NATO MADRID PIVOTAL SUMMIT

Brussels 25.06.2022 NATO Leaders are meeting in Madrid at a pivotal time for our security. Russia’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe, caused far-reaching energy and food crises, and shaken the rules-based international order. NATO’s response has been swift and united.

How has Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the new security reality in Europe affected NATO’s approach to deterrence and defence?

What is the Alliance doing to address other challenges, like China’s growing influence and assertiveness or the security consequences of climate change?

What will be included in NATO’s next Strategic Concept, the blueprint for the Alliance’s future adaptation to a more competitive world where authoritarian powers try to push back against the rules-based international order?

These are just some of the important questions that NATO Leaders will discuss during the Madrid Summit.

More than ever, NATO is the indispensable platform for transatlantic consultations and cooperation on security and defence. At the Madrid Summit, Allies will continue to adapt, taking decisions to keep NATO strong and ready in a more dangerous world. Heads of State and Government will agree to strengthen deterrence and defence, and support Ukraine for the longer term. They will agree the 2022 Strategic Concept, which will be a roadmap for the Alliance in the years to come. Allies will also boost cooperation with partners, enhance resilience and sharpen NATO’s technological edge – all underpinned by the necessary investments in our collective defence.

NATO Leaders are gathering in Madrid, Spain to discuss important issues facing the Alliance. The Madrid Summit will set NATO’s strategic direction for the next decade and beyond, ensuring that the Alliance will continue to adapt to a changing world and keep its one billion people safe.

Russia: Pope and senator Paul

Brussels 21.06.2022 Senator Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky) received some high profile company last week in citing NATO expansion as a main reason Russia invaded Ukraine. Pope Francis echoed Paul’s earlier sentiment that the North-Atlantic Alliance played a significant role in provoking Russia and shares a large part of the blame. The Pontiff announced that Russia’s invasion was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented” in an interview with La Civilta Cattolica.

Senator Paul initially made his comments during an exchange with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a hearing about the conflict in Ukraine. The fact that Pope Francis endorsed this theory as well should come as no surprise. It has been a prominent theory in geopolitics for several decades. Yet Democrats and other left-wingers refused to acknowledge this, despite decades of evidence supporting Paul’s claim. Instead, they vilified and attacked Senator Paul, along with anyone else who repeated this theory.

Paul offered his criticism in April and was accused of being a Putin apologist. Will the Democrats blame Pope Francis for becoming a Putin puppet?

Lavrov: Russian troops avoid civil infrasturcture

Brussels 29.05.2022 The timing of the Russian “special operation” in Ukraine is due to the order to categorically avoid strikes on civilian infrastructure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the French TV channel TF1 on Sunday, May 29.
Earlier President Vladimir Putin said that the timing of the completion of the special military operation in Ukraine depends on the intensity of hostilities, and the Russian side will “act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan that was originally proposed by the General Staff.”

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on the morning of Thursday, February 24, 2022. President Vladimir Putin said that its goal is “to protect citizens who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.”

The situation in Donbass is still tense, the Ukrainian military continues shelling from positions that are still under their control.

Meanwhile President Zelensky visited Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region.

EU: VI Russia sanctions package blocked

Brussels 18.05.2022 The sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia has been blocked, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday, May 18, in an interview to Rai News 24 TV channel.

“We adopted five packages of sanctions very quickly and unanimously, but the sixth package is still held off for known reasons. I am optimistic about the prospects for finding a compromise,” Gentiloni said.

The Commissioner explained that the Hungarian government does not object to the principle of introducing an energy embargo, but pointed to the difficulties in terms of a certain geographical location and energy supply model.

The permanent representatives of the EU countries (Coreper) have been not able reach an agreement on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, which includes a draft oil embargo – the European Commission has proposed a ban on imports of crude oil from Russia six months after the sixth package enters into force, and on oil products – from 2023. At the same time, the European Commission proposed to allow Hungary and Slovakia to purchase Russian oil until the end of 2024 in an exemption gesture.

According to sources, the European Commission already had to soften a number of its proposals on the timing, parameters, and possible exceptions to the oil embargo. Hungary opposes the oil embargo, with the support of a number of other countries who believe that the damage from the measure will be catastrophic for Europe.

Russia: G7 and border lines

Brussels 15.05.2022 Russia does not care if G7 states recognise the changes of the new borders, Russian Security Council Deputy Head Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday, May 14, adding that the only thing that matters is the opinion of the people living on these territories.

“Let’s put it mildly: out country doesn’t care about G7’s non-recognition of the new borders; what matters is the genuine will of the people living there. Do not forget the Kosovo precedent, Western friends!” Medvedev said in his Telegram channel.

The G7 decisions are interfering in China’s internal affairs and a continuation of the sanctions war against Russia, Medvedev said.

Peskov denies gas boycott of Finland

Brussels 13.05.2022 Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called some Finnish media reports about the termination of Russian gas deliveries to Finland “most likely just another fake.”

While conducting a press briefing in Moscow, Peskov recalled that the media mentioned Finland’s stance to join NATO as a reason for a possible rupture on supplies of energy resources and reminded that Russia delivers gas to many NATO countries, including Germany.

“Gazprom supplies gas to various consumers in Europe, including countries that are members of NATO. Gazprom has repeatedly demonstrated its reliability as a company that supplies energy resources to the European continent. Therefore, these reports are most likely just another fake,” the Peskov said.

