Thursday, March 31


 Putin Decrees Gas for Roubles only, Energy Markets Tremble, Germany Shakes - YouTube - The Duran's Alexander Mercouris - March 31 - 13 minutes


Putin: Existing Contracts on Russian Gas Will Be Frozen If They Aren't Paid in Rubles - 31.03.2022, Sputnik International ( - 13 hours ago

Moscow’s new gas payment scheme explained — RT Business News - 31 Mar, 2022 13:53

Lavrov Wins Support from China; Mariupol Russia Enters Azovstal, Ukraine Commanders Try to Flee - YouTube - Alexander Mercouris - 22 minutes earlier today than the above post; important for what the Chinese are saying. 


Why Global Supply Chains May Never Be the Same | A WSJ Documentary

Why Global Supply Chains May Never Be the Same | A WSJ Documentary - YouTube  - 54:42 minutes - March 23

The Wall Street Journal documentary was made before Russia demanded rubles for gas, a demand that most probably will quickly spill into all other Russian exports, including grain.  So given the knock-on effect, whatever problems exist now with the global supply chain, we ain't seen nothin' yet.


The Duran plans live stream Monday 1300 Hours London time with Scott Ritter, Gonzalo Lira

Alexander has been trying for weeks for Scott to squeeze in some time for The Duran, so now it's going to happen if all goes as planned.  You can bet that high-quality questions will be put to Scott. 


Russian, UK foreign ministers in India to woo PM Modi

Lavrov arrived in New Delhi at 8 PM local time, reportedly he came from meetings in Beijing. 

UK's Liz Truss and Russia's Sergey Lavrov in India; Here's why these visits are crucial (

Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are in India to boost ties with New Delhi. Truss is anticipated to push Delhi to collaborate with other democracies to resist Russia's invasion of Ukraine by diminishing the country's reliance on Moscow.

Whereas, India is expected to be urged by Russia's foreign minister to circumvent Western sanctions and acquire more Russian oil and gas. It is worth mentioning here that India, while calling for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine war, has not directly denounced the invasion and has abstained from voting in the United Nations.

Truss, who has spoken of a "network of liberty," is anticipated to tell her Indian counterpart, S. Jaishankar, that cooperation among democracies is critical in deterring aggressors, according to political analysts.

The UK Foreign Secretary said in a statement that the conflict in Ukraine had highlighted the need for increased security in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world, as well as tighter cooperation in areas such as defence, trade, and cyber-security.

Lavrov, on the other hand, will use his visit to press for closer trade ties to help mitigate the impact of Moscow's sanctions. Notably, India had agreed to acquire three million barrels of substantially discounted Russian oil earlier this month.

Importance of Truss' visit to India

During her visit, the UK foreign secretary will also announce a £70 million (over Rs 696.75 crore) investment in renewable energy development in India, which is one of the world's largest users of hydrocarbons. She will unveil a cooperative cyber-security programme aimed at defending both countries' online infrastructure against cyber-attacks. UK PM Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed last year to improve ties over the next decade. 

Western governments have chastised India for failing to take a firmer stance against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the UK is hoping for strong signals from Modi's government about its opposition to the invasion and support for the UN charter. US President Joe Biden recently described India's posture as "shaky." Truss sees the signing of a bilateral strategic cyber alliance with India as an indication of the two countries' determination to step up security cooperation.

Truss wants progress in negotiations to grow defence-related trade, especially innovative security technology, and strengthen defence connections with the world's largest democracy, according to the Foreign Office. "Deeper relations between Britain and India will strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, as well as create jobs and opportunities in both countries," Truss said before her trip.

In the Indo-Pacific, the UK and India will also agree to strengthen maritime cooperation. The United Kingdom will join India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative as a main partner on maritime security problems, coordinating cooperation with key Southeast Asian partners. Since entering office, Truss has made it a priority to strengthen ties with India. This is her second visit as foreign secretary and third as a secretary of state in 13 months; she previously visited as trade secretary.

Truss is expected to argue that the current volatility in oil and gas prices, as well as concerns about energy security as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, demonstrate the importance of India's green transformation and advances toward energy self-sufficiency, which UK technology can help accelerate.

Why is Lavrov's visit to India crucial?

India is largely reliant on Russia for arms sales, and Lavrov is said to be eager to persuade India to expand its purchases of Russian oil at a discount. The talks with Lavrov could possibly include the development of a rupee-ruble payment mechanism for bilateral trade between India and Russia, as a way to get around US sanctions.

According to Bloomberg, Russian central bank officials are expected to visit India next week to negotiate the payment system's features. India is also likely to emphasise the importance of "on-time delivery of various military gear" and "Russian S-400 missile system components."

As a result of the Western countries' sanctions against Russia, India is looking into a payment mechanism based on the ruble-rupee exchange. Keeping trade relations with Russia open not only benefits India economically, but it also allows India to preserve the option of nudging Russia away from China in the future. The western countries' enmity is currently fueling Russia's closeness to China.

In this regard, India is in a unique position to serve as a link between Russia and the West while also exposing China's geopolitical threat. As India's diplomacy matures in its foreign engagements, Sergey Lavrov's visit provides an opportunity for India to assert its position both to Russia and to the West, as well as to gain influence from its balanced stance.


