Tuesday, June 28, 2022

French President Macron Tells President Biden To Expect No Extra Oil From Saudi Arabia And The UAE

US President Biden and French President Macron at the G7  

Reuters: Macron tells Biden that UAE, Saudi can barely raise oil output 

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) -Two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had been told by the UAE's president. 

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been perceived as the only two countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with spare capacity to boost global deliveries that could reduce prices.

"I had a call with MbZ," Macron was heard telling U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G7 summit, using shorthand for UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. "He told me two things. I'm at a maximum, maximum (production capacity). This is what he claims." 

"And then he said (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands barrels per day). Maybe a little bit more, but they don't have huge capacities before six months' time," Macron said. 

The UAE's top energy official confirmed Macron's statement to the country's state news agency.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Saudi Arabia and the UAE are making record profits with their energy exports. They have no interest to jeopardize this cash cow. 

 But what I find very revealing in the above Reuters report is that President Biden is told about this news directly from the French President. To put it bluntly. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are not talking to the White House, and it looks like they are using the French President of all people to be the messenger of this bad news.

Will President Biden Meet Turkish President Erdogan At The NATO Summit To Discuss Finland And Sweden's Bid To Join NATO?

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with U.S. President Joe Biden during the G-20 leaders summit, Rome, Italy, Oct. 31, 2021. (AP Photo) 

Zero Hedge: Biden-Erdogan Meeting On The Table As Turkey Vows 'Won't Back Down' At NATO Summit 

The 2022 NATO summit in Madrid, Spain is set to kick off Tuesday and run through Thursday of this week; however, US officials say they don't expected Turkey's concerns over Sweden and Finland's membership bids to be allayed. 

One European diplomatic official told CNN that there's hope of "last moment" Turkish concessions: "My best projection based on what I've seen is that they will run this to the wire at Madrid. They also always prefer if they're going to make concessions to do it at the leader level, they believe that enhances that status," the unnamed official said. "It is Turkey's standard operating procedure not to give concessions till the last possible moment. And that last possible moment is usually defined as a bilateral with the US president, followed by a leaders meeting." 

Read more ....  

Update #1: Erdoğan, Biden may meet at NATO summit to discuss Turkey's concerns (Daily Sabah)  

Update #2: NATO summit will test Biden's resolve to defeat Putin and pressure Erdogan (FOX News)  

WNU Editor: Erdogan and Biden will only meet if an agreement is reached on Turkey lifting it's hold on Sweden and Finland from joining NATO. 

My prediction. 

They will meet for a few minutes, but the issue of Sweden and Finland joining NATO will not be resolved.

African And Middle Eastern Leaders Pressuring The West To Help Bring The Ukraine War To An End

Ukraine was a major food exporter before the Ukraine war, feeding some 400million people around the world 44milion of whom now face starvation - with those in the Middle East and Africa being the most at risk  

Daily Mail: How Africa and the Middle East could tip war in Putin's favour: Ukraine grain blockade is creating food crisis as 44 MILLION face starvation and regions' leaders pressure the West for peace deal 

* Russian invasion of Ukraine has blocked grain exports, and will likely cause food shortages for years to come 

* 44million at risk of starvation while another 395million will see shortages, World Food Programme warned 

* Africa and Middle East will be hardest-hit regions, as leaders pressure the West to help bring war to an end 

* African Union leader Macky Sall and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa have joined likes of Turkey's Erdogan and Saudi Arabia's Bin Salman in calling for a peace deal, which experts say would favour Russia 

Ukraine believes its fate will be decided in the mud and blood of Donbas - where its troops are trying to grind Russia's army into the dirt using skill, courage, and a fearsome arsenal of Western weaponry. 

But it seems increasingly likely that its destiny could be decided on another frontline, thousands of miles away: In the deserts of the Middle East and drought-stricken farmlands of Africa, where 44million people who relied on the country for food are now facing famine unless the conflict can be brought to a swift end. 

