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Scholz Reportedly Takes Notice of Baerbock’s Mistakes

By Maxim Minaev – Sputnik – 30.01.2023

The German chancellor’s office thoroughly documents the missteps of Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, despite the lack of public criticism from Chancellor Olaf Scholz, German media reported, citing sources.

“At the chancellor’s office, Baerbock’s mistakes are carefully recorded,” an unnamed government source told German media.

According to the publication, Scholz allegedly adheres to a principle of not speaking ill of his ministers, regardless of the degree of his irritation. Reasons for Scholz’s being discontent with Baerbock have arisen several times recently, according to German media.

The newspaper notes that in September, the German foreign minister called for a quick solution to the issue of supplying tanks to Ukraine, which was followed by a “serious conversation” with the Chancellor’s Office. As a result, during the next interview, Baerbock was more restrained.

A week ago, in an interview with French TV, Baerbock said that Berlin was not going to block supplies of German tanks to Ukraine, the newspaper recalls. At the same time, according to the report, no final decision was made at that time and such a statement caused “stormy” dissatisfaction in the chancellor’s office.

In addition, Scholz and Baerbock allegedly had disagreements over the chancellor’s trip to China, as well as over the planned meeting of the Franco-German cabinet in October. At the time, Baerbock said she could not go to Paris because of a family vacation, although Scholz allegedly insisted on her visit. Nevertheless, Baerbock was adamant, saying that she was on vacation. Shortly thereafter, the event was canceled by the French side.

Baerbock had previously been criticized by a number of German politicians after her remarks about “war with Russia.” The minister said during the PACE session on January 24 that European countries “are waging a war against Russia” and called on them to do more for Ukraine together instead of looking for the guilty among themselves. At the same time, the German Foreign Ministry said in connection with her statement that support for Ukraine does not make Germany one of the parties to the conflict.

January 30, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Did Germany just declare war against Russia?

Free West Media | January 29, 2023

Is it a real declaration of war? Yes. On January 24, Baerbock gave a speech to the Council of Europe – not to be confused with an institution of the European Union. Although this speech contained borderline provocations, it was a scripted intervention. However, in the subsequent hearing, Baerbock had to answer questions without a prepared text.

She uttered a sentence in English that she obviously did not grasp: “We are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

It was Baerbock’s response to a question from Norwegian MP Ingrid Schulerud, who wanted to know when Germany would decide to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Baerbock responded that criticism and comparisons of shipment volumes were not helpful to Ukraine’s proxy war effort.

How does a country formally declare war?

So that misunderstandings are ruled out and the spectre of war is not inadvertently released, international law provides for high formal hurdles for a legally valid declaration of war.

The self-proclaimed international law expert Baerbock overcame them all with the power of indescribable stupidity: Because at that moment when she spoke, 77 years after the end of the war, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Russian Federation were actually and truly officially at war with one another.

For a formally valid declaration of war, this must first be pronounced by an official representative of one state. As Federal Foreign Minister, Baerbock fulfilled this requirement. This declaration must take place in an official setting. A speech before the Council of Europe, which has the task of securing peace in Europe, also satisfied the second condition. Only the third condition is somewhat problematic. Because an official representative of the other state must be present to receive this declaration.

On March 15, however, Russia was expelled from the Council of Europe, a move which evidently was bad for peace, but at least this time it probably saved the world from Baerbock’s moronic grandstanding.

If an official representative of the Russian Federation had been among the spectators, that person would then – for better or for worse – have had to acknowledge the declaration of war. As it is, however, it is easy to argue that a public television broadcast is sufficient to officially inform the other state.

The Foreign Office quickly jumped in to cover for the statement of its erring chief. “During her meeting with members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 24, Foreign Minister Baerbock emphasized that Europe must stand together against this war.”

In view of the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, more and more people are concerned that Germany could become a direct party to the conflict. Last but not least, these concerns were fueled by the statement from Baerbock in the Council of Europe. Germany’s arms deliveries to Ukraine are undeniably now perceived as involvement in the conflict.

Russia’s cool response

According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, the statements by Baerbock as well as former Chancellor Angela Merkel suggest that the West planned a war against Russia from the outset. On Wednesday, on her Telegram channel, she quoted Baerbock’s other statements at the PACE meeting that more had to be done “to protect Ukraine”.

As is well known, Merkel said in an interview for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit in December last year that the German and French mediation efforts in the Minsk format were aimed at deceiving Russia in order to “strengthen Ukraine”. These words were echoed by former French President François Hollande, who noted that Ukraine had increased its military potential since 2014.

Director General of the Russian Foreign Affairs Council Andrei Kortunov recalled that Baerbock had always taken “radical” positions: “The conflict between the Greens and the Social Democrats was very serious from the start. Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for moderation and restraint, while Baerbock tended to be decisive and uncompromising. Far more than Scholz, she is in solidarity with the radical stance of the Baltic States, Poland and recently Finland’s too.”

