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European gas crisis: Ukrainian opposition leader slams Zelensky for delaying offer to Russia of extra pipeline transit capacity

By Jonny Tickle | RT | October 25, 2021

Against the background of a European gas crisis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to give Russia extra transit capacity at a discounted rate is the correct choice, but Kiev took far too long to make the offer.

That’s according to Viktor Medvedchuk, chairman of the Political Council of Opposition Platform – For Life, the country’s largest opposition party. He is currently under house arrest, after being accused by the authorities of high treason and “aiding terrorism.” The politician says the criminal charges against him are trumped-up.

In an interview posted on his faction’s website, Medvedchuk agreed that Zelensky’s belated offer to increase the amount of gas running through the country’s pipes is the right thing to do. The president’s offer was extended not only to Russia but all countries wishing to use Ukraine’s infrastructure.

“It is very good, I think, that finally President Zelensky and his entourage have understood that our pipelines have enormous opportunities,” Medvedchuk said. “The proposal to increase the pumping through our pipelines by 50% is absolutely correct.”

On Sunday, the state-run Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz revealed that the company is ready to provide additional transit of up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year at a 50% discount, which would significantly reduce the cost for Russia. Moscow currently pays billions of dollars in fees to Kiev for transiting natural gas through Ukraine.

The lower offer comes as Naftogaz seeks to compete with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The controversial project was completed last month but is not yet operational. It directly connects Germany to Russia via the Baltic Sea, allowing Moscow to send gas without transiting other countries.

As Nord Stream 2 is already complete, Zelensky’s proposal is now long overdue, Medvedchuk believes.

“Today, Russia seems to be interested in launching Nord Stream 2 and not in increasing the amount of gas pumping through Ukraine’s transportation system,” the opposition leader said. “But we must come to an agreement, and we must make an offer. We must look for common opportunities for the development of trade and economic relations.”

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | Leave a comment

The Amen Corner Strikes Again

Congress is in Israel’s pocket

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • OCTOBER 5, 2021

Once upon a time the Israel Lobby destroyed critics of the Jewish state and its behavior by stealth. If a Congressman or Senator were speaking honestly about the lopsided relationship with Israel which required suppressing, it was done by making sure that individual was not reelected. This was normally accomplished by vetting an attractive opposition primary candidate who would do Israel’s bidding, funding him or her generously and providing unfavorable press coverage of the incumbent.

One great victory for Israel using that technique was the 1992 defeat of George H. W. Bush by Bill Clinton. Bush had dared to withhold guarantees on loans sought to fund Israel’s expansion of its settlements, clearly a genuine American interest as the settlements were a violation of international law. Going into the election, he appeared to be the much stronger candidate, but then the captive media starting to write about how the economy was in bad shape, which was not true, and switched over to deeply negative coverage of his campaign. The Lobby also heavily contributed financially to the Clinton campaign. George H.W. subsequently privately blamed the Israel Lobby for his defeat, a lesson his son George W. clearly absorbed in that he took pains to never anger Israel. He went rather the other way, surrounding himself with Jewish neocons as his national security policy team, which in turn produced Afghanistan and, quite plausibly, was the driving force behind the catastrophic attack on Iraq.

Legislators who have been dethroned by Israel using the same technique are Senators Chuck Percy and William Fulbright as well as congressmen Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney and James Traficant. They all faced credible, well-funded opponents and lost their seats. And the Israel Lobby, behind it all, never even had to complain about their views on Israel. In fact, it was believed to be better to not raise that issue directly.

Well, with great power frequently comes what the Greeks called hubris, and Israel has undoubtedly the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Washington. And that power is unique in that it also extends to many states and even local jurisdictions. As Lord Acton put it, “All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” meaning inter alia that the power wielded by Israel has corrupted our entire political system. What Israel wants, Israel gets, as became clear two weeks ago in the near unanimous vote for $1 billion dollars in extra Iron Dome expenses by the US Congress.

The critical difference is that now the Israelis have become so disdainful of their United States benefactor that the gloves are off when it comes to making their demands clear and insisting on positive responses. Those who do not go along are no longer brought down in semi-clandestine fashion. They are instead openly and explicitly denounced as anti-Semites and holocaust-deniers. Anti-Semitism has become the hot wire in American political discourse. Or, as one of Israel’s many proxies in Congress, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer put it, all who support the “American way” cherish the relationship with “the Democratic state of Israel.” Surely there is a double entendre in the use of “democratic,” though Hoyer, who was acting on a demand made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, appears to have somehow confused democracy with apartheid.

The Israel Lobby has for several years now been vexed by the group of recently elected congressional progressives who have not been particularly shy about criticizing the Jewish state, though they have frequently had to backtrack of statements under intense pressure from the party leadership. The pushback from other Congressmen and from the media frequently accuses them of being flat out anti-Semites or often inclined to use anti-Semitic “tropes.” A favorite point of attack is to deny that Jewish groups and billionaires use money to advance their political objectives, prominently among which is uncritical support of Israel.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar notoriously once responded to a question raised by journalist Glen Greenwald, who had posted his observation that “It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.” Omar tweeted in a curt response to Greenwald: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” Benjamins means one-hundred-dollar bills, which bear the image of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. The entire Democratic Party leadership and every media pundit immediately voiced outrage at the antisemitic “trope.” Apparently, linking Jewish groups and money as part of America’s political corruption, which even the casual observer can hardly miss, had been elevated to something like a hate crime within the Democratic Party.

Sometimes the pressure is more subtle in the old-fashioned way. In the voting two weeks ago on Iron Dome one progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez surprisingly voted “present” instead of “no.” It turns out that her own party is preparing to gerrymander her congressional district to put more Jewish voters in it and hopefully remove her by running a well-funded candidate against her. One might suggest that she put ambition ahead of ethical behavior in her voting, but as the Lobby is out to get her one tiny gesture will hardly prove to be her salvation.

