Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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We only need to make it very expensive for Putin to invade. If he believes that he’ll lose half of his military asset, he’ll rethink his plan. Unlike us he can’t just print dollars. We need to convince him that we may not have the ability nor willingness to stand toe to toe against him, but we will make him bleed heavily. We’re fully capable of giving him a pyrrhic victory.
Glad that federal government is boring again.

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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The Russian government is beating the drums of war.
Russia warned Wednesday it would quickly take “retaliatory measures” if the U.S. and its allies reject its security demands over NATO and Ukraine, raising pressure on the West amid concerns that Moscow is planning to invade its neighbor.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied it has any such designs, but the U.S. and its NATO allies are worried about Russia deploying an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine and launching a series of sweeping military maneuvers.

As part of the drills, motorized infantry and artillery units in southwestern Russia practiced firing live ammunition, warplanes in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea performed bombing runs, and dozens of warships sailed for training exercises in the Black Sea and the Arctic.

At stake is the future of Ukraine: Russia has demanded guarantees that NATO will never admit the country and other ex-Soviet nations as members and that the alliance will roll back troop deployments in other former Soviet bloc nations. Some of these, like the membership pledge, are nonstarters for NATO, creating a seemingly intractable stalemate that many fear can only end in a war.

Speaking to lawmakers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he and other top officials will advise President Vladimir Putin on the next steps after receiving written replies from the United States to the demands. Those answers are expected this week — even though the U.S. and its allies have already made clear they will reject Russia’s top demands.

“If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures,” Lavrov said.

But he indicated Russia wouldn’t wait forever. “We won’t allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions,” he said.

He mocked fears of an imminent invasion, saying that “our Western colleagues have driven themselves up into a militarist frenzy,” adding sardonically that “the Ukrainian elite itself has grown a bit scared by the Western scare.”

Asked by lawmakers if Russia could expand military cooperation with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as part of its retaliatory measures, Lavrov responded merely that Moscow has close ties with those countries in the Western Hemisphere and is seeking to deepen them.

Earlier this month, Lavrov’s deputy pointedly refused to rule out the deployment of Russian military assets to Cuba and Venezuela if Moscow’s security demands aren’t met.
https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukrai ... 954488ba90

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Even without putting boots on the ground, NATO could cause a lot of damage to the Russian armed forces. Russia is the largest country geographically with 6.6 million square miles, but they always want more. Any written agreements with a dictator like Putin would be like the worthless Munich Pact with Hitler.
Last edited by highdesert on Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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featureless wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:54 pm
tonguengroover wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:43 pm So Biden just said we have no intention of sending troops , NATO or otherwise into Ukraine.
There, the flip flopper just gave Ukraine to Putin. Y'all should be delighted.
Not delighted in the least if Putin continues his expansion, especially not with the loss of lives on the side of those being brought into the bear's fold. But I'm fairly sure there's fuckall we can do about it short of starting a war. You sure we want to go there? I'm not.
Maybe we can tell Putin that he can't go to Afghanistan and that is a final. Then when he does it is a rinse and repeat as long as we don't go back.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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TrueTexan wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:57 am
featureless wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:54 pm
tonguengroover wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:43 pm So Biden just said we have no intention of sending troops , NATO or otherwise into Ukraine.
There, the flip flopper just gave Ukraine to Putin. Y'all should be delighted.
Not delighted in the least if Putin continues his expansion, especially not with the loss of lives on the side of those being brought into the bear's fold. But I'm fairly sure there's fuckall we can do about it short of starting a war. You sure we want to go there? I'm not.
Maybe we can tell Putin that he can't go to Afghanistan and that is a final. Then when he does it is a rinse and repeat as long as we don't go back.
We did a lot of damage to the Russians when they occupied Afghanistan, we just armed our proxies and eventually the Russians left. Many of our NATO partners in Eastern Europe have no love for their former Russian masters and would be happy to help inflict damage on them.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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Politico asked 13 Russia experts about Putin and invasion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sought a confrontation with the West and he got one. So now what?

Diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis appear to have stalled. In the past month, Putin has escalated his long proxy war in two eastern provinces and accelerated a massive Russian troop buildup that now surrounds Ukraine on three sides. The United States, in response, has put thousands of troops on high alert, while European allies are sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine and NATO’s eastern flank. President Joe Biden is weighing a range of further measures, from severe economic sanctions to sending troops.

At the center of it all is Putin, an enigmatic leader with a quest for power and a deep resentment of the West. With the world watching for a possible war, we reached out to the smartest Russia and Putin watchers we know to ask what might be next — and what the U.S. should do.

These observers are the first to tell you that Putin is impossible to predict — but we asked them to do it anyway. Some said they expect Putin to invade, while others believe he is likely to give diplomacy more time. Some pointed to key experiences in Putin’s personal history that could impact how the crisis plays out. And when asked how Biden should respond, our experts offered a wide spectrum of options, from sending more troops into the region to taking Russia’s concerns more seriously to toning down the rhetoric from Washington.

Here’s what they said.

What do you expect Putin to do next?
Shevtsova: President Putin has become a “Master of Suspense” — Hitchcock would be jealous! Suspense provokes confusion in the West, whereas war could unite the West. So far, escalation has worked, forcing the West to look for a deal with the Kremlin. Putin’s challenge now is to prevent suspense from turning into a bluff. In the end he will have to choose between war and farce — which means humiliation, and he is not ready for that.

Kolesnikov: I’m not sure that Putin knows himself what his next step will be. We are used to judging him as a rational man, but he is a man of emotions, and dark emotions. That is how he took Crimea. Even if negotiations and/or the understandable economic consequences of invading Ukraine deter him rationally, he may suddenly make a personal, irrational decision. For now, it is possible that he could recognize the independence of the pro-Russia separatist republics in Ukraine as a substitute or prelude to an invasion.

Menon: Despite the prevailing pessimism, I believe the failed Geneva talks and continuing Russian buildup have concentrated minds, opening several diplomatic channels (U.S.-Russia, U.K.-Russia, Germany-Russia, the Russia-NATO Council), improving prospects for diplomacy. So, I expect Putin to wait, assess the results, keep his powder dry, but not rush to invade Ukraine.

