VIDEO: Nancy Pelosi’s Son Also Board Member of Energy Company, Traveled to Ukraine and Nancy Featured Prominently in Company’s Ad

The connections to Ukraine just keep on coming. Just check out what has just been uncovered by Gateway Pundit

Quid-Pro-Joe and his son Hunter are not the only Democrat family members cashing in on their prominent positions.

Nancy Pelosi’s son Paul is also on the board of an energy company.

Paul Pelosi Jr. also traveled to Ukraine.

AND — Better Yet — Speaker Nancy Pelosi even appears in the company’s video ad!

But do you think that the mainstream media will be talking about this?

Of course not.

Russia And Ukraine Are On The Brink Of War – And Why That Could Lead To World War 3

A respected foreign journalist living in Ukraine is warning that a war that most Americans cannot even imagine “teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real”. When Russia opened fire on Ukrainian Navy vessels and captured three of their ships, it made headlines all over the globe. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was hastily arranged for Monday at 11 AM, and hopefully there will be a positive outcome from that meeting. Because right now Moscow and Kiev are on the brink of war, and once a Russian invasion happens there will be no turning back. At that point the U.S. would have a major decision to make, and if we chose to defend Ukraine that could mean that we would suddenly find ourselves fighting World War 3.

Most people don’t realize that this crisis has been simmering for over a week. The following is from a U.S. News & World Report article that was posted on November 19th

A dispute over shipping lanes is threatening to reignite the 4-year-old simmering war between Ukraine and Russia following confrontations sparked by both sides in recent days.

Russian border guards on Monday detained Ukrainian fishing vessels in the Sea of Azov, a strategically important body of water contained to the north by Ukraine, to the west by the Crimean Peninsula and to the east and south by Russia. Monday’s incident came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Kiev for detaining Russian commercial ships also in the Azov in what he described as “a totally illegal move” and which Kremlin officials have warned may prompt retaliation.

When you realize what has already taken place, it puts the most recent events in an entirely different context.

The Russians blocked the Kerch Strait in retaliation for having had their own commercial vessels detained by the Ukrainian government.

And when the Ukrainians decided to test the Russians by sailing Ukrainian Navy vessels into the Kerch Strait, the Russians decided not to back down. The following comes from Sky News

Russia has opened fire on Ukrainian ships and captured three vessels in a major escalation of tensions off the coast of Crimea.

Three sailors have been wounded after the Ukrainian navy said two artillery boats were hit by the strikes in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency session of his war cabinet and said he will propose that parliament declare martial law.

So the truth is that neither side is exactly “innocent” in this situation.

The Kerch Strait is absolutely critical, because it is the only way into and out of the Azov Sea

The strait connects the Azov Sea with the Black Sea and runs between the Crimean Peninsula and Russia. It’s a shallow, narrow stretch of water just two to three miles (3.2 to 4.8 kilometers) wide at one point near the Chuska landspit.

The strait is an important economic lifeline for Ukraine, as it allows ships leaving the port city of Mariupol to access the Black Sea.

It’s also the the closest point of access for Russia to Crimea, a peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014. The international community has largely not recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but that did not stop Russia from building a bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting Crimea to mainland Russia. The Kerch Strait bridge was opened in May.

In addition to asking for a declaration of martial law, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has also been gathering with his top military leaders. Poroshenko is pledging that Ukraine will not take any “offensive” military actions, but he also says that they are ready to defend against any attacks from Russia.

The Russians are accusing Poroshenko of manipulating this crisis in order to pump up his flagging approval ratings for the upcoming presidential elections. There is a very real possibility that Poroshenko could lose, and he is desperate to stay in office.

Of course the Ukrainians are blaming Russia for everything, and Poroshenko says that what happened on Sunday “was an act of war”

Finally, Ukraine has called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting over ‘Russian aggression’ while Ukraine’s secretary for national security, Oleksander Turchynov, accused Russia of engaging in an act of war: “We heard reports on incident and have concluded that it was an act of war by Russian Federation against Ukraine”.

At this point, it is unclear what the Russians will do next.

Hopefully they will see that a full-blown invasion of Ukraine would not be wise.

But if they decide that such a war is inevitable, they will move with lightning speed as we have seen in other conflicts. For example, Russia had already annexed Crimea before the rest of the world even started talking about it. And we all remember what happened in Georgia.

If and when Russia finally pulls the trigger, their forces will be halfway to Kiev before the mainstream media in the western world even realizes what is happening.

And if Russia does invade, the Trump administration will be under tremendous pressure from Republicans, Democrats and other NATO members to intervene. Already, there has been some very tough talk from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

It’s yet unclear how far the U.S. is willing to go in support for Ukraine. In a joint statement after Klimkin’s meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, both sides “condemned Russia’s aggressive actions against international shipping transiting the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports” and agreed that “Russia’s aggressive activities in the Sea of Azov have brought new security, economic, social, and environmental threats to the entire Azov-Black Sea region.”

But if we directly intervene in a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that could very easily trigger World War 3.

Most Americans are not concerned that a conflict between Russia and Ukraine could potentially affect the United States, but the threat is very real. In fact, according to foreign correspondent Nolan Peterson such a war “teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real”…

This is the most dangerous moment I’ve seen in Ukraine in years. Tonight, a war that many people in America can only imagine thanks to Hollywood movies, teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real. Tonight in Ukraine we go to sleep not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Let us hope for peace, because right now the world is becoming a more chaotic place with each passing day…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Winds Of War: Is Russia Conducting A Massive Mobilization Of Troops For An Invasion Of Ukraine?

Russian Troops - Public Domain

The drumbeats of war are growing louder. Fighting in eastern Ukraine between separatists and pro-government forces has risen to an intensity not seen in well over a year, and the Russians claim that they recently foiled a “Ukrainian plot” to conduct terror attacks in Crimea. As tensions in the region have increased, the Russians have used the cover of “military drills” to move massive amounts of troops and military equipment up to the border with Ukraine. This is something that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but things have intensified since then, and a huge military exercise is planned for September. Needless to say, the Ukrainians are quite alarmed by this, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is warning that a full scale mobilization of the Ukrainian military may be needed. If something is going to happen, it is likely to happen soon. As you will see below, once we get into October it will become much less likely that we would see a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We aren’t hearing much about this conflict in the U.S. media, but over in Europe this is a very big deal. Just consider the following excerpt from an article in the Independent entitled “Russia is teetering on the brink of ‘all out war’ with Ukraine“…

Ukraine is holding a major military parade in Kiev today to mark its 25th anniversary as an independent state. But, at a time that should otherwise be a moment of national celebration, a serious crisis with Moscow is flaring up. So serious, in fact, that on Tuesday the Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were forced to hold a three-way phone call to try to de-escalate the situation.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has even warned that there is growing risk of a “full scale Russian invasion along all fronts,” ratcheting up what is already the bloodiest European conflict since the wars over the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

And the truth is that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has some very good reasons to be concerned. As the Washington Post has pointed out, the Russians have used military exercises as an excuse to stage forces for military action in the past…

As violence in the east heats up, Ukrainian officials have suggested that Russia may use the upcoming military drills, called Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2016, as cover for military action against Ukraine. The drills are the first to integrate the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, into the country’s military planning, and thousands of Russian troops will be brought in for air, land and sea exercises.

Ukrainian government analysts have recalled that exercises served as staging grounds for troop incursions in 2014, as did Russian military exercises held shortly before the Georgian war of 2008. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations suggested that Russia may have “bad intentions,” while the West has also said it would like observers to be present.