Only one Republican voted against the Iron Dome money, Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky. He pointed out that most foreign aid comes down to the effectiveness of the foreign influence exerted on US politicians at home. It is a perfect pithy explanation of how the Israel Lobby operates. For his pains, Massie is being subjected to the hardball treatment. The American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), which is the most active player in the Lobby, published a Facebook ad that included a picture of Massie and a text stating “Efforts to cut, add conditions, or restrict America’s strong, bipartisan commitment to Israel will only harm America’s national interests.” A caption claimed that “when Israel faced rocket attacks, Tom Massie voted against Iron Dome.” The ad attracted numerous comments asserting that Massie is an anti-Semite.

Massie opposed nearly all foreign aid based on principle, saying that “My position of ‘no foreign aid’ might sound extreme to some, but I think it’s extreme to bankrupt our country and put future generations of Americans in hock to our debtors.” He responded to the AIPAC ad with “How is THIS not foreign interference in our elections?” and AIPAC answered Massie’s tweet with one of its own, saying it “will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work. We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is also hunting Republicans who are not toeing the line. It has focused on Tucker Carlson in particular. It has demanded that Fox News fire Tucker for promoting the “great replacement” theory as well as other white-nationalist talking points. “To use his platform as a megaphone to spread the toxic, antisemitic, and xenophobic ‘great replacement theory’ is a repugnant and dangerous abuse of his platform,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. Under-fire Republican Representative Matt Gaetz also became involved in the argument, saying that Tucker Carlson is correct about white nationalist ‘replacement’ conspiracy theory and he called the ADL racist.

AIPAC has also been active in denigrating the progressive Democrats of the so-called “Squad.” In August, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar accused the pro-Israel lobby of deliberately putting herself at risk with an ad campaign that featured her photo and was headlined, “Stand with America. Stand against Terrorists.” The ad included: “For Ilhan Omar, there is no difference between America and the Taliban; between Israel and Hamas; between democracies and terrorists; tell Rep. Omar: Condemn terrorists, not America.”

Israel’s ability to influence developments in the US is such that it also believes itself to be empowered to interfere in American education, promoting mandatory holocaust courses at all levels and stifling any serious study of what is going on in the Middle East. In August, Israeli Consul General to the Southeastern United States Anat Sultan-Dadon demanded a meeting with a dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to discuss a graduate student teaching a course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli claimed the PhD student Kylie Broderick was an anti-Semite and said she was unfit to teach the course.

The intervention by an Israeli government official came after a pressure campaign by right-wing pro-Israel websites and advocacy groups to remove the student from teaching a history department course called “The Conflict Over Israel/Palestine.” Now, Ted Budd, a Congressional Representative from North Carolina has joined the fray, including writing a letter to the president of UNC:

“President Hans: I write to express my concern over repeated antisemitic activity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Kylie Broderick, a graduate student, is scheduled to teach a course titled ‘The Conflict over Israel/Palestine.’ Ms Broderick has a troubling history of public antisemitic statements. In her public tweets she has lamented how hard it is for her to pretend that there are two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the classroom, noting that ‘there is only 1 legitimate side ­– the oppressed – versus imperialist propaganda. I don’t ever want to encourage them to believe there is reason to take on good faith the oppressive ideologies of American and Western imperialism, Zionists, & autocrats.’ Among other things, she has also falsely and unapologetically accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and denied Israel’s right to exist.”

Other pro-Israel groups have joined in, even claiming that Broderick was engaging activity that is illegal under both local and federal law! Indeed, one might suggest that what Israel and its friends are seeking is a world in which even thinking about the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Jewish state will be strictly illegal. The Ukraine, which has been heavily Israel-ized since its pro-Russian government was removed through US interference in 2014, has, in fact, just passed a law banning anti-Semitic sentiment. Sentiment means what is inside one’s head. In other European countries anti-Semitic acts, which include criticism of Israel and expressions disparaging Jews, are illegal, but this is a first step to criminalize anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic thoughts. Could something similar be coming to the United States? Judging from the resistance that an occupied Congress is likely to put up, which is zero, it is more than likely that we will be heading in the same direction.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

October 5, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 3 Comments

US demands Russia boost natural gas deliveries to Europe through Ukraine

RT | September 22, 2021

The US says Russia must increase supplies of natural gas to Europe through Ukraine to curb skyrocketing energy costs, sticking to its negative stance on the launch of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

“The reality is there are pipelines with enough capacity through Ukraine to supply Europe. Russia has consistently said it has enough gas supply to be able to do so, so if that is true, then they should, and they should do it quickly through Ukraine,” Amos Hochstein, senior adviser for energy security at the US State Department, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Hochstein said supplies of gas from Russia to Europe are “inexplicably low compared to both previous years and to what they have the capacity to do.” He also said that Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom’s refusal to book additional gas transit through Ukrainian territory for October “increases the concern.”

The US official also accused Moscow of trying to use Europe’s energy crisis to speed up the launch of the newly constructed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Hochstein underlined that US President Joe Biden and his administration oppose the launch of the project.

Gas prices in Europe have been hitting records, with October futures on the Dutch TTF exchange reaching record $963.9 per 1,000 cubic meters this month, while on September 20 the estimated price was $911.2.

Russia’s Gazprom has repeatedly pointed to the connection between high gas prices and lower-than-needed reserves in European underground storage facilities ahead of the approaching winter. As of September 19, those reserves were only 72% full, TASS reported, which is nearly 14% lower than in the past five years.

However, Gazprom emphasized last week that its current volume of gas supplies to Europe is in full compliance with the existing contracts. The company has been uneager to book additional volumes in the pipelines running through Ukraine due to high fees.

Gazprom is also counting on the launch of Nord Stream 2, a pipeline capable of delivering 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas annually. The pipeline’s daily capacity of gas supply is comparable to the entire volume of liquefied gas that is now supplied to Europe.

