Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Betting Sunday

by Oui Fri Feb 11th, 2022 at 11:45:09 PM EST

Once again, no fruitful contact to advance diplomacy. On a down hill path toward a big mistake ...

Invasion is a question of timing ... taking advantage of 8 hour time advantage over the  US : Washington DC (6:30 p.m.) to Moscow (01:30 a.m.)

Super Bowl LVI

Kickoff on the west coast comes at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET), so the sun will indeed still be shining. Weather forecast: temperatures are expected to reach 84 degrees around kickoff.

US Intelligence: Attack 'Imminent' Postponed To Next Week

U.S. Says Russia Could Attack Ukraine 'Any Day' in Escalation of Alarm | The Moscow Times |

MFA Lavrov Messaging

Moscow can’t accept collective EU, NATO response to message on indivisibility of security

Normandy Four and Minsk Agreements

"No Breakthrough": Russia-Ukraine Talks Fail To Ease Tension | NDTV |

What if?

Any military conflict will be devastating for the  EU-27 and Russia. The big winners will be MAGA and Communist China. No tension with Tehran as the nuclear talks fall through. The Middle East powers will be the enlarged alliance of Egypt-Israel-GCC states under the umbrella of the United States. The Abraham Powers are in control of the biggest fossil fuel wells.

Commodities traders brace for a war in Ukraine

Metals prices may rally further if Russia-Ukraine tensions impact supply: analysts | SP Global |

Energy policy shaping America's fortune ...

Resources for Freedom: The outlook for energy sources (1952)

Today the state of resources ...

How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics | FT |

Stocks take a hit on Wall Street ...

An analysis of the gas industry's play book to promote fossil gas in Europe
Losing the Afghan people and stealing their savings in US banks … how low can you get!

Spurning Demand by the Taliban, Biden Moves to Split $7 Billion in Frozen Afghan Funds | NY Times |

The president intends to use the Afghan central bank’s assets to fund needs in Afghanistan amid a humanitarian disaster, and compensate victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

h/t MofA

Afghan reserves to be split between humanitarian efforts for the Afghan people and American victims of terrorism, including relatives of 9/11 | The Guardian |

As the Biden administration mulled over what to do with the funds, a group of relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks, who years ago won a default judgment against the Taliban and al-Qaida, sought to seize the Afghan bank assets. In a case known as Havlish, the plaintiffs persuaded a judge to dispatch a US marshal to serve the Federal Reserve with a “writ of execution” to seize the Afghan money.

The Biden government has intervened in the lawsuit, and is expected to tell the court that the victims’ claims for half the money should be heard (several other victims’ groups have also asked for a share). If the judge agrees, Biden will seek to direct the remainder toward some sort of trust fund to be spent on food and other humanitarian aid in Afghanistan – while keeping it out of the hands of the Taliban.

… it also includes the savings of ordinary Afghans, who are now facing growing violence and hunger with the economy and rule of law in freefall.

Taliban attempting to steadily erase women and girls from public life – UN experts | OHCHR |

Breaking News


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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 12:49:53 AM EST
Anton Drobovitch, National Museum of Ukraine was part of the program. Two elderly women were interviewed, Soviet era detention cells with human rights abuse were visited,  and the terror of the famine Holodomor. I found it shocking for the timing of this short documentary at a crucial moment in the crisis. Pure war rhetoric and propaganda.

What mechanisms do you use to restore the lost pages of history?

We Ukrainians have lived through various complex periods. There was the Bolshevik Red Terror, the Russian Civil War, and the man-made Holodomor famine of 1932-3, as well as the Holocaust, when the USSR ignored the Nazi extermination of almost 34,000 Jews because they feared that revealing information about the Holocaust might consolidate the Jewish community. It was the same story with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 10:40:37 AM EST
The richer, land-owning peasants were labeled kulaks and were portrayed by the Bolsheviks as class enemies, which culminated in a Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of large numbers of the better-off peasants and their families in 1929-1932.

Major contributing factors to the famine include the forced collectivization in the Soviet Union of agriculture as a part of the first five-year plan, forced grain procurement, combined with rapid industrialization, a decreasing agricultural workforce, and several severe droughts.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 10:43:24 AM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 03:05:17 PM EST
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Furthermore, interview with James Heappey MP added more war talk pushing blame on Russia. Could not find a clip on BBC Breakfast of today. Britain has trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian military and with advanced arms are well placed to defend their country. The UK and NATO will not have boots on the ground in case of conflict with Russia.

