pentagon has direct access to everything the F-35’s sensors can detect, meaning that Finland would be sharing key military data with the US regardless of whether it was a NATO member or not. Still, as previously mentioned, Helsinki being a member also means that it’s more likely to see the deployment of US offensive weapons in close proximity to St. Petersburg.

In this regard, when Stoltenberg stated that the ascension of Finland was truly historic, he was right. However, this was only in the sense that Helsinki is essentially repeating the same mistake as over 80 years ago when it joined the Axis led by Nazi Germany. Worse yet, just like Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich established military bases in Finland and deployed the Wehrmacht there just before launching “Barbarossa”, the US is doing exactly the same. Now that Finland is among “old friends” once again, maybe it should dust off the history books and pay very close attention to how such military and geopolitical adventurism ended the last time. The belligerent thalassocracy in Washington DC should be even more concerned, as Finland at least continued to exist in the postwar period. On the other hand, Nazi Germany didn’t.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

May 5, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

US Military Buildup in Finland May Threaten Northern Sea Route

By Andrei Dergalin – Sputnik – 03.05.2023

A possible increase in the US military presence in Scandinavia in the near future following Finland’s accession to NATO may present a risk not only to Russia’s northern borders but to the nautical shipping lane known as the Northern Sea Route, warned military historian and Russian Air Defense Museum Director Yuri Knutov.

After Finland officially became a member of NATO last month, Helsinki and Washington moved to hammer out an agreement that would allow the US to deploy its troops on Finnish soil and to use Finnish territory and military bases to store US gear and military hardware.

With Washington planning to work out similar pacts with Sweden and Denmark, stability in the region may soon wind out of control as the United States moves to ramp up its military presence in the area, allowing them to control one of the entrances to the Northern Sea Route, said Yuri Knutov.

As Knutov explained to Sputnik, the Northern Sea Route – a shipping lane that runs along Russia’s Arctic Sea coast – has become a prominent transport artery of late, and Moscow now seeks to increase maritime traffic and cargo flow along that lane.

“Therefore, the emergence of NATO military bases at the entrance to the Northern Sea Route would require us to boost security measures, to bolster our Northern Fleet and maybe even to deploy our warships to escort cargo vessels in order to protect the latter from any provocations or from some restrictions concocted by Western countries,” he said.

The escalation that might ensue could be quite serious, but Russia cannot relent in the face of the pressure exerted by the West because it protects its interests and territorial integrity, Knutov added.

Regarding the exact nature of the US military plans for Finland, Knutov pointed out that Helsinki did not attempt to negotiate issues such as the maximum number of foreign NATO troops that could be deployed on its soil, which appears to suggest that Finland is willing to let NATO use its territory “without any limitations.”

May 3, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Russia responds to Western asset seizure

RT | April 26, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a decree establishing a mechanism for temporarily taking over foreign assets. In its first practical application, the Federal Property Management Agency was put in control of Russian subsidiaries of Fortum and Uniper, energy companies based in Finland and Germany, respectively.

The decree allows for temporary state takeover of assets deemed to be “of paramount importance for the stable functioning of the Russian energy sector,” the agency said in a statement. Germany’s Uniper SE held a 83% stake in Russian energy generation and distribution company Unipro, while a Finnish state-owned company Fortum Oyj controlled over 98% of its local subsidiary, with a total power generation capacity of 11,2 and 4.7 gigawatts respectively.

The move will “ensure the uninterrupted operation of companies significant for the national economy and eliminate the risks of the political position of a number of unfriendly countries influencing” the security of Russia.

Original owners are considered to have temporarily lost control of the property, but not forfeited it outright. The measure “helps preserve the investment climate in Russia and reduce the outflow of capital from the country,” the agency added.

The decree also establishes a legal framework that enables the Kremlin to take over more foreign assets should other countries seize Russian private or government property in their jurisdictions, or threaten national, energy, or economic security of Russia.