However, Russia may have to wait up to four months for EU certification required to start deliveries. The project has been repeatedly delayed under pressure from Washington and some Eastern European countries, which view increasing energy imports from Russia as a threat to Europe’s energy security.

September 22, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Moscow bothered by ‘uncontrolled, unrestricted expansion’ of US military biolab network near Russia

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – 06.09.2021

A Ukrainian lawmaker blew the lid off how many US military biological experiments took place in Ukraine last year, pointing to repeated outbreaks of otherwise inexplicable dangerous diseases in the country since the labs were opened. Similar facilities operate in other countries near Russia, including Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Moscow and the international community at large have reason to be concerned over US military biological laboratories’ operations near the Russian Federation, the deputy chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Fedorov, has suggested.

“The concern among Russian specialists, and among the international community, is caused by the uncontrolled and unrestricted expansion of foreign biological infrastructure belonging to the US military in states adjacent to the Russian Federation and located near the borders of the Russian Federation,” Fedorov said, speaking at a forum dedicated to the history of Imperial Japan’s WWII-era bacteriological warfare programme in Khabarovsk on Monday.

Fedorov is the latest Russian official to express his apprehensions over the US’ widespread deployment of military biolabs in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. In April, the Russian Security Council’s secretary, Nikolai Patrushev, told a Russian newspaper that Moscow was aware of the creation of new US military biolabs near Russia and China, and warned that Russian officials had reason to believe that biological weapons were being developed there.

“We have been assured that these are research centres where the Americans help local scientists to develop new ways to combat dangerous diseases. But in truth the authorities of those countries where these facilities are based have no idea what’s going on within their borders. Naturally, we and our Chinese partners have questions. We are told that the facilities operating near our borders are peaceful sanitary and epidemiological stations, but for some reason they are more reminiscent of Fort Detrick in Maryland, where the Americans have been working in the field of military biology for decades,” Patrushev warned.

In May, the Russian Security Council’s deputy chief Yuri Averyanov told Sputnik that Moscow has every right to be concerned about the presence of US and NATO military biological programmes near its borders, given the fact that the deadly microorganisms created at or studied in such facilities could “accidentally” be released into the environment, potentially causing mass casualties among civilians.

US Biolabs Dot the Globe

The United States has pushed the creation of biolabs via its so-called ‘Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction’, as well as bilateral ‘Joint Biological Commitments and Joint Threat Reduction’ programmes with individual nations. Washington has long insisted that these programmes, which started being implemented after the end of the Cold War, are designed only to reduce biological weapons proliferation and production.

However, Russia, China, politicians in some of the countries in which the labs are situated, and reporters – led by independent Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva – have questioned these claims.

Last year, Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk revealed to parliament that as many as 15 US-sponsored biological laboratories were operating on Ukrainian territory, with some of them said to be engaged in the storage of pathogens hazardous to humans and animals. Medvedchuk accused US and Ukrainian authorities of seeking to cover up the extent of these activities, and warned that some of the labs may be experimenting on human beings. He also highlighted repeated mysterious outbreaks of dangerous diseases in the country between 2009 and 2017, including haemorrhagic pneumonia, cholera, and hepatitis A. In 2016, he noted, at least 20 Ukrainian servicemen died from a strange flu-like virus, with 364 more people succumbing to swine flu the same year. Medvedchuk has been under house arrest since May 2021, ostensibly over an unrelated matter.

Along with Ukraine, the nation of Georgia has repeatedly come up in reporting on US military. In 2018, the country’s former minister of state security implored then-US President Donald Trump to open a formal investigation into worrying reports that personnel from the US’ Lugar Center biological lab outside Tbilisi were engaging in experiments on live human test subjects.

Russian officials have repeatedly expressed concerns about the Lugar lab. Last year, the Russian foreign ministry warned Washington that it was fully aware of US efforts to expand military-related research at the facility, and alleged that the US had substantially expanded dual-use biological research at labs across the former Soviet space under the pretext of combating bioterrorism.

Fears COVID-19 May Be US Bioweapon

Iran has voiced its own fears over the extent of US biolab activities in countries near its borders. In March 2020, in the early weeks of the spread of COVID-19, a group of 101 Iranian doctors penned a joint letter addressed to the leaders of Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan urging them to take immediate action to destroy “all of the US biological laboratories” on their territory amid fears that the coronavirus pandemic may have originated as a form of biological warfare.

China has also tried to shed more light Washington’s highly secretive military biological programmes. This summer, Chinese media and officials fingered Maryland’s Fort Detrick as where the global coronavirus pandemic originated, pointing to the lab’s unexplained mid-2019 shutdown and the appearance of mysterious flu-like symptoms in communities nearby shortly thereafter.

Amid US and World Health Organization demands to continue an investigation into whether the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have been the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese officials have urged a probe into Fort Detrick, pointing to US researchers’ work in synthesising SARS-related coronaviruses going back to at least 2003, and bat-related coronavirus since at least 2008.

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 5 Comments

Putin: Kiev would rather play the ‘victim’ than work for peace

Reunification with Donbass now nearly a lost cause

RT | July 12, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has blasted Ukraine’s apparent lack of interest in striking a deal to resolve the bloody civil war in the east of the country, saying that Kiev politicians are using it to score political points.

In a lengthy article published on the Kremlin’s website on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that much of modern Ukraine had been formed out of his country’s historical territories, and at Moscow’s expense. Arguing that the two nations shared deep historical and cultural roots, he said that modern conflicts were derived from the fact that Ukraine was “the brainchild of the Soviet era” and effectively an experiment by “Bolsheviks” who drew its borders.

However, Putin said, the implications of ongoing disputes within the Eastern European nation were catastrophic. “According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the total number of victims associated with the conflict in Donbass has exceeded 13,000 people,” he said. “Among them are elderly people and children. Terrible, irreparable losses.”