McKew: Putin will continue blackmailing us. Even with no attack, there is a new security reality in the region; we are debating things that were not debatable before the escalation. Russia keeps inching their geopolitical vision forward upon the West and it is very possible that we will lose if we do not stand and fight now — we choose shame instead of war, but end up getting both, to borrow from the Churchill quotation.

Talbott: He’ll wait to see what comes from the diplomacy while preparing for a blitz if the talks fail.

Hill: With Putin it’s always important to expect the unexpected. He makes sure that he has a range of options for action and different ways of leveraging a situation to exploit weakness. If all our attention is on Ukraine, then his next move might be somewhere else to throw us off balance and see how we react.

Graham: Putin wants to break the West’s will to resist his security demands by keeping it in a state of nervous tension as it tries to fathom what his next move might be. So far, Putin has used the threat of force deftly to compel the West to engage in talks. Putin will continue down the diplomatic track as long as he feels he is making progress, while continuing his menacing actions in and around Ukraine. You get more out of diplomacy if you have a powerful military force lurking in the background.

Farkas: I do believe that there is an 80 percent chance or higher that he will use his military forces to seize another part of Ukraine. I also am concerned that he will escalate in other parts of the world like Syria.

Galeotti: So far, at least, the Russians seem to feel there is value in continuing the dialogue, so for the moment I anticipate a mix of some moves to ratchet up the pressure — like the recent cyberattacks on Ukraine and the forthcoming naval exercises off Ireland — while seeing what, if anything, they may be able to get from the West.

Getmanchuk: Putin has made himself a hostage of his own strategy, imposing his ultimatum about NATO enlargement and threatening to invade Ukraine. If this is not met by the West (and especially the U.S.), he will be forced to react soon. What kind of reaction it will be, we can only guess.

Frye: As other tools for legitimating his rule — economic performance, foreign policy success, personal charisma, and propaganda — have become less persuasive, Putin has come to rely more heavily on the security services and more moderate elites have been sidelined. As the hawks rule the roost in the Kremlin, it is hard to imagine that the voices of restraint in Moscow will prevail. Because I expect the U.S. to stick with its commitment to NATO’s open door policy, I think it is more likely than not that Putin will significantly expand Russia’s military action inside Ukraine if negotiations stall.

What would surprise people to know about Putin?
Graham: That he is not an evil genius driven by hatred of the West and its values. Rather, in his foreign and domestic policies, he fits well within the traditions of Russian statehood and foreign policy strategy. Located on a vast territory with few formidable physical barriers and a harsh, unforgiving climate, Russia has historically sought security in strict internal control and in pushing its borders as far as possible from its heartland. In strategic terms, Russian expansion is defensive, although it clearly looks offensive and aggressive to those peoples who have been compelled to provide Russia its strategic depth. This is the drama that is playing itself out in Ukraine today.

Hill: Putin was extremely proficient at judo as a young man and competed at the national level. He approaches domestic and international confrontations like a tournament. Even if you don’t win every bout, it’s your overall performance that counts. You don’t have to be the strongest to win and you can intimidate your opponent and gain advantage just by the way you step on the mat and secure your first grip.

Getmanchuk: Russia is the only country in the world whose official narratives portray Ukraine as a military power that is able to create a threat or even attack Russia. In fact, the country in the world that most desperately needs security guarantees today is not Russia, but Ukraine.

Talbott: Remember: as a young KGB officer in East Germany during the disintegration of the USSR, Putin was not a spy but a counterspy. His job was to be suspicious, and his machismo is a disguise for fear of the West.

Pifer: People tend to portray Putin as a master strategist. I believe he is a good tactician but question whether he is a master of strategy. Look what his strategy toward Ukraine has produced: It has pushed Ukraine away from Russia and toward the West; President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was ambivalent about NATO when he took office, now sees it as key to Ukraine’s security; the Ukrainian public increasingly supports joining NATO; NATO and the EU are relatively unified in support for Ukraine; and Finland and Sweden now insist that NATO’s open door remain open. That strategy has been a massive fail for Russian interests.

Menon: Putin’s use of military means abroad — Ukraine in 2014-15, Syria after 2015 and Kazakhstan most recently — has not in fact been reckless or heedless to risks, though that’s generally not how he’s portrayed in the West.

Shevtsova: For me as a Russian, the most surprising thing is that the West is surprised by every Kremlin gambit when Putin’s litany of grievances was a clear sign of what was coming years ago. What we still do not know is how Russia will resolve its cognitive dissonance — 80 percent of respondents to recent polls want to normalize relations with the West, but 50 percent blame the U.S and NATO for the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.

Oliker: The Russians don’t think they’re the bad guys. They think they are doing everything they do to protect and advance their own interests and security, and that this is what everyone does, and indeed how foreign policy works.

Frye: Despite Putin’s statement that Ukraine is “not a real country,” 80 percent of Russians in regular surveys over the last 15 years would prefer to see normal relations with Ukraine and only 20 percent prefer unification. Public opinion also suggests that Russians are rather sensitive to casualties. The Kremlin has taken this into account in its military tactics in Georgia, Syria, Crimea, and Eastern Ukraine. These sensitivities are insufficient to prevent further Russian military incursion in Ukraine today where the stakes are vastly higher, and the public overwhelmingly blames NATO for the standoff, but they may complicate an invasion scenario if things go badly.

McKew: It doesn’t matter what we know about Putin or Russia when we do nothing in response to Russian actions.

Is Putin himself responsible for the Ukraine crisis, or is it driven by larger forces?
Galeotti: Putin is not just Putin; he is also representative of a cohort of like-minded Russians, the last gasp of Homo Sovieticus, people who have not really got their heads round the end of the empire and superpower status and who believe the West is actively hostile. And, to be blunt, they do have some grounds for this, in that the West for too long did mishandle its relationship with Russia. Moscow feels it only gets noticed and given any respect when it causes trouble for the West, so perhaps we ought not be surprised that it causes us trouble.