He pointed out that while Baerbock was saying one thing, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the same day said that the alliance was not directly involved in the Ukraine conflict. NATO and its member states want to position themselves as comfortably as possible: on the one hand to offer Ukraine increasingly intensive supplies, on the other hand to pretend to stay out of the conflict.

NATO has been pursuing this tactic since the beginning of the confrontation, with a “gradual escalation of engagement, while at the same time it is constantly emphasized that neither NATO nor its individual countries are directly involved in this conflict,” underlined the political scientist.

Maybe Baerbock just said the quiet part out loud…

January 29, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , | 3 Comments

Germany’s Green Power Grid Unable To Power Green Society!

By P Gosselin | No Tricks Zone | January 28, 2023

Today we check in with Blackout News to find out the latest news on Germany’s green energy follies.

The latest is that the country’s increasingly green electric power grid is increasingly unable to handle the “climate friendly” electric mobility and heat pumps the German government is pushing.

It’s widely known that Germany’s electric power supply has the grid constantly on the brink power outages, even blackouts. This is in large part due to the rushed phasing out of baseload coal and nuclear power while installing mass capacities of unstable a wind and solar power.

As Germany pushes the ever greater burdens onto the power grid, its government continues taking measures to weaken the grid rather than to bolster it.

Since Germany’s natural gas supply disruption has caused energy prices to skyrocket, homeowners and motorists are looking for alternative heating sources and modes of mobility. Little wonder Germans are looking more and more to heat pumps for home heating and electric cars for their mobility.

But there’s a problem, Blackout News reports: “The President of the Federal Network Agency is now calling for the forced throttling of heat pumps and charging stations.” This is because the power grid cannot cope with the added load.

“The head of the network agency, Mr. Müller, sees new risks for the supply of electricity and gas. Private individuals installing charging stations or pumps could overload local grids,” according to Blackout News. “To prevent this, the power of these devices could be throttled.”

The government wants to push electric cars and heat pumps, but the agencies are warning it’s not possible – because over the past 20 years Germany has wrecked it’s once extremely stable electric power supply, which by the way was responsible for a tiny, inconsequential fraction of the world’s CO2 emissions.

According to Müller, “there could be overload problems and local power outages if we don’t act”.

“The authority in Bonn considers low-voltage local networks to be particularly susceptible to disruptions.”

Müller also told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that in critical times, heaters and chargers should not be completely cut off from the power supply. He promised that there will always be a minimum supply.

“The CEO of Düsseldorf-based energy company E.on, Thomas König, described the current power grid as being inadequate and called for the “quick expansion and modernization of local and regional power grids”.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | Leave a comment

Germany the Weakest Link in NATO’s War Tracks

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 27, 2023

Germany is being played like a fiddle and the sound is a pathetic and plaintive one. Only days after Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would not be supplying its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to fight against Russia, Berlin has done an embarrassing U-turn. The Leopards are coming.

Germany is to send “a company” of these fearsome battlefield weapons which amounts to about 14 of them, according to reports. What is more, Berlin is giving the proprietary authorization for other NATO members to also re-export the German-made tank to Ukraine.

Last Friday at a NATO-sponsored war summit at the U.S. Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany, the Scholz government surprised many observers by resisting mounting calls from the United States and other NATO allies to release the Leopards. Scholz has been saying for months that he did not want to provoke Russia into an escalation of hostilities by such a move. How many times has he said that regarding other German weapons only to buckle and cave in?

Immediately after the Ramstein meeting, the pressure on Berlin was ratcheted up. The U.S., Britain, Poland and the Baltic states castigated and shamed Germany for showing cowardice. Warsaw taunted that it would send some of its Leopards regardless of Berlin’s say-so, thereby snubbing the German protocol that as the manufacturer of the tank it must authorize any re-export of the weapon.

The clincher move came from Washington. The Biden administration said it would send its M1 Abrams main battle tanks after previously saying it would not owing to logistical impracticalities. That surprise move pulled the stops from under Berlin’s public position that it would only supply the Leopards on condition that the U.S. would also send its tanks.

Here’s the thing though. U.S. President Joe Biden is ordering the supply of 30 Abrams but it will take months or even up to a year before the American tanks become operational in the war. This is because the Abrams is a bigger beast requiring more training of tank crews. Whereas the German Leopards are good to go.

Washington is no doubt pulling a fast one on Berlin. The Americans are daring the Germans to send their prime tanks to the front knowing that their own lumbering, gas-guzzling behemoths will be leading from the rear.