Blockades of Ukraine's main Black Sea ports have placed a stranglehold on grain supplies which previously fed 400million, threatening starvation and riots from Libya to Liberia, and Syria to South Sudan.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: EU Warns Ukraine War Pushes Middle East, North Africa Deeper into Famine (Asharq Al-Awsat)  

Update #2: War in Ukraine Is Destabilizing the Middle East and North Africa (National Interest)  

WNU Editor: You can write-off Ukraine exporting grain this year. And probably also next year.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Russian Missile Hits Shopping Centre In Ukraine

Daily Mail: Russian missiles hit Ukrainian shopping mall filled with 1,000 civilians killing at least 13 people and injuring others after G7 stands up to Putin: Survivors flee as building explodes - Zelensky warns 'It's impossible to imagine the number of victims' 

* The Kremlin missile strike targeted a crowded shopping mall in Kremenchuk in central Ukraine 

* Volodymyr Zelensky said 1,000 civilians were inside the building at the time of the savage attack 

* The complex was engulfed in flames and scores are feared dead in the latest attack on civilians 

Scores of civilians were feared killed or wounded in a Russian missile strike Monday on a crowded shopping mall in Ukraine's central city of Kremenchuk, Ukrainian officials said. 

At least 13 people were dead and more than 40 wounded by two long-range X-22 missiles fired from Tu-22M3 bombers that flew from Shaykovka airfield in Russia's Kaluga region, said Ukraine's air force command. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Telegram post that the number of victims was 'unimaginable,' citing reports that more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack.  

Read more .... 

Russian Missile Hits Shopping Centre In Ukraine  

At least 16 dead as Russian missile hits shopping centre in Ukraine -- The Guardian  

Russian airstrike hits busy shopping mall in central Ukraine, sparking fears of mass casualties -- CNN  

Missile strike on mall in Kremenchuk follows weekend of attacks across Ukraine -- France 24  

Ukraine war: Russian 'scumbag terrorists' condemned by Zelenskyy after 'calculated' missile strike on shopping centre -- SKY News  

Missile strike on Kremenchuk: Death toll rises to 16 -- Ukrinform

Kremlin Says Russian President Putin Will Attend The G20 Summit

© Yevgeny Paulin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS  

RT: Putin to attend G20 summit – Kremlin  

The Russian leader will travel to Indonesia for the meeting, despite Western leaders calling for Moscow’s expulsion  

Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the G20 summit in Indonesia this November, the Kremlin announced on Monday. While multiple Western leaders have demanded Russia’s expulsion from the event, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is hosting this year's gathering, has invited Putin to the meeting in Bali. 

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov announced Putin’s attendance, but told reporters that it is still unclear in what capacity the Russian leader will participate. “I hope that the pandemic will allow this important forum to be held in person, but I cannot guess,” Ushakov said. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The G20 summit will be held in Bali, Indonesia, from November 15-16.

Kremlin Says Russian President Putin Will Attend The G20 Summit  

Moscow confirms Putin’s participation in G20 summit, details are being finalized — Kremlin -- TASS  

Kremlin says Putin will attend G20 summit -- Politico 

Russia Says Putin Will Be Part Of G20 Summit—Setting Stage For Showdown With Western Leaders -- Forbes

Iran Says Saudi Arabia Wants To Resume Diplomatic Talks With Iran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi did not mention Saudi Arabia during a Sunday press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, but further direct talks between Tehran and Riyadh look likely [President's Website/WANA/Handout via Reuters]  

Al Jazeera: Iran claims Saudi Arabia is ready for more direct bilateral talks 

The last direct talks between Riyadh and Tehran were held in April, as the two sides mull over a rapprochement. 

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s foreign ministry says Saudi Arabia is ready to hold more direct bilateral talks, one day after the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi travelled to Tehran to mediate between the two regional rivals. 

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters during a press conference on Monday that Riyadh is ready to “continue negotiations in Baghdad on a diplomatic level” without commenting on a possible date.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The distrust between Saudi Arabia and Iran is so deep that I doubt there will be reconciliation between the two sides anytime soon.

Iran Says Saudi Arabia Wants To Resume Diplomatic Talks With Iran  

Iran Says Saudi Arabia Wants to Resume Diplomatic Talks With Tehran -- Reuters  

Iraqi PM visits Saudi Arabia and Iran to discuss regional stability -- AFP 

Iraqi PM Arrives in Iran After Saudi Visit to Push for Revival of Tehran-Riyadh Talks -- VOA 

Iraqi PM in Iran after Saudi visit to push for revival of Tehran-Riyadh talks -- Reuters 

Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Iran after MBS visit -- Al Jazeera  

Iraq PM visits Saudi Arabia and Iran in bid to revive talks between two sides -- Middle East Eye

Iran Is Facing A Food Crisis

The head of one hospital said: "In the coming weeks, it will be impossible for many public or private medical centers to provide hot meals, especially protein-rich foods, to hospitalized patients because this increase in food prices was not seen in any hospital budget." (file photo)  

RFE: Iranian Institutions Facing Food Shortages As Prices Skyrocket 

Local media in Iran say public institutions such as hospital, prisons, and child-care centers are facing possible food shortages due to skyrocketing prices. 

The Tehran-based Etemad newspaper reported on June 15 that the impending "problem" could hit in "the coming weeks" and that "food supplies will be disrupted not only in hospitals but also in other government facilities such as barracks, prisons, nursing homes, and even student dormitories." 

Etemad quoted the head of a private hospital as saying that a sharp rise in food prices has affected the quality of hospital food to such an extent that freshly made items are likely to be eliminated in public and private hospitals, with packaged foods being used instead.  

Read more ....  

Update: Iranian Food Consumption Plummets As Prices Soar (OilPrice.com/RFE)  

WNU Editor: This is a recipe for widespread unrest.

Sri Lanka Suspends Fuel Sales. Only Essential Services Will Be Supplied With What Is Left

Three-wheeler drivers wait in a queue to buy petrol due to fuel shortage, amid the country's economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Reuters image) 

 CNBC/Reuters: Sri Lanka stops fuel supply to non-essential services as crisis worsens 

* Sri Lanka will shut schools and only allow fuel supplies to services deemed essential like health, trains and buses for two weeks starting Tuesday. 

* Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis, with foreign exchange reserves at a record low and the island of 22 million struggling to pay for essential imports of food, medicine and, most critically, fuel. 

* The government is talks with the International Monetary Fund on a possible bailout, but many people can’t wait that long. 

Sri Lanka will shut schools and only allow fuel supplies to services deemed essential like health, trains and buses for two weeks starting Tuesday, a minister said, in a desperate attempt to deal with a severe shortage. 

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis, with foreign exchange reserves at a record low and the island of 22 million struggling to pay for essential imports of food, medicine and, most critically, fuel.  

Read more .... 

Sri Lanka Suspends Fuel Sales. Only Essential Services Will Be Supplied With What Is Left  

Sri Lanka Runs Out Of Fuel, Only Essential Services To Operate Till July 10 -- NDTV  

Sri Lanka suspends fuel sales as economic crisis worsens -- AFP  

Sri Lanka struggling to secure fresh fuel supplies, minister says -- CNN  

Sri Lanka halts fuel supplies for private vehicles -- Financial Times  

Sri Lanka Is Put on Virtual Lockdown as Fuel Supplies Are Halted -- Bloomberg  

Sri Lanka struggles to secure new fuel shipments as supply runs dry -- Arab News 

 Sri Lanka has barely enough fuel to last one day – media -- RT

Ecuador May Stop Oil Exports As Protests Continue

Indigenous people take part in an anti-government protest amid a stalemate between the government of President Guillermo Lasso and demanding an end to emergency measures, in Quito, Ecuador June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Adriano Machado 

The Guardian: Ecuador: Indigenous protesters agree to meet president to discuss demands 

President Guillermo Lasso announces cut to gas prices in effort to quell protests demanding lower fuel and food prices 

Ecuadorian Indigenous organizations have said they will meet with the government to discuss demands for lower fuel and food prices which have sparked two weeks of protests, hitting the country’s weakened economy and threatening its oil production. 

President Guillermo Lasso late on Sunday announced a 10-cent per gallon cut to gasoline and diesel prices, the latest concession to try to quell the sometimes-violent demonstrations, which began on 13 June. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I am skeptical that these talks between the President and the country's indigenous leaders are going to succeed. The cost of living has become impossible to live under, and there are no solutions. 

Among the politicians, Ecuador's parliament is still pushing to impeach the President .... Ecuador Congress to Extend Debate to Oust Lasso Amid Crisis (Bloomberg). 

More News On The Unrest In Ecuador 

 Ecuador president cuts gasoline price amid Indigenous strike -- AP  

Ecuador could stop pumping oil within 48 hours due to protests -- Reuters 

Ecuador to Stop Pumping Oil in 48 Hours, Energy Ministry Warns -- Bloomberg  

Ecuador president announces fuel price cut amid days of protests -- Al Jazeera  

Ecuador at standstill after two weeks of protests over cost of living crisis -- The Guardian

British PM Johnson Says The UK Economy Getting Crushed A Price “Worth Paying” For Freedom In Ukraine

 

Daily Mail: Boris Johnson says 'the price of freedom is worth paying' and declares WWII was 'very expensive' but delivered 'long-term stability' as G7 pledge support for Ukraine 

* Boris Johnson today declared 'the price of freedom is worth paying' as he was challenged over the cost of his support for Ukraine 

* Compared repelling Russia's invasion to defeat of the Nazis in World War Two 

* Beating Hitler 'was expensive' but ushered in decades of prosperity, he argued 

* G7 leaders pledged fresh sanctions and more military support for Kyiv 

Boris Johnson today declared 'the price of freedom is worth paying' as he compared defeating Russia in Ukraine to beating the Nazis in the Second World War. 

The Prime Minister, attending the G7 summit in Germany, said victory over Hitler was 'very expensive' but delivered 'long-term stability' as he joined other leaders in pledging to support Kyiv for 'as long as it takes'. 

Mr Johnson made the remarks after world leaders pledged to set a price cap on Russian oil and impose trade tariffs to make Putin pay for his invasion, which is now dragging into its fifth month.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: My gut tells me that PM Johnson's day at 10 Downing Street are numbered. 

British PM Johnson Says The UK Economy Getting Crushed A Price “Worth Paying” For Freedom In Ukraine  

Ukraine war: The price of freedom is worth paying, says Boris Johnson -- BBC  

FREEDOM FIGHTER Soaring food and fuel costs are a ‘price worth paying’ to beat Mad Vlad, Boris Johnson says -- The SUN 

UK Economy Getting Crushed A Price "Worth Paying" For Freedom In Ukraine: Johnson -- Zero Hedge

A Closer Look At Ukraine's Foreign Legion (Videos)

Five Signs The Russia Economy Is Not Sinking As Many Were Predicting

 

Reuters: A 'default' when flush with cash: Five signs Russia ain't sinking yet 

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia may have defaulted for the first time on foreign bonds since the Bolsheviks refused to pay on a vast debt pile after the 1917 Revolution, but its $1.8 trillion economy is showing no sign of sinking just yet. 

The sanctions imposed by the West over Russia's invasion of Ukraine delivered the biggest external shock to Russia's economy since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, but the economy has - so far - been remarkably resilient. 

Russia's 2022 "default", announced by the United States on Monday but rejected by the Kremlin, is very different to debt crises of previous years: in 1918 the Bolsheviks didn't want to pay and in 1998 Russia could not pay its domestic debts. 

This time, Moscow can pay and says it is ready to but the West is preventing it.  

Read more ....  

Update: Russia’s economy holds up in the face of sanctions – but will it last? (France 24)  

WNU editor: I expected some hard times, but not what many in the West were predicting when sanctions were imposed. Certainly not the economy imploding or the ruble crashing as President Biden was saying in March. 

My prediction. 

Russia will be shifting its economic focus away from the West and more to Asia and the emerging economies in the Middle East and Africa. And what the West should be worried about is the growing ties between Russia and China and their mutual desire to establish a financial system independent from the West, and the dethronement of the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency.

Ukraine President Zelenskiy Calls On G7 Leaders To Help End The War By Winter

 

Daily Mail: Ukraine's President Zelensky appeals to Biden to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism during video conference with G7 leaders as he asks for urgent help to end the war by winter 

* Zelensky will warn G7 leaders Monday that they cannot delay weapons deliveries 

* His forces are outgunned by Russian troops in the east of Ukraine 

* It also emerged that the U.S. has bought an advanced missile defense system 

* The Norwegian NASAMS would provide medium to long-range defense

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used a video call with G7 leaders on Monday to demand that the U.S. declare Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism for its war in Ukraine, according to his office. 

The war in Ukraine dominated several sessions of the G7 summit in southern Germany. And the Ukrainian president appealed directly to President Joe Biden and his fellow leaders in their first session on Monday morning, asking for their help in ending the war before the bitter winter months.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Ukraine President Zelensky has a point. Europe's energy crisis is going to get worse in the coming months, and Zelensky knows that this will result in European governments putting pressure on him to make a deal to end the war. 

 Ukraine President Zelenskiy Calls On G7 Leaders To Help End The War By Winter 

Zelensky tells G-7 summit Ukraine forces face urgent moment -- AP  

Zelensky Urges G7 To Help End Ukraine War by Winter -- Moscow Times/AFP  

Zelenskiy calls on G7 leaders to help end war in Ukraine by winter -- The Guaridan 

Ukraine war: Zelenskyy says he wants war over by winter before conditions make fightback more difficult as G7 leaders reaffirm their support -- SKY News  

G7 leaders work to ‘starve’ Russia of oil money as Zelensky says he wants the war over by the end of the year -- CNN  

Zelensky asks G7 leaders for air defense system, more sanctions -- NYPost  

Zelensky sets deadline for Russia-Ukraine conflict – media -- RT

White House National Security Adviser Says US Preparing To Send Advanced Air Defense Systems To Ukraine

NASAMS is a Norwegian-developed air defense system, which is used in Washington to protect the White House and U.S. Capitol. Reports say the U.S. has bought a system for Ukraine

Daily Mail: The US is to send an advanced long-range missile defense system to Ukraine as President Zelensky urges G7 to help end Russian war by winter 

* Zelensky will warn G7 leaders Monday that they cannot delay weapons deliveries 

* His forces are outgunned by Russian troops in the east of Ukraine 

* It also emerged that the U.S. has bought an advanced missile defense system 

* The Norwegian NASAMS would provide medium to long-range defense 

The U.S. is to announce that it has bought an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Ukraine, according to several reports, as President Volodomyr Zelensky continues to urge more help for his country as it battles heavy Russian attacks in the Donbas region. 

Zelensky used a video address to G7 leaders meeting in Germany to repeat his warnings that delays in delivering military aid would only embolden Russia in its attacks. 

And he asked world leaders for urgent help to end the war by winter, according to diplomatic sources.  

Read more .... 

White House National Security Adviser Says US Preparing To Send Advanced Air Defense Systems To Ukraine  

US preparing to send advanced air defense system to Ukraine -- The Hill  

US to send Ukraine air defence missiles -- CNA/AFP  

US to announce purchase of medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile defense system for Ukraine -- CNN  

U.S. likely to announce this week purchase of missile defense system for Ukraine - source -- Reuters

Finland, Sweden Will Talk NATO Bid With Turkey's Erdogan Before NATO Summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left), Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (center), and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (composite file photo)  

Bloomberg: Finland, Sweden Set for Top-Level Talks on NATO With Turkey 

(Bloomberg) -- The leaders of Finland and Sweden are set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in a bid to convince him to drop the objections to their membership in NATO. 

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson are slated to meet Erdogan in Madrid, alongside Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Niinisto’s office said on Twitter on Monday. 

Their meeting is preceded by a round of talks hosted by NATO in Brussels, including a bilateral encounter by Stoltenberg and Andersson.  

Read more .... 

Finland, Sweden Will Talk NATO Bid With Turkey's Erdogan Before NATO Summit 

Finland, Sweden Will Talk NATO Bid With Turkey's Erdogan On June 28, Says Finnish Presidency -- RFE  

Erdogan to meet with leaders of Sweden, Finland before NATO summit -- Reuters  

Finland, Sweden Leaders To Discuss NATO Bid With Erdogan -- Barrons  

Erdogan to Meet With Leaders of Sweden, Finland Before NATO Summit in 4-Way Talks -- VOA

Russia - Ukraine War Maps -- June 27, 2022

Tweets On The Russia - Ukraine War

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

From left to right, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel pose for a photograph at Bavaria's Schloss Elmau castle, Germany, on June 26, 2022 [Jonathan Ernst/ Reuters]  

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this news link .... G7 launches $600bn infrastructure plan to counter China (Al Jazeera).

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Says NATO To Massively Increase High-Readiness Forces To 300,000

 

CNBC: NATO set to increase its high-readiness forces to over 300,000 in massive military buildup 

* His comments come as NATO leaders prepare to convene in Madrid, Spain this week to decide on the so-called Strategic Concept, the 30-member alliance’s most important document. 

* The text, which is updated roughly every decade, will reaffirm NATO’s values, provide a collective assessment of the security challenges and act as a guide to the group’s future political and military development. 

* “At the summit, we will strengthen our forward defenses. We will enhance our battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance up to brigade levels,” Stoltenberg said. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said the military alliance is poised to increase the number of its high-readiness forces to well over 300,000 as part of what he described as “the biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.” 

His comments come as NATO leaders prepare to convene in Madrid, Spain this week to decide on the so-called Strategic Concept, the 30-member alliance’s most important document. 

The text, which is updated roughly every decade, will reaffirm NATO’s values, provide a collective assessment of the security challenges and act as a guide to the group’s future political and military development.  

Read more ....  

WNU editor: There are currently 40,000 troops on alert. Raising it to 300,000 will be a 7x plus increase. To say that I am skeptical that this will happen is an understatement. Most NATO members have a problem meeting their 2% GDP requirements in their defense budgets. This type of commitment will mean a massive increase in each country's defense budgets that will be significantly over the 2% threshold. 

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Says NATO To Massively Increase High-Readiness Forces To 300,000   

NATO's Army to Get Seven Times Larger in Biggest Overhaul Since Cold War -- Newsweek  

NATO to massively increase high-readiness forces to 300,000 - Stoltenberg -- Reuters  

NATO to dramatically increase forces on high alert to over 300,000 from 40,000 amid Russia threat -- SKY News 

NATO to massively increase high-readiness forces to 300,000 -- Euractiv  

Nato to put 300,000 troops on high alert in response to Russia threat -- The Guardian  

NATO to significantly increase quick-reaction force to over 300,000 -- The Hill  

NATO to massively boost high readiness forces to over 300,000 after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine -- Evening Standard  

NATO to dramatically increase size of high-readiness forces -- Axios

Tehran And The EU Say Indirect Nuclear Talks Between US And Iran To Resume 'In Coming Days'

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian meets with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, in Tehran, Iran June 25, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS  

Reuters: Qatar to host indirect Iran-U.S. talks on reviving 2015 nuclear deal-media 

DUBAI (Reuters) -Qatar will host indirect talks between Iran and the United States in coming days, Iranian media reported on Monday, amid a push by the European Union to break a months-long impasse in negotiations to reinstate a 2015 nuclear pact. 

"Iran has chosen Qatar to host the talks because of Doha's friendly ties with Tehran," Mohammad Marandi, a media adviser to Iran's top nuclear negotiator, told the ISNA news agency. 

A source briefed on the visit said that U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, was expected to arrive in Doha on Monday and meet with the Qatari foreign minister. 

An Iranian official told Reuters that Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, would be in Doha for the talks on Tuesday and Wednesday.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Tehran is calculating that the Biden administration needs a foreign policy win. 

Tehran And The EU Say Indirect Nuclear Talks Between US And Iran To Resume 'In Coming Days'  

U.S. envoy headed to Qatar to revive Iran nuclear talks -- Politico  

Qatar named as site of indirect talks between Iran and US on nuclear deal -- Times of Israel  

Tehran Says Nuclear Talks to Resume This Week: Iran Snapshot -- Bloomberg 

Nuclear talks between US and Iran to resume 'in coming days', Tehran and EU say -- France 24  

Iran says ‘ball in US court’ for revival of 2015 nuclear deal -- Arab News

Iran Tests Its Zuljanah Satellite Launcher Ahead Of Expected Nuclear Talks

 

RFE: Iran Reports Test Of Satellite Launcher As Diplomats Announce Restart Of Nuclear Talks 

Iran says it has tested its Zuljanah satellite launcher for a second time ahead of the expected start of talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal. 

State-run media on June 26 broadcast footage of the rocket blasting off, and Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for Iran's Defense Ministry, said the 25.5-meter-long rocket was capable of carrying a satellite that would ultimately gather data in low-Earth orbit and promote Iran's space industry. 

"The second launch of the Zuljanah satellite carrier has taken place in order to achieve the predetermined research objectives," said Hosseini, according to state news agency IRNA.  

Read more .... 

Iran Tests Its Zuljanah Satellite Launcher  

Iran Launches Rocket Into Space as Nuclear Talks to Resume -- VOA/AP  

Iran tests Zuljanah satellite launcher for second time - TV -- Reuters

Iran tests Zuljanah satellite launcher for second time -- Jerusalem Post  

Iran launches Zoljanah rocket into space as nuclear talks expected to resume -- UPI  

Iran announces rocket launch as nuclear deal talks set to reopen -- FOX News 

Iran conducts 2nd test of satellite launcher as nuclear talks said set to resume -- Times of Israel  

Iran test launches Zuljanah satellite carrier: State media -- Al Jazeera

How Much Is China Helping Russia Finance Its War In Ukraine?

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the BRICS summit on June 22, where he decried Western sanctions as “weaponizing” the global economy.  

RFE: Interview: How Much Is China Helping Russia Finance Its War In Ukraine?  

China’s growing appetite for discounted Russian oil has made it the leading financier of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine by giving Moscow a reliable revenue source that blunts the impact of tough Western sanctions against its economy. 

Four months after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, China has overtaken Germany as the biggest single buyer of Russian energy, with oil sales to China -- and India, another energy-hungry Asian nation -- helping to fill a gap left by Europe, Russia’s biggest export market. 

China and India have together bought an estimated 2.4 million barrels of Russian crude oil a day in May, half of Russia's total exports. 

 Despite being sold at a steep discount, the purchases -- along with climbing oil prices -- have allowed Russian revenues to grow in the face of Western pressure and given Moscow a crucial financial lifeline to keep funding its war effort.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: From Russia's point of view they see China as a reliable customer. From the Chinese point of view they see Russia not only as a reliable supplier, but a cheaper one because of ttransport costs. A win-win situation for both sides.  

Update: China's media sees these sanctions as a failure .... Sanctions on Russia: A failed EU strategy (CGTN).

Time Is Not On Kyiv's Side

Wounded Ukrainian soldiers are treated outside the embattled city of Lysychansk, Ukraine, on June 26, 2022. (Heidi Levine/for The Washington Post)  

Andrew Milburn, Modern War Institute: Time Is Not on Kyiv’s Side: Training, Weapons, and Attrition in Ukraine 

The battalion commander shrugged helplessly when we advised him that five days was a completely inadequate amount of time in which to train his soldiers. “This is all we have—they are needed on the front,” he replied with grim finality. A few days later, on a separate course that we were running for his medics, half of our class disappeared on the second day. “We have had casualties,” was the only explanation we received. Even in units that fall within the Ukrainian special operations command, most soldiers are sent to the front line with very little training. In one such unit, we estimated that just 20 percent had even fired a weapon before heading to combat.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The above report is another think tank raising the alarm (justifiably in my opinion) on the progress of the war in Ukraine. This follows The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) sober report on the Ukraine war last week .... The West Is No Longer The Arsenal Of Democracy (June 23, 2022). 

Check out the Sky News video below from a Ukrainian commander of an elite military unit saying that 80% of his troops have been killed or injured. 

There Are 100,000 US Troops In Europe

U.S. troops deploy for Europe from Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Feb. 3. Allison Joyce/AFP  

Washington Times: As U.S. troops reach 100K in Europe, questions mount over endgame, long-term effects 

Pressure grows on Europe to bolster its military spending ahead of NATO summit The number of American troops in Europe has risen sharply in the four months since Russia invaded Ukraine, from about 65,000 in mid-February to 100,000 today. 

That increase, one of the most rapid U.S. military buildups on the continent in the post-Cold War era, has no clear end date or any obvious metrics to determine when troops could come home or be repositioned to other theaters such as the Indo-Pacific. 

Instead, their mission is to deter further Russian aggression and prevent any attack on NATO territory. That goal will prove difficult to measure and could justify a years-long mission as Russia and Ukraine settle into a slow, bloody war of attrition in the Donbas.

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: the above Washington Times report says US troops are reaching the 100,000 number in Europe. But this number was reached in the middle of March .... 100K US service members in Europe amid Russia-Ukraine war: NATO secretary (FOX News).

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Turkey's Foreign Minister Urges A 'Greater Turkey'

Zero Hedge: Turkish FM Urges 'Greater Turkey' As EU Sides With Greece In Territorial Dispute 

On Friday Turkey lashed out at a series of positions the EU summit in Brussels took regarding territorial disputes with Greece in the Aegean and Mediterranean - specifically on drilling rights and Ankara's charge that Greece is "militarizing" its islands in violation of historic treaties, an accusation which the EU has not backed. This also as Turkey has been seething over Ukraine and Moldova so quickly being granted EU candidate status. 

The EU has consistently sided with defending Greece and Cyprus' pushback against expansive Turkish claims, which the Turkish foreign ministry slammed as decisions which are "prejudiced, lack vision, and are disconnected from reality."  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Aegean waters heat up as Turkey, Greece exchange barbs over islands (Al-Monitor)  

Update #2: Why Turkey, Greece remain on collision course over Aegean islands (Al Jazeera)  

WNU Editor: Turkey's focus right now is on northern Syria .... Will Turkey invade northern Syria again? (Jerusalem Post).

British PM Boris Johnson Says A Russian Takeover Of Ukraine Would Be ‘Absolutely Catastrophic’

 

CNBC: British PM Boris Johnson warns Russian takeover of Ukraine would be ‘absolutely catastrophic’ for the world 

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday that if Russia succeeds in its takeover of Ukraine, the global results would be “absolutely catastrophic.” 

* If Putin succeeds in his takeover, “we’re legitimizing further acquisition by him by violence of other parts of the Soviet Union,” Johnson said. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday that if Russia succeeds in its takeover of Ukraine, the global results would be “absolutely catastrophic.” 

Russia has been continuing its relentless attacks on Ukraine that started in late February. On Sunday, Russian forces unleashed a round of missiles on Kyiv, its first attack on the capital in weeks. 

Several view the strikes as a show of defiance against the Group of Seven leaders that were meeting the same day to discuss efforts to restrict and pressure the Kremlin. Still, Johnson urged the West to continue its support of Ukraine as the war drags on. Allowing Russian success could set a dangerous precedent, he said.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The UK Conservative Party lost two by-elections this weekend. One of them in a riding that has has voted Conservative reliably for years. My political instincts are telling me that British PM Boris Johnson's days as prime minister are now numbered. 

 British PM Boris Johnson Says A Russian Takeover Of Ukraine Would Be ‘Absolutely Catastrophic’  

UK's Boris Johnson: cost of Russian victory in Ukraine is too high -- Reuters  

Boris Johnson urges world leaders to hold firm on Ukraine -- The Guardian  

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a Russian victory in Ukraine would be 'absolutely catastrophic' -- Insider  

Boris Johnson warns Russian victory in Ukraine would be ‘absolutely catastrophic’ -- CNN  

Boris Johnson says Russian victory in Ukraine would be ‘catastrophic’ -- The Hill

Russia Defaults On Its Foreign Debt For The First Time Since The Bolshevik Revolution In 1918

Bloomberg: Russia Defaults on Foreign Debt for First Time Since 1918 

(Bloomberg) -- Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes to overseas creditors. 

For months, the country found paths around the penalties imposed after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. But at the end of the day on Sunday, the grace period on about $100 million of snared interest payments due May 27 expired, a deadline considered an event of default if missed.

It’s a grim marker in the country’s rapid transformation into an economic, financial and political outcast. The nation’s eurobonds have traded at distressed levels since the start of March, the central bank’s foreign reserves remain frozen, and the biggest banks are severed from the global financial system.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: This default is mostly symbolic. Russia has more than enough funds that are frozen in the central banks of North America and Europe to pay these financial notes. This issue is now going to the courts, and I predict that it will take years before it is resolved. In the meantime the Russia ruble is worth more today than before the start of the war (link here). 

Russia Defaults On Its Foreign Debt For The First Time Since 1918  

Russia defaults on foreign debt for first time in 100 years -- Financial Review  

Sanctions drive Russia to first foreign debt default since 1918 -- Axios  

Russia defaults on foreign debt for first time since 1918 -- MINT  

EXPLAINER: What’s the impact of a Russian debt default? -- AP

China's Banking Crisis Worsens

Depositors protest in front of the Henan branch of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, demanding their money back after their funds were frozen. From Lan Nuo Nuo in February  

CNN: Small banks in China are running into trouble. Savers could lose everything  

Peter had put his life savings of about $6 million into accounts at three small banks in China’s central Henan province. He says he hasn’t been able to access them since April. 

The 45-year-old entrepreneur asked us to call him Peter for security reasons. He’s from the eastern city of Wenzhou and is just one of thousands of depositors who have been fighting to recover their savings from at least six banks in rural provinces in central China. 

“I’m close to having a nervous breakdown. I can’t sleep,” Peter told CNN Business. 

When he tried to access his accounts online, a statement would pop up on the homepage informing him that the website was under maintenance and services would be unavailable for a while, Peter told CNN Business. Two months later, those services have not been restored. 

The trouble began in April, when four banks in Henan suspended cash withdrawals. 

 Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This crisis is (so far) limited to the small banks in China. But if it continues and spreads, it will not only impact China, but global markets as well.

G-7 Leaders Commit To Indefinitely Support Ukraine

US President Joe Biden attends a working lunch with other G7 leaders to discuss shaping the global economy at the Yoga Pavilion, Schloss Elmau in Kuren, Germany, on Jun 26, 2022. (Photo: Kenny Holston/Pool via REUTERS)  

Bloomberg: G-7 Latest: Leaders to Commit to Indefinite Support for Ukraine 

 (Bloomberg) -- Group of Seven leaders will commit to providing indefinite support to Ukraine for its defense against Russia’s invasion, according to the text of a draft statement from their summit in Bavaria. 

“We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” the text of a draft statement seen by Bloomberg said. The wording is important because members of the alliance are concerned about the war dragging on and some, including Germany and France, have hinted that they may be more open to the idea of a negotiated cease-fire.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: G7 leaders agree to support Ukraine indefinitely – Bloomberg (RT)  

Update #2: G7 Foreign Ministers assure Ukraine of military assistance for as long as necessary (Ukrinform)  

WNU Editor: The G-7's commitment to support Ukraine is there, but there is a problem when it comes to providing weapons and ammunition. Most countries no longer have the stockpiles to send to Ukraine.