NATO is a defensive alliance where members are free to choose to join ...

US Ups Tension with Russia

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 10:45:01 AM EST
Elements of 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis repeating not only in Eurasia but in South Asia as well | Anadolu Agency |

The diplomatic predicament and a warlike buildup between the US-led West and Russia over Ukraine have almost all the elements taken out straight from the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, with the roles reversed. The history is not only being repeated in the Eurasian region, but identical events are happening far away in South Asia as well, taking cover of the preoccupation of the West.

Sixty years ago, the US and the erstwhile superpower Soviet Union now represented by Russia came to the brink of war, when an expert photo interpreter in a meeting called by US President John F. Kennedy at his White House office identified a black and white picture taken from a U-2 aircraft on a spy mission over Cuba as a Soviet R-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

For a moment a pin drop silence descended at the high-level meeting. But as the details revealed later, soon the room was full of astonishing curses, and fingers were pointed towards CIA Director John McCone. Everybody wanted to know how the Soviets transported such a huge cache of missiles from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and then crossed the Atlantic Ocean in such super secrecy?

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Trading the Jupiters in Turkey? | By Barton J. Bernstein - 1980 |

For many years the quid pro quo was kept secret and under wraps by US media.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 11:23:52 AM EST
I am particularly concerned that we may fail to understand the Soviet reaction to our own defense programs. A double standard which allows us to react angrily at the slightest rumor of a Soviet missile base in Cuba, while we introduce ... missile set ups in Turkey ... is dangerously self-defeating.

Chester Bowles to John F. Kennedy, April 22, 1961

It's just as if we suddenly began to put a major number of MRBMs in Turkey. Now, that'd be goddam dangerous, I would think.

John F. Kennedy at the ExComm, October 16, 1962

The Soviet Union had secretly established missile bases in Cuba while at the same time proclaiming ... this would never be done. We had to have a commitment by tomorrow [Sunday, October 28] that those bases would be removed [or] we would remove them. [Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin] raised the question of our removing the missiles from Turkey. I said that there could be no quid pro quo... this was a decision that would have to be made by NATO. However, President Kennedy ... had ordered their removal some time ago, and it was our judgment that, within a short time after this crisis was over, those missiles [Jupiters] would be gone.

Robert Kennedy, Thirteen Days (1969)

Off the Record Meeting on Cuba - October 16, 1962

Same stupid lies, hypocrisy and arguments not holding water.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 11:27:28 AM EST
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OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 31/2022 issued on 10 February 2022

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 12:08:17 PM EST
Strengthening Russia's Influence in International Affairs

Defining Russia's Sphere of Influence: An Historical Review | NTI - July 13, 2021 |

As I explained in previous essays, Russia--whether Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, or post-Soviet Russia--views the security of its frontiers as essential for the security of the homeland. In Moscow's view, security can be ensured only if Russia maintains a reliable sphere of influence over bordering countries. Although Russia's western frontier has been the most important bulwark against foreign aggression--real or perceived --the south and the east have also played an important role in assuring the security of the Russian state.

Over the centuries, Russia's sphere of influence has ebbed and flowed as geopolitical confrontation and diplomacy have either favoured or disadvantaged Russia. Those countries that have been victims, finding themselves pawns in great power politics, have often sought the protection of Russia's adversaries. Few have willingly and readily accepted Russian domination for they realized that security for Russia often meant insecurity for them.

A study of the map of Eastern Europe during the centuries reveals a hodgepodge of states, ethnic groupings, and rising and falling empires that cover a wide expanse of territory with few natural frontiers. Power determined the landscape and the fate of millions. Imperial Russia was one of four empires--along with Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire--that vied for control over this valuable real estate during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Borders shifted, countries emerged and disappeared, and allegiances shifted from empire to empire, which eventually led to the emergence of independent countries, but many of those states remained within the sphere of influence of the most dominant neighboring power.

