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The horrible dangers of pushing a US proxy war in Ukraine

If there is indeed a shift in strategy to another level of confrontation with Russia, we need to know what we’re getting into.

Responsible Stateccraft APRIL 27, 2022, Anatol Lieven,

To judge by its latest statements, the Biden administration is increasingly committed to using the conflict in Ukraine to wage a proxy war against Russia, with as its goal the weakening or even destruction of the Russian state. 

This would mean America adopting a strategy that every U.S. president during the Cold War took great pains to avoid: the sponsorship of war in Europe, bringing with it the acute risk of escalation towards direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO, possibly ending in nuclear catastrophe. The U.S. and NATO refusal to support armed rebellions against Soviet rule in eastern Europe was obviously not based on any kind of recognition of the legitimacy of Communist rule and Soviet domination, but simply on a hard-headed calculation of the appalling risks involved to America, Europe and humanity in general. 

……………………………… Lavrov compared the situation in terms of nuclear danger to the Cuban missile crisis. We might do well to remember in this context how very close humanity came to nuclear annihilation in the fall of 1962. At one point, the fate of the world depended on the wisdom and caution of just one Soviet naval officer on board a nuclear attack submarine: Commander (later Admiral) Vassily Arkhipov………..

LLoyd Austin. US SEcretary of Defense

Two of Lloyd Austin’s remarks are especially worth examining in some detail. The first is that weakening Russia is necessary in order to prevent it repeating its invasion of Ukraine elsewhere. This statement is either meaningless, hypocritical, or both. There is no sign that Russia wants to or indeed could invade any other countries. As far as an attack on NATO is concerned, the miserable performance of the Russian military in Ukraine should have made absolutely clear that this is a fatuous chimera. If Russia cannot capture cities less than 20 miles from Russia’s own border, the idea of an attack on NATO is ludicrous.

As far as Georgia, Moldova and Belarus are concerned, it already holds the positions it needs in these countries. Russia’s military presence in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh is at the request of the Armenians themselves, and is indeed essential to protect them against Turkey and Azerbaijan. When it comes to combating Islamist extremism in Central Asia and elsewhere, Russia’s interests and those of the West are in fact aligned. 

Lloyd Austin also stated that U.S. officials believe that Ukraine can “win” the war with Russia given the right equipment and support from the West. The question is what “winning” means.  If it means preserving Ukrainian independence, freedom to join the European Union, and sovereignty over the great majority of Ukrainian territory, then this is a legitimate and necessary goal. Indeed, thanks to Ukrainian courage and Western weaponry, it has already to a great extent been achieved.

Moscow’s original goal of overthrowing the Ukrainian government and subjugating the whole of Ukraine failed utterly. Given the losses that the Russian military has suffered, it seems highly unlikely that Russia can capture any more large Ukrainian cities, let alone conquer the whole of Ukraine. 

If however what is meant by victory is Ukrainian reconquest — with Western help —  of all the areas lost to Russia and Russian-backed separatists since 2014, then this is a recipe for perpetual war, and monstrous losses and suffering for Ukrainians. The Ukrainian army has fought magnificently in defense of its urban areas, but attacking entrenched Russian defensive positions across open country would be a very different matter. 

Moreover, since Russia has annexed Crimea and the vast majority of the Russian people believe that this is Russian national territory, no future Russian government could possibly agree to give it up. A goal of complete Ukrainian victory therefore does indeed imply the destruction of the Russian state — something that Russia’s nuclear arsenal exists to prevent.

There is however a fatal ambiguity involved in such statements. For if what they suggest is a U.S. commitment to help Ukraine to go on fighting until Ukraine has reconquered all of the territory taken by Russia since 2014, including Crimea, then this implies a permanent war with the destruction of the Russian state as its goal; for short of the collapse of the Russian state, no Russian government will surrender Crimea, and for geographical reasons, no Ukrainian victory on the ground can bring this about. Furthermore, while China has so far been very restrained in its support for Russia over Ukraine, Beijing could not possibly tolerate a U.S. strategy aimed at the destruction of the Russian state and the consequent complete isolation of China.   https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/04/27/the-horrible-dangers-in-pushing-a-us-proxy-war-in-ukraine/

May 16, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s AUKUS nuclear submarine double-dealing and deception .

When this masthead’s then Europe correspondent Bevan Shields asked Macron if he thought Morrison had lied to him, the French leader replied: “I don’t think, I know.”

In the White House, everyone who’d worked on the deal felt let down by the Australians. Biden felt blindsided

AUKUS fallout: double-dealing and deception came at a diplomatic cost,   Scott Morrison’s efforts by stealth to secure the AUKUS deal had global ramifications, with the French president enraged and the US president blindsided. SMH, By Peter Hartcher, MAY 15, 2022  

While Scott Morrison was secretly pursuing the AUKUS deal with Washington and London, the French ambassador in Canberra was starting to fret. President Emmanuel Macron had charged him to act with “ambition” in expanding the relationship with Australia, yet Jean-Pierre Thebault was finding it impossible to get access to cabinet ministers except for fleeting handshakes and “how-do-you-dos” at cocktail parties.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne would not agree to see him, nor would then defence minister Linda Reynolds. Yet the nations were supposed to be strategic partners on a high-stakes, $90 billion “Future Submarine” project. As 2020 became 2021, Thebault was feeling stonewalled. What was going on?

Morrison was confidentially exploring the prospect of nuclear-propelled submarines with the US and Britain. Yet a Defence Department official says: “The PM was still telling us, ‘I’m not cancelling anything ……… The Defence Department handled the duality – or perhaps duplicity – of the two projects by setting up compartmentalised working groups.

One, led by former submarine skipper Rear-Admiral Greg Sammut, continued working with the French towards the delivery of 12 French “Shortfin Barracuda” subs.

Sammut had no knowledge of the other project, led by one-time clearance diver Rear-Admiral Jonathan Mead, who was pursuing the idea of nuclear-powered subs with the Americans and the British.