The whole sordid spectacle of Berlin’s U-turn from brow-beating and hectoring by Poland and the Baltic minions speaks of German humiliation. It does make you wonder what kind of blackmail material the Western intelligence agencies have on Scholz and his government for such a cringe-making capitulation.

History never repeats exactly. In 1941, when Nazi Germany crashed into the Soviet Union with its Panzer Tiger tanks it was the biggest land invasion in history under the steely, brutal leadership of the Third Reich. This time around, the tanks from Berlin are tokenism and under orders from a vacillating chancellor mocked even by his so-called allies as being a “liverwurst” (liver sausage).

It shows, however, that the German establishment is apprehensive about being set up in a dangerous political game by treacherous allies. Polls indicate that the German population is wary about escalating the war in Ukraine against Russia. The bitter, shameful memory of World War Two and the German-led extermination across Europe in which up to 30 million Soviet citizens died is too much to bear. For Berlin to be now indulging the U.S.-led charade about “defending democracy” in an incorrigibly corrupt Ukrainian regime is risking huge political capital at a time of intensifying social and economic hardship for the German people, as in every other Western state.

Factions within the German establishment know that obeying American orders is a reckless, bad idea. Military commanders have warned against sending the Leopards. Business leaders are also against the insane destruction of bilateral relations with Russia. Yet other factions of the establishment are bending their knee to Washington. Is it blackmail or ideological weakness? Probably both. Germany is after all an occupied US military zone with 40,000 American troops and bases, rather than a sovereign nation.

The American imperial overlords want to break Europe into suzerainty under US capital. Germany is the traction point for this American subjugation of Europe. Obliterating geo-economic relations with Russia (and China) is a vital part of the plan. However, there is a catch: the German link is brittle.

The tokenism of sending the Leopards is gravely provocative to Russia, but it won’t make a difference to the outcome of the war in Ukraine. The Kiev regime has been goading NATO for at least 300 tanks in order to purportedly push back Russian forces. A few dozen tanks from Germany and other European allies won’t cut the mustard. Furthermore, tanks in isolation under the lack of air cover won’t have the impact that is unrealistically assumed.

The provocation will nevertheless not go unanswered by Russia. Moscow has warned that it will destroy any tanks arriving from Germany, Poland, or elsewhere before these machines even get off the rail tracks and anywhere near the front line. With Russia’s air power and precision missiles, such a threat is not idle.

When the Leopard hulls are wheeled back with their turrets blown off along with incinerated corpses, the political price for Berlin will become unbearable. The squabbling among NATO minions will then go from simmering to boiling point. And the tracks will come off the NATO war machine.

The Kiev regime is shooting foot soldiers who refuse to obey orders to advance against superior Russian firepower on the battlefield. Washington’s demands on Berlin are tantamount to the same self-defeating coercion.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

German FM under fire over ‘war with Russia’ comment

RT | Jaqnuary 27, 2023

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has faced a wave of criticism after claiming at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that Germany is at war with Russia. The comment led opposition politicians to question whether she is fit for the job.

“A statement by Baerbock that Germany is at war with Russia shows that she is not suited for her job,” Sahra Wagenknecht, a German MP and the former head of the Left Party’s faction in the Bundestag, wrote on Twitter on Friday. A foreign minister should be a “top diplomat” and “not act like an elephant in a China shop,” the lawmaker added, accusing Baerbock of “trampling” on Germany’s reputation.

During the Tuesday debate, Baerbock said European nations were “fighting a war against Russia” and must do more to defend Ukraine.

Germany needs a foreign minister who is capable of acting “as a responsible diplomat and not a firebrand” amid conflict in Europe, said Alice Weidel, the co-chair of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AFD) faction in the Bundestag.

Weidel accused Baerbock of being incapable of acting on the diplomatic stage, saying Berlin needs a top diplomat who represents Germany’s interests exclusively.

Meanwhile, a regional lawmaker from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the president of the German-Hungarian association, Gerhard Papke, accused Baerbock of being “completely politically insane” for making such a statement.

Left MP Selim Dagdelen demanded Chancellor Olaf Scholz provide an “immediate” explanation on whether Baerbock had his government’s mandate “for her declaration of war” and suggested the minister was a threat to the security of German citizens.

Neither Baerbock, nor Scholz, have responded to the criticism so far. Germany’s Foreign Ministry maintained Berlin is not a party to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow in a statement to the Bild tabloid.

“Supporting Ukraine in exercising its individual right for self-defense… does not make Germany a party to the conflict,” it said, pointing to the UN Charter. It said Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine is “a war against the European peace and order” and this is what Baerbock had meant.

In the wake of Baerbock’s Tuesday statement, Moscow said that the German minister’s words only show that the West had been planning this conflict all along for years.

