Wednesday, November 30, 2022

EU Warns Elon Musk That Twitter Faces Ban Over Content Moderation


Politico: Europe tells Musk he’s top of their watch list 

Twitter’s decision to let COVID-19 misinformation run wild frustrates Brussels and Paris. 

Twitter’s decision to stop enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy has put another bullseye on Elon Musk's back. 

“In my view, Twitter now is jumping to the front of the queue of the regulators,” Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, told POLITICO. 

“Mr. Musk seems to want to attract a lot of attention,” she added when asked about the Commission’s stance on Twitter’s decision not to remove falsehoods related to the ongoing global pandemic. “I think he succeeded in attracting the attention of the regulators, also with a recent decision not to assess COVID-related disinformation.”  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Wow!!! The EU is very nervous on having a free-speech platform available for its citizens. 

EU Warns Elon Musk That Twitter Faces Ban Over Content Moderation 

EU warns Musk that Twitter faces ban over content moderation -FT -- Reuters  

EU warns Musk to beef up Twitter controls ahead of new rules -- AP  

EU raises prospect of big fine or ban if Twitter fails to follow new legislation -- The Guardian

Twitter must comply with Europe’s platform rules, EU digital chief warns Musk in virtual meeting -- CNN  

Elon Musk warned by European Union that Twitter could be banned unless he sticks to bloc's digital rules -- SKY News  

EU Threatens to Ban Twitter If Musk Disregards Content-Moderation Rules -- National Review

Elon Musk Admits Twitter 'Has Interfered In Elections'

FOX News: Elon Musk says Twitter 'has interfered in elections' 

Twitter CEO Musk promises, 'Twitter 2.0 will be far more effective, transparent and even-handed' 

Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday acknowledged that prior to his takeover, the "obvious reality" was that Twitter "has interfered in elections" through its content moderation policies. 

Musk's explosive assertion came in response to comments made by Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of trust and safety, who indicated the social media platform was not safer under the Tesla CEO's leadership. Roth was speaking at a Knight Foundation conference on Tuesday when he explained why he resigned from Twitter, accusing Musk of running the company like a dictator.   

Read more ....  

Update: Musk: Twitter Has "Interfered In Elections" (Zero Hedge)  

WNU Editor: This is a huge story. Not surprised that the main stream media is not covering/reporting (yet) on this story.

ISIS Announces The Death Of Its Leader

ISIS's previous leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi (pictured left), was killed earlier this year after taking over from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (right)   

Daily Mail: ISIS reveals its most recent leader has been killed 'in combat with enemies of God' 

* Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi has only been leader of ISIS since March 

* He was killed in combat and his replacement has already been named 

* ISIS has been defeated in Iraq and Syria but sleeper cells still carry out attacks  

The leader of ISIS has been killed in battle just eight months after he was named as caliph of the Islamist terror group.  

Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, from Iraq, was killed 'in combat with enemies of God' and a replacement has already been announced. 

Speaking in an audio message, the spokesman identified the group's new leader as Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi.  

Read more .... 

ISIS Announces The Death Of Its Leader 

IS announces leader's death and names replacement -- BBC  

US military confirms that another ISIS leader has been killed in Syria, revealing that he was taken out in a raid by local forces -- Insider 

Islamic State Group Announces Death Of Leader -- AFP  

IS says leader Abu al-Hassan al-Qurayshi killed in battle -- AP  

Islamic State leader killed in Free Syrian Army operation in mid-October- U.S. -- Reuters  

ISIS leader killed in battle, terrorist group says -- FOX News  

ISIS acknowledges the death of its leader, announces his successor -- CNN

Are U.S. Pundits On The Russia - Ukraine War Changing Their Narrative On The Progress Of The War?


Express: Putin trying to 'pummel Ukrainian people into demanding a ceasefire' for sanction relief 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of trying to pummel Ukrainians into demanding a ceasefire by retired military General Wesley Clark. 

