Is A Russian-Iranian Energy Pact In The Making?

Oil Rigs

 

In the lead-up to President Rouhani’s visit to Moscow, expected to take place in late March, a plethora of news regarding joint Russo-Iranian energy projects has been circulating on the Internet. A three-year long negotiation process regarding a 100,000 barrels-per-day swap contract is believed to be agreed upon, premised on Iran providing Russia (most likely, Rosneft) oil from Kharg Island or other hubs in the Persian Gulf in return for cash and Russian goods that Iran would “require”. Teheran also woos LUKOIL, currently Russia’s only major oil producer in the Caspian, to participate in swap deals bound for Iran’s Neka Port (in return for Iranian crude provided from Kharg Island or other Persian Gulf hubs), albeit on a much smaller scale at 4000 to 5000 barrels per day. To top it all up, numerous Russian oil companies have committed themselves to developing Iran’s hydrocarbon fields. Continue reading

Germany warns of dangers of new arms race with Russia as conflict in Ukraine intensifies

Sigmar Gabriel meeting Vladimir Putin

Sigmar Gabriel made his first visit to Moscow as Foreign Minister [Getty]

 

GERMANY’S foreign minister has warned of the dangers of engaging in a new arms race with Russia, calling on all sides to work together to end the violence in eastern Ukraine.

Sigmar Gabriel has used his first visit to Moscow as foreign minister to underscore his concerns about Russia’s military buildup in the Baltic region and its western borders.

He also expressed concerns about the conflict’s resulting “exorbitant military spending increases”. Continue reading

Eastern Europe & World War III

Romania-Protest Feb 2017

 

Europe could become the site of a new global war in the East as tensions build there against refugees and the economic decline fosters old wounds. The EU is deeply divided over the refugee issue and thus it is fueling its own demise and has failed to be a stabilizing force. After five days of demonstrations, Romania’s month-old government backed down and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses. They were still acting like typical politicians and looking to line their pockets. After one month, the people have rising up saying “We can’t trust this new government.”

On the eastern border of the EU, only a few hundred kilometers from Berlin as well as Vienna, there is a growing danger that the world will stumble into a global war primarily from through the incompetence of the politicians in the EU as well as in the East. The EU is more concerned about punishing Britain and trying to hold on to overpaid political jobs that to address the real issues facing Europe. Continue reading

Russian Troops Prepare Snap Military Drills on Ukrainian Border

https://i2.wp.com/s3.freebeacon.com/up/2015/01/Russian-helicopter.jpg

A couple of Russian Army helicopters fly over the Monument to Scuttled Ships, during a promotional campaign for contract service for Russian Army in Sevastopol, Crimea, Saturday, Dec. 20 / AP

 

Russian forces were placed on full combat alert Thursday as troops prepared to conduct snap military drills on the nation’s Western flank bordering Ukraine, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the exercises to examine the ability of southern troops “to deploy promptly self-sufficient forces to localize crisis situations,” the Wall Street Journal reported. The Defense Ministry will also test the preparedness of forces in the western and central regions to deliver support to the southeast. The drills will continue through Aug. 31. Continue reading

Crisis as Opportunity

MINSK/BERLIN (Own report) – At Berlin’s insistence, the EU foreign ministers decided, Monday, to temporarily suspend EU sanctions on Belarus, at least for the next four months. Because of the Ukrainian conflict, Minsk is confronting grave economic and foreign policy difficulties. Because of Russia’s economic crisis, Belarusian imports have been drastically reduced and Minsk is forced to seek alternate markets. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is also worried that Russia’s overwhelming power could threaten Belarus’ independence and therefore, is actively intensifying his own foreign policy initiatives. To acquire alternate markets and maintain its independence, Minsk cannot avoid reinforcing its relations to the West. Berlin’s political establishment is closely monitoring these developments. There is an opportunity for “successfully implementing structural changes” in Belarus, as experts declared just before Sunday’s presidential elections. In the hope of weakening Minsk’s ties to Moscow and strengthening its bonds to the western hegemonic sphere, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a plea for suspending the sanctions. Berlin’s political PR is ill at ease with this year’s Nobel Literature Prize laureate, Svetlana Alexievich’s warning to maintain sanctions – in conformity with EU policy until now.

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Moscow preparing to destabilize Belarus if Lukashenka refuses to allow a Russian base, Mensk experts say

Alyaksandr Lukashenka has so far refused Moscow’s demand for the establishment of a Russian military base in Belarus, two senior Belarusian analysts say, noting that in addition to promises of aid, Moscow is currently preparing to destabilize its Western neighbor and even create the conditions for a Russian military intervention.

Arseniy Sivitsky, the director of the Belarusian Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Research, and his colleague Yury Tsarik shared their concerns about the situation with Kseniya Kirillova of Novy Region-2. Continue reading

Ukraine fears ‘big war’ as Russia sends in more troops

Rocket attacks and peace-deal violations fuel concerns

Military authorities in Ukraine believe the number of Russian troops within and close to its borders has risen to more than 50,000, raising fears of a substantial escalation in the conflict raging in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

Almost 9,000 Russian Federation Armed Forces personnel are believed to be based inside Ukraine, according to reports from the country’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) seen by The Independent on Sunday. The rest are based in the neighbouring Rostov region of Russia, including mechanised assault units and communications command systems.

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Ukraine preparing for ‘full-scale war,’ says former envoy to Canada

Vadym Prystaiko, who until last fall was Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, says the world must not be afraid of joining Ukraine in the fight against a nuclear power.In an interview with CBC Radio’s The House airing Saturday, Prystaiko says the ceasefire brokered by Germany and France was not holding.