Germany and Poland have so far seized an estimated $22 billion in assets belonging just to two Russian companies, Gazprom and Rosneft, according to media estimates. In June 2022, Berlin took over Gazprom Germania GmbH. In November, Warsaw confiscated Gazprom’s 48% stake in the EuRoPol GAZ joint venture, owners of the Polish portion of the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

The Polish subsidiary of Novatek, which dealt in liquefied natural gas and other hydrocarbons, was also seized. Its assets were put up for sale earlier this month.

In September last year, Germany seized Rosneft’s stake in three major oil refineries, accounting for 12% of the country’s total refining capacity. Rosneft’s complaints against the move were dismissed by German courts. A law enacted by the Bundestag on April 20 may allow outright expropriation of Russian assets by Germany.

The US government has sought to seize Russian state and private assets frozen under the Ukraine-related sanctions and turn them over to the government in Kiev, a move that critics have said would change the very nature of sanctions from an instrument of pressure to purely punitive.

April 25, 2023 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

NATO Expansion versus OPEC+ Oil Shock

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 19.04.2023

Finland’s inclusion in, and the consequent expansion of, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), has supposedly brought much joy to the Western world supposedly fighting Russia for the protection of democracy and human rights. The real purpose of this fight, as we already know, is to preserve the West – mainly, the US-led – dominated post-Second World War world order, which assumed the shape of unilateral US hegemony after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. With Russia – and China – delivering the hitherto clearest shock to this unilateral hegemony of the US, the latter is doing all it can to win more and more allies to augment its position against a very formidable threat. NATO’s expansion is one of the many steps the West – again, mainly the US – has recently taken to preserve the world order. But the ongoing Russia-Ukraine (NATO) military conflict has changed the world in many significant ways. For one thing, NATO’s expansion notwithstanding, the US cannot possibly even hope to successfully “isolate” Russia globally. As far as China is concerned, the US can neither “decouple” from China without facing a heavy cost, nor will be doing so without geopolitical consequences.

More than anything else, the recent decision of the OPEC+ countries to cut their production levels – and consequently raise oil prices – shows that the world’s most powerful oil producers continue to stand with Russia. This unanimous decision is not just an economic matter. In fact, the ability of the OPEC countries to reject US pressure and follow an autonomous approach – and support Russia – shows how these countries are actually following the Russian and Chinese vision of a multipolar world where countries – or blocks – can act according to their own national interests and without compromising them to appease the US. For the US hegemony, this irresistible drift toward multipolarity is much more damaging for its future than the expansion of NATO. NATO’s expansion means the organisation now has one more country with no significant military power from within Europe as its member, but the consolidation of alternative – and counter-hegemonic – power blocks outside of Europe/NATO means a fast shrinking space across the rest of the world for the US and its allies to force advantageous foreign policy outcomes.

Now, whereas the decision to cut oil production is going to hurt the US and its allies in Europe already facing an economic crunch and a cost of living crisis, the decision also shows an acute indifference to how it will hurt the Biden administration directly both geopolitically and domestically.

Consider this: since the start of the Russia-Ukraine (NATO) conflict, the US has been selling expensive oil to Europe. In March, the US oil sales to Europe hit an all-time high. But this enhanced supply has also led to about a 50 per cent increase in prices. Now, with OPEC deciding to cut its production and raise oil prices, Washington’s European allies – and indeed consumers in the US itself – will now be buying even more expensive oil and gas, which could add to the cost of living crisis they’re already facing.

Domestically, therefore, the Biden administration’s decision to force Europe to cut back their sale of Russian oil and/or put a price cap and thus start an economic war against Russia will become even more sensitive. Politically speaking, the Biden administration’s policy to release oil regularly from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve in attempts to micromanage the oil prices and keep them abnormally low in the interests of American consumers will become even more difficult to implement in the next few weeks.

For the Biden administration – which is jubilant over NATO’s expansion – its decreasing inability to permanently micromanage oil prices coincides with the start of what many see as Donald Trump’s aggressive presidential campaign.