If there is going to be a Russian invasion of Ukraine in September, Kavkaz 2016 will likely be used as cover for invasion preparations. It is a yearly exercise, but in 2016 it looks like it will be much bigger than ever before, and some analysts have pointed out that the Russians have not conducted a mobilization on this scale since the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Here is more on Kavkaz 2016 from the Daily Signal

In September, Russia has plans for a large-scale strategic military exercise called Kavkaz-2016. The exercise, which is an annual event, will include units deployed near the borders of Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan—including two Russian military districts in the Southern and Northern Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet (headquartered in occupied Crimea), and the Caspian Flotilla.

It is not immediately clear the exact size of this year’s exercise, but last year it comprised 95,000 troops, 7,000 vehicles, and 150 aircraft, according to a report by IHS Markit, a U.K.-based intelligence and analysis firm.

If the Russians are going to do something, they need to do it soon, because the weather turns very bad during the month of October. Here is one how one analyst assessed the situation

“But will there be a war – we’ll see, no much time for guessing left… In this situation, the main thing for Russia is to achieve strategic and tactical surprise. And if she does not start now – then it will be too late. One would need to turn off full-scale operations in October because of the rains and the next draft to Russian army (it would mean the demobilization of current wave of conscripts and training the new ones – UT).”

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean that Russian relations with the U.S. and with Europe would immediately plunge to Cold War levels. Of course some would argue that we are already there. In any event, a Russian invasion would force the U.S. and NATO to make some very uncomfortable decisions.

Would the U.S. and NATO just stand by and do nothing while Ukraine is overrun by the Russians?

Maybe.

But if the U.S. and NATO responded with military force, that would risk a full scale nuclear confrontation with Russia.

Right now, a war with Russia is about the last thing that most Americans are thinking about, but the truth is that we are not that far away from such a scenario.

Over in Russia, the mindset is totally different. The following is from a Newsweek article entitled “In Europe and Russia, There’s Talk of War“…

Recently, I grabbed a taxi in Moscow. When the driver asked me where I was from, I told him the United States. “I went there once,” he said, “to Chicago. I really liked it.”

“But tell me something,” he added. “When are we going to war?”

The question, put so starkly, so honestly, shocked me. “Well, I hope never,” I replied. “No one wants war.”

At the office, I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and gretchka [buckwheat], he tells me—the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.

Most Americans don’t realize that Russians already view the United States more negatively than they did even during the height of the Cold War. On Russian television they openly talk about the inevitability of a war between the United States and Russia, and the Russian military has feverishly been preparing for such a future conflict.

If we can get to October, we can probably breathe a bit of a sigh of relief because the Russians are not likely to conduct an invasion once the weather turns bad.

But for now there are very good reasons to be concerned, and we shall see what happens over the coming weeks…

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Is Russia About To Invade Ukraine?

Russian Military Parade - Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin

War is coming, but unfortunately most Americans are completely oblivious to what is about to happen.  In recent weeks, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers have been massing at eight staging areas along Russia’s border with Ukraine, and some Pentagon officials believe that this could represent preparations for a full-scale invasion.  But ultimately Russia has much bigger concerns than just Ukraine.  At this point, the Russian people view the United States more negatively than they did even during the height of the Cold War, and their leading thinkers openly talk about the inevitability of a future conflict between the two superpowers.  The Russians have been feverishly upgrading and modernizing their strategic nuclear forces in anticipation of that conflict, but unfortunately the U.S. military has not made similar strides under the Obama administration.  As a result, the balance of power has shifted dramatically in favor of the Russians.

Things have been relatively calm in Ukraine for a while, but that may be about to change in a major way.  According to Business Insider, Russian forces are “encircling Ukraine from the north, east, and south”…

Something big may be about to go down in Ukraine.

For the Ukrainian soldiers that are stationed on the eastern border with Russia, however, things have already escalated to a conventional conflict — for example in Shyrokyne, on the Azov Sea coast east of the port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian forces have reported being the target of over 200 rounds of mortars and artillery fire in the middle of the night from separatist forces.

And the conflict in Ukraine looks like it could be on the verge of boiling over as Russian and Russian-backed forces are encircling Ukraine from the north, east, and south.

Needless to say, these developments are deeply alarming U.S. officials.  In fact, Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon says that up to 40,000 Russian soldiers stand poised to launch a full-scale invasion at this moment…

The Pentagon has identified eight staging areas in Russia where large numbers of military forces appear to be preparing for incursions into Ukraine, according to U.S. defense officials.

As many as 40,000 Russian troops, including tanks, armored vehicles, and air force units, are now arrayed along Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.

Additionally, large numbers of Russian military forces will conduct exercises in the coming days that Pentagon officials say could be used as cover for an attack on Ukraine.

August 24th is Independence Day in Ukraine, and some analysts are pointing to that date as a time when a potential attack could occur.

Hopefully that will not be the case, and we should remember that Russian President Vladimir Putin tends to do the unexpected.  Just look at what happened in Crimea.  He was able to annex the entire region without a shot hardly being fired.

When it comes to geopolitics, way too often the Russians are playing chess while the Obama administration is playing checkers.

And as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the Russians are very much preparing for the day when there will be a military showdown between the United States and Russia.

For example, the newly developed Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (also known as the “Satan 2”) has the capability of destroying an entire region the size of Texas.  Each missile has 12 independently targetable warheads, and essentially what that means is that one missile goes up and 12 nuclear warheads come down.  It is a weapon of exceedingly great power, and we have no way of stopping it

Russia is preparing to test-fire a nuclear weapon which is so powerful it could reportedly destroy a whole country in seconds.

The “Satan 2” missile is rumoured to be the most powerful ever designed and is equipped with stealth technology to help it dodge enemy radar systems .

This terrifying doomsday weapon is likely to strike fear into the hearts of Western military chiefs, as current missile defence technology is totally incapable of stopping it.

But to me, what is even more frightening is the fleet of strategic nuclear submarines that the Russians are putting together.  The following comes from a major British news source

Vladimir Putin is assembling a secret fleet of super submarines which could topple NATO and plunge the world into war.

A report by naval experts warns that Russia already has a small but sophisticated army of subs which are capable of launching missile strikes across the globe.

These submarines can dive extremely deep and they are incredibly quiet.  The advanced stealth capabilities that they possess make them an enormously powerful weapon

Andrew Metrick, who co-wrote the report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said: “Russia operates a small number of very small, nuclear powered submarines that are capable of diving in excess of several thousand meters.

“You can imagine what a clandestine deployable deep submergence vehicle could be used for.”

Yes, it doesn’t take much imagination to see what these ultra-quiet subs could be used for.

Someday, a fleet of Russian nuclear submarines could come right up to our coastlines without us ever knowing that they were there.  In the middle of the night they could surface, launch their missiles, and strategic targets would start being destroyed within just a couple of minutes.

And if the U.S. was even able to muster much of a response, the Russian anti-ballistic missile systems are able to destroy just about anything that we can throw at them.

To say that the balance of power has shifted from the days of the Cold War would be a massive understatement.

Meanwhile, the Russians have also been creating a “cloak” which can reportedly make units “invisible” to enemy radar

A Russian defense company has created a “cloak,” which it says can make electronic objects invisible to enemy radar. The aim of the fiber technology, which is used in the cloak, is to make weapons invisible to prying eyes and detection systems.

The St. Petersburg-based company Roselectronics has come up with the invention and says it can make weapons that use thermal, infrared, and electromagnetic radar in targeting invisible.

“The main idea of the development is to create coverage that reduces radar visibility of the object both on the visible and microwave spectrums,” Georgy Medovnikov from Roselectronics told Ruptly, RT’s video agency.

Roselectronics believes the lightweight and flexible material can be used to protect armored vehicles, missile systems and warplanes. According to its creators, the material is unique in its ability to absorb radio-electronic signals and interfere with the distribution of electronic traces.

Here in the United States, the Obama administration has had much different priorities, and so our strategic nuclear forces are hopelessly outdated.  60 Minutes has shown that our strategic nuclear forces are still using rotary phones and the kind of eight inch floppy disks that you could literally flop around in your hand that they were using back in the 1970s.

If you follow my writing regularly, you already know that I have written extensively about a future conflict with Russia.

At one time the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” applied, but at this point things have changed dramatically.

Russian military theorists have spent a lot of time studying how to fight and win a nuclear war, and now they have the technological edge to potentially be able to do it.

Sadly, these kinds of articles tend to get less attention than many of my other articles because people simply do not understand the threat we are facing, and by the time they do it will likely be way too late.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Is Barack Obama Going To Start World War III?

World War 3 - Public Domain

Why has Barack Obama airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into areas that “moderate rebels” in Syria supposedly control? This is essentially the equivalent of poking the Russians directly in the eyes. Much of this ammunition will end up in the hands of those that the Russians are attempting to bomb into oblivion, and so to Russia it appears that we are attempting to make their job much harder. And of course the truth is that there aren’t really any “moderate rebels” in Syria at all. Nearly all of the groups that are fighting are made up primarily of radical jihadists and/or hired mercenaries. Personally, I don’t see anyone over there that you could call “the good guys”. At the end of the day, the U.S. supports just about anyone that wants to get rid of the Assad regime, and the Russians are working very hard to keep Assad in power. Just like the civil war in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria is in great danger of being transformed into a proxy war between the United States and Russia, and many fear that these conflicts could eventually be setting the stage for World War III.

The ferocity of Russian airstrikes in Syria has surprised observers all over the planet, and over the past couple of days these airstrikes have been extended to include some new areas

Russian Air Forces have extended the range of their airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to four provinces, focusing primarily on demolishing fortified installations and eliminating supply bases and the terrorists’ infrastructure.

Over the last 24 hours Russian aircraft have attacked terrorist positions in the Hama, Idlib, Latakia and Raqqa provinces of Syria. In total, 64 sorties targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post.

When I read reports like this, I am deeply troubled. The Obama administration claims that it has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria for over a year. So why in the world do these targets still exist?

Was the U.S. military incapable of finding these installations?

That doesn’t seem likely.

So why weren’t they destroyed long ago?

Did the Obama administration not want them destroyed for some reason?

What seems abundantly clear is that the Russians are doing what the Obama administration was either unwilling or unable to do. There is now mass panic among ISIS fighters, and thousands of them are fleeing the country

An estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters as well as militants from other extremist groups have fled Syria for Jordan fearing a renewed offensive by the Syrian army in addition to Russian airstrikes, a military official has told RIA news agency.

“At least 3,000 militants from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), al-Nusra and Jaish al-Yarmouk have fled to Jordan. They are afraid of the Syrian army having stepped up activities on all fronts and of Russian airstrikes,” the RIA source said.

The mainstream media in the United States is not talking much about this, are they?

But the U.S. media is reporting on this latest airdrop of ammunition to rebel groups in Syria. For example, the following comes from CNN

U.S. military cargo planes gave 50 tons of ammunition to rebel groups overnight in northern Syria, using an air drop of 112 pallets as the first step in the Obama Administration’s urgent effort to find new ways to support those groups.

Details of the air mission over Syria were confirmed by a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly because the details have not yet been formally announced.

C-17s, accompanied by fighter escort aircraft, dropped small arms ammunition and other items like hand grenades in Hasakah province in northern Syria to a coalition of rebels groups vetted by the US, known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

If you were the Russians, how would you feel about this?

I know how I would feel.

And just as Joe Biden has previously admitted, the “moderate middle” in Syria simply does not exist. The following is an extended excerpt from a piece that was originally written by investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed

The first Russian airstrikes hit the rebel-held town of Talbisah north of Homs City, home to al-Qaeda’s official Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the pro-al-Qaeda Ahrar al-Sham, among other local rebel groups. Both al-Nusra and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) in Homs City, which is 12 kilometers south of Talbisah.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that as part of “US and Turkish efforts to establish an ISIS ‘free zone’ in the northern Aleppo countryside,” al-Nusra “withdrew from the border and reportedly reinforced positions in this rebel-held pocket north of Homs city”.

In other words, the US and Turkey are actively sponsoring “moderate” Syrian rebels in the form of al-Qaeda, which Washington DC-based risk analysis firm Valen Globals forecasts will be “a bigger threat to global security” than IS in coming years.

Last October, Vice President Joe Biden conceded that there is “no moderate middle” among the Syrian opposition. Turkey and the Gulf powers armed and funded “anyone who would fight against Assad,” including “al-Nusra,” “al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI),” and the “extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world”.

In other words, the CIA-backed rebels targeted by Russia are not moderates. They represent the same melting pot of al-Qaeda affiliated networks that spawned the Islamic State in the first place.

It has been well documented that many of these so-called “moderate rebel groups” in Syria have fought alongside ISIS and have sold weapons to them. So this false dichotomy that Barack Obama keeps trying to sell us on is just a giant fraud. The following comes from a recent Infowars report

In September, 2014 a commander with the FSA admitted cooperating with ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” Bassel Idriss said. “Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.”

In July of 2014 a report in Stars and Stripes documented how the 1,000 strong Dawud Brigade, which had previously fought alongside the FSA against al-Assad, had defected in its entirety to join ISIS.

The same month factions within the FSA — including Ahl Al Athar and Ibin al-Qa’im — pledged services to the Islamic State.

Members of the Islamic State claim to cooperate with the FSA and buy weapons provided by the U.S.

“We are buying weapons from the FSA. We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons,” ISIS member Abu Atheer told al-Jazeera. “We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.”

U.S. anti-tank weapons are playing a critical role in the Syrian conflict. As reported by the Washington Post, U.S.-made anti-tank missiles are being used by the rebels to destroy lots of Russian-made tanks that are being used by the Syrian army…

So successful have they been in driving rebel gains in northwestern Syria that rebels call the missile the “Assad Tamer,” a play on the word Assad, which means lion. And in recent days they have been used with great success to slow the Russian-backed offensive aimed at recapturing ground from the rebels.

Since Wednesday, when Syrian troops launched their first offensive backed by the might of Russia’s military, dozens of videos have been posted on YouTube showing rebels firing the U.S.-made missiles at Russian-made tanks and armored vehicles belonging to the Syrian army. Appearing as twirling balls of light, they zigzag across the Syrian countryside until they find and blast their target in a ball of flame.

Like I said earlier, this is looking more and more like a proxy war between the United States and Russia.

Could that be what Obama actually wants?

Obama is poking China in the eyes lately too. CNN is reporting that U.S. warships may soon be sailing into territorial waters around the Spratly Islands. These are islands that the Chinese government claims ownership over, but the U.S. government disputes that claim, and Obama seems determined to flex his muscles in the area…

The United States (US) may soon deploy war ships near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

It wants to send a message that it does not recognize China’s territorial claims over the area.

This is according to a Financial Times report quoting a senior U.S. official who said its ships will sail within 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as its territory around the Spratly Islands within the next two weeks.

If Obama sends warships into that area, there is a very real chance that they could get shot at. According to Newsweek, the Chinese are saying that they will not permit U.S. ships to violate those territorial waters under any circumstances…

We will never allow any country to violate China’s territorial waters and airspace in the Spratly Islands, in the name of protecting freedom of navigation and overflight,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in response to a question about possible U.S. patrols. “We urge the related parties not to take any provocative actions, and genuinely take a responsible stance on regional peace and stability.”

Such exchanges appear to be moving China and the U.S. toward a much feared, yet long expected, military confrontation. Just as unsettling, both sides seem confident they can prevail.

Over the past couple of years our relations with China have really gone downhill very rapidly, and if the trading relationship between the two largest economies on the planet breaks down, that would have massive implications for the entire global economy.

In addition to everything above, the civil war in Ukraine continues to rage on. The United States funded, equipped, trained and organized the forces that violently overthrew the democratically-elected government in Ukraine, and then once those thugs (which actually included some neo-Nazis) took power, the Obama administration immediately recognized them as the legitimate government of Ukraine.

The Russians were absolutely infuriated by this, and they have been providing soldiers, equipment and supplies to the rebel groups that are fighting back against this new government. Of course the Russians deny that they are doing this, but it is exceedingly obvious that they are.

The rebel groups that the Russians have been backing have been doing very well and have been steadily taking ground, and this is not how the power brokers in D.C. envisioned things playing out in Ukraine. So in a desperate attempt to shift the momentum of the conflict, a bill is going through Congress that would provide “lethal military aid” to the government in Kiev. Initially the bill would have provided 200 million dollars in lethal aid, but now it has been upped to 300 million dollars. There are some that believe that the final figure will be significantly higher.

Once this bill gets passed, it will be an extremely important event. For the Russians, it will mean crossing a red line that never should have been crossed. You see, the truth is that Ukraine is Russia’s most important neighbor. Just imagine how we would feel if the Russians helped overthrow Canada’s government and then start feeding weapons to the new pro-Russian government that they helped install. That is exactly how the Russians view our meddling in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article in which I discussed an opinion poll that showed that 81 percent of all Russians now view the United States negatively, and only 13 percent of Russians have a positive view of this nation. Not even during the height of the Cold War were the numbers that bad.

The stage is being set for World War III, but most Americans are completely and totally oblivious to all of this because they are so wrapped up in their own little worlds.

Most Americans still seem to assume that the Russians and the Chinese are our “friends” and that any type of conflict between major global powers is impossible.

Well, the truth is that conflict has already begun in Ukraine and Syria, and tensions are rising with each passing day.

It won’t happen next week or next month, but we are on the road to World War III.

So what will the end result be? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Report: All Out War As Russia Prepares To Deploy 50,000 Troops To Ukraine: ‘Cities Burning, Hundreds Dead’

Russian Armored Vehicles - Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin

The second Ukrainian ceasefire appears to have fallen apart as reports from around the country indicate that heavy fighting has resumed.

Though Western media has yet to report on activity that began Sunday, independent journalists and eye witnesses have been updating social networks with photos, videos and first-hand accounts.

It’s all-out war in the Ukraine with multiple Ukrainian cities now under attack by rockets, mortars and heavy artillery fire.

Other sources note that as many as 50,000 Russian military personnel have massed either inside of Ukraine or directly on its border, with heavy armor, including T-90A tanks making their way to the hot zones…

(Read the rest of the story here…)

You Can Add Iraq And Ukraine To The List Of Economies That Are Collapsing

Earth Blue Planet - Public Domain

The list of nations around the globe that have collapsing economies just continues to grow. In recent weeks I have written about the ongoing saga in Greece, the stock market crash in China, the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and the economic meltdown in South America. But there are more economic flashpoints that I have not even addressed yet. For example, did you know that a full-blown economic collapse is happening in Iraq right now? And did you know that the economy of Ukraine is contracting rapidly and that it cannot pay its debts? Back in 2008, the financial crisis was primarily centered on the United States, but this time around it is turning out to be a truly global phenomenon.

When the U.S. “liberated” Iraq, the future for that nation was supposed to be incredibly bright. But instead, things have just gone from bad to worse. This has especially been true since we pulled our troops out and allowed ISIS to run buck wild. At this point unemployment in Iraq is at Great Depression levels, the economy is steadily contracting and government debt is spiraling wildly out of control

But Iraq’s oil industry, and the government’s budget, is being squeezed by low oil prices. As a result, the nation’s finances are being hit hard: the market price is now half that needed to break even, expanding the budget deficit, forecast to return to balance until the rise of IS, to a projected 9% of GDP.

In the past, Iraq’s leaders approved budgets without seriously taking into account a drop in the price of oil. Now the severe revenue shortfall is forcing leaders to cut back on new investments. Russia’s Lukoil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Italy’s ENI are also cutting back, eyeing neighbouring Iran’s pending economic opening as a safer investment.

Despite improving its finances after the US troop withdrawal, the drop in oil prices and the rising costs of battling IS have pushed Iraq’s economy into a state of near-crisis. According to the IMF, the nation’s GDP shrank by 2.7% in 2014 and unemployment is estimated to be over 25%.

Things are even worse in another nation that was recently “liberated”. The new U.S.-friendly government in Ukraine was supposed to make things much better for average Ukrainians, but instead the economy is absolutely imploding

The country’s GDP contracted by 6.8 percent last year, and is forecast to shrink by another 9 percent this year — a total loss of roughly 16 percent over two years.

Just like in much of southern Europe, the banks are absolutely overloaded with bad loans and the entire banking system is on the verge of total collapse. The following comes from a CNN article that was posted earlier this year…

Ukraine’s banking sector is one of the weakest parts of the economy. The key interest rates are the highest in 15 years, and experts estimate bad loans make up between one third and one half of all banking assets.

Over 40 banks have been declared bankrupt since the war began, with the country’s fourth largest lender, Delta Bank, going under earlier this week.

Just recently, the government of Ukraine declared that it could not pay its debts. We didn’t hear much about this in the United States, because the Obama administration wants us to believe that their policies over there are a success. But the truth is that Ukraine now needs a “debt restructuring deal” similar to what Greece has received in the past

Progress between Ukraine and its creditors on a $19 billion restructuring may be losing momentum as a proposed high-level meeting was canceled amid further disagreements over terms.

Ukraine’s $2.6 billion of 2017 notes fell the most in a month after a person familiar with negotiations said a new offer put forward by Ukraine this week would be unacceptable to bondholders. Later on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Finance Ministry said that a Franklin Templeton-led creditor group should prepare an improved offer for meetings next week.

Speaking of Greece, things just continue to unravel over there. Earlier this week we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in Greek history, and there was more financial carnage on Wednesday. The following comes from the Economic Policy Journal

For a second straight day, following the reopening of the Greek stock market, there were heavy losses in Greek banking stocks, with shares across the sector once again falling by about 30 percent, the bottom of their daily limit.

Bank of Piraeus and National Bank of Greece fell the most, falling by the daily limit of 30 percent t. Alpha Bank was 29.7 percent lower and Eurobank Ergasias lost 29.6 percent.

At this point you would have to be blind to not see what is happening.

A financial crisis is not just imminent – one is already starting to erupt all over the planet.

And none of us can say that we weren’t warned. In a recent piece, Bill Holter included a long list of ominous financial warnings that were issued over the past two years by either the IMF or the Bank for International Settlements…

July 2014 – BIS –BIS Issues Strong Warning on “Asset Bubbles”

July 2014 – IMF –Bloomberg: IMF Warns of Potential Risks to Global Growth

October 2014 – BIS –”No One Could Foresee this Coming”

October 2014 IMF Direct Blog — What Could Make $3.8 Trillion in global bonds go up in smoke?

October 2014 IMF Report –”Heat Wave”-Rising financial risk in the U.S.