The two were kept in strict separation. Both reported to defence secretary Greg Moriarty and the Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell…………..

Morrison saw an opportunity. US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be at a G7 summit in the quaint English seaside resort of Carbis Bay in Cornwall in June. Australia, not a member of the G7, was invited as a guest, along with India and South Korea.

Morrison used the meeting of 10 democracies to highlight the China threat………..

Morrison organised a smaller meeting with Biden and Johnson to drive his submarine ambition. Biden and Johnson had been briefed.

Morrison pitched two ideas. One was the request for the two countries to help Australia get nuclear-propelled subs. The other was a wider project for the three nations to develop other, cutting-edge technologies crucial to future warfare, such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence and other undersea capabilities…..

Morrison wanted a commitment; he didn’t get it. Biden’s big concerns remained. He said that he needed to be satisfied that the three countries would meet their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He wanted more work done on this in the White House.

The British were keen to proceed. Johnson even told Morrison that the UK would be prepared to build nuclear-propelled subs for Australia….. Johnson also saw it as an opportunity for British industry.

Morrison started to think of a British sub – smaller than the American nuclear-powered subs (SSNs) – as the working model for Australia’s fleet………

But the nuclear-propulsion technology was American and veto power rested with Washington…………

After Carbis Bay, Morrison had a dinner date with Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris. ………  he might have been honest, but not fully so……………..  He left open the prospect of walking away. Deliberately.

That gate was three months away. Morrison pushed hard to get the assurances Biden needed. He had a vital friend at court: Kurt Campbell, the White House’s Indo-Pacific Co-ordinator and the man the Lowy Institute’s head, Michael Fullilove, calls “Mr Australia in Washington”.

Agreement had to be reached between the three countries, but, just as importantly, within the US group. The director of the US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, Admiral Frank Caldwell, custodian of the late Hyman Rickover’s crown jewels, had to be thoroughly satisfied. It took four consecutive full-day sessions to complete the work.

The nuclear Navy, once committed, committed fully………

Each government sent a team of 15 to 20 people drawn from multiple agencies. They were told to set aside eight to 10 business days.

Secrecy was paramount. The naval officers, led by Mead in Australia’s case, were told to wear civilian clothes so as not to draw attention to themselves in the streets of Washington.

………..They met at the Pentagon in August………………

The delegations initially sat in national groups around the room, co-chaired by Campbell, Mead and Vanessa Nicholls, the British government’s Director General Nuclear. 

One by one, Biden’s four big concerns were met. Experts on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were consulted. They agreed that if the reactors on the submarines were run as sealed units, installed and later removed by the US or UK at the end of their 30-year life, then the treaty would not be breached. Australia may have use of, but not access to, the nuclear technology and materials. “The Australians will never have to handle any of this material, it can’t be lost or stolen,” a US official explained…………..

The second concern was China’s reaction. “We assessed with our intelligence community that blowback from China would be manageable,” says a White House official……..

Third was Australia’s capacity. There were questions about Australia’s ability to recruit, train and retain the talent needed to maintain SSNs. However, the Americans’ biggest reservations were over Australia’s finances and politics. 

The US wanted to avoid being entangled in any local budgetary disasters. A preliminary guess at the price of acquiring the nuclear subs ranges from $116 billion to $171 billion, including anticipated inflation, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Incidental extras would include the $10 billion cost of a new subs base on the east coast, as flagged by Morrison in March. The cost of training, crewing, operating and maintaining the boats would not be small

………. Ultimately, Washington decided that Australia could manage the cost, but it was an act of faith in Australia’s future economic strength.

Of the hot potatoes tossed around by the US administration, Australia’s political commitment was the hottest of all. The Americans had tested their own political support. The White House confidentially consulted Trump-aligned Republican senators. They found them supportive, even enthusiastic.

But Biden’s people had reservations about Australia’s political stability. There were concerns about the Labor Party, about the churn of prime ministers in both parties in the last decade, and about the Coalition’s serial dumping of submarine agreements, first with Japan and now with France.

The cone of silence prevented direct US contact with Labor. They called on a National Security Council staffer who’d been posted to Australia, Edgard Kagan, for his view. He consulted the US embassy in Canberra and observed that the Australian government seemed confident that Labor would support such a deal when they were eventually informed.

The Americans could see that if Labor baulked, Morrison would use it as a wedge against opposition leader Anthony Albanese in the approach to an election, to frame him as weak on national security……………

That just left Paris. The White House had pressed the Australians on the need to consult closely with the French. To satisfy the Americans, Canberra went so far as to give the NSC a list of all dealings the Australian government had had with the French on the submarines.

In the end, France’s Naval Group gave Morrison no excuse for detonating the deal. It delivered all its contracted work on time. Australia’s Admiral “Greg Sammut reported that we’d received the report from the French and it met our requirements,” a department official said. “The reply was, ‘very good, the government will be advised’.”

………..  Macron felt set up nonetheless. Payne and new Defence Minister Peter Dutton had met their French counterparts just two weeks earlier and given no sign of what was to come.  Admiral Morio de l’Isle had been in Canberra just a week earlier to make sure that Naval Group was delivering as agreed, and the Australians had certified that they were. It was scant comfort that Moriarty confirmed that “the program was terminated for convenience, not for fault”.

It was a harsh blow to French pride and to Macron personally. He felt the US had connived with Australia against France. He withdrew his ambassadors from both countries in protest. When this masthead’s then Europe correspondent Bevan Shields asked Macron if he thought Morrison had lied to him, the French leader replied: “I don’t think, I know.”

In the White House, everyone who’d worked on the deal felt let down by the Australians. Biden felt blindsided. He mollified Macron. It was “clumsy, it was not done with a lot of grace,” Biden said. “I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the [French] deal was not going through.”

