• Russia might leave the ISS, it's being reported

  • Putin to temporarily shut down Nord Stream, reportedly

  • Any direct transactions will trigger Western sanctions. This is being called a 'hack' so India's biggest cement maker can buy from Russia. 157k tonnes worth $25m (172m yuan). The sale was arranged from Dubai, reportedly. The mechanism isn't known.

    Coal is the main fuel to manufacture cement.

    13% of Russian reserves are already in yuan. Indian companies must be trading USD for yuan in a Chinese bank in China or HK. There are no sanctions if you don't use USD.

    Yuan to Ruble trade has increased 1000% since the invasion of Ukraine.

     
  • Russian cars, newly produced, without airbags or anti-lock brakes

    ... because they can't import those right now because of their war.
  • Will Russia continue to be a reliable supplier of arms to India, as Russia becomes involved with China?

    "A weakened Russia, with a degraded military industrial structure, is not going to be the major reliable, efficient partner we were counting on before the war." Indian congressman

    India is considering closer alliance with the US but is not impressed with the US's history of alliances (it hasn't always fared very well for the US's alliance partners, some say).

    Some say India is coming to resemble China and Russia more than it resembles Western democracies.

    2 months before the Ukraine invasion Putin visited India on a rare trip abroad.

    In 1971 both India and the Soviets were concerned about China and made a strong pact. Russia became India's #1 arms supplier (against China, India's longstanding adversary).

    Recently, the US threatened to sanction India for an arms purchase of high-tech Russia weapons.

    However, India buying arms from Russia seems to have been declining anyway over the past 10 years. India buys more now from US, Israel, France and other countries.

    Russia has historically voted against and even vetoed UN movements in support of India, particularly in India's sensitive issues like Kashmir.

     
  • Ruble collapsed by 60% last March when they invaded Ukraine, but is now the strongest performer of 2022 (a 2-year high of 64R/1USD)

    Spending of reserves, being an exporter of petrol, having gas buyers buy in Rubles, doubling interest rates and limiting capital flows, and talking about backing the Ruble with gold and other commodities are factors contributing to its rising valuation.

    Russia has energy, so that's not cramping their style like in some oil importing countries (price has been rising over the past year significantly). Russian consumer appears still strong.

    However, the future. The economy (GDP) is guessed it will shrink 10% in an upcoming recession. Financial sanctions take months or years to take effect, they're not immediate.

    The other currencies that have appreciated against the USD this year are the Brazilian Rial and (a lot) and the Mexican Peso (a little bit). All other currencies have depreciated against the USD this year, the most depreciation seen by Egypt's Pound, Argentine's Peso, Japanese Yen, Turkish Lire, and some other Eastern European money.



  • "The NASDAQ, not for most stocks but for the FANGS, Feb 24, the day Putin invaded. - Josh Brown

    The invasion drove up inflation for a lot of stuff, which put a top in for growth stocks.

     
  • Cameroon signed a new agreement with Russia for Military cooperation

    They have ongoing military agreements.

  • Bretton Woods 3 - New world monetary order

    Being talked about by some as having started when Russia invaded Ukraine, and the US (and West) blocked Russia's access to it's money with economic sanctions. Written about for everyone by Zoltan Pozsar, strategist at Credit Suisse.

    The first Bretton Woods (the only formal actual agreement) was in 1944 (700 delegates from 44 allied nations met in New Hampshire for 3 weeks in July, establishing the IMF and a part of what would later be the World Bank). The British Pound was decreasing in value. The US dollar became the world standard. It was pegged to gold. It became the most common reserve currency (when a country exports more than it imports, it will end up holding foreign currency, so it has to decide which foreign currency to hold. Most picked US dollar). The second (informal but considered to be) "Bretton Woods" happened when in 1971 (but Bretton Woods I was considered OVER by 1973) Nixon decided the US was going off US-gold convertibility (after the US decoupled many fixed currencies followed, and currencies were allowed to float relative to each other - fiat currency. Price stability was the job of the central bank, controlling inflation, keeping it low, stable and predictable. (US buying a lot of Chinese goods and China holding US reserve currency was a hallmark of BW2. This Chinese holding of USD peaked in 2014 but is still up there). Dollar hegemony.

