Moscow’s New Found Independence + More

Moscow’s New Found Independence

Hudson noted, however, that “the biggest beneficiary” of Russia having been laden with sanctions is Washington. This is because Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy, is faced with simultaneous energy and food crises, thus leaving it with little ability to pay attention to other matters.

“Basically, Washington doesn’t care if Russia wins the war [in Ukraine], because the US has succeeded in eliminating its competition in Europe, especially Germany.”

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The International Energy Agency says Western sanctions have had a “limited impact” on Russian oil production

The agency added that the European Union’s commitment to reduce member states’ gas consumption by 15 percent from August 2022 to March 2023 will continue to increase oil demand by about 300,000 barrels per day for the next six quarters.

Shipping oil from the US to Europe costs 12 times more than the start of 2022 as nations continue to shun Russian crude

The Aframax vessels are optimally-sized to dock at European docks, which often cannot fit supertankers, an analyst from E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers told Bloomberg, and the current sky-high rates should remain heightened in the months ahead so long as sanctions against Russia remain.

“The market consensus was too pessimistic about Russia’s capability to re-route volumes to other buyers,” IEA analysts said. “Russia’s exports adjusted towards other buyers without a serious disruption to its production.”

How Ukraine Lost Its Riches

How Ukraine Lost Its Riches

If the ‘west’ really wants to deprive Russia of money it must immediately lift the sanctions and restart importing oil, gas and coal from Russia at then much lower prices.

Russia will not lack money to finance the rebuilding of Novorossiya’s great industries. Once that is done those areas are evidently able to support themselves and to guarantee a high standard of living. They will also have enough money to militarily defend themselves against anything the poor rest of Ukraine will be able to finance.

At the end of March, after negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey, there was nearly an agreement on a ceasefire and on the end of the war. Joe Biden then tasked Boris Johnson with telling Zelensky to continue the war. The ‘west’ would otherwise stop paying him. Zelensky did as he was told and stopped all negotiations with Russia.

An agreement with Russia at that time would have kept the Ukraine mostly as one state with only minor losses in the Donbas. But the decision to continue the hopeless war also ended all chances for Ukraine to keep its riches.

It will be poor and helpless while its ‘western’ neighbors will feast on it.

Stephen Kinzer: Neutralism returns — and gets more powerful

Stephen Kinzer: Neutralism returns — and gets more powerful

Many countries recoil from us-versus-them confrontations like the one Biden is now promoting. They prefer to resolve disputes through compromise and to maintain good ties even with countries they fear or dislike. Besides, Biden’s insistence that he is leading a global war against autocracy is hard to take seriously as he kowtows to Saudi Arabia, where dissent is punished by beheading or dismemberment.

A second reason more countries are drifting away from the United States is that to many of them, we seem unreliable. In recent years our foreign policies have zigzagged wildly. Written accords with other countries appear and disappear according to election results. Add our acute domestic problems to this mix, and it’s easy to understand why some countries feel reluctant to hitch their wagon to our

One recent American step has especially spooked several large countries. As soon as war broke out in Ukraine, we and our allies froze billions of dollars that Russia keeps in Western banks. Other countries fear they might suffer the same fate if they one day fall afoul of the United States. To prevent that, they are looking for other places to park their money and imagining banking networks outside of Washington’s control. Saudi Arabia is negotiating with China to price its oil in yuan as well as dollars. Iran’s stock market opened a legal exchange this month for trading the Iranian and Russian currencies.

Blinken and Russian foreign minister discussed proposal for Griner, Whelan + More

Blinken and Russian foreign minister discussed proposal for Griner, Whelan

On the call, Blinken also urged Russia to act on its commitments to end a blockade on Ukrainian ports, in order to allow grain exports. He reiterated his concern about Russia potentially annexing additional parts of Ukraine — or, as he put it, Putin “gobbling up as much Ukrainian territory as he can.”

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Lavrov is on Blinken’s list of people to call

Ukraine says 1st ship being loaded with grain since beginning of war

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Lavrov is on Blinken’s list of people to call

Lavrov is on Blinken’s list of people to call

Blinken also added a second topic he’d like to discuss with Lavrov —implementation of the recent “grain deal”. Washington played no role in negotiating the deal and is presumably hoping to make a lateral entry into the matrix now. Blinken claimed he is “seeing and hearing around the world a desperate need for food, a desperate need for prices to decrease. And if we can help through our direct diplomacy encourage the Russians to make good on the commitments they’ve made, that will help people around the world, and I’m determined to do it.”

Interestingly, in a veiled reference to the US, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavuсoglu stated Wednesday on broadcaster Tv100 that there were countries who “wanted to block” the grain deal between Russia and Turkey, who want the Ukraine conflict “to prolong”, as they think the longer Moscow’s special military operation continues, “the weaker Russia will be.”

Indeed, the war has spun out of US algorithm. As Hungarian PM Orban pointed out last week, anti-Russian sanctions “have not shaken Moscow,” but Europe has already lost four governments and is in an economic and political crisis.

The spectre of the collapse of EU economies is rattling the Biden Administration. A CNN report yesterday was titled US officials say ‘biggest fear’ has come true as Russia cuts gas supplies to Europe. It said the Biden administration “is working furiously behind the scenes to keep European allies united” as the blowback from the sanctions against Russia hits them and the “impact on Europe could boomerang back onto the US, spiking natural gas and electricity prices.”

The report quoted an unnamed US official saying Russia’s retaliation for western sanctions has put the West in “unchartered territory.” Suffice to say, Blinken’s call underscores the desperate urgency in Washington to open a line of communication to Moscow at the political level.

Attack on Syria church gathering kills 2

Two people were killed and 12 injured Sunday by bombardment of a church as it was being inaugurated in Syria’s central province of Hama, the official SANA news agency reported.

Sunday’s attack came two days after bombardment killed seven people including four children in the rebel-held Idlib region.

Around half of Idlib province as well as parts of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces are controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the former franchise in Syria of al-Qaeda.

Attack on Syria church gathering kills 2

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