January 27, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Poland expands offer of tanks for Ukraine

RT | January 27, 2023

Poland is ready to send 60 more tanks to Ukraine to help fight Russia, besides the 14 German-made Leopard 2 vehicles already pledged, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.

“If we don’t want Ukraine to be defeated, we have to be very much open and brave in supporting Ukraine,” Morawiecki told Canada’s CTV News broadcaster on Friday.

According to the prime minister, Poland is trying “to lead by example,” showing its allies what should be done to help Kiev.

“Right now, we are ready to send 60 of our modernized tanks, 30 of them PT-91. And on top of those tanks, 14 tanks, Leopard 2 tanks, from in our possession,” he said.

Morawiecki also noted that last year Warsaw provided about 250 of its modernized Soviet-era T-72 tanks to the Ukrainian military.

Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky, confirmed on Telegram on Friday that 60 more Polish tanks will be heading Ukraine’s way. According to Podolyak, the shipment consists of PT-91 Twardys, upgraded Soviet T-72M1 main battle tanks. “Thanks to our allies,” he wrote.

Morawiecki did not specify when the additional tanks will be supplied.

On Thursday, Poland’s Deputy Defense Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz said Warsaw plans to provide 14 Leopard 2s to Kiev after Ukrainian troops finish training with them, which could happen in “several weeks.”

The delivery of Leopard 2s by Poland to Ukraine became possible on Wednesday after Germany officially approved the supply of 14 tanks from its own stocks to Kiev, and allowed other countries to re-export the German-made weaponry to the Zelensky government.

On the same day, the US agreed to supply Kiev with 31 of its M1 Abrams main battle tanks. Earlier this month, the planned delivery of Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine was announced by the UK.

Russia’s deputy envoy to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Maksim Buyakevich, warned on Thursday that arming the Ukrainian military with Western tanks “is a straight path into a full-blown conflict in Europe.”

Earlier this month, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov insisted that German, US and British military hardware will not change the outcome of the conflict, and that the tanks will “burn” if they arrive on the battlefield.

January 27, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Did Germany just officially declare war on Russia?

By Drago Bosnic | January 26, 2023

During a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock bluntly stated that Germany and its allies are at war with Russia. The unexpected admission, although essentially true, is quite shocking given the fact that many Western officials have been insisting they aren’t directly involved in the conflict with Moscow. Baerbock made the statement during a discussion over sending “Leopard 2” heavy tanks to the Kiev regime. Most mainstream media conveniently ignored her words, but numerous experts were alarmed and warned that Berlin just essentially declared war on Russia.

This stands in stark contrast to claims of other German officials who have been extremely careful with their statements for nearly a year, insisting that their country is not directly involved in the Ukrainian conflict and citing uncontrollable escalation as their primary concern. However, this official stance is now in serious question, as one of the country’s top officials just effectively nullified all of their efforts. Annalena Baerbock started her statement at PACE with the following:

“And therefore I’ve said already in the last days – yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks. But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

Ironically, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his now former defense minister Christine Lambrecht have been accused of being “weak” on arming the Neo-Nazi junta. They have frequently insisted that it would be dangerous to get more directly involved in NATO’s proxy war against Russia. However, it seems that the much more hawkish Baerbock is willing to say the quiet part out loud. Moscow immediately reacted to the comments, with Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying this is yet another proof that the political West was planning a war on Russia for quite some time now.

“If we add this to Merkel’s revelations that they were strengthening Ukraine and did not count on the Minsk agreements, then we are talking about a war against Russia that was planned in advance. Don’t say later that we didn’t warn you,” Zakharova said.

Baerbock’s comments come on the heels of nearly a year of direct Russophobic narrative, including openly declared plans for war with Russia. In mid-November, Der Spiegel published leaked German Defense Ministry documents, revealing that the Bundeswehr is preparing for war with Russia. The secret draft titled “Operational guidelines for the Armed Forces” was authored by none other than the German Chief of Staff, General Eberhard Zorn himself. He stressed the need for a “mega-reform” of the German military and clearly identified Russia as an “immediate threat”.

The claim makes little sense, as Germany is now over 1,500 km away from Russia, with Belarus, Poland and Ukraine standing between the two countries. While such assertions made some sense at the height of the (First) Cold War, when the Soviet Union had over half a million soldiers stationed in East Germany alone (in addition to other Warsaw Pact member states), the situation is effectively reversed nowadays. NATO is the one encroaching on Russia’s western borders, with the crawling expansion including coups and other interventions in various Eastern European and post-Soviet states. After decades of this creeping aggression and Moscow’s futile attempts to build a comprehensive partnership with the political West, Russia was forced to launch its counteroffensive.

