“Why Kaliningrad, Russia’s toehold in Europe, could be the next flashpoint in its war against Ukraine” – TTG

CNN – Tensions are mounting around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, an isolated but strategically significant territory on the Baltic coast that could soon be dragged into the Kremlin’s war. Russia has reacted furiously after Lithuania banned the passage of sanctioned goods across its territory and into Kaliningrad. But Lithuania says it is merely upholding European Union sanctions, and the European bloc has backed it. The row now threatens to escalate strains between Moscow and the EU, which has unveiled several packages of sanctions on Russian goods.

What sparked this row? Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, experts have feared that Kaliningrad could become a flashpoint in tensions between Moscow and Europe. It is Russia’s westernmost territory, and the only part of the country surrounded by EU states; Lithuania stands between it and Belarus, a Russian ally nation, while Poland borders it to the south.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move was unprecedented and that Russia considered it illegal. “It is part of a blockade, of course,” he said. Other Russian officials have threatened a response. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, said, “Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions. Measures are being worked out in an interdepartmental format and will be taken in the near future. Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the Lithuanian population,” according to Russia’s RIA Novosti state-owned news agency.

The sanctioned products barred from being exported to Russian territory by the European Union include construction machinery, machine tools and other industrial equipment, according to Russian state news agency TASS, citing the Ministry for Economic Development. Some luxury goods are also included.

Lithuania has not imposed “unilateral, individual or additional” restrictions, its foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. The Charge d’Affaires of Lithuania in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday and told that if freight transit to the Kaliningrad region was not fully restored, Russia reserved the right to take actions to protect its national interests. But the EU, whose sanctions Lithuania is enforcing by blocking transit, has backed its member state.

Speaking to Reuters, Dmitry Lyskov, a representative of the regional government, was forced to urge residents not to panic buy in response to the spat. The sanctioned products will now have to travel by sea. A Lithuanian official, Rolandas Kacinskas, said Tuesday that “the transit of passengers and EU non-sanctioned goods to the Kaliningrad region through the territory of Lithuania continues uninterrupted. [Lithuania] hasn’t imposed any unilateral, individual, or additional restrictions on the transit & is acting fully in accordance with EU law.”

https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/21/europe/kaliningrad-explainer-russia-lithuania-sanctions-intl/index.html

Comment: The next flashpoint? I don’t think so. No, this is just another problem for the Kremlin and and a rich source of further outrage and threats. What is Putin going to do? Move his depleted BTGs from Severodonetsk to invade Lithuania? Fat chance. Order Lukaschenko to invade a NATO country? Belorussian forces rebelled against orders to invade Ukraine. I doubt those Belorussian soldiers have any stomach for taking on Lithuanian, Polish and other NATO forces in an invasion. They will defend against a NATO invasion, but not attack NATO on their own.  

Putin could launch missiles from land, sea and/or air towards Lithuania from his already depleted arsenal. That would be a hell of a way to test NATO air defenses. That move would stand no chance of breaking the sanctions, but it very likely would activate NATO air defense of western Ukraine at the least. It would most certainly initiate a hot war directly between Russia and NATO. Would NATO invade Russia? No, I doubt we would even attempt to invade Kaliningrad. Strike at activated A2/AD and missile systems? Sure. Belorussian forces that did not stand down could also be in for a world of hurt. At that point NATO would probably directly strike Russian forces in Ukraine. If Putin’s goal was to initiate a full blown war with NATO with all the trimmings, he would do so at that time. 

Now back to the flashpoint. Lithuania’s actions are merely a further implementation of sanctions already approved by the EU and the NATO allies. She has taken other actions beyond this and beyond supplying weaponry and other supplies to Ukraine. She has declared Russia a terrorist state back on 10 May and accused Russia of war crimes and genocide. She has stopped the flow of all Russian oil, gas and electrical power. Lithuania neither wants nor needs anything from Russia. There is little Moscow can do to Vilnius beyond whine and threaten or initiate military action which would lead to NATO military action. At this point, I think we’ll see little more than whining and threatening out of Moscow… until they get much more desperate.

TTG

https://www.ft.com/content/50631fd9-d5c6-4c97-890d-902ab36a57f1

https://www.railfreight.com/railfreight/2022/06/20/kaliningrad-stranded-after-lithuania-cuts-down-rail-cargo-transit/?gdpr=accept

 11,577 total views,  5 views today

This entry was posted in Russia, TTG, Ukraine Crisis. Bookmark the permalink.

167 Responses to “Why Kaliningrad, Russia’s toehold in Europe, could be the next flashpoint in its war against Ukraine” – TTG

  1. Jovan P says:

    TTG,

    Must you hate (someone you perceive as) your enemy?
    With all due respect, whatever your perception of the enemy, don’t you understand that if you let hate in your heart you’ve lost?
    And if you embraced hate even half a century ago for personal, family, historical reasons, don’t you agree that it’s never late with God’s help to get rid of it?

    Why force the Russians to make an unwilling move again?

    • TTG says:

      Jovan P,

      In this case, it’s not a matter of hate. It’s a matter of repelling an invader. Although I’m not overly pained by dead Russian invaders, I’d rather have them live long, healthy lives within their own borders.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Jovan here are a few essential points on the Ukr/Russo War.
      1. Ukraine’s a sovereign state not subordinate to Russia.
      2. Ukraine made no threatening military moves against Russia.
      3. Russia invaded Ukraine.
      4. No one forced Russia to kill Ukrainians or destroy their cities.
      5. Russia could end Ukrainian suffering by going back into Russia. The
      Ukrainians wouldn’t stop them.
      6. Russia has threatened Finland, Sweden, Poland, and the Balts.
      7. None of the people in point 6 (supra) are subordinate to Russia.
      Jovan, this is 108 year old Russian imperial madness. Vladimir Putin,
      Russia’s Pres., contends Ukrainians don’t exist and Russia should have natural hegemony over its western neighbors. Is Russia’s abundant emotion, scorn or hatred. Ahh yes fear! Russia fears the west b/c of Napoleon. Napoleon’s invasion was 200 years ago. Russia fears the Germans. Germany invaded Russia 82 years ago after Germany and Russia invaded Poland. Russia also invaded Germany in 1915, Finland in 1921 and again in 1940. Lest one forgets Russia also invaded Hungary in ’54, Czechoslovakia in ’68, and threatened Poland again in the mid eighties. So who threatens who??

      • Steve says:

        Bill,

        The fact that you need to return to the darkest days of the 20th century in order to find any foreign adventurism from Russia should tell you something.

        You’re right, Ukraine didn’t threaten Russia, NATO did, using Kyiv’s useful idiots as a battering ram they knew would create a response from Moscow. But what Ukraine did was go to war with its own people causing Russia to intervene, which according to US practices (and international law) was a perfectly legal response to the events of February, especially after the murderous assaults of the preceding 8 years along with the anti-Russophone laws passed in post-coup Ukraine.

        Since the start of this war the Ukrainian government – with the democrat Zelensky leading the way – has abolished all dissenting political parties and media, and has been carrying out arrests and assassinations against non-violent local leaders, even wasting their own peace talks negotiator for having the temerity to actually negotiate a possible end to the war. So it seems that Ukraine has effectively become one of those one party democracies we’re all so favorable to.

        But if we must reach back to the 1940’s let’s talk about the Baltic state’s love affair with Nazism and in particular their gleeful involvement with the Holocaust. Fast forward to the post-cold war era and the enactment of anti-Russophone laws similar to those now introduced in Ukraine, and we see that leopards really don’t change their spots. https://www.yadvashem.org/holocaust/about/final-solution-beginning/baltic-states.html#narrative_info

        Btw, there’s talk of secession in Texas right now. Do you think Washington would be justified in launching an all out war on Texans?

  2. Klapper says:

    “Lithuania neither wants nor needs anything from Russia.”

    Directly no, indirectly maybe. Lithuania imports 70% of it’s electricity. Is some of that electricity being made with Russian gas? Or coal? The unintended consequences of the Russian sanctions will be suddenly a lot of countries are going to wake up to the fact that gas production from Norway or the Middle East or the USA can’t be just ramped up to replace missing Russian gas (or oil, or coal).

    • TTG says:

      Klapper,

      Lithuania spent years building an LNG port and the infrastructure necessary to connect to Nordic and EU grids. She was able to shut off Russian oil, gas and coal quickly. The Baltics and especially Lithuania are in a better position to do without Russia than the rest of the EU.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        “Lithuania spent years building an LNG port and the infrastructure necessary to connect to Nordic and EU grids. ”

        And yet you wonder what the Russians can do in response to Lithuania’s blockade of Kaliningrad……

      • Klapper says:

        Having an LNG port and electrical interconnections doesn’t mean that much when there is not enough energy to go around. Lithuania is 44th in GDP per capita in Europe. Can they outbid Germany for Polish electricity when supply is limited? What happens to Lithuanian industry if the price of power doubles and the price of NG triples?

        The only EU politician that can see what’s coming appears to be Orban of Hungary. I see a lot of of cold Europeans next winter.

        • TTG says:

          Klapper,

          Lithuania is now in a position to supply gas to Latvia, Estonia and Poland through their LNG terminal. They now get 70% of their electric power from Sweden through a dedicated underwater cable. Sweden’s power is nuclear and hydroelectric.

          • Tidewater says:

            TTG,

            Underwater cables?

          • TTG says:

            Tidewater,

            “NordBalt (also formerly known as SwedLit) is a submarine power cable between Klaipėda in Lithuania and Nybro in Sweden. The purpose of the cable is to facilitate the trading of power between the Baltic and Nordic electricity markets, and to increase the supply and energy security in both markets.”

          • Tidewater says:

            TTG,

            That’s not what I meant.

            It would be a shame if something happened to these power cables to Lithuania or to Estlink2, Finland to Estonia. Particularly at ten below zero.

            But I don’t think the gateway to escalation is via the Baltic. Keep your eye on Svalbard. The UK, USA, and Norway are in the process of militarizing that archipelago. They have broken the 1920 Spitzbergen peace treaty. The Svalsat antenna farm has become an intelligence hub for NATO military satellites for monitoring Russia. There is even Taiwanese intelligence involvement in these downlinks. There is a new radar system that covers Russian activity in the Arctic. Norway is putting restrictions on certain undersea areas and has been angling, trying to claim the coastal waters around the archipelago as Norwegian economic zones for oil extraction.

            When Svalbard goes dark it will be the last warning. If that happens I intend to stock up on food–enough for four months. I probably have food for one month as things stand.

            After Svalbard comes the big one.

            The defense chiefs of Britain have been warning about the threat to undersea cables for years. In 2017, it was Sir Stuart Peach; more recently, Sir Tony Radakin. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has weighed in on this threat in previous years.

            So what do they say?

            They say the result of a successful attack at certain locations on the world’s submarine fiber optic cables, presumably in their bailiwick off north Cornwall and the western approaches, it would have the same effect on the UK and the American economies as a nuclear war.

            These are very strong statements.

            Nobody wants to talk about it.

            But it’s coming, and my guess is that it is coming sooner than later. Give it six months.

            Wall Street and the City in London will simply stop. Your credit card just might not work. Better have some cash on hand as well as the beans and rice.