Kolesnikov: Putin responded to Russians’ dormant demand for a lost sense of great power. But in doing so, he artificially inflamed pseudo-patriotic sentiments. What is happening now is entirely his and his inner circle’s responsibility, obsessed with conspiracy theories and resentment.

Pifer: The Kremlin is responsible for the current crisis. They have sought to frame this as a NATO-Russia crisis brought about by NATO enlargement. But the last country that bordered Russian territory to join the Alliance did so in 2004. So why the crisis now? It’s very much Kremlin concern about Ukraine.

Shevtsova: Putin is the key decision-maker in Russian foreign policy. However, his decisions are influenced by two factors. First, Russia’s personalized power system requires an enemy, in order to consolidate society behind the leader. The second factor is the crisis and demoralization of the West, which invites Moscow to flex its muscles.

Oliker: Russia’s interests and goals, and its attitude towards both Ukraine and Europe more generally, have been remarkably consistent over time, and under a variety of Russian leaderships. This said, Putin does have a very specific style, and his very long tenure at the helm has led to a very personalized and centralized system of decision-making. So while Russia’s goals vis-a-vis Ukraine and Europe are largely independent of Putin, the way Russia is pursuing them at present are fairly specific to Vladimir Putin and his power structures.

Hill: The bottom line is that Moscow believes Washington took advantage of its weakness after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and wants to change the current security arrangements in Europe, including the preeminence of NATO. Putin believes the U.S. is now weak and Russia has a unique opportunity to force change on its terms.

McKew: What we see now is the traditional Russian/Soviet way of operating, it’s just that we chose to forget this in between crises. Only now, Russia has deglobalized, developed tools to reduce their dependence on the West; this allows them to more completely ignore the rules-based international order.

What’s Biden’s best move at this point?
Hill: Putin and Russian propaganda have effectively depicted the U.S. and NATO as the aggressors and Ukraine as a threat to Russian security. He has put the onus on the U.S. to respond to Russian demands in Europe otherwise Moscow will be “justified” in taking military action. Biden needs to turn the tables on Putin; secure international condemnation of Russian threats and actions at the U.N. and in other institutions; enlist global support for Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty; and tie further negotiations with Russia on European security arrangements to Moscow de-escalating the situation by demonstrably pulling back forces recently deployed to regions bordering Ukraine.

Galeotti: This crisis is not just about hard-nosed geopolitical calculations of power and spheres of influence. It is also rooted in the fears, resentments and angers of Putin and his circle. There is a sharp limit on how effective threats of economic sanctions are as a deterrent. So give the Kremlin some of what it feels is the “respect” it deserves. Cut down on the macho rhetoric coming from D.C., that at best sounds hollow in Moscow and at worst is construed as a threat. Concentrate on keeping Moscow talking, not least because these conversations offer the best chance to get a sense of Putin’s real objectives and appetite for risk.

Talbott: On an issue this serious, the president should deliver a cogent address from his desk in the Oval Office to the American people and the rest of the world.

Farkas: President Biden has managed to avoid military action from Putin until this moment, but it may not last and so he needs to bolster our deterrence in order to increase the likelihood that diplomacy can prevail. He needs to rally the international community at the United Nations, to send air and maritime defense support at the strategic level to Ukraine, and to think creatively and seize the initiative from Putin. That means taking economic, political or military action outside of Europe to throw Putin off balance. It means releasing information about Putin’s corruption and that of the allies around him.

Pifer: The Biden administration has set the correct framework: Try to extend the diplomatic path while making clear the costs of a Russian military assault — more punitive sanctions, more Western military assistance to Kyiv, and a bolstering of NATO presence on its eastern flank. It’s good to see the administration increasing military assistance to Ukraine (though they might provide it more visibly, as the U.K. did with a Royal Air Force mini-airlift). The Pentagon appears to be preparing for an order to move some troops to Europe.

Kolesnikov: Biden doesn’t have good options. Combining containment with attempts to talk business (e.g., not placing missiles in Europe, etc.), with a firm determination not to talk with Putin on his terms about the spheres of influence (20th century thinking) is all he can do.

Getmanchuk: U.S. officials have spoken of “nothing on Ukraine without Ukraine.” I encourage them to be even more forthright: No decisions about Ukraine’s future should be taken without Ukraine’s involvement. Second, Washington should clearly demonstrate to Putin that as long as Joe Biden is president of the United States, Ukraine will be high on the priority list and will not be sold out. I simply refuse to accept that there is nobody among world politicians with the nerve and courage to outgame one authoritarian ruler who has been successfully blackmailing the democratic world for years.

Shevtsova: It depends on Biden’s goal: Is it to prevent Russian military action against Ukraine or to prevent further Russian suspense exercises? Western unity, and its readiness to accept some pain of its own, can stop the Kremlin’s military brinkmanship game of “who blinks first” — for now. But it can’t prevent the Kremlin from continuing to try to disrupt Western unity and coherence.

McKew: To win ideologically, we need success in Ukraine. Our goals: to defend our allies, NATO, Western security and the rule of law, and to lead democracies by standing up for them. On Russia: an embargo on any arms trade (both import and export); an embargo on oil; an embargo on nuclear cooperation. For Ukraine: military/technical support, especially for air defense systems; a Marshall-style plan to bolster the Ukrainian economy. For the Baltics, Baltic Sea, frontline NATO members and the Black Sea: forward deploy men and materiel now to provide massive security guarantees. This will signal to both Russia and China that our friends will not be left dangling.

Graham: Biden needs to keep Russia engaged on the diplomatic track. To do that, he will have to address head-on Russia’s principal demand, an end to further NATO expansion eastward. The challenge is to find a formula that meets Russia’s minimal security requirement that Ukraine not escape its orbit irretrievably while remaining faithful to core American interests and principles about the rights of sovereign nations. That formula cannot be worked out in the public glare that would accompany formal negotiations. So the White House needs to create a confidential channel to the Kremlin.