Macron relented with the Americans. Morrison could not bring himself to show remorse. Macron has not yet forgiven him…….    https://www.smh.com.au/national/aukus-fallout-double-dealing-and-deception-came-at-a-diplomatic-cost-20220513-p5al95.html


May 16, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Ending the War of Attrition in Ukraine

by Jeffrey D. Sachs, NEW YORK (IDN) 114 May 22, — Wars often erupt and persist because of the two sides’ miscalculations regarding their relative power. In the case of Ukraine, Russia blundered badly by underestimating the resolve of Ukrainians to fight and the effectiveness of NATO-supplied weaponry. Yet Ukraine and NATO are also overestimating their capacity to defeat Russia on the battlefield. The result is a war of attrition that each side believes it will win, but that both sides will lose.

Ukraine should intensify the search for a negotiated peace of the type that was on the table in late March, but which it then abandoned following evidence of Russian atrocities in Bucha—and perhaps owing to changing perceptions of its military prospects.

The peace terms under discussion in late March called for Ukraine’s neutrality, backed by security guarantees and a timeline to address contentious issues such as the status of Crimea and the Donbas. Russian and Ukrainian negotiators stated that there was progress in the negotiations, as did the Turkish mediators. The negotiations then collapsed after the reports from Bucha, with Ukraine’s negotiator stating that “Ukrainian society is now much more negative about any negotiation concept that concerns the Russian Federation.”

But the case for negotiations remains urgent and overwhelming. The alternative is not Ukraine’s victory but a devastating war of attrition. To reach an agreement, both sides need to recalibrate their expectations.

When Russia attacked Ukraine, it clearly expected a quick and easy victory. Russia vastly underestimated the upgrading of the Ukraine military following years of US, British, and other military support and training since 2014. Moreover, Russia underestimated the extent to which NATO military technology would counter Russia’s greater number of troops. No doubt, Russia’s greatest error was to assume that the Ukrainians would not fight—or perhaps even switch sides.

Russia’s greatest error was to assume that the Ukrainians would not fight—or perhaps even switch sides.

Yet now Ukraine and its Western supporters are overestimating the chances of defeating Russia on the battlefield. The idea that the Russian army is about to collapse is wishful thinking. Russia has the military capacity to destroy Ukrainian infrastructure (such as the rail lines now under attack) and to win and hold territory in the Donbas region and on the Black Sea coast. Ukrainians are fighting resolutely, but it is highly unlikely that they can force a Russian defeat.

Nor can Western financial sanctions, which are far less sweeping and effective than the governments that imposed them acknowledge. ………………

Moreover, the sanctions are creating serious economic consequences for the United States and especially Europe……………..

In the meantime, Ukraine continues to suffer grievously in terms of deaths, dislocation, and destruction. The IMF now forecasts a 35% contraction of Ukraine’s economy in 2022, reflecting the brutal destruction of housing, factories, rail stock, energy storage and transmission capacity, and other vital infrastructure.

Most dangerous of all, as long as the war continues, the risk of nuclear escalation is real. If Russia’s conventional forces were actually to be pushed toward defeat, as the US is now seeking, Russia might well counter with tactical nuclear weapons. A US or Russian aircraft could be shot down by the other side as they scramble over the Black Sea, which in turn could lead to direct military conflict. Media reports that the US has covert forces on the ground, and the US intelligence community’s disclosure that it helped Ukraine kill Russian generals and sink Russia’s Black Sea flagship, underscore the danger.

The reality of the nuclear threat means that both sides should never forgo the possibility of negotiations. That is the central lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which took place 60 years ago this coming October. President John F. Kennedy saved the world then by negotiating an end to the crisis—agreeing that the US would never again invade Cuba and that the US would remove its missiles from Turkey in exchange for the withdrawal of the Soviet missiles from Cuba. That was not giving in to Soviet nuclear blackmail. That was Kennedy wisely avoiding Armageddon.

It is still possible to establish peace in Ukraine based on the parameters that were on the table at the end of March: neutrality, security guarantees, a framework for addressing Crimea and the Donbas, and Russian withdrawal. This remains the only realistic and safe course for Ukraine, Russia, and the world. The world would rally to such an agreement, and, for its own survival and well-being, so should Ukraine. https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/opinion/5298-ending-the-war-of-attrition-in-ukraine#.Yn3tJBvujtI.twitter


May 14, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | 2 Comments

The Export and Proliferation of Nuclear Technology

The Export and Proliferation of Nuclear Technology

Session 11 of the Congressional Study Group
, Wednesday, May 11, 2022  “”…………………………………………………….  Greenberg and Sokolski began the session with some opening remarks focusing on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act (“NNPA”). Below is a recording:

Greenberg then discussed the questionable lawfulness of advanced long-term consent agreements for reprocessing and the meaning of timely warning criteria in the Act. As for advanced long-term consent, the goal of the statute was to impose clear controls on back-end fuel cycle activities; that is inconsistent with allowing our trade partners to do whatever they please once they retain control of the facilities. Consent cannot mean abdication of future consent rights. In regard to timely warning, Professor Greenberg noted that, under any interpretation of section 131(b), it is difficult to reconcile the need to make determinations about increases in proliferation-risk and timely warning of diversions with an effort to “crystal-ball” the risks of an agreement.

Greenberg then provided an overview of how Congress’s intent—and the basic principles underlying the NNPA—unraveled, from President Carter to W. Bush. He then fast-forwarded to the present, noting that in 2021, the issue of advanced long-term consent and the applicability of timely warning is more an academic, historical topic than a real, political problem. Principles of Chevron deference coupled with congressional acquiescence make any legal challenge a losing proposition. Still, the argument against 30-year advanced consent has the intellectual high ground. And nothing is stopping President Biden from exercising control over back-end fuel cycle activities.

Sokolski spoke next. He argued that Congress has much more power regarding the export and proliferation of civilian nuclear technology than it thinks. Indeed, Congress can condition the executive branch’s authority to seal nuclear cooperative agreements with foreign entities, and it can condition the executive’s authority to strike nuclear cooperative agreements (and has done so previously). Additionally, Congress can treat nuclear cooperative agreements as it currently does trade agreements—that is, by requiring majority approval in each House of Congress.