The Cold War policy of containment and encirclement of the Soviet Union - CENTO and Pact of Baghdad.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 01:11:25 PM EST
Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1952

As the Cold War gradually polarised international relations, putting the United States and the Soviet Union at loggerheads, Turkey saw its membership of NATO both as a security guarantee and a way of reinforcing its Western identity. Seeking NATO membership was as much a political move as it was a military one. For NATO, Turkey's capacity to provide land and sea bases, its strong military forces and its strategic importance on the south eastern flank of the Alliance, meant that the country would be a solid ally in the region. The Montreux Convention, signed on 20 July 1936, set the rules governing the passage of vessels of war through the Straits. Turkey has implemented the Convention in full transparency and impartiality since then.

It was in Lisbon, Portugal, at the ninth meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 20 February 1952 that Turkey was formally welcomed as one of NATO's first two new members, alongside Greece; two days prior, Turkey had signed its Instruments of Accession.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 01:12:44 PM EST
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CENTO: One of The Cold War's Weirdest and Least Successful Alliances

The Baghdad Pact was a defensive organization for promoting shared political, military and economic goals founded in 1955 by Turkey, Iraq, Great Britain, Pakistan and Iran. Similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, the main purpose of the Baghdad Pact was to prevent communist incursions and foster peace in the Middle East. It was renamed the Central Treaty Organization, or CENTO, in 1959 after Iraq pulled out of the Pact.

A violent revolutionary coup by dissident army unite in Baghdad - July 14, 1958

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 01:30:33 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 01:32:02 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 01:34:14 PM EST
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Ties between Turkiye and the Arab world are experiencing a major thaw after years of tense relations. Late last year, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Ankara and announced a $10 billion fund for investments in Turkiye.

Turkiye and the UAE also signed several agreements on energy, environment, finance and trade during the visit.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 11:11:07 PM EST
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Documentary I watched on the BBC, however some crucial parts are missing is this story written in article. I will try to find the rest or an equivalent. A part was filmed in an Ukrainian Orthodox church ...

... the faces of dead soldiers stare out in serried ranks from the walls inside St Michael's Cathedral in a memorial that stretches for almost 100m.

A third part was filmed in rural Kharkiv region close to the Russian border. There the elderly population emphasized that we are all one people: Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians.

Ukrainians wait as Russia faces off with the West | BBC News - Jan. 12, 2022 |

Orthodox Christmas was celebrated here last Friday, and if you stroll through Kyiv's busy Christmas markets you're not exactly assailed by a sense of heightened alert and anxiety.

"People are used to heavy times," says Petro Burkovsky from one of Kyiv's oldest independent think tanks, the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. "In the 20th Century, we had many occasions when people lived in daily horror. It's part of their historical memory."

Ukraine's current horror has been going on for almost eight years, since masked Russian troops first appeared on the streets of Crimea.

Fighting broke out in the eastern Donbas region in April 2014. Since then, 14,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed in what the government in Kyiv calls the "Russian-Ukrainian War". Russia insists to this day that it is not a party to the conflict.

Each morning, at a short, sombre ceremony outside the defence ministry in Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers killed on that particular calendar day since independence in 1991 are commemorated. The vast majority have died since 2014.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 03:06:54 PM EST
... In Kyiv the faces of dead soldiers stare out in serried ranks from the walls of St Michael's Cathedral in a memorial that stretches for almost 100m.

Wall of remembrance for those fallen for Ukraine inaugurated in Kyiv  

On April 23, 2017, the governor of St Michael's Monastery, Archbishop Agapit (Humenyuk) celebrated All-Ukrainian prayer service for the fallen defenders and performed the rite of blessing at the Wall of Remembrance for those fallen for Ukraine in 2014-2017, which is placed on the walls of St Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery of Kyiv.

Overall, there are 11 stands on the walls of St. Michael's Monastery. All data are presented in chronological order. The list of victims contains information about 2,896 Ukrainians - soldiers, police officers and volunteers who were killed or died of wounds during the period from March 17, 2014 through February 19, 2016.

The Wall of Remembrance was designed on the initiative of the National Military History Museum* of the "Book of Memory of fallen for Ukraine" and the Historical and Cultural Society "Amulet of time." Assistance was also provided by CF "Wall of People's Memory," the research association "Citadel" and the Synodal Department of Social Service and Charity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate.

The injured, bloodied and bandaged, lay beneath icons and candles on the floor of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery | Reuters - Feb. 19, 2014 |

(*) The Museum includes 5 branches located in different regions of Ukraine: the Volyn Regional Museum of the Ukrainian Army and Military Equipment (Lutsk), the Museum of the Strategic Missile Forces (Mykolaiv Region), the Memorial Complex "In Memory of the Kruty Heroes" (Chernigiv Region), the Museum of Heroes of the Dnieper (Ivano-Frankivsk) and the Museum of Heavy Bomber Aviation (Poltava).

Further reading:

Western countries training far-right extremists in Ukraine - report | JPost - Oct. 19, 2021 |

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 03:07:58 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 07:56:02 PM EST
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"Nobody Wants Us": The Alienated Civilians of Eastern Ukraine | Crisi Group - Oct. 1, 2018 |

With living conditions worsening, and crossfire still claiming casualties, people residing in eastern Ukraine's conflict zone feel increasingly abandoned by the central government. Reintegrating the area requires Russian withdrawal, but in the meantime Kyiv can and should better protect civilians and meet humanitarian needs.

Yet Ukraine also needs to comprehensively overhaul its approach to conflict-affected citizens. Since 2014, Kyiv, in its rhetoric and actions - including restriction of freedom of movement and access to state subsidies and services, inconsistent regard for civilian protection and lack of credible arrangements for amnesty - has too often treated the security and prosperity of its citizens from Donbas as mutually exclusive with the interests of Ukraine as a whole.

Some of Kyiv's moves, such as establishing burdensome obstacles to obtaining pensions, have also contradicted Ukrainian law. As a result, many in Donbas, including those who describe themselves as Ukrainian patriots, feel abandoned by Kyiv. "Nobody wants us" has become a common refrain. Yet few high-level officials are willing to take responsibility for or respond to this chorus of despair, dismissing it as the product of hostile propaganda or pro-Russian views.

The past months have brought some tentative progress: in September, Ukraine's Supreme Court declared the government's 2016 limits on pension access for residents of the conflict zone illegal, obliging Kyiv to restore payments to thousands of citizens. Many officials say Kyiv is unlikely to make bold shifts, especially any carrying clear short-term costs, with 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections looming. But whatever the short-term costs of ensuring the rights of all Ukrainians, the longer-term costs of failing to do so, both financial and in terms of national cohesion, are likely to be greater.

Ukraine's Western backers have soft-pedalled their criticism of Kyiv's approach to the region, for fear of bolstering Kremlin and separatist claims that Kyiv is determined to trample the rights of eastern Ukraine's heavily Russian-speaking population.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 03:08:47 PM EST

What is the purpose of your visit to Kyiv? Study geography to prevent bloopers? New on the job less the one month. 🇳🇱 🌍

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 06:48:44 PM EST

Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra at the EU Heads of Mission

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 06:49:16 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 06:49:57 PM EST
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Did he check whether she accepts the sovereignty of the Netherlands over Baarle-Nassau?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 07:30:18 PM EST
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Am flabbergasted Wopke and Liz get on so well ... over the centuries we have had som ugly battles on the high waves for supremacy of colonies and gold bullion. Even send a warship up the Thames river for a severe flogging.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 07:44:39 PM EST
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Living together in a single home in two separate countries. A challenge or benefit?

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 07:54:06 PM EST
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Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra is calling on all Dutch nationals to leave Ukraine. 'The security situation, which was already troubling, has deteriorated further over the past few days. In consultation with various allies, I am now taking the step of calling on all Dutch nationals to leave Ukraine.'

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 06:52:33 PM EST
I'm staying ... to be on the save side, I did buy a bicycle 😊 just in case.

Sign reads: Don't Panic! Get Ready!

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 10:15:08 AM EST
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Having learned the bitter lesson of July 2014, safe flight routes over conflict zones ...

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 06:53:26 PM EST
Is not helpful ... we are nearest to border and have better intelligence on Russian troops movements.

Learning the hard way difference between allies and friends ... once the ball started rolling, Zelensky 🇺🇦 just became a pawn offer on the chess board of super powers.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 07:20:43 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 07:21:37 PM EST
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As much as I try not to second-guess I'm starting to think this elevated war hysteria is aimed against Zelensky.