    "Bretton Woods 3:" The West imposed severe sanctions on Russia this year, and Russia therefore had access to only $300b of its $600b of foreign reserves. The result is that central banks of every country are now concerned their foreign reserves can be confiscated this way if their actions fall foul of US policy.

    Zoltan Pozsar says the core of our portfolios (and also the monetary system) will be in commodities in the future, and that central banks might have to bail out commodity traders (which seems to people an odd thing to say).

    Zoltan drew an analogy between subprime assets 2008 which triggered the global financial crisis AND Russian commodities, which he considers to be sub prime. Prime assets are non-Russian commodities, which are kind of like treasuries in 2008, the safe haven assets everyone wanted to protect them from the equity storm. Urals (Russian) crude oil currently trades $30 (huge difference) below the price of Brent (delivered in the North Sea).

    China, says Zoltan, will play a large role in bringing those subprime commodities (Russian ones) and prime commodities (non-Russian ones). Because China has lots of reserves and it also has not imposed sanctions on Russia.

    Zoltan sees a multi-polar world emerging, where we're no longer dominated by US dollar trading. We'll use Renminbi when trading with China, Rubles when trading with Russia. Ie weaker dollar and stronger Renminbi. If China wants to do this (bring R subprime and non-R prime commodities back into line, it can: sell treasuries, which would push up the yield in the US and with that money buy Russian commodities. Use some of that money to lease US vessels (raising shipping costs and thereby inflation in the West) and use ships to store commodities if it runs out of storage space in China. Another way China could do this thing is if the Chinese government prints renminbi and use that to buy commodities from Russia. This would also push up US yields (and therefore inflation because its still a supply squeeze) because they wouldn't have to store any dollars in US treasuries, because a big buyer of US treasuries would suddenly disappear.

    If this happened, there would be not just the US dollar "eurodollar" (nothing to do with Euros) market but also a renminbi market. End of US dollar hegemony.

    Either of these two options China has, Zoltan says, will cause higher inflation in the West, higher yet US treasury yields, and higher shipping costs (also inflationary). Another result is commoditiy volatility, rising up fast, crashing down (remember the London nickel exchange crash day written about on this blog?) Commodity traders could fail and become bankrupt. Central clearing counterparties could also fail, leading to government bailouts.

    And, as Larry Fink has talked about, the end of globalization because of resource nationalism (as a defensive measure), stockpiling of commodities, and rethinking (localizing and multiplying) supply chains.





     
     
  • Iran could teach Russia how to evade sanctions and 'money launder', according to an opinion piece in the WSJ (Dubowitz and Zweig)

    Of Tehran could serve as Russia's broker, taking a cut of the "illicit" trade it facilitates on Russia's behalf.

    Iran has a 'money laundering' architecture, a system they could make available to others.

    US/West kicked Iran of Swift, reduced their oil sales from 2.5b barrels to a few hundred thousand. So Iran has dealt with harsher sanctions than Russia (which still sells gas to Europe and has some institutions on Swift reportedly).


     
  • "Globalization, which historically was viewed as a barrier to conflict due to the interdependent nature of global trade, has now become a new battleground." - Patrick Boyle

    China recently stated that the US's use of weaponization of global finance (sanctions on Russia [after doing it to Iran's central bank a few years ago]) would be the downfall of it's status as world reserve currency. Ie integrity.

    China has a version of Swift, and India is considering (so far just considering) doing a Ruble-Rupee exchange or working in barter.

    Most of the West is on side, sanctioning Russia, and that makes up the bulk of currency action, but there are still 100 countries or something that are not sanctioning Russia. Brazil is another country that might help Russia work around the sanctions. Boyle said the use of sanctions in the way the US is doing will have many countries wondering if they can still trust the US.



     


  • Note that RT is banned on YouTube. This news comes from a blogger who used RT.
  • "It's not in China's interest to have Russia collapse. So I think a coupling of Russia to the Chinese system feels like the default outcome right now." - Samo Burja

    Resulting in high energy prices in Europe, slow de-industrialization and impoverishment of Europe.