“The biggest hub we ever had in the railroad is completely destroyed and devastated,” he told host Evan Solomon about Debaltseve, captured by Russian-backed rebels after the terms were to have taken effect earlier this week. Continue reading

War by Other Means (II)

BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is convinced that the West will be “victorious” in the power struggle with Moscow. Merkel told the Munich Security Conference on the weekend that the Ukraine conflict “cannot be won” with military means. That is why “a new way must be found.” Comparing the current power struggle to the Cold War, she reaffirmed, “I am a hundred percent convinced that, with our principles, we will win.” Earlier, Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, had expressed a similar view proposing that a “double strategy” be applied in the West’s power struggle with Russia. According to the journal of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the power struggle, which currently cannot won with military means, should be returned “from the military to the economic level.” To this effect, Berlin has launched a diplomatic offensive that should lead to talks in Minsk on Wednesday.

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Germany sees ‘no grounds for optimism’ in Ukraine conflict

From a pragmatic perspective, it doesn’t seem as if Russia has stopped its land grab. The moment of peace is only time for further war preparations. Sadly, NATO isn’t prepared nor obliged to defend Ukraine, as it’s not a member nation. America has little or no tanks left in Europe, either. Furthermore, the Russians have given strong hints that they could push as far as Poland and strike 30 minutes before NATO could even prepare. Stop Putin now or pay the price later, it was once said.

 

Moscow (AFP) – Germany’s foreign minister said Tuesday he was not optimistic about an end to the conflict in Ukraine because of a “dangerous” escalation of fighting in the east.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier made the downbeat assessment after NATO’s secretary-general spoke of a “very serious build-up” of troops, artillery and air defence systems inside Ukraine and on the Russian side of the border.

Steinmeier was the first senior European minister to visit Moscow since July, in a sign of how relations between the West and Russia have dived to a post-Cold War low over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“There are no grounds for optimism in the current situation,” Steinmeier said at a press conference after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. Continue reading

Under Tutelage

Ukraine, now destabilized, infiltrated and redirected via new leadership planted by Washington and Berlin (via its domination of the EU/Troika), will soon have boots on the ground from the Fourth Reich. History is repeating itself and Eastern Europe has always been a source of contention between Germany and Russia as it militarily puts either one on its neighbor’s doorstep. This could also lead Russia to strike first, and as previously mentioned, go as far as Poland before Germany can get a military foothold and put Ukraine under the NATO umbrella protectorate.

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – The German government is preparing the Bundeswehr’s deployment in Ukraine. According to reports, in support of the OSCE mission to monitor the ceasefire between the Kiev government troops and the insurgents, up to 200 German soldiers will be deployed in the East of the country. The decision on the deployment is expected to be made in the next few days. Following armament and training operations in Iraq and the airlift to West Africa, this would be the third intervention to have been decided in a short period time. It shows that the German government is increasingly willing to supplement its foreign policy activities with military engagement. With the planned Bundeswehr deployment in Ukraine, Germany wants to reinforce its direct control over military activities inside that country. It would be the first combat mission of German troops since WW II on territory of the former Soviet Union, placing German soldiers close to the Russian border. This goes hand in hand with considerations to actually place the state administration under German-European tutelage.

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Russian-Backed Rebels Launch Assault on Donetsk Airport

The Russian-backed separatists are reportedly firing artillery at the airport grounds that are controlled by Ukrainian government troops. Five government soldiers and some rebels died in the fighting, according to Ukraine’s Defense Council, and there were additional reports of civilian casualties on Wednesday.

Ongoing clashes in Donetsk, where the separatists say they have established an independent “People’s Republic,” violate the ceasefire agreement reached last month in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Both sides agreed to put down arms and release prisoners.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said this week that the rebel offensive could derail the ceasefire

Donald Jensen, resident fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations, said in an interview that the Russian-backed rebels in some ways never intended to comply with the ceasefire. Still, Russian President Vladimir Putin might want to maintain a frozen conflict and not push for more territory in Ukraine. Continue reading

The Belarusian Connection

Belarus is a puppet regime of Russia, today’s neo-Soviet Union. Cyber attack units and other state-sponsored units of terrorism are outsourced here (among other neighboring countries), in order to keep blame off the Soviet regime. As we see from a previous post, nuclear weapons might get the green light to be stored there, as in the past. One can only wonder why Belerusians were sourced in the development of ACA software. They might have planted an ability to shut down hospitals in the futue.

U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.

The intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the Healthcare.gov network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.

The software links the millions of Americans who signed up for Obamacare to the federal government and more than 300 medical institutions and healthcare providers.

“The U.S. Affordable Care Act software was written in part in Belarus by software developers under state control, and that makes the software a potential target for cyber attacks,” one official said. Continue reading

Russia’s ‘carrier-killer’ Moskva enters Mediterranean

Missile cruiser "Moskva" (RIA Novosti/Vitaliy Ankov)

 

Russia’s Moskva missile cruiser, dubbed a “carrier-killer” by NATO, has passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and is now heading toward the eastern Mediterranean to assume command of the Russian naval force there.

The Russian Navy said in a statement that the Moskva cruiser passed through the Straits of Gibraltar on September 10.

Interfax news agency added that the Moskva cruiser, “commanded by Sergey Tronev, Captain 1st Rank of the Guards… has enough room for maneuver now.”

“The Black Sea flagship entered the Russian Navy’s area of responsibility in the Mediterranean at 11:00 pm Moscow time yesterday,” the agency reported a military source as saying. Continue reading

China Builds EU Beachhead With $5 Billion City in Belarus

China is building an entire city in the forests near the Belarusian capital Minsk to create a manufacturing springboard between the European Union and Russia.

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko allotted an area 40 percent larger than Manhattan around Minsk’s international airport for the $5 billion development, which will include enough housing to accommodate 155,000 people, according to Chinese and Belarusian officials. Continue reading