Back in early March, the German government announced a dramatic increase in defense spending, including a €100 billion budget for the Bundeswehr, essentially double in comparison to 2021. Although this will inevitably put additional pressure on the already struggling German economy, ravaged by the sanctions boomerang from its failed economic siege of Russia, Berlin’s suicidal subservience to Washington DC seems to take precedence. Much of Germany’s prosperity was based on access to cheap Russian energy, now a thing of the past thanks to Berlin’s resurgent Russophobia.

In addition, Germany also uniquely holds historical responsibility on a scale virtually no other country in the world does, especially towards Russia. During the Second World War, it launched a brutal invasion of the Soviet Union, killing nearly 30 million people and destroying virtually everything in its path. Worse yet, after approximately 80 years of denazification in the aftermath of its WWII defeat, Berlin still decided to support the Neo-Nazi junta in Kiev, effectively renouncing its own official postwar political position. This also includes German weapons that are killing Russians, both soldiers and civilians.

Alarmed by the dramatic shift in rhetoric, many in Germany are already pointing out the fact that the country is repeating the same historical mistake by antagonizing Russia. Petr Bystron, an AfD (Alternative for Germany) member of the German Parliament, reminded his colleagues in the Bundestag of the consequences of sending German tanks to fight Russia in Ukraine:

“It’s an interesting approach you’re taking here. German tanks against Russia in Ukraine. By the way, your grandfathers have already tried to do it then with the Melnyks and Banderas [Ukrainian Nazi collaborators during WWII] and what was the result? Untold suffering, millions of deaths on both sides, and in the end, Russian tanks here in Berlin. And two of them are still here, in front of the Bundestag. You should pass by them every morning and remember it!”

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

Unvaccinated German care home worker, accused of sparking a November 2021 outbreak that left three elderly women dead, faces criminal trial

eugyppius: a plague chronicle | January 18, 2023

From the Deutsche Presse-Agentur :

After a Corona outbreak that left three dead in a Hildesheim care home, a former employee will face trial in February…. She stands accused of one count of negligent homicide and two counts of negligent bodily injury, as well as forgery. The 45-year-old allegedly faked double vaccination against Corona by presenting a fake vaccine certificate …

Despite the infection of her son, the woman was at first allowed to continue working in late November 2021. … She is alleged to have been infected without noticing, and initially transmitted the virus to a colleague during a coffee break. Thus, a “chain of infection is alleged to have been set in motion.” Three female residents aged 80, 85 and 93 died in the outbreak.

According to the indictment, forensic medical examination revealed that Corona was the cause of death in the case of the 80-year-old. Other causes could not be ruled out for the other two victims … The woman has admitted to falsifying her vaccine certificate, but denies responsibility for the outbreak.

There were three other infections among home staff, and 11 among residents … Because the woman was known to oppose vaccination, her employer obtained information about the the date and batch numbers [listed on her certificate]. These … made it clear it was a forgery.

I’ve followed this case for a while, but I’ve avoided writing about it, because it just makes me depressed.

There’s the little things that irritate me, like the contact-tracing hocus-pocus and the ridiculous assumption that moments of transmission can be located as precisely as a coffee break. Or the awkward fact, that of the three Covid deaths this incident achieved for our un-unpluggable mortality ticker, medical examiners could assign only one to the virus with any confidence. The main thing, though, is just the incredible injustice of blaming fellow humans for infections with pervasive seasonal respiratory pathogens. This poor woman only faked vaccination to keep her job, and the outbreak at her home occurred well after the myth of vaccine efficacy against infection had collapsed. There’s just no reason to bring charges here.

If anything killed those old women, it was the care home and their decision to keep employees with positive close contacts at work. They almost certainly had no choice: These places suffer chronic staffing shortages, vastly exacerbated by pandemic-era mismanagement. And indeed, why should anyone work in a care home now? The pay is poor, you endure unusual levels of harassment over personal medical choices, and you can even face prosecution for passing on viruses your kids pick up at school.

January 25, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 4 Comments

Stop Whining & Turn Tap On: Why German Politicians Fear to Tell Truth About EU Energy Crunch

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 25.01.2023

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck pinned the blame for the nation’s energy crunch and shift to dirty fuels on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, according to the minister, “turned off the gas tap.” International observers dismissed Habeck’s remarks as utter nonsense while speaking to Sputnik.

“What else is left for Mr. Habeck to do? He cannot say that it were his actions that led to such unfortunate consequences for the German economy and for German consumers,” Alexey Grivach, deputy head of Russia’s National Energy Security Fund, told Sputnik.

“After all, it is precisely because of his rash actions that all German citizens are now suffering – and not only Germany, but the entire European Union. Therefore, Habeck has engaged in such a political, verbal balancing act, trying to convince someone that if there is no gas in the pipe, then Russia is to blame. But, fortunately, everyone knows perfectly well what really happened.”