As it currently stands, however, Congress takes a hands-off approach to nuclear cooperative agreements. The presumption, adopted in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, was that Congress could control whether nuclear materials and information were shared with other countries. This changed with President Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, wherein Congress delegated most of its nuclear trade-making authority to the President. But there is no reason why Congress cannot regain control today. To be sure, Congress has asserted some control in the past and has forced the President’s hand on several occasions, forcing him to amend and/or suspend the U.S.-Russia, U.S.-UAE, U.S.-Vietnam, and the U.S.-China agreements. These examples make clear that congressional control is possible here—and it is preferable.

The study group then moved to open discussion where participants raised a number of related issues, including the role of environmental safeguards, the role of congressional oversight versus legislative control, and procedural reasons why Congress may or may not wish to be involved in closer scrutiny of relevant agreements. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-export-and-proliferation-of-nuclear-technology/

May 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium, politics international | Leave a comment

Is Russia increasingly likely to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine?

Reasserting independence from Ukraine for the separatist regions — backed up by troops on the ground — could be presented by Putin as a Russian win. He could then declare his “special military operation” over.

Ukraine could subsequently reach some sort of peace agreement with Russia involving loss of territory — one that probably wouldn’t be much different from the sort of agreement that could be negotiated today.

   https://theconversation.com/is-russia-increasingly-likely-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-182368
Alexander Hill, Professor of Military History, University of CalgaryMay 10, 2022  At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin reminded the West that Russia had nuclear weapons by putting them on “special combat readiness.”

Putin’s actions suggested that Russia was considering their use, even though actually launching them was a remote possibility. In precisely what circumstances Russia might use nuclear weapons was left vague — Putin’s intent was presumably to frighten NATO and discourage its intervention on behalf of Ukraine.

Since then, much has changed — and not for the better in terms of the risk of nuclear war.

Although NATO hasn’t sent troops to fight in Ukraine, the West has implemented increasingly tough economic sanctions against Russia and provided Ukraine with military equipment like tanks

NATO is now involved in what is, in essence, a full-fledged proxy war against Russia. Not only have NATO nations — particularly the United States — provided Ukraine with an array of different weapons, but they are clearly helping Ukraine with other elements of its war effort, including intelligence — some of which has been used to target Russian generals.

Ukraine emboldened

From the failure to take Kyiv to the plodding pace of Soviet gains in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, the war has not gone according to plan. Russia has taken heavy losses due to the intense Ukrainian resistance.

Russian troops will likely dig in and seek to consolidate their gains in the east. Reasserting independence from Ukraine for the separatist regions — backed up by troops on the ground — could be presented by Putin as a Russian win. He could then declare his “special military operation” over.

Ukraine could subsequently reach some sort of peace agreement with Russia involving loss of territory — one that probably wouldn’t be much different from the sort of agreement that could be negotiated today.

Currently there is no sign of Ukrainian inclination to negotiate over the Donbas region. Nor is Ukraine willing to formally give up Crimea, seized by Russia in 2014 after the pro-western and anti-Russian Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made clear his war aim is to liberate all Ukrainian territory in Russian hands, including Crimea. His NATO backers — most vocally the U.S.the U.K. and Canada — are willing to provide Ukraine with the means to do so.

These countries hope to see Russia come out of this war significantly weakened as a regional power.

The Russian nuclear threat

While committing NATO forces directly to Ukraine is unlikely, some hawkish western commentators have suggested NATO could do so without Russia retaliating with nuclear weapons.

Even though Russia raised the spectre of nuclear weapons at the beginning of the war, as it progressed, Russian sources suggested that nuclear weapons would only be used in the event of an existential threat to Russia.

Recent Russian nuclear sabre-rattling — such as the testing and deployment of more advanced missiles or Russian TV segments showing the impact of a nuclear attack on the U.K. — is undoubtedly cause for concern, but it doesn’t make the use of nuclear weapons significantly more likely in the short term.

What would?

If the war were to turn in Ukraine’s favour and Ukrainian forces started not only to recapture swaths of territory in the east, but to threaten the separatist regions — or Crimea.

Some western observers have suggested that Russia might employ an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy in such circumstances, using tactical nuclear weapons. Launching them in territory likely to be held by the enemy, instead of where Russia hopes to retain control, makes a lot more sense.

If the war escalates to the point where a western-backed Ukraine threatens territory Putin considers to be Russian, then the chances of nuclear weapons being employed would increase dramatically.

The problem of Crimea

Zelenskyy has suggested that Ukraine will not stop fighting until Crimea is in Ukrainian hands. But for Putin and many Russians, Crimea is Russian.

Crimea’s Tatar population was largely displaced by ethnic Russians — not Ukrainians — and it has a long history as Russian. From Leo Tolstoy’s Sevastpol Sketches, for example, to Vasily Aksyonov’s 1970s novel The Island of Crimea, Crimea is widely represented in Russian literature.

A credible western-backed threat to Crimea would undoubtedly constitute the sort of existential threat to Russian territory that would dramatically increase the risk of nuclear weapons being used.

A distant but increased nuclear threat

Putin’s frustration over Ukrainian resilience and western support is clearly increasing — recent nuclear posturing is evidence of that. The nuclear threat has been increasing since February, even if the use of nuclear weapons probably isn’t imminent.

Even the use of low-yield tactical nuclear weapons by Russia would likely provoke some sort of western response. Such a response would then increase the likelihood of further escalation. Informed estimates suggest Russia has more than 1,900 non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons. The threshold for their use is lower than for larger nuclear weapons.

The sort of scenarios that might lead to the use of nuclear weapons are outside the immediate confines Putin’s war in Ukraine. It would require a significant deterioration in Russian fortunes — and greater western involvement in the conflict.

Nonetheless, not since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 or nuclear tensions in the early 1980s has the spectre of potential nuclear war loomed so large in the future.

Back in 1962, politicians on all sides ultimately showed their statesman-like qualities and stepped back from their threat to employ nuclear weapons. We can only hope that their successors will do the same over Ukraine.