That would explain why Poroshenko was send arrived to Ukraine in the middle of this "crisis" and why West seems hell bent to crash what little there's left of Ukraine's economy.

Because all this war hysteria has lead to people withdrawing their money from banks and foreign investors disappearing completely. The country 404 will soon be country 500, if this keeps up - invasion or no invasion.

by pelgus on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 09:04:12 PM EST
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by Cat on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 07:27:51 PM EST
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I don't speak Ukraine, but on the 24kanal webpage the machine translation results in Zelensky asking the journalist to provide any proof/information about the imminent Russian attack, because he doesn't have any.

And something along the lines that it's great friendly countries are giving support, but Ukraine has to take care of this itself, take care of it's troops and it's citizens. And the only way forward is diplomacy and detente.

And that please, would the international press corps translate his words accurately.

Something like that. I hope I at least got the gist of it right.

by pelgus on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 08:08:01 PM EST
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Зеленський: Вважаю, що в інформпросторі забагато інформації про глибоку ескалацію з боку РФ

Zelensky: I think that there is too much information in the information space about the deep escalation from the Russian Federation

Answering the journalist's question whether he believes in the possibility of a Russian invasion, the President said that the dissemination of information about a possible invasion by Russia provokes panic in Ukrainian society, which is in the hands of the enemy.

"It can happen any day, as I said before. From the very beginning, we didn't believe in it, from the very beginning of the war in the east of our country in 2014. That's why I have to analyze all the information we have. we have a lot of information because we are on these borders, it is our borders, it is our territory.I have to talk to our people as president and tell people the truth and the truth is that we have different information.

And now the best friend for enemies - this is panic in our country. And all this information only provokes panic and does not help us, "- said Zelensky.

Zelensky on Saturday in the Kherson region observed special exercises of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the border with the temporarily occupied Crimea.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 08:21:07 PM EST
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Arseniy Yatsenuk Foundation Open Ukraine -- partner to George Soros Open Society

Arseniy Yatsenuk heads the Open Ukraine Foundation, an international foundation based in Ukraine. It was established in July 2007 for the "strengthening and development of Ukraine's reputation in the world." Open Ukraine works with the young generation of artists, scholars and community leaders who seek to implement social changes in the different regions.

Open Ukraine is partnered with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States Department of State and Chatham House, among other organizations.

Ways to Overcome the Economic Crisis in Ukraine were Discussed at the 5th Davos Ukrainian Lunch | 09.02.2009 |

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation and the international investment advisory group EastOne conducted the 5th Davos Ukrainian Lunch. This event organized since 2005 during the World Economic Forum gathers representatives from the world's business and political circles to discuss Ukraine's current issues and prospects of the country's development.

The overarching topic of the conference was finding the ways out from the present economic and political crisis in Ukraine. The participants of the discussion included Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine on European and International Integration Hryhory Nemyrya; Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Ex-speaker of Parliament of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk; financier, investor and philanthropist George Soros; famous columnist of The New York Times newspaper, author of The World is Flat Thomas Friedman and the former European Commissioner for External Relations, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Co-chairman of the International Crisis Group Chris Pattern will moderate the discussion.

"Ukraine is in a critical situation today -, stated in his opening speech the conference organizer, public figure and businessman Victor Pinchuk. - Following their assessment, all economists agree that Ukraine suffered the most. We are going through the economic and political crisis. There might be serious social consequences."

At the same time, even in the given situation, as Victor Pinchuk highlighted, Ukraine still has some advantages and reasons to be optimistic as to its future prospects. "Ukraine has already been through the difficult times, it's not happening for the first time. The country had similar experience before. The priority questions for today are - when and how to go out of the crisis."

Discussing energy safety issues of Ukraine and Europe, Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated that should be involved in building a European system of power safety as an equal partner. Ukraine has to diversify its sources of power supply, by increasing electricity production including nuclear-power engineering, and rise exports of oil in view of today's prices on the world oil market.

Commenting on the outcome of the recent gas conflict in January 2009, George Soros pointed out the necessity of establishing a single policy on energy security of Europe. "If Ruhrgas or Gas de France was holding gas negotiations defending interests of the whole Europe and not only their native countries - we wouldn't have problems", he highlighted. The key element of the power security system, Soros explained, would have to be a supranational regulatory body with wide powers.
Furthermore, Ukraine would have to become a part of an all-European energy policy, George Soros mentioned. He called to stop accusing Ukraine in the "gas crisis". "This problem is not Ukraine's problem. Ukraine itself is dependent on the suppliers and cannot be the cause of the crisis", he stated.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 11:23:17 PM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 11:24:10 PM EST
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A New Policy to Rescue Ukraine | By George Soros |
The New York Review of Books, January 8, 2015

The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and Europe for its interventions in Ukraine have worked much faster and inflicted much more damage on the Russian economy than anybody could have expected. The sanctions sought to deny Russian banks and companies access to the international capital markets. The increased damage is largely due to a sharp decline in the price of oil, without which the sanctions would have been much less effective. Russia needs oil prices to be around $100 a barrel in order to balance its budget. (It is now around $55 a barrel.) The combination of lower oil prices and sanctions has pushed Russia into a financial crisis that is by some measures already comparable to the one in 1998.

In 1998, Russia ended up running out of hard currency reserves and defaulting on its debt, causing turmoil in the global financial system. This time the ruble has dropped by more than 50 percent, inflation is accelerating, and interest rates have risen to levels that are pushing the Russian economy into recession. The big advantage Russia has today compared to 1998 is that it still has substantial foreign currency reserves. This has enabled the Russian Central Bank to engineer a 30 percent rebound in the ruble from its low point by spending about $100 billion and arranging a $24 billion swap line with the People's Bank of China. But only about $200 billion of the remaining reserves are liquid and the crisis is still at an early stage.

In addition to continued capital flight, more than $120 billion of external debt is due for repayment in 2015. Although, in contrast to 1998, most of the Russian debt is in the private sector, it would not be surprising if, before it runs its course, this crisis ends up in a default by Russia. That would be more than what the US and European authorities bargained for. Coming on top of worldwide deflationary pressures that are particularly acute in the euro area and rising military conflicts such as the one with ISIS, a Russian default could cause considerable disruption in the global financial system, with the euro area being particularly vulnerable.

There is therefore an urgent need to reorient the current policies of the European Union toward Russia and Ukraine. I have been arguing for a two-pronged approach that balances the sanctions against Russia with assistance for Ukraine on a much larger scale. This rebalancing needs to be carried out in the first quarter of 2015 for reasons I shall try to explain.

Sanctions are a necessary evil. They are necessary because neither the EU nor the US is willing to risk war with Russia, and that leaves economic sanctions as the only way to resist Russian aggression. They are evil because they hurt not only the country on which they are imposed but also the countries that impose them.

The harm has turned out to be much bigger than anybody anticipated. Russia is in the midst of a financial crisis, which is helping to turn the threat of deflation in the eurozone into a reality.

By contrast, all the consequences of helping Ukraine would be positive. By enabling Ukraine to defend itself, Europe would be indirectly also defending itself. Moreover, an injection of financial assistance to Ukraine would help stabilize its economy and indirectly also provide a much-needed stimulus to the European economy by encouraging exports and investment in Ukraine. Hopefully Russia's troubles and Ukraine's progress would persuade President Vladimir Putin to give up as a lost cause his attempts to destabilize Ukraine.

Unfortunately neither the European public nor the leadership seems to be moved by these considerations. Europe seems to be dangerously unaware of being indirectly under military attack from Russia and carries on business as usual. It treats Ukraine as just another country in need of financial assistance, and not even as one that is important to the stability of the euro, like Greece or Ireland.

    To replace communism, President Putin has developed a nationalist ideology based on ethnic grounds, social conservatism, and religious faith--the brotherhood of the Slavic race, homophobia, and holy Russia. He has cast what he calls Anglo-Saxon world domination as the enemy of Russia--and of the rest of the world. Putin has learned a lot from his war with President Mikheil Saakashvili's Georgia in 2008. Russia won that war militarily but was less successful in its propaganda efforts. Putin has developed an entirely new strategy that relies heavily on using both special forces and propaganda.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 at 11:26:56 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 12:04:20 AM EST

All rightwing East and West Unite! #WeRAllTrump #USA

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 10:25:01 AM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 10:26:26 AM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 10:29:49 AM EST
Ex-NATO commander: Air 'policing' no longer enough

Speaking at the Atlantic Council think tank, retired General Philip Breedlove, the former NATO supreme allied commander in Europe,  praised this decision. He encouraged the alliance to look at other "options that would tell [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that he's going to get the opposite of what he asked for."

One of those options, Breedlove said, is something he would have already liked to see when he was NATO's top military commander from 2013 to 2016, during which time Russia invaded Ukraine. Noting that the US and other nations are now sending additional fighter jets for the air policing missions that cover the Baltic states and much of NATO's other territory, Breedlove argued that the time had come to upgrade that function and give it some teeth.

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 11:02:49 AM EST
Former Supreme Allied Commanders Europe on NATO's Defense Strategy | Atlantic Council - C-Span |

Former NATO Supreme Allied commanders, retired Generals Wesley Clark and Philip Breedlove, joined the Atlantic Council for a virtual discussion on NATO's defense strategy, with a heavy focus on the increasing escalation between Ukraine and Russia. Though they said Russia's troop presence and military exercises on the Ukrainian border point to possible military aggression, it was important for the United States and its NATO allies to remain a unified front.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 11:03:39 AM EST
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Confrontation Pristina airport in Kosovo 1999 ...

But General Clark's plan was blocked by General Sir Mike Jackson, K-FOR's British commander.

"I'm not going to start the Third World War for you," he reportedly told General Clark during one heated exchange.

General Jackson tells the BBC: "We were [looking at] a possibility....of confrontation with the Russian contingent which seemed to me probably not the right way to start off a relationship with Russians who were going to become part of my command."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 11:05:19 AM EST
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The US Strategic Provocations before and during the Olympic Games

To make your foe act in a definite way through the planned escalation of events, thereby making him lose his position and assets is the essence of any international provocation. [Author: Evgeny Pashentsev]

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 03:15:37 PM EST
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'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 11:07:18 AM EST
Florida National Guard troops ordered out of Ukraine by SECDEF

The 160 soldiers of the Florida National Guard deployed to Ukraine since November have been ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to leave Ukraine amid increasing concern of a Russian attack, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The soldiers, assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, have been ordered to reposition elsewhere in Europe, according to Kirby in a media release. They have been advising and mentoring Ukrainian forces as part of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 11:18:21 AM EST
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Task Force Raven Takes Command of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine

Task Force Raven is the command element of JMTG-U, which is responsible for training, advising and mentoring the Ukrainian cadre at CTC-Y to improve Armed Forces Ukraine's training capacity and defense capabilities. Soldiers at the JMTG-U work with Armed Forces of Ukraine partners at the CTC-Y to develop and implement systems to improve combat training and increase training center capacity. CTC - Y delivers Brigade-and-below collective training for four Armed Forces of Ukraine Brigades.

Special guests in attendance included the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mr. Denys Shmyhal, and U.S. Embassy Kyiv Chargé d'Affaires, Kristina Kvien.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 11:19:24 AM EST
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by Cat on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 07:22:40 PM EST
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Back to normal - cooperation in agriculture.

Brazil's president names priority areas of cooperation with Russia

Bolsonaro's visit to Moscow is planned for February 15-17. Talks of the Brazilian leader with Russian President Vladimir Putin are planned for February 16, O Globo newspaper reported earlier. According to the newspaper, Bolsonaro also plans to meet speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin and take part in the event with attending representatives of business communities of the two countries.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 12:35:45 PM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 01:10:32 PM EST

La liberté en marche

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 01:56:37 PM EST
No wonder the police made short shrift of the petit passenger convoy protesters!
by Cat on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 07:16:08 PM EST
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'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 02:56:45 PM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 07:58:30 PM EST
Biggest Threat to Democracy Is Disinformation

Instead of reporting factual information, US media outlets have flooded their audiences with what one Western intelligence official calls a "strategic communications campaign."

This campaign is described uncritically by CNN as a series of "alarming headlines" and a "drumbeat of official disclosures" that have come from "agency spokesmen and officials" who "have provided little by way of evidence -- in effect, asking reporters to report the material without confirmation." In short, a "strategic communications campaign" of state propaganda.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 at 08:01:22 PM EST
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