          • TTG says:

            Tidewater,

            You’re right. All those undersea cables, telecommunications and electric power, are vulnerable. If something happens to them, at least won’t freeze. In their move away from Russian oil and gas, they went big on district biomass heating. They’ll be sitting in the dark, but they’ll be warm.

          • Klapper says:

            Where’s all this LNG coming from? And what happens in next winters cold snap when wind power drops to near zero? Is there going to be enough electricity to go around? Can Lithuania outbid Denmark for Swedish power? The delusion that the EU can do without Russian energy is going to be burst next winter and poorer countries like Lithuania will bear the brunt.

          • TTG says:

            Klapper,

            The EU needs energy, not Russian energy. The same with China. China now get most of her gas from Australia, Qatar and even a lot from the US. When she starts getting most of her gas from Russia, all that gas from Australia, Qatar and the US has to go somewhere. The world gas markets will adjust. IMO China is the big winner here because they are demanding and getting drastically reduced prices on Russian oil and gas, far lower than what Russia is getting from her European customers.

  3. Barbara Ann says:

    “..merely a further implementation of sanctions..”

    Mere sophistry. It is only a matter of time before NATO and Russia are in a shooting war. This may have started with Ukraine but we are way beyond that now. TPTB in Russia consider she is in an existential war and we must assume her responses will be driven by this thinking. Those delusional folk who still dream of regime change in the Kremlin should consider this:

    There seems to be a growing belief in the Russian elites — including many who were horrified by the invasion itself — that the vital interests, and even perhaps the survival, of the Russian state are now at stake in Ukraine. Unlike the Russian masses, these well-informed figures have not been brainwashed by Putin’s propaganda. Most of them see quite clearly the appalling mess in which Russia has landed itself in Ukraine and the terrible suffering inflicted on ordinary Ukrainians. But the only way they seem to see out of it is through something that can at least be presented as a victory

    https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/06/06/why-russian-intellectuals-are-hardening-support-for-war-in-ukraine/

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Thanks for the wealth of links, especially to Trenin’s several articles, contained within the one you provided.

  4. Fred says:

    “Lithuania maintains that the transit of passengers and goods not subject to EU sanctions will continue through its territory as usual.”
    https://www.rt.com/news/557504-lithuania-kaliningrad-transit-ban-explanation/

    What does the treaty between Lithuania and the Russian Federation actually say? When do the ‘rules’ of the rules based order, or even the decisons of the EU Commission (elected by whom; and authorized by what vote?), over ride treaty obligations of sovereign member states of the EU?

    “Lithuania neither wants nor needs anything from Russia.”
    That’s good to know. A whole lot of other EU member states want and need a lot that Russia once provided, pre-SMO/War. How long before that pressure convinces Lithuania, which obviously waited a long, long time to make this decision (I am sure without any neoncon type presssure/influence) to undo their decision?

  5. Whitewall says:

    This threatened action involves the famous Suwalki Gap?

    • cobo says:

      Since the the Suwalki Gap is reputed to be a primary avenue of attack for the Russians, should they make that decision, wouldn’t starting to put Kaliningrad under pressure make sense, as it would need to be neutralized to prevent attacks in Nato’s Polish and Lithuanian rear.

    • TTG says:

      Whitewall,

      Same general area, but the rail line runs from Minsk to Vilnius to Kaliningrad. There are two highways much closer to the Gap.

  6. Babeltuap says:

    10 for the big guy.

  7. Russia could cut off all oil, gas and coal to all NATO countries, then say they would sell to any countries leaving NATO.
    It wouldn’t pop the bubble, but it would take some of the air out of it.

    • TTG says:

      John Merryman,

      Russia could do that, but she would then have to find a way to transport all that oil, gas and coal to alternate customers. She’ll probably have to do that anyways. Neither side wants to make these drastic changes too precipitously.

      • TTG,
        The point being it would be a much more logical first step than actually attacking Lithuania. Given that Lithuania has passed the buck to the EU, it would be a way for Russia to then take the fight to NATO, without actually going to war.

        • TTG says:

          John Merryman,

          I agree it would be a more measured step, but it runs the risk of suddenly collapsing Russia’s energy market. Energy infrastructure is largely geared towards selling to Europe right now. It takes time for Russia to build new infrastructure just as it does for the EU.

          • Which is why they haven’t stopped it. And why the Europeans haven’t stopped buying it. Given my druthers, I’d prefer having the Russians problem, then Europes.
            Personally I have an old farmhouse that I heat entirely with wood, but then I also have acres of forest.

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          Power of Siberia became operational in 2019.

          5 billion cubic meter of gas were sent through it in 2020, but it has a much higher capacity than that.

          The Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean oil pipeline became operational in 2011.

          It is currently pumping 1,000,000 barrels per day, but can be increased to 1,600,000 barrels per day.

          I think the Russians had their ducks all lined up in a row well before they planned this Special Military Operation.

  8. Dolores O´Neil says:

    This is another form of provocation.

    it is clear that the US, UK and their stooges in the European Comission need a war to deviate the masses from apoying attention to the collapse of their purchasing power and resulting de facto slavery.

    As it is happening with Ukraine, playing with fire could lead EU puppet state Lithuania to lose its statehood which was conceeded by the Russians on condition of keeping the supplies going through Kaliningrad, by a treaty ensrined in the UN.

    For Biden and its bought European Comissioners it would be only a collateral…

    BTW, just saw a video where Biden asks for more money to prepare for the second pandemic which, he asures, for sure will come….More money which has to come out of the US taxpayers´pockets, of course….

    • TTG says:

      Dolores O´Neil,

      Somehow you and many here fail to see the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the abduction of several hundred thousands of Ukrainian citizens as a provocation. Such blindness.

      • Fred says:

        It is a naked act of war. The US and NATO are of course not decaring war, just everything short of it. If it wrecks the European and US economies so be it. It’s not like our elites will suffer.

        • TTG says:

          Fred,

          The EU countries have closed off their airspace to Russian flights including Russian commercial airline flights. Lithuania has stopped gas, oil and coal shipments from Russia and Belarus. Poland has stopped coal. I suppose you consider those naked acts of war as well. How about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blockading of Odesa? Are you giving Putin a pass on that? BTW, Russia has not declared war on Ukraine, either.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            “Are you giving Putin a pass on that?”

            TTG, ‘Are you still beating your wife?’ seems an appropriate response.

            What has Ukraine ever done for the US and what is OUR stategic interest there? That’s never been answered by any of our authors or political leaders.

            “BTW, Russia has not declared war on Ukraine, either.”

            Saudi Arabia hasn’t declared war against Yemen either. You wrote quite a few pieces on that in the prior incarnation of SST. However your ancestral hatred of Russia didn’t cloud your judgement in analyzing that conflict like it has for the past 100+days regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war.

      • James says:

        TTG,

        You speak of “the abduction of several hundred thousands of Ukrainian citizens”. Can you provide any evidence to back up the accusations of yours? This Ukrainian woman paints a very different picture than the one that you are painting:
        https://southfront.org/woman-from-azovstal-ukraine-as-a-state-is-dead-for-me/

        • TTG says:

          James,

          They’re doing it and they’re crowing about it. They are orcs.

          “Moscow. June 18th. INTERFAX.RU – The Russian military reported that more than 1.9 million people, including over 307 thousand children, have been evacuated to Russia from dangerous regions of Ukraine, the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics since the end of February.
          “Despite all the difficulties created by the Kyiv authorities, over the past 24 hours, without the participation of the Ukrainian side, 29,733 people, including 3,502 children, have been evacuated to the territory of the Russian Federation from dangerous regions of Ukraine and the Donbass republics. A total of 1,936,911 since the beginning of the special military operation, of which 307,423 are children,” Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation, said at a briefing on Saturday.”

          • James says:

            TTG,

            With respect – evacuating people from a war zone does not equal “abduction” … unless they are subsequently held prisoner and not allowed to go to Lviv or Berlin or wherever you imagine they would rather be. The fact of the matter is that many Ukrainians have voluntarily chosen to go to Russia because they would rather be there.

            If you can show us a video of a Ukrainian woman saying on video that she is being held against her will in Russia I would love to see it. But I don’t think you can produce such a video because I don’t think any such woman actually exists.

            (Between you and me – yes they are orcs. But I can’t stay silent when people are spreading stories that I am convinced are untrue.)

          • James says:

            TTG,

            Thanks for the link. I watched the whole video. The only people who were detained were fighting aged males (the same people we detained in Iraq and Afghanistan). Nobody had their passports confiscated. Nobody was locked up. The people who wanted to go to Tallinn were allowed to do so.

    • Bill Roche says:

      DON; I d/n know that Lithuania was a puppet state. Russia “conceded” her statehood? I thought Lithuania declared her independence after ’89. Russia conceded nothing. I also thought Lithuania had a history independent of Russia … no? Do you feel that independence was also conceded to Latvia and Estonia by Russia. Perhaps the Russians allowed Finland to remain a quasi independent state too? Nice Russians; so misunderstood.

  9. Ramojus says:

    As I commented when all this started in 2014:
    Koenigsberg in exchange for Crimea and Donbas, Odessa etc.

    To paraphrase Don Rickles in “Kelly’s Heroes”: “… offer them a deal… you know a deal, deal… This is a business”.

    • TTG says:

      Ramojus,

      Given the shape Ukraine was in back then, that proposal might have worked. Ukraine has since grown as a nation and I doubt they would even entertain giving up that much of their country.

      I read there was some talk within Kaliningrad for independence and the formation of a 4th Baltic nation. Don’t know where that stands now or if Russia would ever let it go given its importance as a Baltic Sea port.

      • OIFVet says:

        The only ethnic Lithuanian, the only ethnic Latvian, and the only ethnic Estonian in Kaliningrad are looking for a nice, steady source of income. They approach a US/NATO funded “NGO” with a proposal: “If you put us on the payroll, we will found an NGO that will work for Kaliningrad becoming an independent state.” The US/NATO funded NGO agrees, and the sole ethnic Baltics form an NGO and proclaim that “There is a growing movement within Kaliningrad for independence and becoming the fourth Baltic state.” TTG picks it up and runs with it.

        Sometimes, fiction has a funny way of being indistinguishable from the truth of how the the “NGO” Industrial Complex operates to create the appearance that something exists that in reality exists only in the wet dreams of the deep state.

        • TTG says:

          OIFVet,

          I was referring to the Baltic Republican Party, founded in 1993. It was an official party in the RF until banned by Moscow in 2003. They wanted status as an autonomous region as a minimum or full independence from Moscow. They harken back to their Prussian heritage, an ancient Baltic culture. Party leaders and activists are now imprisoned by the FSB in Kaliningrad.

          • Stefan says:

            TTG,

            You really want to push for German/Prussian claims in the region? And what happens when the same demands are made in Poland? What about ethnic Germans who would want a whole Pomerania…..East Brandenburg, Eastern Lusatia….etc? About 1/3 of Germany was lost after WW2. I don’t think the Poles or much of Central/Eastern Europe wants to open than can of worms. But by all means, if you want to push for ethnic German claims to annoy the Russians, why note advocate for all of German lands taken at the end of WW1 and WW2 to be returned. Gonna be huge changes coming. And the Germans are a changed people, sure there is no worries about wakening a sleeping German nationalism right?

