Monday, February 28, 2022

I Met My First Ukrainian Refugess Tonight

My church is doing a lot of coordination and planning on how to take care of the flood of refugees that they expect will be coming into Canada in the coming days and weeks. I went tonight to bring some of the stuff that I always store for an emergency. Toilet paper/Kleenex/Mountain House food/the usual prepper stuff.

So I was shocked and surprised to meet about a dozen Ukrainians who had just arrived and are being housed in the basement.

I do not know how they were able to pass customs and Covid requirements, and I do not care. But it looks like when they showed up at the airport without a visa, they were processed anyway with their Ukrainian passports, and my church was called in to pick them up and to take care of them. 

When I saw these refugees .... words do not describe the experience.

There was an elderly couple who were vacationing in the Czech Republic on their 40th anniversary when the war broke out. Instead of staying there or going back to Ukraine they took a flight to Canada to meet a relative who lives in Ottawa until the war is over. They are going to be picked up tomorrow. They are in disbelief with what is happening. But they have each other.

There was a beautiful woman with her 2 year old son who was alone and who looked desperate. When the war broke out she and her husband decided to flee to Poland and try to get to a friend in the U.S.. Her husband was stopped at the border by a press gang who told him he had to serve in the military, and failure to do so will be treated as a desertion offense in wartime. He was taken away but she still drove to Krakow, and took a flight to Canada hoping to take another flight to the U.S.. But upon arriving she found out her credit cards and debit cards were no longer working, she has no cash to buy a ticket. and their friend in the U.S. does not want her to come!!!!!. So she is now stuck here with no friends, no money, and no place to go.

But the family that really took my heart away was this father, around 30, with his three young daughters. His wife is in transit, and should be arriving in Montreal tomorrow. They immediately fled the country when they heard that Russia was invading. They always heard that Canada was a great place to start a new life (and it is), so they decided to fly here and either make a new life, or go back to Ukraine when the war was over. What struck me was how happy this man was. His smile was infectious. And his three daughters .... sighhh .... beautiful young angels with wide eyes filled with excitement to find themselves in Canada. They took my breath away. And my heart.

In the end I did something that I have never done before in my life. I directly gave money to strangers and my phone number if they needed help. I went to an ATM machine. Took out the max that I could, and returned distributing it equally to the people that were there.

The look of shock and gratitude that I received will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Driving home my mood changed. 

There is only one thought in my mind right now.

War is evil.

Update: The day/days have caught up with me. I am burnt out and this old man needs sleep. Blogging will return tomorrow morning. Be grateful with what you have.

Picture Of The Day

The move comes as an image was released of Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting several feet away from his aides during a meeting. Putin ordered forces operating Russia's nuclear deterrent to be on alert amid simmering tensions with the West

Would Russian President Putin Press The Nuclear Button?


Steve Rosenberg, BBC News: Ukraine invasion: Would Putin press the nuclear button? 

Let me begin with an admission.

So many times, I've thought: "Putin would never do this." Then he goes and does it. 

"He'd never annex Crimea, surely?" He did. 

"He'd never start a war in the Donbas." He did. 

"He'd never launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine." He has. 

I've concluded that the phrase "would never do" doesn't apply to Vladimir Putin. 

And that raises an uncomfortable question: "He'd never press the nuclear button first. Would he?"  

Read more ....  

Update #1: ‘Yes, He Would’: Fiona Hill on Putin and Nukes (Politico)  

Update #2: Would Vladimir Putin actually use nuclear weapons? (The Guardian) 

WNU Editor: There is only one scenario that I can see Putin using a nuclear weapon in the current crisis. If the war is not going as planned, a tactical nuclear device will be used on an important Ukraine military target to force a quick capitulation of the Ukraine government and a warning to the West to stay out.

President Biden Says Americans Should Not Be Worried About Nuclear War With Russia


Daily Mail: Biden says Americans should NOT be worried about nuclear war with Russia and Psaki reveals America has not changed alert level of its missiles trained on Moscow after Putin readied his warheads 

* The Biden administration's instructions for nuclear explosions tells Americans to 'continue to practice social distancing' 

* Guidelines tell Americans to remain six feet apart and wearing a mask when sheltering in place in the event of nuclear attack 

* It is not immediately clear when this guidance was included in the nuclear explosion page but it was last updated on Friday, February 25, 2022 

* The revelations of the guidance comes after Vladimir Putin escalated tensions with the West on Sunday by ordering Russian nuclear forces be put on high alert 

President Joe Biden said Americans should not be worried about nuclear war with Russia after he was mocked for guidelines recommending Americans social distance and mask in the event of a nuclear blast. 

The comments came despite Russian President Vladimir Putin putting his country's nuclear deterrent forces on high alert on Sunday in an escalation of tensions with the west after attacking Ukraine last week. 

'Should Americans be worried about nuclear war?' a reporter asked Biden during a White House event Monday.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Russia's strategic nuclear forces are now at the equivalent of Defcon 2. I am worried.

More News On President Biden Saying Americans Should Not Be Worried About Nuclear War With Russia  

Biden: Public shouldn't worry about nuclear war with Russia -- The Hill  

Americans should not fear nuclear war with Russia, Biden says -- NYPost 

Biden says Americans should not worry about nuclear war -- Reuters  

Biden: Americans shouldn't be worried about nuclear war with Russia -- Yahoo News

Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

Neil Oliver, GBNews: We watch Ukraine and Russia - but at the same time we should watch what our leaders are up to here in the West  

I don’t trust Putin and I don’t trust our leaders or our government either 

I’ll be honest. I don’t know what’s happening in Ukraine. I don’t understand it either. 