May 10, 2022 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

War and some unusual developments regarding nuclear-related topics – Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

The huge problem with the idea of having a nuclear reactor power plant on a military base is that it may cause catastrophic damage to all human life in and around the immediate area despite official comments from the U.S. Army that there are several safety prevention measures being taken to address this concern. 

War and some unusual developments regarding nuclear-related topicsm By Rick Arriola Perez |  May 09 2022  https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/war-and-some-unusual-developments-regarding-nuclear-related-topics/

Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are one island chain that is embedded in the minds of Chinese military personnel who are charged with selecting and figuring out what adversary targets are most important to knock out, should China and the United States ever go to hot war. 

Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base is a huge military threat to the Chinese and to the North Koreans and Russians. Andersen is one of the most important American military bases in the world. Andersen has one of the world’s largest petroleum, oil, and lubricant storage facilities, training facilities, and areas that store, manage, maintain and load ordnance and other weapons of war. 

Andersen is located atop stolen Chamorro family lands located in our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean Marianas Trench continent. The U.S. Air Force is not formally required to ask permission to fly over foreign national airspace because from the American military perspective, we are close yet far enough away from any nation that requires the United States to first seek diplomatic approvals and notifications.  This is one of the many benefits afforded the Pentagon and the Air Force by residing in Guam and the Marianas. 

Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base is also the perfect location to store, manage, hold, and/or stage live nuclear missiles and weapons into and out of fighters, unmanned systems, and strategic aircraft that are assigned America’s nuclear bombing missions. These activities go relatively unnoticed because of our unique location. Missions can simply be initiated any day or night throughout the year. 

But bombs are not the only thing that is on the nuclear discussion table these days
These days the Department of Defense is also moving forward with design plan options to construct and operationalize nuclear-powered micro-reactors, transportable on Air Force cargo planes, to be used as power generation sources for military bases in remote locations.

These nuclear reactors are intended to generate the power equivalent of up to 1% of a large commercial nuclear power plant once assembled and turned on. The huge problem with the idea of having a nuclear reactor power plant on a military base is that it may cause catastrophic damage to all human life in and around the immediate area despite official comments from the U.S. Army that there are several safety prevention measures being taken to address this concern. 

One rationale that is being proposed to support the construction and design of nuclear reactors is that it will save over time millions of gallons of fossil fuel from being consumed, which is in line with environmental sustainability up to a point. Opposing viewpoints argue that there is simply no need to place a nuclear reactor in a remote military base because the amount of power generation it provides is not really needed because existing diesel-powered generators are adequate for use on remote military bases. 

Nuclear reactor controversies are nothing new to the Pentagon and the Army
The Army previously had a nuclear reactor program that started during the time of the Korean war era, lasting up through the Vietnam war era. The program had mixed results, one catastrophic outcome, and was quite expensive to maintain. The current program under consideration is supported by the idea that having a small and mobile nuclear power plant for use by base personnel will also mitigate military casualty rates associated with the transportation and security protection of fuel in land-based warfighting areas. Supporters also point to the need for a constant source of power generation required for radars and for high-energy weapons.

So why should our Chamorro Pacific Islander Deep Blue Continent civilization be concerned about these developments?
The Pentagon and the Army have identified Guam as one of approximately 10 sites that are slated to have a micro nuclear reactor. The Marshall Islands is also another site identified to receive a nuclear reactor. 

But what our Chamorro people should be aware, as well as the people of Micronesia, especially the Marshallese, is that it is the U.S. Congress, not the Pentagon, that has been the genesis behind the push to get the Pentagon funding to move forward on this micro-nuclear reactor effort. Why is this the case? 

What the Guam and NMI congressmen need to do
Michael San Nicolas and Kilili Sablan have not articulated why Congress has been pushing the Pentagon to look into the design, construction, and use of small nuclear reactors for the Army. 

Both congressmen have not publicly addressed the need for a multi-Mariana Islands nuclear bomb shelter infrastructure study nor has there been any effort by these congressional leaders to introduce authorization language addressing this huge human health, readiness, and life or death safety issue tied to the increased militarization of our Mariana Island chain. 

President Biden will be the final authority as to whether a small mobile nuclear reactor program will proceed or be cancelled. These congressmen have not talked to President Biden about this very important matter.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK PM scuttled Kiev-Moscow peace talks – Ukrainian media

 https://www.sott.net/article/467527-UK-PM-scuttled-Kiev-Moscow-peace-talks-Ukrainian-media RT, Thu, 05 May 2022 ,

UK PM Boris Johnson • Ukraine War Last month’s visit by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was key in persuading Kiev to break off peace negotiations with Moscow, the newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda (UP) reported on Thursday, citing officials close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The West had originally advised Zelensky to flee because Russia would win in 72 hours, but was now backing him fully, they claimed.

According to the “behind-the-scenes look” at the ongoing crisis published in the Kiev-based outlet, Ukraine’s western backers were convinced that the Russian military would seize Kiev within three days and offered Zelensky to govern from exile in London or Warsaw.

When this failed to happen, and Russia offered negotiations, Zelensky sent a delegation with the goal of creating the impression he was willing to make a deal. According to UPthe points of agreement made public by Russian envoy Vladimir Medinsky after the March 29 talks in Istanbul, Turkey “are in fact true.”

Then Russian troops withdrew from northern Ukraine and British PM Boris Johnson arrived in Kiev, “almost without warning” on April 9.Johnson brought “two simple messages” with him, according to UP.The first was that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin was “a war criminal, who should be prosecuted and not negotiated with.” The second was that even if Ukraine was ready to sign some kind of agreement with Russia, the West was not.

Johnson’s message was understood as a signal that the collective West “now felt that Putin was not really as omnipotent as they had imagined,” according to Ukrainian officials quoted by UP. Between what they described as Ukrainian military victories and alleged Russian atrocities in “Bucha, Borodyanka and Mariupol,” the West stopped being “isolationist” and pledged to help Ukraine with all sorts of heavy weapons. Kiev officials are now publicly planning for a “total defeat” and “capitulation” of Russia. According to UP:

“The moral and values gap between Putin and the world is so great that even the Kremlin will not have a negotiating table long enough to bridge it.”