“Russia did everything to stop fratricide,” he went on, arguing that Moscow sees no other way out of the bitter dispute than for Kiev to honor the Minsk Agreements that were intended to provide a roadmap to ending the conflict. However, he said, talks with Ukrainian officials have fallen flat because “they prefer to exploit the image of a ‘victim of external aggression’ and trade in Russophobia.”

Insisting that Kiev is using the conflict to its advantage in dealing with the West, Putin also claimed that “they arrange bloody provocations in the Donbass” and, “in a word, are trying to attract the attention of their external patrons and masters by any means necessary.”

“I am more and more convinced that Kiev simply does not need Donbass,” the president went on. “Why? Because, firstly, the inhabitants of these regions will never accept the rule they are trying to impose by force, blockades and threats.” In addition, he said, the Minsk protocols could be readily implemented but, in his words, “contradict the whole logic of the anti-Russia project” and would undermine “the constant cultivation of the image of an internal and external enemy.”

Fighting between Kiev’s forces and those loyal to the two breakaway self-proclaimed Donbass Republics has escalated in recent months, with a number of civilian casualties reported. A tense standoff between Ukrainian forces and Russian soldiers across the frontier sparked concerns of an all-out conflict earlier this year, until Moscow announced that its units would be redeployed and that readiness exercises had been concluded.

Last month, Putin said that he saw little point in meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to discuss the situation in the east of Ukraine given, he alleged, that much of the country’s policies were imposed from abroad.

“Why should I meet Zelensky?” the Russian leader asked. “If he has given up his country to full external control, the key issues about life in Ukraine are resolved not in Kiev but in Washington, and, to some extent, in Berlin and Paris. What then would we talk about?”

July 13, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , , | 3 Comments

Britain wants to turn Ukraine into its stronghold but now realizes its limitations in the Black Sea

By Paul Antonopoulos, | June 28, 2021

Kiev and London have signed a Memorandum of Intent in the field of military shipbuilding. The partnership envisions joint design, as well as the construction of ships and naval bases in Ukraine. If the plan comes to fruition, this could maybe pose as a security risk for Russia in the Black Sea as NATO countries will have access to newly constructed naval bases, but after last week’s incident, London has likely come to the realization that its power is limited.

The memorandum was signed on the British Royal Navy HMS Defender frigate in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, just two days before the UK provoked a near-crisis by violating Russian territorial waters. The “Defender” intentionally violated Russian borders, resulting in the Russian military firing warning shots and forcing the British warship to change its course. The incident was such an embarrassment for the British that they are still denying Russia’s strong reaction.

If new naval bases are built in Ukraine, it would be to serve the ships of non-Black Sea NATO countries, such as the U.S. and the UK. It must be stressed though that for now this is a memorandum, which is not binding, and thus it calls into question its implementation.

Signing the memorandum on behalf of the UK, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said: “The UK and Ukraine have a close defence relationship, and we continue to strengthen this partnership to help deter shared threats” and “I am delighted that British and Ukrainian industry will work together on these projects, which will provide world-leading capabilities and provide opportunities for both our nations to boost our shipbuilding enterprises.”

London has long been strengthening cooperation with Kiev in the defense sector in its attempt to create a stronghold for itself in the region – this is to spread its influence and spy on Russia. With UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempting to build a “Global Britain”, creating a stronghold in Ukraine is part of its long-term strategy given London’s belief that it is a powerbroker all across Europe. London sees the post-Soviet space as one of the regions where British influence should expand. However, as last week’s incident between the Russian and British Navies demonstrated, the UK is not even remotely close to achieving a “Global Britain.”

The main message of the memorandum is to demonstrate Britain’s power. However, Russia, as another global player, is perceived as a direct competitor and this is why British authorities are attempting to weaken it. Ukraine is a suitable stronghold for British ambitions against Russia given the pervasive and obsessive Russophobic ideology that permeates Kiev. Therefore, London is just merely using Kiev for its own interests.

The British provocation in Russian territorial waters last week was an attempt to portray the British Navy as a global power in the 21st century. However, even U.S. President Joe Biden was not impressed with London’s action, but none-the-less, was still accused of emboldening Russia. Sources told The Telegraph that the U.S. decided against sailing close to Crimea alongside the British.

According to media reports, London and Kiev plan to build eight missile boats. In addition, the Ukrainian Navy could get two modern British minesweepers in a joint project with Ukrainian companies. It was announced that the work will be financed by Britain, and Kiev hopes that British experts will complete the “Vladimir the Great” corvette. The parties expect to confirm the agreements in August.

When it comes to bases, it is assumed that one could be built on the Sea of ​​Azov, and the other on the Black Sea. Keeping in mind the condition of the Ukrainian fleet, experts estimate that Ukraine does not need two new military bases, especially since serious military shipbuilding has not existed in the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian fleet is nearly obsolete, with most vessels stemming back to the Soviet era, along with only a few gunboats from the U.S.

The signing of the memorandum was done in order to strengthen the general impression that Britain is not only an independent player, but also an important ally of Ukraine. However, London would be seriously considering their capabilities in the Black Sea, especially since the signing of the memorandum was done before their provocations against Russia spectacularly failed and embarrassed the country to the extent that they had to deny that such an event occurred.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Ahead of crucial Putin-Biden summit, Washington raises stakes by announcing $150 million in additional military aid for Ukraine

RT | June 12, 2021

The Pentagon has announced a new $150 million military aid package for Ukraine, potentially raising tensions with Moscow just days before President Joe Biden’s summit meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

The latest gift from Washington aims to boost the “lethality, command and control, and situational awareness” of Kiev’s forces, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday. In practice, that translates into counter-artillery radars, counter-drone systems, secure communications technology and electronic warfare equipment.

