Time for an EU energy union, says Polish PM

BRUSSELS - The European Union must create an energy union to secure its supply and reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said.

Tusk’s energy blueprint, set out in an article in the Financial Times on Tuesday (22 April), would establish a single European body that would buy gas for the whole 28-nation bloc. This would end a system that currently sees the different countries negotiate their own deal with energy giant Gazprom, the government-backed firm which dominates Russia’s gas market.

Meanwhile, “solidarity mechanisms” between EU countries would kick into action if countries were threatened with being cut off from gas supplies. Continue reading

Putin Ignores Sanctions, Cuts Deals with Beijing

WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to respond to Western sanctions triggered by his country’s participation in the Ukrainian crisis by dramatically expanding bilateral trade with China, particularly in providing energy to fuel China’s fast-growing economy, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Moscow and Beijing have developed closer bilateral ties as relations between Russia and the European Union worsen. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said cooperation with Beijing is a top priority for Moscow.

“It is the rise of the Eurasia century,” one Asian source said. “Moscow and Beijing’s interests are converging.” Continue reading

Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear — Tanks-to-troops modernization

While America was still high from Top Gun and a false sense of superiority, Russia was hard at work on gaining military advantage. This is one of many indicators that Russia has been up to something for the longest time, 2008 in this case.

If you’d like to see how early we’ve gone downhill, and it hasn’t been since the Obama administration, then it would be worth your while to view expert analyst JR Nyquist’s conclusions in 2001 on Sino-Soviet war preparations against the United States, while the United States suicides itself into the hands of hostile nations.

The world over is going back into a dangerous war cycle and America is going into war unprepared.

Elite Russian troops are displaying a new arsenal of body armor, individual weapons, armor-piercing ammunition and collar radios — a menu of essential gear that gives them a big tactical advantage against a lesser-equipped Ukrainian army.

If President Vladimir Putin orders an invasion, the new-generation body armor, in particular, would provide exceptional protection against small arms if Russian troops go street by street to capture Kiev and other cities.

“What we saw and what was dangled in front of the West was a clear indication that Putin is on a roll,” retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales said. “It just seems to me from watching the films that their arrows are pointing up and ours are sadly pointing down.”

Weapons specialists such as Gen. Scales have been studying images of Spetsnaz, Russia’s ubiquitous special forces, and airborne troops since they conquered the Crimea region and mobilized to strike eastern Ukraine.

What they see are the fruits of a modernization plan begun in 2008, not just in tanks and vehicles but all the way down to the individual warrior. Russia now has the world’s third-highest defense budget, at over $70 billion. Continue reading

New Syrian-Iranian chlorine bombs make mockery of US-Russian chemical accord and UN monitors

The household cleaning agent chlorine, in heavy concentration is purchased by Iran and and fitted with  detonators, to provide President Bashar Assad with a vehicle for cheating on his undertaking to surrender Syria’s chemical arsenal under the year-old US-Russian chemical disarmament accord. And Assad is indeed getting away with using chlorine bombs, with crippling effect, especially on children, every few days.

Nonetheless, Sigrid Kaag of the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Saturday, April 19, that Syria had destroyed approximately 80 percent of its arsenal as agreed under the Kerry-Lavrov accord. At this rate, she said, Syria will have got rid of 100 percent of its chemical arsenal by the April 27 deadline.

The French President Francois Hollande admitted April 20, however, that the Syrian leader had continued to use chemical weapons on the front line, but he denied that definite proof had not been established. Continue reading

China Prepares Massive Investments in Crimea

China intends to invest in massive projects in Crimea less than a month after the former Ukrainian province was annexed by the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the European Union, said Russia is partnering with China in two major Crimean projects:  the “Power of Siberia” gas pipeline and a 25 meter deep Crimean deep water port. These projects will continue despite the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine, Chizhov said.

Chizhov described the “Power of Siberia” gas pipeline as a mega-project that will pump 60 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the Kovykta and Tchayandinskoe gas fields to Russia’s far east, where a branch line will deliver 38 billion cubic meters a year to China. Continue reading

Putin’s spokesman: One more NATO step toward Russia to change European security structure

MOSCOW, April 19, 21:15 /ITAR-TASS/. NATO’s further enlargement and “one more step towards the Russian border” will cause “the entire European security architecture to be overhauled”, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the TVC television channel’s “Pravo Znat” (The Right to Know) programme to be aired on Saturday evening, April 19. Continue reading

This Means War: US To Target Putin’s Personal $40 Billion Stash

While the White House has continually threatened further sanctions against Russia for non-de-escalation (even as it un-de-escalates itself), the specifics of the additional sanctions have been sparse. German CEO warnings over blowback from economic sanctions… the “nonsense” of replacing Russian gas with US gas… the Russian warnings of “interdependence” and “boomerangs”… all reduce the West’s arsenal of financial sanctions. But, as The Times of London reports, perhaps the US has found a crucial pain point for Putin – a sanctions regime that would target Putin’s personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts. Continue reading

Russia to Build 150 Military Facilities on Kuril Islands

MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will build more than 150 military facilities on the Iturup and Kunashir islands, part of the Kuril chain disputed by Japan, a senior military commander told reporters Friday.

“All decisions on the construction of military stations on the Iturup and Kunashir islands have been made and approved,” said Col. Gen. Sergei Suvorkin, the head of Russia’s Eastern Military District.

“All essential facilities, more than 150, will be built before 2016,” he added. Continue reading

JR Nyquist explains why the NSA was monitoring Merkel

One of the more important videos to come out this year explaining the NSA and Merkel, Russia’s imperialistic ambitions of resurrecting the Soviet Union and how Edward Snowden has purposely enabled Russia to do so by helping the Russians know America’s every move — before every move is made.

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Putin says Russia may invade Ukraine to protect locals

Moscow: Russia may invade south-east Ukraine to protect the local population, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

Speaking live at his annual call-in show in a Moscow television studio, Mr Putin implied he reserved the right to move Russian troops into the neighbouring country on behalf of pro-Russian residents.

“We know quite well that we must do our best to protect their rights and help them independently decide their fate, and we will struggle for that,” he said. “I remind you that the Federation Council of Russia [the upper house of parliament] empowered the president to use the armed forces in Ukraine.” Continue reading

BRICS countries to set up their own IMF

Very soon, the IMF will cease to be the world’s only organization capable of rendering international financial assistance. The BRICS countries are setting up alternative institutions, including a currency reserve pool and a development bank.

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have made significant progress in setting up structures that would serve as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are dominated by the U.S. and the EU. A currency reserve pool, as a replacement for the IMF, and a BRICS development bank, as a replacement for the World Bank, will begin operating as soon as in 2015, Russian Ambassador at Large Vadim Lukov has said.

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Is an Asian NATO Possible?

In the new concluding chapter to his classic The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, John Mearsheimer argues: “There is already substantial evidence that countries like India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers like Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam, are worried about China’s ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China’s rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and eventually China, joined forces with the United States during the Cold War to contain the Soviet Union.”

This is at odds with most analyses which postulate that Asia is not ripe for a NATO style containment block against China. For instance, in summing up the conventional wisdom on the subject, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Stewart Patrick opined last summer that: “Despite its strategic ‘rebalancing’ toward Asia, the United States is unlikely to sponsor a collective defense organization for the Asia-Pacific, for at least three reasons: insufficient solidarity among diverse regional partners, fear of alienating China, and the perceived advantages of bilateral and ad-hoc security arrangements.”

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