There are, as such two shocks. The fact that Russia has OPEC on its side means the US and NATO have so far failed to defeat Russia in any meaningful sense at all. Joe Biden cannot claim a victory over Russia for his re-election due next year. On the other hand, Washington’s inability to influence OPEC means drastic foreign policy failure, indicating a Russian success. In geopolitical terms, the OPEC+ move came after a meeting between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman in Riyadh on March 16 that focused on oil market cooperation. Therefore, it is widely seen as the tightening of the bond between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The failure to manage the cost of living crisis and the fact that the Biden administration has lost allies, such as Saudi Arabia, combine to become very crucial rallying points for an assertive Donald Trump, who is already framing hurdles against his come-back in terms of the Biden administration’s “conspiracy” to have him convicted and eventually arrested.

Within Europe, this oil shock will complicate domestic politics and foreign policy even further. Recent large-scale protests in France against pension reform or the widespread strikes in Britain for higher wages will become a recurrent scene. Replication of such protests across Europe could force many of the European countries to reconsider the extent of their support for the US war on Russia (and China).

The oil shock delivered by Russia and Saudi Arabia, therefore, outweighs the shock the US expected to deliver to Russia via NATO’s expansion – which is unlikely to have any effect on the ground in Ukraine, and which Russia has other means to counter.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 21, 2023 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia responds to seizure of state property in Finland

RT | April 19, 2023

The Russian Embassy in Finland has demanded an explanation after restrictions were placed on Russian state property in Helsinki.

“A demand has been lodged to the Finnish Foreign Ministry to explain how the actions of the bailiffs are compatible with the norms of international law about the immunity of the property of a (foreign) state,” the embassy said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Russian officials, the Finnish authorities cited EU sanctions when they imposed restrictions on the Russian Science and Culture Center building, the surrounding plot of land, and the apartments of diplomats who work there.

The Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reported on Tuesday that Finland’s debt recovery agency placed temporary restrictions on the Russian building a week ago at the request of the Finnish Foreign Ministry. Officials now have three weeks to determine if the property can be linked to blacklisted individuals or entities. The injunction forbids the owner from making deals involving the real estate.

The newspaper added that the seven apartments in question are owned by Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian federal agency for foreign cooperation which was blacklisted by the EU last year.

Last month, the Finnish authorities froze the Russian Science and Culture Center’s account at national bank Nordea, TV channel YLE said.

The EU, together with the US and Britain, has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. The Kremlin has argued that the sanctions are illegal, while the Russian Foreign Ministry has likened the freezing of assets abroad to theft.

April 19, 2023 Posted by | Russophobia | | 3 Comments

Scandinavia’s Fake News About Russia Is Meant To Distract From Sy Hersh’s Nord Stream Report


A joint “media investigation” by the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden just claimed that Russia has been using at least 50 civilian ships to spy on the North Sea for the past decade in speculative preparation of possibly carrying out acts of sabotage sometime in the future. Kremlin spokesman Peskov denied these allegations and accused those countries of trying to distract from last September’s Nord Stream terrorist attack.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh cited unnamed US administration sources to report in early February that Biden personally authorized that attack, which most folks already figured but it was nevertheless extremely newsworthy for this to come from someone as reputable as Hersh. Around a month later, the New York Times (NYT) ran a story claiming to have uncovered the alleged culprit, which they said was a rogue group of people who weren’t connected to any government.

The US’ Latest Disinfo Campaign About The Nord Stream Terrorist Attacks Was Preplanned”, however, since the argument can compellingly be made that the US planted the seeds of an alternative narrative to rely upon as a backup plan in the event that the truth started leaking out like it did in Hersh’s report. It’s within this context that the Scandinavian states’ “media investigation” was published, thus extending credence to similar concerns that it’s also nothing more than a distraction from that journalist’s work.

After all, those outlets claimed that Russia has supposedly been spying on the North Sea through these means for the past ten years, and it’s extremely unlikely that they suddenly stumbled upon relevant “evidence” in support of that conclusion at this particular point in time. Rather, they were almost certainly fed this information by those countries’ intelligence services, with possible input from NATO as a whole and/or its US leader.