    China is the only winner of a conflict between Europe and Russia, Burja said, although he said the US could benefit long term from the goings on (because the US can be energy independent and produce oil, in addition to other reasons).

     
  • So far, violence not super high in Ukraine

    MSM is constantly reporting on the destruction, but it's very limited. Talking about 'a building' or 'an attack.'

  • Results of Ukraine war, according to Samo Burja

    1. China develops more alternatives to the Western financial and economic system (West is "fighting tanks with sanctions," so Russia will seek alternatives), and starts offering them to rogue states around the world. Even if China doesn't offer a base of support to Russia, countries around the world will more and more want to turn to China for their economic integration. (Will China also 'buy terrorist states' as Chomsky puts it?)

    2. Russia successfully occupies large chunks of Ukraine that it did not occupy before.

    3. Putin remains in power for the next year.

     
  • Many commentators and experts when talking about Ukraine are saying it's a war crime or it's an unjust war, but leaving it at that.

    They're not saying anymore against Russia's actions. They are all putting it in context of the situation the West has created. Then they add again their line about it not being a just war, or about it being a war crime.

    They liken the war, being a pre-emptive war, to the US invasion of Iraq, which they also say is a war crime.
  • Putin starts destroying cities, or a prolonged war of attrition, are the two prospects Chris Hedges presumes for Ukraine

    Putin has been restrained in the damage he's done in Ukraine, Hedges said, but he may become frustrated and lift restraints, resulting in largescale deaths. Or, if there is a steady stream of arms shipments into Ukraine, it may be a long war of attrition.

    Which would be more profitable for the permanent military industrial complex?

    #Ukraine #Russia #MIC
  • "Because Russia controls the air, the game is ultimately fixed against the Ukrainians" - Chris Hedges

    Because the West won't call a 'no fly zone' (which would be interpreted by Russia as an act of war, it's been said), Russia will control the air and therefore the war.

    Hedges hearkened back to Iraq where Apache helicopters basically acted as mobile tank-destroying machines, picking one off after another.

  • Putin's conditions for ending the war:

    - Ukraine must recognize Crimea as Russian

    - Ukraine must recognize Russian-controlled separatist regions as independent

    - Ukraine must change its constitution to formally renounce its ambitions to join political blocs like NATO and the EU

  • So looking back a bit, focus on air in Russia Ukraine

    First move by Russians was knock out Ukraine's static radar positions to decrease Ukraine's early warning system. Cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. (24th)

    And also air defense systems like the S300 surface to air missiles.

    Also runways and airports to create runways for themselves and destroy some planes that were parked there (some say they weren't as successful in this part).

    Second, focus on air assets of Ukraine (bases and air crafts, and remaining air defenses). This hasn't happened.

    Russia is mostly using helicopters and gunships. Unguided weapons. They've left space and Ukraine has launched offensives there. R hasn't kept U's planes on the ground.

     
  • Russian vehicles don't seem to be using GPS

  • "Among the 248 armed conflicts that occurred in 153 regions in the world from 1945 to 2001, 201 were initiated by the US, accounting for 81% of the total number" - Chinese embassy in Russia

    They posted a list on their website.

    Victor Gao of Soochow U said China believes Ukraine has been used by the US and Western countries. He said what the US and Europe were doing with sanctions were destabilizing for the region.

    He said US benefits because they want to sell L&G to Europe without competition from Russia, whose LNG is cheaper and more sustainable.

     
  • Ukraine saying Russia is bombing civilian targets, Russia saying Ukraine is placing military equipment near residential buildings which is why it's targeting there

  • "Since 2014 the Kiev regime has been fighting its own people." - Lavrov (Russian FM to UN Council)

    "The ultra-nationalists and neo-nazis who seized power in Kiev after a revolution supported by the West unleashed real terror.

    "It is impossible to remember the terrible tragedy in Odessa on May 2, 2014 without shuddering.... The criminals who committed this crime were known by name. They posed in front of cameras ...

    "Attempts to draw the attention of the UN human rights council to the atrocities that have been going on for 8 years ran into their indifference." etc. Speech in YouTube link below outlines Russias position.

