• Fox News Feed

    Advanced RSS Ticker (Ajax invocation) demo
  • BBC News Feed

    Advanced RSS Ticker (Ajax invocation) demo
  • CNN News Feed

    Advanced RSS Ticker (Ajax invocation) demo
  • VOA News Feed

    Advanced RSS Ticker (Ajax invocation) demo
  • Stars And Stripes News Feed

    Advanced RSS Ticker (Ajax invocation) demo
  • Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea

    Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea

    Obama backing indirect talks with Moscow aimed at cutting U.S. non-strategic nukes in Europe

    October 10, 2014
    By Bill Gertz

    Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.

    Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.

    “Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.

    “It further positions Russian nuclear weapons closer to the heart of NATO, and it allows Russia to gain a military benefit from its seizure of Crimea, allowing Russia to profit from its action.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months “has escalated his use of nuclear threats to a level not seen since the Cold War,” they wrote.

    In a related development, the Obama administration is funding non-official arms control talks with Russia through a Washington think-tank that are aimed at curbing U.S. tactical nuclear arms in Europe.

    The first round of talks was held in Vienna Monday and Tuesday.

    Critics say Obama administration arms control officials at the State Department and Pentagon are using the informal nuclear talks as groundwork for future tactical nuclear arms cuts.

    Such cuts are likely to be opposed by NATO allies, especially in Eastern Europe, worried by growing Russian military threats to the continent.

    Regarding the nuclear deployments to Crimea, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R., Okla.) first disclosed last month that Putin had announced in August his approval of deploying nuclear-capable Iskander-M short-range missiles along with Tu-22 nuclear-capable bombers in Crimea, located on the Black Sea.

    “The stationing of new nuclear forces on the Crimean peninsula, Ukrainian territory Russia annexed in March, is both a new and menacing threat to the security of Europe and also a clear message from Putin that he intends to continue to violate the territorial integrity of his neighbors,” Inhofe stated in a Sept. 8 op-ed in Foreign Policy.

    In their Sept. 23 letter to the president, McKeon, Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces, and Rep. Michael Turner (R., Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, noted Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty by building a banned cruise missile. The missile has been identified by U.S. officials as the R-500.

    The lawmakers said the Russian nuclear deployment in Crimea represents the “clear, and perhaps irrevocable tearing” of the 1997 agreement between NATO and Russia that allowed Russia to maintain a military presence within the alliance.

    The Russian nuclear deployment plans and treaty violation should have been discussed during the recent NATO summit in Wales but were not, they said.

    As a result, the congressmen urged the president to brief Congress on the threatening Russian nuclear deployments in Crimea. They also called on the president to suspend the NATO-Russia accord and demand the removal of all Russian military personnel from NATO facilities.

    Additionally, they asked that the United States and its allies halt all arms control surveillance flights by Russia carried out under the Open Skies Treaty.

    Significantly, the three House leaders called on the administration to begin research and development on deployment sites for new U.S. intermediate-range ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles, if Russian refuses to return to compliance with the INF accord.

    Putin “must be made to understand that his actions will accomplish nothing more than the alienation [of] Russia from the West, its economy and its security architecture,” the lawmakers said.

    “Until we have a strategy that convinces Mr. Putin he cannot achieve his dream of a ‘New Russia’ through illegal annexations, covert invasions, and nuclear saber-rattling, statements and sanctions along cannot be expected to have an effect on his actions,” the letter warns.

    “Too much is at stake to continue to allow Russia’s dictator to continue to proceed on his current path toward regional destabilization without serous opposition.”

    The action “further undermines Russian credibility in terms of the Budapest Memorandum that the Russian Federation signed in 1994,” the congressmen said.

    The memorandum promised Ukraine would have security assurances against threats or use of force in exchange for Kiev giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons – at the time the third largest arsenal in the world.

    On the Track 2 talks between Russian experts and a group hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the program leader was identified as anti-nuclear arms advocate Sharon Squassoni.

    Squassoni took part in a study three years ago sponsored by the leftist, anti-nuclear weapons group Ploughshares Fund that called for removing all U.S. tactical nuclear arms from Europe.

    Thomas Moore, a former senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who quit CSIS over concerns about Squassoni’s anti-nuclear slant, said he felt the Track 2 program, which was to cost $215,000 in federal funding, was unwise after Russia’s military takeover of Crimea which began last February.

    Moore said in an interview that the administration could be using the CSIS Track 2 talks as a way of conducting direct negotiations to further reduce U.S. nuclear arms in Europe.

    “Now is the wrong time to entertain any such ideas with any Russians, whether they are official or unofficial Russians, because they all support Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and violation of the INF treaty,” Moore said, noting that verifying any tactical nuclear arms reductions is nearly impossible.

    “My goal was to verify and keep our nukes in Europe,” he said, noting that Squassoni knows little about nuclear arms and has been “a partisan for Obama and his anti-nuclear agenda in Europe.”

    CSIS spokesman Andrew Schwartz confirmed that the Track 2 talks involving U.S., Russian and European experts are aimed at “limiting non-strategic nuclear weapons.” He declined to identify the U.S. or foreign members of the project and said a report on the program would be published in summer or fall of next year. He said the notion that the project has not been adjusted to account for the Crimea crisis is wrong.

    Squassoni confirmed her participation in the Ploughshares study but said in an email that the recommendations of that project were not discussed during the first Track 2 meeting this week.

    “I can assure you that my personal views do not interfere with my ability to facilitate balanced, analytically sound dialogues,” she said.

    The CSIS-Russia Track 2 nuclear talks also are being supported by Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security; and Andrew Weber, who recently resigned as assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defenses amid allegations of insubordination and improper personnel activities.

    A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to provide details surrounding Weber’s resignation but said he would be taking a lesser position at the State Department.

    A U.S. official close to the Pentagon said Weber ran afoul of his superiors as a result of his anti-nuclear arms positions, and practices related to hiring and the use of personnel within his office.

    Alexandra Bell, a spokeswoman for Gottemoeller said: “The administration is supportive of the domestic and international non-governmental community’s right to conduct research, scholarship, advocacy and Track 2 dialogues as they see fit.”

    Both the Pentagon and State Department spokeswomen would not address the question of whether holding informal nuclear talks on cutting nuclear weapons in Europe with the Russians will undermine NATO security in the aftermath of the Crimean crisis.

    Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider, a strategic nuclear arms specialist, said the Track 2 and any formal arms talks on tactical nuclear arms would fail.

    “They can have as many tracks as they want but the Russians will not agree to limits on tactical nuclear weapons,” Schneider said. “Their advantage is too great.”

    The United States is believed to have around 200 nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is at least 2,000.

    “NATO politics will prevent any cuts in U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe,” he said. “This is obviously about the worst possible time to talk about something like this.”

    Schneider said nuclear policymakers should focus on deterrence now instead of disarmament.

    A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told state-run Interfax March 26 that a “missile-carrying regiment” of Tu-22 Backfire nuclear bombers will be deployed to the Crimean airbase at Gvardeyskoye within two years.

    IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly described the nuclear-capable Tu-22s to be based in Crimea as “the backbone of Soviet naval strike units during the Cold War.”

    Rogers, the strategic forces subcommittee chairman, said Sept. 18 that the Russians have discussed “plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Crimea.”
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards) started by Ryan Ruck View original post
    Comments 172 Comments
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russia is preparing for an offensive against Ukraine. Armour from VDV divisions (airborne troops) of the Russian armed forces is moving into Crimea, Ukraine (Russian-occupied). Hundreds of tanks are stationed 18 km away from the part of Luhansk, Ukraine that’s Russian-occupied. pic.twitter.com/3qdgFlzMMs

      — Michael MacKay (@mhmck) December 8, 2018

      Satellite images show 100’s of Russian tanks on Ukraine’s border. People better wake up before it’s too late. The military buildup has been happening since November and if the West doesn’t act now Putin won’t stop at Ukraine https://t.co/PEv2FfonIL
      — Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) December 8, 2018

      Satellite images recorded hundreds of Russian tanks near the border with Ukraine https://inforesist.org/sotni-rossiys...ukrainoy-foto/https://t.co/QRH62goA1X pic.twitter.com/p5EK9iAtCo

      — InfoResist (@InfoResist) December 8, 2018

      Kremlin tells Russian banks to prepare for disconnection from international #Russia payment systems https://t.co/VPX1ew5di4
      — UAWire (@uawire) December 8, 2018

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      #UPDATE: Over the past 24 hours multiple Russian Air Force planes including an IL62 long-range jetliner, An-124 strategic airlift plane and two Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers have landed or are heading to Venezuela
      — ELINT News (@ELINTNews) December 10, 2018

      #UPDATE: #Russia claims that #Ukraine forces are preparing a chemical attack in #Donbas. DPR forces are behind this to likely give #Russia reason to mobilize troops into #Ukraine.400+ RU air assault troops moved to #Crimea,hundreds of tanks,armor,aircraft on Ukraine border. -Gage https://t.co/o4ppTzFktl
      — World Events Live (@IdeologyWars) December 10, 2018

      — World Events Live (@IdeologyWars) December 10, 2018

      #UPDATE: Satellite images confirm 4 IL-76s transported airborne troops from #Russia into #Crimea. -Gage https://t.co/YVBf1R4L6X
      — World Events Live (@IdeologyWars) December 9, 2018

      Ex-Putin adviser warns of coming Russian attack on strategic water canal

      Former Putin adviser warns of more Russian attacks | KyivPost
      10:56 PM · Dec 9, 2018 ·
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Mortar illumination flares over eastern Mariupol at this moment
      — Альфонс Шмідт☢����☢ (@_AlfonsSchmidt) December 11, 2018

      Last night near Mariupol sector. Heavy firefight along entire defensive line Shyrokyne-Vodyane-Hnutove and Futher north. No mortars were used by either side during firefight. pic.twitter.com/dJxOEaLHFj
      — Альфонс Шмідт☢����☢ (@_AlfonsSchmidt) December 7, 2018

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed by #Russia's forces in eastern #Ukraine yesterday.
      One of them was Viktor Kuropyatnik, born 1973, from Kirovograd oblast.
      R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/lrUEWiFlAE
      — Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) December 14, 2018

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Follow Follow @GlasnostGone
      Near the front line, Russian forces in #Ukraine caught setting up electronic warfare equipment. Two military trucks with multiple masts, each with several antenna arrays, generator unit & a trailer seen by #OSCE. https://www.osce.org/special-monitor...ukraine/406547 … #Donbas #Donbass

      NATO to send Kiev signals equipment after latest Ukraine-Russia spat

      World News
      December 13, 2018 / 5:35 AM / a day ago

      BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO will supply Ukraine’s military with secure communication equipment this month, its head Jens Stoltenberg told President Petro Poroshenko at a meeting on Thursday called to discuss an escalation of Kiev’s conflict with Moscow.

      Stoltenberg praised Ukraine’s “calm and restraint” after Russia seized of three its naval vessels and their crew off Crimea last month.

      Part of a 40 million euros ($46 million) pledge by the Western military alliance to strengthen Ukraine’s armed forces, Stoltenberg said the secure communications equipment would be delivered by the end of the year.

      The NATO chief reiterated support for the former Soviet nations’ aspirations to join the alliance - a plan which Moscow vehemently opposes.

      Russia is resisting international calls to release the ships and men seized in the Kerch Strait, which controls access to the Sea of Azov near the Crimea region that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

      “Ukraine invites allies to come up with comprehensive, tough measures to respond to Russia’s actions,” Poroshenko told reporters at a joint briefing.

      EU leaders will discuss Ukraine and Russia over a summit dinner later in the day.

      The bloc’s leaders are expected to offer Ukraine help for regions affected by Russia’s actions in the Azov Sea but stop short of imposing further sanctions on Russia, something sought by more hawkish governments.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      No Trump-Putin meeting while Russia holds Ukraine ships: Bolton

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There will be no meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin while Russia still holds Ukrainian ships and sailors seized near Crimea, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday.

      “I don’t see circumstances in the foreseeable future where such a meeting could take place until the ships and the crews are released,” Bolton told reporters at a Washington think tank.

      Russia seized three Ukrainian navy vessels and their combined crew of 24 last month off the coast of Russian-annexed Crimea and accused them of illegally entering Russian waters.

      Ukraine has said Russia captured the two small gunboats and one tugboat illegally and accused Moscow of military aggression.

      Two Ukrainian navy captains being held in a Russian jail have refused to provide testimony because they consider themselves prisoners of war, their lawyers said.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...-idUSKBN1OC267

      EU leaders to pledge support for Ukraine at summit BRUSSELS

      (Reuters) - European Union leaders will reaffirm support for Ukraine in its standoff with Russia and their readiness to increase aid to the country at a summit on Thursday, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.

      The EU’s 28 heads of state will offer Ukraine help for its regions suffering after Russia seized three of its naval vessels and their crew off Crimea last month, a draft summit statement seen by Reuters showed.

      Arriving at the summit, Federica Mogherini told reporters leaders would discuss “a very substantial package of support to Ukraine that the European Union has put in place so far and is ready to strengthen.”

      Russian MFA threatening Ukrainian diplomats working in Russia

      13:40, 13 December 2018

      The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Russian Federation has once again threatened Ukrainian diplomats working in Russia, arguing that Kyiv is failing to ensure safety of Russian diplomats in Ukraine. "The Myrotvorets website continues operating as Kyiv simply ignores the international community's demand to close down the said resource, which in the public consciousness became firmly associated with the death lists. Two Russian diplomats working in Ukraine have been recently added to the database, which threatens their security," spokesperson for Russia's Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova told a briefing in Moscow, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia.

      She called on the Ukrainian authorities to strictly comply with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 regarding the protection of employees of diplomatic and consular missions. "I would once again like to say that we are not just voicing the warning – we have the opportunity to respond to such things and I'd like to say that this will be done if measures are not taken related to the security of Russian diplomats," Zakharova said. "Kyiv should understand that they have gone too far in playing with things as regards Russian diplomatic missions and Russian diplomatic corps. They won't get away with this," she said.

      EndGameWW3 Retweeted
      ELINT News
      ELINT News
      #BREAKING: Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate announces protest rally over Ukrainian Orthodox Independence meeting, set to take place near Rada tomorrow, December 14th
      Quote Tweet
      Українська правда
      Московський патріархат анонсував акцію протесту (link: https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2018/12/13/7201202/) pravda.com.ua/news/2018/12/1…
      4:44 PM · Dec 13, 2018 ·

      Replying to
      So the ukrainians security services were right.....

      Things are getting scary!

      Replying to
      And as predicted weeks ago... Here we go. It will be interesting to see how many attend. This won't stop the separation
      Thomas Haynes
      Thomas Haynes
      Replying to
      I struggle to follow but isn't this meeting something that the separatist leaders claimed could be targeted?
      I think so yes actually if Iam not mistaken
      said that this could be the spark that gets this conflict rolling.
      Thomas Haynes
      Thomas Haynes
      Yeah that is what I feared.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -

      (1) Ukrainian military intelligence offical: Russia has deployed an additionnal 100 new combat aircraft in Crimea. These include SU-27 and SU-30, these can cover the Black Sea Region and almost the entirerety of the Ukrainian territory. #Ukraine #Crimea

      — Mikhail D. (@Eire_QC) December 14, 2018

    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      Russia-Ukraine War: Moscow Could Launch Armed Attack Over Christmas While the World Is Distracted, Experts Warn

      December 24, 2018

      As people in Western Europe and the United States get comfortable for the holidays, the chances increase that Russia will take advantage of the distraction to launch attacks against its neighbor Ukraine, experts said.

      On Monday, when the millions of Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar celebrate Christmas Eve, the Russian foreign ministry warned “it is quite possible” that Ukraine will launch military action against Russia in the next few days. Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova even suggested that Kiev was planning to stage chemical weapons attacks in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for launching an attack.

      But experts and Western military analysts said it was Russia that was likely to launch an attack on Ukraine.

      “Moscow likes to commit aggression when the world is not paying attention. It invaded Afghanistan during the Christmas season in 1979 and attacked Georgia during August vacation season,” ambassador John Herbst, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, told Newsweek.

      The conflict between the two neighbors has been simmering for exactly five years, but the past month has been especially tense after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships and detained 24 sailors on November 25. The Ukrainian detainees still have not been released.

      Ukraine has since instated martial law in parts of the country believed to be vulnerable to Russia and warned of an imminent ground invasion by Moscow. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned in early December that Russia had around 80,000 troops stationed in parts of occupied Ukraine.

      The international community, meanwhile, accused Russia of aggression and called on Moscow to obey international law. But experts said that the holidays, combined with the recent resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Washington, could create the perfect scenario for a Russian offensive.

      “The weak Western reaction to Moscow’s escalation of its war against Ukraine by seizing its ships also raises the odds of a further Kremlin strike," said Herbst. "So does the disarray in Washington, with the Mattis resignation and early departure."

      On Saturday, Russia sent additional warplanes into the Crimean peninsula, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s navy signaled over the weekend that it would be ready to fight back if Moscow once again tried to stop Ukraine from using key ports around Crimea. International law dictates that Russia and Ukraine must share access to the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, and analysts said that Moscow was determined to solidify its control of the waters around the Crimean peninsula.

      “The Russians are seeking complete dominance over the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, and the Ukrainians aren’t willing to surrender control of their territorial waters or freedom of passage through the strait, as is their right. So the potential for escalation is high,” Michael Carpenter, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in charge of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, told Newsweek.

      “I worry the Ukrainian navy is far too small to assert its rights in the face of the much larger [Russian] Black Sea fleet, so if I were advising Ukraine I wouldn’t attempt another passage through the strait right now,” Carpenter continued. “The creation of the mosquito fleet, as foreseen in Ukraine’s naval development plan, is the right strategy, but it will take years to get all the assets in place, and meanwhile a crisis is looming in the coming weeks and months.”

      Some analysts also warned that Russia may be aiming to unite some of the territories that surround Ukraine in order to create a Russian-controlled protectorate north of the Black Sea that resembles a military frontier once held by the Russian Empire. The new attack jets sent to Crimea and the deployment of Russian ground troops along the border with Ukraine are signs of such military ambitions, analysts said.

      “This is consistent with pervasive rumors of a military operation by Russia to establish a land ‘bridge’ from the Russian-controlled territory along the coast of the Sea of Azov into the Crimea. I also heard a discussion of Russia reviving the 2014 ‘big war plan’ and going all the way to the borders of Moldova, connecting to the Transnistria pro-Russian exclave, which is legally a part of Moldova,” Ariel Cohen, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Atlantic Council, told Newsweek.

      Moldova, a tiny country located between Ukraine and Romania, gained independence from the Soviet Union and was formally recognized by the international community in 1992. But the people of Transnistria, a strip of land with around 500,000 Russian-speaking inhabitants, fought Moldova for a country of their own.

      Moscow continues to support Transnistria's independence, and Russian troops have been stationed there since the 1990s. Russia's military presence there makes Ukraine even more vulnerable to a ground invasion, military experts noted.

      “Taking into account the resignation of the secretary of defense, Mattis, and the isolationist mood in the White House, Russia may decide that the time to act is now, to accomplish what they call the Novorossiya [New Russia] program, which includes the dismemberment of Ukraine,” said Cohen.

      The threat of armed conflict did not appear to have dampened the holiday spirit, however. Over the weekend, in Ukraine's southern port city of Crimea, people dressed as Deda Moroz, the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus, marched along the seafront.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
      Leaked Memo Proves Soros Ruled Ukraine In 2014:
      Minutes From “Breakfast With US Ambassador Pyatt”

      by Tyler Durden
      Aug 20, 2016 1:07 PM

      Submitted by Alex Christoforou of The Duran
      We noted in a previous post how important Ukraine was to George Soros,
      with documents from DC Leaks that show Soros, and his Open Society NGO,
      scouring the Greek media and political landscape to push the benefits of his
      Ukraine coup upon a Russian leaning Greek society.

      Now more documents, in the massive 2,500 leaked tranche, show the immense
      power and control Soros had over Ukraine immediately following the illegal
      Maidan government overthrow.

      Soros and his NGO executives held detailed and extensive meetings
      with just about every actor involved in the Maidan coup:
      from US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, to Ukraine’s Ministers of Foreign
      Affairs, Justice, Health, and Education.

      The only person missing was Victoria Nuland, though we are sure
      those meeting minutes are waiting to see the light of day.

      Plans to subvert and undermine Russian influence and cultural ties to Ukraine
      are a central focus of every conversation. US hard power, and EU soft power,
      is central towards bringing Ukraine into the neo-liberal model that Soros champions,
      while bringing Russia to its economic knees.

      Soros' NGO, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) plays a key role in
      the formation of the “New Ukraine”…the term Soros frequently uses
      when referring to his Ukraine project.

      In a document titled,
      "Breakfast with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt",
      George Soros, (aka GS), discusses Ukraine’s future with:

      Geoffrey Pyatt (US Ambassador to Ukraine); David Meale (Economic
      Counsellor to the Ambassador); Lenny Benardo (OSF); Yevhen Bystrytsky
      (Executive Director, IRF); Oleksandr Sushko (Board Chair, IRF); Ivan
      Krastev (Chariman, Centre for Liberal Studies); Sabine Freizer (OSF);
      Deff Barton (Director, USAID, Ukraine)
      The meeting took place on March 31, 2014, just a few months
      after the Maidan coup, and weeks before a full out civil war erupted,
      after Ukraine forces attacked the Donbass.

      In the meeting, US Ambassador Pyatt outlines the general goal for fighting a PR war
      against Putin, for which GS is more than happy to assist.

      Ambassador: The short term issue that needs to be addressed will be
      the problem in getting the message out from the government
      through professional PR tools, especially given Putin’s own
      professional smear campaigns.

      GS: Agreement on the strategic communications issue—providing
      professional PR assistance to Ukrainian government would be
      very useful.
      Gave an overview of the Crisis Media Center set up by IRF
      and the need for Yatseniuk to do more interviews with them that address
      directly with journalists and the public the current criticisms of his decision
      Pyatt pushes the idea of decentralization of power for the New Ukraine, without moving
      towards Lavrov’s recommendation for a federalized Ukraine.

      GS notes that a federalization model would result in Russia gaining influence over
      eastern regions in Ukraine, something that GS strictly opposes.

      Ambassador: Lavrov has been pushing the line about constitutional
      reform and the concept of federalization in Russia.

      The USG reaffirmed it will not negotiate over the heads of the Ukrainians
      on the constitutional reform issue and that Ukraine needs to decide on this
      issue for itself. He noted that there are templates for devolution that can be
      used in this context but that the struggle will be to figure out how to
      move forward with decentralization without feeding into Russian

      GS: Federalization plan being marketed by Putin to Merkel and Obama
      would result in Russia gaining influence and de facto control over
      eastern regions in Ukraine.
      He noted Lavrov has clear instructions from
      Putin to push the line on federalization.

      Ambassador: Secretary Kerry would be interested to hear GS’s views
      on the situation directly, upon return from his trip.

      SF: There is no good positive model for federalization in region, even
      models of decentralization are very poor because the concept is not very
      common. The institutions need for decentralization do not yet exist and
      need to be built.

      YB: Ukraine should pursue a decentralization policy based on the Polish
      decentralization model. IRF funded the development of a plan based
      on this model previously and those involved are now advisers to
      government on this issue.
      Noted it is also important to encourage the
      constitution council created by government to be more open and involve
      independent experts.

      Ambassador: Constitutional reform issue as the most urgent issue facing
      Ukraine—there is a need to decentralize in order to push democracy down
      to the local level and break the systemic corruption that results from Kiev’s
      authority over the local governments.

      Ambassador: Russian propaganda machine telling Kharkhiv
      and Donbass residents that the government in Western Ukraine
      is looking to take away their resources and rights through
      decentralization process, feeding into Lavrov’s line that the
      Ukrainian government is dysfunctional and not successful
      as a unitary state, making it a necessity to have federalization.
      The participants cannot stop fixating on Russia and Putin throughout the meeting.
      The Ukraine project seems to be more about sticking it to Russia, then about
      saving a country about to fall into the abyss.

      US Ambassador Pyatt hands over full control to George Soros, and point blank
      asks him, “what USG should be doing and what the USG is currently doing.”

      Soros’ response is stunning, “Obama has been too soft on Putin.”

      Ambassador: Asked GS for a critique of US policy and his thoughts on what
      USG should be doing.

      GS: Will send Ambassador Pyatt copies of correspondences he previously
      sent to others and his article in NY Review of Books. Obama has been
      too soft on Putin, and there is a need to impost potent smart sanctions.

      He noted the need for a division of labor between the US and the EU
      with the US playing the bad cop role. The USG should impose sanctions
      on Russia for 90 days or until the Russian government recognizes
      the results of the presidential elections.
      He noted that he is most
      concerned about transitional justice and lustration.

      Ambassador: USG will organize conference with the British at the
      end of April on financial crimes that will bring together senior level
      government officials and representatives of the international
      community to discuss where money went.

      He noted his worries about the complete implosion of the Party of Regions
      and will be speaking to IRI and NDI about offering assistance to reconstruct
      the party for the post-Yanukovych era.
      US Ambassador Pyatt decides to take out Tymoshenko from the New Ukraine equation.

      She served her purpose as a poor and sick political prisoner while Yanukovich was
      in power, saying that “Tymoshenko is associated with everything undignified”…

      Ambassador: Personal philosophy on the greatest need for Ukraine right
      now is the need for national unification. This will not happen under
      Tymoshenko because she is perceived as a hold over of the old
      regime and a very divisive personality. He calls the revolution
      a “revolution of dignity” and Tymoshenko is associated with
      everything undignified.

      GS: Need to cleanse the “original sin” that all of the current presidential
      candidates are marked with in order for Ukraine to move forward.
      Concern over the Pravy Sector, and how to disarm, or integrate, the muscle that
      was used to instigate much of the violence during the Maidan is debated.

      Soros even throws out his suspicion that the Privy Sector has been infiltrated,
      and now is working under Russia’s FSB.

      GS: Belief that the Pravy Sector is an FSB plot and has been funded
      to destabilize Ukraine

      Ambassador: Agreed that this was at least partly true, but the
      problem now is that Pravy Sector has become organic and is still
      armed. There is a need for the government to figure out how to
      demobilize and disarm the Pravy Sector.

      GS: How can we defend against Putin’s attempts to destabilize
      the May elections?

      Ambassador: The international community should send in a flood of
      observers from the OSCE and other institutions. The US Embassy is also
      currently working with the local intelligence agencies to monitor
      the situation and they have already found Russian agents. He noted that
      a second ambassador, Cliff Bond, will be brought into the embassy to focus
      on the longer term questions such as decentralization, lustration, e-governance,
      and anti-corruption and will be coordinating with the donor community
      on these issues.

      Obama has instructed the embassy to focus primarily on economic
      support and assistance for Ukraine, avoiding military support or assistance.

      GS: Hopes that going forward there will be close contact and cooperation
      between the US Embassy and the IRF.
      The Full PDF of the 2014 George Soros minutes can be downloaded
      here: - Ukraine Working Group 2014-gs ukraine visitmarch 2014note.

      The meeting minutes documented present a clear and conclusive case that George
      Soros and his International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) manipulated
      Ukraine into moving towards an untenable and self destructive direction.

      In one meeting under the title, Civil Society Roundtable Meeting, Crimea fifth column
      schemes are advanced as viable solutions to those participating in the discussion.

      Likewise we see how involved Soros was in making sure a Ukraine under federalisation
      is completely undermined at the highest levels, influencing Merkel and Obama to
      reject such initiatives.

      In hindsight it has now become clear that the only way Ukraine was going to survive
      the coup in one piece was to move towards a federalised model of governance.
      He [George Soros] noted that Ukraine is in grave danger because
      Putin knows he cannot allow the new Ukraine to succeed. He reiterated
      his points about the conversations Putin has had with Merkel
      and Obama about federalism and his concerns surrounding that

      He noted that he hasn’t had direct feedback yet regarding this issue
      and is basing his worries on second hand information about the reactions
      of Merkel and Obama. But he reiterated the need for the Ukrainian
      government to respond loudly and immediately.

      Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
      “F**k the EU!”: US diplomat’s Ukraine phonecall leaked via Youtube

      Washington is accusing Russia of capturing the conversation and uploading it to the site.

      9 hours ago 13,348 Views 42 Comments
      Share22 Tweet21 Email20

      US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland
      Image: Vadim Ghirda/AP/Press Association Images

      THE US GOVERNMENT is trying to defuse a potential row with its European allies after the leak of an embarrassing phone call in which a top US diplomat cursed the EU response to the Ukraine crisis.

      The leak of the bugged conversation came as Ukraine’s embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, flew to Sochi, Russia late last night for crisis talks with Russian counterpart and ally Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics.

      Washington and Brussels have engaged in a diplomatic standoff with Kiev and Moscow over mass pro-EU protests that erupted in Ukraine when Yanukovych in November rejected a pact with the EU under Russian pressure.

      But the leaked phone call appears to reveal US frustration with the EU over handling Ukraine, which is torn between leaning to the European Union and its past master Russia.

      Washington’s new top diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, has apologised to EU counterparts after she was caught cursing the European response to the crisis in Kiev.

      (Youtube: datboi5000)

      “F**k the EU,” Nuland allegedly says, in what appeared to be a recent phone call with US ambassador to Kiev, Geoff Pyatt, which was somehow intercepted and uploaded onto YouTube. The original video was accompanied by Russian captions.

      US officials, while not denying such a conversation took place, refused to go into details, and pointed the finger at Russia for allegedly bugging the diplomats’ phones.

      “Let me convey that she has been in contact with her EU counterparts, and of course has apologised,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

      While Psaki said she had no independent details of how the conversation was captured and uploaded onto the social networking site, she added: “Certainly we think this is a new low in Russian tradecraft.”

      Klitschko offer

      Nuland, who took over late last year as assistant secretary for European affairs, and Pyatt appear to discuss Yanukovych’s offer last month to make opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk the new prime minister and Vitaly Klitschko deputy prime minister. Both men turned the offer down.

      Nuland, who in December went down to Independence Square in Kiev in a show of support for the demonstrators, adds she has also been told that the UN chief Ban Ki-moon is about to appoint a former Dutch ambassador to Kiev, Robert Serry, as his representative to Ukraine.

      “That would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN glue it and you know, f**k the EU,” she says.
      Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
      U.S. Diplomat’s F-Bomb Overshadows Russia’s Warning on Ukraine

      February 7, 2014 - 4:39 AM
      By Patrick Goodenough
      Subscribe to Patrick Goodenough RSS

      Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

      (CNSNews.com) – A media furor over a leaked phone conversation between senior U.S. diplomats discussing the Ukraine crisis is overshadowing a Kremlin adviser’s accusations of U.S. interference in Ukraine – and his warning that Russia could intervene to maintain its security.

      Administration officials are implying that the Russian authorities intercepted and posted on YouTube of an audio recording of a purported phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt. The State Department is not disputing its authenticity.

      The kerfuffle over the leaked conversation – in which Nuland says, “f*** the E.U.” -- has diverted attention from a newspaper interview published Thursday in which Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin, accused the U.S. of “unilaterally and crudely interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs.”

      Glazyev told the Kommersant daily’s Ukraine edition that the U.S. was funding and arming the Ukrainian “opposition and rebels” trying to oust embattled President Viktor Yanukovich.

      Asked whether Russia would actively intervene if the crisis worsened, Glazyev told the Kommersant daily’s Ukraine edition that America’s interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs was a clear breach of a 1994 document Ukraine’s security after Kiev surrendered its nuclear arsenal inherited from the Soviet Union, which had dissolved three years earlier.

      Under that 1994 memorandum, he continued, “Russia and the U.S. are guarantors of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and, frankly, they are obliged to intervene when conflict situations of this kind arise.”

      Glazyev’s comments were quickly eclipsed by the leaked Nuland-Pyatt recording, with most attention not surprisingly focused on Nuland’s use of an obscenity in relation to the European Union’s stance on Ukraine.

      But the conversation more broadly will also feed Russian allegations of U.S. meddling in the crisis, which erupted when Yanukovich reversed course last November on closer ties with the E.U. in favor of stronger links to Russia.

      In a bid to end the turmoil, Yanukovich late last month offered two opposition leaders, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko, the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively. Both declined.

      In the leaked conversation, Nuland and Pyatt are heard to favor a role for Yatsenyuk, but to agree that Klitschko should not to be brought into the government.
      “I don’t think it’s necessary [for Klitschko to have a role in government],” Nuland is heard to say. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

      Pyatt agrees: “In terms of him [Klitschko] not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff.”

      Nuland goes on to mention that U.N. Secretary-General Ben Ki-moon is about to appoint an envoy to Ukraine.

      “That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the U.N. glue it – and you know, f*** the E.U.” she says.

      “Uh, exactly,” replies Pyatt. “And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.”

      ‘Small frustrations’

      State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki at a daily press briefing did not dispute that the leaked recording was authentic, saying that Nuland has apologized to her E.U. counterparts for the “reported comments.”

      “Certainly we think this is a new low in Russian tradecraft in terms of publicizing and posting this [online],” she said. (White House press secretary Jay Carney separately also raised questions about “Russia’s role”.)

      A reporter suggested that the recording – with two senior officials apparently discussing brokering a new government for Ukraine, determining its makeup and getting the U.N. to seal the deal – would be seen as demonstrating U.S. interference in a sovereign state’s affairs.

      “This is more than the U.S. making suggestions,” the reporter said. “This is the U.S. midwifing the process.”

      “Of course these things are discussed,” Psaki replied. “It doesn’t change the fact that it’s up to the people on the ground, it is up to the people of Ukraine, to determine what the path forward is.”

      Asked about Nuland’s evident frustration with the E.U., Psaki said, “I wouldn’t overanalyze one – a couple of words that were used on a phone call as to having larger meaning about some sort of ongoing issue.”

      “There are, of course, moments in every diplomatic relationship where you have small frustrations, where you agree, you disagree, you work through the issues, you talk about what the best step to take is, and that certainly has been the case here, which should be no surprise.”

      The U.S. and E.U. have not always seen eye-to-eye over Ukraine, with the E.U. uneasy about U.S. proposals considering imposing sanctions on Kiev.

      Psaki went on to suggest that Nuland may have learned to swear while working on a Russian fishing boat as a young woman.

      “You all know Toria pretty well. You may know the story of how she lived on a Russian boat for about eight months when she was 23, and she learned how to perfect perhaps certain words in a couple of languages.”

      When Secretary of State John Kerry conducted her assistant secretary swearing-in ceremony last September, he said, “As some of you may know, she worked on a Soviet fishing trawler in the Pacific, an incredible undertaking.”

      “She has also served in some of the most challenging and demanding foreign policy positions in the U.S. government,” he added, “some of which I am sure made her feel like she wished she would be back on that fishing trawler at times.”

      Nuland told the New York Times in 2012 that she “learned to drink aboard a Soviet fishing trawler in my early 20s, so my favorite summer beverage is still an ice-cold Stoli with an ocean view.”

      Obama, the Bidens, the Clintons, the IMF and Others Pillaged Ukraine Then Forced Its Citizens to Pay Excessive Natural Gas Prices at 50% Above Market

      by Joe Hoft September 24, 2019


      President Obama, his Vice President Biden and his son, Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, Mueller, the Podestas, the IMF and others all pillaged the Ukraine and then delayed loans to the country before forcing Ukrainians to pay grossly inflated natural gas prices. Now these vultures claim they are innocent.

      More than a year ago we reported that Robert Mueller was charging Paul Manafort for actions that Mueller committed himself.

      The Gateway Pundit reported in August last year that Paul Manafort sits in solitary confinement for crimes he allegedly committed stemming from his work as a lobbyist in Ukraine years ago before Donald Trump ran for president.
      For a little back story, Yulia Tymoshenko runs for reelection in Ukraine, she loses, and just like Hillary, Tymoshenko fails to lose gracefully and promises to #Resist. Her victorious opponent, Viktor Yanukovytch, throws her in jail for what many claim to be bogus charges.

      Of course Mueller never recused himself from the Trump-Russia sham investigation due to his activities in the Ukraine. Meanwhile, Manafort rots in prison for his actions in the Ukraine working with Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Manager John Podesta. Mueller even gave Podesta’s brother Tony immunity during his corrupt ‘witch hunt’.

      But this was just a small part of the corruption and pillaging of the Ukraine by the Democrat Party leaders.
      Via the Markets Work, the far left New York Times reported how the Clintons pillaged the Ukraine:

      Victor Pinchuk, a steel magnate whose father-in-law, Leonid Kuchma, was president of Ukraine from 1994 to 2005, has directed between $10 million and $25 million to the [Clinton] foundation. He has lent his private plane to the Clintons and traveled to Los Angeles in 2011 to attend Mr. Clinton’s star-studded 65th birthday celebration.
      We also reported that Oligarch Victor Pinchuk may have helped divert IMF funds to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

      The Markets Work noted:

      In addition to being a Clinton Foundation donor, Pinchuk is also on the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Counsel
      The Atlantic Counsel has been historically active in Ukraine through their Ukraine in Europe Initiative. More recently, on January 19, 2017, the Atlantic Counsel announced a partnership with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Group.
      Hunter Biden, former VP Joe Biden’s son, sits on Burisma’s board.

      As we reported previously:

      Also serving on the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council is James Clapper, who served as Obama’s Director of National Intelligence. Funnily enough, Bongino discovered that the Chief Technology Officer of “the only company that investigated the hacking of the DNC’s servers and quickly determined it was the Russians, is a nonresident senior fellow in cybersecurity” at the Atlantic Council. His name is Dmitri Alperovitch (owner of CrowdStrike).”

      So the Clintons, Obama, the Bidens, Mueller, the Podestas and the Atlantic Council all were involved in the Ukraine. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The IMF also had shady dealings with the Ukraine related to these same Democrats.

      According to Wikipedia

      On 28 July 2010, the IMF approved a 29-month $15.15 billion loan to Ukraine.[7] Among others this led to a 50 percent increase on household natural gas utility prices in July 2010 for

      Ukrainian consumers (a key demand of the IMF in exchange of the loan).[8][9]
      By December 2013, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, stated “the extremely harsh conditions” of a renewed IMF loan (presented by the IMF on 20 November 2013), which included big budget cuts and a 40% increase in natural gas bills, had been the last argument in favor of the Ukrainian government’s decision to suspend preparations for signing the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement on 21 November 2013.[11][12][13] The decision to put off signing this EU-Ukraine Association Agreement lead [sic] to massive protests in Ukraine.[14][nb 1]

      Then on December 10, 2013, President Yanukovych stated “We will certainly resume the IMF negotiations. If there are conditions that suit us, we will take that path”.[22] However, Yanukovych also (once again) stated that the conditions put forward by the IMF were unacceptable “I had a conversation with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, who told me that the issue of the IMF loan has almost been solved, but I told him that if the conditions remained… we did not need such loans”.[22]

      In February 2014 Yanukovych and Azarov were forcibly removed from power (as a result of the pro-EU-Ukraine Association Agreement coup) and replaced by the Yatsenyuk Government.[24]

      In March 2014 the IMF required the Ukraine to reform natural gas price subsidies in order to provide it with an aid package worth about $15 billion.[25] One of the expected effects was a 50% price hike on natural gas sold to domestic Ukrainian consumers.[25]

      The Markets Work reported that Hunter Biden was placed on Burisma’s board after Obama’s State Department employee Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt held a phone conversation regarding installation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk in place of then-President Yanukovych. This call occurred on or before February 4, 2014.

      On February 22, 2014, Yanukovych was removed as President of Ukraine and on February 27, 2014, Yatsenyuk was installed as Prime Minister of Ukraine. (Yatsenyuk would resign in April 2016 amidst corruption accusations.)

      On April 18 2014, Hunter Biden was appointed to the Board of Directors for Burisma – one of the largest natural gas companies in Ukraine. Then on April 22, 2014, Obama’s Vice President Biden traveled to the Ukraine and offered support and $50 million in aid for Yatsenyuk’s shaky new government.

      As a result of all this activity, the Bidens got a place on the Board of one of the largest natural gas companies in the Ukraine, the Clintons received millions from a Ukrainian Oligarch, the IMF got billions in loans with the Ukraine, and the people of the Ukraine were burdened with excessive natural gas prices.

      And there it is.
    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      REVEALED: White House Has Warned European Allies To Prepare For A Russian INVASION Of Ukraine With Further Border Military Build-Up And Tensions Over Gas Supplies

      November 11, 2021

      • The warnings are based on information the US hasn't yet shared with allies
      • Russia sent more tanks and artillery to its border with Ukraine last month, prompting CIA Director Bill Burns to express the US's 'serious' concerns to Putin
      • Ukraine's military claims Russia broke a ceasefire agreement 5 times in one day
      • Kremlin officials denied the accusations but expressed anger over American warships in the Black Sea that it says sailed too close to its territory

      A military invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces could be imminent, the White House warned its allies in Europe on Thursday.

      The United States is concerned that Russia may take aggressive action amid tensions over the Belarusian-Polish border and an increasingly tenuous situation with Europe's natural gas supply.

      Fears of a possible military operation were partially sparked by a buildup of Russian firepower at its border with Ukraine, Bloomberg first reported.

      US officials have briefed their European counterparts but their assessment is also based on insights they haven't yet shared with EU allies, people close to the story told the outlet.

      A coordinated collective response wouldn't be possible until all that information is shared amongst them.

      Russia denied the accusations but expressed anger over American warships in the Black Sea that it says sailed too close to its territory.

      A source reportedly linked to the Kremlin said Russia isn't looking to start a war with Ukraine but indicated it was prepared to if necessary.

      A Kremlin official noted that an overt Russian attack would invoke public outrage in Ukraine and among the global community. But they have a plan to respond to the smaller country's 'provocations,' they said.

      Over the last few weeks Russia has moved tanks and artillery to its border with Ukraine, an analysis by Bloomberg earlier this week showed.

      That prompted CIA Director Bill Burns to fly to Moscow and have a rare one-on-one with President Vladimir Putin.

      There he shared the US's 'serious' concerns over the military buildup, sources told CNN.

      DailyMail.com reached out to the State Department for comment but was referred to comments made on Wednesday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, when he echoed similar concerns in a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

      'We’re concerned by reports of unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine. We’re monitoring the region very closely, as we always do, we’ll continue to consult closely as well with allies and partners on this issue,' Blinken told reporters.

      'And as we’ve made clear, any escalatory or aggressive actions would be of great concern to the United States. We continue to support de-escalation in the region and diplomatic resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.'

      The report comes as fighting between Russian-backed groups and Ukrainian forces heats up. It began in 2014 after Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula following a revolution that overthrew Ukraine's former president who was widely seen as another mouthpiece of Putin's.

      [img]https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2021/11/11/23/50375651-10192833-Satellite_images_taken_on_November_1_show_armored_ equipment_and_-a-14_1636671862377.jpg[img]
      Satellite images taken on November 1 show armored equipment and a large ground force deployment near Russia's border with Ukraine

      Ukraine's Joint Forces Operation, a militarized force created in 2018 to defend the country in the ongoing conflict in the Donbas region, accused Russia of violating the ceasefire agreement five times over a 24-hour period on Monday.

      In a statement posted to Facebook the JFO accused Russia of 'armed aggression,' though the Kremlin has consistently denied involvement in the conflict.

      Tensions in Europe have been inflamed by a gas shortage, with Russian company Gazprom, the continent's top energy supplier, having decreased its daily outflow in October in order to meet the needs of Putin's domestic replenishment campaign.

      Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Putin of intentionally engineering the gas crisis and urged western Europe to act swiftly with punishment.

      But Gazprom increased its output to Europe earlier this week after Russia' stockpile was deemed full.

      But the burgeoning refugee crisis on the border between Poland and Russia's neighbor Belarus is threatening to further complicate the situation, which could grow more dire going into winter.

      Much of Russia's oil supply to Europe runs through Belarus and Poland.

      Over the last week western democracies have accused Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko of 'weaponizing' migrants from Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East by enabling them to fly to his country before seeking to break into the EU.

      Devastating scenes have emerged from the region of desperate migrants getting brutal treatment from soldiers on both sides. Some even froze to death in the harsh Eastern European climate this time of year.

      In response to threats of expanded sanctions, Lukashenko threatened to shut down the oil supply coming in from Russia to the rest of Europe.

      Migrants gather for getting humanitarian aid spread by Belarusian militaries at the camp at the Belarus-Polish border on November 11. Belarus's strongman dictator threatened to choke off Europe's gas supply from Russia if the west follows through on its promise of sanctions over the growing refugee crisis in the region

      Russia has also been accused of helping engineer the crisis, which the West has called a 'hybrid attack'

      'I would recommend the leadership of Poland, Lithuanians and other empty-headed people to think before speaking,' he said.

      Among the countries vowing sanctions over the conflict are NATO and EU member states, as well as the US.

      Russia has also been accused of escalating the crisis, and the EU is reportedly in talks to target national airline Aeroflot as part of a new sanctions package.

      The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russia had nothing to do with the migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border and rejected the suggestion as 'crazy.'

      It instead blamed the EU itself, claiming the international body was trying to 'strangle' Belarus.

      However, two supersonic Tu-22M3 nuclear bombers were seen performing 'tasks of combat alert for air defense' in support of the Belarus leader, the Russian defense ministry said in response to the rising tensions on the border.

      Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a joint news conference with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei that he hoped responsible Europeans would 'not allow themselves to be drawn into a spiral that is fairly dangerous'.

    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      Russia Planning Massive Military Offensive Against Ukraine Involving 175,000 Troops, U.S. Intelligence Warns

      December 3, 2021

      As tensions mount between Washington and Moscow over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence has found the Kremlin is planning a multi-front offensive as soon as early next year involving up to 175,000 troops, according to U.S. officials and an intelligence document obtained by The Washington Post.

      The Kremlin has been moving troops toward the border with Ukraine while demanding Washington guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO and that the alliance will refrain from certain military activities in and around Ukrainian territory. The crisis has provoked fears of a renewed war on European soil and comes ahead of a planned virtual meeting next week between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      “The Russian plans call for a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early 2022 with a scale of forces twice what we saw this past spring during Russia’s snap exercise near Ukraine’s borders,” said an administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. “The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment.”

      The unclassified U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Post, which includes satellite photos, shows Russian forces massing in four locations. Currently, 50 battlefield tactical groups are deployed, along with “newly arrived” tanks and artillery, according to the document.

      While Ukrainian assessments have said Russia has approximately 94,000 troops near the border, the U.S. map puts the number at 70,000 — but it predicts a buildup to as many as 175,000 and describes extensive movement of battalion tactical groups to and from the border “to obfuscate intentions and to create uncertainty.”

      The U.S. analysis of Russia’s plans is based in part on satellite images that “show newly arrived units at various locations along the Ukrainian border over the last month,” the official said.

      Details of the U.S. intelligence provide a picture that Secretary of State Antony Blinken began to outline this week on a trip to Europe, where he described “evidence that Russia has made plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine” and warned there would be severe consequences, including high-impact economic measures, if Russia invaded.

      Biden said he is preparing measures to raise the cost of any new invasion for Putin, who has dismissed the U.S. warnings as rumors and said Russia is not threatening anyone.

      “What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be, will be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do,” Biden said Friday.

      The Russian military moves come as Moscow has raised eyebrows in Washington with a sudden mobilization of reservists this year and a dramatic escalation of its rhetoric regarding Ukraine.

      Russian officials have defended the reserve mobilization as a necessary measure to help modernize the Russian armed forces. But the administration official raised concerns about the “sudden and rapid program to establish a ready reserve of contract reservists,” which the official said is expected to add an additional 100,000 troops to the approximately 70,000 deployed now.

      The intelligence about a potential surge in forces bolsters a warning earlier this week from Blinken that Putin could quickly order an invasion of Ukraine and helps explain why Biden administration officials have been sounding alarms about the threat of imminent invasion for weeks.

      “We don’t know whether President Putin has made the decision to invade. We do know that he is putting in place the capacity to do so on short order should he so decide,” Blinken told reporters in Europe a day before meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “We must prepare for all contingencies.”

      Lavrov, in public comments this week, echoed Putin’s warnings about U.S. military equipment and activity encroaching on Russia’s borders and said, “The nightmare scenario of military confrontation is returning.”

      The intelligence document also suggests that Russian forces may be leaving equipment behind at training facilities to allow an attack on Ukraine to commence quickly.

      “Equipment may be left behind at different training ranges to enable a rapid, final buildup,” the document adds.

      Separately, a Ukrainian government official said that Russian military exercises conducted earlier this year near Ukraine’s borders helped Russian forces essentially rehearse an invasion.

      “The Russian troops worked out the issues of creating strike groups near the borders of our state, mobilization measures, logistical support of groups, [and] transfer of significant military contingents, including by air,” from Russia to the border with Ukraine, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive analysis.

      While laying the groundwork for an invasion, the Russian government has also been waging a propaganda campaign, the U.S. administration official said.

      “Additionally, in the past month, our information indicates Russian influence proxies and media outlets have started to increase content denigrating Ukraine and NATO, in part to pin the blame for a potential Russian military escalation on Ukraine,” the official said.

      “Recent information also indicates that Russian officials proposed adjusting Russia’s information operations against Ukraine to emphasize the narrative that Ukrainian leaders had been installed by the West, harbored a hatred for the ‘Russian world,’ and were acting against the interests of the Ukrainian people.”

      In his comments in Latvia, Blinken cautioned the Ukrainians not to give Russia a pretext for military action.

      “We’re also urging Ukraine to continue to exercise restraint because, again, the Russian playbook is to claim provocation for something that they were planning to do all along,” he said.

      Putin has demanded the United States and its allies provide signed assurances excluding any expansion of NATO to include Ukraine and Georgia and limiting military activity near Russia’s borders, most notably in and around Ukraine.

      The demands for a new European security pact come after Putin has suggested for months that U.S. and allied military activities in Ukraine and near Russia’s borders are crossing a red line for the Kremlin.

      Russia needs “precise legal, judicial guarantees because our Western colleagues have failed to deliver on verbal commitments they made,” Putin said in a speech at the Kremlin this week, suggesting the start of “substantive talks on this topic.”

      Putin has long railed against NATO expansion into former Warsaw Pact states as a disrespectful encroachment on Moscow. He said a concrete agreement must “rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia’s territory.”

      White House press secretary Jen Psaki rejected out of hand the idea that Washington would provide a guarantee that Ukraine will not enter NATO.

      “NATO member countries decide who is a member of NATO, not Russia,” Psaki told reporters during a White House briefing Friday. “That is how the process has always worked and how it will proceed. I think it’s important to remember where the provocative action is coming from. It’s not the United States. It’s not Ukraine.”

      U.S. and Ukrainian officials and military analysts believe Russia would mount a far larger-scale invasion now than it did in 2014, when the country annexed Crimea and fueled a separatist uprising in Ukraine’s east. The plan, the officials and analysts believe, could be to force Ukrainian troops to fight on multiple fronts, seeking not so much territory but rather a capitulation by Kyiv and its Western backers that results in the security guarantees Putin wants. Military analysts have compared that strategy to Moscow’s 2008 invasion of Georgia.

      In comments this week, Putin said drills with U.S. nuclear-capable strategic bombers flying over the Black Sea posed a threat to Moscow, along with U.S. missile defense systems in Poland and Romania. He also expressed concern about NATO deploying missiles on Ukrainian territory that could have a flight time of seven to 10 minutes to Moscow — though no such plans have been announced.