It’s unclear whether there’s any truth to their report, but it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s at least a kernel thereof since it’s a clever way to spy on the NATO-controlled North Sea. That, however, doesn’t mean that this was being done in speculative preparation of possibly carrying out acts of sabotage there sometime in the future. This part of their report was probably included purely to revive the completely ridiculous narrative that Russia was the one responsible for the Nord Stream terrorist attack.

Whatever the purpose of Russia’s alleged spying in those waters may have been, it’s highly unlikely to have concerned sabotage except as an absolute last resort in the event of a conventional war with NATO. The reason behind this assessment is that only a state-level actor or a false flag “non-state” one connected to a state actor is capable of carrying out such acts, especially in waters that are completely controlled by and under the total surveillance of that US-led bloc, and doing so would be an act of war.

It’s with this in mind that Peskov’s denial should be taken seriously since it’s unrealistic to imagine that Russia is plotting impending acts of sabotage there that it would definitely be caught committing red-handed in the fringe scenario that this is attempted. This doesn’t mean that Moscow wasn’t possibly spying on NATO’s naval activities in the North Sea, but just that this wasn’t done for the purpose of plotting sabotage except as an absolute last if it ever formally went to war with that bloc.

Considering this, Scandinavia’s fake news about Russia was released at this particular point in time and specifically included the claim that Moscow is considering acts of sabotage in NATO-controlled waters so as to distract from Hersh’s report and revive the false story that the Kremlin blew up Nord Stream. Just like the NYT’s report from last month, this latest one from a collection of Northern European media outlets is therefore also nothing more than an information warfare provocation.

April 19, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

NATO expansionism in Scandinavia helps America, but puts Finland in line of fire

By Drago Bosnic | April 5, 2023

It’s quite obvious that NATO has always been an auxiliary extension of the United States. This has been the case since the unfortunate inception of the belligerent alliance 74 years ago. Thus, NATO’s crawling aggression should always be observed from the perspective of US expansionism, as the bellicose thalassocracy keeps moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the borders of its geopolitical adversaries. This has been the case in the (First) Cold War and it’s no different nowadays when the US is pushing one European country after another into a broader anti-Russian coalition that now includes the entire European Union. Washington DC is attempting to do the same by constituting a near carbon copy of NATO in the Pacific in a virtually identical step, only aimed against China.

US State Secretary Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended the admission ceremony with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. The Office of the President of Finland said in a statement: “Finland has today become a member of the defense alliance NATO. The era of military non-alignment in our history has come to an end. A new era begins. Each country maximizes its own security. So does Finland. At the same time, NATO membership strengthens our international position and room for maneuver. As a partner, we have long actively participated in NATO activities. In the future, Finland will make a contribution to NATO’s collective deterrence and defense.”

The formal admission of Finland is the latest move in the process of “globalizing” NATO. The buzzword in this particular case is “formal”, not “(NATO) admission” and the reason is quite simple. Finland was never truly neutral, not even during the (First) Cold War and particularly not since it entered the EU. It has always been packed with US/NATO intelligence assets, although this has escalated significantly in the last several decades. Since then, the country has essentially become a NATO member in all but name. Yesterday, this was merely formalized. Although NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg dubbed it “a historic event”, this was just PR and optics aimed to “coincide” with NATO’s 74th anniversary. As for Sweden, it will probably have to wait another year, since publicity is everything for NATO.

Although Stoltenberg told reporters on Monday he was hopeful that Sweden would be joining in the following months, this is highly unlikely if Stockholm keeps meddling in Ankara’s internal affairs. Still, he insisted that Finland’s NATO membership “will be good for [its] security, for Nordic security, and for NATO as a whole.” How exactly this is “good for Finland’s security” is yet to be explained by either Brussels or Helsinki. Russia and Finland share a very long border (over 1,300 km), meaning the move has nearly tripled the line of direct contact between NATO and Russia, as the combined border between them has previously been approximately 700 km. Now being well over 2,000 km long, the border could be a major source of tensions.

Considering that Moscow previously never saw Finland as a potential threat, its membership in NATO, a hostile and extremely aggressive military alliance that openly declared and targeted Russia as its primary enemy, Helsinki has unilaterally changed this, prompting Moscow to completely revamp its strategic posturing towards Helsinki. In an interview with RIA Novosti, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko stated that “[Russia] will strengthen [its] military potential in the western and northwestern direction” and that “[Moscow] will take additional steps to reliably ensure Russia’s military security in the event that the forces and resources of other NATO members are deployed in Finland”.

During a briefing at the Kremlin, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov dubbed the move “an aggravation of the situation” and reiterated Grushko’s warning that Russia will be forced to take countermeasures to maintain its security. “The Kremlin believes that this is another aggravation of the situation. The expansion of NATO is an infringement on our security and Russia’s national interests,” he stated. However, Peskov did acknowledge that the situation certainly wasn’t as bad as with the Kiev regime, which the West has long tried to turn into a springboard for active aggression against Russia.

“The situation with Finland, of course, is radically different from the situation with Ukraine, because, firstly, Finland has never had anti-Russian rhetoric, and we have had no disputes with Finland. With Ukraine, the situation is the opposite and potentially much more dangerous,” Peskov added.

Still, from a military standpoint, the situation can hardly be considered optimistic. Finland directly broke from its neutrality when it decided to acquire F-35 fighter jets from the US in late 2021. The Pentagon has direct access to everything the F-35’s sensors can detect, meaning that Finland would be sharing key military data with the US regardless of whether it was a NATO member or not. On the other hand, being a member also means that it’s more likely to see the deployment of US offensive weapons in close proximity to St. Petersburg, Russia’s second most important city.

Restored DC-2 plane shows the wartime insignia of the Finnish air force

In this regard, Stoltenberg was right to say that the admission of Finland is truly historic, but only in the sense that Helsinki is essentially repeating the same mistake as over 80 years ago when it joined the Axis led by Nazi Germany. Now when it’s among “old friends” once again, maybe Finland should dust off the history books and pay very close attention to how this ended the last time.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

April 5, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 3 Comments

NATO and EU states already parties to Ukraine conflict – top Hungarian MP

RT | March 5, 2023

Massive deliveries of military aid to Ukraine have made multiple NATO and EU nations parties to the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, according to Laszlo Kover, the speaker of Hungary’s National Assembly.

Speaking to Hir TV late on Friday, Kover said certain members of the two blocs are already participants in the conflict, despite not “yet” actually engaging in the fighting themselves. He did not identify the countries to which he was referring.

“Members of NATO and the EU have already sent almost $60 billion worth of lethal military equipment to Ukraine, one of the warring parties. This means that individual countries – members of the European Union and NATO – are participants of this war, although not yet fighting,” he said.

The speaker also shared his opinion on the potential accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO.

While the move has already been approved by the vast majority of member states in the US-led military alliance, it has been opposed by Hungary and Türkiye. Budapest is expected to dispatch a delegation to the two Nordic nations shortly in an effort to resolve differences regarding the accession bid, Kover noted.

Both Finland and Sweden have caused “damage” to Hungary, repeatedly making hostile moves against Budapest within the EU, he continued.

“They cause specific, measurable damage to Hungary’s national interests. These people are putting pressure on the European institutions so that they do not allocate the EU funds due to Hungary. This is about specific damage, not just that our souls are sensitive,” Kover explained.

He also claimed that their potential accession to NATO would not increase the “sense of security” within the bloc, but rather yield the opposite result, greatly extending the alliance’s border with Russia.

Earlier this week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called for the creation of a “European NATO,” arguing that America’s desire for the further expansion of its influence has led to the current tensions between the West and Russia. The EU needs to create a military bloc of its own to become free of American influence and stop doing Washington’s bidding, Orban suggested.

Hungary has repeatedly called for peace since the outbreak of conflict between Moscow and Kiev, criticizing both the Western sanctions imposed on Russia and the continuous flow of arms to Ukraine. Budapest has also been the only NATO nation to voice support for China’s recently unveiled peace plan for Ukraine.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 5 Comments

Viktor Orban: “In A War Taking Place In Europe The Americans Have The Final Word”

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge |  March 5, 2023

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said in a fresh interview with Swiss weekly Weltwoche that his country’s leadership is “strong enough to keep the war away from our country” while also stressing that Washington has become prime the decision-maker over the conflict in Ukraine.

He further addressed the proxy war nature of the conflict in saying, “There are some who want to force Hungary into the war, and they are not picky about the means with which to achieve that goal.”

“Ukraine is our neighbor where Hungarians live as well,” he continued. “They are being conscripted and are dying by the hundreds on the front.” The Hungarian government has long protested this practice and presented its complaints to Kiev.

“Europe has retired from the debate,” Orban complained of EU countries being dragged into confrontation with Moscow by Washington. “In the decisions adopted in Brussels, I recognize American interests more frequently than European ones.”

“In a war that is taking place in Europe the Americans have the final word,” he stressed in the interview.

Most recently, Hungary has shown its unwillingness to go along with the rest of NATO by delaying a vote on ratifying Sweden and Finland’s accession bids.

According to a Thursday Associated Press report, “The delay, which pushes the vote back by two weeks to the parliamentary session beginning March 20, comes as Hungary remains the only NATO member country besides Turkey that hasn’t yet approved the two Nordic countries’ bids to join the Western military alliance.” The report indicates:

Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has said that he is personally in favor of the two countries joining NATO, but alleges that the governments in Stockholm and Helsinki have “spread blatant lies” about Hungary which have raised questions among lawmakers in his party on whether to approve the bids.

“It’s not right for them to ask us to take them on board while they’re spreading blatant lies about Hungary, about the rule of law in Hungary, about our democracy and about life here,” Orban complained. “(How) can anyone want to be our ally in a military system while they’re shamelessly spreading lies about Hungary? So let’s stop for a friendly word and ask them how this can be.” But even if Budapest were ready and willing to give its approval, Turkey’s ongoing resistance has been even fiercer, and thus Sweden and Finland are unlikely to enter the alliance anytime soon.

Orban also recently broke ranks with other European leaders regarding China’s 10-point peace plan for resolving the Ukraine war. He was a lone Western voice in expressing approval. “We also consider China’s peace plan important and support it,” the Hungarian leader said before parliament last Monday. He also reiterated Hungary’s position that it will not be supplying weapons to Kiev.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan to blockade Russian shipping in Baltic Sea breaks international law and could provoke war

By Ahmed Adel | January 31, 2023

Western intentions to arm Estonia with the most modern types of conventional weapons which can target Saint Petersburg, as well as the installation of a medium-range anti-missile defence system, suggests that the Baltic country is wanting to challenge Russia despite its military barely even having enough professional soldiers to field a single battalion. At the same time, and just as provocative, Estonian authorities discussed an introduction of a 24 nautical mile coastal zone in the Gulf of Finland to limit the navigation of Russian ships.

It is demonstrated that Estonia is a highly active anti-Russian state that hopes its actions will receive Western tributes and rewards. However, in pursuing this goal, the Baltic country is going as far as wanting to break international law by restricting Russian shipping in waters it has a right to navigate through.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that attempts to deploy offensive NATO weapons will immediately provoke retaliatory steps. By Estonia wanting to place weapon systems that can target Russia’s second largest city, it cannot be discounted that the Russian military will deploy the Iskander system or another type of weapon to completely cover Estonia’s sea, land and air territory.

It is recalled that Lithuania attempted to blockade the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in 2022 by stopping rail and road transportation and attempted to justify the action because of the EU’s sanctions regime. This quickly failed as a military and economic blockade can lead to a ‘casus belli’ – a reason for war, which would not insure Lithuania under NATO’s “mutual defence” article.

Larger European NATO countries are rotating their units, as well as military equipment, including aviation and F-16 fighter jets, in the Baltic countries. The Baltic countries are full of foreign soldiers and equipment as they themselves cannot ensure their own security despite implementing policies that are extremely provocative and hostile to Russia.

The Russian ambassador in Tallinn, Vladimir Lipayev, who disclosed that Western countries plan to supply Estonia with the most modern types of conventional weapons, also said that the Anglos had an interest in creating an anti-Russian outpost in the Baltic country in order to carry out economic, political, cultural and military pressure on Russia.