Retired military General Wesley Clark estimated that Russia could only keep on battling with this level of intensity in Ukraine for around seven weeks or a little longer. 

The retired US army officer explained that Russia was struggling to produce their own modern missiles, so were taking nuclear warheads off some of their missiles in order to use them. 

He also told John Berman that Putin was trying to get the Ukrainian people to call for a ceasefire in order for him to get relief from Western-imposed sanctions and so that he can rebuild his military in order to try and finish taking over Ukraine.  

Read more ....  

Update: Ukraine holding on amid Donbas 'meat grinder' as Putin turns Bakhmut into 'killing field' (Express)  

WNU Editor: It was only two months ago that retired General Wesley Clark was saying the Russian military was facing defeat, the momentum was on the side of Ukraine, and that dissent was growing in Russia that was jeopardizing Putin's hold on power(link here). 

And now he is telling a different narrative. An acknowledgement that Bakhmut is a killing ground for Ukrainian forces, Ukrainian forces are facing logistical problems (due to their being no electricity to run their trains), and that Russia has the capability to launch missiles and artillery strikes for weeks. No mention from retired General Clark on Putin being removed from power as he was hinting two months ago. 

But the retired General has to give some hope. So he says this is an opportunity for Ukraine to push and take Crimea, while ignoring the inconvenient fact that much of the original Ukraine army has been destroyed while Russia's military mobilization has now resulted with almost 700,000 soldiers being deployed to (and around) Ukraine. 

Retired military General Wesley Clark is not the only pundit that has changed his narrative on the course of the war. Almost every other military pundit that I have seen in the US, Canada, and the UK are now reporting on the war in a different manner. 

I think they see what I see. 

A massive deployment of Russian forces, facing a Ukrainian army that has been significantly degraded after 9 months of fighting. It should also be mentioned that Russian forces now outnumber Ukrainian forces in the field. This is a first for Russia since the start of this war, and an ominous indication on what is coming.

German Gas Giant Uniper Seeks Billions Of Euros In Compensation From Russia's Gazprom

Reuters: Uniper seeks billions of euros in compensation from Gazprom 

DUESSELDORF — German utility Uniper has launched an arbitration process in the hope of securing billions of euros in compensation from Russia’s Gazprom over undelivered gas volumes, Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach said on Wednesday. 

Gazprom’s export arm denied it was in breach of contract regarding gas supplies to Uniper and said it did not accept the legality of the company’s claims. 

Uniper, which is in the process of being nationalized in a state bailout to survive the energy crisis triggered by the Ukraine war, puts the cost of replacing Russian gas at around 11.6 billion euros ($12.02 billion) to date.  

Read more ....  

Update: German gas giant takes Gazprom to court over supply halts (AFP)  

WNU Editor: Germany has nationalized Gazprom's assets worth billions without compensation. And now Germany's gas giant Uniper is suing Russia's Gazprom for failure to deliver gas because because they do not want gas delivered through the Nord Stream 2 lone pipeline that was not destroyed in an attack over two months ago. 

There is some stuff that you just cannot make up. 

Not Surprising. Gazprom has told Uniper to take a hike .... Gazprom rejects Uniper's claims for billions in compensation over undelivered gas (Reuters).

Russia - Ukraine War: Military Summary And Analysis For 30.11.2022 (Video)


WNU Editor: Another must watch analysis from the Military Channel on the Russia - Ukraine war.

Russia - Ukraine War Maps -- November 30, 2022 (Click on Images to Enlarge)

Tweets On The Russia - Ukraine War

Tweets Of The Day

Fighting In East Ukraine Has Descended Into Trench Warfare

A member of the 68th Independent Jager Brigade of the Ukrainian Army moves positions in order to scan the horizon for Russian military from his position in the trenches near the frontline in the Southern Donbas region in Ukraine, November 29, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis  

The Guardian: Fighting in east Ukraine descends into trench warfare as Russia seeks breakthrough 

The town of Bakhmut has been mostly abandoned as relentless shelling reduced buildings to rubble 

Fighting around the key eastern Ukraine town of Bakhmut has descended into a bloody morass with hundreds of dead and injured reported daily, as neither Russian or Ukrainian forces were able to make a significant breakthrough after months of fighting. 

As Russia moved fresh formations to the area in recent weeks, including reinforcements previously in the Kherson region, the fighting in the Bakhmut sector has descended into trench warfare reminiscent of the first world war.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Ukraine is denying reports that the town of Bakhmut is surrounded by Russian forces. My Russian sources say that in the past week a number of towns around Bakkhmut have been seized by their forces. I do not know who is right, but I do know that the worst fighting of this war is now happening in this part of the Donbas. 

Fighting In East Ukraine Has Descended Into Trench Warfare  

Trenches, mud and death: One Ukrainian battlefield looks like something out of World War I -- CNBC  

Ukrainian soldiers face a new adversary: muddy trenches -- Reuters  

Ukraine locked in trench warfare as Russian push for Bakhmut continues -- NYPost  

Ukraine Situation Report: The Bloody Battle For Bakhmut -- Warzone/The Drive  

Continuous assaults, water-logged trenches, and cold: How Ukraine is holding the line in Bakhmut -- The New Voice of Ukraine

Pope Francis Labels Russia's Minority Ethnic Soldiers As Some Of The 'Cruelest' Troops Fighting In Ukraine

Pope Francis appeared to suggest that non-Christian members of the Russian Armed Forces showed more cruelty than soldiers “of the Russian tradition.” ANSA via ZUMA Press / TASS  

CNN: Pope Francis calls Chechens and Buryats ‘the cruelest’ Russian troops fighting in Ukraine 

Pope Francis has described two of Russia’s ethnic minority groups, the Chechens and Buryats, as some of the “cruelest” troops fighting in Ukraine. 

The pontiff was speaking in an interview with a Jesuit magazine, America, which was published on Monday but took place on November 22, according to the outlet. 

“The cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on,” he said. 

“I speak of a people who are martyred. If you have a martyred people, you have someone who martyrs them.”  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Pope Francis is referring to two of Russia’s ethnic minority groups, the Chechens and Buryats. 

The Chechen leader has responded .... Chechen Leader Says Pope ‘Fell Victim to Propaganda' (Moscow Times/AFP). 

Pope Francis Labels Russia's Minority Ethnic Soldiers As Some Of The 'Cruelest' Troops Fighting In Ukraine  

Ukraine war: Russia hits out as Pope labels minority ethnic soldiers 'cruel' -- BBC  

‘Racist’ interview with Pope Francis causes fury in Russia -- The Guardian  

Russian Officials Slam Pope for Singling Out ‘Cruelest’ Minorities on Ukraine Frontlines -- Moscow Times  

Moscow Blasts Pope Over 'Cruel' Russian Minorities Jab -- AFP

Bombing Kills Scores Of Students At A Religious School In Northern Afghanistan

FOX News: Students killed in explosion at Afghanistan religious school, Taliban blame ISIS for 'unforgivable crime' 

The attack occurred at 12:45 p.m., around the time of afternoon prayers An explosion in northern Afghanistan killed 15 people at a religious school in an alleged attack that the Taliban have labeled as an "unforgivable crime."  

 "This is the handiwork of the enemies of the people of Afghanistan who target innocent people and children," Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban's permanent representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, told Fox News Digital. 

"No doubt, their true nature is revealed to the world and to the Afghan people through their gruesome and horrendous acts."  

Read more ....

 Bombing Kills Scores Of Students At A Religious School In Northern Afghanistan  

At least 19 killed, 24 wounded in north Afghanistan blast -- AFP 

Students killed as bomb blast hits Afghan school -- BBC  

Bombing Kills 15 Students at Religious School in Northern Afghanistan -- VOA  

Students among 15 killed in Afghan school explosion -- Al Jazeera 

Taliban: 10 killed in bombing of Afghan religious school -- AP

Letter Bomb Explodes At Ukraine's Embassy In Madrid

CNN: Explosion at Ukraine embassy in Madrid injures one person, officials say  

An explosion occurred Wednesday at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid, injuring one Ukrainian employee who was handling a letter addressed to the country’s ambassador to Spain, officials said. 

The individual was slightly injured and is being treated at hospital, while police are investigating, Spain’s foreign ministry said.

It later added that Kyiv’s ambassador to Spain, Serhil Pohoreltsev, was the intended recipient of the envelope. Ukraine has ramped up security at all of its embassies in response. 

 Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesperson for Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, said the life of the injured employee “is not at risk,” and descsribed the staffer’s position as “commandant.”  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. Before an investigation even starts, everyone is going to blame Russia.

Letter Bomb Explodes At Ukraine's Embassy In Madrid 

Ukraine embassy employee in Madrid 'lightly' injured by letter bomb -- AFP  

Letter bomb injures one at Ukraine's Madrid embassy, Kyiv ramps up security -- Reuters 

Letter bomb explodes at Ukrainian embassy in Madrid -- Politico  

Man injured in explosion at Ukraine embassy in Madrid -- The Guardian 

Parcel explosion at Ukrainian embassy in Madrid injures employee -- UPI  

Ukraine embassy explosion: Employee injured in Madrid after 'envelope detonated,' official says -- FOX News

Half Of The World's Democracies Are In Decline


France 24: Half of world's democracies in decline: report 

Half the world's democratic countries are experiencing an erosion of democracy, intensified by war in Ukraine and economic crisis, an international think tank said in a report on Wednesday. 

"We're seeing extraordinarily severe headwinds for democracy now, intensified by the political fallout from the economic crisis that started with the pandemic and the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine", International IDEA secretary-general Kevin Casas-Zamora told AFP. 

"It might be that the credibility of elections is challenged. It might be that the rule of law is under assault. It might be that civic space is being constrained", he explained. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The report is here .... Global Democracy Weakens in 2022 (IDEA). 

Half Of The World's Democracies Are In Decline  

Report: Authoritarianism on the rise as democracy weakens -- AP  

More countries are moving towards authoritarianism - report -- Euronews  

International democracies are weakening as authoritarianisms deepen their shortcomings. -- News 360  

Half of world's democracies are currently in decline, claims report -- WION

South Korea Scrambles Fighter Jets When Chinese And Russia Warplanes Eenter Their Air Defense Zone

A Russian TU-95 bomber and Chinese H-6 bombers fly over East China Sea on Tuesday, May 24. (Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/Handout/Reuters)  

FOX News: South Korea scrambles jets as China, Russia warplanes enter air defense zone  

South Korea scrambles F-15k jets after Chinese and Russian warplanes cross its air defense identification zone 

South Korea’s military scrambled its jets after two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered its air defense identification zone (KADIZ) without warning early Wednesday morning.  

Two Chinese H-6 bombers first crossed the air defense zone shortly before 5:50 am and proceeded to repeatedly fly over the KADIZ boundaries off of South Korea’s southern and northeast coasts the Joint Chief of Staff said, according to Seoul based news outlet Yonhap. 

After leaving South Korea’s KADIZ around 7 a.m., the two Chinese bombers returned some five hours later with Russian warplanes, including 4 TU-95 bombers and 2 SU-35 fighters, and flew over Seoul’s air defense identification zone through the Sea of Japan around 12:20 p.m. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Another sign on how close the Russian and Chinese military are working together. 

South Korea Scrambles Fighter Jets When Chinese And Russia Warplanes Eenter Their Air Defense Zone

South Korea scrambles jets after Chinese, Russian warplanes enter air defense zone -- AFP 

Chinese, Russian planes enter South Korean air defense zone -- DW  

South Korea scrambles jets as Chinese AND Russian warplanes enter its air defence zone -- Daily Mail 

South Korea scrambles jets after Russia, China warplane flyover -- NYpost  

South Korea scrambles jets as China, Russia warplanes enter air defense zone -- FOX News  

South Korea deploys military aircraft due to Chinese and Russian planes entering its air defense zone -- News 360

South Korea scrambles jets as Russian, Chinese warplanes enter air defense zone -- UPI  

Russian, Chinese bombers fly joint patrols over Pacific -- AP

NATO Members Discuss China's Growing Military And The Threat That It Poses To Taiwan


Reuters: NATO Concerned About China's 'Opaque' Military Buildup -Blinken 

BUCHAREST (Reuters) -NATO allies are concerned about China's rapid and opaque military buildup and its cooperation with Russia, and discussed concrete ways to address the challenges posed by Beijing on Wednesday, said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

"The members of our alliance remain concerned by the PRC's (People's Republic of China) coercive policies, by its use of disinformation, by its rapid, opaque military buildup, including its cooperation with Russia," Blinken told a news conference after a two-day meeting of foreign ministers from the Western defense alliance.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: China has made its views on NATO well known .... China’s Foreign Ministry blasts NATO for setting up ‘gang’ rules, meddling in others’ affairs (Global times). 

NATO Members Discuss China's Growing Military And The Threat That It Poses To Taiwan  

NATO Allies Warn on China With Eye on Beijing's Ties to Putin -- Bloomberg  

Nato debates measures to confront 'challenge' from China -- Financial Times  

NATO Held First Dedicated Talks On China's Threat To Taiwan, Discussed 'Euro-Atlantic Security' -- Benzinga  

Nato Holds First Dedicated Talks on China Threat to Taiwan - FT -- Reuters  

U.S. agenda with NATO member states: A new "strategic concept" -- B92

NATO Foreign Ministers Meet To Reinforce Its Eastern Flank And To Provide aid To Ukraine

DW: NATO alliance works to reinforce its eastern flank 

Meeting in Bucharest this week, NATO foreign ministers are set to discuss more aid for Ukraine, plans to deter Russia on the military alliance's eastern flank and a number of practical issues. Bernd Riegert reports. 

It's no coincidence that Romania is where the foreign ministers of the 30 NATO countries are meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. They are there at the invitation of Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu to show support for the countries on NATO's eastern flank and in the Black Sea region. The area has become the new focus of NATO activity since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on February 24.  

Read more ....  

Update: NATO seeks to shore up Russia's neighbours as Moscow attacks Ukraine on multiple fronts (Reuters)  

WNU Editor: NATO is pledging more assistance to Ukraine .... Ukraine war: Nato pledges to provide more weapons and fix power grid (BBC).

USS Momsen (DDG-92) & USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) Almost Collided In San Diego Bay (Video)


Military Times: Two Navy ships just got too close for comfort in San Diego Bay 

The Navy is investigating what led to two service ships nearly colliding Tuesday in San Diego Bay. 

The purported close call involved the guided-missile destroyer Momsen and the dock landing ship Harpers Ferry. 

Officials did not confirm precisely what time the incident occurred Tuesday, but a video of the encounter was posted to Twitter at about 10:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time by the @SanDiegoWebCam account.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Someone is going to have to answer some questions.

US, South Korea Plan To Expand ‘Silent Shark’ Anti-Submarine Drills In 2023

FILE PHOTO: The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and two guided-missile destroyers conduct joint anti-submarine drills in waters east of the Korean Peninsula, September 30, 2022. (Credit: US Navy / MC 3rd Class Daniel G. Providakes)  

The Defense Post: S. Korea, US to Expand Anti-Submarine Drills Amid North Korea Tension 

South Korean and American naval forces have discussed expanding their biennial anti-submarine warfare naval exercise amid North Korea’s growing missile threats, a US Navy official told The Korea Times. 

The planned expansion of the Silent Shark joint maritime exercise is a response to Pyongyang’s evolving submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology. 

In October, North Korea disclosed it “successfully” test-fired a KN-23 SLBM from a reservoir’s underwater launch site.  

According to the unnamed navy officer, the 2023 drill is expected to be well-attended, training participants in simulated settings involving Korean diesel-powered submarines and American nuclear-powered vessels.   

Read more ....  

Update: US, South Korea Plan to Expand ‘Silent Shark’ Drills (Libertarian  

WNU Editor: These drills are justified. North Korea has a large submarine fleet .... North Korea Submarine Capabilities (NTI).

Picture Of The Day

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters / Wednesday, November 30, 2022  

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Top Photos of the Day (Reuters).

Central Africa Says Mysterious Aircraft Dropped Bombs Near A Base Used By Russia's Wagner Group Fighters

The President of the Central African Republic (CAR), Faustin-Archange Touadera - Gehad Hamdy/dpa © Provided by News 360 

Insider: Mysterious aircraft dropped bombs near a base for Russia's Wagner Group mercenaries fighting in Central African Republic 

* An unknown aircraft dropped bombs near a Wagner Group base in the Central African Republic. 

* It was unclear who targeted the Russia-linked mercenary group, which has fighters there. 

* Wagner personnel have been deployed to numerous battlefields, including in Ukraine.  

A mysterious aircraft that flew from an unknown destination dropped bombs this week near a base housing Russia-linked Wagner Group mercenaries in the Central African Republic, who responded with bursts of weapons fire that scared local residents.  

The attack occurred Monday morning local time at a base in Bossangoa, which is a town located in the middle of the country, nearly 200 miles north of the capital city Bangui, according to multiple reports. It was not immediately known where the aircraft came from, or from which entity it may belong to, nor was it clear how many casualties the group suffered.    

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Who green-lighted this attack?  My money is on the US.

Central Africa Says Mysterious Aircraft Dropped Bombs Near A Base Used By Russia's Wagner Group Fighters  

Unknown aircraft targets Wagner base in C. African Republic -- AP  

Central Africa says border nation bombed its troops and Russian allies -- AFP  

CAR government claims that a plane bombed western CAR on Sunday night -- News 360

USS Nimitz Aircraft Carrier Departs For Its Next Global Deployment

BREMERTON, Wash. (Nov. 28, 2022) The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits Puget Sound after departing its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., Nov. 28, 2022. Nimitz provides the national command authority flexible, tailorable warfighting capability as the flagship of a carrier strike group that maintains maritime stability and security to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Heather C. Wamsley)  

Kitsap Sun: Nimitz departs Bremerton for its next global deployment 

BREMERTON — With the Thanksgiving leftovers barely consumed, 2,500 sailors headed out of Sinclair Inlet on the USS Nimitz on Monday morning for a months-long global deployment that begins just as the holiday season ramps up. 

Home just in time from its last training run to see kids don Halloween costumes, sailors who said farewell to loved ones this weekend will return in several months. The Navy declined to specify what global areas of operation the ship and its strike group will visit or how long it will be gone.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The US Navy is not saying where the Nimitz will be going.

Netherlands To Close 3,000 Farms To Meet Climate Goals

A farmer harvests wheat in a field with his harvester © Provided by The Telegraph  

Washington Examiner: Netherlands to buy out and close 3,000 farms to meet climate goals 

The Dutch government is planning to buy out and close as many as 3,000 farms in the country, exacerbating an already-bitter dispute with growers as leaders attempt to halve the country’s nitrogen emissions by 2030. 

Leaders said last week they plan to allocate some $25 billion to the buyout plan, which they will use to purchase between 2,000 and 3,000 Dutch farms and other large nitrogen emitters "well over" their property values. 

If farmers do not agree to the plan, the buyouts could become compulsory. “There is no better offer coming,” Dutch Nitrogen Minister Christianne van der Wal told members of parliament last week.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Netherlands to close up to 3,000 farms to comply with EU rules (The Telegraph)  

Update #2: Netherlands to buy up and close down 3,000 farms to comply with EU rules (TVP)  

WNU Editor: The Dutch are the most efficient farmers in the world. This government policy to close its farms is a prescription for disaster. And there is going to be blow-back .... Brussels set for revolt as Netherland's Rutte plans to shut down farms over EU laws (Express).

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Are The Anxiety Levels Rising In Russia Over The Ukraine War?

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Leaders meeting in Yerevan on November 23, 2022. Karen Minasyan/AFP 

CNBC: ‘Losing is not an option’: Putin is ‘desperate’ to avoid defeat in Ukraine as anxiety rises in Moscow 

* When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, nobody in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle is believed to have expected the war to last more than a few months. 

* As the weather turns cold once again, and back to the freezing and muddy conditions that Russia’s invading forces experienced at the start of the war, Moscow faces what’s likely to be months more fighting, military losses and potential defeat. 

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, nobody in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle is believed to have expected the war to last more than a few months. 

As the weather turns cold once again, and back to the freezing and muddy conditions that Russia’s invading forces experienced at the start of the conflict, Moscow faces what’s likely to be months more fighting, military losses and potential defeat. 

That, Russian political analysts say, will be catastrophic for Putin and the Kremlin, who have banked Russia’s global capital on winning the war against Ukraine. They told CNBC that anxiety was rising in Moscow over how the war was progressing.

“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founder and head of political analysis firm R.Politik, told CNBC.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The above CNBC post is mostly based on the observations and analysis of Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founder and head of political analysis firm R.Politik. 

She believes that Putin's inner circle are worried that they are facing defeat in Ukraine. I am skeptical of her observations. For one .... I doubt that Putin's inner circle talks to her. Also, information leaking out of the Kremlin, as was the case at the beginning of the war, have stopped completely. 

As to her observation that there is now a lot of fear in Russia. Sighhh .... that is not what I call a brilliant analysis. Everyone in Russia is afraid on what this war has brought, is bringing, and will bring in the future. Myself included.

But she is right that September was the turning point. That is when conscription was introduced, and it was during this time that it became clear to everyone (including myself) that the Kremlin was going to take the gloves off in its war against the Ukraine government and its military.

So what is the current mood in Russia? 

From what I read on Russian social media sites that I trust, and from all of my conversations with contacts, friends, and family in Russia. I sense four distinct moods. (1) Anger at the West. Especially against the US government. (2) Fear and worry about the future. Doubly so if you have a loved one serving in Ukraine. (3) A resignation that this is going to be a long war, but one that Russia must win at all cost. (4) A determination to see it too the end.

But as much as the mood has changed in Russia since September, the real question that should be asked is .... what is the mood in Ukraine?

From what I read on Ukrainian social media sites that I trust, and from all of my conversations with contacts, friends, and family in Ukraine. I sense the following moods.

(1) Fear, but a fear that is many times more intense than what I am sensing from Russia. One of my cousins who is a Ukrainian nationalist/supporter of Azov/Right Sector/etc., had the look of real fear when I Face-time with her last week. She will be traveling to Canada in January, but it is clear that she wants to get out of the country ASAP with her daughter. But what struck me was the look of her husband. He had that desperate look of wanting his wife and daughter to leave right now. 

(2) Anguish. My cousin who is leaving for Canada in January runs a Facebook page that is filled with posts of missing Ukrainian soldiers. She has become one of those go to places for information on missing soldiers Sighhh .... there are now many Ukrainian families desperate for any information on a missing loved one. I personally do not know where she finds the strength to do it.

(3) Anger directed at Putin, and to a lesser extent against Russians and Ukrainian-Russians.