Ukraine will also receive medical evacuation gear, as well as training and equipment to improve the safety and capacity of its air force bases. The new systems are meant to complement a $125 million aid package that was announced in March, which included counter-artillery radars and Mark VI patrol boats the US is phasing out.

Washington has pledged more than $2.5 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since 2014, when the government in Kiev was overthrown with the assistance of far-right nationalists. The fallout from the US-backed ‘Maidan’ triggered a chain of events which led to the Crimean peninsula seceding and voting to rejoin Russia. A situation which US refuses to recognize to this day.

The two aid packages have been authorized by the US Congress as part of the defense funding bill, but it was contingent upon the Pentagon certifying that Kiev was making sufficient progress on recommended reforms.

The two regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass area of east Ukraine also rebelled, and defeated two attempts to crush them by force. Kiev claims this amounts to “Russian aggression.” However, Moscow also doesn’t recognise the two self-declared states.

Tensions have risen in recent months, with fighting in the Donbass region escalating and both Russia and NATO conducting large-scale military exercises in Europe.

Biden is scheduled to meet with Putin on June 16. Ukraine is expected to be on the agenda, along with issues such as arms control, cybersecurity and nuclear cooperation.

June 13, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

I’m on a ‘hit list’ Kiev allows to silence dissent & journalism. That’s all you need to know about Ukrainian ‘democracy’

By Eva Bartlett | RT | June 12, 2021

Address issues which Ukraine, the West’s client state, does not like and you could end up on a ‘hit list’. Because that’s apparently how flourishing democracies roll…

Last week, photojournalist Dean O’Brien participated in a United Nations meeting to give his perspective on the war in Donbass, Ukraine’s breakaway region in the east. Shortly after the discussion, O’Brien came under fire from the Ukrainian embassy in the UK.

However, smears from Ukrainian officials are nothing compared to what the controversial ‘enemies of Ukraine’ database, the Mirotvorets (Peacekeeper) website, could bring.

In May, O’Brien and I discussed this hit list, noting that we were both on it, with photos of us published on the witch-hunt website.

“It’s a website called ‘Peacemaker.’ It’s anything but, really. It seems to be a hit list, a target for journalists or anybody that goes against the grain in Ukraine. If you’re reporting on them, they see you as some kind of threat and put you on this list,” he said.

The platform was created in 2014, shortly after Crimea was reabsorbed by Russia and the Kiev government’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine was launched. As TASS noted in 2019, Mirotvorets “aims to identify and publish personal data of all who allegedly threaten the national security of Ukraine. In recent years, the personal data of journalists, artists or politicians who have visited Crimea, Donbass, or for some other reason have caused a negative assessment of the authors of the site, have been blacklisted by Peacemaker.”

Talking about the horrors that Donbass civilians endure under Ukrainian shelling is, according to this rationale, a threat to Ukraine’s national security. As is going to Crimea, maintaining that Crimeans chose to be a part of Russia (or, as many in Crimea told me, to return to Russia) and criticising the influence neo-Nazis wield in Kiev.

“The most worrying thing is that they seem to be able to get a hold of people’s passports, visas,” O’Brien told me. “The fact that they can get ahold of your passport photo, your visa photocopies, these can only come from official government offices in Ukraine. This is a governmental website, it’s been discussed in parliament, to close it down. They’re not interested in closing it down. This website is kind of like a hit list, really.”

That might seem like an exaggeration, but people listed on Mirotvorets have been targeted and even killed.

A report by the Foundation for the Study of Democracy titled “Ukrainian War Crimes and Human Rights Violations (2017-2020)” gave the example of a Ukrainian journalist assassinated in 2015 after his personal details were published on the website.

“A few days before his death, Oles Buzina’s details, including his home address, had been posted on the Canadian-based Mirotvorets website, created with the initiative of Anton Gerashchenko, the Ukrainian deputy minister of internal affairs. The people listed on it are recommended for liquidation and arrest, and the total number of people listed are in the tens of thousands.

According to many experts, it was the listing on the site and the publication of the home address that prompted the murder of Oles Buzina, Oleg Kalashnikov, and many other opposition figures by members of the Ukrainian ‘death squads’.

Back in 2015, Georgiy Tuka, who participated in the creation and operation of the site, stated that, of the people listed on the site, “more than 300 were either arrested or destroyed,” the report states.

When in April 2015 the Ukrainian parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights Valeriya Lutkovskaya launched an effort to shut the list down, the then-adviser to Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko threatened her position and stated that the work of the site was “extremely important for the national security of Ukraine.” He said that “anyone who does not understand this or tries to interfere with this work is either a puppet in the hands of others or works against the interests of national security.”

So the website remains active, with Ukraine’s security service reportedly stating that it did not see any violations of Ukrainian law in the activities of the Mirotvorets website.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, too, has refused to have the website shut down, ironically claiming that it’s wrong to interfere with the work of websites and the media.

Let’s remember that in Ukraine, untold numbers of journalists, activists and civilians have been imprisoned, and killed, for their crimes of voicing criticism of the government and neo-Nazi groups.

Ukraine isn’t the only country to host such a hit list. Although Stop the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) – the project of crazed US-based journalist, Lee Kaplan – named activists, including myself, for our crimes of reporting on Israel’s brutal bombardment of Gaza in 2008/09, the website has since changed format and is far less detailed. But cached versions show the extent of its insanity, including a clear call for our murders:

“ALERT THE IDF MILITARY TO TARGET ISM

“Number to call if you can pinpoint the locations of Hamas with their ISM members with them. Help us neutralise the ISM that is now definitely a part of Hamas since the war began.”

Others on the kill list were named for their crimes of reporting Israel’s systematic abuse and killing of Palestinians. Their personal details, including passport information, were published.

An article on this heinous website noted: “The dossiers are openly addressed to the Israeli military so as to help them eliminate ‘dangerous’ targets physically, unless others see to it first.”