However Peskov made a reservation, recalling the decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin that prescribed “unfriendly countries” to pay in rubles for Russian energy resources, and added that if Finnish companies do not abide by the new requirements, then “the decree will be implemented.”

“It is necessary to make it clear with Gazprom how it is with the payment regime. Because there is a decree of the president on a new gas payment regime. I do not know the nuances of how Finnish companies pay, when they need to make payments, and whether they carry them according to the new rules,” he said.

Degas: Ukrainian dances from Little Russia

Anna Van DENSKY OPINION 08.05.2022 The National Gallery in London has changed the title of Edgar Degas’s drawing “Russian Dancers” (1899) to “Ukrainian Dancers” after a number of claims by Ukrainians on social media in a sympathetic but totally obscurantist gesture.

In times of the creation of the Degas masterpieces there was no Ukrainian identity, ethnicity or language. The very term “Ukraine” descended from “Ocraine” which means Rimland in Russian. The territories of the modern state of Ukraine were an integral part of the Russian Empire, and those who lived there called themselves “Maloross”, or Little Russians.
Logically, being strictly scientific and correct, the Degas’ ouvre should be named “Maloross Dancers”.
The same way we do not name Romans “Italians”, or Portuguese “Iberians”.

The pastel picture by the famed French Impressionist shows a troupe of young performers sporting hair ribbons in vivid blue and yellow, the national colours of modern Ukraine flag.

A spokesperson for the National Gallery told the Guardian, “The title of this painting has been an ongoing point of discussion for many years and is covered in scholarly literature; however there has been increased focus on it over the past month due to the current situation so therefore we felt it was an appropriate moment to update the painting’s title to better reflect the subject of the painting.”

Lavrov: no timetalbe in Ukraine

Brussels 02.05.2022 Moscow won’t set artificial timetable for its military operations in Ukraine in order to complete it by Victory Day, celebrated in Russia on May 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (pictured) said in an interview with Italy’s Mediaset broadcaster.(Image above: illustration).

“Our troops won’t artificially base their activities on a specific date, including Victory Day,” he pointed out in response to a question. “We will solemnly celebrate May 9 the way we always do,” Lavrov added.

According to the top diplomat, the pace of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine first and foremost depends “on the need to mitigate risks for civilians and Russian troops.”

Lavrov underlined that the operation was particularly aimed at ensuring the safety of civilians and making sure that there were no threats from Ukraine to civilians and Russia, “which would be related to offensive weapons and the spread of Nazi ideas that the West is trying to downplay.”

“I have seen reports on NBC, I have read the National Interest magazine. Serious articles have started to appear there that are warning against playing games with Nazis, like it happened in 1935-1938,” the Russian Minister has underlined.

Putin: Russia proceeds with military operation

Brussels 12.04.2022 President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, April 12, Russia will proceed according to plan with military operations in Ukraine as the pro-Western country braces for a major offensive in the east.

“Our task is to fulfil and achieve all the goals set, minimising losses. And we will act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan originally proposed by the General Staff,” Putin said during a TV press conference.

Speaking to press following a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at “Vostochny” cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, Putin dismissed claims Russian army was struggling against the Ukrainian resistance and was forced to withdraw from around major cities, including the Kyiv.

“Our actions in certain regions of Ukraine were just related to containing (enemy) forces, destroying military infrastructure, creating conditions for a more active operation in Donbas,” Putin said referring to a region in eastern Ukraine, parts of which are controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

Putin also added the military operation was not going to speed up, in order to minimise casualties.

“I often hear the question: is it possible to do it a bit faster? It is. This depends on the intensity of hostilities, but the intensity of hostilities is, unfortunately related to losses,” he explained.

The Ukrainian military commanders claim that Russia’s death toll has risen to nearly 20,000, though this may well be an exaggeration. However the figures, announced by the Russian Ministry of Defence do not seem convincing either.

Russia denies Bucha massacre responsibility

Strasbourg 05.04.2022 The situation in the Ukrainian city of Bucha is a “false flag” operation to discredit Russian military and justify Western sanctions, and a genuine investigation into what happened is not something that NATO countries seek, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Tuesday, April 5.

“The only objective is to discredit Russia, justify the sanctions, weapons supplies and other unfriendly actions, as well as to further exacerbate the situation in Ukraine,” Volodin maintained.

According to the Duma speaker, “an investigation is of no use to NATO countries” because the perpetrators have already been found.

“There are no facts, just lies. The Ukrainian media had to delete the photo evidence posted by them, since the information is not confirmed. But no one cares about all this anymore. The accusations have been made,” Volodin regretted.

The Mayor of Bucha, Anatoly Fedoruk, has told AFP that 280 people have been buried after the Ukrainian Army found the city’s streets full of bodies after retaking it.

Ukraine accused Russian forces of carrying out a ‘massacre’ in the town of Bucha, while Western nations reacted to images of dead bodies there with calls for new sanctions against Moscow.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry posted a video early Sunday and accused Russian forces of executing civilians before their retreat from the suburb of Bucha, where bodies in civilian clothes dotted the streets in the wake of Russian withdrawal.

The prospects for resolution from peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are more in doubt than ever with the reported discovery of hundreds of corpses of civilians in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs as Russian forces retreated.

The President of the European Parliament Robert Metsola said she was appalled by atrocities of Russian army in #Bucha other liberated areas. “This is cold reality of Putin’s war crimes. World must be aware of what is happening. Tougher sanctions must be imposed. Perpetrators & their commanders must be brought to justice”.