Putin Recognizes Donbass Republics, Sends Russian Military to 'Denazify' Ukraine

Ellipse

The Living Force
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Ukrainian soldiers captured at Azovstal plant in ‘satisfactory’ conditions​


May 24 2022

Unit commander’s wife receives call saying prisoners have not been subjected to violence by Russian forces​

Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russian forces after the three-month siege of the Azovstal steel plant are being held in “satisfactory” conditions, according to the unit commander’s wife, amid uncertainty over the fate of the prisoners.

Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov battalion, was able to briefly call his wife, Kateryna, who said she had also been told that the prisoners had not been subjected to violence. It was not immediately clear if Prokopenko had been able to speak freely during the conversation.

“He said he was ‘OK’ and asked how I was,” Kateryna Prokopenko told the Guardian on Tuesday. “I’ve heard from other sources that the conditions are more or less satisfactory.”

The Azov battalion has played a central role in Russia’s justification for its invasion, which was originally launched with the supposed goal of “denazification”. Officials in Kyiv have suggested they could be swapped in a prisoner exchange, but some Russian officials have called for them to face trial or even execution on “terrorism” charges.

Previously, the only news of the fighters’ conditions had come via a news channel given access to the prison by the Russian Ministry of Defence. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is involved in monitoring the conditions for prisoners of war and has a long-held policy of not publicly commenting, has not issued a statement.

“They are being fed, given water. The conditions meet the requirements and they have not been subjected to violence during this short period,” said Kateryna Prokopenko. “What will happen next, of course, we don’t know but at the moment there are third parties – the UN and the Red Cross – who are controlling the situation.”

Most of the injured Azov fighters are being held in a prison in Olenivka, a village in Russian-occupied Donetsk, but a smaller group of severely injured fighters are in a hospital in the town of Novoazovsk, also in Russian-occupied Donetsk. Prokopenko said that to her knowledge none of the fighters have been taken to Russia.

Russia’s propaganda narrative of the war has long played up the influence of the battalion, claiming that its members are neo-Nazis.

Azov formed as a volunteer battalion in 2014 to fight Russian-backed forces and some its leaders are known to hold far-right views. Since then, it has been integrated in the Ukrainian army and Azov commanders say its fighters hold a range of political opinions.

Kateryna Prokopenko has launched an independent organisation to campaign for the Azovstal fighters who also include Ukrainian border guards and members of the Ukrainian security services.

“The aim of the organization is to organise weekly calls with those being held prisoners, to debunk Russian fakes about our guys, to ensure that their conditions remain satisfactory – a bed, medicine, water and food, and to campaign for their swift release,” said Kateryna.

 

genero81

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Ritter suggests that Russia might either 1) slow things down and wait until the economic situation in the West will become so bad that they just can't go on 2) declare real war with Ukraine, Poland and even Finland and Sweden if necessary.

And now with a couple of Polish battalions having crossed over to Ukraine, Ritter says it maybe a 'gift' to allow Russia to take more serious action. I really hope it doesn't come to that, that would basically mean WW3.

I watched it and Scott went into the potential realities for Europe in terms of economic harm in the near future. So I think he made a good case for Putin to "slow roll" phase two and let Europe become a little more malleable to negotiation and compromise after they suffer some. That to me sounds more like something Putin would do being very prudent and strategic as he is wont to be. However, there's bound to be things we don't know and generally too many moving parts to make any absolute assertions.

One factor is just how desperate Western powers are at this point? That's probably the question to ask in terms of potential escalation.
 

Adobe

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@Cosmos thanks for the Ritter interview. I watched it. I didn’t see the interview where he apparently offended some many people, but in hearing his explanation he comes off very reasonable as to why he had changed his vantage point. So, his perspective has changed, as it should with the developing of the situation.

For me the biggest take home message was. Hey (other commentators of the subject) don’t take it all some personally! Don’t get so emotional! IMO he is right. Calling him ugly names, and besmirching his motives was too much too fast. It reminds me of back in the day when I was involved in organized religion, we used to say we were the only group that shoot our own wounded. That is to say when one of the leaders or ministers veered off of the church doctrine, we sawed their legs off and suspicioned them ever-after.

The whole world is either learning to surf or they are here and there are going under the wave. The human group that is presently fighting for its life is made up of many doctors, journalist, figure heads of some sort and many, many more common folks, and I’m sure there are many wolves among us. BUT, before we start sawing legs off, we have to take the time to weigh the situation out, give them their day in court so to speak.

Thanks again for catching that one.
 

Adobe

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CNN drawing the conclusion that Shireen Abu Akleh was targeted by the Israelis'. Repete, CNN. (?)

Some good video footage. BUT ! it does show her body, so up to you to watch or not. You can read the article and avoid the video.

"But an investigation by CNN offers new evidence — including two videos of the scene of the shooting — that there was no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death. Videos obtained by CNN, corroborated by testimony from eight eyewitnesses, an audio forensic analyst and an explosive weapons expert, suggest that Abu Akleh was shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces."


Zero Hedge same story:

 

Voyageur

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Lex Friedman interview with Oliver Stone, May 17, 2022. Good interview relating to Russia and Putin.

Caught this too. Stone holds back on what he does not know, and overall provides a good interview, as you said.

Noticed in the interview start, Stone referencing what he seems to be taken with - his wake up call (or sleep time call) to climate change, through the work of Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist titled A BRIGHT FUTURE. Stone makes no bones concerning oil and gas, dumbing pipelines to the EU and the 'effects' of dangerous C02. This, apparently is the theme of his new documentary, augmented with the need to go full nuclear, in order to provide electricity for our future needs once oil and gas go into the dustbin.

@ 1:21 the interviewer pushes the question of what you would say to Putin now. Stone leads off with - a though delay, to say that on February 23rd (paraphrasing) why did you not surrender, take all the people of Donbass back to Russia - no, he chose to take the sanctions. Stone says, perhaps it was a mistake, perhaps it was his judgement, however knowing the man the way I do, I don't think so, it was calculated.

Surrendering and taking people away from their homes would be no answer.

The interviewer then tries to say maybe he has changed, the isolation, covid, somethings is different about him - something about power that can change you. Stone does not agree. Stone later says, the U.S. "scares me".
 

lilies

The Living Force

Ukraine threatens NATO member [Hungary with closing the oil pipeline as well]​

Ukraine has “a wonderful lever of pressure” on Hungary via the Druzhba – which translates to ‘Friendship’ – oil pipeline, Ukrainian energy minister adviser Lana Zerkal claimed on Thursday. Speaking during an online discussion at the Kiev Security Forum, Zerkal criticized the policy of the Hungarian government, which is blocking a sixth round of EU sanctions, one which would ban Russian oil. Western countries have imposed harsh restrictions since late February, when Moscow launched its military attack on Ukraine.
In Zerkal’s opinion, Hungary is using the Russian military offensive as an instrument to achieve its own goals and thinks that now it “can demand anything” from the EU. “Ukraine has a wonderful lever of pressure in its hands – it’s the Druzhba oil pipeline,” Zerkal said, adding that “something could happen” with Hungary’s separate part of the infrastructure.
“And, in my opinion, it would be very appropriate if something happened to it. But, again, it is in the hands of the government and the president to make decisions on political issues, to decide if we really want to talk to [Hungarian President Viktor] Orban in a language that he understands and that he imposes on the EU, or if we are not ready for that yet,” Zerkal stressed.
Zerkal later took to Facebook to clarify “her humble opinion” that “caused a diplomatic scandal,” saying “facts are a stubborn thing.”
“But, to calm the situation, it is worth specifying that the official position of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine on this matter is unchanged. Ukraine is a reliable transporter of energy carriers to Europe,” she stressed.

US alphabet agencies are in command of Ukraine, so whatever they say, simply must be done by the Ukrainian government. After US told Ukraine to close the Sokhranovka gas pipeline, the transit point of which enters Hungary, Kiev did it on May 12, 2022. Now the US Deep State told Kiev again to threaten Hungary with closing the Druzhba oil pipeline as well. Druzhba is Russian for ‘Friendship’.
. .
Whenever I read such news or hear similar distressing comments / by radio show hosts pointing out detrimental possibilities for the future , I immediately assume a 'mental combat-stance' and firmly set my mind against the projected threatening global negative event and assertively state:
- I do want to participate in a timeline, where such attempts fizzle out!
Same with the monkey pox.

Such Alarm Clocks (c) Gurdjieff, I think give perfect shocks to sharpen & concentrate the mind beautifully. I make sure to plan / chart my future with even more sober and determined steps. Kicks me into what I call 'tactical military planning mode'. Making sure I'm extra careful to adhere to what the C's expressly advised regards current times in recent sessions.
 

aragorn

The Living Force
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A bit off topic, but this morning as I was thinking about the big Davos gathering headed by the cartoon cut-out villain Schwab, I found the whole thing to be quite hilarious. Just think about it: they have apparently declared a no-fly zone, hired a bunch of police dudes with 'WEF patches', and are making a big fuzz about the whole thing. Listening to some of the speakers makes the thing even more comical. These people suffer from serious grandiose narcissism, feeling omnipotent, and with this 'big event' they're trying to project this all-powerful image of themselves to the world.

What I'm getting at is that in order to conduct their dirty business, I'm sure they wouldn't need to overtly promote and organize this kind of 'Hollywoodish' event. They surely have means to communicate secretly with each other. However, apparently they just can't help themselves – they want to appear on the 'catwalk' to show themselves. A bunch of spoiled brats who want to be famous. The real éminence grises will of course not show themselves but their minions sure want to do it more than ever.

I think this is, besides from being funny, a good thing. Back in the old days, before the Internet and so on, these people were meeting more covertly (maybe these crazies were even smarter back then). Now, they want to do it 'Hollywood' style, and thus unintentionally, maybe, make some people realize what a bunch of clowns they are.

As the C's have said, wishful thinking is their weakness. I think that one of the more powerful weapons against the Schwabs of this world is humour, and I'm grateful for cartoonists like Bob Moran who makes wonderful and funny images that makes you laugh, like this one:

RED+BUTTONS+300.jpg


These people, because of their influence and power, are of course still dangerous but I found a glimpse of hope as I laughed silently to myself at the 'Davos event'. :-D
 

Altair

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There was a pretty interesting interview recently with Nikolai Patrushev (Russian politician, security officer and intelligence officer who has served as the secretary of the Security Council of Russia since 2008. He previously served as the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) from 1999 to 2008.). Here is Deepl translation:

What is the West trying to achieve?

Gleb Ivanov, AiF.ru: - Nikolai Platonovich, the US and other Western states are openly demonising Russia, turning to direct insults. What is the reason for this?

Nikolai Patrushev: The style of the Anglo-Saxons has not changed over the centuries. So today, they continue to dictate their terms to the world, rudely flouting the sovereign rights of the states. Covering up their actions with words about struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy, in fact, they realize the doctrine of "golden billion", supposing that limited number of people can prosper in this world. The lot of the rest, as they see it, is to bend over backwards in the name of their goal.

To increase the wealth of a bunch of tycoons in the City of London and Wall Street, the big capital-controlled US and British governments are creating an economic crisis in the world, starving millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America by restricting their access to grain, fertilizer and energy resources. By their actions, they provoke unemployment and a migration catastrophe in Europe. Uninterested in the prosperity of European states, they do everything to make them disappear from the pedestal of economically developed countries. And for unconditional control of the region, they put Europeans on a chair with two legs called NATO and the EU, watching them balancing disdainfully.

- Today, it is increasingly said that Western pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in the spread of dangerous diseases and in humanity's daily dependence on drugs...

- Some experts are expressing the view that the coronavirus infection is man-made, suggesting that it may have been created in Pentagon laboratories with the assistance of a number of major multinational pharmaceutical companies. The Clintons, Rockefellers, Soros and Biden foundations were involved in this work under state guarantees. Instead of care of health of mankind Washington spends billions on research of new pathogens. Moreover, western medicine increasingly practices genetic engineering and synthetic biology methods, thus blurring the line between artificial and natural.

- In Washington they nurture plans to recognize Russia as the country-terrorist, some countries like Lithuania already officially assign such status to Russia ...

- As the saying goes, a thief's hat is on fire. Today it is easier to tell which of the largest international terrorist organizations has not arisen with the American assistance. The USA widely uses them as the tool of geopolitical confrontation, including with our country. Back in the mid-1980s, Al Qaeda (banned in the Russian Federation) was created under the control of U.S. intelligence agencies to counter the Soviet Union on Afghan soil. In the 1990s, the United States created the Taliban (banned in the Russian Federation) to exert influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Guided by its alleged "national interests," the U.S. has been using force to topple unwanted regimes in Libya and Iraq, and has tried to do so in Syria. And the main striking force in all cases are radical groups, whose further association has led to creation of a terrorist monster called the Islamic State (banned in the Russian Federation), which, after Al Qaeda and the Taliban movement, has got out of the Americans' control.

It is also known about Washington's warm relations with neo-Nazi thugs in Ukraine.

What does denazification mean?

- There is still debate about neo-Nazis in Ukraine. In the West they say with one voice that they are not there. President Biden, asking Congress for billions of dollars to supply arms to Ukraine, calls that country the front line of the fight for freedom...

- The Westerners will probably not take off their rose-coloured glasses until the rampaging Ukrainian youths start rampaging in their streets. Not only in Europe, by the way. Remember the recent shooting in American Buffalo. I should like to ask Americans what the difference is between a neo-Nazi shooting people in a supermarket and the Azov (banned in the Russian Federation) militants, who every day, year after year, humiliated and destroyed the civilian population of Donbas.

- What, after all, is meant by denazification? There has been a lot of talk about it in recent months, but not everyone understands the term.

- Everything becomes clear if you remember history. During the Potsdam conference, the USSR, the US and England signed an agreement to eradicate German militarism and Nazism.

By denazification a number of measures were meant. Apart from punishing Nazi criminals, the laws of the Third Reich legalising discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, language, religion and political opinion were abolished. Nazi and militaristic doctrines were removed from school education.

Our country had set such goals in 1945 and we are setting them now, when we are freeing Ukraine from neo-Nazism. However, at that time England and the USA were together with us. Today, these countries have taken a different stance, supporting Nazism and acting aggressively against most of the world.

What will happen to Ukraine?

- Some of our readers sometimes express concern about, as they write, "the delaying of the special operation in Ukraine".

- We are not chasing deadlines. Nazism must either be eradicated 100% or it will raise its head in a few years, and in an even uglier form.

- How do you assess the chances of a successful conclusion of the special operation?

- All the objectives set by the president of Russia will be fulfilled. It cannot be otherwise, because the truth, including historical truth, is on our side. It is not for nothing that General Skobelev once said that only our country can afford the luxury of fighting out of compassion. Compassion, justice, dignity - these are powerful unifying ideas, which we have always put and will continue to put at the forefront.

- And what fate awaits Ukraine? Will it survive as a state?

- The destiny of Ukraine will be determined by the people living on its territory. I would like to remind you that our country has never been in charge of the destiny of sovereign states. On the contrary, we helped them to protect their statehood. We supported the United States during their civil war. France has been assisted on numerous occasions. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, we prevented its humiliation, and in World War I, we saved Paris twice. It was the USSR that prevented the British and Americans in 1945 from dismembering Germany into a multitude of states. Moscow's decisive role in the unification of Germany, to which the French and the British were the most opposed, is also well known. Russia has played no less important role in the history of Polish statehood. At the same time, today the West is in every way possible obscuring our country's contribution to the preservation of other states.

- By the way, Finland, which now wants to join NATO, was also shaped as a state within the Russian Empire?

- You are right. Moreover, Finland came out of the Second World War, despite taking part in it on the side of Germany, with minimal damage for itself thanks to Moscow's position. Now, Finland, together with Sweden, has been persuaded to join NATO, allegedly for their own safety. Turkey and Croatia, however, object, but I think Helsinki and Stockholm will be accepted into the bloc anyway, because Washington and its controlled Brussels have decided so. The will of other nations does not interest the US leadership, although I believe many of the inhabitants of these countries understand the gamble they are being pushed into.

NATO is not a defensive but a purely aggressive offensive military bloc; joining it means automatically surrendering a large part of its sovereignty to Washington. Should the alliance expand its military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden, Russia will see this as a direct threat to its own security and is obliged to respond.

- The NATO is persistently nodding to the Finns and the Swedes to Ukraine...

- Only the logic here is the opposite. It is the actual NATO leadership of the Kiev authorities that has led to a disastrous scenario. If Ukraine had remained independent, instead of being governed by the current puppet regime obsessed with joining NATO and the EU, it would have long ago expelled all the Nazi scum from its land. Meanwhile, the ideal scenario for the whole North Atlantic Alliance, led by the United States, seems to be an endlessly smouldering conflict in this country. Ukraine is needed by the West as a counterweight to Russia and also as a test site for the disposal of obsolete weapons. By fuelling hostilities, the US is pumping money into its defence-industrial complex, again, as in the wars of the 20th century, remaining a winner. At the same time, the U.S. considers citizens of Ukraine as expendable material, which has no place in the "golden billion".

Forgotten history

- Speaking of billions. Zelensky declares that Russia should pay Ukraine reparations...

- It is Russia that has the right to demand reparations from the countries that sponsored the Nazis in Ukraine and the criminal Kiev regime. The DNR and LNR should demand reparation for all material damage from them for 8 years of aggression. And the Ukrainian people themselves deserve reparations from the main instigators of the conflict, i.e. the US and England, who are forcing the Ukrainians to fight, supporting the neo-Nazis, supplying them with weapons, sending their military advisers and mercenaries.

Unfortunately, many Ukrainians still believe what they are told by the West and the Kiev regime. Sobering up sooner or later will come. They have yet to open their eyes and see that the country actually does not exist, that the gene pool of the people and their cultural memory are being destroyed by the Westerners and replaced by rabid gender concepts and empty liberal values.

- Oblivion of history and rejection of their values is apparently a misfortune for Ukrainians, not only?

- Of course it is. Last year I visited the Great Patriotic War Museum in Minsk. The guide shared with me the impressions of a group of students from the United States, who throughout the tour doubted whether they were being told the truth, because they naively believed that it was America who had defeated Nazi Germany.

Unfortunately, this false version of fateful events is also held by some school teachers in our country. Many textbooks also distort the facts. Little time is given to the subject of heroism of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War in the history lessons, and it is often described superficially in the textbooks. As a result, only a few seniors can name the names of those, who gained the victory in 1945, at the cost of their own lives, and almost nobody has ever heard about the heroes of the WWI or the Patriotic War of 1812.

A battle for memory

- What do you see as the cause?

- First and foremost we need to look at the training of teachers. It's a good time to remember the ideas of Ushinsky and Makarenko, that the teacher forms the personality of the student, and his vocation should not be to provide services, but to enlighten, educate and educate. Professional universities should train future teachers as masters of excellence, not stamping them on an assembly line.

Teachers occupy a special place in the life of every citizen, so the arbitrary interpretation of global and national history by individual teachers is unacceptable, undermining the authority of our country and programming the minds of children on the basis of false facts and myths. Psychological manipulation of young people, the gap between generations, the distortion of historical truth - all this is incompatible with the professional vocation of an educator.

- I am reminded of the catchphrase attributed to Bismarck that it is the teachers who win the battles.

- In my view, it is certainly true. All the more so in the context of the hybrid war currently being waged against Russia. Teachers are in the front line in this war. We need personal responsibility for the heads of educational institutions whose graduates have never held books devoted to the heroism of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War, or have a vague idea of the deeds of those who fought for the Motherland.

Issues of patriotic education of young people should not be relegated to optional classes. All this is beautifully described in reports, but there is no result. In some schools, including private ones, the word "patriotism" is considered outdated.

- How do you propose to change this situation?

- It is necessary to raise the authority of educators who are faithful to their profession and who dedicate their lives to educating genuine patriots. The most important task today is the revival of historical traditions, as well as the protection of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values. To solve it we need a systematic approach to upbringing and education. There is an urgent need to implement a state programme in this sphere at all stages of a person's maturation and development as a citizen. A comprehensive model of this process needs to be developed.

Our students and teachers are currently being squeezed out of the Western academic and educational world. I think it is expedient to abandon the so-called Bologna system of education and return to the experience of the best national educational model in the world.

Besides, we must consider significantly increasing the scale of the state order for the production of works of literature and art, films and TV programmes aimed at preserving the historical memory, cultivating pride in our country, and shaping a mature civil society that is clearly aware of its responsibility for its development and prosperity.

Only then will we be able to successfully confront those threats and challenges that are shaped by the collective West to influence individual, group and public consciousness.
 
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Aeneas

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There was a pretty interesting interview recently with Nikolai Patrushev
Thank you for sharing that. Such discourse is totally absent in the West and no window is given to the Russian worldview and the thoughts of people in Russia about the current state of affairs. It could be put up as a Sott article so that more people get the opportunity to see it from outside this Forum.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
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'If Kiev uses NATO weapons to strike deep inside Russia, Ukraine would be completely destroyed.'

US warns Ukraine about escalation – media

26 May, 2022
If Kiev uses NATO weapons to strike inside Russia, that could divide the alliance and escalate the conflict

The US and its allies have communicated to Ukraine the danger of escalation should the weapons provided by the West be used to attack targets inside Russia, according to an exclusive report by Reuters quoting anonymous officials on Thursday. However, Washington has not explicitly banned Kiev from doing so.

The highly sensitive, behind-the-scenes discussions have “sought to reach a shared understanding of the risk of escalation,” according to the agency’s sources.

“We have concerns about escalation and yet still do not want to put geographic limits or tie their hands too much with the stuff we're giving them,” said one of the three US officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Only two officials were quoted by name, and it wasn’t clear what their relation to these discussions might be. Douglas Lute, a retired US Army lieutenant-general and Washington’s former ambassador to NATO, said that if Ukrainian troops struck deep inside Russia, “it would spark a divisive debate inside the alliance. And, of course, the alliance doesn't want that. And neither does Ukraine.”

Reuters also confirmed that the Biden administration was considering supplying Ukraine with multiple rocket launchers such as the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which could theoretically be used to strike deep into Russian territory.

Less than an hour after the story was published, one Ukrainian official was on Twitter begging for HIMARS.


“We urgently need M270 MLRS or M142 HIMARS to save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers,” wrote Anton Geraschenko, adviser to Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. “USA has 2,000 MLRS in the army and in warehouses. If they give us just 200 of those, we will stop [the Russian] attack on [Donbass] and will throw them outside of Ukraine!” he added.

Geraschenko echoed the sentiments of Congressman Jason Crow (D-Colorado), who met with the Ukrainian leadership over the past month. Crow, a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, said the US had told Kiev that its weapons “should be used responsibly,” but that he was “less concerned about the issue of escalation than making sure that Ukrainians can win now and push back the Russian forces.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces retreated from the key town of Liman in northern Donbass, bringing the Russian troops a step closer to Slavyansk. Fighting continued in the Severodonetsk and Lisichansk salient, while Russian troops approached the major supply hub of Bakhmut.

Ukrainian artillery has struck several villages on the Russian side of the border over the past month, killing civilians. Kiev has not admitted responsibility for the attacks. When two helicopters attacked a fuel depot in the Belgorod Region in early April, Ukrainian officials first claimed credit, then disavowed all knowledge of the operation.

The newly reported US concerns about escalation are at odds with previous public comments by US and other NATO officials. On April 27, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate it was up to Ukraine to decide whether to attack Russia. The day earlier, British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said it was “completely legitimate for Ukraine to be targeting in Russia's depth,” prompting Moscow to warn that such an action would “immediately lead to our proportional response.”

Reuters chose to end their article with a quote from one anonymous US official, who warned that there “could be scenarios where the Ukrainians are backed into such a corner that they feel they have to escalate further,” but noted that “we haven't seen that yet.”
 

Cosmos

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In the above interview, Ritter makes quite a number of pretty interesting points about the situation that I have not heard anyone explaining and proposing in that way before. If I can, I‘ll try to summarize it in the coming days, for discussion. In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to listen to the above interview and I would love to hear what you think about it. On a number of points he could be right on the money, especially on how Putin might plan his next moves.

I watched this this morning and I think that Ritter's analysis makes for the most part a lot of sense. However, regarding the 40B$ he apparently isn't considering it meaningful that large chunks of that money is earmarked for various projects, not just cutting edge weaponry. This is all explained by Larry Johnson HERE. Quote:

Yes, that 40B$ "aid" from the US to Ukraine is the point that Ritter called "a game changer" and which caused some of the controversy. Ritter apparently didn't know/research how exactly that money is distributed, and I'm not sure that I buy into his explanation that he didn't mean it in the way most people usually understand it, namely, that a "game changer" is something that changes the outcome of the game (russia winning).

Anyway, here are some of the points Ritter made which I wanted to highlight:

- There is a very specific reason why Putin calls this "a special military operation". The reason Putin calls it that way is because he is strictly abiding by and using international law (UN Charta). By that definition it isn't a war (which is something different), that is why he calls it the way he does. What he is doing is described/covered by international law. IMO Putin is sort of acting by example here and (really) enforcing what the UN Charta stipulates in contrast to what others have done and continue to do

- Ritter points out that there are very specific ways and actions that Putin has to undertake in order to do stuff in russia and it has nothing to do with the western lie of him being a "dictator". Quite the opposite in fact. What most people including alternative media don't seem to understand is how russia and their government really works.

- So, in Ritters opinion, in order for Putin to be able to fulfill ALL of his stated strategic goals in this military operation (namely, protection of Donbass and denazifying and demilitarizing/neutralizing Ukraine) he HAS TO ask for broader permissions from the Duma (there are very concrete steps he has to undertake for that). In Ritter's opinion, the two stated objectives, besides the protection of Donbass (which is succeeding, decisively), namely the denazification and demilitarizing, have obviously not succeeded so far. In Ritter's opinion, Western Ukraine is likely more NAZI in many ways now than before the war started (which I tend to agree with in terms of the ideology possibly strengthening/spreading there). Ritter also states that obviously the demilitarization hasn't succeeded so far either and isn't likely to do so, unless Putin seeks broader permissions in the Duma.

- So in Ritters opinion, if Putin doesn't tackle/succeed the denazification and demilitarization goals, it would be called a "strategic defeat" in military jargon. The real battle in the Ukraine for eastern and southern Ukraine is something else, and yes, there the russians are winning decisively. So the main point Ritter is getting at here is that he thinks that it is hard if not impossible for Putin to fulfill those two strategic goals unless he seeks broader permissions from the Duma, to declare war, for example, and Poland's actions might give Putin the needed facts to do so.

- Ritter points out that Putin is a lawyer and everything he does strictly abides by law, always (as he proved over and over again and made a central point of all he is doing over the years)

- Ritter points out that Putin never was a person who makes rush decisions, instead Putin thinks things through for a long time and very carefully, taking all possibilities into account

I watched it and Scott went into the potential realities for Europe in terms of economic harm in the near future. So I think he made a good case for Putin to "slow roll" phase two and let Europe become a little more malleable to negotiation and compromise after they suffer some. That to me sounds more like something Putin would do being very prudent and strategic as he is wont to be. However, there's bound to be things we don't know and generally too many moving parts to make any absolute assertions.

- That idea of Ritter that Putin could slow down the operation is an interesting idea as well in order to fulfill ALL his goals.

Ritter might be onto something, but I think nobody really knows what plans Putin exactly has (as a russian military expert stated in the Duran) and I'm pretty sure that when Putin states such goals that he is very sure that he can and will pull it off, no matter what. And I'm pretty sure he will. How he will be able to achieve those goals is another question nobody knows at this point. For example, for the denazification goal, the question would be how Putin defines that exactly. If he defines it as most people would, it will probably take many years to fulfill that goal completely (as the Russian military expert on the Duran also stated) because large and intense deprogramming has to take place.

I don't remember if Ritter suggested it or the russian military expert on the Duran, but there is the idea that (depended on the timing) Putin might not have much against Poland taking back their land (in fact, it might play into Putins hands). But as the guy stated, it is a very fluid situation that can change at any point, and it depends largely on the timing of realities happening on the ground and more broadly in the economic/global situation. The military expert on the Duran also pointed out that the russian military works with very sophisticated mathematical models and that ever-changing probabilities are very central and key components on how they act and react.
 
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