          • TTG says:

            Stefan,

            I’m not pushing anyone’s claims on Kaliningrad whether it be German, Polish, Russian or some resurrected Order of the Teutonic Knights. I’m just saying the sentiment for independence among some of the inhabitants of Kaliningrad exists. Maybe way back when they had ancestors among the original Baltic Prussians.

      • Ramojus says:

        TTG,

        If you could supply a link detailing “Koenigsberg ” (Kalingrad) independence, I would be interested in reading it. This is the first time I’ve heard about that narrative. Ačiu

  10. Personanongrata says:

    “Why Kaliningrad, Russia’s toehold in Europe, could be the next flashpoint in its war against Ukraine” – TTG

    Russia will circumvent Lithuania’s posturing by shipping goods to Kaliningrad by sea.

    Belorussian forces rebelled against orders to invade Ukraine.

    Is there any evidence to support this claim?

    Putin could launch missiles from land, sea and/or air towards Lithuania from his already depleted arsenal.

    Please post evidence to support the depleted arsenal claim – anecdotal evidence does not count.

    • TTG says:

      Of course they can ship goods by sea. Neither Lithuania nor the EU has any intention of blockading the port of Kaliningrad. Moscow is whining because they are being inconvenienced and now have to dedicate resources to keeping Kaliningrad supplied by sea for most goods.

      Reports out of Belarus itself talked about Belorussian units refusing to cross into Ukraine. There was even sabotage of rail lines by Belorussian rail workers to hinder the movement of Russian units.

      Of course Russian missiles are depleted. They’ve been launching them at Ukraine for now well over 100 days. Replacements don’t appear magically. Same with tanks. They’re using T-62s and BMP-1s because they’re running out of T-80s and BMP-3s.

  11. Worth Pointing Out says:

    This is madness. What the Lithuanians are blocking are goods from Russia to… Russia.

    A crazy provocation.

    What the Lithuanians should have told the EU is that they don’t know what is inside those trains because they refuse to look inside them.

    Stuff that’s “sanctioned” by the EU? Don’t know, don’t care. It’s not intended for us, it’s not intended for you, it’s intended from them.

    Your cavalier attitude towards this provocation – shared by the EU, obviously – is deeply disturbing. And if I were a resident of Vilnius then I would be bringing forward my holiday plans and catching the next flight to, oh, I dunno, the Canary Islands.

    NB you ask what the Russians can do about this. Why are you even posing that question? Why, indeed, be this hairy-chested over an issue that can not possibly end well.

    I honestly thought you were smarter than this.

    • TTG says:

      WPO,

      And I thought Moscow was smart enough to not launch a shooting war by invading Ukraine. With that kind of provocation, I’m amazed Lithuania didn’t just shut the border all together. It was the EU holding them back froma full land route blockade. There has been no effort to block the seaport of Kaliningrad. They won’t starve.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        “And I thought Moscow was smart enough to not launch a shooting war by invading Ukraine.”

        And that is Lithuania’s business… how?

        • TTG says:

          WPO,

          Lithuania, NATO and the EU are supporting Ukraine in her fight against the Russian invader. It’s that simple.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            No, it is “simplistic”.

            An armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine is no business of Lithuania, NATO or the European Union.

            Simple. As. That.

          • TTG says:

            WPO,

            Lithuania, the other Baltics, Poland, and the rest of NATO disagree with you. They have all decided that helping Ukraine defeat the invader is their business. I guess you’re a “Peace in our time” kind of guy.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            No, I just have some common-sense.

            It’s a commodity that is in short supply right now.

        • fredw says:

          WPO

          “No, I just have some common-sense.”

          It might be so, but the essential fact is that it is their call to make, not yours. Lithuania is a sovereign state fully entitled to control its own territory. They participate in international agreements based on their relationships with other countries. I would guess that they have a deep and detailed understanding of their interests, grounded in obsessive fascination with events in eastern Europe. You are a kibitzer; they are players.

          We can question their understanding or the effectiveness of their actions, but I don’t see how we can question whether this is, however tangentially, their business. Are we supposed to see no interest of our own when others are robbed or assaulted? That way leads to quick and ignominious slavery.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “It might be so, but the essential fact is that it is their call to make, not yours.”

            Indeed true. But if the call they make is utter madness then I am within my rights to point that out.

            Take the subject of this article: Lithuania (and the entire EU) has made a judgement-call that virtue-signaling over Ukraine is something worth risking WW3 for.

            Both TTG and I readily accept that the Russians can substitute sea and air transport for the now-blocked train transit.

            So it has minimal *effect* of Russia itself, and absolutely *zero* effect on Russia’s execution of this war with Ukraine.

            That is Virtue-signaling at its most obvious.

            But the wisdom of that virtue-signaling *entirely* hinges on their estimation (shared by TTG) that Russia won’t respond to this with force.

            If the Russians *do* defy those expectations (and they have already done so once, and nobody but me seems to be acknowledging that indisputable fact) then Lithuania’s little exercise at virtue-signaling will result in WW3.

            So to my mind (you don’t agree, nor does TTG) the best description for Lithuania’s little virtue-signaling stunt is spelt: C.R.A.Z.Y.

            It is the highest of high stakes game of chicken, with not just the lives of the citizens of Lithuania at stake, but EVERYBODY’S lives at risk.

  12. walrus says:

    Every public action by Europe since 2014 and perhaps earlier, with the possible exception of secret peace overtures, has been totally uncompromising towards Russia. Every public action. By that I mean I cannot detect the slightest suggestion from Western Governments that Russia may have legitimate grievances at all, about anything, not one. What happened to Minsk II? This in itself is unusual and in my opinion indicates that the American led West manifests secret aggressive intentions towards Russia since the deposing of Yeltsin and the realisation that the new Government of Russia wasn’t going to let the country be exploited by Wall Street.

    I mean fairy stories about poisoning critics, barrel bombs in Syria, bounties on American scalps in Afghanistan, conspiracies to shoot down airliners, political repression, the Ukraine coup and of course Russiagate are obviously part of a deliberate strategy to marginalise and destabilise Russia. Before you accuse me of being a Russian dupe, or worse,I challenge you to track each and every one of these stories back to the facts. None of them, not one, has a solid foundation of proven, incontrovertible, Russian wrongdoing.

    It is as if this crud was switched on like a light after it became obvious that Russia wasn’t going to bend over and accept globalisation and the domination of its economy by Wall Street like so many other countries.It is as if we have been watching a Walt Disney script about a battle between good and evil. Successive American Administrations followed this playbook until Trump came along and look what has been done to him for merely suggesting that some rapprochement with Russia was possible.

    In dealing with narcissists and psychopaths the general public – the average man, consistently underestimate and are in denial about the level of evil that these creatures manifest. That is why these monsters get away with their crimes – general disbelief. What has happened now, thanks to Ukraine and Western behaviour is that Russia’s population is now in no doubt that they are in an existential battle against a bunch of psychopaths.
    Losing means Wall Street will feed on their carcass.

    The problem for the West – the general public, not our leaders, is that if Russia loses, an untrammelled Wall Street will be free to feed on us as well.

    • TTG says:

      walrus,

      Since 2014, Russia has been uncompromising towards Ukrainian sovereignty. For several months prior to this recent invasion of Ukraine, Russia was making uncompromising demands towards Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe as well. Those countries are sovereign as well and free to choose who they ally themselves with. They do not have to submit to being within Moscow’s sphere of influence. They know where that leads.

      Russia does not have to accept globalization and Wall Street domination. They can decouple from the Western economy and seek another path. It will be painful for all, but it may eventually be for the better. There will be a realignment of economies and, hopefully, a greater move towards national and regional autarky. That will be at the expense of the globalists and I’m fine with that.

    • southpoint says:

      Walrus
      “Before you accuse me of being a Russian dupe, or worse”
      I see you have a “rus” in your name. Obviously you’re a Putinista!

      Hey, this is just another bump in the road. Russia will here for a long time. Probably to the end. I doubt Putin is a quakin’ in his shoes. He’s probably laughing his ass off.

      New Navy training film(I kid you not).
      https://youtu.be/kIQ9R25hXPo

      • Barbara Ann says:

        southpoint

        I’m speechless. There might be a lot wrong with the Russian military, but at least it’s not being indoctrinated by a cult.

      • morongobill says:

        John Paul Jones has got to be rolling in his grave.

        I managed to watch half of the video.

    • Fred says:

      Walrus,

      “fairy stories about poisoning critics, barrel bombs in Syria, bounties on American scalps in Afghanistan, conspiracies to shoot down airliners, … and of course Russiagate are obviously part of a deliberate strategy …”

      We used to get some very insightful and generally emotion free analysis of events just like that here and at SST.

    • borko says:

      walrus

      After the collapse of the USSR, the US had an excellent opportunity to start building trust and partnership with Russia. Instead it kept trying to turn it into a vassal state. And now we find ourselves riding this escalation train.

      As the tension builds up, eventually all that will be needed is an event that might gets into a nuclear conflict.

      In 1914, a Bosnian Serb nationalist got lucky and took out the Archduke and his wife. Maybe a Ukrainian nationalist gets lucky and takes out Putin or a member of his family.

      With enough fuel laying around, you only need a spark.

      • Bill Roche says:

        Borko you are absolutely correct. What if Russia’s missiles get lucky and kill Zelinsky … well, ok, he’s just another “ukie bullyck.”
        That would be no matter.

        • borko says:

          Bill

          If Z were to get killed he would be forgotten by most Americans in 6 months to a year.

          • Bill Roche says:

            That’s not the point and you know it. Z is insignificant b/c he is Ukrainian. They are insignificant b/c they are subordinant to Russians. That is the issue here. Those damned Ukrainians don’t agree. All the rest of the arguments etc. don’t matter. This war has always been as simple as tribal supremacy. BTW my friend, the Russians will have to convince every other Slav, Balt, Finn and Swede that they are the supreme humans of the European north. Do you think they are?

          • borko says:

            Bill

            I never made any such claims.

  13. Socal Rhino says:

    A question on terms. I thought sanctions prevented the sale to or purchase from a country. The transit through Lithunia of goods sent between Belarus and Kalinigrand doesn’t seem to fit that, but is more like a blockade. Others understand this differently?

    • TTG says:

      Social Rino,

      A blockade would involve blocking the seaport as well as rail lines. These sanctions just prevent Russia having free access to Lithuanian rail infrastructure and doesn’t even involve a complete blockade of the rail routes. Unsanctioned items are still permitted transit.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        You are avoiding Social Rhino’s main point: what Lithuania is doing is blocking the transit of goods from one part of Russia to another part of Russia.

        It is not imposing sanctions on the sale of goods that Lithuania either imports from Russia or exports to Russia.

        The latter is a “sanction”, the former is a “blockade”.

        To claim that it isn’t a blockade because the Russians have other means of moving those goods between its various oblasts is ludicrous: you might as well argue that the Berlin Airlift was merely an example of “sanctions” that were imposed by the USSR.

        • TTG says:

          WPO,

          Russia is free to ship any goods, including weapons and EU sanctioned goods, to Kaliningrad by sea. They just can’t use Lithuanian rail lines to ship EU sanctioned goods. I doubt Belarus would allow the Baltics to ship goods to Ukraine over their rail lines.

          Lithuania just announced Russia can’t ship those sanctioned goods over Lithuanian roads, either.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “Russia is free to ship any goods, including weapons and EU sanctioned goods, to Kaliningrad by sea.”

            And you are detailing a situation where goods are being shipped from one part of the Russian Federation to another part of the Russian Federation.

            Hold. That. Thought.

            ” They just can’t use Lithuanian rail lines to ship EU sanctioned goods.”

            And, once more, yet again, that is a situation where Lithuania is blocking the supply of goods from one part of the Russian Federation to another part of the Russian Federation.

            ” I doubt Belarus would allow the Baltics to ship goods to Ukraine over their rail lines.”

            F**k me, how may times do I have to say this?

            Goods going from Vilnius to Kyiv are NOT goods being transported from one part of Lithuania to another part of Lithuania.

            You are comparing apples with oranges and declaring that you can not taste the difference.

            Your argument is indefensible.

          • TTG says:

            WPO,

            OK, you got me there. Goods from Lithuania to Ukraine are not the same as goods from Russia to Kaliningrad. And there is a UN agreement between Moscow and Vilnius concerning the transshipment of passengers and certain goods. The shipment of those goods and passengers are still allowed. But even that agreement can be terminated by either side. Russia has no right of passage across Lithuania.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “Russia has no right of passage across Lithuania.”

            A quick question: in some future dystopia if the Canadians blocked all transit through its territory of goods and passengers between Alaska and the rest of the USA what, exactly, would you expect the reaction to be from the White House?

            I’m saying the White House would go to war over that.

            What say you?

          • TTG says:

            WPO,

            Go to war? No. Close the US-Canadian border to all Canadian traffic? Maybe. Air travel and sea travel are still available and are the most favored modes of transportation.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            To say that I do not agree with your rose-colored prediction is an understatement.

            Washington would use threats, arm-twisting, and retaliatory sanctions, sure, but in the end would resort to brute force against the Canadians rather than accept the permanence of such a blocking of transit.

            That you believe otherwise brings into question your understanding of, well, anything.

            And this is the real, fundamental difference between you and I over Lithuania’s decision, which I believe to be madness and you believe to be no big deal.

            It is predicated upon your belief that the Russians will simply sit back and meekly accept it.

            It is the same mindset that led you (and I, which I admit) to predict that Russia would not launch an invasion of Ukraine.

            But invade they did, and I learnt the lesson that the Russians have finally had enough and are (a) unwilling to meekly accept provocations and (b) are unafraid of the consequences of acting.

            They have confounded you once already, so why, why, why, are you so blaise about the Very Distinct Possibility that they will confound you again?

            This is crazy. It amounts to poking the bear when YOU ALREADY KNOW that bear is angry and not afraid of lashing out.

            F**king. Madness.

          • TTG says:

            WPO,

            The only link between CONUS and Alaska through Canada is the ALCAN Highway, a two lane road and not an important transit link. There are no rail links. Transit to Alaska is by sea and air. We wouldn’t go to war over the ALCAN.

            NATO closed all air routes to Serbia and prevented Lavrov from flying there for a scheduled diplomatic visit. Moscow did squat about it. They’ll add more ferries to the Saint Petersburg-Kaliningrad line and live with it. They don’t have the forces for a war in Ukraine and a war in the Baltics that would bring NATO forces into play.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “NATO closed all air routes to Serbia and prevented Lavrov from flying there for a scheduled diplomatic visit. Moscow did squat about it.”

            And Serbia is not an oblast of the Russian Federation.

            Honestly, I am getting weary of pointing out that you keep comparing apples with oranges.

            “They’ll add more ferries to the Saint Petersburg-Kaliningrad line and live with it.”

            And if they decide not to take your advice, and decide they can’t live with this?

            This is a roll of the dice that is as dangerous as it is unnecessary.

            “They don’t have the forces for a war in Ukraine”

            Get go to war with Ukraine they did. How oddly un-reassuring.

            “and a war in the Baltics that would bring NATO forces into play”

            And I’ll point out again that this argument is rather underwhelming considering that they did decide to invade Ukraine, even though you insisted that they had neither the forces nor the balls to do so.

            The Russian calculus is – apparently – very different to your own.

            It is a demonstrable, irrefutable fact that they have been willing to fight even in situations where you think they will not.

            You’ve been wrong once, yet this this has not made the slightest dent in your preconceptions.

            Does Vilnius have to be overrun before you consider that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t such a good idea?

          • fredw says:

            WPO

            The comparison breaks down for a simple reason. The United States and Canada are interdependent in many many aspects. The pressure we could bring on each other would be immense. Russia really has no non-military pressure to deploy. As TTG pointed out in an earlier post, Lithuania has no need of Russia. This is deliberate. They spent serious effort and resources over decades to make it so.

          • TTG says:

            fredw,

            True. The interdependence is immense, especially for Canada. And the ALCAN Highway is not an important part of that interdependence. A more apt comparison could be made with an attempted sea blockade of Hawaii or the blocking of pipelines for Alberta tar sands. The latter actually happened and there was no threat of war.

            Lithuania’s efforts to disconnect from Russia are indeed deliberate. Given today’s conditions, those efforts were positively brilliant. In addition to the Klaipeda LNG terminal and the Nord-Balt power transmission line, Lithuania has already managed to cover a quarter of her energy needs with homegrown renewables, primarily hydroelectric, wind and biomass (wood for home heating?). They’re pretty far north to go big on solar. Now the rest of Europe has to catch up.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            according to wiki that cable is rated at 700MW.
            “Electricity:
            Lithuania imports 70% of its power, mostly from Sweden, and the average price of electricity is among the highest in the EU.”

            They are no where near self sufficient in electric power generation and should have resolved that problem years ago.

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            Of course they’re not self sufficient in EP generation. That’s why they built the NordBalt power cable and the Klaipeda LNG terminal. That’s also why they switched from Russian gas to home grown biomass district heating for almost all home heating needs.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            Building a billion dollar cable to Sweden didn’t make them energy independent. They need their own power plants. Biomas and the rest won’t do it, but boy it sure signals their virtue.

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            And what will fuel those power plants? In the past it was imported Russian oil and gas. There are no fossil fuel deposits in Lithuania and the public does not support building a new nuclear plant. Now the fuel for those power plants will be imported LNG. The source of that imported gas makes no change in the level of energy independence. But it does make Lithuania independent in all ways from Russia. The locally grown biomass replaced Russian gas in the home heating sector and it lowered home heating costs by 45%. It’s a pragmatic choice, but it did reduce CO2 emissions by 70%. Sounds counterintuitive but modern biomass technology is far more efficient than the Russian gas infrastructure which is notoriously leaky in greenhouse gases.

            The NordBalt cable, the LNG terminal, biomass and other renewable sources are doing it fore Lithuania. The cable and the terminal are also providing a large part of Latvia’s and Estonia’s energy needs.

            My brother in New Hampshire heats his house with a computer controlled biomass boiler sitting 30 feet or so outside his house. his big timber frame house stays toasty warm with hot water radiant floor heating. It makes a lot of sense in a northern climate.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            Congratulations on your brother’s wood burning boiler. Lots of renewable wood in New Hampshire. Congrats to Lithuania’s great achievement at what ever cost they paid. Thanks for reminding everyone here about the Green New Deal energy policy we are enjoying.

  14. MapleLeaf says:

    The EU is a mess. It may have scored some empty political points, I’m sure the Russians have more than enough spare shipping capacity to make up the difference in deliveries. Now a one or two day lead time awaits, supportive of a depressed shipping sector and freeing up rail lines for other deliveries within the Belarus/Russian union joke of a state.

    When winters can be long and cold, probably unwise to anger a neighbour that has all the resources and potential to ensure that industry hums and homes are heated. If this coming winter is particularly severe on that continent, Lithuania will learn too quickly that it scored an own-goal and those countries it relies on for imports will cut back exports to meet internal consumption.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if inflation accelerates and doubles before the end of the year. I bet spot market LNG imports are doing wonders for their economy. With everyone and their friend in that union chasing after LNG supply, whoever wins will have the deeper pockets, and that definitely ain’t the baltics…

  15. leith says:

    They are not blocking food, medicine, clothing, or other non-sanctioned items. So what is the beef? Lithuania is not even 10% as harsh on Kaliningrad as Putin is on Ukrainian ports. Putin is blockading Odessa, won’t even let them export their own grain or import non-war material. And yet Putin via Prigozhin & prominent Russian writer, radio host, & economist Evgeii Satanovskii is now threatening war on Lithuania.

    Putin’s cronies also have their panties in a twist about a Ukrainian strike on an natural gas platform in the Black Sea – that platform was stolen from Ukraine at some time after the occupation of Crimea. It is now Russian controlled for stealing Ukrainian natural gas. The BSF also reportedly used it as a helo staging area. Other reports claim they also staged a SIGINT system on the platform.

  16. walrus says:

    Leith: ” Putin is blockading Odessa, won’t even let them export their own grain”. This is more western BS. Ukraine mined its own ports and won’t allow anyone to clear them. The Russians and Turkey have been trying to convince Ukraine to allow the creation of safe passages.

    “His remarks followed a statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday about de-mining the Ukrainian ports.

    “To solve the problem, the only thing needed is for the Ukrainians to let vessels out of their ports, either by de-mining them or by marking out safe corridors, nothing more is required,” Lavrov said.

    Speaking alongside Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Lavrov said the main problem was that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had “categorically refused” to resolve the issue of the mined ports.

    “If they’ve now changed their position, then on our side there are no complications, let’s see how the preliminary agreements we discussed yesterday and today can be put into practice,” Lavrov stressed.

    Defense ministers of Russia and Turkey discussed a potential grain export corridor from Ukraine on Tuesday, according to reports.

    Russia’s Sergei Shoigu and Turkey’s Hulusi Akar evaluated “all measures that can be taken regarding the safe shipment of grains, sunflower, and all other agricultural products,” according to the Turkish ministry.

    In a separate statement on Wednesday, the Kremlin said that for Russian grain to be delivered to international markets, sanctions on the country must be lifted.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there have been “no substantive discussions” about lifting the sanctions.

    Russia and Ukraine together produce virtually 30 percent of the global wheat supply.

    President Vladimir Putin of Russia also reassured earlier this week that his government would “guarantee” peaceful passage to ships leaving Ukraine’s ports.”

    https://parstoday.com/en/news/world-i176138-ukraine_says_no_to_russia%27s_call_for_de_mining_ports_to_allow_grain_shipments

    https://7news.com.au/news/conflict/moscow-to-allow-grain-to-leave-odessa-c-7072299

    BTW, Russia is the worlds largest exporter of wheat – 46 million toes compared to Ukraine – 16 million…..Again Washington and its Ukrainian poodle or responsible for shortages, not Russia.

    • Fred says:

      walrus,

      “Russia and Ukraine together produce virtually 30 percent of the global wheat supply.”

      Russia is a larger exporter than Ukraine. It would be helpful to know who those customers are, however that is not generally reported in the press. Many of those customers are in the EU, obviously they aren’t getting supply. African nations are amongst the others, most of them haven’t, to my knowledge, signed up to EU or US sanctions, however there is plenty of indirect pressure from organizations such as the IMF and World Bank, as well as pressure on shipping companies, that result in defacto adherence. Few talk about that in the propaganda driven news world.