Oliker: Biden is largely on the right track. The two approaches most likely to avert war — giving Russia what it wants or credibly threatening to engage NATO forces on Ukraine’s behalf — are both unacceptable to Western states. The only thing left, therefore, is to keep talking and impress upon Russia that the costs of further aggression will be truly painful. At the same time, the Biden administration must communicate to Moscow that Western states recognize that the current security order in Europe serves no one’s security adequately. If Russian forces move away from Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies should agree to implement measures, including limitations on deployments and activities for all parties, that can help lay the groundwork for a new order that does a better job. But the administration must recognize that this approach may fail, in which case they will have to take the measures they threaten, accept the attendant costs and risks, and prepare for the next crisis.
https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/ ... s-00000019

The experts they consulted:
Evelyn Farkas
former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia

Timothy Frye
professor, post-Soviet foreign policy, Columbia University

Mark Galeotti
honorary professor at University College London and director of Mayak Intelligence

Alyona Getmanchuk
director, New Europe Center think tank in Kyiv, Ukraine

Thomas Graham
former senior director for Russia, National Security Council

Fiona Hill
former senior director for European and Russian affairs, National Security Council

Andrei Kolesnikov
senior fellow, Carnegie Moscow Center, Moscow

Molly McKew
lead writer at greatpower.us

Rajan Menon
professor, international relations, City College of New York

Olga Oliker
program director for Europe and Central Asia, International Crisis Group

Steven Pifer
former ambassador to Ukraine and former deputy assistant secretary of state

Lilia Shevtsova
author of Putin’s Russia and member of the Liberal Mission Foundation, Moscow

Strobe Talbott
former deputy secretary of state and former president, Brookings Institution
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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The Biden administration and NATO told Russia on Wednesday there will be no U.S. or NATO concessions on Moscow’s main demands to resolve the crisis over Ukraine.

In separate written responses delivered to the Russians, the U.S. and NATO held firm to the alliance’s open-door policy for membership, rejected a demand to permanently ban Ukraine from joining, and said allied deployments of troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe are nonnegotiable.

“There is no change, there will be no change,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Also not up for negotiation will be the U.S. and European response to any Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said, repeating the mantra that any such incursion would be met with massive consequences and severe economic costs.

The responses were not unexpected and mirrored what senior U.S. and NATO officials have been saying for weeks. Nonetheless, they and the eventual Russian reaction to them could determine whether Europe will again be plunged into war.

There was no immediate response from Russia but Russian officials have warned that Moscow would quickly take “retaliatory measures” if the U.S. and its allies reject its demands.

Seeking possible off-ramps that would allow Russia to withdraw the estimated 100,000 troops it has deployed near Ukraine’s border without appearing to have lost a battle of wills, the U.S. response did outline areas in which some of Russia’s concerns might be addressed, provided it de-escalates tensions with Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Blinken said Russia would not be surprised by the contents of the several-page American document that U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan delivered Wednesday to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“All told it sets out a serious diplomatic path forward. should Russia choose it,” he said. “The document we’ve delivered includes concerns of the United States and our allies and partners about Russia’s actions that undermine security, a principled and pragmatic evaluation of the concerns that Russia has raised, and our own proposals for areas where we may be able to find common ground.”

Blinken said he hoped to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the response in the coming days. But he stressed the decision about pursuing diplomacy or conflict rests with Russia and, more specifically, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We’ll see how they respond,” he said. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that if Russia were to approach this seriously and in a spirit of reciprocity with a determination to enhance collective security for all of us, there are very positive things in this in this document that could be pursued. We can’t make that decision for President Putin.”

Shortly after Blinken spoke, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the alliance had sent a separate reply to Russia with an offer to improve communications, examine ways to avoid military incidents or accidents, and discuss arms control. But, like Blinken, he rejected any attempt to halt membership.

“We cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which the security of our alliance, and security in Europe and North America rest,” Stoltenberg said. “This is about respecting nations and their right to choose their own path.”

“Russia should refrain from coercive force posturing, aggressive rhetoric and malign activities directed against allies and other nations. Russia should also withdraw its forces from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, where they are deployed without these countries’ consent,” he said.

While flatly refusing to consider any changes to NATO’s open-door policy, its relationship with non-ally Ukraine, or allied troop and military deployments in Eastern Europe, Blinken said the U.S. is open to other ideas to ease Russia’s stated concerns.

The U.S. proposals, echoed in the NATO document, include the potential for negotiations over offensive missile placements and military exercises in Eastern Europe as well as broad arms control agreements as long as Russia withdraws its troops from the Ukrainian border and agrees to halt inflammatory rhetoric designed to deepen divisions and discord among the allies and within Ukraine itself.

Moscow has demanded guarantees that NATO will never admit Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations as members and that the alliance will roll back troop deployments in former Soviet bloc nations. Some of these, like the membership pledge, are nonstarters for the U.S. and its allies, creating a seemingly intractable stalemate that many fear can only end in a war.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied it has plans to attack Ukraine, but the U.S. and NATO are worried about Russia massing its troops near Ukraine and conducting a series of sweeping military maneuvers.

As part of the drills, motorized infantry and artillery units in southwestern Russia practiced firing live ammunition, warplanes in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea performed bombing runs, dozens of warships sailed for training exercises in the Black Sea and the Arctic, and Russian fighter jets and paratroopers arrived in Belarus for joint war games.

Speaking to Russian lawmakers Wednesday before the U.S. and NATO responses were delivered, Lavrov said he and other top officials will advise Putin on the next steps.

“If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures,” Lavrov said.

But he indicated Russia wouldn’t wait forever. “We won’t allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions,” he said.

Amid the tensions, the U.S., Britain, Australia, Germany and Canada have moved to withdraw some of their diplomats and dependents from Kyiv, a move President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought to play down Tuesday as part of a “complex diplomatic game.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. urged Americans in Ukraine to consider leaving, saying the security situation “continues to be unpredictable due to the increased threat of Russian military action and can deteriorate with little notice.”

