• 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

  • EU: Playing Poker with Natural Gas

    EU rejects paying rubles for Russian natural gas, thereby threatening to trigger a supply freeze. Business community warns of massive slump; Supplying population uncertain.

    BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – The EU’s announcement of its rejection of paying for Russian gas in rubles, threatens to end Russian natural gas supplies in the next few days. The G7 states had already announced on Monday, that western enterprises must continue to pay for natural gas in either euros or US dollars. The EU is following suit. Because Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had declared that, due to sanctions, Moscow can no longer use euros and US dollars, as previously, only rubles would be accepted. Therefore, a supply freeze is now threatening. Germany’s business community is alarmed. Corporations such as BASF are not ruling out being forced to shut down huge production sites. Trade unions are warning of a sharp increase in unemployment. A crisis management exercise carried out a few years ago by German officials (LÜKEX 18), had indicated that a 30 percent slump in gas supplies could even provoke food shortages. Russia supplies around 50 percent of Germany’s gas consumption. German economists are optimistic: in situations of crisis, “business and citizenry always become creative.” Read more

  • The War and the Euro

    Business circles warn that the war in Ukraine will weaken the euro. Sanctions on Russia threaten the US dollar’s long-term standing. Russia’s national bankruptcy would cause billions in losses to banks within the EU.

    BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) – German business circles are warning of the negative impact Russia’s war in Ukraine will have on the euro. Because the EU has maintained much closer business relations to Russia, they explain, the economic impact caused by the war, will be greater for the EU than for the USA. The EU currency will thus come under pressure. Even “parity with the dollar” can no longer be ruled out. Observers, of course, are seeing that the standing of the US dollar, as the leading global currency, is in danger, in a long-term perspective. That the USA has frozen the Russian central bank reserves, could motivate other countries to avoid this risk and invest their money elsewhere. The sanctions could also have repercussions on western countries, if there is a Russian national bankruptcy caused by a western boycott. This would impact particularly the French, Italian, and Austrian banks, as well as banks in the USA. German credit institutions are considered comparatively less endangered; however, a considerable inflation dynamic throughout the euro zone is feared. Read more

  • “Won’t Relinquish to Moscow”

    Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to roll back Russia’s influence there. In Bosnia, old tensions are currently on the verge of escalating.

    BERLIN/SARAJEVO/BELGRADE (Own report) – With her trips to Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is initiating new steps to roll back Russia’s influence in Southeastern Europe. She will “make it clear that we will not relinquish this region in the heart of Europe to Moscow’s influence,” Baerbock declared before embarking on her trip to Sarajevo and Belgrade. Her talks will be taking place today in Serbia almost exactly 23 years after NATO’s invasion of that country in violation of international law, costing the lives of numerous civilians. US Senator, at the time, Joe Biden, had even called for the occupation of the country while the invasion was still in progress. Today, Serbia refuses to comply with the West’s sanctions against Russia, with which it has been having a growing cooperation for years. This is why the European Parliament is now threating that country with additional obstacles hindering its aspired EU membership. Already yesterday, Baerbock arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to threaten Bosnian Serbs with sanctions. They also feel comparatively close to Russia and demand greater independence from the Bosnian government. Read more

  • “Isolate Russia”

    The West’s attempts to globally isolate Russia, because of its attack on Ukraine have failed so far – on every continent except Europe and North America.

    BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) – The western power’s attempts to isolate Russia worldwide because of its attack on Ukraine, have proven unsuccessful. Last week, at the UN General Assembly, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on all nations of the world, to “now (...) take sides,” regarding Russia’s war of aggression. Although the General Assembly has condemned the war by a clear majority, most of those countries – unlike the west and its closest allies – are still continuing their cooperation with Russia. That is the case with China, as well as for India, which is resisting intense pressure from the United States. The countries on the Arabian Peninsula are not willing to increase oil production, to facilitate the West’s embargo of Russian oil. Similar standpoints could be heard from South Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Among the reasons were that the Iraq War and other armed conflicts waged by the West make the West’s protests of the war in Ukraine seem ludicrous. So far, across the board, the West has had no breakthrough. Read more