Although arguably that website was the project of one lunatic and their allies, the fact that for many years it stayed active and called for the murders of international peace activists speaks volumes on America’s own values.

I’m sure these two hit-list examples are not isolated ones. Quite likely, there are similar lists targeting journalists reporting on the crimes of other countries. But they are the height of absurdity, and fascism: targeting people whose reporting aims to help persecuted civilians.

Meanwhile in Donbass, Ukraine reportedly continues its shelling of civilian areas. Recently in Gorlovka, a northern city hammered by Ukrainian bombing over the years, a mine blew off part of a woman’s leg as she gathered mushrooms.

In spite of the hit list, journalists, rightly, continue to report on these war crimes.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

SUCCESS IS CONFRONTATION

By Paul Robinson | IRRUSIANALITY | JUNE 11, 2021

Yes, you read the title correctly, “Success is confrontation.” So says one-time US Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker in an article for the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), one of the more reliably Russophobic think tanks in Washington. “Success is confrontation.” Think about the implications for a while.

The subject of Mr Volker’s article is the forthcoming meeting between America’s president Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Volker wants you to know how should measure the meeting’s “success”. The basic answer is that the meeting will be a success from the American point of view if it fails utterly, miserably, and totally. The worse the outcome, the better it will be.

Now, with relations between two heavily armed nuclear powers about as bad as anyone can remember, one might imagine that success would be if the leaders of the two powers found some way of patching up their difficulties, or at least reaching agreement on some minor matters of mutual interest while leaving major differences between them unresolved. But Mr Volker views things rather differently.

For you see, if the meeting between Biden and Putin ends without a major bust-up, or worse produces some minor agreements that overall contribute to “predictability and stability”, that will be a victory for Putin. And what is good for Putin must by necessity be bad for America. As Volker puts it,

It is surely not in the interests of the US, the EU, NATO, and other allies to see a summit in which Putin leaves convinced that he has blunted the United States and faces no consequences for his behavior. It would send a signal that authoritarians can get away with aggressive acts at home and abroad, and that the US and the West will not take any meaningful action to stop them. … any outcome that seems reassuring and benign on the surface actually works in Putin’s favor.

Consequently, Volker concludes that:

For the US, therefore, the best possible outcome is not one of modest agreements and a commitment to “predictability,” but one of a lack of agreement altogether. Success is confrontation.

Volker points out that Biden and Putin might discuss issues such as climate change, Iran, and Afghanistan. Is it really better that they fail to reach agreement on those issues? Whose interests would that actually serve? I damned if I have an answer. And Volker doesn’t provide one either. His view seems to be that the world can go to hell in a handcart as far as he’s concerned, if the alternative is failure to confront the evil dictator Putin. Frankly, it’s nuts.

In fact, it’s obvious that Volker doesn’t want the meeting to go ahead at all. He writes that, “an ideal scenario would have the US Administration announce tough, new sanctions against Russia and its enablers in Western Europe in advance of the Geneva summit.” Of course, were that to happen, Putin would cancel the meeting there and then. But I guess that’s the point. Volker thinks it’s wrong not only to come to agreement with the Russians but even to talk to them. To reverse-quote Churchill: In the eyes of Volker, “War, war is always better than jaw jaw.”

One can argue that one should prepare for the possibility of conflict. But the idea that one should actively prefer it to agreement on the international stage, especially when dealing with the largest country in the world, a nation endowed with some 1,500 nuclear warheads, is, in my opinion, quite staggeringly irresponsible.

Now, you might say that this is just one guy’s opinion. We can ignore it. It doesn’t mean anything. But Volker isn’t just some guy. From 2017 to 2019, he was the US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations – so in effect America’s point guy for its relationship with Ukraine and for negotiations concerning a peace settlement for that country’s civil war. On the basis of this article, one shudders to think what advice he was giving the Ukrainian government. Certainly not advice conducive to peace, I imagine. It’s more than a little scary.

So, this is more than just one man. This article is a window into the way that an influential part of the American foreign policy establishment thinks. It rejects negotiation. It regards compromise as dangerous. It openly prefers conflict. “Success is confrontation” – the worse the better. Wow!

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Sorry Ukraine, US won’t be riding to your rescue: Essential wake-up call to Kiev, ending years of delusion

By Paul Robinson | RT | June 9, 2021

Since 2014, the US has encouraged Kiev’s leaders to believe that it has their back, come what may. Now, as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline nears completion, the Ukrainian president is screaming betrayal as he realizes he was misled.

A while back, it used to be popular in some circles to play up talk of the “Putinsliv” – the impending sell-out in which Russian President Vladimir Putin was apparently destined to throw the rebels of Donbass under the bus and surrender them to the tender mercies of the Ukrainian government. The irony is that, while Putinsliv never happened, the fury coming out of Kiev this week suggests that Ukraine itself has suffered a dramatic and unexpected “Bidensliv,” being sold out by US President Joe Biden.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had a troubled relationship with the country, which he accused of trying to undermine his election campaign in 2016. Republicans also used the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter, in Ukraine to paint Trump’s Democratic opponent as corrupt. Consequently, Ukrainians generally welcomed Biden’s election as president and have viewed him as a much more reliable ally.

Until this week, that is. Now, things are looking a little different.

For the past few months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pressing Biden for a meeting. His position was that this should take place before Biden holds talks with Putin. Otherwise, the argument goes, the Russian and American leaders might stitch up Ukraine’s fate and then present Kiev with a fait accompli. Better that Zelensky gets to Biden first, they say, so as to forestall any attempt by the Americans to betray Ukraine to the Russians.

This, however, was not to be. Speaking to Zelensky by phone on Monday, Biden offered to host him in Washington later this summer, after Biden meets Putin in Geneva on 16 June. Apparently, the White House has decided that managing relations with Russia takes precedence over keeping Ukraine happy – a not unreasonable position given that Moscow has nearly 1,500 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, whereas Ukraine has not a single one. The safety of the world tends to focus the mind on what is really a priority.