Speaking to journalists last Friday, Habeck claimed that half of Germany’s entire gas supply had been stopped by Russia. He added that given that Nord Stream pipelines had been destroyed, Germany would not be able to get Russian fuel through them in the foreseeable future.

Done by Habeck’s Own Hands

Sputnik’s interlocutors have been perplexed by Habeck’s whining: it was Berlin that succumbed to Washington’s pressure last year and froze Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project that would have doubled the total capacity of the Nord Stream system from 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) to 110 bcm.

It was Robert Habeck, in propria persona, who on February 22, 2022, instructed the withdrawal of a security-of-supply assessment granted under former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s tenure, which was required to authorize Nord Stream 2.

It was Habeck, again, who pledged in early May 2022 to replace all Russian energy imports, most notably natural gas, by as soon as mid-2024, following the beginning of Moscow’s special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

The minister gleefully announced at that time that Germany’s share of Russian gas had already dropped from 55% in 2021 to around 35% by mid-April 2022, adding that even faster progress was achieved for oil and coal where shares had dropped to 12% and 8%, respectively. To that end, Berlin leased four floating LNG terminals online to supply some 33 bcm/year, seeking to start operating the first of the Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRU) in late 2022 and 2023.

Apparently, Germany did not resist the actions of Canada which slapped sanctions on Russia and had long refused to return a Gazprom turbine for Nord Stream’s gas equipment. Russia initially sent the turbine to Siemens Canada in Montreal for a scheduled overhaul.

However, in June 2022, Canada imposed restrictions on Russia’s energy companies, including Gazprom, and the turbine remained stuck in the North American country. That disrupted the Nord Stream system’s work and raised concerns about pre-planned maintenance service for the other five turbines. After back-and-forths, Ottawa agreed to issue a “time-limited and revocable permit” to exempt the return of the equipment.

“For some reason, this turbine was returned to Germany without the appropriate documents and guarantees that further maintenance of such turbines will be carried out in accordance with the obligations and not in some kind of sanctions mood,” Grivach noted.

Only in late August 2022, the Canadian authorities said that they would allow for the maintenance of the remaining five turbines used by the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, but the damage was done in terms of reducing the flow of natural gas from Russia to Germany.

A month later, a sabotage attack destroyed three out of Gazprom’s four Nord Stream pipelines. So far, neither Germany nor its European peers have lifted a finger to initiate repair works. This apparently indicates that they don’t need Russian gas, remarked Alexey Fenenko, associate professor of the Department of International Security, Faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University.

Furthermore, following the September 2022 sabotage, European leaders immediately pointed the finger of blame at Russia and did not allow Moscow’s specialists to participate in EU investigations into the blast.

However, in December 2022, the US mainstream press quoted European officials and investigators as saying that they had not found any evidence confirming Russia’s guilt. They admitted that Moscow would have nothing to gain from blasting its own pipelines and agreed that there had been plenty of international players interested in Nord Stream’s destruction. Nonetheless, western journalists and European officials have not made any step to name potential suspects.

“It is clear that if it were Russia, as some had the audacity to assert, then they would have proved it very quickly. But, apparently, the facts indicate some very unpleasant, and maybe even some taboo topics,” Grivach remarked.

Habeck’s gloomy sentiment with regard to Germany’s prospects of receiving Russia’s gas is sly, according to Sputnik’s interlocutors.

First, in October 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled his readiness to deliver gas to Germany through a Nord Stream pipeline not damaged by the blast. “It has a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters per year, which is about eight percent of all gas imports to Europe,” Putin stated on October 12, 2022, stressing that the ball is in Europe’s court. “Russia is ready for the start of these deliveries (…) If [European leaders] want it – they have to turn on the tap, and that’s it.”

Second, the same month, Moscow suggested creating a new gas hub in Turkey capable of delivering the fuel to the Old Continent.

Third, Russia is ready to restore gas supplies through other gas pipelines, as Vladislav Belov, deputy director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences and head of the Center for German Studies told Sputnik.

“Germany still has every opportunity to receive [Russian gas],” said Belov. “There is the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline, blocked by Poland, there is a gas pipeline through Ukraine, but it has reduced pumping through it by 40%. Germany has ample opportunity to put pressure on its allies. In addition, there is also the Turkish Stream, through which Russia fully fulfills all its obligations. In general, Russia is ready to supply gas to Germany, but the Germans themselves turned the tap off. It is up to them to be able to get as much gas as they need to keep their homes warm, to fill storage facilities and get gas at the prices that are currently on the spot market.”

It Was Europe’s Decision to Axe Russia’s Gas Supplies

The dramatic reduction of Russia’s gas supplies to Europe is the result of a political decision by EU member states, according to observers.

“The reasons are political. The European Union decided to stop the supply of all raw materials coming from Russia for political reasons.”