In 2014, following the ouster of a Kremlin-friendly president in Kyiv, Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in the country’s eastern industrial heartland. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels has killed over 14,000 people, and efforts to reach a settlement have stalled.

Envoys from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met Wednesday for more than eight hours in Paris on the separatist conflict. Although there was no breakthrough, they promised to meet for new talks in two weeks in Berlin.

The French president’s office said afterward in a statement that the parties support “unconditional respect” for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine.

The talks focused on the 2015 Minsk peace agreement aimed at ending the conflict, and the statement didn’t address the current concerns about a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Those are different issues, and we didn’t discuss it,” said Kremlin envoy Dmitry Kozak.

The Ukrainian representative, Andriy Yermak, was cautiously optimistic about Wednesday’s talks, which he said marked the first major advance since December 2019. He also acknowledged they did not directly address current tensions at the border or resolve past differences.

“Of course, I wouldn’t be honest if I said that we all want faster and bigger results,” Yermak said. “And of course there is nothing bigger than the desire of Ukrainian people to stop the war, to bring back our territories and our people.”

Yermak also said the Ukrainians repeatedly raised the issue of troops now massed on the border. “This is the real threat,” he said. “I have clearly said today that we expect de-escalation not only around occupied territories but also in general de-escalation around Ukrainian borders.”

Kozak said varying interpretations of the Minsk agreement have remained a major stumbling block. He said the the four parties will make another attempt to reach consensus on the issue in two weeks.

Kozak reaffirmed that Russia isn’t a party to the conflict and emphasized that Ukraine is reluctant to engage in talks with separatists as stipulated in the Minsk document. He said there has been no progress on key aspects of the agreement that Ukraine must grant special status to the rebel regions, followed by elections.
https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukrai ... 954488ba90
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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Republican Attacks On Joe Biden Over Ukraine Are A Confusing Mess

With the Ukraine crisis dominating headlines and sparking fears of a global conflict, Republicans are scrambling to convince voters that the tense geopolitical situation is President Joe Biden’s fault. But conservatives just can’t agree on what Biden is doing wrong.

The party’s most powerful elected figures, like top House Republican Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), say Biden is too weak. They want him to take tougher actions to frighten Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has deployed more than 100,000 troops to Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks in apparent plans to invade.

Biden has shipped military equipment to Ukrainian forces, threatened Putin with unprecedented sanctions and rejected Moscow’s demand to forswear new alliances with countries such as Ukraine that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. But Biden has emphasized that he wants to defuse tensions diplomatically, offering to make concessions on Russian concerns, including U.S. deployments in Europe, and supporting European allies’ efforts at negotiation between the Russians and Ukrainians.

Still, conservative luminaries (and GOP power brokers) Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham of Fox News say Biden is moving toward an all-out nuclear war with Russia to aid the hawkish military-industrial complex and argue Ukraine is irrelevant to Americans. Some of their far-right allies, notably commentators Candace Owens and Benny Johnson, claim the flare-up in Europe is being driven by shadowy elites, including Biden’s own family, whom Republicans have baselessly accused of profiting off U.S. policies in Ukraine.

“There is quite literally no Russian threat. Biden crime family is trying to expand their business empire in the region,” Owen tweeted on Monday. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) endorsed that theory on Tuesday, saying Biden wanted to spark a war ― as Moscow carried out fresh military exercises.

Adding to the confusion, some Republicans want to have it both ways. According to Donald Trump Jr., Biden is both too feeble to deter a Russian invasion and too eager to start a war for his own corrupt reasons.

The GOP’s mess is the latest result of its ongoing identity crisis. That Republican dilemma could help Democrats shed their fear of being seen as soft on national security, allowing them to offer a strong alternative message, and could change the shape of the U.S. foreign policy debate for good.

Breaking with Republican orthodoxy, former President Donald Trump slammed America’s traditional claim to global leadership and its longstanding allies, instead frequently trying to withdraw from international involvement and endorsing the narratives of rivals, particularly Putin. That approach bolstered the minority in the party, chiefly libertarians, who want the U.S. to be more restrained abroad, and Trump’s constant repetition of those ideas highlighted them for GOP voters.

Today, Trump still dominates the GOP. And whether from personal conviction or simply for ambition, some conservatives are still pushing ideas that echo his ― often in shocking ways.

According to The Washington Post, one Republican lawmaker serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently outraged their colleagues by texting a group chain about an article on arms supplies for Ukraine’s defense and asking, “Why is Biden being allowed to provoke Russia?”

Conservatives are creating sympathy well beyond Washington for Moscow’s viewpoint, which overlooks the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and Russian support for Ukrainian separatists to instead portray Ukraine and its Western partners as threatening Russia. On Monday, multiple people called the office of Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) to urge him to support Russia’s position.

Some callers said they learned about the situation from Carlson’s Fox News show, Malinowski told HuffPost in a Tuesday interview.

“Callers are being spun up to believe… that we’re about to go to war with Russia for Ukraine, and of course that’s not true,” Malinowski said. “We’re taking Ukraine’s side appropriately and mobilizing our allies to impose sanctions against Russia while giving Ukraine arms and ammunition to defend itself. That said, it’s been America’s policy in the world since World War II to try to prevent dictatorships from changing borders with tanks.”

There is no obligation that could force the U.S. to enter a war to defend Ukraine. But, according to Carlson, who has millions of viewers, a conflict could occur due to American hubris and lobbying by Ukrainian politicians and U.S. defense firms. In his telling, Americans should not see any difference between Ukraine and Russia ― or any Russian responsibility for potential bloodshed.

Ingraham, who follows Carlson on Fox News’ daily broadcast schedule, is telling her fans that the U.S. risks “another hopeless crusade” and Republicans must “resist the war machine’s temptation.”

Ironically, it was during Trump’s presidency that the U.S. most recently neared the kind of “extinction level confrontation” that conservatives now pin on Biden. In mishandling the complex U.S. relationships with Iran and North Korea, Trump flirted with major wars at least twice while elsewhere encouraging more brutal American military action abroad and impunity for violence by America’s partners.

Most elected Republicans have an entirely different narrative on Ukraine. Casting Biden as feckless, they are pushing for immediate new sanctions on Russia ― an escalation before an invasion rather than the threat of punishment if Moscow does interfere further in Ukraine.

But it’s bizarre for the GOP to claim it is the party of standing up to Putin after Trump broke the law to blackmail Ukraine for his reelection campaign and told his foreign counterparts he believed Moscow was correct to claim Crimea, the Ukrainian territory it seized in 2014.

“Most congressional Republicans agree with Democrats on the fundamental principle that we should be on Ukraine’s side and what Putin is doing is dangerous and wrong, but there is this strain in their party ― that Tucker Carlson is encouraging and that the former president was obviously sympathetic to ― that asks, ‘Why can’t we be friends with Russia? Why do we need troops in Europe? Why can’t the big countries just get together and carve up the small countries?’” Malinowski said. “A lot of my Republican colleagues, even those who are very strong on Ukraine, are in denial about the power of this strain in their party.”

Dan Caldwell of Stand Together, a nonprofit group that often works with conservatives, sees the shift in Republican thinking on national security policy as generational and likely to continue.

“It’s more complicated than this just being a Trump phenomenon; it’s a broader questioning across the right of American foreign policy over the past 30 years,” said Caldwell, the vice president for foreign policy at the organization, which is backed by longtime GOP donor Charles Koch.

He pointed to a survey that his group conducted in December in partnership with the well-respected polling group YouGov. In asking Americans their view of a possible war with Russia to defend Ukraine, they found that 55% of Trump voters opposed that idea, compared with only 44% of Biden voters.

“It’s another example of how often Republicans in Washington are out of step with their base on these issues,” Caldwell said, adding that GOP lawmakers could instead say the U.S. should not take on more security commitments or reflexively oppose Russia. Shifting in that direction could align them on some issues with antiwar progressives, who, on issues like the U.S. role in the devastating civil war in Yemen, have worked with conservatives to force changes.

Caldwell believes the split will become a major factor in the party’s selection of its presidential candidate for the 2024 election ― and Republicans could then finally settle on a united direction on global affairs.

For now, as Biden tries to defuse the tension in Europe and bolster his standing at home, the clear divide weakens Republicans’ attacks on his policy of diplomacy and limited support for Ukraine.

It’s not often that a Democratic president can tout that conservative thinker Sohrab Ahmari is boosting him in the pages of The Washington Post, arguing: “Ignore the hawks, Mr. President. You’re right on Ukraine.”
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/republic ... ce54a5e3fe

The Trumplicans in Washington had created an incoherent mess when it come to a foreign policy. They babble total BS and flip flop constantly. The US for at least the last four years and maybe even longer has no stated goals. It just flipped around what ever the TOT saw in a dream while watching Faux News. We are now seeing the results of that misacting. The leaders in Russia, China and North Korea have taken advantage of the weakness of the presidency in the last four years by playing to his ego that he is the greatest of the great and Biden has inherited the mess, with the current GOPathetic members of congress and the party just making it worse.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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highdesert wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:24 am
TrueTexan wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:57 am
featureless wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:54 pm
tonguengroover wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:43 pm So Biden just said we have no intention of sending troops , NATO or otherwise into Ukraine.
There, the flip flopper just gave Ukraine to Putin. Y'all should be delighted.
Not delighted in the least if Putin continues his expansion, especially not with the loss of lives on the side of those being brought into the bear's fold. But I'm fairly sure there's fuckall we can do about it short of starting a war. You sure we want to go there? I'm not.
Maybe we can tell Putin that he can't go to Afghanistan and that is a final. Then when he does it is a rinse and repeat as long as we don't go back.
We did a lot of damage to the Russians when they occupied Afghanistan, we just armed our proxies and eventually the Russians left. Many of our NATO partners in Eastern Europe have no love for their former Russian masters and would be happy to help inflict damage on them.
Just give Ukraine enough missiles to destroy all Russian aircrafts and tanks three times over, and it would be very painful for Putin.
Glad that federal government is boring again.

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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Stiff wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:46 pm
highdesert wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:24 am
TrueTexan wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:57 am
featureless wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:54 pm

Not delighted in the least if Putin continues his expansion, especially not with the loss of lives on the side of those being brought into the bear's fold. But I'm fairly sure there's fuckall we can do about it short of starting a war. You sure we want to go there? I'm not.
Maybe we can tell Putin that he can't go to Afghanistan and that is a final. Then when he does it is a rinse and repeat as long as we don't go back.
We did a lot of damage to the Russians when they occupied Afghanistan, we just armed our proxies and eventually the Russians left. Many of our NATO partners in Eastern Europe have no love for their former Russian masters and would be happy to help inflict damage on them.
Just give Ukraine enough missiles to destroy all Russian aircrafts and tanks three times over, and it would be very painful for Putin.
Yes and NATO countries bordering Ukraine could be the supply line to get anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles into Ukraine. Like Russia has their Donetsk Republic full of Spetsnaz troops (special forces) in the east, NATO countries could have a Free Republic in the West. Russia also has a breakaway portion of Moldova they are occupying and the current Moldovan president has told them to get out.

If Russia gets away with invading Ukraine, it opens the doors to other countries like China invading Taiwan and taking over islands in the South China Sea that they are now claiming. Shades of Hitler and Stalin in WWII.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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I’ve done a deep dive on This subject, and it’s in the the realm of my professional expertise.


Here is a decent public domain document I have found:

https://sgp.fas.org/crs/row/R45008.pdf

My thesis is that Ukraine just didn’t have the economic strength or stability to build up a modern military capacity since 2014, despite security assistance from the US and others. Compare this to Poland (a historically fought over land) that has 3X the GDP, is A NATO ally, and a modernized, Air Force that would exact a heavy toll on Russian troops. Ukraine has an aged, Soviet vintage Air Force with about a 150 aircraft against 4000 Russian Aircraft, nay of which are the latest Gen 4+ type fighters. It’s dependent on Russia for the logistics and parts. Ukraine is In a bad way, and is largely at Putin’s mercy.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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That's a good assessment of both Ukraine and Poland.