    • leith says:

      Walrus –

      Ukraine would be more than happy to allow the creation of safe passage for her grain shipments. Unfortunately Putin wants to prevent that as he thinks it gives him leverage to end sanctions. Neither Zelensky nor any other Ukrainian official has “categorically refused” to resolve the issue of the mined ports. Perhaps early on they refused in order to keep Russian naval infantry from amphibious landings. But no reason to do it now with the proven accuracy of their Neptune ASMs and their recent acquisition of Danish Harpoons.

      Also the Ukraine’s Navy only had one minesweeper to my knowledge and I understand that was captured at Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov. And Ukraine has no helicopter based minehunting capability similar to our MH-53E Sea Dragon. But Russia could easily clear (or find) those mines with her dozen or so minesweepers in the Black Sea Fleet; and Russian KA-27 helos are capable of towing minesweeping sleds or at the least they could tow grapnels.

      By the way, it is not just Ukrainian mines that need to be cleared – “some 372 sea mines laid by Russia were of the “R-421-75” type, which were neither registered with or used by Ukraine’s navy currently and were captured by the Russian military during Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.” I’d take Kuleba’s word over a known liar like Lavrov.

      Putin could solve this by letting Turkey or a third party do minesweeping. But that could take months. A better way would be to set up a safe sea corridor in areas without mines similar to the UN proposal. Putin won’t let that happen. He’ll keep offering ‘safe passage’, all the while blaming Ukraine and stalling any action to clear the mines or set up safe sea lanes.

      What I don’t understand is if Russia exports two to three times the amount of wheat that Ukraine does as you mention (and which I do not dispute), then why does Putin feel the need to steel and export Ukrainian grain. Why steal Ukrainian sunflower seed oil – I thought they had plenty of their own along with other cooking oils? Why steal Ukraine’s crude oil and natural gas – supposedly they are in the top ten of proven oil reserves and number one in natural gas reserves.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        “Neither Zelensky nor any other Ukrainian official has “categorically refused” to resolve the issue of the mined ports.”

        They mined those ports, did they not?

        The responsibility to remove those mines therefore rests with them, does it not?

        Blaming the Russians for the actions of the Ukrainians is mendacious, and then blaming the Russians again for Ukrainian inaction is compounding the misrepresentation.

        The Russians need only do one thing: agree not to attack and sink any Ukrainian anti-mining operations.

        Nothing more. No less.

        • leith says:

          WPO –

          Putin also needs to not attack or interfere with Turkish or third country attempts to map out safe corridors thru mined areas. And he needs to allow free passage to civilian shipping to and from Ukrainian ports with no harassment.

          And perhaps you can talk Putin into returning the minesweeper that he illegally pirated from the Ukrainian Navy.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “And perhaps you can talk Putin into returning the minesweeper that he illegally pirated from the Ukrainian Navy.”

            Nah, I’ll let you give him a ring and explain the situation.

            But it is a doubtful proposition, as he may well be holding that vessel for barter for all those Russian superyachts that were illegally pirated from their rightful owners.

          • leith says:

            WPO –

            The rightful owners of those superyachts are the Russian people. Thief-in-Chief Putin’s oligarch buddies stole the roubles to build them from 100+ million Ivans & Annas.

          • James says:

            Leith,

            It isn’t Putin’s oligarchs that stole money from Russia’s people – it was the Yeltsin/Clinton oligarchs who stole from the Russian people. That is how Putin increased median Russian income by 270% in inflation adjusted terms during his first 10 years in power – by rolling back the corruption that had been put in place by the Yeltsin/Clinton alliance.

            Remember when Khodorkovsky bought $800B worth of oil fields for $200M in a closed auction in which he was the only person allowed to bid? And split the profits with US and UK oil companies?

            That kind of flagrant stealing from the Russian people isn’t happening anymore – and this is why the US govt hates Putin so much.

        • leith says:

          James –

          No US official or corporation connived in setting up Russia’s ‘great-property-giveaway’. That was done internally. I read somewhere that Berezovsky and your Khodorkovsky tried to get Chevron or Exxon to invest in their Siberian Oil scheme. But those negotiations failed and the deal fell through. That was in the early 2000’s when Putin was president of the RF. And after that Putin arranged to have that Siberian oil company sucked up by Gazprom where he held a controlling interest via his own strawman oligarchs, after he arrested the previous owners (or tried to in Berezovsky’s case).

          • James says:

            Leith,

            My primary point is that the ‘great-property-giveaway’ that happened under Yeltsin was corruption – and that it was corruption on a much grander scale than the corruption that has gone on under Putin.

            Why do you decry corruption that has happened under Putin but shrug your shoulders about the corruption that happened under Yeltsin?

  17. Jake says:

    TTG,

    Your point of view of who should be blamed for this war directly opposes that of many other American observers, most prominently John Mearsheimer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM&t=647s

    Moreover, since the beginning of March we’ve heard the stories of ‘depleted’ Russian forces, while they kept pounding Ukrainian positions, firing up to 60.000 rounds per day. About as much as the US forces used in all of Desert Storm, if I’m informed correctly. Friend and foe of the Russian ‘Special Operation’ already concluded that Russia surprised NATO-planners by not adhering to the script NATO prepared, which called for conquering all of Ukraine at great cost, installing a puppet regime in Kiev, and calling it a victory. That would have set the stage for NATO-trained ‘Stay Behind’ (Gladio-style) forces to do to the Russians what our mujaheddin proxy-fighters did to the Soviets under the inspiring leadership of Bin Laden. The guy we used in Bosnia and Kosovo after that, and who fumbled the contract to kill Gaddafi on our behalf, necessitating yet another NATO-war to bring Muslim extremists to power in that country.

    Instead, the Russians are using artillery and missiles to pound static, well prepared defensive positions from a safe distance as much as possible, actively demilitarizing Ukraine bit by bit, while slowly, but steadily freeing the area of the Donbas, which was their declared territorial goal from the very beginning. NATO-planners envisioned that ‘sanctions from hell’ would ensure the collapse of the Russian economy, but the opposite happened. Not only did the Ruble bounce back to become the strongest performing currency in the world against the Dollar and the Euro, but the country posted record profits on oil and gas because of exploding prices, which are hurting Europe plenty already. Support for NATO in Europe is only high among politicians and bought and paid for journalists. There is a very real risk that politically extreme groups, left or right of ‘center’ will cause countries in Europe to become unstable. Recent elections in France underscores this analysis. But Germany is even more vulnerable. And don’t get me started about Italy!

    Lithuania itself has always had a remarkable large amount of Nazi-supporters since it regained independence. They openly march to display their extreme right-wing political sentiments, very much like in Ukraine, and it is therefore no surprise that they acted to block transit shipments, ignoring existing treaties. But treaties are only used to gain time for nefarious acts in NATO countries, as Porochenko explained recently with regard to the Minsk accord.

    How Russia is going to respond, and whether they hold Vilnius responsible, or the EU, we’ll have to wait and see. I do not have a hotline with the Kremlin, nor do I cheer for Putin, since I reside in Europe, and fear the consequences of this train-wreck. But every single prediction, and every step initiated by NATO/EU apparatchiks, and supported by their cheerleaders, brought nothing but pain. We’re bleeding to death in Europe, and the US is not going to fare much better. No amount of money spent on weapons, or buying politicians, is going to save us. This is madness. And in my humble opinion NATO is on course to loose yet another very costly war. Not just on the battlefield, but in the eyes of the world. Showcasing a woke military, dumping billions of Dollars and Euros in a bottomless pit, and wreaking our economy in the process, inviting revolutionary change, sounds like deliberate suicide. Not a strategy.

  18. borko says:

    Lithuania signed a treaty with Russia regarding unobstructed traffic between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia.
    It has now broken that treaty.

    Sanctions are this magic tool that goes above all treaties, legalizes theft and piracy and pretty much anything it’s authors want to do.

    This latest escalation just reinforces Russia’s conviction that it can trust no agreement with the West and that the West is out to get it.

    Why not blockade Russian resupply of Kaliningrad by sea as the next step.
    I wonder which important treaty (or Convention) is the next target of the almighty sanctions.

    Maybe we can get to WWIII by the end of the year and be done with it.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      I agree with you. The people here should read Barbara Ann’s link and those linked therein with great care and heightened attention. Because there’s been a sea change and many may have missed it for a variety of reasons.

      Dmitri Trenin is quoted by Lieven as saying that the “hybrid war” will be moving farther east into Russian territory proper. He’s right. See this attack on Rostov (on Don) reported today, and there have been others for some time now.
      Put that together with this thing with Kaliningrad (which is Russia, after all) and the new chief of the UK army saying he is preparing Britain for a European war with Russia.
      You’ve got serious trouble in river city, folks, that’s what you have. And it’s not pocket billiards, apologies to The Music Man.

      The Music Man “Ya Got Trouble.”
      https://youtu.be/LI_Oe-jtgdI

      Rostov refinery hit:
      https://www.rt.com/news/557598-drone-oil-refinery-rostov/

  19. Pat Lang says:

    Ah, Konigsberg, stronghold of the Teutonic Knights

  20. I have asked this before possibly here (probably moderated out) and on other fora and have never had an answer.

    How does our involvement in NATO and supporting this war benefit the average American citizen. TTG seems all for it, why?

    • Outrage Beyond says:

      Re: “How does our involvement in NATO and supporting this war benefit the average American citizen.”

      It doesn’t. However, it’s great for war profiteers in the military industrial complex. It’s great for all the giant multinationals that can raise prices due to their quasi-monopoly status, while citing various other reasons for the increases. It’s great for the showboating politicians who reap giant bribes (EXCUSE me, Campaign Contributions) for their servile fellatio performed on their oligarch owners. It’s great for the Borg, Deep State, and other entrenched interests that suck the blood and profits from mass misery, whether in the Ukraine, Europe as a whole, or here in the USA.

      As you know, it doesn’t benefit the average American citizen in any way whatsoever. To the contrary, we pay more, get less, and chafe at the endless attempt to end our liberties. The oligarchy wants to end those pesky First and Second Amendments, in particular. That’s why they’re always looking to foment the next crisis. Crisis gives rise to the sleep of reason. As Goya remarked, the sleep of reason gives birth to monsters.

      As for why TTG supports this lunacy, another comment suggested that TTG has some ancestral hatred of Russia. If that is so, TTG should explain these hatreds in a forthright manner. (Just as Vicky Nuland and Antony Blinken, both of Ukrainian origin, should explain their personal hatred of Russia and how it influences them.) I find it sad that with the onset of the Ukraine war this site has gone in such a strange direction of apparently abandoning sober and factual analysis, and instead parroting neocon balderdash and the product of information operations (propaganda), whether intentional or coincidental. (One might look back at postings following the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and find analysis of a remarkably different flavor.)

      What is TTG’s dog in the fight? Why did this site make such a remarkable change, from reality-based analysis to jingoistic cheerleading of the Obama-Biden proxy war on Russia? (I use this term since responsibility for the Maidan-Nazi coup d’état falls on the Obama regime.) Of course, Obama was also serving his masters, who demanded the groundwork for their desired attack on Russia. The 2014 coup happened for a reason, as did the recent attempted coup in Belarus and the more recent attempted coup in Kazakhstan.
      One might ask: Who are the psychopaths who want war with Russia, no matter the cost? (Especially since they don’t pay; others do.) More importantly, why is this site now (apparently) aligned with these murderous gangsters? Even more importantly, how can we stop this madness before it escalates to nuclear war? Can those in favor of the war, because they apparently hate Russia, take off their blinders for even a moment to consider a sane alternative? These are the questions that the jingo boys like to pretend do not exist; they take the position that such questions are contemptible foolishness that are only posed by Putin-lovers. A convenient out to avoid serious discussion. That is why people who support the war will not answer the questions cited above.

      • Steve says:

        Outrage Beyond,

        The most remarkable part of this story is that of Nuland and Blinken. If, as they say, they are Jews of Ukrainian origin why are they supporting a government into which people who are deeply embedded (mostly militarily) celebrate the Holocaust that began in Ukraine and to which their ancestors an heroes were major contributors?

        The answer I sense is that they’re more pathologically hateful of Russians than they are respectful of the victims of one of the most brutally systematic genocides of the modern era. I wonder (though not really) how this came to be?

  21. Dolores O´Neil says:

    Who is Gitanas Nauseda and why is he puttin his country ast risk threatening Russia with even more blockade of Kaliningrad?

    This is a Davos man, part of the transanational financial elite with no motherland except thgeirm oney and positions, like Dragui in Italy. He will get their war even if it has to be to the last Lithuanian. This people have their funds well secured in the tax havens and can always flew to the US or London, where the core of the Western financial system lies…

    He was born on May 19, 1964 in Klaipėda, Lithuanian SSR (at the time, part of the Soviet Union). In 1982 he began studying Industrial Economics at the University of Vilnius, and after graduating in 1987 he taught at the Faculty of Economics for two years. He completed his training with a doctorate from the University of Mannheim thanks to a scholarship from the Service German Academic Exchange; his doctoral thesis was focused on “income policy under inflation and stagflation”.23

    He started working in 1992 at the Vilnius Institute of Economics and Privatization, created to oversee the transition of independent Lithuania to a market economy. From there he moved in 1993 to the Lithuanian Competition Authority as head of the financial markets department. Between 1994 and 2000 he was part of the Bank of Lithuania, first as a commercial banking supervisor and then as director of the monetary policy department.

    In 2000 he made the leap into private banking when he was hired by Vilniaus Bankas (later SEB Bankas), where he stayed for 18 years as financial analyst and chief economist. In addition, in 2009 he combined it with teaching at the Vilnius University Business School.24 As a result of his position as a financial analyst, Nausėda had become a familiar face among Lithuanian civil society.2

    He is married to the engineer Diana Nausėdienė and has two daughters.5 In addition to Lithuanian, he knows English, German and Russian.

    • Dolores O´Neil says:

      Notice that they have placed their people, like this especialist in “in income policy under infaltion and stagflation” in advance, thus they knew well high inflation and stagflation was coming, preciselly becsue it was provoked by themselves.

      In past IMF meeting, Christallina Georgieva stated in an interview panel where they were also Christine Lagarde from the ECB and jerome Powell from the FR, that “they did not knew that they will create such inflation by rpinting so much money”….

      Really? Then what are they three doing heading those organisms?

      They knew, and need this war to expand and go international so that to cover their willing mismanagement and avoid the masses going hang them from the neck.

      Btw, according to Christine Lagarde the eloders live way too much and it is necessary to do something with respect that…
      Well, if so, starting with them, elders the three…and folllowing with elder Biden, continuing with elder Fauci, and so on…

    • TTG says:

      Dolores O´Neil,

      No motherland? The man was born, raised, educated, made a living and raised a family in Lithuania. Lithuania is his home and motherland. Where do you get these ideas?

      • Dolores O´Neil says:

        Bankers and financial capitalist have no motherland nor fatherland except their balances.

        You should know better being an intelligence analysts, of whom a minimum of knowledge in economics is supposed.

        You seem to wish for the destruction of your country, may be because you have two motherlands and in the ned feel so safe the other side of the Atlantic.

        Beware of what you wish, today nobody is safe any side of any ocean on Earth…You may regret your wish for action…

  22. walrus says:

    TTG, I’m not sure you understand the impact on Russia, or its public, perceiving that this conflict with the USA is “existential”. Lets not mince words here. This is a battle between Washington and the Russian People. Ukraine, Europe, the Baltics and Britain wouldn’t lift a finger without American encouragement and support, period. That also implies that America can switch this off overnight. This whole conflict is engineered to destroy the current country called Russia. The neocons are already talking about how they would dismember Russia – Moonofalabama has the references. These statements are not subject to debate.

    Putin is a man of his word. He has already stated words to the effect that “a world without Russia is not possible” meaning that before Russia goes under, they will destroy America and what passes for western civilization in the process. Do we agree they have the nuclear capability to do this? The implication is that we are not going to be alive to witness a Russian loss.

    Under such circumstances, the ‘he said / she said” model of propaganda and debate is irrelevant. I grant that we have a massive lead over Russia in terms of news management – just google “Russia blockade Ukraine wheat” and you will see the depth of our ability to manage news to our supposed advantage. However as I said this is irrelevant if we are not alive.

    We think we are playing a game. Russia is not playing. Under such circumstances any Kaliningrad tactic, no matter how cute, is unhelpful. If we were genuine, instead of trying to be the apex predator on the planet, we would be looking for solutions to Ukraine, not fanning the flames.

    I think Americas founding fathers would be appalled at what we have become. What says the Committee?

    • TTG says:

      walrus,

      “This whole conflict is engineered to destroy the current country called Russia.”

      I see it differently. The conflict, initiated by Moscow, is engineered to destroy the current country called Ukraine. Perhaps Putin cannot grasp the fact that this is an existential threat to Ukraine and that the West recognizes this and has decided that a world without Ukraine is not possible. Putin has been quite consistent recently in stating that he desires and demands hegemony over Eastern Europe and will not be content to live within Russia’s borders. All those countries of Europe, both east and west, are rejecting Putin’s vision of a new world order. Russia won’t be destroyed, but a new iron curtain more impenetrable than the old one will arise. Russia will turn east out of necessity and become China’s junior partner. Neither the West nor Russia will be happy with this.

      If Moscow did not initiate this conflict, the flow of grain from Ukraine and Russia would continue as before. The illusion of Russian military prowess and invincibility would still be intact. There would not be hundreds of thousands displaced, maimed and dead. Nord Stream 2 would be pumping Russian gas into European homes and factories. All the other trade between Russia and the EU, now being painfully severed, would continue unabated. All this would be if Moscow did not initiate this conflict.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        TTG

        You think the neocon architects of the war against Russia give two f**ks about Ukraine? Ukraine is just the latest tool to bring about Russia’s demise. Putin fell for the bait and maybe he has got imperial delusions, but even that is a parochial view of what this conflict really represents.

        • TTG says:

          Barbara Ann,

          I’m sure there are plenty of neocon big thinkers who don’t give a rat’s ass about Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland or anyone else in their desire to destroy Russia whether it be imperialist, communist or whatever it is now. But do you really think Putin is such a gullible push over that he is unwittingly doing the bidding of those big thinkers?

        • leith says:

          Barbara Ann –

          You say Putin fell for the bait? I don’t believe he is a rube or a bumpkin easily suckered.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        TTG

        I may be wasting my metaphorical breath, but please try and see this conflict for what it really represents; a fight for nothing less than global hegemony between the Ancien Régime (the West) and the rising/risen powers of (primarily) Asia.

        Yes Putin invaded, yes he probably has imperial ambitions, but guess what; all of that is but a side show in the greatest power contest the world has probably ever seen. The fate of Ukraine is inextricably linked to this wider conflict and it is futile and dangerous to consider the former outside the context of the latter.

        As for the West feeling that a world without Ukraine is impossible, I fear these lofty values are mere tools for the unscrupulous to co-opt allies into the total war being waged. The neocons don’t give a rat’s ass about Ukraine, or Lithuania, or Europe as a whole. If they all need to freeze and starve in order to bring about the desired result, so be it.

        If we are to survive this, someone will eventually have to blink and I can say with absolute certainty it won’t be Russia.

      • Steve says:

        TTG,

        “The conflict, initiated by Moscow, is engineered to destroy the current country called Ukraine.”

        If that were the case it would have been destroyed in the first week But you know that I assume.

        But why would the Russians do that when NATO/US has been doing such a handy job for them? Just look at the socio- economic price the people of Ukraine have had to pay even before the Russians crossed the border. The neo-liberal policies foisted upon them (similar to those forced on Yeltsin in the early ’90’s) are taking Ukraine to pieces while the corporate carpetbaggers buy up the country and its resources from corrupt officials and oligarchs.

        They must be yearning for a return to the good old days when they could actually lean on Russia. At least they’d get the occasional bone to chew on.

      • walrus says:

        TTG this is where we have to disagree. I see the entire Ukraine event from the beginning (Nuland) as a deliberate attempt to destabilise Russia for American gain. The war was started by a deliberate provocation of Russia after a series of aggressive acts.

        I and billions of other people are now paying inflated energy prices and facing recession, famine or worse because of American direct action. It is no accident that the three major energy suppliers outside the american orbit – Iran, Venezuela and now Russia are all sanctioned by the USA.

        I and billions of others know exactly who to blame for this, and it ain’t Putin, Maduro(?) and the Iranian mullahs. I for one couldn’t care less if Ukraine was ground to a fine powder and the rest of the Baltic states with them if they persist with this unnatural relationship with NATO. By an accident of geography they exist next to Russia; deal with it.

        To put that another way, how would you feel if Hells Angels moved into houses on three sides of you and then started trash talking at you? That is exactly what NATO. with American encouragement . have done to Russia.

        • cobo says:

          Back in 1973, just out of high school, I lived in Ocean Beach in San Diego. I lived on Voltaire Street, the first block up from the beach entrance, catty corner to the infamous Pat’s Liquor. The entire apartment building directly behind my small cottage was all HA. I lived in the most crime free area in town. If you were disputing with them, then you’d better just leave. And I prefer Western Civilization with all its problems, Hells Angels included.

      • Jake says:

        Ukraine lost it’s sovereignty in 2014, when Team-Nuland changed the government with inside help, after it made the elected president flee the country to save his life. Next they ‘cleaned up’ the election process to exclude any remaining pro-Russian sentiment, after which ‘elections’ were held to confirm Victoria’s preferences, and offer Hunter Biden a large piece of the cake as a member of the board of Burisma holdings.

        Next up was a civil war, meant to teach the culturally Russian people in the east and south of the country a hard lesson of submission. Instead, Porochenko and his western allies, lost to a rag-tag army which received logistic support from Russia, after that country secured control over the very pro-Russian peninsula of Crimea, also the main port of the Russian Black Sea fleet, previously ‘leased’ from Ukraine, but under threat after Team Nuland interfered with internal matters. So Porochenko cut himself a deal, counter-signed by Germany and France at Minsk, remember?

        If Ukraine and NATO had honored that deal, the country would have been ‘whole’, within a federation somewhat like the US. But like Porochenko admitted in recent interviews, that deal was never meant to be honored. It was meant to buy time to build a tremendous military force, trained and equipped by NATO, to eventually allow NATO to goad Russia into acting on behalf of the tortured Ukrainians in the east and south, already cut out of the political process, and shelled relentlessly in the Donbas, which took 14.000 lives in eight years. I’m sure you recognize this reading of events as fairly undisputed among commentators who watched things unfold. If not, please point me in the direction of the correct reading of events.

        Now, whether NATO expected Russia to respond militarily in the end, or fold, I don’t know. But what they clearly didn’t expect, from where I’m standing, is what a military response by Russia would look like. Yet, if we take a look at how the Russians operate in Syria, NATO should have known that Russia doesn’t care much about declaring ‘Total Victory’, and photo-ops on the deck of an aircraft carrier, or something similar. After they liberated and largely restored the ancient ruins of Palmyra, they organized a cultural event. A classic concert, while they left the Idlib province to our friends, the rebranded Al Qaida extremists, as well as the Al Tanf enclave where US force share control with our friends form Al Qaida, suitably rebranded to sell it to the public. Likewise, they are not at all interested in conquering all of Ukraine. They will leave us with the western part, buried under truckloads of debt, economically destroyed, and militarily impotent. The latter statement requires some explanation, I suppose, since we are feeding truckloads of weapons into the country. But who in Ukraine is going to ‘try again’ when reality sinks in? The reality that Russia mauled the defensive positions which took eight years to prepare in this run, taking their time to do so? Not by storming them, but by bombarding them, day in, day out, with thousands of rounds of artillery, which ‘London’ said would be depleted before the end of March. Didn’t happen. Won’t happen. Why?

        Because the Russians, in my humble opinion, came prepared. They were prepared for this war we are witnessing, and warned us not to go down this path. To let diplomacy save the day. It turned out to be not the war NATO planners thought would come to pass. Which is why NATO/Ukraine are going to loose, Big Time! And not for the first time this millennium as far as NATO is concerned. As if we like to be smacked around. But we can’t help ourselves, because ‘Wallstreet’ and ‘Davos’, which are planning these wars, are into ‘Finance’, and ‘Unipolar’ worlds they dominate through money. They have no clue how to win any kind of war, and they focus on ‘LifeStyle’-choices within the military, preferably painting everything in rainbow colors, because they ‘patented’ it, and the ‘dividend’ looks good on these ‘investments’. If not, they revert to what the ‘biolabs’ produced.

        Many commentators who see it my way are not anti-Ukraine at all. Nor do they want to see Ukraine erased from the map. Heck! Putin himself is on-record as stating he wants Ukraine to survive, and prosper. Those commentators regard this as a ‘proxy war’ not serving their own best interests, nor those of humanity, and least of all those of Ukraine. They feel strongly that Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people, were thrown under the bus by parties residing around ‘Wallstreet’, and the ‘City’ in London. The same people frequenting the ‘Davos’ and ‘Bilderberg’ summits, aiming for a chance to succeed where the ‘Chicago Boys’ failed when they carved up the Soviet Union as ‘profit centers’ in the early nineties. At this stage I have no reason whatsoever to return to the NATO propaganda, and cheer for another lost cause. Less so because, as a European, I understand there is no way in a thousand years that Europe will survive the onslaught of having to live as ‘Wallstreet’s bitch’, while cut off from the energy needed to keep what is left of the industry going after exporting the bulk to China. What, in your opinion, is missing from this analysis?

        • TTG says:

          Steve,

          Yanukovych screwed the pooch when he abruptly and without consultation canceled the EU loan deal in November 2013. That deal was worked out after long debate in the Verkhovna Rada. Yanuvovych worked a separate deal with Putin in secrecy which was the style in that time and place. Both the people and the Vervhovna Rada erupted in protest and Yanukovych ended up fleeing in the night. If he stayed, he would have avoided ouster by the Vervhovna Rada. He had the votes.

          Of course our five billion dollars over a ten year pro-democracy project primed the pump for both the Orange Revolution and the Euromaidan. It also ended up empowering an unsavory bunch of ultranationalists in the form of Pravy Sektor and others. Given that, I wasn’t at all surprised when Russia seized Crimea. I still think Nuland and others were eyeing Sevastopol as a NATO naval base. Seizing Crimea in 2014 was almost a defensive move by Russia. Between the pumped up Ukro-nazis and Russian provocateurs (Strelkov and others), the war in the Donbas became inevitable.

          Since then, Ukraine is two elections removed from Nuland and the ultranationalists have lost almost all the power they had in 2014. Ukraine has grown as a modern Western oriented nation and her armed forces have also done so. Until this February, Russia still enjoyed more popularity in Ukraine than Biden does in the US. That changed drastically with the russian invasion. The only way they’ll fall under Moscow’s yoke now is as a captive nation. I think the chance of that happening is slim.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            How do you account for Ukraine taking less than 8 years to grow “as a modern Western oriented nation” yet our decades of involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan failed to get either of them to do so?

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            Ukrainians want to be Europeans. Far fewer Iraqis and Afghans want to be like us or Europeans. We couldn’t grasp that. Contrast that with what Russia did in Syria. They took on only the more modest task of aiding the SAA without changing the fabric of Syria. They worked with what was there rather than totally remaking the SAA in their image. They did and remain doing an excellent job. I think we took our cue from that Russian experience when we did not change the artillery centric structure of the Ukrainian Army that they inherited from the Red Army. We did change the role of the Ukrainian NCO corps.

          • Jake says:

            TTG,

            Looks like you were responding to my contribution, for which I’m grateful. ‘Euromaidan’ was a circus, with all kinds of western politicians openly demonstrating their utter lack of respect for the sovereignty of Ukraine. The reason Yanukovitch eventually dropped the meager deal the EU had to offer, was because the Russian deal was far better. It made sense. Economically.

            Ukraine is a huge country, and ‘Kiev’, nor the people who could afford to put the place under siege for months, thriving on Nuland billions, represented the bulk of the people. As the BBC reported at the time, someone organized a killing spree, with multiple fire arms firing from a building held by the protesters, targeting both demonstrators and policemen. A proven tactic to create chaos, used in other countries as well.

            Following that event, France, Germany and Poland sat down with the opposition, and Yanukovitch, and a deal was reached to reshuffle the government led by Yanukovitch, and organize early elections. Mrs ‘F.ck the EU’-Nuland didn’t accept it, and went ahead with her plan to oust Yanukovitch. He didn’t immediately flee the country, like you suggest, but he went to the Donbas region on a tour to find support for his political choices among the people who had voted for him. He went by plane, and not by motorcade, as originally planned, likely because he already feared for his life. The motorcade was ambushed, after which he crossed the border into Russia to save his life. That is a ‘classic’ coup.

            There were ‘elections’ since, but pro-Russians parties and politicians were killed, harassed, or excluded from participating, as was the Donbas. The right wing extremists didn’t participate in those elections either, but took over control of the secret service apparatus, and didn’t need no ‘f.ck.ng elections’ to call the shots. If you call that ‘democracy’, I’ve lost you. The landslide victory for Zelensky told us that Ukrainians were prepared to honor the ‘Minsk’ accords, and go on with their lives. But neither the right wing extremists, nor NATO/Washington/London were interested, to say it mildly. Trump was not interested in Ukraine at all, since he was obsessed with China. But the people who ‘had his back’ (held him hostage inside his own government) were working tirelessly towards February of this year. And when Biden erased the memory of Trump within NATO and Washington, the die was cast.

            Whether Zelensky betrayed the people who voted for him out of his own free will, in real European tradition, or that he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse, I can’t tell you. But the irony is, that the way things are working out before our very eyes, there won’t be much left of the military, and both the Donbas and Crimea will be gone. Together with the future of the Ukrainian people when they accept membership of the ‘Austerity Community’ formerly known as the ‘European Union’. I read that you feel that Europe doesn’t need Russia. I beg to differ, since Russia and China are already working on an alternative for the Dollar and the Euro, and ‘Financial Capitalism’ is no match for ‘Industrial Capitalism’, the ‘Adam Smith Original’. Talk about ‘depleted’. The west is running out of everything. Not just finished products, but everything we need to feed ourselves, to stay warm, and to produce stuff. Where Smith’s ‘Industrial Capitalism’ envisioned growing wealth, expressed in income left to purchase things, thus high wages, and low costs, ‘Financial Capitalism’ is turning all of us into debt slaves. So, when I return to the ‘offer’ made by the EU to Yanukovitch, of ‘loans’ to bury the country in debt, and I look at the Russian offer which reflected an ‘Industrial Capitalist’ perspective, I can see why he felt the Russian offer had far more potential. Anyway, today it is a train wreck. I saw this coming from miles away, and went to the polls in my country to vote against an ‘Association Treaty’ in a referendum held in my country. So, what happened? Did the elected government honor the vote? No, they signed the treaty anyway. And here we are……

    • Barbara Ann says:

      walrus

      Well this member of the Committee thinks you talk great sense. The current conflict, which nominally relates to Ukraine, is emphatically not just another proxy war between Russia and the West. Those treating it as such are delusional and extremely dangerous.

      There will be no regime change in Russia (see my comment above) and if pushed into a position where there is a choice between losing and a near certain nuclear apocalypse, I fully expect Putin to choose the latter as ‘losing’ would mean the end of Russia in any case. Ukraine has become a side show in the total war NATO and the West are waging and Russia cannot and thus will not show weakness.

      Kaliningrad is an escalation and that is the wrong direction of travel. That is all that matters – that we move towards a negotiated settlement of some kind before this gets out of control, if it isn’t already.

      My only addition to your excellent comment would be this: Who is to say that the real powers behind Biden’s regime do not also see this as an existential war. The BRICS, lead by Russia and China, are planning a new global reserve currency to replace the (petro)dollar. I am not at all sure that the hyper-indebted and hyper-financialized US economy is capable of surviving this transition. If TPTB see it the same way, I can certainly believe there are those among them willing to risk nuclear war to defeat Russia and the bloc aiming to usher in a post Pax Americana mulipolar order.

      • TTG says:

        Barbara Ann,

        Why would losing in Ukraine constitute the end of Russia. At the worst it would be the complete collapse of all trade between the EU and Russia. I don’t think Russia needs the EU and I think we’ll find the EU doesn’t need Russia. World markets, including the energy markets, will adjust. There is already a multipolar order, but China does stand to be the eventual winner of this “special military operation.”

        • Barbara Ann says:

          I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall but here goes: Whether or not Russia ‘loses’ Ukraine is irrelevant. This is not about Ukraine. When the war in Ukraine is over the neocons will choose another battleground and so on until either they win and Russia is destroyed or they are made to stop. This is where we are now at; Russia making them stop. Russia has said “thus far and no further”, is all in and any attempts to escalate from here (viz. Kaliningrad) will just hasten the day when the hot conflict starts.

        • Barbara Ann says:

          I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall but here goes:

          Whether or not Russia ‘loses’ Ukraine is irrelevant. For the 100th time; this is not about Ukraine. When the war there is finished the neocons will simply move on and find another battlefield until either they win and Russia is destroyed or they are made to stop. This is about Russia making them stop. Russia has said “thus far and no further” and is now all in.

          • Fred says:

            Barbara Ann,

            Not just the neocons, but the borg, the entire foreign policy aparatus. “Resistance is useless” as the col. said long ago.