Moscow has said its military operation in Ukraine is proceeding as planned, with the “second phase” focusing on destroying or compelling the surrender of Ukrainian forces that have been shelling the Donbass for most of the past decade. The Russian military is also using long-range missiles to destroy railway junctions used to bring NATO weapons into Ukraine, as well as warehouses where they are being stored.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force. 

May 7, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear War Threat Drives Greater Divide Between U.S., China

NewsWeek, BY JON JACKSON ON 5/6/22   THE ALREADY TENUOUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA RISKS FURTHER DETERIORATION FOLLOWING RECENT COMMENTS FROM EACH COUNTRY REGARDING THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WAR THE OTHER PRESENTS.

Admiral Charles Richard spoke Wednesday during a hearing assembled by the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee about the escalated nuclear threat posed by China since its ally Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

“We are facing a crisis deterrence dynamic right now that we have only seen a few times in our nation’s history,” Richard, who is head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said. “The war in Ukraine and China’s nuclear trajectory—their strategic breakout—demonstrates that we have a deterrence and assurance gap based on the threat of limited nuclear employment.”

During a Friday press conference, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian was asked about Richard’s remarks.

China follows a self-defensive nuclear strategy and keeps its nuclear forces at the minimum level required to safeguard national security. We stay committed to no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and undertake unequivocally and unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones,” Zhao said. “This policy remains clear and consistent. China opposes any form of ‘China nuclear threat’ theory.”He further charged that U.S. officials were trying to shift “the blame to others.””Some individuals in the U.S. have been hyping up various versions of the so-called ‘China nuclear threat,'” Zhao said. “As is known to all, the U.S. is the biggest source of nuclear threat in the world”…………………………………….. . https://www.newsweek.com/nuclear-war-threat-drives-greater-divide-between-us-china-1704340

May 7, 2022 Posted by | China, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Reducing Tensions, Building Trust, De-escalating

The public policy of readiness to initiate attack with nuclear weapons — not as a deterrent against being attacked with nuclear weapons, but its exact opposite — is at the heart of both U.S. and NATO “nuclear posture.”

CounterPunch, BY JOHN LAFORGE, 29 Apr 22,

The United States could immediately take direct actions that would de-escalate the over-arching nuclear threat that haunts Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. A few such actions would demonstrate good will and indicate a real intention to reduce tensions in the crisis which seems every day to grow more dangerous.

1. U.S. hydrogen bombs stationed in Europe could be withdrawn and their planned replacement cancelled.

The United States and Germany are formal states parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Articles I and II of the NPT flatly prohibit the transfer of nuclear weapons from one states party to another. Any fourth grader can understand that the NATO practice of “nuclear sharing” with Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Turkey — which together have over 100 U.S. nuclear weapons — is an open violation of the clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and binding prohibitions of the NPT.

The United States stations an estimated 20 of its B61-3 and B61-4 thermonuclear gravity bombs at the German Air Force Base Büchel, 80 miles southeast of Cologne. These B61 H-bombs at Büchel are identified as “intermediate-yield strategic and tactical thermonuclear” bombs, and “the primary thermonuclear gravity bomb in the U.S.” according to the NuclearWeaponArchive.org.

Calling these weapons “intermediate” or “tactical” is shocking disinformation. The maximum yield of the B61-3 is 170 kilotons, and the maximum B61-4 yield is 50 kilotons, as reported by the Bulletin of the atomic Scientists. These H-bombs respectively produce over 11 times and 3 times the explosive blast, mass fire, and radiation of the 15-kiloton Hiroshima bomb that killed 140,000 people. (For background, see Lynn Eden’s “Whole World on Fire,” or Howard Zinn’s “The Bomb.”

The effects of detonating B61-3 or B61-4 bombs would inevitably be catastrophic mass destruction involving disproportionate, indiscriminate and long-lasting devastation. Plans to replace the current B61 with a new “model 12” could be cancelled now, and constitute a real ratcheting down of tensions in Europe.

2. The U.S. can discontinue its nuclear attack courses underway at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The U.S. studies and plans nuclear weapon attacks at classrooms of its Defense Nuclear Weapons School (DNWS), and the one branch school outside the U.S. is at Ramstein in Germany, the largest U.S. military base outside the country, headquarters of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and NATO Allied Air Command. Outlines of nuclear attack coursework can be read on the DNWS website, which boldly declares the school: “is responsible for delivering, sustaining and supporting air-delivered nuclear weapon systems for our warfighters …every day.”

…………… Dispensing with this nuclear attack planning school would reduce tensions and help eliminate Russia’s dread of the U.S./NATO nuclear posture.

3. NATO can suspend its provocative military exercises.

Attacks with U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe are regularly simulated or “rehearsed,” as is often reported. Recent headlines noted: “German Air Force training for nuclear war as part of NATO” (Kazakh Telegraph Agency 2020), “Secret nuclear weapons exercise ‘Steadfast Noon” (German Armed Forces Journal 2019), “NATO nuclear weapons exercise unusually open” (2017), and “NATO nuclear weapons exercise Steadfast Noon in Büchel” (2015).

Giant NATO war games routinely zero in on Russia. In 2018, there was “Trident Juncture” with 50,000 troops in Norway, and “Atlantic Resolve” was conducted in Eastern Europe. In 2016, some 16,000 troops gathered in Norway for “Cold Response,” and in “Anaconda 2016” another 31,000 troops from 24 countries were again in motion across Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In 2015, there was “Atlantic Resolve,” “Dragoon Ride,” and “Spring Storm,” all conducted across Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In 2014, the routine “Cold Response” game in Norway involved 16,000 troops, and “Atlantic Resolve” took place in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

Beyond the annual “Steadfast Noon” simulations, complex, multinational NATO exercises in Eastern European countries just recently ballooned in number. In 2019, there was a single big exercise called “Atlantic Resolve.” In 2020 there were five. In 2021 the number leaped to eleven, and NATO that year made plans for a total of 95 exercises. Individual NATO states had plans for another 220 of their own war games. Nothing justifies Putin’s naked aggression, but the marked increase in NATO war practices would even make the Dali Lama defensive.