Ukraine doesn't have a chance on their own.

If you do a little research, you'll learn that Poland is often one of the better performing of the NATO partners. They have probably the finest armor corps in all of Europe; probably in the world. In war games Poland is either the winner, or second place; but usually the winner. The US hasn't placed higher than 4th in nearly a decade.

Oh, and I really like Poland's new rifle.
“I think there’s a right-wing conspiracy to promote the idea of a left-wing conspiracy”

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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INVICTVS138 wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 5:39 pm I’ve done a deep dive on This subject, and it’s in the the realm of my professional expertise.


Here is a decent public domain document I have found:

https://sgp.fas.org/crs/row/R45008.pdf

My thesis is that Ukraine just didn’t have the economic strength or stability to build up a modern military capacity since 2014, despite security assistance from the US and others. Compare this to Poland (a historically fought over land) that has 3X the GDP, is A NATO ally, and a modernized, Air Force that would exact a heavy toll on Russian troops. Ukraine has an aged, Soviet vintage Air Force with about a 150 aircraft against 4000 Russian Aircraft, nay of which are the latest Gen 4+ type fighters. It’s dependent on Russia for the logistics and parts. Ukraine is In a bad way, and is largely at Putin’s mercy.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Even if they have a sizable modern military, Ukraine is still not in a position to oppose Russia conventionally. All they could hope for (with NATO’s help) is to make an invasion very costly to Russia, and eventually undermines Putin’s popularity. Asymmetric warfare. Become Chechens, Mujaheddins, and Hezbollah.

Russia sent antitank missiles to Hezbollah that enabled this militia to blunt Israel tanks. If a militia with modern antitank missiles can oppose one of the best tank forces in the world, Ukrainian military has a chance to bog down Russian tanks with our missiles. The Russians know this.
Glad that federal government is boring again.

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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highdesert wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 9:50 am “If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures,” Lavrov said.

But he indicated Russia wouldn’t wait forever. “We won’t allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions,” he said.

He mocked fears of an imminent invasion, saying that “our Western colleagues have driven themselves up into a militarist frenzy,” adding sardonically that “the Ukrainian elite itself has grown a bit scared by the Western scare.”

Asked by lawmakers if Russia could expand military cooperation with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as part of its retaliatory measures, Lavrov responded merely that Moscow has close ties with those countries in the Western Hemisphere and is seeking to deepen them.

Earlier this month, Lavrov’s deputy pointedly refused to rule out the deployment of Russian military assets to Cuba and Venezuela if Moscow’s security demands aren’t met.
And here, my friends, is our diplomatic solution. They want troops in Venezuela and Cuba? Fan. Tas. Tic. Go for it. They pose no realistic threat to us and would get some of Russia's finest far from home, where they might enjoy some sunshine, tropical drinks, and local culture.

The Baltics, Warsaw Pact, and former Yugoslav republics joined NATO out of fear of Russian invasion. There is a great deal about the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia that weighs on Putin's perspective here. Serbia was the Russia of the Balkans, and a close ally besides. Staging troops in Belarus might be meant to threaten Kiev, but that stretch of northern Ukraine is definitely in the "take it, please" category of radioactive white elephant. If there's misdirection afoot for an active invasion threat, it would entail Russian troops moving northeast from Belarus, not southwest. Putin has a particular bug up his arse about the Baltic states. Might have a thing to do with the Kaliningrad exclave. If Russia moves against NATO, Kaliningrad becomes the first casualty. Unless they take the Baltics, they cannot hold Kaliningrad.

I agree with the notion that Putin is testing us, and has many options. I also fear the notion that he has painted himself into a corner where he will look weak - or even fear that he looks weak - if he does not launch a military adventure, and win. He can not afford to lose. It will be the end of him, personally and as a historical figure. Humiliation galore. His best move is to pretend this was all a war game simulating defense against a NATO invasion and stoke domestic nationalism further.

He's gonna do the stupid, isn't he?

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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TrueTexan wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:34 pm The Trumplicans in Washington had created an incoherent mess when it come to a foreign policy. They babble total BS and flip flop constantly. The US for at least the last four years and maybe even longer has no stated goals. It just flipped around what ever the TOT saw in a dream while watching Faux News. We are now seeing the results of that misacting. The leaders in Russia, China and North Korea have taken advantage of the weakness of the presidency in the last four years by playing to his ego that he is the greatest of the great and Biden has inherited the mess, with the current GOPathetic members of congress and the party just making it worse.
You need to understand that none of that carries any weight with the Trump Conservative Christian Cult of Willful Ignorance. They simply are masters at compartmentalization and have no problem holding an unlimited number of mutually exclusive positions. The do not suffer and dissonance when faced with any of the things you or the article mentions. Flip Flops are not an issue unless they personally decide that it is an issue.

Since the 1950s the Conservative Christian Evangelical Biblical Cult has succeeded in teaching about half of the US citizenry to never think.
To be vintage it must be older than me!
Stories coming to you from Deep South Texas!
The next gun I buy will be the next to last gun I ever buy. PROMISE!

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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A landmark Senate bill to bolster President Joe Biden’s hand in the standoff with Russia is taking shape, with members of both parties finessing language to overcome the threat of a Republican filibuster.

Text of the legislation is not yet final, and it’s unclear whether the White House will ultimately support the compromise effort. But if the group of four Democrats and four Republicans spearheading the effort can strike a deal, it would mark a significant breakthrough at a time when Biden administration officials are warning that a Russian invasion of Ukraine might be imminent.

It would also come after weeks of partisan jabs over the best way to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has amassed 120,000 troops surrounding Ukraine.

According to four people involved in the negotiations, several bipartisan provisions are in play for the compromise legislation, including a sanctions regime that outlines mandatory sectoral penalties in the event of an invasion, in addition to more immediate sanctions. Senators are also looking to bolster Washington’s already-robust security assistance to Ukraine and provide additional aid in combatting Russian cyberattacks and propaganda campaigns.