 I ignore most of the mainstream media because I don’t trust it. In the Wild West world of online, where I graze widely, it feels like there are as many different assessments and explanations of the situation in Ukraine as there are people with keyboards and phones. 

What I do know is that truth is rarer than gold, and therefore harder to find. 

I also know that whatever Vladimir Putin is up to in Ukraine, the West must accept responsibility for a share of the blame for what is now being suffered and endured by ordinary people there.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The news coverage is overwhelming on the Russia - Ukraine war. What a perfect time for our leaders to take advantage of this catastrophe and use it as a distraction to implement policies and measures that would never be accepted or supported in normal times. The next few weeks are going to be interesting indeed.

War Propaganda About Ukraine Is Growing

Glenn Greenwald: War Propaganda About Ukraine Becoming More Militaristic, Authoritarian, and Reckless 

Every useful or pleasing claim about the war, no matter how unverified or subsequently debunked, rapidly spreads, while dissenters are vilified as traitors or Kremlin agents. In the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, those warning of the possible dangers of U.S. involvement were assured that such concerns were baseless. The prevailing line insisted that nobody in Washington is even considering let alone advocating that the U.S. become militarily involved in a conflict with Russia. That the concern was based not on the belief that the U.S. would actively seek such a war, but rather on the oft-unintended consequences of being swamped with war propaganda and the high levels of tribalism, jingoism and emotionalism that accompany it, was ignored. It did not matter how many wars one could point to in history that began unintentionally, with unchecked, dangerous tensions spiraling out of control. Anyone warning of this obviously dangerous possibility was met with the “straw man” cliché: you are arguing against a position that literally nobody in D.C. is defending.  

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I grew up in a place where I was exposed to Soviet Propaganda all the time. Growing up and exposed to lies most of the time does help a person to develop a healthy skepticism on what the mainstream media and leaders says. 

But wars bring out the worse in people, and we are seeing it play-out in Russian and Ukrainian media, and in the Western press. Case in point .... Ukraine troops feared dead after cussing out invading Russians still alive, navy says (UPI). 

It is a long read. But the above post by Glenn Greenwald provides a good analysis on how the propaganda machine is being used in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Were The Experts Right That NATO Expansion Would Lead To War?

Caitlin Johnstone: Experts Warned For Years That NATO Expansion Would Lead To This 

Chris Hedges introduces his latest article for Scheer Post, titled “Chronicle of a War Foretold”, with the following: 

“After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a near universal understanding among political leaders that NATO expansion would be a foolish provocation against Russia. How naive we were to think the military-industrial complex would allow such sanity to prevail.” 

Imperial narrative managers have been falling all over themselves working to dismiss and discredit the abundantly evidenced idea that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was due largely to Moscow’s fear of NATO expansion and the refusal of Washington and Kyiv to solidify a policy that Ukraine would not be added to the alliance.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I know how these "experts feel". I have been warning for years that if the Donbas war was not resolved, it would lead to this. And now we are here.

US And Germany Continue To Allow The Purchase Of Russian Natural Gas

Zero Hedge: US, Germany Continue To Allow Gas Transactions With Russia Despite SWIFT Ban 

As Russian banks closed down both ATMs and then, later, open market trading, to avoid or contain the fallout from the Russian incursion into Ukraine, it's becoming increasingly apparent that the West doesn't have the right tools to sanction Russia - not that they could even if they did. 

The problem, as we have said many times before,boils down to Russia's control over Europe's energy supplies. But even as a growing number of Russian oligarchs release messages claiming that their sympathies lie with the Ukrainians (not that any of them have actually committed to doing anything that might undermine the war effort), Russia's position remains unassailable.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It is always about the money.

Europe And Canadian Airspace Closed To Russian Airliners. Russia Retailiates Against 36 Countries

FILE PHOTO: Aeroflot presents its first Airbus A350-900 at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow  

Reuters: Europe and Canada move to close skies to Russian planes 

(Reuters) -European nations and Canada moved on Sunday to shut their airspace to Russian aircraft, an unprecedented step aimed at pressuring President Vladimir Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine, the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two. 

Aeroflot said it would cancel all flights to European destinations after E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the European Union had decided to close its airspace to Russian traffic. 

The United States is considering similar action, but has yet to make a final decision, according to U.S. officials. 

The U.S. government said citizens should consider leaving Russia immediately on commercial flights, citing an increasing number of airlines cancelling flights as countries closed their airspace to Russia.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Russia is retaliating ..... Russia retaliates with airspace closure for 36 countries (DW).

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- February 28, 2022


Daily Mail: Huge explosions rock Kyiv hours after dozens were killed in Russian CLUSTER BOMBS attack on Kharkiv 

* Russians are now using banned cluster munitions against civilian areas, experts and activists have warned 

* Attack with Grad rockets on shopping centre in Kharkiv today killed dozens and wounded hundreds, Kyiv said 

* Campaign group Amnesty said similar bombs were used to destroy a school in Okhtyrka, leaving three dead 

* If Russia is confirmed to have used the weapons it could constitute a war crime, amid warnings that Putin is likely to start resorting to using heavier weapons to turn the tide of war Russia appears to have used banned cluster munitions to indiscriminately shell civilian areas in Ukraine's east that had stood up to Vladimir Putin's invasion in what would constitute a war crime. 

Kharkiv, which has witnessed some of the heaviest fighting of the war so far, was hit by rockets fired from Russian positions on Monday - with video showing a shopping centre in the Serpnia area blanketed by explosions. 