***December 2014 – BIS –BIS Issues a new warning on markets

December 2014 – BIS —BIS Warnings on the U.S. Dollar

February 2015 – IMF – Shadow Banking — Another Warning from the IMF – This Time on “Shadow Banking”

March 2015 – Former IMF Peter Doyle – Don’t expect any warning on new crisis -Former IMF Peter Doyle: Don’t Expect any Early Warning from the IMF –

*** April 2015 IMF – Liquidity Shock –IMF Tells Regulators to Brace for Liquidity Shock

May 2015 BIS – Need New “Rules of the Game” –BIS: Time to Think about New Global Rules of the Game?

June 2015 BIS Credit Risk Report –BIS: New Credit Risk Management Report

June 2015 IMF (Jose Vinals) –IMF’s Vinals Says Central Banks May Have to be Market Makers

***BIS June 2015 (UK Telegraph) –The world is defenceless against the next financial crisis, warns BIS

July 2015 – IMF – Warns US the System is Still Vulnerable (no blog article)IMF warns U.S.: Your financial system is (still) vulnerable

July 2015 – IMF – Warns Pension Funds Could Pose Systemic Risk (no blog article) –IMF warns pension funds could pose systemic risks to the US

Overall, there are currently 24 nations that are dealing with a major financial crisis right now, and there are another 14 nations that are right on the verge of one.

But even though a global financial crisis is already unfolding right in front of our eyes, there are people that come to my website every day and leave comments telling me that everything is going to be just fine.

So what do you think?

What do you believe the rest of this year will bring?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

The U.S.-Backed Government In Ukraine Is Starting To Lose The Civil War

War In Ukraine - Photo by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland

The mainstream media in the U.S. is being very quiet about this, but the truth is that the U.S.-backed government in Kiev is starting to lose the civil war. This week, the separatists captured the very important railway junction of Debaltseve despite the fact that a ceasefire is supposed to be in place. Buoyed by a constant influx of Russian weapons and supplies, the separatists have gained a clear upper hand in the conflict. But this was not supposed to happen. When protest groups that were funded, organized and advised by organizations in the United States violently overthrew the democratically elected Ukrainian government, the Obama administration was hoping that the Ukrainian people would rapidly embrace their new pro-western leaders. Instead, the nation was plunged into a very bitter civil war that could go on for many years. And as the battlefield stands right now, the government in Kiev will probably be forced to concede even more territory in the months ahead as more weapons and fighters arrive from Russia. The Obama administration could decide to intervene by shipping large amounts of weapons and supplies to the Ukrainian government, but that could turn the civil war in Ukraine into a proxy war between the United States and Russia. And the thing about proxy wars is that sometimes they turn into real wars.

Earlier this month, the world rejoiced when a ceasefire between the government in Kiev and the separatists was announced.

But it didn’t last long.

As I mentioned above, this week the separatists took full control of Debaltseve. The following is how CNN described the situation on the ground…

The scene of devastation is staggering in Debaltseve, the town at the heart of the battle between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in recent days.

Barely a house is unscathed by shelling. Elderly civilians trapped by the fighting still cower in basements. After most Ukrainian forces pulled out Wednesday, the separatists are now in control.

It’s obvious there’s been a seismic shift on the battlefield. But it’s not yet clear what the Ukrainian withdrawal means for the shaky peace deal that came into force Sunday.

Will the separatists halt their offensive, satisfied with the territory they hold? Or will they be emboldened to push for more?

And of course this is all part of a much larger trend. The separatists have been winning new territory for months.

I want to share with you a couple of maps. This first map shows what the conflict looked like last summer. As you can see, the territory held by the separatists was mostly limited to areas around the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk…

Civil War In Ukraine 2014

This next map shows what the conflict looks like today. As you can see, the separatists have captured an enormous amount of territory…

Civil War In Ukraine 2015

So have you heard about this from the mainstream media in the United States?

If not, why not?

Could it be that we aren’t supposed to know that the U.S.-backed government in Kiev is actually losing the war?

Needless to say, this would never have been possible without the direct involvement of Russia. Publicly, the Russians are denying that they are funding, supplying and arming the separatists. But everyone knows that they are. The Russians consider the civil war in Ukraine to be a fundamental matter of national security. And it is hard to blame them. Just imagine how the U.S. government would be responding if there was a civil war in Canada.

So with massive Russian backing, the separatists have been able to turn the tide of the war very much in their favor. The following is an excerpt from a recent Business Insider article

The battlefield gains by the separatists throughout the east of the country can be attributed to the constant inflow of Russian weaponry. In Nov. 2014, Russia moved a column of tanks and artillery into eastern Ukraine drastically changing the battlefield calculus.

In addition to tanks and artillery, Russia has provided the separatists with arms ranging from grenade launchers and mortars to anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft guns.

As a result, Russian-backed rebels have huge military advantages over Ukraine. Crucially, the rebels receive logistics and armaments from the Russian military while also being able to take refuge in Russia during a Ukrainian assault.

This is not how the Obama administration wanted things to go.

And now the Obama administration is faced with a choice. Either they do nothing and watch the government in Kiev continue to lose ground, or they arm the government in Kiev and risk turning the conflict into a proxy war with Russia.

So what is Obama going to do?

It is hard to say. But there is little doubt about what the hawks in Congress want to do

On Capitol Hill, however, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle had a clear message Thursday for the president: arm Ukraine.

“It is time to give Ukraine the ability to defend itself,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said. “It is past due.”

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., top Democrat on the armed services committee, said the “key here is to give the Ukrainians the ability to defend itself and to get back to a political solution.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the non-lethal aid the U.S. already is sending “is not enough when you are facing the Russian bear.”

But do we really want to start a proxy war?

As I mentioned above, proxy wars can ultimately lead to real wars.

And in the case of the United States and Russia, a real war could mean the use of nuclear weapons. For much more on this, please see a couple of my previous articles…

-“10 Signs That Russia Is Preparing To Fight (And Win) A Nuclear War With The United States

-“While Obama Snoozes, Russia Is Preparing For Nuclear War With The United States

We should have never interfered with the democratically elected government in Ukraine in the first place.

And now that war is raging in Ukraine, I fear that the United States and Russia have been put on a collision course which will end very, very badly someday.

So what do you think? Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

(Originally posted on End of the American Dream)

Ukraine peace deal: Ceasefire starting February 15, removal of heavy weapons

Ukraine Military

An agreement has been brokered in Minsk to stop hostilities in Ukraine from Sunday. The deal was reached after marathon talks between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, and signed by the Ukrainian rebels.

“I believe we agreed on a big deal. We agreed to a ceasefire starting at 00:00 on February 15,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told the media after the talks were finished.

“The main thing achieved is that from Saturday into Sunday there should be declared – without any conditions at all – a general ceasefire,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told journalists in a separate statement.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

CNN says Obama considers arming pro-US troops…in Ukraine

Ukraine Map - Public Domain

Social media is abuzz after CNN labeled Ukrainian forces involved in Kiev’s deadly military operation in the country’s southeast as “pro-US troops.” Online comments are calling it a Freudian slip, claiming it unmasks the true agenda behind the conflict.

The headline during CNN’s Monday segment, dedicated to talks between Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the resolution of the Ukraine crisis, read: “Obama considers arming pro-US troops.”

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Donetsk shelled as Kiev ‘orders massive fire’ on militia-held East Ukraine

(Photo by Lt. Col. Taras Gren, Ukrainian Army Public Affairs)

Ukrainian troops have launched a massive assault on militia-held areas Sunday morning after an order from Kiev, a presidential aide said. The self-proclaimed Donetsk republic’s leader accused Kiev of trying to restart the war.

The order to launch the offensive was issued early approximately at 6:00 am, according to Yury Biryukov, an aide to President Petro Poroshenko.

“Today we will show HOW good we are at jabbing in the teeth,” he wrote on his Facebook page, a mode of conveying information favored by many Ukrainian officials.

In a later post he said: “They are now striking a dot. Uuu…” in a reference to Tochka-U (‘tochka’ means ‘dot’ in Russian), a tactical ballistic missile, one of the most powerful weapons Ukraine so far deployed against rebel forces.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Dangerous radioactive leak at the largest Ukrainian nuclear plant

Nuclear Danger Sign - Public Domain

Two documents released by LifeNews appear to show that the plant’s officials put deliberately misleading information on their website. The documents – both addressed to the head of the regional emergency services – state that radiation levels at the plant on Sunday and Monday were 16.8 times higher than the legally permitted norm.

By Monday, the levels had slightly increased – growing from 16.3 to 16.8 times higher, and Unit 6 was still shut down, the report said, contradicting the plant’s statements that the problem had been fixed and that the plant was operating normally.

On Sunday, one reactor at the plant was automatically shut down after a glitch, becoming the second halt in operations in recent weeks. The reactor was running at 40 percent of nominal power, the plant’s official website said, adding that radiation at the facility being at the level of 8-12 microroentgens an hour.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ukrainian parliament votes to give up country’s ‘non-aligned’ status and join NATO in move set to further anger Russia

Ukraine Map - Public Domain

The Ukrainian parliament has renounced Ukraine’s ‘non-aligned’ status with the aim of eventually joining NATO – a move angering Moscow which views the Western alliance’s eastward expansion as a threat to its own security.

Kiev first announced its intention of seeking the protection of NATO membership in August following what it deemed the open participation of Russia’s military during the separatist war in its eastern provinces.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Ukraine’s renunciation of its neutral military and political status a ‘counterproductive’ step that would only boost tensions around the crisis in the east.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ukrainian Students Sell ‘Blood of Russian Children’ Drinks at School Bake Sale

Bake Sale - Image Credits - Adrian Scottow, Flickr

A group of schoolchildren in southeastern Ukraine has prompted an outcry after selling items with creative names such as “Blood of Russian Children” and “Tanks to Moscow” at a charity bake sale organized to raise funds for Ukrainian troops.

The baked goods, prepared by the schoolchildren with the help of their parents and activists from the “Family Community” group, carried special thematic names in order to attract attention to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian news site Inshe.tv reported.

Guests were offered treats called “[Russian lawmaker Vladimir] Zhirinovsky’s brain,” “Tanks to Moscow,” “Yellow-and-Blue Stars on the Kremlin,” — in an apparent reference to a Ukrainian takeover of Russia’s center of government — and then drinks called “Blood of Russian Children” to wash it all down.

Ukraine has been a divided country ever since the ousting of former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February and Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea a month later. The West and the new Kiev government have accused Russia of supporting separatists in the country’s eastern Donbass region with military aid — a claim Moscow denies.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

60 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid cross Russian border heading into Ukraine

Russian Convoy

All trucks with humanitarian aid for Donbass have crossed the Russian border, representative of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry Oleg Voronov said on Sunday.

“Over 40 trucks are heading for Luhansk,” he said.

The convoy will deliver over 400 tonnes of aid to Luhansk, and over 800 tonnes to Donetsk, he said.

This is the eighth convoy with humanitarian aid for Donbass. “We were assembling it for several days, receiving trucks from the Rostov, Voronezh, Tula, Ivanovo and Moscow regions. From the emergency situations ministry’s rescue centre in Noginsk (near Moscow) we received about 60 trucks,” the ministry’s representative said.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Russia has moved Mig-31 interceptors close to Ukrainian border

Russian Fighter Jet - Russian Air Force

An unspecified amount of Mig-31s based at Perm have been deployed to Millerovo airfield, in the Rostov region, close to the border with Ukraine. This is a sign that Moscow may be preparing to actively control the airspace over Luhansk Oblast.

The MiG-31 is a two-seater derivative of the MiG-25 in service since 1983. Designed to face U.S. supersonic strategic bombers flying at low altitude (B-1B bomber), the MiG-31 has quite good low-level capabilities and features a radar with look-down-shoot-down capability.

Equipped with a HUD (Head-Up Display), the Foxhound is older and less maneuverable than Mig-29 and Su-27, but it is still an amazing interceptor, with a top speed of Mach 2.83 and an operational range of 1,450 km.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ukrainian president says his country is ready to go to war with Russia and says the crisis there is more dangerous than the spread of ISIS

(Photo by Lt. Col. Taras Gren, Ukrainian Army Public Affairs)

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko today said he is ready for ‘total war’ against Russia as he claimed the crisis in eastern Europe is more serious than the threat from Islamic State.

Kiev is convinced that Moscow is strengthening its troop presence on its borders and inside rebel-held areas, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

As Putin returned from the G20 in Brisbane where he was under siege from Western leaders, Poroshenko claimed his army is now better prepared to fight to defend its territory than when the conflict began.

‘I am not afraid of a war with Russian troops,’ he said.

‘We are prepared for a scenario of total war.

‘We don’t want war, we want peace and we are fighting for European values.’

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Russia deports several diplomats, warns it will defend separatists in Ukraine

Ukraine Map

Russia has deported several Polish and one German diplomat in recent days, the latest in a series of tit-for-tat expulsions that have accompanied mounting tensions between Russia and European governments over the crisis in Ukraine.

In an interview with German ARD television broadcast late Sunday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia said he still believes diplomacy can bring peace to eastern Ukraine, but he said Moscow would not allow the separatists there to be “annihilated.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that “a number of Polish diplomats” were being sent home in retaliation for the “unfriendly and unfounded” expulsion of Russian diplomats from Poland this month.

Separately, the German government said Monday one of its diplomats had been asked to leave Russia in what it called a “retaliatory measure,” confirming a report in Der Spiegel over the weekend.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Putin Warns He Won’t Let Ukraine Defeat Eastern Rebels

Ukraine Tanks - Photo by Michael

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned he won’t allow rebels in eastern Ukraine to be defeated by government forces as European Union ministers met to consider imposing more sanctions on the separatists.

“You want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents,” Putin said in an interview yesterday with Germany’s ARD television. “Is that what you want? We certainly don’t. And we won’t let it happen.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday the EU will keep its economic sanctions on Russia “for as long as they are needed.” EU foreign ministers convened today in Brussels to discuss adding to sanctions that have limited access to capital markets for some Russian banks and companies and blacklisted officials involved in the conflict. New measures will likely target pro-Russian separatist leaders, the EU said.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ukraine accuses Russia of sending in tanks, escalating crisis

Russian Tanks - Photo by Yana Amelina

Ukraine’s military accused Russia on Friday of sending a column of 32 tanks and truckloads of troops into the country’s east to support pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces.

Thursday’s cross-border incursion, if confirmed, is a significant escalation of a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people since the separatists rose up in mid-April and would call into question Russia’s commitment to a two-month-old ceasefire deal.

The truce has looked particularly fragile this week, with each side accusing the other of violations after separatist elections last Sunday condemned as illegitimate by the West.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Obama to Arm Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Militants?

Ukrainian Neo-Nazis

A new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday would authorize the Obama administration to send $350 million dollars worth of sophisticated weapons technology to Ukraine despite the fact that neo-nazi militants are openly fighting alongside Kiev forces.

The bipartisan Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN), is set to be discussed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later today.

Despite attempts to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine after a shaky cease fire was called, the legislation would intensify sanctions against Russia, forcing Moscow to “pay an increasingly heavy price” for its “aggression” in the region. The bill would also authorize President Obama to provide military assistance to Ukraine to the tune of $350 million dollars.

From the bill;

Providing defense articles, defense services, and training to the Government of Ukraine for the purpose of countering offensive weapons and reestablishing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-armor weapons; crew weapons and ammunition; counter-artillery radars to identify and target artillery batteries; fire control, range finder, and optical and guidance and control equipment; tactical troop-operated surveillance drones, and secure command and communications equipment. It authorizes $350 million in fiscal year 2015 to carry out these activities.

The notion that such weapons are not “offensive” and can only be used for defensive purposes is clearly a misnomer. Anti-tank weapons include rocket-propelled grenade launchers and bazookas which can be used to target aircraft as well as fortifications and buildings.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

German TV Shows Nazi Symbols on Helmets of Ukraine Soldiers

Ukraine Soldiers - Photo by Graham William Phillips

Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past on Monday night, when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast. In a report on the fragile cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, Moscow correspondent Bernhard Lichte used pictures of a soldier wearing a combat helmet with the “SS runes” of Hitler’s infamous black-uniformed elite corps. A second soldier was seen with a swastika on his gear. “Volunteer battalions from nearly every political spectrum are reinforcing the government side,” the ZDF correspondent said in his report.

The video was shot last week in Ukraine by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2. “We were filming a report about Ukraine’s AZOV battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,” Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for the private television station, told NBC News. Minutes before the images were taped, Bogen said he had asked a spokesperson whether the battalion had fascist tendencies. “The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,” Bogen said.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

The United States Is going to stage exercises in West Ukraine as war rages in the East

Military Exercise - Public Domain

As fighting between the army and Russian-backed rebels rages in eastern Ukraine, preparations are under way near its western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies.

The decision to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 is seen as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine while stopping well short of military intervention in the conflict.

The annual exercise, to take place in the Yavoriv training center near Ukraine’s border with Poland, was initially scheduled for July, but was put back because early planning was disrupted by the crisis in the eastern part of the country.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Putin Reportedly Told A European Official That Russia Could ‘Take Kiev in 2 Weeks’

Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reportedly told a European official that he could “take Kiev in two weeks” if he wanted to, adding a new dimension to the tensions building in Ukraine as Russian forces become more involved in the fighting there.

As NATO leaders gather in Wales for a summit meeting, Mr. Putin’s remarks and the increasing presence of Russian military units in Ukraine have posed a stark new challenge to the alliance about how to respond to Moscow’s apparent willingness to exert military force to achieve its foreign policy goals.

The Kremlin did not deny the remark, which was published in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Monday, but on Tuesday it denounced the European official, José Manuel Barroso, for leaking details of what Mr. Putin understood to be a private telephone call.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

NATO Spokesperson Says ‘Unaware’ of NATO Officers in Ukraine’s Mariupol

Ukraine Map - Public Domain

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Monday that she was unaware of possible presence of NATO officers in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“On this particular issue I can say that I’m not aware of any NATO officers in Mariupol,” she said.

Earlier today, Donetsk People’s Republic representatives said that a group of six NATO officers has been blocked in the town of Mariupol in Donetsk region.

Last week, Donetsk militia forces claimed to have taken control of checkpoints and strongholds in the outskirts of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ukraine says Russian tanks flatten town

Russian Tanks - Photo by Yana Amelina

Ukraine said Russian tanks had flattened a small border town and pro-Russian rebels had made fresh gains in its east, as EU leaders signaled on Saturday they would threaten more sanctions against Moscow over the crisis.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, attending an EU summit in Brussels, said he was hoping for a political solution, but warned that his country was on the brink of full-scale war.

Russia has repeatedly dismissed accusations from Kiev and Western powers that it has sent soldiers into its neighbor, or supported pro-Russian rebels fighting a five-month-old separatist war in Ukraine’s east.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ukraine gathers its military forces after 100 Russian tanks ‘are seen crossing the border’ just hours after Vladimir Putin vowed to end bloodshed

Russian Armored Vehicles - Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin

Ukraine alleged today that a huge convoy of up to 100 Russian tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers had infiltrated its territory.

If confirmed, the claim could destroy a new ‘roadmap’ to peace discussed by the two countries’ leaders and EU officials at a Minsk summit less than 24 hours earlier.

The news comes as a column of Ukrainian tanks, trucks and heavy artillery was pictured massing near the town of Mariupol, close to where Pro-Moscow separatists began shelling today.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Russian armored columns have reportedly captured key Ukrainian town

Ukraine Map - Public Domain

Russian forces in two armored columns captured a key southeastern coastal town near the Russian border Thursday after Ukrainian forces retreated in the face of superior firepower, a Ukrainian military spokesman said.

The two Russian columns, including tanks and armored fighting vehicles, entered the town of Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov after a battle in which Ukrainian army positions came under fire from Grad rockets launched from Russian territory, according to the spokesman, Col. Andriy Lysenko.

“Our border servicemen and guardsmen retreated as they did not have heavy equipment,” Lysenko said in a statement.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

The Road To World War III: Russia And Ukraine Are Now Engaged In A Shooting War

Russian Tanks - Photo by Yana Amelina

Russian soldiers and Ukrainian soldiers are now shooting at each other in eastern Ukraine. Could this conflict ultimately lead us down the road to World War 3? This week, a very robust force of “tanks, artillery and infantry” has opened up a “third front” in the Ukrainian civil war in a part of southeastern Ukraine that had not seen much fighting yet. Exhausted Ukrainian forces are suddenly being pushed back rapidly and many outsiders are wondering how the nearly defeated rebels were able to muster such impressive military strength all of a sudden. But it really isn’t much of a mystery. The tanks, artillery and infantry came from inside Russia. In recent days, Ukrainian units have captured ten Russian paratroopers and there have even been funerals for Russian paratroopers that have been killed in action back home in Russia. Even though it has become exceedingly obvious that Russia is now conducting a stealth invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is still choosing to deny it. But if he did publicly admit it, that would be even more dangerous. Barack Obama would be forced into a position of either having to do something about the Russian invasion or look weak in the eyes of the public. And as the Russians have already shown, they are more than willing to match any move that the Obama administration makes.

There has already been much written about who is to blame for all of this, and I am sure that much more will be written about who is to blame in the future. The western world is blaming “Russian aggression” for the mess in Ukraine. In return, the Russians point out that it was westerners that funded and organized the groups that violently overthrew the democratically-elected government of Ukraine. To the Russians, the current government of Ukraine is made up of neo-Nazi terrorist usurpers that are attempting to brutally oppress millions of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

So the Russians seem themselves as “the good guys” in this conflict and so does the western world. But that is how most wars start. Both sides usually feel morally justified at the start of a conflict.

In the final analysis, however, is it really going to matter very much who was “right” and who was “wrong” if the end result is World War 3?

If the rebels in eastern Ukraine had been able to defeat the Kiev government forces on their own, Putin probably would have been content to let them do that. But instead, they had been pushed back to two major cities and seemed on the verge of defeat.

But now it is the Ukrainian forces that are experiencing “panic and wholesale retreat”

Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but a wide swath of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials are calling a stealth invasion.

The attacks outside this city and in an area to the north essentially have opened a new, third front in the war in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, along with the fighting outside the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

How is this happening?

It is the Russians of course.

In fact, if you talk to Ukrainian soldiers, they are very clear on who they are fighting now…

“I tell you they are Russians, but this is what proof I have,” said Sgt. Aleksei Panko, holding up his thumb and index finger to form a zero. Sergeant Panko estimated about 60 armored vehicles crossed near Novoazovsk. “This is what happened: they crossed the border, took up positions and started shooting.”

The Ukrainian Vinnytsia brigade met the cross-border advance over the six miles of countryside separating Novoazovsk from the Russian border, but later retreated to the western edge of town along the Rostov-Mariupol highway, where soldiers were collapsed in exhaustion on the roadside. “This is now a war with Russia,” Sergeant Panko said.

And as I mentioned above, Ukrainian forces have even captured ten Russian paratroopers. Rather than denying who they are, the Russian government is claiming that they wandered into Ukraine by mistake

Ten Russian soldiers were detained in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, that country’s Security Service said Tuesday, as tensions simmered over the conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels.

The Russian soldiers were captured with documents and weapons on them, the Security Service said.

Moscow has repeatedly denied claims by Kiev that it has sent troops and weapons over the border into Ukraine, where the Ukrainian military is fighting pro-Russian rebels.

Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a source in the Russian Defense Ministry as saying the soldiers had been patrolling the border and “most likely crossed by accident” at an unmarked point.

The denials that Russian forces are actively operating inside eastern Ukraine have become so absurd that even some in the Russian press are openly questioning them. For example, just check out this excerpt from a USA Today article that was posted on Wednesday…

Vedomosti, a liberal business daily, published an editorial Wednesday on events in Ukraine under the headline, “Are We Fighting?”

It noted the recent capture of the Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory and reports of “mysterious funerals” of Russian soldiers, some of whom are officially counted dying during training exercises.

“The number of questions that hang in the air of the dead and detained Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine has reached a critical number. Does Russia fight in Ukraine and, if so, on what grounds? If not, then who is in those freshly dug graves or giving testimony at SBU (Russian Security service) interrogations?”

A Bloomberg editorial contained some more details about the “mystery funerals” that have been taking place inside Russia…

One such burial, of two soldiers, took place in the village of Vybuty near Pskov in northwestern Russia, where an airborne division is based. Efforts to conceal the deaths produced a fiasco. Though the wife of one paratrooper had reported his death on the Vkontakte social network, when a reporter, Ilya Vasyunin of the Russian Planet website, called the wife’s phone number, a woman who answered stated that the paratrooper was alive and well. Two reporters, from Russian Planet and TV Dozhd, who visited the cemetery where the two fresh graves had been seen were immediately attacked by men in black tracksuits. Local journalists, however, succeeded in photographing the graves. According to the independent TV Dozhd, the soldiers’ names and wreaths have been removed from the graves.

There are other reports of paratrooper funerals, which are hard to conceal. Soldiers have grieving families who do not necessarily share the authorities’ desire for deception. In any case, Ukrainian troops have captured some Russian paratroopers. For the first time since the conflict began in March, they were able to record interviews with them.

Sadly, most Americans are not paying much attention to this conflict.

Most Americans are not really going to care much about a war on the other side of the planet that does not directly involve us.

But they should care.

Because things are about to escalate to a level that we rarely saw even during the darkest moments of the Cold War. Relations between the United States and Russia are spiraling downhill, and that could end up having a huge impact on all of our lives.

For example, in my previous article entitled “Russia Is Doing It – Russia Is Actually Abandoning The Dollar“, I discussed how this tug of war over Ukraine was causing Russia to think about moving away from the petrodollar. Well, it turns out that now the Russians are actually taking concrete steps toward abandoning the petrodollar for good…

The Russian oil company Gazprom Neft has agreed to export 80,000 tons of oil from Novoportovskoye field in the Arctic; it will accept payment in rubles, and will also deliver oil via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), accepting payment in Chinese yuan for the transfers, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported Wednesday.

The Russian government and several of the country’s largest exporters have widely discussed the possibility of accepting payments in rubles for oil exports.

Last week, Russia began to ship oil from the Novoportovskoye field to Europe by sea. Two oil tankers are expected to arrive in Europe in September. According to Kommersant, the payment for these shipments will be received in rubles.

That is huge news, but you probably haven’t heard a thing about it on the big mainstream news networks.

Meanwhile, one thing that you probably have heard about is how “Russian hackers” attacked JPMorgan Chase earlier this month

Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

As relations between the United States and Russia continue to decline precipitously, both sides will be looking for ways to hurt one another.

And that won’t be good for any of us.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

But ultimately, this current conflict could end up taking us to a destination that the Cold War never did.

World War 3 will probably not happen next week, next month or even next year, but right now we are on a road which could eventually lead to the unthinkable.

Let us pray that our politicians are able to find the exit ramp at some point.

(Originally posted at The Economic Collapse Blog)

Ukrainian Sergeant: ‘This Is Now A War With Russia’

Ukraine Soldiers - Photo by Graham William Phillips

Ukraine and Western officials on Wednesday warned that Russian forces are opening up another, major front in the war, according to The New York Times.

“This is what happened: they crossed the border, took up positions, and started shooting,” Sgt. Aleksei Panko said after telling The Times that about 60 armored vehicles crossed the border near the town of Novoazovsk. “This is now a war with Russia.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Russia’s “incursions” in Ukraine “indicate a Russian-directed counter-offensive is likely underway” in Luhansk and Donetsk, which she said was of “deep concern” to the U.S.

She accused Russia of “sending its young men into Ukraine, but not telling them or their parents where they are going or what they are doing.”

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Russian tanks, armored vehicles enter southeast Ukraine

Russian Tanks - Photo by Yana Amelina

A column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles has crossed into southeastern Ukraine, away from where most of the intense fighting has been taking place, a top Ukrainian official said Monday.

Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council, told reporters that the column of 10 tanks, two armored vehicles and two trucks crossed the border near Shcherbak and that the nearby city of Novoazovsk was shelled during the night from Russia. He said they were Russian military vehicles bearing the flags of the separatist Donetsk rebels.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday he had no information about the column.

The reported incursion and shelling could indicate an attempt to move on Mariupol, a major port on the Azov Sea, an arm of the Black Sea. Mariupol lies on the main road between Russia and Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in March. Capturing Mariupol could be the first step in building a slice of territory that links Russia with Crimea.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border

Russian Convoy

Ukraine declared on Friday that Russia had launched a “direct invasion” of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.

Moscow, which has thousands of troops close to the Russian side of the border, warned against any attempt to “disrupt” the convoy it said was a purely humanitarian operation; but it did not say what action it might take if Kiev’s military intervened.

The European Union urged Russia to reverse what it called a clear violation of the Ukrainian border.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the entry of the trucks without Kiev’s permission as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Russia Accuses Ukraine of Staging Gleiwitz-Style False Flag

Russia Convoy

The Russian government has accused Kiev of pulling a Gleiwitz-style stunt in its claim that Ukrainian troops destroyed a “Russian military column,” alleging that Kiev staged a false flag in order to demonize Moscow.

Earlier today, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that a “significant” number of Russian military vehicles were destroyed as they tried to cross into Ukraine last night. The allegations followed weeks of warnings and narratives in the media that Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine.

However, Russia rejected that the incident took place at all, even going so far as to assert that Kiev staged the whole episode in a bid to portray Russia as aggressors.

“No Russian military column that allegedly crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border at night or during the day ever existed,” said Major General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry.

Konashenkov went on to say that the best case scenario was that the whole incident was a “phantom” invented by Ukraine, but he also suggested Kiev could have even killed “refugees or their own servicemen” in order to pin the blame on Moscow.

“Such statements – based on fantasies, or journalists’ assumptions, to be precise – should not be subject for a serious discussion by top officials of any country,” Konashenkov added.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

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