Perhaps most significantly, the compromise effort could include a bipartisan lend-lease bill authored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and four other senators from both parties. The measure would give Biden the authority to provide Ukraine with military equipment at no cost, though with the promise of repayment later. The U.S. undertook a similar effort during World War II when it sent weapons, food and energy to the U.K. and other nations.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are also working on legislative language regarding the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that can attract bipartisan support, people familiar with the effort told POLITICO. The nearly completed Russia-to-Germany pipeline has been, and remains, one of the most contentious policy issues of the Biden administration, with Republicans and some Democrats criticizing the president for waiving sanctions earlier this year.

In an interview this week, Shaheen said the group wants to “have a united front, both to support Ukraine and to show Vladimir Putin that he’s not going to divide Democrats and Republicans on this issue.”

“There are a number of efforts underway, and I think there’s a lot of interest on both sides of the aisle in trying to do something that we can get agreement on,” Shaheen added. “There’s interest in moving as expeditiously as possible.”

It’s unclear whether Republicans will be satisfied with the new language. Nearly all GOP senators voted in December to impose immediate sanctions on Nord Stream 2, an effort opposed by the Biden administration and a majority of Democrats who believed that stopping the pipeline project now would lessen U.S. leverage in talks with Moscow.

Senators are using Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) “mother of all sanctions” legislation as a starting point for the talks. The bill authorizes unprecedented sanctions on Russia’s financial institutions and other key entities, but would only kick in after a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus has co-sponsored that bill.

Republicans have pushed for a different approach — one that involves sanctioning Russia before it launches an invasion and ramping up those penalties if necessary. The compromise bill would still resemble Menendez’s original legislation, but with GOP demands incorporated throughout.

“The goal is to get to yes ASAP and convince them to lock arms now so we can move this on an expedited track when the Senate reconvenes,” a Senate aide familiar with the ongoing talks told POLITICO.

The Senate is on recess this week, and the bipartisan group is aiming to seek expedited passage of their legislation as soon as early next week, when lawmakers return to Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) endorsed the initial Menendez bill, but it’s unclear if he would move to vote on the compromise package. A representative for Schumer said the majority leader supports the Menendez-led efforts and is awaiting finalized legislation.

Even if the legislation clears the 60-vote threshold, Republicans could still slow the process. Absent an agreement by all 100 senators, Schumer would have to burn through multiple days on the Senate floor.

The White House did not return a request for comment about whether the president plans to support the compromise legislation.
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/2 ... n-00002885
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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Fresh warnings from the US over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline have thrust the controversial project back into the spotlight.

The US has indicated the new pipeline between Russia and Germany will not go ahead, and officials in Berlin say the project could face sanctions if Russia sends troops into Ukraine.

The multi-billion dollar pipeline is increasingly being seen as a key bargaining chip in Western efforts to prevent a possible Russian invasion.

So what is the pipeline and why is it still so divisive?

What is Nord Stream 2?

It's a new 1,200km (745-mile) gas pipeline running from western Russia to north-eastern Germany under the Baltic sea.

The €10bn (£8.3bn) project is designed to double the amount of natural gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany. Gas currently flows via the original Nord Stream pipeline, which was completed in 2012.

If it comes to fruition, the pipeline will be able to pump 55 billion cubic metres of gas to Germany each year.

Its owner is the Russian state-controlled gas firm Gazprom.

Work on the pipeline finished last September. But Gazprom is still awaiting approval from European regulators before it can open the taps and start pumping gas.

So why is it so controversial?
Critics say the pipeline is a tool of Russian foreign policy - and there has been strong opposition from the US, Ukraine and Poland.

The US fears the pipeline makes Europe much more dependent on Russian energy, handing significant power over Berlin and the EU to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine also wants the pipeline stopped.

Russia sends much of its gas to Europe through Ukraine. But Nord Stream 1 and 2 bypass the country.

That means that with the new pipeline Kyiv could lose out on €1.8bn in "transit" fees it earns on gas passing through its territory. Ukraine says it is being punished for its warm relations with the West.

Poland is unhappy about being overlooked as a transit country for Russian gas supplies into Europe.

Why is it such a key bargaining chip?

The pipeline has been touted as a sanction the West could threaten against Russia to show Mr Putin that any invasion of Ukraine would come at a heavy cost.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has called the pipeline a "piece of leverage" the West can use against Moscow.

Mr Wallace said the pipeline was "one of the few chips that can make a difference".

For Russia, the pipeline is important as it pumps gas directly into Europe, cutting the costs of sending its supplies through Ukraine.

Those backing sanctions on the pipeline say they would be a blow to Moscow - leaving it with fewer revenues and showing Europe does not have to rely on energy from Russia.

So what happens if it doesn't open?
That would not be without big costs in Europe.

The continent is already grappling with soaring energy prices and lower-than-usual supplies of Russian gas.

Germany badly needs the pipeline's gas. It could warm 26 million German homes and ease the nation's transition to renewable energy.

Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned on Wednesday: "If there are to be sanctions, there will be none that won't hit the German economy."

But observers say the bigger danger would come from Russia halting gas supplies from existing pipelines through Ukraine.

There are other gas options for some countries. Germany can also import from Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark via pipelines.

But Norway, the second largest supplier to Europe, has said it is delivering natural gas to Europe at maximum capacity and cannot replace any missing supplies from Russia.

The US is holding talks with gas-producing countries around the world to try and secure back-up supplies for Europe in case Russia shuts off its pipelines.

But there are worries about the challenges of shipping natural gas.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60131520

Image
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Biden says Russia will invade Ukraine.

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Biden is going to be caught between the rock and the hard place over the Ukraine by the radical GOPathetic member of the Congress. If he really goes hard line to Putin then they will say he is doing that to protect his and Hunter Bide's investments in the Ukraine. It he doesn't and Putin pushes more then, he is not protecting our national interest in the Ukraine, aka Rudy's people.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

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