In another blow to Zelensky, the Biden administration has finally given up its campaign to sabotage the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is designed to bring natural gas directly from Russia to Germany. At present, Russia exports natural gas to the rest of Europe largely through an old Soviet pipeline system running through Ukraine, and pays Kiev some $3 billion a year for the privilege. Kiev fears that, once the new underwater link is up and running, Russia will be able to stop the supply of gas through the country, thereby depriving it of much-needed cash.

For this reason, Zelensky and his allies have been lobbying the Americans to prevent the pipeline from being finished. To that end, the Trump administration imposed numerous sanctions on companies involved in the project. Now, though, the Biden government has waived those sanctions on the main German company involved, in effect giving the pipeline a green light for completion.

This was little more than a recognition of reality: Nord Stream 2 was going to be completed no matter what America did. So it made little sense for the US to degrade its relations with Berlin any more than it has already. Given a choice between the goodwill of rich and powerful Germany on the one hand, or of weak and impoverished Ukraine on the other, it was fairly obvious which one Washington would side with. The only surprise was that it took so long to work it out.

Adding insult to injury, Putin announced last week that the first section of the pipeline had been completed. This news provoked Zelensky into a mini tantrum. Speaking to the Axios news website, he complained that he was “confused” and “disappointed” by the American decision to waive sanctions on the project. He was “positive” that America could stop construction if it wanted, he said. Zelensky was also angered by the fact that the Americans didn’t tell him about their decision, and that he had to learn about it from a White House press briefing. “How many Ukrainian lives does the relationship between the United States and Germany cost?” he asked.

The Ukrainian president’s comments reveal a remarkable naivety. It seems he truly believed both that the United States is all-powerful; and that the Americans would prioritize relations with Kiev over relations with Moscow and Berlin. Now he is learning the hard way that in international politics, as Thucydides said, “the strong do what they will, and the weak suffer as they must.”

If the episode acts as a wake-up call for Zelensky’s government, that will be a good thing. For too long, Ukrainian leaders have given the impression they are living in a fantasy world in which the West will in due course induce Russia to abandon any support for the rebellion in Donbass with a campaign of massive economic, military and diplomatic pressure. This vision has manufactured an unwillingness in Kiev to make the concessions required to bring peace to Donbass under the Minsk II Agreement of February 2015, most notably the granting of “special status” to the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk. As a result, it has played a major role in perpetuating the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

To be fair to Zelensky, the Americans have done everything they can to encourage the fantasy that Russia can be pressured into surrender. As he notes in his interview with Axios, Biden had offered him “direct signals” that the US was prepared to block the [Nord Stream 2] pipeline. This is plausible. It fits a pattern of behavior in which Washington has led Kiev’s ruling elite to believe it will have their back come what may, including in its efforts to ignore the Minsk Agreement.

Consequently, it is perhaps not surprising that Zelensky feels betrayed. The American government has misled Ukraine’s leaders into thinking that it will go the whole hog on the country’s behalf. To an outside observer, this was never plausible. But in the desperate world of Ukrainian politics, it may well have appeared otherwise. Kiev’s bubble has long since needed bursting. To the extent that the Nord Stream 2 debacle has done that, it has paradoxically been a rather good week for Ukraine – no matter what Zelensky or his supporters may think.

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics, and is author of the Irrussianality blog

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

As US regime-change agency NED admits interference in Belarus, leaked documents also implicate UK Foreign Office

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | May 21, 2021

The full extent of Western meddling in Belarus prior to the country’s contested August 2020 election may never be known. Yet the outlines of a wide-ranging foreign effort to destabilize the government are becoming ever clearer.

As RT reported earlier this week, a pair of Russian pranksters posing as Belarusian opposition figures have duped high-ranking representatives of US regime-change arm the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) into exposing the extent of Washington’s clandestine involvement in the unrest that erupted across the country throughout 2020.

Among other bombshell disclosures, Nina Ognianova, who oversees the NED’s work with local groups in the country, suggested “a lot of the people” who were “trained” and “educated” via the organization’s various endeavors there were pivotal to “the events, or the build-up to the events, of last summer.”

Long-time NED chief Carl Gershman – who in September 2013, less than six months prior to the coup that shifted Kiev’s political orientation, dubbed Ukraine “the biggest prize” for Washington – added that his organization was working with controversial opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and her team “very, very closely.” In all, the agency bankrolled at least 159 civil society initiatives in Belarus, costing $7,690,689, from 2016 to 2020 alone.

The team’s unguarded comments represent a rare public admission of the insidious, destabilizing role played by the NED – in 1991, its then-president acknowledged, “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” However, leaked UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) files indicate that the US is far from the only foreign power attempting to undermine the country’s government.

In 2017, then-Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled a £100 million kitty, ostensibly for battling Kremlin disinformation. In practice, internal FCDO files leaked by hacktivist collective Anonymous made clear the effort was primarily concerned with “weakening the Russian state’s influence,” particularly in its “near abroad.” As a close neighbor and arguably most important ally of Moscow, Belarus was unsurprisingly very much in the FCDO’s crosshairs.

In January of that year, Whitehall commissioned an extensive analysis of Belarusian citizens’ perceptions, motivations, and habits, in order to “identify opportunities” to “appropriately communicate” with them. In particular, London was interested in “existing or potential grievances against their national government” that could be exploited, and “channels and messages” by which the UK government could “appropriately engage with different sub-groups.”

The analysis was conducted by shadowy FCDO contractor Albany Associates, which has, in recent years, also conducted numerous information warfare operations in the Baltic states, in order to “develop greater affinity” among the region’s Russian-speaking minority for the UK, European Union and NATO. While carrying out another Whitehall-funded project targeted at Moscow, the firm closely collaborated with NED-connected French NGO IREX Europe.