4. The U.S. and NATO could end their nuclear weapon “first-use” policy.

The public policy of readiness to initiate attack with nuclear weapons — not as a deterrent against being attacked with nuclear weapons, but its exact opposite — is at the heart of both U.S. and NATO “nuclear posture.” This perpetual threat to start nuclear attacks during a conventional conflict, especially in the context of routine NATO nuclear war exercises, is unnecessarily destabilizing and reckless. In view of the enormously overwhelming power of U.S. and NATO conventional military forces, the nuclear option is grossly redundant and militarily useless.

After he retired, Paul Nitze, a former Navy Secretary and personal advisor to President Ron Reagan, wrote “A Threat Mostly to Ourselves” where he observed: “In view of the fact that we can achieve our objectives with conventional weapons, there is no purpose to be gained through the use of our nuclear arsenal.”

Now that the U.S. public as a whole has been transformed into one big anti-war group, it should recognize that it can influence our own government but not Russia’s. Our demands for negotiation, cease-fire, de-escalation and a peace agreement need to be directed in a way that has some chance of success.  https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/04/29/reducing-tensions-building-trust-de-escalating/

May 5, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Russian Uranium NOT Sanctioned – Why?

Russian Uranium NOT Sanctioned – Why? Russia still ships uranium-filled
nuclear fuel rods to reactors around the world – no limits. If US has
sanctions against Russian oil, gas & coal, why do we not sanction their
uranium?

Why is the nuclear industry exempt? And who decided? Linda Pentz
Gunter founded Beyond Nuclear in 2007 and serves as its international
specialist, as well as its media and development director. Prior to her
work in anti-nuclear advocacy, she was a journalist for 20 years in print
and broadcast, working for USA Network, Reuters, The Times (UK) and other
US and international outlets. She brings a clarity and precision to all her
reporting, with specific insights into international angles on nuclear
issues. To find out more on one under-represented nuclear aspect of the
Russian war on Ukraine, I spoke with Linda Pentz Gunter on Thursday, April
2

1, 2022 Nuclear Hotseat 21st April 2022

May 5, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

US now preparing for a world with and without Iran nuclear deal

Arab News,  4 May, WASHINGTON: The United States is now preparing equally for both a scenario where there is a mutual return to compliance with Iran on a nuclear deal, as well as one in which there is not an agreement, the State Department said on Wednesday.
“Because a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is very much an uncertain proposition, we are now preparing equally for either scenario,” Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a briefing…………  https://www.arabnews.com/node/2075746/middle-east

May 5, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Germany backs a plan to put sanctions on the supply from Russia, of uranium, the fuel for Europe’s so called ”independent self-sufficient, sovereign” nuclear energy.

Russia faces threat of sanctions on nuclear power industry as Germany backs uranium ban https://www.politico.eu/article/russia-nuclear-power-uranium-plants-europe-imports-germany-sanctions-ukraine-war/

Move would hit the supply of uranium to the EU’s Russian-built reactors, as well as new nuclear projects., BY BARBARA MOENSZIA WEISEAMERICA HERNANDEZ AND LEONIE KIJEWSKI. April 29, 2022    Germany has thrown its weight behind demands to sanction uranium imports from Russia and other parts of Vladimir Putin’s civil nuclear industry in retaliation for his invasion of Ukraine, five EU diplomats told POLITICO.

Such a move could hit the supply of uranium that fuels the bloc’s Russian-built power reactors, as well as new nuclear projects managed by Russia’s Rosatom Western Europe subsidiary, based in Paris.

Four of the diplomats said sanctioning Russia’s nuclear industry was discussed in a meeting with EU ambassadors and the Commission earlier this week, with Poland and the Baltic countries leading the calls to act.

“Germany’s ambassador on Wednesday announced Berlin’s new position, saying they are not only OK with oil sanctions, but they actively support an oil phaseout, rather than just a price cap, and a ban on Russian uranium,” one EU diplomat said.

The fact that Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, is now on board makes the move significantly more likely. A wide range of MEPs have also asked for nuclear to be included in EU sanctions.

“It is important for the Germans, Austrians and others that the EU reduces its energy dependency on Russia across the board. This includes banning imports of Russian nuclear fuels as well. For them it is a bit of a no-brainer,” an EU diplomat said.

The European Commission is working on proposals for a sixth package of sanctions against Russia, including potentially measures targeting oil. Details are expected to be discussed with EU countries in the coming days as European governments seek to intensify pressure on Putin by cutting off the revenues from energy exports that finance his invasion of Ukraine.

It is not yet clear how soon sanctions on nuclear imports to the EU could be imposed.

But any move against Russia’s nuclear industry would not be pain free for Europeans. The EU imports almost all of its uranium from outside the bloc. About 20 percent comes from Russia, making it the second-biggest supplier to the EU after Niger.  

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Greece, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia and the West are closer to nuclear war than they were during the Cuban Missile Crisis, warns Nikita Khrushchev’s daughter – 60 years after her father backed down from Armageddon

  • Nina Khrushcheva’s great-grandfather was leader of the Soviet Union in 1962
  • She said Kennedy and Khrushchev de-escalated when there was a real threat
  • Ms Khrushcheva  added that it was ‘clear’ the current conflict was a proxy war

Daily Mail By JONATHAN ROSE FOR MAILONLINE, 30 April 2022    Russia and the West are closer to nuclear war than during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev has said.

Nina Khrushcheva, an academic whose great-grandfather was leader of the Soviet Union during the 1962 standoff, warned the conflict in Ukraine is more dangerous because neither side appears prepared to ‘back off’.