          • Bill Roche says:

            BA this is about Russia regarding Ukrainians as “little Russians” existing at its pleasure. Ukraine asked the Czar for AUTONOMY in 1900 (no neocons then). He said no. Ukraine fought for INDEPENDENCE from Russian commies after WW I (no NATO). It failed but d/n give up. The Russian commies treated Ukrainians to 6MM deaths in Holodomore (an early genocide predating Holocaust by less then 10 years which must have left a bad taste in Ukrainian mouths no?). During WW II some Ukrainians (notable Bandura’s brigades) fought for the Nazis to end the commies and gain independence. It d/n go well. Post WW II Ukrainians again fought Russian for independence (are you getting a msg., no NATO). When the S.U. fell in 90-91 Ukrainians declared independence. I must be a foreign affairs genius b/c I knew then this war would happen but not when. Sec’y of State is in my future. Alas, it was an easy call. Russia will not give up hegemony (domination) of her western neighbors. Russia has seen them as feudal states since the Romanovs. This IS about Baltic and Slavic states opting for independence denied since Peter and Catherine to 1991.
            It takes two to tango. Have you asked yourself why European soviet “Republics” declared themselves independent from Russia in ’91? (White Russians are the exception and they get to continue to kiss Russian butt) NATO c/n force them to join, they begged NATO. Of who could they have been afraid? Is NATO forcing Swedes and Finns to join now? So for the 101 time this is about Ukrainian independence and its success will foretell the future of other Baltic and Slavic nations. You are giving Putin and Russia cover and denying history.

    • Bill Roche says:

      I think you are 100% right about the founders and being something of a Libertarian I tend to agree w/Washington’s advice. But it’s not 1796. I have accepted that. You are concerned about the impact on the Russian people? You’ve got to be kidding me. Don’t you care about the impact on the Ukrainian people. This is a war that Russia started and can stop. If this is harming her people and Putin cares then let him say Dombas/Crimea and no more. If Putin really wanted that I don’t think America’s “news management” would prevail. As to being the “apex predator” (I just saw Jurassic Pk 2, 3 ?? good fun) c’mon. I agree w/your comment on western Europe not having the will to do anything b/y their own borders. They are slime. But here is the condition which, I suspect, you don’t accept. Sweden, Finland, the Baltics, and all the Slavs through Bulgaria are sovereign nations and don’t want to be part of the Russian Empire and never did. I think your solution is to turn the clock back to 1914 and give Russia hegemony of these states. Ok, that works, but the people in the aforesaid don’t want it. Tell me I’m wrong.

    • leith says:

      @Walrus: “Putin is a man of his word.”

      Best laugh I’ve had in twenty years Walrus. Thanks for the humor. Who knew that you folks down under were such wags?

  23. Disgruntled Bulgarian says:

    As unwilling citizen of this EU mess, I ask:

    who the fuck are these lithuanians? My country has nothing in common with these fucked in the brain, russophobic pieces of nazi shit in all of our history. Why shall we suffer for the actions of these brainwashed morons?

    The mood in (Southern) EU is changing. Hopefully, we’ll have a reckoning soon. This russophobic policy can not continue forever, or Europe will crack.

    • Bill Roche says:

      We both distrust the EU and I hope Bulgaria can find her way out. Are trade advantages worth nationality? Perhaps one day I’ll visit. Was Bulgaria really the home of Alexander (Macedonian faker?). What I don’t share is your ignorance of pre WW II life in the Baltics and Ukraine. The Communist weren’t nice. They brought more war (to all of Europe) after WW I and many communist were Jews. That’s just fact. Communist also brought 6MM deaths to Ukrainian kulaks across Ukraine and the Kuban. When the Nazis arrived many thought they’d eliminate the communist and be happy again. Finns, Balts (yes including those Russophobic pieces of Nazi shit Lithuanians) Armenians, and Ukrainians all hoped to end communism by supporting the Nazis. Yes they connected Jews to communism. The Nazis lost and eastern Europeans were then subjected to another 45 years of post WW II communism. When you say communism to a Balt or Slav they hear Russian. Hmm, did Bulgarians like the Russian commies? Perhaps they will happily assume the yoke of their Russian masters in the coming years. You would know that, not me. My reading of events is that other Slavs won’t.

    • borko says:

      It is not just the Russians they are actively poking.
      Lithuania for some reason decided to poke the Chinese too, over Taiwan.
      Interesting people.

      • mcohen says:

        My grand parents came from lithuania and they were pretty smart.
        It is quite possible that China is seeking to gain a foothold in the Ukraine.
        Did you know that the Ukrainians stole over 2 billion dollars by reneging on a wheat deal from China.

  24. joe90 says:

    OK this is clearly propaganda by the Russians, but it is very good propaganda and if you like military porn, you may like this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_stjlhj1kg

    • joe90 says:

      I will just add, Russians seem to have had very bad taste in suits for always, I assumed it was communism, but no, just bad taste. If you are from the US, no you don’t have good taste either. Canada, you are forgiven for “due north” and maple syrup.

      • TTG says:

        joe90,

        Those suits aren’t near as bad as the suits worn by young men in Bavaria in the 90s. They cultivated a truly jarring fashion style. Both SWMBO and I thought they looked like rodeo clowns. And they thought they looked quite dapper.

    • TTG says:

      joe90,

      Yes it is very good propaganda, just as impressive as, if not more impressive than similar propaganda/marketing videos put out by other defense manufacturing companies. Until last February, I was convinced that the Pantsir/S-400 combination would offer a near impenetrable A2/AD umbrella for Russia and her armed forces. Obviously the sizzle is better than the steak. Ukrainian drones are still flying. Even their aircraft and rockets still manage to hit Russian targets. That Rostov oil refinery appears to have been hit by a relatively cheap, slow and low flying Chinese drone available for purchase on Alibaba… on a perfectly clear day. All those wonder weapons with their impressive promotional videos amout to nothing if they aren’t manned by competent, motivated and alert soldiers.

      • Jake says:

        TTG,

        Are you seriously implying that S-400 systems are to be used against a $7000 improvised weapon-system? We’re talking about a a large area, and extended front-line, that is hard to seal off. If Mexicans, after all these years, and trillions of Dollars spent, still find ways to enter the US, how on earth do you envision an air-tight defensive system againts drones like that? Clearly, the Russians will move to defend these installations, most likely by installing recently introduced laser-weapons, rather than S-400’s. At the same time, they are likely to reconsider ‘target options’, where they previously said they won’t destroy those centers where decisions are made. Don’t be surprised if those added targets include NATO command centers if the Russians feel that NATO countries are actually pushing Ukraine to take the war to Russia. Not necessarily in the form of a direct hit, destroying such centers, but through other means. I do not feel like predicting future developments, but I have this strong urge to point out that we are playing with matches inside the storage room where all the fireworks are kept.

        • TTG says:

          Jake,

          The Pantsir is a weapon more suited for point defense of critical infrastructure so close to the border like the Rostov refinery against drones, missiles and helicopters. It’s not like it didn’t happen before like the several strikes in Belgorod.

      • MapleLeaf says:

        Sure, a drone hit it… but what we don’t know are the number of failed attempts. We don’t know how numerous those were, and we can’t believe the Russian statistics on interceptions. Even if the protection were 99.9%, one drone would get through out of a thousand, at 99%, one out of a hundred… quantity has its own quality, as they say…

        And a hundred cheap drones cost less than a single javelin!

        • TTG says:

          MapleLeaf,

          There were two drones and they both struck the refinery, but they missed any oil tanks.

          • fredw says:

            TTG

            “There were two drones and they both struck the refinery,”

            So it doesn’t look like the one-in-a-thousand that actually made it. On the other hand, not hitting the oil tanks doesn’t sound like a virtuoso performance. The strike made a pretty good fire in any case.

      • James says:

        Russians With Attitude has (I think) an excellent thread on why Russia has not been able to achieve air superiority in Ukraine. The main takeaway is that Ukrainian SAM complexes don’t have to turn on their search radar because they have NATO radars in neighbouring countries acting as search radars for them – which effectively make the Ukrainian SAM complexes “invisible”.

        https://twitter.com/RWApodcast/status/1540302087044714496

        • TTG says:

          James,

          That makes sense to me. Between all those NATO aircraft flying near the Ukrainian border and the surveillance satellites, I’m sure the Ukrainians have excellent situational awareness. I also heard both sides are using a shoot, scoot and pray method of close air support to avoid each other’s air defense on the front lines. Come in low, pop up while shooting off unguided rockets or bombs and high tail it back. The rockets or bombs arc forward to maybe get near the intended target.

  25. ked says:

    just curious … does Kaliningrad’s citizenry prefer independence to being Putin’s tool?

  26. Bill Roche says:

    My absolute guess is the Kalingrade would be ultimately absorbed into Germany or Poland. Who knows if the population is German/Polish/Russia by what %? It is a “mistake” from the spoils of WW II and should be resolved. Just one guy’s 2 cents.

    • Steve says:

      Poland may be too busy absorbing Galicia:)

      • Bill Roche says:

        Not so far fetched an idea at all. But I suspect it will be more nicely done than at the hands of Russian troops. Zelinskyy could have easily be spelled Zelinsky.

        • Steve says:

          Bill,

          Well, given that by that time the Russians will have “de-Natzified”Ukraine the Poles can just set up a border post and they wouldn’t need to spill blood over it. That would still be classified as an invasion, though. But it’s ok, NATO countries are excused from the “rules based” stuff:)

          Meanwhile back in Kyiv it’s looking like a few nights of the long-knives are ahead as the internal failures and bickering intensify and Zelensky channels his internal Stalin: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/23/zelenskyy-top-spy-security-failures-00041794

          The narrative collapse is getting into top gear….

    • TTG says:

      Bill Roche,

      Germany gave up interest in Königsberg in the early 90s. In 45/46 Moscow got rid of the former German population and flooded the place with ethnic Russians. Those Russians prefer to remain Russian right now. The economy sucks there now, even by Russian standards, and it is getting worse with the war and sanctions. Compared to the Europeans all around them, life for the people of Kaliningrad is truly awful and getting worse. Even the Russians of Kaliningrad mat begin to rethink their situation. Moscow, on the other hand, needs Kaliningrad as an ice free port for her Baltic Fleet. I bet she’ll forcibly remove the population of Kaliningrad to Siberia before sh’ee give up that port.

      • James says:

        TTG,

        Well – yeah, but Kaliningrad is surrounded by Poland and Lithuania who have benefited enormously from joining the EU and, let’s be honest, have extraordinarily smart and hard working people.

        I have been considerably more pro-Russia than you but I must concede that if Ukrainian is actually allowed to join the EU that will be hugely beneficial for Ukraine – to a degree that I think very few people appreciate.

        • TTG says:

          James,

          I agree. I was in Germany and in frequent contact with Poles and Russians when the WTO and USSR collapsed. The transition to a Western economy in Poland was astonishingly fast. In the space of a year, prices in Poland rose to equal those in Germany as did the availability of goods. I had to explain and counsel one Pole on a phenomenon that was new to him… a mortgage for a house or flat. Happily for both this Pole and several Russians, they were able to purchase flats before the real estate prices skyrocketed to our levels. I felt like their financial advisor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.