Imran Khan blames foreign conspiracy in his last-ditch effort to hold onto power UPDATED 10:45 AM ET


From Republic TV, the recorded speech has been delayed after Khan's meeting with security council; he's now preparing notes to make a live address to the nation.  The live address was vetted with Rawalpindi (Pakistan's military).  

Also, reportedly, Khan has prepared a demarche for the American ambassador, which seems to indicate he's claiming the USA is the as- yet unnamed foreign meddler trying to carry out regime change.

END UPDATE         

 His recorded speech to the nation is imminent:  Republic TV is on standby. 

Reportedly Pakistan's military asked Khan to resign; he's fighting back. For quick background:


Wednesday, March 30

Nigel Farage's prophetic speech to Europe's parliament about Russia and Ukraine. Wow.

Eight years ago. He wasn't the only one warning in such precise terms, but I think he was the only politician, at least that I know about. Tonight, Tucker Carlson played the video of the two-minute speech. Farage was unerringly right.  

The end of globalized trade as we've known it

Amazing how fast it happened.  “The system simply shut down."

Russia sanctions redraw shipping routes, cleaving East from West | Russia-Ukraine war News | Al Jazeera - March 29


Athens, Greece – Western sanctions punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine are reorganising global trade along political lines, defying geography and efficiency.

This new reality is creating a windfall for merchant shipping, but risks are creating higher prices for European consumers and hunger for Africa.

The disruption stems from the curbing of Black Sea trade. Ukraine’s ports have been blockaded by Russian sieges from land and sea, impeding shipping. Ukrainian officials told the Reuters news agency that about 100 foreign-flagged ships were trapped in ports on March 11.

“They were in the process of loading or unloading when the war began,” shipowner Yiorgos Gourdomichalis told Al Jazeera. “The system simply shut down. There were no customs officers and harbour masters to process the boats out.”


[Plenty more in the report]


Perhaps more awake than afraid.

 NATO Allies Split on Ukraine Strategy Questions, Including Talking to Putin - Bloomberg (

  • Berlin, Paris seek dialogue; others say Putin can’t be trusted
  • Divisions also emerge over peace terms, weapons for Ukraine
'Asked about Macron declaring weapons like tanks a red line, Zelenskiy told the Economist magazine that France was afraid of Russia and that Boris Johnson was a leader “who is helping more.” '



Twitter deletes 100+ individual India accounts because of their alleged "pro-Moscow" views

Twitter deletes ‘pro-Moscow’ Indian accounts — RT World News - March 30

A number of allegedly "pro-Russian" Twitter accounts in India have been suspended for apparent “coordinated inauthentic behavior” after posting messages supportive of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine, the New York Times has reported.

Twitter suspended more than 100 users following research published by Marc Owen Jones at Qatar’s Hamad bin Khalifa University and Graham Brookie of the Atlantic Council’s digital forensic research lab.

The pro-NATO lobby group is funded by the US and British governments, as well as a number of Ukrainian oligarchs. 

The Times itself admitted, however, that “there was no hard evidence [the accounts] are part of a coordinated influence campaign aimed at shifting sentiment about the war” in Ukraine. The paper also pointed out that India’s government has maintained a neutral policy toward the war thus far – and a Twitter spokeswoman claimed the company was still investigating.

The platform acknowledged in a recent blog post that it has deleted 75,000 accounts for violation of its “platform manipulation and spam policy” since the war in Ukraine began. Those accounts are not thought to “represent a specific, coordinated campaign associated with a government actor.

Jones highlighted alleged “suspicious behavior” among those Indian accounts promoting the Russian government’s view on the war, including accounts using stock photos in profiles and gaining plentiful likes and retweets despite few followers. The profiles had also used the #IStandWithPutin hashtag

It’s unclear how many of the accounts belonged to real people, but some of them most likely were real, Jones said.

If you can get enough people spreading a message, then real people will join in,” he told the Times.

Brookie noted the “longstanding and deep security and economic relations” between India and Russia, saying Moscow would be “looking to countries like India” to abstain from international efforts to isolate it.

After an Indian student was killed in Ukraine during the fighting earlier this month, some of the 20,000 Indian citizens struggling to escape were reportedly subjected to racism, as Ukrainians at the border refused to allow them on trains and buses headed for safety, telling them they would have to walk – reports that may have added fuel to anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian sentiment in the country.

Hundreds of Indians belonging to an organization called the Hindu Sena marched in New Delhi earlier this month, chanting messages of support for Russia. The country continues to purchase most of its weapons from Russia, giving its government little reason to torpedo a mutually beneficial relationship.

India is not the only place where Twitter has nuked accounts for alleged inauthentic posting. In the months preceding the 2020 US election, for example, Facebook removed over 10,000 accounts and pages from 13 countries – including a multitude of then-president Donald Trump’s supporters – for just such behavior. 

Facebook (now Meta), Twitter, and other major social media platforms have long worked hand in hand with highly politicized think tanks like the Atlantic Council, and Western news agencies, to help them fight “disinformation” online during elections and times of political upheaval.



"Putin is somebody who doesn't blink." The looming gas crisis if Europeans don't pay in rubles.

The quote is from The Duran's talk today.