A military source told MailOnline that the videos showed 'cluster' munitions had been used. 'The BM-21 Grad is a multiple launch rocket system used for 'area denial', dropping cluster bombs on a concentrated area,' the expert said. 'It's mainly used on enemy troops before an offensive. Used against civilians, it's not only a war crime, but has only one purpose – to spread terror and alarm among the civilian population.'  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: On Saturday I talked to my cousin who lives in Khirkiv. He predicted that a major battle was going to occur in the center of the city. I posted our conversation and hoped he was wrong (link here). He was not. I tried to call him and my aunt who also lives outside of Kharkiv an hour ago, and I failed. It looks like communication lines are being severed. Another sign that rules of engagement by Russian forces are changing. 

Before the war my worst case scenario for a Russia - Ukraine conflict was massive death and casualties on both sides. The major cities on fire. 5 million Ukrainians fleeing the country. Economic damage for a decade (or more). Russia becoming a pariah state that only a new Russian leader will need to be in place to start to repair. A devastated Ukraine that will bleed hundreds of billions from Russia to fix and repair. 

Sighhhh .... 

All of this is now unfortunately and tragically coming into play. I would add two more points in my worst case nightmare scenario. The use of a tactical nuclear weapon by Russian military forces on a major Ukrainian base to force the Ukraine government to capitulate unconditionally, and the imposition of a Yugoslav "solution" to Ukraine by breaking it up into three different countries.  

Update: I agree .... US officials fear the worst is yet to come for Kyiv (CNN). 

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- February 28, 2022  

Ukraine conflict: Dozens killed in attack on Kharkiv, officials say -- BBC  

Russian rocket strikes kill ‘dozens’ in Kharkiv as Kyiv-Moscow talks begin -- The Guardian  

Several killed as Russian rockets pound Ukraine’s Kharkiv -- Al Jazeera  

Rockets kill civilians in Kharkiv as Moscow ‘adapts its tactics’ -- The Guardian  

Ukraine says dozens killed in indiscriminate shelling in Kharkiv -- Axios  

Ukrainian military says dozens of civilians killed in Kharkiv -- Reuters  

Ukraine: Kyiv fights back against Russian assault -- DW  

Russian saboteurs ‘are singling out Ukrainian buildings for missile strikes by painting symbols on rooftops’, Kyiv officials warn -- Daily Mail  

Ukraine talks yield no breakthrough as Russians close in -- AP  

From Kalashnikovs to blankets: residents of Dnipro equip themselves against Russian invaders -- France 24 

Putin lays out conditions as Russians shell Ukrainian city -- AFP  

Waiting, fearing, singing: A night sheltering in Ukraine -- AP  

Ukraine parades captured Russian soldiers in online videos as Moscow finally starts to admit suffering losses and pictures show bodies of Kremlin fighters -- Daily Mail  

In pictures: Ukrainians put up stiff resistance on day five of Russia's invasion -- France 24

EU Commissioner Says Russian Invasion Risks Displacing More Than 7 Million Ukrainians


DW: The European Union prepares for millions of refugees from Ukraine 

The European Union has promised that all war refugees from Ukraine will be accepted. So does that mean all of them, or just Ukrainians? 

The EU then had to clarify it also meant African students from Kyiv. "I don't know how many will come," EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson replied at the special meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels when asked what influx of refugees from Ukraine she expects. 

"I think we will have to prepare for millions." By Sunday, four days after the Russian attack began, at least 200,000 people, mostly children, women and elderly men, had entered Poland, according to the Polish Border Guard. Men considered fit for military service are currently not allowed to leave Ukraine. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is where these refugees are going .... Mapped: Where Ukrainian refugees are fleeing to (Axios) 

More News On Ukraine's Refugee Crisis  

UN: More than half a million have fled Ukraine -- DW  

500,000+ refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia waged war -- AP 

Ukrainian refugees flood Poland where warm soup and solidarity await -- France 24  

Eyewitness: Thousands of Ukrainians cross Polish border -- DW 

500,000 people have fled Ukraine conflict: UN -- Al Jazeera  

Russian invasion risks displacing more than 7 million Ukrainians, says EU crisis commissioner -- France 24  

Exodus from Ukraine: A night spent with civilians fleeing Russia's invasion -- France 24  

Fleeing Ukraine: I would ‘have done anything to keep him with me’ -- Al Jazeera  

Europe welcomes Ukrainian refugees — others, less so -- AP

Ukraine, Russia Conclude Talks As War Continues


RFE: Ukraine, Russia Conclude Talks As Fighting In Some Cities Intensifies  

Talks between a Ukrainian delegation and Russian representatives have ended at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border and negotiators have left for their respective capitals for consultation before a second round. 

Ukraine's presidential press service said the parties "discussed in detail a number of key topics on which they have prospects of finding mutually acceptable solutions," at the meeting on February 28. A second round will be held after consultations in Moscow and Kyiv, the statement said. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Another round of talks are being planned. 

 More News On Russia - Ukraine Talks  

Ukraine seeks to join EU as round of talks with Russia ends -- AP  

Russia-Ukraine live news: First round of talks concludes -- Al Jazeera  

Ukraine: Talks with Russia inconclusive as UN convenes — live updates -- DW  

Ukraine's First Round Of Talks With Russia Ends Without A Ceasefire Agreement -- Warzone/The Drive

Germany Approves Massive Increase In Defense Spending


DW: Germany commits €100 billion to defense spending 

Germany has announced a plan to prioritize military spending in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A "special fund" will be set up to better equip the Bundeswehr. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a plan to beef up the German military on Sunday, pledging €100 billion ($112.7 billion) of the 2022 budget for the armed forces and repeating his promise to reach the 2% of gross domestic product spending on defense in line with NATO demands. 

Scholz announced the new allocation in a speech during a special session of parliament on Germany's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He said the spending would include investments and armaments projects for the German military. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: I am old enough to remember when former President Trump was rebuffed by Germany a few years ago to increase their defense spending. What a difference an invasion makes.


Germany Approves Massive Increase In Defense Spending  

Germany to raise defence spending sharply in response to 'Putin's aggression' -- France 24  

Germany hikes defense spending over 2% of GDP after Russian aggression -- FOX News  

German defence shares soar after €100bn pledged for armed forces -- Financial Times 

'New era': Scholz pledges €100bn boost to German defence spending -- Euronews  

Scholz proposes 100 billion euro defense fund, vows to exceed NATO spending goal -- Defense News  

German chancellor says Russia will pay "high price" as he boosts nation's military funding -- CNN  

Germany boosts defence spending in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine -- Euractiv  

Germany to set up €100bn fund to boost its military strength -- The Guardian

Former Russian President Says Sanctions Against Us "Will Change Nothing"

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks at a meeting in Moscow, on February 22. (Yekaterina Shtukina/Sputnik/Government Pool Photo/AP)  

Daily Mail: 'We don't NEED diplomatic relations with the West': Ex-Russian president Medvedev shrugs off crippling sanctions as he suggests 'padlocking the embassies' and engaging only through 'binoculars and gun sights' 

* Vladimir Putin's all-out invasion of Ukraine has been condemned worldwide 

* EU and US slapped sanctions on banks and Kremlin cronies while major sports have pulled events and the Council of Europe suspended Russia's membership 

* Ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said Russians 'don't need diplomatic relations' 

* In social media post he suggested 'padlock the embassies' and engaging only through 'binoculars and gun sights' 

Russia doesn't really need diplomatic ties with the West anymore, ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said as he shrugged off crippling sanctions imposed on Moscow over its all-out invasion of Ukraine. 

Vladimir Putin is facing a wave of sanctions and international condemnation for the 'unprovoked and unjustified' attack which is now its in third day. 

Britain, the US and EU leaders have punished the Russian state with economic sanctions on several state-owned companies and banks and targeted members of Putin's inner circle of Kremlin cronies.  

Read more .... 

Update: Sanctions against us "will change nothing," says former Russian president (CNN)  

WNU Editor: This is what I mean when I say Russians are circling their wagons.

Update #2: Russia doesn’t plan to recall ambassadors from European countries — diplomat (TASS).

US Cuts-Off Russia's Central Bank From All US Dollar Transactions


 CNBC: Biden administration expands sanctions against Russia, cutting off U.S. transactions with central bank 

* The Biden administration announced sanctions against Russia’s central bank on Monday, a move that prohibits Americans from doing any business with the bank as well as freezes its assets within the United States. 

* The new measures will also target the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. 

* A Biden administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share Washington’s thinking, said the new sanctions will take effect immediately. 

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced additional sanctions against Russia’s central bank on Monday, a move that effectively prohibits Americans from doing any business with the bank as well as freezes its assets within the United States. 

The new measures will also target the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. A senior Biden administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share Washington’s thinking, said the new sanctions will take effect immediately.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: US cutting off Russia's central bank from US dollar transactions (CNN)  

Update #2: Rattled Putin rants about West's 'empire of lies' as worldwide sanctions reduce ruble to rubble: Desperate leader hikes interest rate to 20% sparking rush on ATMS, US cuts off Russia's central bank - and now even Switzerland slaps Kremlin with penalties (Daily Mail)  

Update #3: U.S. Treasury prohibits transactions with Russia's central bank (The Hill)  

WNU Editor: Russian stock markets are closed indefinitely. The line-ups in front of Russian banks and ATMs started early this morning. The Bank of Russia has responded, but I know it will not be enough .... Bank of Russia increases key rate by 10.5 pp to 20% (TASS). 

There will be short and long term consequences from this US action. The short term will be Russians not having access to foreign currencies, high inflation, shortages of goods. In the long term this undermines the position of the US dollar as the reserve currency of the world, and will accelerate its decline. Bottom line. When this is all over there will be no winners from this crisis.

Mapping The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine And The Territory That Has Fallen

WNU Editor: While the world's media is justifiably focused on the battles for Kyiv and Khakiv, if the above maps are accurate, Russian forces are making the most gains in the southern part of the country. It seems that the only thing that is limiting them is their supply lines.

For the past few days I have found the Financial Times (the map on the top of this post) to be the best in mapping this invasion. The link is here (link here).

Tweets On The Russia - Ukraine War

Tweets Of The Day

Pictures Of The Day

Ukrainian servicemen walk by a damaged vehicle, at the site of a fighting with Russian troops in Kyiv, Ukraine February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko  

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... In pictures: Inside the battle for Ukraine (Reuters).

Ukraine Russia War: A Live Analysis From Task & Purpose


WNU Editor: A good and unbiased review and analysis on the Russia-Ukraine war, and what to expect next. 

On a side note.

In this war the metric that I am focused on is control of territory'. After five days of war the Russian zone of control is increasing, albeit slowly and begrudgingly.

It is also important that I stay flexible and not rigid in my thinking, especially in this conflict.

Media reports from both sides are being presented to focus on their own narrative at that moment in time, truthful or not. And here is an easy prediction. This will only intensify as the war progresses.

I should know. This blog has been covering wars and conflicts for 15 years, and I have lost count on how many times I have been wrong relying on the news sources that were available. This current war is no different. The key is to present both sides even if both sides hate what you are doing, and to continue on because the news cycle is changing by the hour. 

I should also admit that covering this war is personally very difficult for me. It is very draining, and there are times where I just want to walk away and take a break from it. 

This war has split my family. I think there are ruptures that will never be repaired. And the madness is getting worse.

In my case I am getting flak from both sides. But I have a very thick skin, and I am blunt. I have always been the odd person in my family, and they all know very clearly that I am currently mad at all of them, and I hate (really hate) the madness that is consuming them and both nations right now.

Russia Will Be Joining China's SWIFT Banking Alternative

Zero Hedge: Stocks Tied To China's SWIFT Alternative Are Soaring 

As the Western world still obsesses with how Russia's expulsion from SWIFT will impact the Russian economy, commodity prices and the global funding markets, a quick note on how forward looking markets are reacting. 

While we wait for US cash markets to open (as futures reverse a modest bounce and trade at session lows), China's micromanaged "market" is already up and running in what so far appears a boring session where the SHCOMP is flat, but where shares tied to China’s Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System (CIPS) are surging after Saturday's decision by Western nations to exclude some Russian lenders from the SWIFT messaging system. Why? Because of what Bloomberg notes is growing speculation that China's CIPS could become an alternative for those banks.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: China and Russia together represent almost 20% of the world's GDP. Russia joining China's SWIFT banking platform will be a huge boost for China, and will only accelerate its global rise.

Is The World Facing A "Lehman Style Crisis" This Week?

Zero Hedge: Pozsar Warns Of Another "Lehman Weekend" As Russia Sanctions May Trigger Central Bank Liquidity Flood 

In a remarkable show of force and unity, western powers cast aside all their previous concerns about Russian energy export dominance, and uniliaterally announced the nuclear option of imposing sanctions on the Russian central bank coupled with targeted exclusions from SWIFT of key Russian banks. 


The move has sparked a bank run in Russia, as locals scramble to pull out whatever hard currency they can get their hands on before it runs out, and is certain to trigger chaotic moves in FX and commodities when markets reopen on Monday. Already some Russian banks are offering to exchange rubles for dollars at a rate of 171 rubles per dollar on Sunday, compared to the official closing price of 83 on Friday before the European/US announcement about targeting the Russian central bank. In other words we are looking at a 50%+ devaluation of the Ruble. Additionally, widespread announcements of divestments in Russian equities by the likes of BP pls and the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund mean that the Russian market will be a bloodbath on Monday.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Russia is definitely going to experience a 'Lehman moment' this week. Which is incredible in view of the fact that Russia has no government debt, huge trade surpluses, massive gold reserves, and hundreds of billions in foreign currencies. 

As for everyone else. 

I do not see a 'Lehman' moment. And while the everything bubble that the world has been living through for the past decade will continue, be warned that all good things will one day end.

White House Requests $6.4 Billion For Ukraine White House Asks Congress for $6.4 Billion for Ukraine Crisis  

Of the amount, $2.9 billion will go towards military and humanitarian aid, and $3.5 billion will go to the Pentagon  

On Friday, the White House asked Congress for $6.4 billion for military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and to help US allies in Europe to bolster their security in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. 

According to Bloomberg, $2.9 billion will go towards security and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, the Baltics, Poland, and other regional countries. The remaining $3.5 billion will go to the Pentagon “to respond to the crisis.”  

Read more .... 

Update: White House seeks $6.4B from Congress in Ukraine-related aid (The Hill) 

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. This is not going to be the last request from the White House for money because of Ukraine.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Russia To Evacuate Citizens From Europe

An Aeroflot Airbus A320 aircraft takes off at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow on June 13, 2018 © AFP / Yuri Kadobnov 

RT: Russia to evacuate citizens from Europe 

Moscow is working to bring back Russian nationals that are stuck in Europe due to flight restrictions 

The Russian government has announced it is working on a plan to evacuate its citizens from Europe, after an array of European countries closed their airspace to all Russian airlines amid Moscow’s military conflict with Kiev. 

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency and Federal Tourism Agency revealed on Sunday that they were working with the Russian Foreign Ministry to evacuate Russians from European nations as they continue to impose sanctions on Russia, cutting off Russian aircraft from their air-spaces. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It is going to be tough. Most airlines have already suspended their flights to Russia. It looks like if you want to get back to Russia, it will have to be via the land routes.

First Russian Bank About to Fail

Sberbank Europe AG has "experienced significant deposit outflows as a result of the reputational impact of geopolitical tensions", the ECB said Michal Cizek AFP  

France 24: European subsidiary of Russia's Sberbank 'failing or likely to fail': ECB 

Frankfurt (AFP) – The European subsidiary of Russia's state-owned Sberbank is facing bankruptcy, the European Central Bank said Monday, in the wake of sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. 

Sberbank Europe AG, headquartered in Austria and with branches in Croatia and Slovenia, has "experienced significant deposit outflows as a result of the reputational impact of geopolitical tensions", the ECB said. 

"The European Central Bank (ECB) has assessed that Sberbank Europe AG and its two subsidiaries in the banking union, Sberbank d.d. in Croatia and Sberbank banka d.d. in Slovenia, are failing or likely to fail owing to a deterioration of their liquidity situation," the ECB said in a statement. 

"The bank is likely to be unable to pay its debts or other liabilities as they fall due," it added. 

Read more ....  

Update: Live updates: ECB says Russia bank subsidiary likely to fail (AP)  

WNU Editor: I am trying to find out what exposure do Western banks have in Russia. From what I have found so far, it is a lot. There is going to be shock-waves in the world's banking system this week, but by how much is anyone's guess.

On a side note. With what is happening right now, the US Federal Reserve is probably not going to raise interest rates. 

On another side note. I always buy a small amount of Canadian gold and silver at the end of the month via through my TD account. I like TD because their prices are always the cheapest. Not tonight .... for the first time ever .... the TD Bank is sold out of its supply of Canadian gold and silver.

American Embassy In Moscow Warns All Americans To Leave Russia Immediately


The Hill: US urges citizens in Russia to consider leaving 'immediately' 

The U.S. is urging citizens in Russia to consider leaving the country “immediately” amid Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. 

The security alert comes as more countries are closing their airspace to Russian airlines, including Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania, according to Reuters.

“An increasing number of airlines are cancelling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines,” the U.S. Embassy in Russia wrote in a security alert on Sunday. “U.S. citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available,” the embassy added.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: All international travel is on the verge of being shut-down in Russia. Now is the time to get out, and out now.

 American Embassy In Moscow Warns All Americans To Leave Russia Immediately

U.S. embassy urges Americans in Russia to consider leaving “immediately” -- Axios  

US embassy warns Americans in Russia should consider leaving "immediately" -- CNN  

U.S. Asks Americans in Russia to 'Consider' Leaving Now -- Moscow Times/AFP  

U.S. urges its citizens to consider leaving Russia immediately -- Reuters

Russian State Media Confirms President Putin Ordered A 'Special Service Regime' For The Country's Nuclear Forces

Russian President Putin with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov  

TASS: Putin orders "special service regime" in Russia’s deterrence force 

Russian President stressed that the Western countries were also taking unfriendly actions against Russia in the economic sphere 

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. In response to aggressive statements in the West Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued orders to introduce what he described as a "special service regime" in the Russian army’s deterrence force. 

"Top officials in NATO’s leading countries have been making aggressive statements against our country. For this reason, I give orders to the defense minister and chief of the General Staff to introduce a special combat duty regime in the Russian army’s deference forces," Putin said at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov in the Kremlin on Sunday.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Bottom line. All Russian nuclear forces are now at the highest level of alert.

On a side note. Tried to get confirmation of this news from the Kremlin's web site, but it is still down.

Has Russia Just Severed All Commmunications With The U.S.?

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley met with Chief of Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Wednesday, Sept. 22 in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo: Department of Defense)  

Politico: Pentagon wants Moscow back channels to prevent nuclear escalation 

As the U.S. and NATO rush weapons into Ukraine, DoD officials want more military channels to Putin’s top leaders. But Russia’s not picking up the phone. 

When Gen. Mark Milley emerged from six hours of tense talks with his Russian counterpart in Helsinki last September, the Joint Chiefs chair looked almost buoyant. Or at least as chipper as the gruff soldier of more than 40 years ever gets in public. “When military leaders of great powers communicate, the world is a safer place,” Milley said, striking an optimistic tone. 

Now, just five months later, with Russian military forces pummeling Ukraine from the air, land and sea, Milley’s paean to a common understanding with Moscow is virtually dead. 

But his relationship with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces, is at the center of a highly sensitive behind-the-scenes effort to prevent the biggest war in Europe in generations from spinning into a wider conflict. It’s a situation that became more urgent on Sunday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his nuclear forces on high alert after a series of what he called “aggressive statements” by NATO powers. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I speculated in the previous post on whether there were any lines of communications between the U.S. and Russia. Now we know there are none. Russia does not want to talk.

When you refuse to talk to the other side, it means that you have already made a decision and you do not want to convey in any way any information to the other side. 

This is bad. Really bad.

U.S. Officials Respond To Putin Putting Russia's Nuclear Forces On High Alert


Daily Mail: U.S. blasts Putin's nuclear order as 'unacceptable' and says war crimes tribunal isn't off the table after Ukraine accuses Russia of genocide and demands its president be tried at The Hague 

* US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said 'everything is on the table as we move forward' when asked about Putin standing trial 

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Putin of 'genocide' and also called for him to face the International Court of Justice on Sunday 

* Putin indicated the same day that his troops should be ready for nuclear war 

* House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said Putin likely saw himself 'painted into a corner' when he made the order or otherwise could be 'unstable' 

The United States on Sunday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to put his nuclear forces on high alert as dangerous and 'unacceptable.' 

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield also said nothing was 'off the table' when asked about the possibility of Putin being tried in international court as a war criminal. 

In issuing his order to prepare Russia's nuclear weapons for increased readiness for launch, Putin cited 'aggressive statements' from NATO allies and widespread sanctions imposed by Western nations. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I cannot believe what I saw and heard this evening. The U.S. administration is either oblivious to what is happening in Russia right now with these Russian nuclear warnings and threats. Or they are just giving a public show while keeping their real concerns and fears on what is happening in Europe inside. I think some of them know what is happening, and I sense a lot of alarm bells are starting to ring in Washington. 

 I told a friend this evening on what a difference a generation makes. When the U.S. and the Soviet Union had their nuclear forces at high alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis, everyone at the time understood how dangerous the situation was, and thankfully the leaders at the time went to great lengths to de-escalate the crisis. But in my opinion I would say that the current situation is even worse than what happened during the Cuban Crisis. 

The U.S. and NATO have now declared unrestricted economic war against Russia with their sanctions while making it very clear that their goal is to destroy the Russian economy and nation for starting the Ukraine war. On top of that they are intervening in the war by openly providing weapons to Ukraine, while deploying tens of thousands of special forces and other military personnel to the Russian border. 

The impact on Russia from these measures are going to be seen tomorrow and in the coming weeks.

Russia  will be calling in most (if not all) of its reservists, and prepare the entire country to be on a semi-war to war footing. I know people in Russia are already stocking up their preps, expecting the worse.

Russian banks are going to fail, and I predict that in the coming days there is going to be a lot of anger in Russia directed at the West because of that. While many in the West are musing that the Russian people will blame Putin for this disaster (and I am one of them) , I know most will not. The Russians circle their wagons when threatened by outsiders, and they circling them now. 

So what is next? 

Russia has a long history where if their houses are burned down by their enemies, they will make sure that the houses of their enemies get burned down also. And I see a lot of matches being lit right now.

This escalation has to stop, but a part of me wonders if that is even possible right now. 

There is also a part of me that wonders if there are any .... and I mean any .... lines of communication between Moscow or any Western capital right now. From what I am seeing I will have to say no.

U.S. Officials Respond To Putin Putting Russia's Nuclear Forces On High Alert  

U.S. blasts Putin nuclear order as 'unacceptable,' considers further sanctions -- Reuters  

Putin's nuclear alert part of 'pattern' of 'manufacturing threats': Psaki -- ABC News  

White House responds to Russia's decision to put deterrence forces on high alert -- CNN  

US condemns Putin nuclear deterrence order but cautiously welcomes talks report -- The Guardian  

U.S. ambassador to U.N. says Putin's order to put nuclear forces on alert "totally unacceptable" -- CBS News 

US ambassador not surprised by Putin's threat of nuclear deterrence -- The Hill

Russian Military Forces Have Surrounded The Strategic Ukrainian Port Of Mariupol

Warzone/The Drive: Strategic Ukrainian Port Of Mariupol Now Surrounded By Russian Forces  

Meanwhile, Putin says Russian nuclear forces will be on a “special regime of duty” in response to NATOs reaction over Ukraine invasion. 

 Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered "strategic deterrent forces," that is to say elements of his country's nuclear deterrent arsenal, on a heightened state of alertness in response to how NATO has reacted to his war on Ukraine. 

This comes amid continued signs that Russian military advances have slowed and as significant portions of the international community take increasing steps to isolate Russia politically and economically. 

What follows is our latest updates on this conflict, which we will continue to add to until otherwise stated as part of ongoing rolling coverage.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: ‘Not going to leave’: Ukrainians in Mariupol await Russian attack (Al Jazeera)  

Update #2: Russian forces are about 31 miles outside southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, US defense official says (CNN)  

WNU Editor: When Mariupol falls the Russian military will have their "land bridge" from the Donbas to Crimea.

Satellite Images Show Severe Damage To Ukrainian Airbases

Chuhuiv Airbase pictured after reportedly being hit by Russian missiles.Planet Labs  

Business Insider: Satellite images show severe damage to Ukrainian airbases after they were reportedly struck by missiles 

* Satellite imagery appears to show Ukrainian airbases struck by Russian missiles Thursday. 

* Before and after images were captured on February 21 and February 24, showing apparent destruction. 

* US firm Planet captured shots of smoke billowing upward from Mykolaiv Airbase and Chuhuiv Airbase. 

Satellite images show destruction at Ukraine airbases after Russian forces attacked the country in an unprovoked invasion. 

US company Planet released the photos via Twitter and its website showing damage to two airbases in Ukraine, including Mykolaiv Airbase and the Chuhuiv Airbase. 

Planet says it provides daily satellite data that helps businesses, governments, and journalists understand the physical world and take action.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Satellite photos reveal details of Russian invasion into Ukraine (  

Update #2: Exclusive: Satellite images of major airports, port, air force base display some changes (Global Times)  

WNU Editor: Planet's website is here.

Satellite Images Show Massive Three Mile-Long Russian Military Convoy Heading Towards Kyiv

A satellite image made available by Maxar Technologies shows a large convoy of Russian ground forces in convoy near Ivankiv, Ukraine, today  

Daily Mail: Putin throws MORE ground forces at Kyiv: Satellite images show THREE mile-long convoy heading towards capital after failing to take the city, as its mayor Klitschko warns 'we are at the border of a humanitarian catastrophe' 

* Satellite images show a large deployment of Russian troops heading to Kyiv 

* The convoy of hundreds of military vehicles extends for more than 3.25 miles 

* Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko says people cannot evacuate as all roads are blocked 

* Volunteers, among them a former Miss Ukraine, have taken up arms in defence 

Satellite imagery taken today showed a large deployment of Russian ground troops moving in the direction of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv from approximately 40 miles (64 km) away, a private U.S. company said. 

The images released by Maxar Technologies showed a deployment comprised of hundreds of military vehicles and extending more than 3.25 miles (5 km). 

The images released by Maxar - which has been tracking the buildup of Russian forces for weeks - could not be independently verified.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This massive convoy showing up like this for the entire world to see tells me that after three to four days of operations the Russian military is no longer concerned about Ukraine's air-force, nor its artillery. 

 Satellite Images Show Massive Three Mile-Long Russian Military Convoy Heading Towards Kyiv  

Russian convoy of ground forces, tanks moving toward Kyiv, Maxar says -- Reuters  

Russian military convoy traveling toward Kyiv, satellite images show --  

Russian convoy of ground forces, tanks reportedly moving toward Kyiv -- YNet News  

Massive Convoy Of Hundreds Of Russian Military Vehicles Stretching For Miles Spotted Heading To Kyiv -- Daily Wire 

Satellite images: Large Russian convoy moving toward Kyiv -- Axios

Russia - Ukraine War Maps: Current Position And Status Of Russian Military Forces In Ukraine

WNU Editor: The map on top is from the Financial Times and it is the most recent. The rest are showing military positions from yesterday. The two maps below (Kyiv and Karkiv) shows the positions of Russian forces since yesterday.

Editor's Note

I am helping organize relief efforts for Ukrainian refugees. Meeting the CEO of a large pharmaceutical chain in Quebec within the hour. They have committed to send a lot of vital meds to help the thousands of refugees who are now pouring into Poland and Hungary. They just want to know who to send it to, how will certain meds be maintained (insulin, etc.), and how will it be distributed. 

I have a representative from the Ukrainian embassy in my home right now having coffee with my 95 year old mom who is going to be with me in this meeting. When I l called the embassy early this morning telling them the situation and that I needed help, without even knowing me they sent someone right away who knows what needs to be done. He looks exhausted but he is overwhelmed with the help that ordinary Canadians are giving.

Needless to say I am going to be busy this afternoon, and blogging will return later today.

Russian Troops Enter Ukraine's Second-Biggest City Kharkiv


Business Insider: 1.4 million civilians in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, have been told to take shelter as Russian troops begin siege 

* Russian forces invaded Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, overnight. 

* The city's governor urged its 1.4 million residents to remain indoors. 

* Russian troops blew up a natural gas pipeline, and one residential building. 

The 1.4 million residents in Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, have been urged to shelter indoors after government officials said Russian troops had arrived. 

In a statement on Sunday morning, Kharkiv's governor Oleg Sinegubov told people not to leave their homes after a "breakthrough of light equipment of the Russian enemy" reached the central part of the city. 

A video verified by Sky News shows tanks driving into the city, which is located just 20 miles south of the Russian border. Russian troops blew up a nine-story residential block overnight, killing one elderly woman, the BBC reported, citing emergency services.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: My aunt and her family lives in Kharkiv. I talked to her last night and with her son (my cousin) for the first time since the war started, and they gave me a lot of insight from what they saw in the past few days. 

My aunt lives on the outskirts of Kharkiv, and she told me that Russian soldiers passed through her district yesterday morning unopposed. That does not surprise me. Where she lives is dominated by Russian-Ukrainians. I was there many times before 2014, and much of the regions outside of Kharkiv are made up of Russian-Ukrainians who I predict will try their best to stay neutral. 

Her son's home and business is near the city center, and he decided for the safety of his family to get out on Friday. He told me that this is where Ukrainian forces are dug in (at least from what he saw on Friday). He expects heavy fighting in the center of the city, but his impression from what he has seen so far and what his friends are saying is that Russian forces are taking great pains not to engage with Ukrainian forces that are dug in among districts that are heavily populated or predominantly made up of Russian-Ukrainians. That when there is a fire-fight, they quickly withdraw. If this is true this is big news, this rule of engagement by Russian forces to minimize civilian casualties is a good thing, but it will prolong the war. There are many parts of Ukraine made up of communities like Kharkiv.

I also talked to a cousin who is sheltering in my father's home town 70km south of Kyiv. She has an interesting history. She was one of the first in Ukraine's business community to support Zelensky when he ran for office, hoping that he would bring peace to the country. And when that did not work, she still supported him because to her the alternative Ukrainian political parties were too corrupt and incompetent (on that I agree with her). Her tireless work to make Ukraine a better and prosperous country is something that I deeply respect, and Ukraine will need people like her when this war is finally over. She like everyone else in Ukraine did not expect this invasion, and she is (to put it mildly) still in shock.

When I asked her on what was the military situation where she is located, she told me that Russian forces have been present since Friday night. They tried to take over an airport, but Ukrainian forces were present and the engagement was short. She thinks these Ukrainian forces are still there, but she is always seeing Russian forces with their country's flag traveling back and forth on a highway not far from where she is located. She thinks this Russian military presence is a unit that advanced too far, and are waiting for reinforcements. She has seen no Ukrainian forces. Where she lives is 90% Ukrainian, and as such it will be a place that will not be hospitable to a Russian military presence. She thinks this war is going to go on for a few months, and she fears that the center of Kyiv is going to be destroyed. She likes to believe that what she is seeing on Ukraine media is true, but she is skeptical. We were also both surprised that we could talk on the phone. Russia has clearly made the decision to not cut-off communications, electricity, and other key infrastructure. But who knows how long that will last. 

 Russian Troops Enter Ukraine's Second-Biggest City Kharkiv

Kharkiv governor claims Russian troops repelled from city -- The Guardian  

Ukrainians fend off Russian invasion in Kharkiv, Kyiv -- UPI  

Russian troops enter Ukraine's second city of Kharkiv and fierce fighting breaks out after Putin was said to be 'raging' at stalled invasion: Ukrainians obliterate Chechen special forces column of 56 tanks outside Kyiv and kills top general -- Daily Mail 

Russian troops enter Ukraine's Kharkiv -Ukrainian official -- Reuters  

Ukraine accuses Russia of 'war crimes' targeting civilians as fighting enters Kharkiv -- CNN