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Member since: Fri Jun 7, 2019, 03:43 PM
Number of posts: 5,376

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Putin says 'unfriendly countries' must buy Russian oil and gas in rubles.

Source: NY Times

On Wednesday President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia came up with a way to get his opponents to help prop up his currency, by demanding that “unfriendly countries” use rubles to buy the Russian oil and gas that is still flowing.

“I have made a decision to implement in the shortest possible time a set of measures to switch payments for … our natural gas supplied to the so-called unfriendly countries to Russian rubles,” Mr. Putin said on Wednesday.

Sanctions aimed at the Russian central bank effectively froze hundreds of billions of dollars of assets. The actions immediately drove down the value of the ruble as people frantically rushed to turn their rubles into a more stable currency, like the dollar or the euro.

Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the action means that every time a Western country buys a barrel of oil it would be “propping up his domestic currency.”
“If you’re invoiced in rubles, you’ve got to go out and buy rubles,” he said. “I don’t know if there is workaround.”

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/03/23/business/stocks-oil-inflation-ukraine#putin-russian-oil-gas-rubles

The Russians have said this demand also applies to current contracts for Russian oil and gas that is still being delivered to countries in western Europe.

Drone footage shows damage to Mariupol residential area after Russian shelling

March 23, 2022

Drone footage released by the Ukrainian National Guard shows a residential area of Mariupol, Ukraine, still smoldering after heavy shelling from Russian forces. According to President Zelenskyy, more than 100,000 residents remain in the besieged city, despite humanitarian efforts to evacuate civilians.


Ukrainian town near Kyiv that was reported retaken from Russians is still contested

Source: Washington Post

MAKARIV, Ukraine — Top Ukrainian government officials said Tuesday that this strategic town west of the capital, Kyiv, had been liberated from Russian forces.

Media all around the world reported the news, the latest indication that the Ukrainians were waging counterattacks and defeating the Russians in key locations, preventing them from encircling and seizing the capital.

But a visit by a team of Washington Post journalists to Makariv on Wednesday found the town still contested. Russian forces were still in control of roughly 15 percent of the town, an area they have held for nearly three weeks with little shifting of the front lines, according to the town’s mayor. There were no signs that any of the roughly 15,000 residents who fled were returning to the town.

As the Post journalists entered the town, Ukrainian soldiers ordered them to leave, warning them of incoming Russian Grad rockets. Minutes later, the sound of shells falling was heard, with black plumes of smoke rising over the town. Soon more blasts followed.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/23/russia-ukraine-war-news-biden-live-updates/#link-VBZGQTNS4BATVBSEHXXJHYPVR4

"But a visit by a team of Washington Post journalists to Makariv on Wednesday found the town still contested."

Why post this?

Because the truth matters.

I understand the importance of staying positive and keeping moral up and announcing positive news as Ukraine repels the brutal Russian invaders.

The Ukrainian government issues positive reports to boost morale and to tell the world they are still fighting and can ultimately win, I understand that.

But at some point truth matters too. It's important to accurately portray the war in our media to drive home to all of us sitting comfortably in our homes thousands of mile away how desperate and hard fought the war really is to ensure that Ukraine gets the level of support from NATO and the US that it actually needs.

As the Russians brutally shell the remaining 150,000 innocent civilians surrounded and trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol, inaccurate reports of advances in a small village 60 miles from Kyiv that has been reduced to rubble, abandoned by all its inhabitants and still contested by not only the shelling but also the physical presence of the Russian invaders are, I feel, ultimately counter-productive. The truth ultimately surfaces.

The Washington Post's journalists who courageously went into the heart of this contested village deserve commendation for their physical bravery and their integrity in reporting the facts on the ground that they observed first-hand.

US suggests Russian forces are devastating Mariupol because Putin is angry Ukrainians are resisting

US suggests Russian forces are devastating Mariupol because Putin is angry that Ukrainians are resisting

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a Tuesday press briefing that there are a number of theories as to why Putin's forces have "brutalized" the population with shelling and airstrikes.

"Mariupol is, of course, a strategic location," Price said. "But there also may be an element of vengeance... against this population, with Putin perhaps having been under the misimpression — whether he was misinformed or just unwitting of reality — that his forces would not be greeted as anything other than the aggressors that they are."

Price added that Russian forces have faced stiff resistance to the advancement of Russian forces in Mariupol.

Price added that the ferocity of the Ukrainian defense may have surprised the Kremlin — leading to the ongoing onslaught against the besieged city.


I filed this article under "No shit, Sherlock"

Forget No-Fly Zones, experts feel Putin could use nukes anyway due to current NATO pressure

The Smaller Bombs That Could Turn Ukraine Into a Nuclear War Zone

Today, both Russia and the United States have nuclear arms that are much less destructive — their power just fractions of the Hiroshima bomb’s force, their use perhaps less frightening and more thinkable.

Concern about these smaller arms has soared as Vladimir V. Putin, in the Ukraine war, has warned of his nuclear might, has put his atomic forces on alert and has had his military carry out risky attacks on nuclear power plants. The fear is that if Mr. Putin feels cornered in the conflict, he might choose to detonate one of his lesser nuclear arms — breaking the taboo set 76 years ago after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Analysts note that Russian troops have long practiced the transition from conventional to nuclear war, especially as a way to gain the upper hand after battlefield losses. And the military, they add, wielding the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, has explored a variety of escalatory options that Mr. Putin might choose from.

“The chances are low but rising,” said Ulrich Kühn, a nuclear expert at the University of Hamburg and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The war is not going well for the Russians,” he observed, “and the pressure from the West is increasing.”


Much more on Russia's in place policy of regarding "nuclear arms as utilitarian rather than unthinkable" at the link.

My take on this is that the longer the war drags on and the more men and resources Putin loses the more likely he will fall victim to the "sunk cost" fallacy like gamblers often do. Namely, as he loses more and more he will keep doubling down and raising the stakes.

I can't help but feel that the earlier NATO makes it clear it will become directly involved militarily unless fighting stops, the sooner this war will be brought to a diplomatic end and the less chance there will be of nuclear escalation.

Mariupol deputy mayor describes scenes of horror in embattled city

Issued on: 22/03/2022 - 17:20

Two "super powerful bombs" rocked the city of Mariupol on Tuesday as Ukrainian authorities made a fresh attempt to rescue civilians from the besieged port city, which has suffered relentless shelling since Russia's invasion began almost a month ago. FRANCE 24 spoke to Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov about the horrors civilians are having to face.

“Russia doesn’t want to allow Ukrainian citizens to evacuate to the Ukrainian side,” said Mariupol's Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov. "They do all their best to evacuate them to Russia, to push them, to shell their houses ... It's criminal... It's war crimes..."

The plight of Mariupol, a city of 400,000 before the war, has been the most urgent humanitarian emergency since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a month ago. Hundreds of thousands of residents are believed to be trapped inside under near constant shelling, with no access to food, water, power or heat.


France24.com video from the deputy mayor of Mariupol at link.

Do you think our media is giving an accurate portrayal of the war in Ukraine?

By media, I mean both "main stream" commercial sources and social media.

I am truly curious to hear my fellow DUers' opinions on this.

Thanks for any and all responses.

Ukraine is not a NATO country, but they are a NATO partner. People seem to forget that.

Ukraine is, in NATO's words, a "a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner".

On Friday (12 June 2020), the North Atlantic Council recognised Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner. This status is part of NATO’s Partnership Interoperability Initiative, which aims to maintain and deepen cooperation between Allies and partners that have made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions.

As a NATO partner, Ukraine has provided troops to Allied operations, including in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises. Allies highly value these significant contributions, which demonstrate Ukraine’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic security.

As an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, Ukraine will benefit from tailor-made opportunities to help sustain such contributions. This includes enhanced access to interoperability programmes and exercises, and more sharing of information, including lessons learned.

“This decision recognises Ukraine’s strong contributions to NATO missions, and demonstrates the Alliance’s continued commitment to its partnerships despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu.


"Bombs falling every 10 minutes," says Ukrainian officer in Mariupol

People dig a grave in the street in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 20. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Mariupol came under further heavy bombardment overnight, according to a Ukrainian officer inside the city.
“Bombs are falling every 10 minutes; Russian navy warships are shelling. Yesterday the soldiers defused four tanks, [as well as] armored vehicles and troops. We still need ammunition, anti-tank weapons and air defense," Captain Svyatoslav Palamar of the National Guard Azov Regiment in Mariupol told CNN. Palamar said he and his fellow fighters would not surrender in Mariupol.

Some background: The Russian-issued deadline for Mariupol authorities to surrender the city passed at 5 a.m. Moscow (10 p.m. ET Sunday), with Ukrainians rejecting the ultimatum.
The port city of Mariupol, which before the war was home to around 450,000 people, has been under near constant attack from Russian forces since early March with satellite images showing significant destruction to residential areas.

While the Russian ultimatum appeared to offer those who chose to surrender safe passage out of the city, it made no such guarantees for those remaining. Russia has repeatedly been accused of targeting civilians, with trapped residents describing the onslaught as "hell."

The Russian attacks have led to a total collapse in basic services, with residents unable to access gas, electricity or water. Bodies are being left in the street because there is either no one left to collect them, or it is simply too dangerous to try.


"Palamar said he and his fellow fighters would not surrender in Mariupol."

And what then becomes of the tens of thousands, actually probably hundreds of thousands, of civilians cut off and trapped in Mariupol with those fighters?

They are expected just to get slaughtered by the Russians?

Reliant on Russian gas, Germany concerned over winter fuel supplies

Germany, which relies heavily on Russian gas, has major concerns over securing supplies for next winter and is doing all it can to secure alternatives, Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck said Saturday. "If we do not obtain more gas next winter and if deliveries from Russia were to be cut then we would not have enough gas to heat all our houses and keep all our industry going," warned Habeck.

Supplies are "not yet completely guaranteed," Green Party member Habeck told Deutschlandfunk radio.
He added that the government of Europe's biggest economy was preparing for the possibility of shortages "which we hope can be avoided."

Berlin has come in for criticism over its opposition to an immediate embargo being imposed on Russian energy supplies as a means of choking off a major source of Moscow's foreign earnings. But Germany believes a boycott could cripple the German economy and saddle society with huge rises in energy prices as well as lead to shortages.

While Russia has come under fire for its war in Ukraine, Habeck conceded in a Friday interview with ARD television that, where energy policy is concerned, a moral dimension "does not really exist."


Habeck conceded in a Friday interview with ARD television that, where energy policy is concerned, a moral dimension "does not really exist."

Grow a soul, you bastard.

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