Gas for rubles. Who will blink first? - YouTube

 I mention one point, which Alexander was clearly not aware of at the time the talk was posted -- or it's possible the report I saw yesterday was wrong. But from the report, the March 31 deadline for switching to ruble payments for Russian gas is not hard and fast across the board. Supposedly there are technical issues that might have to be resolved on a case-by-case basis. That might give the Europeans a little wiggle room -- a few days or even weeks, if the report was correct. In any case, the gas will be turned off if the Europeans continue to refuse making the ruble payments. 

As of March 28, RT was reporting that the March 31 deadline is definite.  

Russia sets ruble gas payment deadline — RT Business News

See also:

What happens if Russia turns off the gas taps to Europe — RT Business News - March 30


Russell Bentley latest report from Donetsk addresses several issues

The report was yesterday; I was looking for it on Rumble but Regis Tremblay posted it on YouTube instead. Still relevant, however.  Russell also reports on the military situation in Mariupol.  By his estimate there are about 300 Azov fighters left in Mariupol, holed up in the city's industrial zone. Russian military police, including Chechens, are taking out the fighters, room by room.  The Russians didn't want to bomb the steel factory, where most of the Azov are dug in.  

Again, Russell reports on much else about the war.  

Russell Rescue Mission to Ukraine - It Will Soon Be Over - YouTube


Pundita tells SouthFront the WW2 joke about two Soviet soldiers in Berlin

One soldier says, "We won!"  The other soldier, reading a Nazi newspaper, says, "No, Germany won."

I understand they're very worried at SouthFront that Putin is going to give away the store during negotiations. And they've been very upset for almost a month at the Russian military, which they believe completely messed up in Ukraine.  And today they're wringing their hands over yet another Ukrainian propaganda victory. 

Another Information Provocation Against Russia Succeeded - South Front

Hitler's propagandists scored endless victories against the Soviet troops. 

So please can everybody just calm down? Nothing is guaranteed in war, of course, but let's just wait and see. Okay?


"No, The Vatican Is Not Paying For Russian Gas In Rubles"

It was joke that went viral then got reported as real news.  We're entering the Silly phase of war reporting.   

No, The Vatican Is Not Paying For Russian Gas In Rubles |

But speaking of rubles for gas -- 

Kremlin reveals details on switching to ruble payments for gas — RT Business News March 30


Scott Ritter: Removing Putin has been US policy for years

 Regime change has been the US goal in Russia for years — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union - March 30

Barred by Putin from pussyfooting around Russia to foment rebellion, the U.S. government has been reduced to beseeching Russians from afar to overthrow Putin. Very funny; I didn't know that before Scott Ritter's op-ed for RT. 

(As to any accusations that he's a Putin stooge because he published at RT -- what Western news outlet would publish anything he had to say?)


Russia re peace talks: "Still very, very long-term work to be done."

 'Crimea is Russia': Kremlin Refuses to Discuss Peninsula's Status With Ukraine - 30.03.2022, Sputnik International (

"Virtue-signaling elites make the war in Ukraine all about themselves."

They're not only elites; many are just people riding on the coattails of war in order grab attention for their own agendas. So, what else is new? Still, Tucker Carlson and his guest do a good job of summarizing this era's virtue-signaling in four minutes.  

You'll never guess who trains in Ukraine in addition to Nazis

Antifa.  If it hadn't come from Lara Logan, I don't think I would have believed it.  

Breaking Down Ukraine Jimmy Dore, Sean Stone, Scott Ritter & Lara Logan to talk all things Ukraine. - YouTube

The video takes more than 4 minutes to load and starts by showing an over-the-top Ukraine propaganda video. Lara gets somewhat carried away at first with a rant against what passes for mainstream journalism but don't miss what she has to say toward the end of the discussion.  

As how Antifa took up training in Ukraine -- we might figure that out if we knew who is financing the training in Ukraine.  


U.S. puts more pressure on India to sanction Russia

Biden sends his Russia sanctions czar to India — RT World News - March 30

"Formerly of Goldman Sachs and a veteran of two previous US administrations, Singh has played a leading role in crafting US economic measures against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine ..."

A US national security official will travel to India to discuss New Delhi’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the White House said, noting that the two sides would also review their economic ties as Washington pressures allies to take tougher action against Moscow.

The deputy national security adviser for international economics, Daleep Singh, is set to visit the Indian capital this week, where he will meet with officials to “advance a range of issues in the US-India economic relationship and strategic partnership,” National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne announced on Tuesday.

“Singh will consult closely with counterparts on the consequences of Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and mitigating its impact on the global economy,” Horne continued, adding that the adviser would also speak about the “development of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.”

Formerly of Goldman Sachs and a veteran of two previous administrations, Singh has played a leading role in crafting US economic measures against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine, with multiple media dubbing him the “architect” and “czar” of the anti-Russia sanctions.

The meetings in New Delhi come as the United States and some major allies press India to join a punitive sanctions campaign against Moscow. So far, it has declined to go along, refusing to vote to condemn the attack at the United Nations and even agreeing to purchase Russian oil at a discount earlier this month. Though Indian officials have called for an end to the fighting in Ukraine and urged for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the country has not budged on demands to take harsher action against Russia.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will also visit India on Thursday, where she plans to discuss “bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest” with Indian FM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. She has previously called for a “closer economic and defense relationship” with India, which she claimed has “some level of dependence on Russia.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is also set to meet with his Indian counterpart later this month following a two-day stop in China, according to the Hindustan Times. Like India, Beijing has also taken a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, declining to condemn Russia while calling on both sides to stop fighting.