For his part, former Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis noted in an interview with Sputnik that he fully supports the position of former Austrian Vice-Chancellor Strache, who said that the German authorities are afraid to tell their own population the truth about the real reasons for rising gas and electricity prices and about a possible shortage of energy resources.

“Europe is paying a high price for the expensive natural gas it now has to buy,” said Lafazanis, adding that Europe itself is entirely responsible for the consequences of its energy policy and shift to LNG.

What’s more interesting, some European countries are continuing to buy Russia’s energy commodities nonetheless, Stepan noted.

“For example, Russian LNG is bought by France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and, of course, the United States are continuing to buy Russian LNG,” Stepan said. “The same applies to Russian oil. The UK claims it does not import anything from Russia, and suddenly there is news in the newspapers that several tankers with Russian oil will arrive in Britain (…) It turns out that there’s a double standard approach: on the one hand, politicians issue statements, and on the other hand, in practice, governments pretend that they know nothing about their companies continuing to import Russian raw materials, or they themselves violate their regulations.”

The allegations that Russia “weaponized” its energy supplies repeatedly voiced by western politicians look ridiculous to say the least, according to Sputnik’s interlocutors.

Moreover, Europe’s energy crisis started long before the Russian special operation in Ukraine, which is routinely cited as one of the causes behind spiking gas prices, according to Mehmet Dogan, a Turkish energy expert and CEO of energy consulting agency GazDay.

“Even before the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine, everyone was talking about the threat of an energy crisis,” Dogan told Sputnik. “Gas prices skyrocketed even before the outbreak of hostilities.”

“The gas crisis in Europe began even before the escalation in Ukraine. It was based on a sharp rise in prices for blue fuel. But European countries have tried to make Russia and Putin responsible for this crisis,” echoed Turkish energy expert Volkan Aslanoglu, stressing that Habeck’s recent statement appears to be completely detached from reality.

Russia Supplying EU Despite Sanctions & Military Aid to Kiev

There is yet another aspect to the ongoing debate that is rarely touched upon, according to Alexey Fenenko. The Russian academic considers Habeck’s remark about the blocking of the “gas valve” by Russia strange, given the intention of the EU to defeat the Russian Federation in an economic war.

Moreover, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made it clear at the latest World Economic Forum in Davos that to end the conflict in Ukraine Russia’s special military operation “must fail.” To that end, Germany and other western countries provide the Kiev regime with heavy weapons as long as needed, according to Scholz.

Indeed, the German media has reported that Berlin is now planning to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, something that the German leadership had been previously reluctant to do. Earlier this month, Berlin vowed to supply Ukraine with armored personnel carriers and a Patriot missile battery. In addition, on January 15, expanded combat training of Ukrainian forces kicked off in Germany, according to the US press.

European leaders have stepped up supplies of weapons to Kiev since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation with prominent leaders rubbishing the idea of a diplomatic solution to the conflict, rather claiming that it should be sorted out on the battlefield.

All this time, despite the EU’s bellicose rhetoric and their de facto participation in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, Russia’s energy producers continued to observe their obligations and supply Europe with natural gas, oil and petroleum products.

Russia is still warming up the Old Continent, be it direct oil and gas exports or ensuring the flow of energy carriers through its territory, energy expert Milos Zdravkovic told Sputnik. Moscow is signaling openness and readiness to provide Europe with energy, even though Russia has enough lucrative opportunities in Asia.

European Gamble Doesn’t Bode Well

Meanwhile, EU economic prospects don’t look good, according to Zdravkovic. He noted that the EU does not know what energy prices will be in the foreseeable future both for heating and the needs of industry. European goods are set to become much more expensive than those produced by Asians and Americans due to turbulent gas costs. This will adversely affect the economy of Europe, Zdravkovic warned.

“Europe consumed at least 500 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year,” Zdravkovic explained. “Its consumption grew by about 10 bcm per year.”

In 2021, the EU imported 83% of its natural gas with Russia delivering over 40% of this volume. Given that, it’s impossible to swiftly replace Russia’s gas with LNG supplies, according to Zdravkovic.

“The capacity of the total fleet of LNG tankers and all terminals on our planet, on all continents, is 400 bcm,” the Serbian energy expert noted, adding that European leaders shouldn’t expect that these volumes will all go to the Old Continent.

Moreover, a complete shift to American LNG would require building the appropriate infrastructure, according to Alexey Fenenko. One should also add fuel costs for tankers which will carry LNG from the US to Europe when supplies become regular. All these costs will make energy pretty expensive for Europeans, the Russian scholar remarked.

Of course, European countries could also switch to coal and nuclear energy, but it will take at least ten years for them to reorient to these sources of energy, Fenenko added.

“Every cloud has its silver lining,” said Zdravkovic. “I am convinced that at the end of this crisis (…), no one will ever be able to force large European economies, EU civilians and inhabitants of [the Old Continent] to join such a gamble again. I think this will definitely never happen again and that in the future there will be much more cooperation.”

January 25, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Will the Bundeswehr special fund be increased to 300 billion euros?

Free West Media | January 25, 2023

In the spring of 2022, in response to the war in Ukraine, the German government launched the so-called “Bundeswehr special fund”. For the sum of 100 billion euros, the Bundeswehr was going to be modernized and decades of neglect in equipping the troops would be corrected.

But months later there is still nothing happening. It was only at the beginning of January that the Federal Ministry of Defense announced that eight procurement and modernization projects had now been launched, but it will take years for them to be implemented.

At the same time, it has long been apparent that the 100 billion euros set by the government will not be nearly enough. The current Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Eva Högl (SPD), is therefore going all out: She wants the “special fund” to be increased from 100 to 300 billion euros. With revealing openness, Högl also let the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) know what the money should be used for: not for the modernization of the Bundeswehr, but for even more support for Ukraine, and which “cannot be done without new production capacities”.

Högl is thus passing on the official NATO course unfiltered to German taxpayers. Only recently, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg emphasized that armaments production must increase “in order to replenish the Allies’ stocks and to ensure that we can continue to supply Ukraine for a long time”. The conflict “is consuming a tremendous amount of ammunition and devouring our stockpiles”.

German Leopard tanks to Ukraine

With its reserved position on the issue of German main battle tank deliveries to Ukraine, the German government under Chancellor Scholz has aroused the intense displeasure of its alleged NATO “partners”. In Washington, in particular, there is open indignation. According to one report, a meeting of the US Secretary of Defense at the Chancellery was “tense”.

During Lloyd Austin’s visit to Berlin and the US Air Force base in Ramstein on Thursday and Friday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tried in vain to persuade Germany to at least grant export permits for third countries. This was reported by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, citing an internal report from American government circles. According to the report, Austin got into a heated argument with Chancellor Wolfgang Schmidt during his visit to the Federal Chancellery.

The meeting came about because the new Defense Minister, Pistorius, was only sworn in on Thursday and the arms export decision is being made in the Chancellery and by Chancellor Olaf Scholz anyway. The meeting between Schmidt and Austin was “tense”. The media report was denied by government circles. “We cannot confirm the report – neither in tone nor in content,” said Reuters information from Berlin.

Reports that the German government would only be willing to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine if the US in turn supplied Abrams main battle tanks, are said to have been the last straw.

According to the report, Austin received this information on the way to Berlin. The White House then intervened with unusual severity: US Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the Chancellery and spoke to Scholz’s foreign policy advisor, Jens Plötner. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sullivan read the Germans the riot act – a formulation that describes a particularly harsh confrontation in diplomatic circles.

The American side confirmed that there could be no joint delivery of Abrams and Leopard main battle tanks, citing a “delay”. Austin pointed out that moving and operating the Abrams would be too costly and time consuming. In this context, the US Secretary of Defense also emphasized that the US had already delivered far more armaments than Germany, including explosive devices that could hit Crimea.

January 25, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Germany ‘at war’ with Russia – FM

RT | January 25, 2023

Arguing in favor of sending tanks to Kiev, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said EU countries were fighting a war against Russia. US and EU officials have previously gone out of their way to claim they were not a party to the conflict in Ukraine.

“And therefore I’ve said already in the last days – yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Baerbock said during a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday. “But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

While Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that Germany ought to support Ukraine but avoid direct confrontation with Russia, his coalition partner Baerbock has taken a more hawkish position. According to German media, her Green Party has been in favor of sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, and eventually managed to pressure Scholz into agreeing. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who was reluctant to send tanks to Ukraine, was pushed to resign.

This is not the first time Baerbock has made waves with her position on the conflict. She told an EU gathering in Prague last August that she intends to deliver on her promises to Ukraine “no matter what my German voters think.”

Quoting Baerbock’s words on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the West just keeps admitting that they had been planning the current conflict for years.

“If we add this to Merkel’s revelations that they were strengthening Ukraine and did not count on the Minsk agreements, then we are talking about a war against Russia that was planned in advance. Don’t say later that we didn’t warn you,” Zakharova said.

Former German chancellor Angela Merkel told German media in early December that the 2014 ceasefire brokered by Berlin and Paris was actually a ploy to “give Ukraine valuable time” for a military build-up. Former French president Francois Hollande has confirmed this, while Ukraine’s leader at that time, Pyotr Poroshenko, openly admitted it as well.

Russia’s operation in Ukraine was a “forced and last-resort response to preparations for aggression by the US and its satellites,” former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.

January 25, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , | 3 Comments