An accompanying bio notes IREX has been working in Belarus since 2006 “with print, online and radio outlets,” to “improve the quality of their coverage,” and “increase their understanding of the EU and EU member states.” As part of its youth audience offering in the country, the organization was said to have founded the Warsaw-based Euroradio, along with online outlet 34mag.

Footage produced by Euroradio of violent crackdowns on protesters in Minsk was regularly aired by the Western media, including the BBC, during the strife. The outlet even specifically amplified calls from the British state broadcaster for activists to submit pictures and videos for use in news coverage. Franak Viacorka – an Atlantic Council senior fellow, and now senior advisor to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya – prominently hailed its “fearless” reporting of the upheaval.

Euroradio also repeatedly crops up in documents related to the Open Information Partnership (OIP), which is the “flagship” strand within Whitehall’s multi-pronged propaganda assault on Russia. Bankrolled by the FCDO to the tune of £10 million, the organization maintains a network of 44 partners across Central and Eastern Europe, including “journalists, charities, think tanks, academics, NGOs, activists, and factcheckers.” One of the collective’s primary, covert objectives is influencing “elections taking place in countries of particular interest” to the FCDO.

The classified files make clear the OIP has engaged in numerous astroturfing initiatives throughout the region, helping organizations and individuals produce slick propaganda masquerading as independent citizen journalism, which is then amplified globally via its network.

For instance, in Ukraine, the OIP worked with a 12-strong group of online ‘influencers’ “to counter Kremlin-backed messaging through innovative editorial strategies, audience segmentation, and production models that reflected the complex and sensitive political environment,” in the process allowing them to “reach wider audiences with compelling content that received over four million views.”

In Russia and Central Asia, the OIP established a covert network of YouTubers, helping them create videos “promoting media integrity and democratic values.” Participants were also taught how to “make and receive international payments without being registered as external sources of funding” and “develop editorial strategies to deliver key messages,” while the consortium minimized their “risk of prosecution” and managed “project communications” to ensure the existence of the network, and indeed the OIP’s role, were kept “confidential.”

It would be entirely unsurprising if similar efforts were being undertaken in Belarus. After all, the country – along with Moldova and Ukraine – is referred to in the leaked documents as “the most vital space in the entire network,” and a “high-impact priority” for London, suggesting its 2020 election was very much “of interest” to Whitehall. If so, it would likewise be entirely unsurprising if many of the alleged so-called citizen journalists and media outlets covering the unrest in Minsk received funding and training from the OIP.

All along, too, MEMO 98, an OIP member coincidentally also funded by NED, kept a close eye on the incendiary proceedings, publishing several analyses of media coverage and social media activity related to the protests. It drew particular attention to the output of Belsat TV, a Warsaw-based channel – founded in December 2007 by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it seeks to influence political change in Belarus. MEMO 98 praised the station’s “extensive coverage of protests and related intimidation of activists.”

Strikingly, the leaked FCDO files indicate that Belsat TV received intensive, Whitehall-financed support from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the newswire’s international “charitable” wing, including 150 days’ consultancy in improving “TV output quality and audience reach.”

While the protests have largely fizzled out in recent months, and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s calls for Western leaders to recognise her as the legitimate president of Belarus continue to fall on deaf ears, there are clear signs many other media platforms in Belarus receive life-giving sponsorship from London to this day.

In March 2021, the FCDO published an update on the progress of its global ‘Media Freedom Campaign’, which revealed that, over the past year, Whitehall had allocated £950,000 in financing to Belarusian news outlets, enabling them to “remain open and maintain a functional level of equipment.”

“Without this support, they would otherwise have been forced to close by government measures,” the document stated. “The funding has saved jobs and ensured that independent media can still hold the government to account during a period of increasingly violent action by the security forces.”

Evidently, even during a global pandemic, the regime-change show must go on – and the UK government is committed to ensuring people the world over continue to receive a steady deluge of slanted agitprop from the streets of Minsk, in order to turn public opinion against the government not only of Belarus, but of Russia too.

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions.

May 21, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Partners Don’t Use Blackmail: Top German Lawmaker Slams US Attempts to Block Nord Stream 2

By Tim Korso – Sputnik – 13.05.2021

Washington has been strongly opposed to the Nord Stream 2, a joint project by Russia’s Gazprom and European energy giants, trying to stop its construction with sanctions. The European beneficiaries of the project have condemned the US meddling in the bloc’s economic and energy affairs.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is an economic project beneficial to German interests and thus must be completed in the shortest term possible, parliamentary co-leader of the German party The Left, Dietmar Bartsch has stated. The lawmaker, who is expected to fight for the chancellor’s seat in this year’s election, added that the US must not create obstacles for the project’s completion.

“Washington must not make decisions for Germany and Europe regarding their energy security. Partners do not resort to blackmail and threats in their relations”, Bartsch stressed.

The US has repeatedly objected to the plans of European countries to complete and certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was designed to deliver up to 55 million cubic metres of Russian natural gas per year. Washington claims the pipeline undermines European energy security, making it dependent upon Moscow, and suggests buying American or Israeli LNG instead. The White House also expressed concern that Nord Stream 2 will deprive Ukraine of lucrative contracts on the transit of Russian gas through its territory. The latter has been disrupted by Kiev multiple times in the past.

EU powers, especially Germany, have defended the project, insisting that the continent’s energy supplies are sufficiently diversified. German politicians and lawmakers regularly denounce the sanctions Washington has put in place in order to force European countries to abandon the pipeline. Russia, for its part, has assured the West that gas transit through Ukraine will continue as long as it remains economically viable.

The Nord Stream 2 is now in the final stages of construction despite the US countermeasures. Around 5% of the pipe remains to be built according to statements by the operating company. The question, however, remains whether any European entity will agree to certify the pipeline once it’s complete to allow it to turn on the taps, as they would risk falling under American sanctions by doing so.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 2 Comments