     
  • Perhaps EU wants to prove its relevance in the situation - Russian EU delegate

  • Ukrainian Defense Ministry published a video claiming to be a Ukrainian fighter jet shooting down a Russian one

    ... This is according to RT.

    The footage was from a video game.

    RT also said the footage many have shared of Zelinskyy in military dress on the front lines of Kiev, is actually from several months ago during practices.
     
  • Reportedly, Latvia and Czech Republic have made it illegal to support Russia

    That basically means Speech.

    25% of Latvia is Russians.

    Czech said 1-3 years possible for supporting Russia.

  • Massive economic incentive to expand NATO after end of Soviet Union

    All those former Soviet countries were outfitted wit Russian weapons. They had to be refitted with Western weapons (NATO all use the same weapons or something).

    To create new markets for the big military equipment companies that wouldn't be buying as many tanks and warplanes etc since Cold War was over (ultimately US didn't buy less because War on Terror started in 2001).

    - point raised by Ali Abunimah

     
  • Lots of talk among commentators about promises made by the West in order to have the Soviet Union disbanded

    ... in like 1990 (but over several years, and under several US presidents making having talks). The idea was that in the talks, there was nothing in writing, but it was made clear to Moscow that if the SU allowed the reunification of Germany that NATO would not be expanded. That NATO troops would not be able to enter into the eastern part of Germany (only to West Germany).

    It wasn't a treaty, but it was (people are saying) the agreement that was made.

     
  • John Meashiemer 2015 said in a lecture,

    "But I actually think that what's going on here is that the West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path, and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked. And I believe that the policy [of] neutralizing Ukraine, building it up economically, getting it out of the competition between Russia on one side and NATO on the other is the best thing that could happen to the Ukrainians.

    "What we're doing is encouraging the Ukrainians to play tough with the Russians. We're encouraging the Ukrainians to think that they will ultimately become part of the West, because we will ultimately defeat Putin and we will ultimately get our way. Time is on our side. And of course the Ukrainians are playing along with this and ... almost completely unwilling to compromise with the Russians, and instead wanna pursue a hardline policy.

    "... it would make much more sense for us to work to create a neutral Ukraine."

    A year after the US-sponsored coup in Ukraine when far-right elements were weaponized by the US to overthrow the government and install what the US thought would be a more pliable one (how Ali Abunimah put it).


     
  • Some draw a parallel between Russia's current invasion and the 2003 US invasion of Iraq

    US government entered after saying Iran had weapons of mass destruction, and held up that little prop vial on TV.

    Ideas of Ali Abunimah talking to BreakThrough News:

    "After 9/11, there was this atmosphere of jingoism, of war fever, of vengefulness, that was directed at other countries and very quickly towards Afghanistan and also toward Iraq. We know how that played out. But also it was internally directed because if you were Muslim, Sikhs, people of color generally lived in terror in this country at that time. ... There was pervasive fear not just of vigilante attacks but of government, monitoring and deportations. ... If you said, "Why did this happen? How did this happen? What led to this point? What are the policies of the US that could have created the conditions for this to happen, you were accused of justifying it. You were accused of justifying it, you were treated as an enemy. You were treated as a traitor. Nothing would be allowed to interfere with the headlong rush into war.

    "The 9/11 attacks happened in September. By late October the US was invading Afghanistan. Then ... in 2003 they started the march to the war in Iraq based on lies. One of the lies was that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. There was absolutely no evidence of that but it was a story they put out. polls ... the majority of Americans believed [that] ... in addition to the question of weapons of mass destruction."

    "I would ask a lot of people who naively supported the invasion of Afghanistan back then, 'If you knew what you know now back then, would you support it again?' Same with Iraq. Forget about people who say this is immoral, this is illegal, this is a war crime."

    "People would say, 'But we were attacked.'"

    "That's a fact we can't change. Is the response to escalate more war or is it to seek a different approach?"

    "I get the same responses today. When you say, 'How did we get here?' you're accused of justifying what Putin did. You're taking the side of Russia. "

    "One of the grievances Putin has is the expansion of NATO."

      
  • 60km long convoy of Russian military vehicles making its way to Kiev

  • "The number one priority now is for a serious diplomatic initiative that sorts this mess out, by giving Putin something he can present the Russian people with as a victory" - Yanis Varoufakis

    "... In exchange for troop withdrawal. That he ceases all hostilities ..."
     
  • "One sanction that Putin fears, and that is ending the purchase of natural gas from Gazprom." - Yanis Varoufakis

    "... As we speak, Nordstream 1, the gas pipeline, is feeding the German industrial machine with 40% of its energy from Russian gas. They're not going to say anything about that, because this is a sanction they're not prepared to make."

     
  • Ukrainians are constantly glued to TV and internet to get info, but also to confirm it is a true story

    Recently some posts went viral showing an air convoy of Russia AF, which was a video from a year or so ago.

    Today there is a Russian strike on a Kyiv TV tower, and news presenters in America talking to people in Ukraine, one of the first thing that gets clarified is that, "Yes, this is a true story."

    They verify by checking multiple news channels.

    Within Russia, on the other hand, it has been said, TV and internet is controlled by the state.

     
  • Some Western MSM is reporting that hackers (Anonymous) is going after Russia

    Not confirmed or anything.

    People also say it's likely Russian hackers will target the West.

  • Reportedly, Russian side of war not going very well

    Whether this is true or not, there's no way to tell.

    Some have mentioned less than stellar military training of troops, and perhaps most of all that Russians don't want to shoot Ukrainians.

  • Idea of Russia using crypto in the face of sanctions not so easy, reportedly

    ... because crypto trading isn't that high. There just isn't availability for the amounts he needs, people are saying.

    Also, some endpoints are controlled.

  • Lots of people impressed by things they're reading about regular Ukrainians, school teachers, etc and what they've decided to do in the face of the invasion

    They've been called 'bad ass' by some Americans. It's thought this might be one of the big aspects in causing European nations to decide to really help Ukraine.

    It's been noted that Putin could have used cyber attacks to cut off the internet from Ukraine, but hasn't done anything like that.

  • Norway's said it will unwind its $3b worth of Russian holdings from its sovereign wealth fund

  • Some in US gov saying we're past the point of no return for the prospect of rebuilding relations with Russia under Putin

    It's been said that Germans will never again make themselves dependent on R energy, and that they now see it as a mistake. And that the Brits will never be the conduit for Oligarch wealth they have been for the past 20 years.

     
  • Nightmare scenario is that the conflict expands to other parts of Ukraine, or there's an air or sea accident, and Russia is then fighting an EU country - Ian Bremmer

  • If Putin kills lots of Ukrainians (which it's expected he would have to do to take Kiev) this will increase opposition within Russia, since they two countries have such strong ties, lots of relations - Ian Bremmer's thought

    Questions about possible future Russian demotivation

    Ian Bremmer is from Eurasia Group

     
  • At minimum, expected 3-5% reduction in Russian economy due to sanctions

  • 2008 Russia takes a piece of Georgia, sanctions were pretty limited

    2014 takes two pieces of Ukraine, a few years later he's hosting the World Cup and European leaders are coming to visit him there

    2016 elections, Obama's like I don't want to deal with that right now

    So the economic sanctions now are maybe more than Russia expected

    - View by Ian Bremmer

  • Russian stock market fell 40% before being put on hold

    It's Monday.

    US market also down. Europe market significantly down. Oil up. NatGas down. Gold up. Crypto significantly up.

     
  • "For the first time ever, the EU will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack." - EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

    Germany is transferring a bunch of weapons. So is Sweden, the first time its broken its historically neutral stance in 80 years. Other countries also.

    Challenge in delivery as Ukraine's airports were early Russian targets.

     
  • Russia-Ukraine peace talks on 5th day of war

    In Belarus, on the Ukraine-Belarus border. Delegations from each country which don't include the two leaders.

  • Belarus constitutional referendum: They voted in favor of hosting nuclear weapons and allow leader to extend his rule (possibly an additional 10 years) and give him immunity to prosecution once he leaves office

    The West said they wouldn't recognize the referendum results, which happened while Russia was invading Ukraine and while Belarus was serving as a launchpad for some of the invading Russian troops.

  • Reportedly, 6000 of people who were nonviolently protesting the Ukraine invasion were detained in Russia

     
  • "Russia has taken the position that grievance and victimization is what powers their domestic and foreign policy" - Rory Finnin

     
  • US was trying to make Ukraine into "a de facto member of NATO,"according to John Mearsheimer

    "They [the Russians] aren't interested in negotiating anymore. They're interested in altering the status quo."

    He said the genesis of this conflict was 2008, the decision to try to make Ukraine part of NATO. The crisis breakout was Feb 22, 2014 end of what he calls the 'unipolar moment'). It was then put on the backburner, and then all of a sudden it broke out again.

    The obvious solution is perhaps politically impossible, M said. Because America unwilling to make any concessions on NATO. ... Turning Ukraine into an effective buffer, a neutral state, between Russia and NATO, which is what Ukraine was since independence in 1991 until 2014.

    Before the problem, the problem has to be solved of the lack of agreement between the pro-Russian Donbas and the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

    He said the Russians don't want to negotiate with the UK or Germany or NATO, because they all just do what the Americans ask them to do. So Russia only wants to talk to the US president.

    He (speaking a few days before the actual invasion) said Putin probably had no intention of invading, because that would mean 'owning' Ukraine, being an unwanted occupying force, which in the modern world just comes with so much trouble of all sorts. He said Putin must surely understand that. Also that the West would go to great lengths to cripple the Russian economy. Also, without invading, Putin was 'winning.' He had everyone's attention and everyone was trying to talk to him, and that it was now understood in the West that Ukraine was not going to be possible to bring into NATO.

    He thinks eventually US and Russia become allies against China, and that China is a bigger threat to Russia than the US is. He didn't, however, see an offramp for the Ukraine crisis (speaking before the invasion).

    He said Trump, who wanted to be closer with Putin and pivot to Asia, didn't get his way, but then started to arm Ukraine, 'much tot he chagrin of Russia.'

    He noted the contemporary superhigh anti-Putin, anti-Russian sentiment in the US (both parties, and popularly). He didn't know why, except some guesses like remnant associations to do with the Cold War, Putin's always standing up to the US, that Putin heads an authoritarian state and his stance on homosexuality and other social issues. The invention of the Democrat's story that Hillary lost the election because the Russians manipulated the system and caused Trump to win the vote.

    He said NATO needs the Russian threat to exist. He said that as to the question of getting European nations to spend 2% on military, "Don't hold your breath." They're basically free-riders. Why spend that if the US is going to take care of you anyway? However, if the US pivots to Asia and 'leaves' Europe, and if Europe perceives Russia as a threat, then EU States would spend more on military. If they have to provide for their own defense. He drew a parallel to Japan, which free rode off the US until China grew to a size where it became a real threat. Japan now faces what they perceive to be an existential threat, and has started to talk more like a 'realist.'

    Talking about nuclear weapons, he said that although they have been a force for peace, a deterrent, they weren't much of a factor in Putin's then-possible invasion of Ukraine because the US (Biden) already said if Russia invaded US wouldn't do anything, and even if Americans IN Ukraine were threatened he wouldn't, so they're not really a deterrent in that case. He said what would keep Putin from invading was the costs (invasion, occupation) and the benefits of keeping on without invading (Russia doing well).

     
  • Economic consequences of Russian invasion of Ukraine, by Patrick Boyle

    US and allies are removing some Russian financial institutions from Swift, and imposing major restrictions on Russia's central bank.

    The R central bank has $640b in foreign exchange reserves, much held at various western central banks. But some is in Russia and in China (also not expected to be frozen). So they have about $240b in available reserves. The war costs an estimated $20b per day. This could cause bank runs, tank the Ruble, and cause panic among Russian businesses. 

    The US has previously imposed sanctions on the central banks of Iran, N Korea, and Venezuela.

    S&P lowered Russia's rating to junk (high borrowing rate), and Fitch lowered Ukraine's, and Moody's might do both.

    Russia produces 10m barrels per day of oil. Because Europe and other countries are dependent so heavily on Russian oil and gas, the reaction was slower to their invasion than might otherwise have been the case.

    Germany specifically. While 2022 was set to be the date for the shutting down of all nuclear power in Germany (it's down to 3 plants now and they're planned to shut this year), a plan started 20 years ago and fortified by sentiment after Fukushima in 2011. Also all of Europe has been reducing coal energy and other types like that, focusing on clean energy, but it hasn't happened very fast so they still depend heavily on Russian gas. That effects BP and Total Energy are exposed to Russian energy. BP owns almost 20% of Rosneft, an investment that sent $2.4b profits last year for BP.

    Increases in fertilizer prices, a secondary effect of sanctions of Russian gas exports, will push food prices up everywhere.

    Russia and Ukraine together make up about 1/3 of grain production in the world. Potatoes, sugar beets, sunflower oil also. Food factories are shutting down plants in Ukraine temporarily. There could be food shortages, potentially. Food shortages, which could affect Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia, could lead to political consequences like uprisings.

    Aluminum, dependent on electricity, 14% of world production in Russia (excluding China).

    Metal producers are cutting their output after natural gas prices shot up like 30%.

    Nickel (batteries), lots is produced in Russia. Palladium (catalytic converters, electrodes and electronics ie auto manufacturing countries like China and North America) too. Platinum (catalytic converters, lab equipment, electrical contacts and jewelry). C4F6 and Neon (semiconductors) are produced by both countries.

    Ukraine is a big producer of titanium (aircraft manufacturing, jewelry, phones, surgical tools).

    US started cutting banking exposure to Russia in 2014 (Crimean conflict), but Austria's Faiffeisen makes 1/3 of their profits in Russia, and some other European banks are also highly involved in Russia.

    UK airlines can't use Russian airspace right now to fly to China. Expected to be all of Europe soon.

      
  • Putin invaded Ukraine Feb 22, 2022

    The first time there's been war in Europe for a while. It's a controlled, limited invasion so far. Deaths are being counted in small numbers.

    Before invading, Putin placed 150k soldiers all around Ukraine and put his ships in the sea southeast of Ukraine.

    Ukrainians started fleeing to Poland and other neighboring countries. Ukraine passed a law forbidding men from leaving the country. News images of crying families.

    Russian tanks and weapons surrounded Kiev.

    Feb 27, Germany passes legislation which it would have been unthinkable it could/would pass before. It will build up its military and take moves to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.

    The German chancellor in a speech said that 'permanent security in Europe is not possible with Russia there,' and ' we find our self in a new age' and that people in Ukraine are fighting 'not just for their homeland but for liberty and democracy, for values that we share with them.'

    The German government will now commit $100b Euros more to buy military stuff. US and some other allies have for years been pushing Germany to spend more than 2% on defense, and this it the first time Germany is going to do that. The idea up until now was that Germany, after WWII, should never again wield military might because of the terrible suffering caused during that war.

    Some commenters say that the resistance Russia faced in trying to take Kharkhiv may have been a surprise for Russia, since there are strong Russian ties there (and one might assume it would be easier to take than other parts of Ukraine).

    Zelenskyy said "That night was hard. What did they do? This is revenge. The people rose to defend their State. They, the Russian army, showed their real face. This is terror. They are going to bomb our Ukrainian cities even more. They are going to kill our children even more in cities."

    Russia is basically just attacking military targets (it said it's hit almost 600 of its targets), such as energy sources, but some have landed in ways that have killed and maimed bystanders.

    Zelenskyy basically accused Belarus of being complicit, helping Russian forces enter from the northern border.

    There's a question about where the two leaders could meet to discuss end to the war. Ukraine rejected Belarus, but suggested Poland. Russia hasn't commented on that yet.

    There's a question about whether Putin calculated well. The clear weapon and military superiority it has over Ukraine allowed it to invade, and use air and ballistic power with effect, but troops walking across Ukraine, actual actions / occupation, it isn't clear Russia will be able to. Also there's a question about how popular this action really is even in Russia. How many fallen Russian soldiers will the country take?

    Klaus Wittmann said he expected a prolonged, underground war, house to house, street to street, where you don't know where snipers or anti-tank attacks might come from. Probably much higher motivation on the side of the defenders. He referred to the Chechen War.

    Russian oligarchs lost around $126b in their value ($40b was the day of the invasion), it was reported.

    Protests have taken place in various places around the world in support of Ukraine. 20-30k estimated participation (but they way the reported said that might make you doubt there was that many really) of one in Berlin, bigger than ones the previous days. It is considered not just a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but an international conflict. Reportedly, they support supplying Ukraine with weapons.

    Feb 22, 2014 was the day Yanukovich fled Ukraine for Eastern Ukraine (and after that to Russia), and the protesters were said to be in control of Kiev. The Ukrainian parliament voted to impeach Yanukovich and scheduled new presidential elections.




      
  • Crude prices fell almost 3% as Russia pulls back some military forces from their close proximity to Ukraine

    There have been a lot of headlines over the past week or two about a possible invasion.

     
  • Valieva at Beijing Winter Olympics lands a historic quadruple jump

    ... first time a woman does it. Some in the past have even said that due to women's bodies they couldn't. She's 15, and was expected to win the Gold, but tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, or something like that.


  • Lots of US headlines about Russia's possible invasion of Ukraine

  • Data collected on 50m Moscow drivers for sale for $800

    From a hacker.

    Full names, dates of birth, phone numbers, vehicle ID numbers, licence plate numbers, and car brand model and registration date.

    It's confirmed legit.
     
  • Putin assured EU he has all the natgas they want

    Europeans pay 5x what Americans pay for natgas.

  • Putin's criticism of Western policy towards fleeing Afghanis

    The West wants to relocate them to Afghanistan's neighboring countries. He said it was a security issue that directly affects Russia.

    'So, it's possible to send them to these other countries, our neighbors, without visas, but they don't want to take them in themselves without visas? It's a humiliating approach to this issue.'

  • Russia using cloud seeding to create rain

    ... it's a dry hot summer.

    Here's what the canisters look like. They're filled with silver iodide which provides a base for the formation of snow and rain inside clouds. Planes go on missions to seek out clouds and shoot them with the canisters.




     
  • West's continued use of sanctions has less effect, according to Prof at U of South-Eastern Norway Glenn Diesen

    ... as the international system becomes more multi-polar. For example, Belarus, recently sanctioned by the EU for its human rights violations (following their grounding of a plane to arrest a Belarussian blogger), has other options in Russia. The US also sanctioned Myanmar following the coup, but they also have access to China and Russia.

    The hope with sanctions is that by undermining the whole economy of a country the population made to suffer will put pressure on their government to change. It is considered by some to have worked on Iran following the first Gulf War. There are also economic consequences in other countries including the one doing the sanctioning, such as in the US where the price of gas is driven up in line with sanctions on Iran. Thereby, such sanctions can end up helping other countries that may not be allies. It can also lead to negative consequences for the sanctioning country when it imposes sanctions on other countries for things it also does but expects to not be criticized for (many have pointed out that the US and EU also grounded a plane in 2014 to try to aprehend Edward Snowden - Austria grounded the plane from its airspace).

    The use of longlasting or permanent sanctions, especially when the sanctioned country has little ability to make concessions, it just leads to the sanctioned country learning to live without the countries that imposes the sanctions, according to Diesen.

    Anti-Russian sanctions following Crimea and Ukraine in 2014 didn't lead to Russia capitulating to the West or destroying the Russian economy. Russia rewired its economy to the East, forming a strategic partnership with China, reducing its vulnerability by cutting exposure to Western industries, tech, transportation corridors, banks, payment systems. Same with Iran. And now Belarus.

    #Belarus #Russia #Sanctions 
  • Nord Stream 2 almost finished, despite US sanctions along the way

    The U.S. will have a hard time competing with Russian gas anyway, in serving Europe. Russian gas is cheaper and is said to be greener.

  • EU Parliament threatens Russian oil sector

    The EP, responding to Russian military buildups on the Ukraine border, passed a resolution that "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbors."

    The EU stated that other countries should supply more arms to Ukraine, and threatened that if Russia invaded Ukraine the EU "imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled."

    Russia responded by saying it was ready to be shut off from Swift.

    SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a transaction network that connect thousands of banks in over 200 countries. Russia's central bank has its own transaction network, SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) but outside of Russia only 8 banks use it.
    "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html
    It also "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html
    It also "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html

     

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