Ms Khrushcheva said despite a ‘war of words’ during the period of Cold War brinkmanship, both President John F Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to de-escalate as soon as there was a real threat of nuclear action.

Speaking on the Today programme, she said it was ‘clear’ the current conflict was a proxy war between the West and Russia in which Ukraine is ‘to some degree a pawn’.

Ms Khrushcheva, a professor of international affairs at The New School in New York, said of the 1962 crisis: ‘What really saved the world at the time was that both Khrushchev and Kennedy, whatever they thought of each other’s ideology and disagreed with it, and didn’t want to give in and blink first, yet when the threat appeared of a potential conflict of any kind they immediately backed off.

‘We are closer to more issues, nuclear, than any other way, because I don’t see today any side, particularly the Russian side, backing off, and that’s what really scares me the most.’

She added: ‘It was clear on February 24 it was a proxy war because it was the negotiations of Ukraine with the United States first of all and then Nato, so that was already a proxy conversation and Ukraine was to some degree a pawn in this relationship.’

Her concerns about escalation were echoed by former MI6 chief Sir Alex Younger, who said the ‘discipline of deterrence’ that helped both sides back down in 1962 appears to have been lost……………    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10770315/Russia-West-closer-nuclear-war-Cuban-Missile-Crisis.html

May 2, 2022 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘A downpayment on WWIII’: Peace advocates blast Biden’s ask for more Ukraine aid


Brett Wilkins. Common Dreams. Thu, 28 Apr 2022 Peace advocates reacted to Thursday’s request by U.S. President Joe Biden for $33 billion in additional aid to Ukraine by warning against what they called a dangerous escalation and by accusing the administration of misplaced priorities.

Biden is asking Congress for additional funding for war-ravaged Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in “security and military assistance,” $8.5 billion in economic aid, and $3 billion in “humanitarian assistance.”

Biden claimed:

“It’s not cheap. But caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen. We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country, or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine every day.”

The president’s appeal for additional funds comes on top of the $4.6 billion in security assistance the U.S. has given Ukraine since January 2021, including $3.7 billion since Russian forces invaded the country in February.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women-led peace group CodePink, called Biden’s request

“a down payment on World War III. Biden’s call for an enormous $33 billion for Ukraine is over half the entire budget for the State Department and USAID. We need diplomacy, not billions more in weapons!”…………………………………….https://www.sott.net/article/467323-A-downpayment-on-WWIII-Peace-advocates-blast-Bidens-ask-for-more-Ukraine-aid

May 2, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

‘Balancing on the brink’: Senior Russian diplomat warns Western powers of nuclear threat

The New Daily May 22,   Ukraine has shelled and killed its own civilians, Russia says, after some non-combatants who had taken shelter in Mariupol’s besieged steel plant finally made their way to safety.

The claim comes as a senior Russian diplomat strongly hinted that the Kremlin could authorise the use of nuclear weapons against nuclear-armed Western nations supporting the embattled Kyiv government.

Moscow has turned its focus to Ukraine’s south and east after failing to capture the capital Kyiv in a nine-week assault that has flattened cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced more than five million people to flee abroad.

Its forces have captured the town of Kherson, giving them a foothold just 100 kilometres north of Russian-annexed Crimea, and have mostly occupied Mariupol, the strategic eastern port city on the Azov Sea.

Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukraine’s forces of shelling a school, kindergarten and cemetery in the villages of Kyselivka and Shyroka Balka in the Kherson region, the Russian RIA news agency said on Sunday.

The Russian foreign ministry’s head of nuclear non-proliferation says nuclear-armed Western powers are facing ‘severe consequences’ in a veiled threat of an arms escalation.

Vladimir Yermakov told the Russian Tass news agency late Saturday that nuclear war should never be unleashed, and that Russia is clearly following understandings between nuclear powers to prevent it.

Mr Yermakov cited an international agreement pledging to seek to avoid nuclear war, saying that the risks of such conflict “must be minimised, in particular, by preventing any armed conflict between nuclear powers”.

But he said the Western nuclear “troika” [of United States, Britain and France] were “slipping into other positions”, as was Nato in “positioning itself as a nuclear alliance”.

“Such ‘balancing on the brink’ is fraught with the most serious consequences,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week warned the West not to underestimate the risks of nuclear conflict.

Senior US defence officials maintains the US does not believe there is a threat of Russia using nuclear weapons.

The ominous warning came as Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the the border region of Kursk, while the Ukrainian military says a Russian strike damaged the Odessa airport runway.

A Russian missile strike at the airport in the southwestern port of Odessa – a city that has so far been relatively unscathed in the war – has damaged the runway and it can no longer be used, the Ukrainian military said early Sunday.

Russia has sporadically targeted Odessa, a Black Sea port, and a week ago Ukraine said at least eight people were killed in a strike on the city.

As a result of a missile attack in the Odessa region, the runway at Odessa airport was damaged. Its further use is impossible,” the Ukrainian military said.

There was no immediate word on the strike from the Russian military.
Russian forces also pounded Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region on Saturday…….

Russia hopes to take full control of the eastern Donbas region made up of Luhansk and Donetsk, parts of which were already controlled by Russian-backed separatists before the invasion.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a daily update that the Russian forces were trying to capture the areas of Lyman in Donetsk and Sievierodonetsk and Popasna in Luhansk, adding they are “not succeeding – the fighting continues”.

The war since February 24 has turned cities to rubble, killed thousands and forced five million Ukrainians to flee abroad.

While there have been efforts since the start of the war to hold peace talks, the two sides are far apart – which was illustrated by conflicting comments on the efforts by senior Russian and Ukrainian officials on Saturday.

Mr Lavrov, in remarks published on the Russian foreign ministry’s website, said lifting foreign sanctions on Russia was part of the talks but senior Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak denied this was the case.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted since the Russian invasion that sanctions needed to be strengthened and could not be part of negotiations……………  https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/europe-news/2022/05/01/russian-warns-west-nuclear/

May 2, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment