EUROPE | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

EUROPE

Jan 18 07:23

Drone Sightings Above Swedish Nuclear Power Plants Trigger Investigation

Sweden has been noticing strange sightings around its three nuclear power plants. And while sightings like these might not receive attention outside of the local press, the tensions with Russia across the Baltic Sea has made the situation particularly tense.

Following sightings of large drones flying above all three of Sweden's nuclear power plants, Swedish police deployed patrols and helicopters to the Forsmark nuclear plant north of Stockholm to look for evidence of the drones. Unfortunately, the patrol came back empty-handed.

Jan 18 06:51

Patrick J. Buchanan: Biden Should Declare NATO Membership Closed

In 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a U.S.-backed coup that ousted a pro-Russian regime in Kyiv by occupying Crimea, President Barack Obama did nothing.

When Putin aided secessionists in the Donbass in seizing Luhansk and Donetsk, once again, Obama did nothing.

Why did we not come to the military assistance of Ukraine?

Because Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We had no obligation to come to its aid. And to have intervened militarily on the side of Ukraine would have risked a war with Russia we had no desire to fight.

Last year, when Putin marshaled 100,000 Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine, President Joe Biden declared that any U.S. response to a Russian invasion would be restricted to severe sanctions.

The U.S. would take no military action in support of Ukraine.

Why not? Because, again, Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

Jan 17 16:32

White House Denies Report Saying US & EU Rule Out Russia's Disconnection From SWIFT

Earlier, Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper reported, citing German government sources, that Western governments are no longer considering cutting Russian banks off from the SWIFT global payments system.

The White House has denied a report saying that the US and EU have abandoned their plans to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system as part of restrictive measures that would be imposed if Russia invades Ukraine.

The US does not rule out such a possibility, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said, quoted by the presidential pool.

He added that Washington has remained in close contact with its European colleagues concerning possible grave consequences for Russia should it invade Ukraine.

This comes after earlier on Monday, Handelsblatt reported, citing German government sources, that the West was no longer opting for blocking Russia from SWIFT and was mulling economic sanctions against major Russian banks as an alternative.

Jan 17 08:58

NATO-Russia Relations Near Red Line Due to Alliance's Military Support of Ukraine, Peskov Tells CNN

The Kremlin spokesman's interview with CNN comes several days after talks in Geneva between Russia and the US - along with Russia-NATO talks - over tensions in Ukraine ended.

Relations between Russia and NATO are nearing the red line because of the military support the alliance is giving to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN on Sunday.

Peskov also told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that Moscow considers it necessary to keep troops near the border with Ukraine because of "a very tense situation and very unfriendly environment."

According to the Kremlin spokesman, Russia "cannot put up" with NATO "gradually making its way" into Ukraine.

"We have seen NATO gradually invade Ukrainian territory with its infrastructure, its instructors, supplies of defensive and offensive weapons, teaching the Ukrainian military and so forth. That has brought us to the red line, a situation which we couldn’t tolerate anymore," he said.

Jan 17 08:57

Some of America's NATO Allies Were 'Unsettled' by 'Certain US Ideas' at Security Guarantee Talks

During the Russia-NATO negotiations on Moscow's security guarantee draft agreements earlier this week, the alliance reiterated its reluctance to stop its eastward expansion, something that runs counter to the bottom line of the proposals.

Some NATO countries were "unsettled" with "certain ideas" that US officials put forward in recent negotiations with Russia on security guarantees, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has quoted unnamed diplomats from the alliance as saying.

The sources said that during the talks, the US and its allies publicly presented "a united front" as they rejected Russia's "demands that they rule out NATO enlargement and pull military forces back from the alliance’s eastern flank".

Jan 17 08:31

Stoltenberg Says NATO Won't Agree to Keep Military Within Pre-1997 Borders

Russia previously slammed the alliance's creeping expansion, saying that NATO should return to the positions that existed at the moment of signing the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act. The Russian Foreign Ministry has underscored that strengthening NATO’s military potential near Russia’s borders poses a national security threat.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday the bloc would never pull allied troops from member states that had joined it since 1997, but is ready to discuss arms reduction with Russia.

"Of course, we cannot agree that we should have no NATO troops in all the countries that have joined NATO since 1997. That’s actually half of our members," he said in an interview with CBC News airing Sunday.

Jan 17 07:48

Kremlin reveals how it will respond to NATO deployments to Ukraine

Russia believes it would be “madness” to start a war over Ukraine, but doesn’t rule out taking “counter-actions” to NATO deployments if security negotiations fail and its concerns are left unaddressed, the Kremlin has told CNN.

Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's long-time spokesman, added that Russia is deeply concerned by a recent spiraling-up of tensions in Europe, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

“We have too much tension on the border [with Ukraine]. We have too much tension in this part of Europe. It drags [in] more problems automatically. It is extremely dangerous for our continent,” he told the host of the ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’ show.

According to Peskov, the only way forward for the US and NATO is to finally address Russia’s concerns in earnest, instead of brushing them off. “This is the reason we are insisting on receiving a direct response,” he explained, adding that Moscow expected an “extremely specific” response to its “extremely specific proposals.”

Jan 17 06:38

Thousands protest over Europe’s first mandatory vaccine plan

Thousands of Austrians took to the streets of Vienna to protest against an upcoming parliamentary vote to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory, with demonstrators calling for the government to be replaced.

Protesters carried Austrian flags through the streets on Saturday as police in riot gear could be seen standing in a line nearby. “Face your guilt and turn back!” one banner read, while others accused Austria’s right-wing ruling party – the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) – of splitting the nation with its coronavirus policies.

Jan 16 07:14

EU adds strident voice to chorus clamoring for war in Europe

Russia’s aggressive policy on Ukraine and the demands for security guarantees from the United States and NATO pose a challenge to transatlantic security…the European Union’s foreign ministers agreed during an informal meeting on Friday while discussing the security situation in Eastern Europe.

…[Estonian] Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics participated in the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brest, France, on Thursday and Friday. The meeting featured EU foreign and defense ministers’ discussion on the EU Strategic Compass for Security and Defense. The foreign ministers also discussed the security situation in Eastern Europe and EU-China relations, as well as the situation in Mali, where the transitional government is significantly hindering the development of democratic processes.

Jan 16 07:13

NATO to deploy two carrier strike groups, 35,000 troops for war games off Russia’s northwest coast

With the aim to train reinforcement of northern Norway, Cold Response will be the largest NATO exercise inside the Arctic Circle since the 1980s. Some 35,000 soldiers from 28 nations will participate and a significant portion of the training that kicks off in March will be at sea and in the air.

…[A] conflict in eastern Europe could spill over to the Arctic as the Kola Peninsula is home to some of Russia’s most powerful weapon systems, including hypersonic cruise missiles and the naval component of the strategic nuclear triad.

On January 11, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy announced that its newest aircraft carrier, the “HMS Prince of Wales”, will sail to the Arctic to lead naval involvement in the large-scale Norwegian-led exercise Cold Response.

Jan 16 07:08

Russian Roulette: As Croupier at This Particular Casino Table, I Invite You To Place Your Bets

The Russia-US-NATO-OSCE meetings this week have come and gone. The Russian verdict was succinctly delivered by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov, who explained even before the OSCE session was over that the talks have come to “a dead end” and it was unlikely the Russians will participate in any follow-on talks.

This opens the question to what comes next.

Jan 16 06:59

Kick in the Baltics for Peace

There’s a sound reason why Russia insists on a buffer zone of non-NATO countries on its borders. Because some of its neighbors are so unhinged in their Russophobia, it would be irresponsible to see them weaponized.

This week it is reported that Baltic states are seeking to have more NATO troops and weapons stationed on their territories, according to Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
That means potentially more American, German and British warplanes and tanks massing on the border with Russia than there are already. This militarization of the Baltics by NATO is partly the reason why Russia is demanding new security arrangements in Europe involving a rollback of the US-led military alliance from its borders.

And just when those negotiations are underway this week, the Baltic states are pushing for more NATO militarization.

Jan 16 06:58

US to train ‘Ukrainian insurgents’ in EU – media

The US is mulling a strategy of subverting Russia’s aims, without direct involvement, in case it invades Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Friday, adding that it may involve arming and training Ukrainian fighters in Europe.

American President Joe Biden has apparently not made up his mind about what his government would do in the event that Moscow occupies the former Soviet republic, the newspaper claims. However, it insists that officials have come up with a possible US response in case an attack does take place.

Washington apparently believes that Ukraine does not stand a chance against a potential Russian invading force in an open battle and it instead has focused on supporting Ukrainian “guerrilla” warfare on territory that could be occupied by Moscow, the report explains.

Jan 16 06:53

US Prepared 18 Response Scenarios in Case of 'Russian Invasion' of Ukraine, Victoria Nuland Says

The US, NATO, and Russia met earlier this week to discuss European security issues, including the alliance's continuing expansion towards Russia's borders, which Moscow opposes, and the ongoing concerns of the West regarding an alleged Russian military buildup near Ukraine.

The US prepared 18 response scenarios in case Russia decides to invade Ukraine as the West fears it might do, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has stated. She refused to elaborate on what exactly they were, but promised that Washington and its allies are ready to inflict high costs on Russia if it acts aggressively.

"I would simply say that our commitment and the conversation that we have with our allies is around inflicting very sharp pain very fast, if Russia makes this move in any form", Nuland said.

Jan 16 06:52

Tanks in European streets explained by Russia

Sweden has moved to ramp up security on the largest Baltic Sea island of Gotland with a view to “adapting” its security strategy to the “tense situation” on the Russian-Ukrainian border, located some 1,700km southeast.

Residents of the sleepy town of Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland awoke to the sound of heavy military hardware roaring through the streets on Saturday. The Swedish Army’s Stridsfordon 90 infantry fighting vehicles had arrived overnight to secure the tranquil coastal town and its port.

A rapid response tactical unit of the Swedish Armed Forces has been deployed to the island, the military said in a statement on Saturday. A part of the unit was flown in on Friday evening by the US C-17 heavy transport aircraft as part of Sweden’s “international collaboration” program while the rest arrived by ferry from mainland Sweden.

Jan 16 06:50

Russia is right: The West promised not to enlarge NATO & these promises were broken

With Russia challenging Western unilateralism in a way not seen since the end of the Soviet Union, two major issues keep coming to the fore. Both, it seems, are centered on America's flagship military bloc, NATO.

First, there is Moscow’s claim that there was a Western promise not to expand NATO beyond its Cold War area. Second, there is a Western claim that NATO cannot, let alone will not, put an end to admitting new member states.

Jan 15 08:29

Russia-NATO Talks: How the Cold War-Era Hubris of the Bloc Limits Pan-European Security

The parties of the Russia-NATO Council consultations have so far failed to find common ground on the issue of what Moscow notes is the transatlantic bloc's eastward expansion. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, in response, stated that NATO will not give up on its "core principles," including its open-door policy for membership to nations including Ukraine and Georgia. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grushko warned that Moscow could be left with no other choice than "counter-intimidation" if the parties fail to reverse the current course of events.

Why NATO is Unwilling to Reach a Compromise With Russia

The NATO stance is unsurprising, given that the bloc's purpose depends on the idea of Russian containment, says Dr. Matthew Crosston, professor of political science and executive vice chairman with ModernDiplomacy.eu.

Jan 15 08:03

NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard

Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner.

Slavic Studies Panel Addresses “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?”

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Jan 15 07:40

Russia redeploys military hardware and personnel to western borders

For the time being, Russia has deployed as many as 100,000 troops and thousands of units of military hardware on the border with Ukraine. Many videos showing the transportation of military equipment from the eastern part of Russia towards the western borders have appeared on the internet recently. It appears that Russia is putting its troops on high alert against the background of a very high risk of provocations on the part of NATO.

Given the scale of the transfer of military hardware, it appears that Russia is taking efforts to build up the troops on its western borders to 500,000. Most of the Russian troops will thus be deployed in western regions of the country.

The videos that eyewitnesses made in different parts of the country show the railway transportation of tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, light armored vehicles, engineering vehicles, military trucks, field artillery, etc.

Jan 15 07:20

Hackers' use of Polish in attack on Ukrainian sites attempt to destabilize Polish-Ukrainian relations – Polish Foreign Ministry

The publication of "statements" as a result of a cyberattack against Ukrainian government agencies in the Polish language is another attempt to destabilize Polish-Ukrainian relations, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina said.

"We interpret the publication of the 'statements' in Polish as another attempt to destabilize Polish-Ukrainian relations," Jasina said on Twitter on Friday.

Poland strongly condemns the cyberattack, he said.

Jan 15 07:18

Audio: NATO rules out withdrawal of troops all along Russia’s western border

NATO will not give in to Russian pressure to withdraw forces from its eastern flank, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Beata P?omecka, Polish Radio’s Brussels correspondent, in an exclusive interview.

Jan 14 09:03

NATO, US brought world close to brink of nuclear war during talks with Russia - expert

The behavior of the US and NATO during talks on security guarantees with Russia in Geneva and Brussels brought the world closer to the brink of the nuclear war and further consultations can be useful only in case the West changes its approaches, representative of the Schiller Institute in New York Richard Black told TASS.

"What NATO and US have done from Monday through Wednesday [consultations with Russia were held on different floors from January 10 to 12 - TASS] on this going week is to bring the world close to the brink of nuclear war by insisting on the continuance of placing the weapons with nuclear strike capability not near but at Russia’s border," Black said.

"What is needed is a new world security architecture, which guarantees all nations security and it includes Russia and the United States. West needs to give up its violent fantasy of getting win Russia and China," the expert noted.

Jan 14 08:59

Further escalation in Russia-NATO relations probable, expert says

Initiation of a dialog on purely military-technical matters of European security or further military-political escalation are two possible scenarios in evolvement of Russia-NATO relations after talks on security guarantees in Brussels, Valdai Club expert Dmitry Suslov told TASS.

The first scenario of initiated talks on military-technical aspects of European security is less probable but more preferable for the West, the expert said. "On such issues as control over conventional and nuclear arms, strengthening of de-conflicting mechanism on Russia-NATO borders, deployment or non-deployment of small- and medium-range missiles in Europe and so on. Avoiding at the same time discussion of fundamental political issues and principles of European security, NATO expansion and setting new rules of the game in European security, whereby NATO and the US should respect vital interests of Russia and its national security," Suslov noted.

Jan 14 08:54

Ukrainian FM thanks EU-NATO-U.S. triumvirate for “unshakeable” support

“We welcome the unshakable unity demonstrated by the United States, NATO, and the EU in rejecting Russia’s illegal demands,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba while commenting on the US-Russia and NATO-Russia meetings.

Jan 14 08:50

Can Russia do a deal with the West?

A diplomatic marathon that saw Russia hold talks with the US and NATO on European security guarantees, this week, ended with the bloc offering to address a range of issues it had previously refused to even discuss with Moscow.

The areas now apparently open for negotiation include reciprocal limitations on deploying missile systems, a reduction in the scale of military exercises, and the reopening of military communication channels. At the same time, NATO is not going to renounce its Open Door policy, with Ukraine’s aspirations to join a key area of contention. Neither will it remove its troops and infrastructure stationed in the former Warsaw Pact nations that joined after 1997, as Moscow has requested. In short, the situation remains tense and unpredictable.

Jan 14 08:46

Acquiring Natural Immunity Intentionally Carries a 5-Year Sentence in Switzerland

Covid infection parties are becoming more popular in Switzerland, although authorities have confirmed that the practice is illegal.

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) confirmed this week that intentionally contracting Covid-19 is illegal and leaves you liable to a prison sentence of up to five years.

Some vaccine-skeptic people in Switzerland go to great lengths to catch coronavirus so they can receive a Covid certificate after recovery.

They apparently advertise on social media looking for contaminated people who can transmit the virus to them.

Jan 14 07:54

Russia-NATO relations at critical level, Moscow warns

Ties between NATO and Russia have plummeted to an alarming low, the country’s Defense Ministry has warned, in the wake of discussions between the US-led military bloc and Moscow over security concerns on the European continent.

Speaking following a meeting between the two parties in Brussels on Wednesday, Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin stressed that Russia is counting on a constructive discussion of the proposed guarantees.

“The Russian side has repeatedly proposed to the [bloc] to take measures to de-escalate the situation,” the department’s press service quoted him as saying, adding that Moscow’s initiatives have been ignored.

The ministry cited the official as warning that “Russia-NATO relations are at a critically low level.” He added that “this creates preconditions for incidents and conflicts, as well as undermining the foundations of security."

Jan 14 07:47

Two NATO Carrier Groups To Sail North For Large-Scale Arctic Exercises Near Russia

At a moment both sides are firmly rejecting the other's position in ongoing Russia-NATO talks, and as the Kremlin could stage fresh naval drills in the Black Sea if the West continues to "provoke" Russia, there's also set to be a military building in the far north, within the Arctic Circle.

The maritime monitoring site Barents Observer reports that two NATO carrier groups are currently en route to waters off northern Norway, not far from Russia's border, for the "the largest NATO exercise inside the Arctic Circle since the 1980s."

Jan 14 07:31

Europe At Highest Risk of War in Decades, Says Top Polish Official

The probability of a new war in Europe is now higher than at any time in the last three decades, according to a top Polish official addressing delegates gathered in Vienna for a final round of diplomacy talks.

“It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years,” Zbigniew Rau said in the speech, without naming Russia.

The head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the comment while addressing envoys from the 57 members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—listing a string of conflicts in which Moscow’s involvement has been alleged.

“For several weeks we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe,” Rau said, likely referring to Russia’s deployment of more than 100,000 troops near its borders with Ukraine.

Jan 14 07:25

Peeking Past the Pall Put Over Arms Talks With Russia

Western media are painting an image of gross failure for Russia at the U.S.-Russia bilateral talks in Geneva, as well as subsequent talks between Russia and NATO in Brussels and the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.

Adamant! is the impression being fostered by both Russia and the West (largely for domestic consumption): Russia will continue to oppose NATO membership for countries like Ukraine and Georgia; NATO, for its part, will continue to reject Russian opposition as “none of your business”. (Bear in mind that Ukraine and Georgia are each several years away from qualifying for NATO membership in any case.)

The corporate media takeaway is that Russian President Vladimir Putin abjectly failed to get the West to agree formally on no further expansion of NATO and that, in these circumstances, no one can divine how he might lash out (maybe invade Ukraine?). World War III, anyone?

Jan 14 07:16

EU Extends Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine Peace Deal Failures

The European Union on Thursday prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor.

The measures target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors, as well as goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes. The move is part of a rolling review, and is not linked to current tensions over Russia's military buildup near Ukraine.

The measures are part of a raft of sanctions slapped on Russia in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and are tied to respect of the 2015 Minsk peace deal. The EU renewed the sanctions, which will remain in place until at least July 31, because Russia “did not fully implement” the peace agreement.

Jan 14 07:08

If the U.S. and Russia are Implacable Foes, Then All Lines of Inquiry Lead to NATO

In 1961, as a young academic Henry Kissinger had an opportunity to interview President Harry Truman. He asked the former president what in his presidency had made him most proud.

Truman replied, “That we totally defeated our enemies and then brought them back to the community of nations.”

Unfortunately, the U.S. chose not to emulate Truman’s achievement in the years that followed. With the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact, the military threat to Western Europe had ended, but NATO alliance did not disband itself. Mission accomplished was not good news for the military alliance — it needed new enemies and a new mission for self-preservation.

Jan 14 06:54

Politics or war: Moscow makes the West face simple, but tough choice

Two rounds of negotiations between representatives for the United States and Russia can be called unsuccessful, Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, RIA Novosti reports.

Politics or war: Moscow makes the West face simple, but tough choice
According to Peskov, the parties failed not reach an agreement on specific issues.

"The negotiations were initiated in order to get specific answers to specific fundamental questions raised. It is these fundamental issues that we had disagreements on. This is bad,” Peskov assessed the recent talks.

Answering a question of possible sanctions against Russia, Peskov said that Moscow was extremely negative about such a development. The issue of sanctions does not contribute to the formation of the constructive atmosphere in the negotiations on security guarantees, he said.

Jan 14 03:59

Italy’s expanded COVID-19 vaccine mandate BANS unvaccinated people from work and public life

Italy has essentially declared war on citizens who are afraid to get vaccinated against COVID-19, mandating that everyone over 50 get the jab and tightening the rules for its “green pass.” -- Last week, they announced that all people over 50 will join all healthcare workers, school and university staff, military members, and police officers in being required to have the vaccine. Around 28 million of the country’s 59 million inhabitants are over the age of 50.

Jan 13 16:22

Baltics in new NATO demand

The Baltic states have begun discussions to increase the number of NATO soldiers on their territories, due to a perceived threat posed by Russia, the Prime Minister of Estonia revealed on Wednesday.

Speaking to news agency Reuters, Kaja Kallas explained that her nation has serious concerns and wants to have extra troops on the ground as a means of deterrence. Alongside Latvia and Lithuania, the three Baltic nations are former Soviet republics, and each shares a border with Russia.

“Of course, we are discussing with our allies to increase their presence here to act as a deterrent,” Kallas told Reuters. “If you look at the map, the Baltic states are a NATO peninsula and, therefore, we have our worries.”

Jan 13 16:21

Russia, at an Impasse With the West, Warns It Is Ready to Abandon Diplomacy

Russian officials signaled that they could abandon diplomatic efforts to resolve the security crisis surrounding Ukraine, bringing a whirlwind week of European diplomacy to an ominous end and deflating hopes that negotiators could forge a path toward easing tensions in Eastern Europe.

Russian tanks taking part in drills at a firing range in the Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine, on Wednesday.
One senior Russian diplomat said that talks with the West were approaching a “dead end,” while another said the Kremlin would wait until it receives written responses next week to its demands from Washington and from NATO before deciding how to proceed.

It was clear that Russia’s next move would be up to President Vladimir V. Putin, who, his spokesman said on Thursday, was being briefed regularly this week on negotiations with the West.

Jan 13 10:10

I’m Living In A Prison Country

Jan 13 07:58

Nato chief warns of ‘real risk of conflict’ as talks with Russia over Ukraine end

Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has said there is “a real risk for a new armed conflict in Europe” after talks between alliance members and Russia ended with no signs of progress towards defusing the crisis over Ukraine.

The Russian deputy foreign minister, Alexander Grushko, emerged from the four hours of talks renewing Moscow’s threat that it would take military steps if political measures were not enough to “neutralise the threats” it says it faces. His remarks came only days after his fellow Russian diplomat, Sergei Ryabkov, had assured reporters Russia had no intention of invading Ukraine.

Grushko said he had told Nato representatives that “further sliding of the situation could lead to the most unpredictable and most severe consequences for European security”.

Jan 13 07:45

NATO boss reveals result of crunch Russia talks

Crisis talks between Russian diplomats and representatives from NATO have not yet reached an agreement over Moscow's key demands, the military bloc's secretary general has revealed, adding that other areas are open for compromise.

Speaking following the summit in Brussels on Wednesday, Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that the two sides had a “frank and open discussion on a wide range of issues, of course focusing on tensions in and around Ukraine.”

He said that it is even more important when tensions are high that representatives meet. According to him, the bloc is prepared to discuss a range of arms control issues with Moscow and schedule “a series of meetings on various topics, including restrictions on missile weapons in Europe. The Russian side has made it clear that it is not ready to schedule a meeting today, but I welcome that there is a willingness for dialogue," he said.

Jan 13 07:21

New US Military Base in Albania Aimed at Countering China

In a recent interview, a former CIA agent reported that his country is opening a military base in Albania in order to contain China. A unit of American special forces in the Balkan country has as its main objective to stop any form of rapprochement between Tirana and Beijing, turning Albania into a mere regional satellite of Washington’s interests.

Last Friday, the US European Command (better known by the acronym, EUCOM) announced that it was establishing a new headquarters in the Balkans – a special operations unit based in Albania, which would form part of an overall US government effort to increase the capacity of Western forces to guarantee stability in that region, commonly strained by various conflicts with historical roots. The unit would be responsible for ensuring the interoperability between US and Albanian forces, as well as the strategic access to key Balkan military centers.

Jan 13 07:20

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns the Policies of the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination in Ukraine

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) concludes that the full responsibility for the dangerous crisis unfolding in Ukraine has its genesis in the illegal policies of the U.S./EU/NATO “Axis of Domination” beginning in 2014. As the corporate press presents a one-sided presentation of event in Ukraine as part of a massive propaganda effort to mobilize public opinion to support the reckless positions of the Biden administration, BAP believes that the public must be presented with a counternarrative of the chronology of events in Ukraine. BAP National Organizer; Ajamu Baraka summarizes some of those events:

Jan 13 07:14

NATO-Russia talks at impasse amid ‘real risk’ of Ukraine war

NATO and the United States have rejected key Russian security demands for easing tensions over Ukraine but left open the possibility of future talks with Moscow on arms control, missile deployments and ways to prevent military incidents between Russia and the West.

The decisions came at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday, the first of its kind in more than two years. That Russia’s delegation did not walk out of the talks and remained open to the prospect of future meetings despite the West rebuffing central demands were seen as positive notes in a week of high-level meetings aimed at staving off a feared Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Jan 13 06:38

For Fox Sake… Has US Any Intelligent Diplomats?

Foxes seem to be in vogue during the high-stakes talks this week between the US and Russia over deteriorating security conditions in Europe.

The BBC headlined with this: “Can the Silver Fox outwit Vladimir Putin?” The report was referring to Wendy Sherman, the gray-haired diplomat who is leading the US delegation in discussions with Russian counterparts in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna.

Deputy Secretary of State Sherman is described glowingly as an expert negotiator whose wily ways may get the better of Russia on how to reduce dangerous tensions in Europe. (In truth, with people like her, the tensions will only get worse.)

Jan 13 06:37

“Working for Ned/NED”: Nuland accuses Russia of creating crisis “for Ukraine, for European security and for global stability”

Excerpts from comments by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland on January 11. After being introduced by State Department Spokesman Ned Price she spoke of working for Ned/NED in what may be one of the more revealing lapsus linguae in recent years.

Her four-bullet-point indictment of Russia, below, is similar to that of her boss Antony Blinken following the recent NATO foreign ministers meeting and comments by her second boss Wendy Sherman after her one-on-one meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov two days ago.

From Blinken:

It’s Russia that invaded Ukraine nearly eight years ago.

It’s Russia that is the military occupier of part of Ukraine, in Crimea.

It’s Russia that, to this day, is fueling a war in eastern Ukraine.

It’s Russia that has failed to implement any of its Minsk commitments, indeed is actively violating many of them, and refuses to acknowledge it’s a party to the conflict.

Jan 13 06:35

Is A Pig Ebola Outbreak Imminent In Europe?

The highly transmissible and fatal disease for pigs, known as African swine fever (ASF), continues to spread throughout Europe. Leading some to believe the next major outbreak could be nearing and may result in soaring pork prices.

Bloomberg reports the latest case has been reported in a wild boar in Italy. It's the first reported case in the country since the virus was first detected in Western Europe in 2018.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Biological warfare against the food supply?

Jan 13 06:33

Infographic: NATO’s members, mission and tensions with Russia

Members of the world’s most powerful military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), met in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday to discuss Russia’s military build-up along Ukraine’s border.

Washington and Kyiv say Moscow has deployed an estimated 100,000 soldiers near the Ukraine border in recent months, eight years after it seized the Crimean Peninsula from its neighbour.

The NATO-Russia Council will be followed by further talks between Russia and members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on Thursday.

So, which are these organisations and what do they do?

Jan 13 06:32

Covid pass protesters attempt to breach parliament (VIDEOS)

Bulgarian police have foiled an attempt by demonstrators protesting the enduring anti-coronavirus restrictions to breach the national parliament. The scuffles left four officers injured and saw several protesters detained.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Bulgarian parliament building in the capital, Sofia, on Wednesday.

The protest, staged by the nationalist Vazrazhdane (Revival) party, decried the standing anti-coronavirus restrictions, including the green pass system put in place by the country’s authorities.

Jan 13 06:09

Russian-NATO summit: First step towards war made

It appeared prior to the negotiations that they would take place as a conversation between two deaf people. The United States and NATO are unwilling to listen to what Russia is trying to tell them.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with RIA Novosti before speaking in Geneva that it was difficult for the Americans to conduct a dialogue with Russia because the UK, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and other "younger brethren" were watching them.

The Geneva summit was no success, but Russia took advantage of it to express its thoughts clearly to everyone.

At one point of history, Russia failed to stop NATO from expanding. A lot of things have changed since then. Moscow does not want NATO to expand any further, and such a stance annoyed even neutral states, such as Finland, for example. Therefore, Moscow's requirement not to incorporate any new members of the alliance sounds unreal and unacceptable for NATO.

Jan 12 14:49

NATO Seeks to 'Contain' Russia, There's 'No Room for Common Positive Agenda,' Top Diplomat Says

Russian and NATO officials met in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss security proposels put forth by the Russian Foreign Ministry in December aimed at cooling tensions between Moscow and the Western bloc. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance won't give up its open door policy, or its right to beef up troop numbers near Russia.

Wednesday's meeting of the Russia-NATO Council was open and direct, but there were many disagreements, and the Western alliance has demonstrated through the recent diplomatic spat over accreditation rights that there is no room for a common positive agenda, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko has said.

"Today's meeting was devoted precisely to the analysis of the factors affecting the degradation of European security which we have observed in recent years," Grushko said, speaking to reporters Wednesday after the conclusion of the meeting.

Jan 12 14:48

Russia & NATO fail to find common ground – Moscow

The US-led NATO military bloc has reverted to full Cold War strategy of “containment” towards Russia and seeks “full spectrum dominance,” Moscow's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on Wednesday.

The diplomat added that Moscow believes NATO’s behavior is creating a “unacceptable” threat to Russia that it will have to counter.

Grushko also alleged that the bloc is responsible for ending any and all cooperation with Russia on key common security issues such as the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and piracy. He called out the US over the “collapse” of the arms control agreements, bringing up Washington’s exit from the INF and Open Skies treaties and dragging its feet on extending New START.

Jan 12 14:26

Covid pass protesters attempt to breach parliament (VIDEOS)

Bulgarian police have foiled an attempt by demonstrators protesting the enduring anti-coronavirus restrictions to breach the national parliament. The scuffles left four officers injured and saw several protesters detained.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Bulgarian parliament building in the capital, Sofia, on Wednesday.

The protest, staged by the nationalist Vazrazhdane (Revival) party, decried the standing anti-coronavirus restrictions, including the green pass system put in place by the country’s authorities.

Jan 12 14:11

Deadly clashes erupt again at Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Armenia’s Defense Ministry says the number of its soldiers killed in border clashes with Azerbaijan rose to three in the latest incident of skirmishes following the war of 2020.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the ministry said the body of an Armenian serviceman was discovered with fatal gunshot wounds in the vicinity where "intense skirmishes" had erupted on the previous day.

Azerbaijan and Armenia reported clashes on their volatile border Tuesday, when one Azeri soldier and two Armenian troops were killed. Two Azeri soldiers were also wounded. The neighbors accused each other of initiating renewed fighting.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said its forces "suppressed" the enemy following the incident in the Kalbajar area on the border. Armenia denounced what it described as the Azeri army's “provocative actions.”

Jan 12 13:53

NATO: We Won't Give Up "Right" To Station Troops In States Ringing Russia

As we detailed earlier, a Kremlin delegation led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko went to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday where he was received by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. The meeting reportedly lasted four hours.

"If Russia once again uses force against Ukraine and further invades Ukraine, then we have to seriously look into the need to further increase our presence in the eastern part of the alliance," Stoltenberg told reporters after Wednesday's meeting.

While Stoltenberg reiterated what's at stake amid the 'Ukraine 2.0' crisis, highlighting "a real risk for a new armed conflict in Europe" - Russia has continued to assure the West it is not planning any kind of Ukraine invasion.

Jan 12 10:54

EU Warns Repeat Boosters Could Weaken Immune System

European Union regulators warned that frequent Covid-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune system and may not be feasible.

Repeat booster doses every four months could eventually weaken the immune system and tire out people, according to the European Medicines Agency. Instead, countries should leave more time between booster programs and tie them to the onset of the cold season in each hemisphere, following the blueprint set out by influenza vaccination strategies, the agency said.

The advice comes as some countries consider the possibility of offering people second booster shots in a bid to provide further protection against surging omicron infections. Earlier this month Israel became the first nation to start administering a second booster, or fourth shot, to those over 60. The U.K. has said that boosters are providing good levels of protection and there is no need for a second booster shot at the moment, but will review data as it evolves.

Jan 12 09:57

Proposed EU directive targets shell companies after Pandora Papers exposed offshore system abuses

The European Commission proposed a new directive this week to target shell companies, less than three months after the Pandora Papers investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists exposed the large-scale use of anonymous vehicles to hide money, avoid taxes and disguise asset ownership.

The proposal, dubbed “Unshell,” would seek to ensure that letter-box companies that have “no or minimal economic activity” in the EU cannot benefit from any tax advantages, the text of the proposal says.

“Recent investigations such as OpenLux or the Pandora papers were another reminder of the injustices that characterize our economic system today,” economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said at a press conference on Wednesday.

OpenLux, by Le Monde and other news organizations, showed how Luxembourg’s investment fund industry helps people launder money and avoid tax.

Jan 12 09:20

Italy Declares War on Citizens: Forces 'Vaccinations', Bans Dissenters From Work and Public Life (Video)

Italy’s left-wing government has mandated the Covid “vaccines” for people over 50 years old and tightened its green pass obligations.

On January 8, 2021, Italy mandated the mRNA gene therapy injections billed as Covid “vaccines” for people over 50 years old. The left-wing government also shut down most of public life for the unvaccinated. Its leaders proudly bragged they would be the first country within the European Union to force citizens to take the experimental and controversial injections.

Italy’s government reports that 89.41% of the population over 12 years of age are vaccinated, and therefore only about 10% have not undergone the controversial injections.

Jan 12 09:16

Nuland Says NATO Poses No Threat to Russia Unless Threatened

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Tuesday that NATO does not pose a threat to Russia unless the alliance is threatened.

"NATO poses no threat to Russia either unless of course Russia chose to pose a threat to NATO," Nuland said during a news briefing. "NATO is a defensive alliance whose sole purpose is to protect its members."

Nuland added that diplomacy is the best option to restore stability and security for Ukraine, Europe and Russia.

The official also took the opportunity to relay to reporters during the briefing that any financial measures and export restrictions that may be imposed on Moscow by the United States and its allies as a result of an invasion of Ukraine will have a painful impact on Russia.

"We are very confident in the consultations that we’ve been having with our allies and partners. We’ve been working at this for some two and a half months at every level from the President on down," Nuland said.

Jan 12 09:14

Not a Single NATO Member is Ready to Discuss Bloc's Open Door Policy With Russia, US Envoy Says

Russian and US officials spoke for nearly eight hours in Geneva on Monday to discuss a pair of Russian security proposals Moscow says would dramatically ease tensions between Russia and the Western alliance. Among the proposals' points is a firm demand by Russia that NATO halt its decades-long eastward expansion.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization will not drop its 'open door' policy on membership, and will pay no mind to Russia's request to limit troop and weapons deployments in countries which joined the bloc after 1997, Julianne Smith, US ambassador to NATO, has said.

Jan 12 08:56

US quietly ditches Greece's EastMed pipeline project to ship Israeli gas to Europe

The US government silently abandoned an eastern Mediterranean pipeline project that would carry Israeli gas through Cyprus to Europe this week by submitting a non-paper to Athens explaining its reasons, Middle East Eye has learned.

The US non-paper, according to the Greek media, described the project as a “primary source of tension” and something “destabilising” the region by putting Turkey and regional countries at loggerheads.

A non-paper is an unofficial diplomatic correspondence.

A Greek diplomat, speaking anonymously to Middle East Eye, said the media reports were exaggerations.

Jan 12 08:44

Russia Lays Out Security Demands At NATO HQ Amid 'Live Fire' Exercises Near Ukraine

Coming off the initial day of talks between Russia and NATO wherein the US informed the Kremlin side that its central security demands are a "a non-starter", the continuing dialogue which moved to Brussels Wednesday began with little expectation for any breakthroughs.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko went to NATO headquarters in Brussels where he was received by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Despite new Russian military live-fire exercises which took place near the border on Tuesday, the Kremlin has reiterated that there are no plans for any offensive on Ukraine.

Jan 12 08:09

Moscow-NATO ties approaching ‘moment of truth’: Russian official

Moscow has said that ties between Russia and NATO are approaching a “moment of truth” ahead of high-stakes talks over Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko’s remarks on Tuesday followed negotiations a day earlier between Russian and American officials in Geneva which launched a week of diplomacy aimed at easing tensions.

Jan 12 08:03

Why Russia Is Ready to Check-Mate the U.S. and Its Western Empire

The Western empire-builders are weakened and exposed in the eyes of their own populations and thus are disarmed politically to pursue confrontation.

Author and commentator Alex Krainer explains in the following interview why Russia is now strong enough to take a definitive stand against the United States and its Western empire-builders. This is the wider historical context for high-level negotiations being conducted this week between Russia and the U.S. and NATO in which Moscow has asserted red lines for its national security.

Jan 12 08:02

Russia's attack on Ukraine to be verdict for NATO – Yermak

A probable Russia's attack on Ukraine will be a verdict for NATO and a big problem for Western countries, head of the President's Office of Ukraine Andriy Yermak has said.

According to him, the principled position of Ukraine is that any discussion of issues of the security system in Europe should begin with Ukraine. At the same time, the victory of Ukraine will be a victory for all its Western partners, the continuation of the war in Ukraine or the escalation of the situation will be one of the greatest defeats of these partners.

"Let's start talking about this after the end of the war in Ukraine. Russia's attack on Ukraine will be the end of any security not only in Europe, but throughout the world," Yermak said in an interview with the British television channel "Channel 4", answering the question that he responded to Russians who express concerns about security and the deployment of NATO weapons in Ukraine.

Jan 12 07:51

Ahead of Talks with Russia, NATO has ‘Widespread Unity and Consensus’

The first U.S.-Russia meeting Jan. 10 to resolve the Ukraine crisis was widely panned as an impasse, more attuned to an airing of grievances than a negotiation. Discussions now move to a multilateral phase with the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on Jan. 12, hoping to diffuse tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border, where 100,000 Russian troops are poised.

Ahead of the meeting, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith said the alliance was united in opposing Russia’s demands but still hoped diplomacy would lead to de-escalation.

“Let’s be clear: Russian actions have precipitated this crisis,” Smith told journalists on a press call from Brussels.

“We are committed to using diplomacy to de-escalate the situation, and we will do so in lockstep with our NATO allies and our European partners,” she added. “There is widespread unity and consensus across the alliance on the challenge that sits before us.”

Jan 12 07:51

U.S. NATO envoy, Blinken protégée: Russia has threatened Europe for past 20 years

Smith’s official website hasn’t posted her comments; what follows is borrowed from Air Force Magazine and TASS. Her own site states that until coming to her post as U.S. permanent representative (ambassador) to NATO recently, she was Senior Advisor to Secretary Blinken at the Department of State.

Ahead of the meeting [January 10th meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov], U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith said the alliance was united in opposing Russia’s demands but still hoped diplomacy would lead to de-escalation.

“Let’s be clear: Russian actions have precipitated this crisis,” Smith told journalists on a press call from Brussels.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The war drums are beating louder and louder!

Jan 12 07:43

Russia could soon get ‘kick in the balls’ – MEP

A Polish Member of the European Parliament has said that Russia will get “a kick in the balls” if it tries to assert control of his country, after Moscow warned NATO was trying to fill the gap left by the fall of the USSR.

Rados?aw Sikorski, an MEP since 2019 and Poland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote on Twitter on Monday, “get this, Russian Embassy, once and for all, in a language you can grasp. We were not orphaned by you because you were not our daddy. More of a serial rapist. Which is why you are not missed. And if you try it again, you’ll get a kick in the balls.”

Jan 12 07:43

Russia & US have already agreed on Ukrainian membership of NATO – MP

Kiev’s long-term lobbying campaign to join NATO is doomed to fail because the US has already decided to block its membership, a Ukrainian lawmaker has claimed ahead of negotiations between Russia and the military bloc this week.

Speaking to TV channel Nash on Monday, Nestor Shufrich, an elected representative from the largest non-government party in the country’s parliament, Opposition Platform - For Life, said that he “had an opportunity to communicate with the direct leadership of two European countries and with people close to the authorities of another state that is a member of the G7.”

According to him, “everyone said unequivocally – all three [nations] are NATO countries – that the Americans and the Russians have agreed on everything,” he alleged. “In principle, we understand that … first: Ukraine will never be a member of NATO, never at all.”

Jan 12 07:29

Unease, Protests as Yet Another US Nuclear Sub Arrives in Arctic Norway

According to the protesters, the port calls by US nuclear submarines endanger the inhabitants and the local environment, draw Norway into a superpower conflict and make the city of Tromsø, Western Europe's largest above the Arctic circle, a military target.

On Tuesday, 11 December, the nuclear submarine USS Washington arrived in Tromsø in northern Norway, sparking strong reactions and protests.

The US submarine is armed with cruise missiles and tasked with patrolling the northern waters, where Russian submarines sail out of the Northern fleet's bases at the Kola Bay and the Barents Sea.

According to protesters who gathered outside the guarded gates of the Tønsnes harbour outside of Tromsø, the port calls make Norway a piece in a dangerous game between superpowers.

Jan 11 08:24

Americans Are a Non-serious People “playing with Fire”

The Americans, wallowing in hubris and delusions of omnipotence, have blown the meeting with the Russians, as I expected them to do.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov expressed the Kremlin’s loss of patience:

“We do not trust the other side. It’s over, enough is enough.” The Americans “underestimate the gravity of the situation,” and failed to show an understanding of how key issues need to be resolved. “We are fed up with loose talk, half-promises, misrepresentations. It is absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never ever becomes a member of NATO.”

Jan 11 07:55

Swedish Defence Minister Claims Russia 'Threatens European Security' Amid Calls to Join NATO

New Year's speeches by Finland's president and prime minister, which both emphasised the opportunity to join NATO, fuelled the perennial NATO debate in both Finland and Sweden, which have been non-aligned for decades, yet been inching closer to the alliance through joint drills, military acquisitions and overseas missions.

Russia's actions “threaten Europe”, Sweden's defence minister has claimed at the national Nation and Defence conference.

Citing Russia's massing of troops within its own borders, which he called “military escalation with Ukraine”, and Moscow's recent set of proposals to NATO and the US that include non-expansion and the non-placement of materiel and troops in a designated area, Hultqvist claimed that Russia “challenges international law when it questions other countries' right to self-determination”.

Jan 11 07:49

Russia warns US of possible military response

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned his American counterparts on Monday that some form of military response to the US stationing advanced weapons in Europe could be possible in the future.

He insisted that if NATO proceeds toward the deployment of new capabilities in weaponry, “which are being developed very rapidly in the US,” the Russian military may reply in a way that “will inevitably and unavoidably damage the security of the US and its European allies.”

Jan 11 07:37

VACCINE DEATH?!?!? PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT - "SEVERE DYSFUNCTION OF IMMUNE SYSTEM"

European Parliament President David Sassoli hospitalized since Dec.26 in Italy due to abnormal functioning of his immune system, has DIED.

Sassoli took all the COVID Vaccine shots and allegedly recently took the Booster shot. Apparently afterwards, his immune system completely collapsed.

Jan 11 07:25

Key takeaways from first day of US-Russia European security talks

The US and Russia are no closer to resolving their strategic impasse after talks in Switzerland, with Washington refusing any limitations on NATO expansion and Moscow insisting the bloc must “never” include Ukraine and Georgia.

The encounter in Geneva between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov lasted for more than seven hours on Monday. Its main focus was a proposal Moscow sent to the US last month, and made public on December 17, insisting on curbing NATO’s further expansion and deployment of offensive weapons on Russian borders.

Jan 11 07:23

US-Russia Talk About Where Not To Place Missiles

"Impasse, Deadlock" says The Washington Post describing the outcome of the high-level U.S.-Russia talks Monday, with a tone of self-congratulation (we told you so), tinged with wishful thinking.

Yes, wishful thinking. Given the very high stakes, the media is a huge part of the problem, since they keep millions in the dark about the real world and hinder progress toward reducing U.S.-Russian tensions. This should come as no surprise, since the corporate media are part – indeed the linchpin of – the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex that profiteers on war. The Post and other Establishment media are doing their level best – against growing odds – to be consistent.

Jan 11 07:23

Where Does NATO Enlargement End?

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the breakup of the USSR began. But the dissolution did not stop with the 14 Soviet "republics" declaring their independence of Moscow.

Decomposition had only just begun.

Transnistria broke away from Moldova. South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded from Georgia. Chechnya broke free of Russia but was restored to Moscow’s control after two savage wars. Crimea and the Donbass were severed from Ukraine.

Besides these post-Cold War amputations, assisted by Russia, what do Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have in common?

All seek admission to NATO, and with it Article 5 war guarantees that oblige the United States to wage war against Russia to restore their sovereignty and territorial integrity if attacked.

Jan 11 06:54

Dutch Plan To Boost Gas Output At Earthquake-Prone Site Sparks Anger

Residents in the Groningen area in the Netherlands have voiced their anger at a plan by the Dutch government to potentially double this year production from the Groningen gas field, which has been hit by earthquakes in the past.

The Dutch government said on Thursday that it might need more gas to be pumped at Groningen, once Europe’s biggest gas field, which the Netherlands has pledged to phase out this decade after frequent earthquakes in the past damaged homes in the area.

Jan 11 06:49

What War With Russia Would Look Like

If ever a critical diplomatic negotiation was doomed to fail from the start, the discussions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine and Russian security guarantees is it.

The two sides can’t even agree on an agenda.

From the Russian perspective, the situation is clear: “The Russian side came here [to Geneva] with a clear position that contains a number of elements that, to my mind, are understandable and have been so clearly formulated—including at a high level—that deviating from our approaches simply is not possible,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the press after a pre-meeting dinner on Sunday hosted by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is leading the U.S. delegation.

Jan 11 06:32

Nord Stream 2 still does not meet EU requirements – Berlin

The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project does not yet meet European Union requirements for certification, and the process will remain suspended until the operator makes changes, Germany’s foreign minister said on Monday.

Speaking to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Annalena Baerbock indicated that the future launch of Nord Stream 2 has geopolitical implications, and therefore the new government in Berlin demands that all requirements be met before certification.

Jan 11 06:31

US tells Russia NATO won’t stop expanding

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has told reporters that Russia’s proposed limit on the expansion of NATO further into Eastern Europe is a “non-starter.” However, she said that progress in talks with Moscow is possible.

Sherman on Monday met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov in Geneva, Switzerland. Called to discuss a series of security proposals offered to the US and NATO by Moscow, the Cold War-style meeting lasted more than seven hours.

Afterwards, Sherman told reporters that the pair found some room for progress. She said that US officials are “open to discussing” the size and scope of NATO military exercises in Europe “on a reciprocal basis,” and suggested that the US could alter its placement of missiles in Europe to better accommodate Russian security concerns.

Jan 10 11:55

Videos and Text: Blinken, Stoltenberg Unleash Unprecedented Diktat, Ultimatum at Russia Following NATO Foreign Policy Meeting

Below are videos of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at their respective press briefings following the virtual meeting of NATO’s thirty foreign policy chiefs on January 7, preceded by the transcript of Blinken’s comments. They provide a clear indication of what to expect from the upcoming NATO-Russia Council and Biden-Putin discussions.

The upshot of both Blinken’s and Stoltenberg’s statements are that Russia has the choice of capitulating to NATO’s terms and demands regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine (and implicitly the return of Crimea) and NATO’s absorption of any former Soviet republics not already in the bloc or NATO will revert to its role as the military alliance it has been for 73 years: it will employ the military expedient against Russia. As it has not hesitated to do in Europe, Asia and Africa in the past twenty-three years.

Jan 10 11:38

Finland and Sweden are 'closer than ever' to joining NATO after Putin's demands that US ban them from the military alliance backfire

Finland and Sweden are 'closer than ever' to joing Nato after Russian threats backfired.

Vladimir Putin's demands that the US ban the Nordic nations from the alliance has made their joining more likely in the wake of heightened tensions around Russian troops along the border with Ukraine.

Sweden and Finland have been unaligned with a major military power since the Cold War but Russian rhetoric over an invasion of Ukraine has pushed them closer to Nato.

Jan 10 11:33

Thousands rally in Prague against vaccination mandate

Thousands of people marched through the Czech Republic's capital on Sunday to protest against compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for certain groups and professions.

The protesters gathered at Wenceslas Square in central Prague to question the effectiveness of the current vaccines and reject the vaccination of children before marching through the capital, chanting “Freedom, freedom.”

Prague's protest followed similar but smaller demonstrations in several Czech cities on Saturday.

The previous government released an order in early December, making vaccination mandatory for the 60 and over age group, as well as medical personnel, police officers, firefighters and medical students.

Jan 10 11:03

Russia warns it will end this week's crisis talks on Ukraine early and leave Europe facing a 'worsening security situation' if the US and NATO do not 'show flexibility'

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said this week's talks between Russia and the West over escalating tensions in Ukraine could end today if the US and NATO are not willing to show 'flexibility'.

Ryabkov and his delegation arrived in Geneva earlier this morning under Swiss police escort for face-to-face talks with Wendy Sherman, the US deputy secretary of state.

Today's diplomacy will be followed by Russia-NATO talks in Brussels on Wednesday, before a meeting in Vienna of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe later this week.

Jan 10 11:02

NATO Prepared For "New Armed Conflict In Europe" With Russia If Talks Fail

Just before Russia-NATO talks kick off in Geneva Monday, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned that if negotiations fail the Western military alliance stands ready for "a new armed conflict in Europe."

He told Financial Times in a fresh interview, "I know the history of Russia. For centuries, they have experienced conflicts with their neighbors. But Russia has an alternative: to cooperate, to work with NATO."

"It is possible to find together a path, a political path to follow, and also to respond to Russia's concerns... but there is always a risk of conflict," he said. "NATO deterrence is credible and strong... We must hope and work hard for the best, but prepare for the worst."

Jan 10 09:13

Russian Deputy FM Says Geneva Talks Should Be About Ukraine Not Joining NATO

On Sunday evening, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Geneva ahead of the official Russian-US talks on security guarantees.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has told Sputnik that upcoming crunch talks between Russia and the United States on strategic stability in Geneva should generally be about Ukraine’s non-joining NATO.

While Moscow is ready to hear what the United States has to say regarding the non-deployment of missiles on the territory of Ukraine, constructive dialogue is possible only in the broader context of revising the decisions of the Budapest summit on Ukraine's future in NATO, Ryabkov told Sputnik.

Jan 10 08:42

'We'll Never Compromise' on NATO Open-Door Membership Policy, Stoltenberg Says Ahead of Russia Talks

Earlier, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that forthcoming talks between Russia and the US on strategic stability should generally be about the impossibility of Ukraine joining NATO.

NATO will never compromise on its open-door membership policy, the organisation's head Jens Stoltenberg said during a joint press conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ahead of the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Stoltenberg added that the bloc will help Ukraine to move towards membership of the alliance. He emphasized that there will be "severe costs" for Russia should it invade Ukraine.

He also said that this week's security negotiations with Russia may not resolve all issues at once but still could provide a pathway to avoid conflict.

Jan 10 08:35

European Leaders Double Down On Demonizing Unvaxx'd But Jabs Fail To Stop Transmission

As more Americans and Europeans grow to doubt the credibility of their government's response to omicron, several European leaders are embracing notably harsh rhetoric that might risk alienating more members of the public as they try to demonize those who have refused to take the vaccines.

We have already written about how French President Emmanuel Macron has denounced "anti-vaxxers" as "non-citizens" while vowing to "piss them off." But he's not alone, which begs the question: are leaders lashing out at a new boogeyman as they grow more desperate to double down and push vaccines, even as the omicron wave has demonstrated their myriad shortcomings. Just ask all the boosted celebrities who have tested positive, or even been hospitalized, with COVID.

Jan 10 08:06

Moscow Won't Stoop to Discussing NATO Demands on 'De-escalation Measures' on Russia's Own Territory

The Russian Foreign Ministry laid down publicly a pair of security proposals to the US and NATO which Moscow believes could ease tensions considerably and end the East-West standoff over Ukraine. Russian and US officials are set to hold talks on strategic stability on Monday, followed by a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday.

Russia is not prepared to discuss with the US and NATO any demands for 'deescalation measures' on its own territory in the course of the upcoming security talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said.

Jan 10 07:35

NATO Secretary General discusses situation around Ukraine with EU Commission President

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met with the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. During the meeting, they discussed the situation around Ukraine. This was reported by both politicians on Twitter.

“We discussed Russia's military build-up in and around Ukraine, as well as the implications for European security. NATO continues to coordinate with our strategic partner, the EU, as we prepare for the meeting in the NATO-Russia Council,” Jens Stoltenberg wrote.

Jan 10 07:27

US Rules Out Eastern Europe Troop Cuts Ahead of Russia Talks

US and Russian officials are set to meet for talks on the ongoing Ukraine crisis. Russian officials are not expecting much out of the talks, and US officials are promising not to make any real commitments.

Any obvious deal on the tensions in the region would deal both with Ukraine and the large NATO buildup along the Russian frontier. US officials, however, are ruling this out already, and saying that there is no talk of a drawdown.

Not only that, but State Department Spokesman Ned Price is suggesting that as part of the US “sacred obligation” to NATO, the US is preparing to send yet more troops to eastern Europe if Russia “should further invade Ukraine.”

The “invasion” is a US narrative built around ethnic Russian factions in eastern Ukraine carving out an autonomous region. If it serves to pump even more troops to the Russian border, the US can easily manufacture more putative invasions.

Jan 10 07:04

War games, missile deployments on the table in Russia talks: US

American officials have raised the possibility of restricting military manoeuvres and missile deployments in Eastern Europe as long as Russia reciprocates ahead of talks on growing tensions as Russian forces encircle Ukraine.

Speaking on Saturday, US officials raised the possibility of incremental shifts in decisions about the United States’s future strategic posture in Europe. But they also said Russia would be hit with debilitating sanctions should it intervene in Ukraine.

Jan 09 06:35

NATO ‘never promised’ not to expand, US claims

A host of long-declassified documents, however, show Moscow was promised bloc wouldn’t admit more states

Jan 08 08:26

State Dept: Reports That US Weighing Options to Pull Back Troops in Eastern Europe Not True

NBC reported, citing current and former US officials, that Washington was allegedly prepared to offer scaling back the number of American troops and military drills conducted in Eastern Europe during the upcoming bilateral security talks with Moscow.

The proposal was said to be dependent on whether Russia agrees to reduce alleged military activity near Ukraine’s border, as Moscow has repeatedly pointed out it is free to rotate military units within its territory.

”It is not accurate that the US administration is developing options for pulling back US forces in Eastern Europe,” a senior State Department official said during a conference call on Friday.

Jan 08 08:15

US, NATO Reject Russia’s Call for Halt of Eastward Expansion

On Friday, the US and NATO rejected a Russian call for the military alliance to halt its eastward expansion.

Amid tensions around Ukraine, Russia submitted a series of security proposals to the US, and chief among the Russian requests is a guarantee that Ukraine won’t join NATO.

“NATO never promised not to admit new members; it could not and would not,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after a virtual meeting of NATO’s foreign ministers.

NATO Secretary-General made similar comments earlier in the day. “We will not compromise on core principles, including the right for every nation to decide its own path, including what kind of security arrangements it wants to be a part of,” he said.

Jan 08 08:01

Austria Demotes Some 3.8 Million Double-jabbed to ‘Unvaccinated’

The Austrian government announced today that the validity of the “Green Passport” has been reduced to six months. This also means that all people who have had their “full vaccination” for the last six months will be relegated to an inferior civil status and become “unvaccinated”.

Even the obedient have become second class people, excluded from social life thanks to the country’s “lockdown for the unvaccinated”. Austrians living in this fact-free dystopian nightmare, are currently faced with two options: Force the government out or take the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and perhaps eternal shot.

Jan 08 07:47

US Likely Set Up Base in Albania to Counter China, Ex-CIA Analyst Says

One reason the US military may have opened a special operations command in Albania is because Washington is concerned about Tirana's ties with China, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told Sputnik.

On Friday, US European Command (EUCOM) said it was establishing a special operations headquarters in Albania as part of an effort to boost capabilities as a keystone for regional stability. EUCOM also said the base offers increased interoperability with US Albanian allies and important access to transportation hubs in the Balkans.

McGovern said Washington decided to locate a base there "because they [the US] just learned that Albania is a tight ally of the Chinese Communists."

Jan 08 07:45

‘Risk of conflict is real’ – NATO chief

NATO is open to listening to Moscow’s concerns, the bloc’s head Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday. However, he added that any moves to reduce tensions over Ukraine must be reciprocal, and not undermine the European “security order.”

The Secretary-General explained his organisation's approach to negotiations with Moscow during a press conference, following an extraordinary meeting of the member states’ foreign ministers.

Stoltenberg squarely blamed the deteriorating relations and tensions around Ukraine on the Russian side, reiterating the claims of a “military build-up” allegedly conducted by Moscow on its neighbor’s borders. The allegations have been consistently dismissed by the Kremlin, which insists any movement of troops within its own territory is strictly its domestic business.

Jan 08 07:42

Videos and text: Blinken, Stoltenberg unleash unprecedented diktat, ultimatum to Russia following NATO FM meeting

Below are videos of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at their respective press briefings following the virtual meeting of NATO’s thirty foreign policy chiefs on January 7, preceded by the transcript of Blinken’s comments. They provide a clear indication of what to expect from the upcoming NATO-Russia Council and Biden-Putin discussions.

The upshot of both Blinken’s and Stoltenberg’s statements are that Russia has the choice of capitulating to NATO’s terms and demands regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine (and implicitly the return of Crimea) and NATO’s absorption of any former Soviet republics not already in the bloc or NATO will revert to its role as the military alliance it has been for 73 years: it will employ the military expedient against Russia. As it has not hesitated to do in Europe, Asia and Africa in the past twenty-three years.

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