US President Joe Biden has stated that New Delhi has been “somewhat shaky” in its response to Russia – instead praising the “extremely strong” reactions of other allies such as Japan and Australia – while UK Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said London is “very disappointed” by India’s unwillingness to impose sanctions.

India has championed a policy of neutrality since gaining independence in 1947, maintaining ties with both the Soviet Union and the West throughout the Cold War and keeping friendly relations with the Russian Federation in the time since. India has a particularly close partnership with Moscow in the military sphere, as it is Russia’s top weapons customer, though also regularly cooperates with the US and other Western nations in joint military drills.


Tuesday, March 29

MOA summary and projection of Russian military op in Ukraine

 MoA - Ukraine SitRep - Part II Of Russia's Military Operation Unfolds (

This map of the situation in Ukraine on March 29 is provided by the French Ministry of Defense. [The map can be considerably enlarged at the MOA site]

It is likely the most realistic and neutral one available. It comes with short notes about the numbered theaters.

Here are my own situation-report notes:


The Russian military operation in Ukraine began with a rather small force of some 150.000+ men against a much larger (including reservist and territorial forces) Ukrainian force of some 400.000. The Russian force used maneuver warfare to fix the larger Ukrainian forces into place. It attacked on a large front and threatened major population concentrations, i.e. cities.

The Russian operations started with the destruction of the Ukrainian command and control network. Over the last four weeks the Ukrainian navy, its airforce, its radars and air defenses and a huge number of its armored vehicles were destroyed. Throughout the last week fuel depots all over the Ukraine were attacked and destroyed over night. Ukraine's large ammunition depots are gone. Military production and repair facilities have likewise been destroyed. The Ukraine is no longer able to move large numbers of troops between the various fronts. Its army has lost its mobility.

While this was ongoing threats to Kiev, Odessa and other large Ukrainian cities have held significant numbers of Ukrainian troops in place and prevented reinforcements to move to the east. There units from the Donetsk and Luhansk republics attacked the 60,000 strong main force of the Ukrainian army to keep it in place.

This allowed Russian forces from Crimea and from the Russian border in the north to move into positions that will now enable them to envelope the east.


  1. The move east and west of Kiev was, as I have said for a while, a feint to fix mobile Ukrainian units around their capital city. The feint is no longer needed as the Ukrainian army has now lost its mobility. The Russian troops around Kiev and Chernigov will be mostly withdrawn probably up to Chernobyl where a part of them may take defensive positions while most of the units deployed around Kiev will be moved back to Belarus and Russia for new operations in eastern Ukraine.
  2. Fighting around Kharkiv is ongoing. Ukrainian counterattacks on that front have failed and the next phase of the war will see increased activities there.
  3. The move on the west side of the Dnjepr river towards the important industrial area of Kryvyi Rih and on to Dnipro has been relatively slow. The move on the eastern side of the Dnjepr towards Dnipro has been at the same speed. Note that the western and eastern parts of those fronts are at the same level. They are well coordinated. The next phase will probably see more movement on the eastern side of the river.
  4. There are still a few pockets of Azov fighters in Mariupol with the main units encircled in the vast Azovstal steelworks. They have little food and ammunition and the Chechen unites of the Russian army and national guard are working to dig them out. The Russian forces that encircled and stormed Mariupol are now freed up and will be moved to attack further north.
  5. Ukrainian forces at Mykolaiv have attempted counterattacks in the direction of Kherson. These have failed.


The Russian command has decided to now concentrate on enveloping and destroying Ukraine's main forces at the Donetsk front. These are the most heavy equipped and most experienced units of the Ukrainian army. Since last fall some 60,000 men had been assembled there for a full fledged war on Donetsk, an attack that the Russian operation successfully preempted.

It will probably take a few days for the Russian forces to regroup and resupply for that next phase of the war. I expect it to start around the end of this week.

The U.S. and Polish military are helping to smuggle small arms stuff through the western Ukrainian boarder. These are anti-tank missiles, old short range anti-air missiles as well as machine guns, mortars and ammunition. This is equipment for a guerilla war against an occupation force. But except for the east and maybe some parts in the south the Russian forces do not plan to occupy anything.

Those regions are tundra, very flat with little woods, where one can see an approaching enemy from miles away. It will be extremely difficult for a guerilla force to survive there. That is likely the reason why the Russian forces have done little to interrupt the arms smuggling into western Ukraine. (Those smuggled weapons will for years haunt the 'western' Europeans as they are certain to proliferate to right-wing extremist groups all over the continent.)

The general task for the whole military operation as set out by the Russian command was to de-militarize and to de-nazify the Ukraine.

The material de-militarization of the Ukraine is mostly done. During the next few weeks the Russian air and long range artillery forces will finish that task. The Ukraine would have to completely rearm, starting at about zero, should it want to regain significant military capabilities. It is hard to see how it will ever be able to finance that.

The de-militarization of the main forces of the Ukrainian army will happen in the Donbas cauldron. The units there will have to give up or they will be destroyed by the materially vastly superior Russian forces.

The de-nazification of the Ukraine has proven to be more difficult. The main fascist units of the Azov regiment were caught up in Mariupol where several thousand of them have been or will be eliminated. More fascist units at the Donetzk front will also soon be taken out. But during the eight years since the U.S. managed anti-democratic coup in Kiev the fascist ideology has deeply infiltrated all Ukrainian government structures. It will be hard for the Ukrainians to remove it even as its failures become obvious.

The Russian forces will probably take another four weeks to destroy the Ukrainian units at the Donetsk front. The Russian command will then have to decide which parts of the Ukraine it will want to keep under control. Next to Donetsk and Luhansk the region north of Crimea is a likely candidate. Odessa and Dnipro may also be still on the menu. The regions can be kept as statelets under local control or form a confederation that may well institutionalize a new country.

Anything beyond that depends on the willingness of the U.S. proxy government in Kiev to submit to Russia's demands. Russia can leave it at that or it can continue to mow the grass until none is left.

Posted by b on March 29, 2022 at 17:55 UTC | Permalink


The Americans will kill Zelensky if he negotiates in good faith with Russia

It is not Zelensky's administration that runs Ukraine; the American government does. No U.S.-controlled regime would be allowed to uphold guarantees it makes to the Russian government if the relentless eastward expansion of NATO is concerned. That is my view, and from that viewpoint I consider today's round of peace negotiations farcical.

Nonetheless I understand that the farce must play out.  So, I'm posting below RT's summary of the written proposal that 'Kiev' put forward at the negotiations. But first I will note that (in my view), the announced Russian decision to scale back military operations near Chernigov and Kiev is not actually related to the negotiations, although the Russians portrayed the decision as an olive branch. The decision is actually related to Russian troop disbursements -- a predictable decision given the military situation in eastern Ukraine.

Highlights from Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Turkey — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union - March 29

On Tuesday, Turkey hosted the latest round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian side has come up with a written proposal for a peace treaty between the two nations, Russia’s top negotiator Vladimir Medinsky told the media after the session, which he described as “substantive.”

The proposal will now be relayed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for consideration, he added. Here is what else emerged after the talks.

Russian offensive scaled down

An immediate practical effect of the talks will be a de-escalation of military activities in some parts of Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry announced. In particular, it pledged to “dramatically” reduce its operations near the cities of Chernigov and the capital, Kiev.

NATO-like security guarantees

David Arakhamia, Medinsky’s opposite number in the Ukrainian delegation, said Kiev had sought a security guarantee similar to that contained in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. He named Russia, the UK, China, the US, Turkey, France, Canada, Italy, Poland and Israel as possible providers. Some of them have given their preliminary agreement, he said.

No military blocs and non-nuclear Ukraine

In the proposal, Ukraine pledged not to join any military alliance, not to host foreign military bases or foreign troops, Medinsky said. Even military exercises would require prior approval from guarantors, according to the proposal. Kiev also pledged not to seek to obtain weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, the official added. But in return Ukraine wants Russia not to object to its joining the EU one day.

Crimea, Donbass unresolved

According to Medinsky, Kiev offered a 15-year moratorium on the status of Crimea, during which its fate would be negotiated and both sides would pledge not to use military force to resolve it. This is not compatible with Russia’s position that Crimea is part of its territory and Kiev needs to recognize it as such.

Ukraine also sought to include “parts” of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions into the definition of its territory for the purpose of security guarantees, the Russian envoy said. Moscow officially recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as sovereign states – in their full regional boundaries – just days before sending troops into Ukraine last month.

Borders in question

Medinsky said Kiev did not state whether it would relinquish its territorial claim to Donetsk and Lugansk. Prior to February, Ukraine controlled a large portion of both Donetsk and Lugansk and considers the regions to be its own territory.

Arakhamia made it clear that Kiev will assert sovereignty over the entire territory that Ukraine had when it declared independence in 1991, saying there could be no compromise on this point.

New conditions for Zelensky-Putin meeting

Moscow has agreed to organize a meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky as part of the final phase of negotiations over the future peace treaty. The Kremlin had previously said that such a meeting could only be scheduled once the document was finalized and inked by the respective foreign ministers.


See also: 

Sputnik's take on today's negotiations:

SouthFront's hand-wringer:

The Duran's discussion:


"Have the neocons been influenced by Trotsky and the Fourth International?"

Alexander Mercouris answers at the 1:33:40 minute mark in  Phase 2 of operations (Live) - YouTube - March 28.

In a word the answer is yes. I remember being shocked when the author of an article mentioned he'd seen Paul Wolfowitz at a meeting of Trotskyites in the U.S. This might have been around 2003. I had a lot to learn in those days about the neocons. 

Alexander points to Trotsky's idea of continuous revolution as one of the features of neocon thinking. They won't stop, even if Putin gave them the moon. Once they've destroyed Russia, they will move on. 

Should go without saying that the Americans in power who follow the neocon agenda, whether or not they are actual political neo-conservatives, are extremely dangerous people. They have no place in the American government and its defense/foreign policy establishments. But they are dug in deep in Washington, and it seems nothing can dislodge them. 


Monday, March 28

"The Eurasian choice has been conclusively made. It cannot be undone now."

The quote is from The Duran's discussion today, March 28.  Alexander was answering a viewer who wanted to know whether Russia and the EU would eventually continue to trade. He said that trade would be restored, but not to the previous level.  

 After decades of trying to integrate with Western Europe, the Russians have finally conceded that they must turn eastward.


"The War of the Wheat and the Famine to Come"

The War Of The Wheat And The Famine To Come - South Front March 27

"Sanctions on Russia are proving to be a dangerous boomerang."

Written by Piero Messina

Famine will come. 100 million tons of wheat will be missing from the world food market. 26 are those produced by Ukraine, the remainder is that relating to Russian production, even that blocked for international exports. The conflict being fought in Ukraine risks causing thousands of deaths in Africa and the Middle East. They are the collateral damage of the conflict. The specter of famine emerges from the stop to grain production in Ukraine.

The Black Sea area hit by the Ukrainian crisis exports at least 12 percent of the food calories traded in the world. Ukraine has one third of the most fertile soil in the world according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and 45% of its exports are related to agriculture. It is among the world’s leading exporters of sunflower oil, canola and barley, corn, wheat and poultry. Much of the country’s wheat production comes from parts of eastern Ukraine.

On March 9, Kiev banned exports of grain and other food products to prevent an internal crisis. Meanwhile, the farmers are abandoning the fields. The conflict is destroying infrastructure and equipment. The next harvest is probably skipped.

Across the world, the prices of essential food were already rising globally due to the pandemic and disruptions in the food supply chain. In 2020, due to the pandemic, food prices in Africa and the Middle East rose by more than 30%. The Ukrainian crisis has further pushed prices to reach their highest level since 1974, when adjusting to inflation, according to the FAO. Nearly one in three people in the Middle East and North Africa did not have access to adequate nutrition in 2020; an increase of 10 million people in just one year.

The War Of The Wheat And The Famine To Come

Click to see full-size image

The crisis in Ukraine exacerbates the problems. Many countries in the Middle East and North Africa are particularly dependent on Ukrainian wheat and seed oil and are vulnerable to food price shocks. In these countries, bread and other cereal-based products make up 35% of the population’s calorie intake.

According to Human Rights Watch, “many countries in the Middle East and North Africa have seriously inadequate social protection systems that do not protect people’s economic rights to help them cope with rising prices.”

Particularly at risk are countries already struggling with crises and widespread food insecurity such as Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria. In Egypt, in the face of rising prices and the prospect of a rapid depletion of stocks, President al-Sisi announced new incentives for the agricultural sector and for controlling the price at the sale. Also imposed a three-month ban on the export of oil, corn, legumes, pasta and flour. The crisis also wears down the finances of the country that is looking for new loans. The North African country would only have nine months to see its grain reserves dry up due to a halt to supplies from Ukraine.

Egypt, for example, imports about 85% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. The spokesman for the Cairo government, Nader Saad, raised the problem by recalling that the available reserves are used to meet internal needs for only five months.

“There are 14 countries besides Russia and Ukraine that can supply grain to Egypt outside of Europe, including Australia, the United States and Paraguay,” Saad added. “But not at the same price.”

According to Human Rights Watch “sanctions on Russia risk aggravating the food crisis”. The NGO stresses that “food exporting countries should meet their national needs, but they should also work with import-dependent countries to establish alternative supply chains. Sanctions on Russia or the divestment of companies from the country should take into account the impact on agriculture-related exports to the extent that this will have an impact on food security for many populations. ” Human Rights Watch hopes that “governments and international institutions will increase humanitarian assistance to countries that do not have adequate resources to provide people with the support they need to protect their right to food”.

Europe too will soon have to deal with the shortage of wheat and fertilizers. Sanctions on Russia are proving to be a dangerous boomerang.



Dutch Government didn't think how anti-Russian sanctions would affect them

They didn't think, period. 

From the Moon of Alabama comment section:
Guess what, yesterday the Dutch prime minister said that Russian sanctions have little impact on the Dutch economy and that everything is fine, and we could even boycott the import of Russian oil and it would have little effect on the Dutch economy.

Guess what happened today, the Dutch CPB which is an economic government advisory agency, warned that the disruption of supply chains worldwide as a result of anti-Russian sanctions will have a large negative impact on the Dutch economy in the next year or two, because the largest part of the Dutch economy is trade and this sector will slowly grind to a halt as a result of these supply chain interruptions and the Dutch economy will be hit hardest of all the economies in the EU as a result of anti-Russian sanctions.

Guess they all missed the fact that in the last 30 years or so under WTO rules the production of almost all end products has been diversified to many factories all over the world that produce parts, that all depend on each other and on just-in-time delivery in order to produce [just] about any end product.

Who would have thought that sanctioning the largest country in the world that produces the largest amounts of raw materials would disrupt this international manufacturing, trade and transport system? lol

Posted by: Jimmy | Mar 27 2022 16:26 utc | 41

"Diesel Crisis In Europe Worsens as Austrian Energy Giant Limits Sales"

Diesel Crisis In Europe Worsens As Austrian Energy Giant Limits Sales |  (ZeroHedge article published March 24)

Earlier this week, we quoted the heads of some of the world's biggest independent energy trades, who spoke at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland and unveiled a dire forecast for the diesel market: "The thing that everybody’s concerned about will be diesel supplies. Europe imports about half of its diesel from Russia and about half of its diesel from the Middle East,” said Russell Hardy, chief of Switzerland-based oil trader Vitol. “That systemic shortfall of diesel is there.”

As a reminder, Russian supplies account for about 15% of Europe’s diesel consumption, according to the FT which carried their comments.

Hardy said the shift to more diesel consumption over gasoline in Europe had helped to create shortages of the fuel. He added that refineries could boost their diesel output in response to higher prices at the expense of other oil-derived products to shore up supply, but warned that rationing was a possibility.

Meanwhile, Torbjorn Tornqvist, co-founder and chair of Geneva-headquartered Gunvor Group said that "Europe is short of diesel" but added that "Diesel is not just a European problem; this is a global problem. It really is."

Tornqvist also warned that European gas markets were no longer functioning properly as traders faced huge demands from banks for cash to cover hedging positions. “I think it’s broken. It really is,” he said. “I never thought that somebody could say ‘ah, gas has fallen below 100 per megawatt hours is really cheap’.”

Finally, the CEO of Trafigura Jeremy Weir, which has recently fielded billions in margin calls and has warned that commodity trading houses risk imploding absent a central bank bailout, put the final nail in the coffin warning that "the diesel market is extremely tight. It’s going to get tighter and will probably lead into stock outs” referring to when fuel stations run dry.

Since then the European Diesel market has effectively frozen up, as the following chart of the absolutely insane backwardation in European diesel (2M-3M gasoil price spread) shows.


... and on Thursday the shortage finally spilled over - to use the term very loosely - on the street, after Austria's energy giant OMV announced it was "limiting spot sales of heating oil and diesel until further notice", Bloomberg reported.

The move, the company explained in an email, was to ensure it can meet contractual supply obligations noting that "as a precaution, the spot business has been limited until further notice.” The company didn’t give specifics on where the limits are in place, however it is safe to safe that soon the limits will hit all of Austria which is exceptionally dependent on Russian oil; to wit, earlier on Thursday, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that talk of immediate boycott of Russian energy is both “unrealistic and wrong,” adding that “it doesn’t work. Austria gets 80% of its gas from Russia."

Underscoring just how bad the European diesel crisis will soon, get, Europe’s scramble for alternatives to Russian diesel flipped New York from a typical import region to an exporter. According to Bloomberg, in a rare reversal of normal trade flows, New York is sending two diesel cargoes to Europe -- which relies on Russia for about a third of its diesel needs -- even as regional inventories are at multiyear lows and prices hover close to record highs.

Related: OPEC Warns A EU Ban On Russian Oil Could Have Serious Consequences



"EU voices fears about ‘pushing’ Russia towards China"

The time to have expressed those fears was when the U.S. engineered a violent coup to overthrow Ukraine's elected government. 

 EU voices fears about ‘pushing’ Russia towards China — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union March 26

The Ukrainian crisis and the West’s reaction to could “push” Russia towards China, the EU’s foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell warned during the opening session of the Doha Forum on Saturday.

Doing so could lead to the creation of a major rift between the global north and south, the diplomat explained, stressing that such a scenario should be avoided.

“One of the bad consequences of what’s happening is that we can push Russia to China, and we can create a division between the global southeast and the global northwest,” Borrell stated.

First of all, the West should ramp up its efforts to end the Ukrainian conflict in order to avoid the emergence of such a global rift, he explained, describing Russia’s ongoing offensive in Ukraine as a “war of attrition.”

“In order to avoid this trend, the first thing to do is to stop this war of aggression, war of attrition today,” the diplomat said, outlining the West’s strategy as a mix of military aid to Ukraine and anti-Russian sanctions.

The diplomat did not elaborate on how such a strategy would help to avoid “pushing” Russia into China’s arms. Since the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Beijing has taken a neutral stance, urging all parties to stick to diplomacy, calling upon the West to address Russia’s longstanding security concerns and opposing unilateral anti-Russian sanctions.

China’s stance has been interpreted by the West as pro-Russian, with the US-led NATO bloc openly urging Beijing to “to abstain from supporting Russia’s war effort in any way, and to refrain from any action that helps Russia circumvent sanctions,” as well as accusing it of providing Moscow “with political support, including by spreading blatant lies and misinformation.”

Beijing, however, has refused to bow to such demands, pointing to NATO’s continued expansion into Eastern Europe as a key factor behind the current conflict, as well as citing the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the 1999 Yugoslavia attack as one reason it won’t listen to a “lecture on justice from the abuser of international law.”



Live discussion at The Duran is still going on

This is my second post recommending the discussion. If you can't access YouTube, they're also on Rumble and Odyssee. Very Critically important discussion. 

Phase 2 of operations (Live) - YouTube


Let me know when Biden sanctions Antartica

Penguins there refuse to condemn Putin, U.S. satellites spot ominously congregating groups.


Gonzalo Lira talks about Victoria Nuland

 Dive for the bunker lol

Victoria Nuland - YouTube

Russia sets ruble gas payment deadline

 Russia sets ruble gas payment deadline — RT Business News March 28

"President Putin says ‘unfriendly countries’ must switch to its currency by March 31"

See also:

There is no substitute for Russian oil – UAE — RT Business News March 28

NATO Divided Over Support For Ukraine While Russia Creates New Economic Reality - South Front March 25


Scott Ritter: "A madman rules America."

"Our President calls for regime change in Russia the same week he promulgates policy that embraces preemptive nuclear strikes in non-nuclear situations. His administration is planning on deploying Dark Eagle hypersonic missiles in Europe later this year. A madman rules America."
5:33 PM · Mar 26, 2022 Scott Ritter on Twitter

Biden reps tried to walk back his statement about regime change.

 Nobody is buying the excuses.   


"India ready to bypass dollar in trade with Russia"

 India ready to bypass dollar in trade with Russia — RT Business News - today


A system allowing direct rupee-ruble payments in trade between Russia and India could be launched this week, the president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), A Sakthivel, told CNBC on Wednesday. The arrangement would allow India and Russia to carry out financial operations bypassing the US dollar. Russia is effectively blocked from using US currency due to Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

According to the official, the Indian government is working on a proposal to allow up to five nationalized Indian banks to be engaged in the rupee-ruble trade mechanism, and discussions between the central bank governor, the finance minister, and the banks on the matter have already been held. The arrangement would let Indian exporters continue doing business with Russia despite sanctions banning, among other things, international payment mechanisms in the country, such as SWIFT. It would also let India continue buying Russian energy exports and other goods.

According to Sakthivel, the Indian economy could profit from sanctions Russia is facing, as they give Indian exporters an opportunity to expand on the Russian market.

Export to Russia is not much, only in agriculture and pharmacy products. Now that the whole of the West is banning Russia, there will be a lot of opportunities for Indian firms to enter Russia,” he stated.

India’s finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India have not yet commented on the new trade arrangement.

Unlike the US and the EU, India has not criticized Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, and has abstained from condemning Moscow during the recent UN voting rounds. When asked whether India’s continued commerce with Russia would draw Western ire, Sakthivel said his country had taken a “neutral stand” on the situation in Ukraine.

The government will take into account all the factors. The government is playing it very carefully,” he stressed.

India exported $3.3 billion worth of goods to Russia in 2021, mostly pharmaceutical products, tea, and coffee. In terms of imports, India bought $6.9 billion worth of Russian products, including arms and defense goods, mineral resources, fertilizers, metals, diamonds and other precious stones. India also imports Russian oil, with recent media reports stating that the country’s major refiner, Indian Oil Corp, has stepped up purchases of Russian crude over the past month. India is also reportedly considering buying raw materials from Russia and Belarus for fertilizer production amid skyrocketing commodities’ prices.


"We are in a war. Ukraine is just one part of the battle."

The Duran, just finishing up their analysis of breaking news on several fronts. 

Phase 2 of operations (Live) - YouTube

Sunday, March 27

"Karma has a funny way of repaying debts, doesn't it?"

 Putin Was Justified - Article 51 UN Charter - Right to Self-defense (, Regis Tremblay, March 26

Regis, an American independent filmmaker, lives in Yalta, Crimea


Smash: An economic war of attrition the Western powers didn't think through

"What's happened instead of financial shock and awe provoking regime change in Moscow is that the collective West finds itself in an economic war of attrition, for which it is hopelessly unprepared. They never strategized this because they never expected this. So, they're uncertain what to do."

-- Alexander Mercouris during today's discussion at The Duran, which focuses on unexpected consequences from an ill-conceived plan by so-called neocons to first polish off Russia then destroy China. 

Alexander's brief, unforgettable analysis sketches a kind of economic Dante's Inferno.

Sanctions, regime change in Russia, then focus on China - YouTube - March 27, The Duran

Note: "WEF" refers to the World Economic Forum.


Ukraine war pushes 100,00 Italian farms to the cliff

Number of EU country’s farms at risk of closure revealed — RT Business News March 26

Nearly 100,000 Italian farms are on the verge of closure due to skyrocketing production costs brought about by the conflict in Ukraine, major farming association Coldiretti said in a report this week.

According to the group, growing production costs far exceed what is being paid to farmers and breeders for their products, from milk to fruit, meat and vegetables.

More than one farm in 10 (11%) is therefore on the verge of closure, while about one-third of the nation’s total (30%) are working in conditions of negative profits, Coldiretti explains, citing data from Italian agricultural research organization Crea.

The group notes that prices have been growing on nearly every raw material used by agro-producers: from energy to diesel, fertilizers, fodder for animals and seeds.

Another problem is the gap between the final price of products and what the farmers are getting after transportation and processing. According to Coldiretti, for every euro spent by consumers on food products, only between six and 15 cents go to farmers. The price of bread, for instance, is now nearly 13 times the cost of wheat.

The group does not propose any solutions to the problem but paints a dramatic scenario in which the closure of farms would lead to a decrease in crops and force the country to depend even more on agricultural imports. 

Italy already buys 64% of its grain abroad, as well as 49% of beef and 38% of pork. It also imports over half the corn crops and a third of the soy crops required for animal nutrition, according to the Centro Studi Divulga. And these figures, analysts say, may soon rise dramatically.


See also Russia raises grain export tax — RT Business News March 25