However, the Baltic countries are playing with fire as the Ukraine war has demonstrated that Russia is capable of demilitarizing hostile states. Even Ukraine, which has all the resources of the West behind it and the second largest army in Europe after Russia, is failing to stem back the tide of war and territorial loss.

With the Ukrainian military appearing to be on course for an imminent collapse in 2023, the US and UK are escalating tensions so that continuous conflict can drain Russia’s resources and attention. An internationalized effort to involve as many countries as possible in a confrontation with Russia only puts countries under a puppet status at risk of Russian retaliation, as Ukraine shows.

As said, if Estonia were to blockade Russian ships, it cannot be protected under NATO’s Article 5 as it initiated the hostility by breaking international law. Understandably, the leading countries of the EU do not want to be exposed to a Russian counterattack, which is why the Baltics and Poland are being used as cannon fodder instead – just as Ukraine currently is.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a dividing line in the middle of the Gulf of Finland was agreed upon between Russia and newly independent Estonia. From this middle line, Finland and Estonia retreated three kilometres to allow Russia a six-kilometre channel for the free passage of Russian merchant and military fleets, thus actually making these international waters. In order to blockade Russia in the Gulf of Finland, it is necessary for Finland to implement the same policy. If Tallin unilaterally introduces such a zone in its territorial waters, then Russia has the option to use the Finnish part of the gulf.

For now, there is no indication that Finland plans to block Russian ships. If Finland and Estonia were to block Russian shipping, Moscow would have a strong case to appeal to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, something that would surely humiliate a country like Finland which likes to pride itself on supposedly adhering to international law very strictly.

Therefore, although the Estonian side may be enthusiastic in enforcing anti-Russian measures on the encouragement of Anglo countries, there is a likelihood that regional countries like Finland and Germany will not want a new front of tensions with Russia and will attempt to coerce the Baltic country to moderate its attitude.

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

January 31, 2023 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , | 9 Comments

US Arms Sales to NATO Allies Almost Double in 2022: Report

By Oleg Burunov – Samizdat – 31.12.2022

The number and price of arms sales approved by Washington to its NATO allies almost doubled in 2022 as compared to 2021, a US magazine has reported.

The outlet noted that last year, the US government approved 14 possible major arms sales to its allies in the alliance, worth about $15.5 billion. In 2022, the figure soared to 24 potential major arms sales with price tag of around $28 billion, including $1.24 billion worth of arms sales to possible new NATO member Finland.

The magazine pointed out that the data indicates that the US remains “a major arms supplier for allies in Europe in the short term,” in the midst of European defense industries’ push to “meet wartime demands for conventional arms and ammunition.”

According to the media outlet, the increase took place as NATO members scrambled “to stock up on high-end weapons” amid the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine.

The outlet reported that although some of arms sales deals were negotiated years beforehand, the Russian special operation sent NATO’s European members scrambling to bump up their military spending, and to replenish vehicles, weapons, and ammunition delivered to the Ukrainian military.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have all ordered HIMARS Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), while the US State Department authorized earlier this month the sale of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Poland, after Warsaw sent its Soviet-era T-72 and domestically-made PT-91 tanks to Kiev’s forces.

The report comes after President Joe Biden signed a new $1.7 trillion federal spending bill into law, a document that includes $858 billion in defense spending.

According to a statement released on the website of the US Senate Committee on Budget Appropriations, the so-called National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) comprises “$44.9 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and our [America’s] NATO allies.” Since Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine on February 24, the US and its allies have supplied more than $40 billion worth of arms to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly warned that providing Kiev with arms prolongs the Ukraine conflict.

The signing of the NDAA followed a separate US media outlet reporting about a surge in the share prices of the four largest US defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, and Pratt & Whitney.

The outlet reported that Lockheed Martin “had booked more than $950 million worth of its own missile military orders from the Pentagon in part to refill stockpiles being used in Ukraine, while Raytheon Technologies was awarded with “more than $2 billion in contracts to deliver missile systems to expand or replenish weapons used to help Ukraine.”

December 31, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment