• Assessment of the Nord Stream Explosion

    One year ago, the Nord Stream pipelines were blown up. The crime remains unsolved. It has serious consequences for Germany’s gas supply.

    BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – One year after the attack on the Nord Stream Pipelines the crime remains unsolved – with serious consequences for Germany’s gas supply. Whereas research by U.S. journalist Seymour Hersh has concluded that the attack was planned and carried out by US agencies, politicians and media in Germany favor a theory that exonerates the United States. The explosion of the pipelines excludes the possibility that they could again be operated in the future, for example after a ceasefire agreement, in case of serious supply bottlenecks, or– although certainly not foreseeable at present – in case of the German government’s change of course. Tokyo, for example, has imposed sanctions on Russia, however, to secure its own supply, is strictly exempting Russian gas imports from those sanctions. Germany’s necessary shift to LNG imports is progressing rapidly, presumably also by purchasing Russian LNG via Belgium – at a much higher price than pipeline gas, once delivered via Nord Stream 1. The LNG import terminals under construction on Germany’s coasts are once again prolonging the duration of fossil fuel imports. Read more

  • „Russians not Welcome”

    Sanctions on Russia lead to excesses: Russians may, in some cases, be prohibited from bringing items of everyday use into the EU. Russian businesspeople may be sanctioned even though innocent.

    BERLIN/BRUSSELS/MOSCOW (Own report) – Russians are no longer allowed to enter the EU by car and, in some cases, must even leave personal items of everyday use, including laptops and clothing behind at the border. This is the outcome of several days of discussion on an updated EU regulation on the implementation of sanctions on Russia, which has made waves last week. The ban to enter the EU with cars registered in Russia, is already being implemented in Finland, the Baltic states and Poland. Norway is taking it into consideration. Lithuania intends to even ban the transport of daily personal necessities. While Russian exiled opposition activists are vehemently protesting– they are also affected by these measures – the General Court of the European Union has ruled that sanctions on businesspeople are legitimate, even if they do not support the Ukraine war or the Russian government. To be sanctioned, it suffices to be an influential businessman in a significant branch of the Russian economy. Proof of guilt, which is standard in a constitutional state is no longer necessary. Read more

  • “Ruin Russia” (II)

    Germany increases Russian oil imports – via India. EU remains major buyer of Russian LNG – at a higher price – than for pipeline gas. Russia’s economy grows, Western sanctions have failed.

    MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Germany and the EU’s attempts to ban Russian oil imports has failed. Most recent statistics show that in the first seven months of 2023, the volume of Germany’s petroleum products imports from India have soared to more than 12 times that of the same period last year. India, on the other hand, has been able to increase its exports only due to a massive expansion of Russian oil imports, of which large portions are presumably arriving in Germany – however at a much higher price and to the benefit of Indian billionaires. Due to the fact that the importation of low-cost Russian pipeline gas has been massively reduced – partly due to the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines – the EU is purchasing more than half of Russia’s more expensive LNG. At the same time, Russia’s economy is recovering and experiencing new growth. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who announced in February 2022 that the sanctions would “ruin Russia,” has recently deplored their failure by saying that unspecified “logics of democracies are ineffective in autocracies.” Read more

  • On the Side of War (II)

    China and Russia negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine. West rejects attempt at solutions, because of its efforts to defend global domination.

    MOSCOW/BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – Politicians around the world had widely diverging reactions to the talks that just ended in Moscow between the presidents of China and Russia and their negotiations on ending of the war in Ukrainian. Officials of the Ukrainian government indicate openness toward talks with Beijing. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called the reports on the meeting “good news,” and will follow up on the negotiations next week in China. Negative reactions are coming from the West, including from Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who alleges that Beijing’s initiative in pursuit of peace talks is utterly inadequate. This is in response to the fact that in Moscow, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have not only explored possibilities for terminating the war in Ukraine, but have also initiated an expansion of their cooperation, which puts into question the prevailing Western global domination. Due to the fact that particularly China has “both the intent” as well as the power to “reshape the international order,” the National Security Strategy of the United States calls for Washington to “outcompete” the People’s Republic of China. Read more

  • Crime Scene Baltic Sea

    Nord Stream attacks: Pressure mounts on German government to disclose investigation findings. US media and European government officials doubt Russian involvement.

    BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – Pressure is mounting on the German government to disclose preliminary findings of the investigation into the Nord Stream attack, since alleged Russian responsibility, widely suggested by Western politicians and media, is now being put into question by leading US media. They are also basing themselves on assessments made by European government officials, according to whom, there is no evidence indicating Russian perpetrators, since Moscow must have every interest in the pipeline's continued existence. German media recently quoted unnamed “individuals in the German government” as saying that Ukrainian or Polish involvement should at least be taken into consideration. As a possible reason for Western involvement, US media cite Russian speculations that European countries could again be compelled to purchase Russian pipeline gas in case of a probable serious gas shortage next winter. It is still unclear, why Swedish combat ships were in the vicinity of the crime scenes shortly before the attacks. Read more

  • Facing the Stress Test

    Military personnel and scholars call for using the Ukraine war to weaken Russia – despite the threat of impoverishing broad segments of the population if natural gas supplies are cut off.

    BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – German military personnel and scholars are speaking out in opposition to a negotiated settlement of the war in Ukraine and in favor of an increased arms build-up against Russia and China, as well as for preparations for a dramatic natural gas shortage. Referring to the heavy losses inflicted upon Russian troops during the war, they write in their appeal, “the current Russian weakness offers policy options to the West, whose disregard ... would be negligence.” The delivery of heavy weaponry to Ukraine and the increased militarization of NATO's eastern flank are aimed at intensifying military pressure on Russia. The appeal was published as preparations are being stepped up for a possible halt of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe. If this happens, German economic output could drop by one-eighth. jeopardizing over five million jobs, according to an analysis by the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw). While German Economics Minister Robert Habeck predicts a “stress test” for the German population, experts in the US are beginning to call for scaling down sanctions, because they are inflicting heavy damage on Europe. Read more

  • The Hunger Crisis (III)

    EU obstructs UN efforts to deliver Ukrainian grain via Belarus to world markets. Russia and Turkey clear the way for Ukrainian grain exports.

    BERLIN/KIEV/MINSK (Own report) – The EU is obstructing UN efforts to avert global hunger being caused by war and sanctions. The plan provides for the transit of Ukraine’s huge grain reserves over Belarus for shipping via ports at the Baltic Sea. The plan endorsed by UN Secretary General António Guterres is considered to be the only viable alternative to the recently blocked grain-transport via the Black Sea. Of course, the EU is not ready to allow the prerequisites for the plan’s successful implementation and to lift its sanctions against Belarusian fertilizer exports. UN Secretary General António Guterres is in favor of lifting these sanctions to secure the global supply of fertilizers. In a highly symbolic step, Brussels toughened its sanctions against Belarusian fertilizer producers last Friday. On the other hand, UN efforts to jump-start the export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea are gaining momentum. Russia and Turkey are paving the way for initial shipments from Odessa. Read more

  • “Arctic Dominance”

    NATO membership for Finland and Sweden galvanizes the militarization of the Arctic – also regarding Russia’s Northern Fleet, which ensures that country’s nuclear second-strike capability.

    HELSINKI/STOCKHOLM/MOSCOW (Own report) – The imminent NATO membership for Finland and Sweden galvanizes the militarization of the Arctic, with participation of the German Bundeswehr. This is becoming evident by NATO maneuvers in Europe’s High North, which, for years, have regularly been conducted relatively close to Russia’s Northern Fleet bases on the Kola Peninsula. These bases host particularly submarines equipped with ballistic missiles, largely ensuring Russian naval forces’ nuclear second-strike capability. Moscow protects them with a military bastion concept designed to prevent hostile forces any access to the region. By admitting Finland and Sweden, NATO is also reinforcing its strategic position in the proximity of the Kola Peninsula. Russia is reacting with new armament measures. Helsinki and Stockholm plan to present their applications for NATO membership with their respective parliaments votes of approval, expected today, Monday, or tomorrow following this weekend’s final set of decisions. Read more

  • EU: Playing Poker with Natural Gas (II)

    The prospect of an imminent suspension of Russian deliveries to the EU is growing. Industry representatives draw up contingency plans and demand that private consumption be first reduced.

    MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – The prospect of an imminent suspension of EU gas imports from Russia has significantly grown prior to today's EU energy ministers’ meeting, because of Brussels' announcement that it will not accept the latest payment proposal. It stipulates that payment of supplied gas will only be considered as concluded, once the euros paid for the price of the purchase have been exchanged into rubles. This should ensure that Russia is not left holding euro or US dollar deposits that it cannot use due to the sanctions. The EU refuses to accept this because the Russian Central Bank – itself under EU sanctions – would be involved in the exchange process. According to a new study, Germany would have to reduce gas consumption by one-fifth, if Russian supplies were suspended – even under favorable conditions. In addition, Germany's gas traders are obliged to pay billions for years even if they do not accept the gas. Industry representatives demand that reductions not first be made by the industry but by private consumers. Read more

  • Isolate Russia (III)

    West makes no progress in isolating Russia. India expands trade with Russia, Turkey welcomes Russian oligarchs. Expert accuses the West of neocolonial “hypocrisy.”

    BERLIN/MOSCOW/NEW DELHI (Own report) – Five weeks after the Russian intervention In Ukraine, western powers still fail to globally isolate Russia. During a visit to India yesterday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s foreign policy adviser Jens Plötner tried to persuade New Delhi to abandon its cooperation with Moscow. Other representatives of western states had already previously traveled to the Indian capital, pursuing the same objective – to no avail. India is increasing its purchase of Russian oil and is continuing to develop a payment system independent of the US dollar and SWIFT. Still only 48 countries are participating in the western sanctions against Russia. Three-quarters of all UN member states are refusing to comply, despite the partially considerable pressure being exerted on them. Saudi foreign policy expert Mansour Almarzoqi declared that he sees “absolutely no difference” between the wars against Iraq (USA, 2003) and against Ukraine (Russia 2022) and accuses the West of “hypocrisy”: “hidden behind the thin façade of human rights and democracy rhetoric” lies the naked “colonial heritage of the West.” Read more