(4) Frustration and anger at the West for not giving more aid.

(5) A resignation that Ukraine will probably lose, but a determination to still fight to the end with the hope that the cost to Russia will be so astronomical that the Kremlin will sue for peace. 

As to what is my mood.

Fear on what will be happening in the coming months. A resignation that this is going to be a long war. I am not angry or filled with hate, I am not that type of person. But I feel the pain and anguish of everyone who is suffering because of this war. I am also filled with a determination and need to help as many as I can, regardless of the financial/physical/and emotional costs that are involved.

I also have the need to use this blog to cover this war as best as I can. It is at times hard. There are times when I feel exhausted and completely drained. The news is never good. But if my cousin can post hundreds of missing Ukrainian soldiers and their stories on her Facebook page, I can do a few posts each day on this blog.

Ukraine Says Russia Is Looking To Draft 5 Million Soldiers To Fight In Ukraine

Russian conscripts called up for military service smoke at a gathering point before their departure for garrisons, in Omsk, Russia November 10. REUTERS/Alexey Malgavko 

 IBTimes: Russia Needs 5 Million Soldiers, New Round Of Mobilization Possible: Ukraine Intel 

* Russia has distributed a document called 'Conclusions of the war with NATO in Ukraine' to its military personnel 

* A Ukrainian intelligence official suggested that Russia could introduce martial law in the country 

* Russia has reportedly lost over 85,700 military personnel since the war began in February 

Russia may impose another mobilization order to meet its need for millions of soldiers for the war, according to Ukrainian intelligence. 

During an intelligence briefing, Oleksiy Gromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said Russia has distributed a document called "Conclusions of the war with NATO in Ukraine" to its military personnel. 

In the document, it was allegedly outlined that Russia needs to mobilize five million soldiers to win the war. 

Read more ....  

Update #1: Russia tells its troops there must be 5 million of them for victory (Ukrayinska Pravda)  

Update #2: Russia Has Admitted It Needs 5 Million Troops to Win War, Ukraine Says (Newsweek)  

WNU Editor: Russia currently does not have the weaponry, barracks, or infrastructure to draft 5 million men all at once. What I do expect in the coming months is the Kremlin launching a major offensive against Ukraine with the current force deployment on the front lines backed by an additional 400,000 soldiers that were recently drafted or who had volunteered. 

If this counter-offensive fails, I can easily Russia doing another mobilization of half a million soldiers in the spring. 

As for the 5 million number. There is probably a list of 5 million that has been prepared from which the Kremlin can draft soldiers. I understand that the total number of soldiers that Russia can draft/conscript is 25 million, give or take a few million.

U.S. State Department Approves $1 Billion Arms Sale To Qatar

President Joe Biden, right, shakes hands with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, Jan. 31, 2022 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).  

Daily Mail: BREAKING NEWS - Biden administration confirms $1 BILLION in arms sales to Qatar at half time during crucial World Cup win over Iran: State Department sends over anti-drone systems in huge package 

The Biden administration on Tuesday approved a $1 billion arms sale to Qatar in a transaction unveiled during halftime of the key World Cup 2022 match in Doha between Iran and the United States. 

The State Department announced it had signed off on Qatar´s purchase of 10 defensive drone systems, 200 interceptors and related equipment just as the second half of the US-Iran game began.  

Qatar, along with other Gulf Arab states, faces threats from Iranian-backed proxies in the region.  

Read more ....

 U.S. State Department Approves $1 Billion Arms Sale To Qatar  

U.S. State Department approves potential anti-drone system sale to Qatar for $1 billion -- Reuters 

US Approves $1 Bn Sale Of Counter-drone Systems To Qatar -- AFP  

U.S. approves $1 billion arms sale to Qatar during USMNT World Cup match -- Qatar

Latvia's Top Diplomat Urges Ukraine To Directly Strike Russia

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (file photo) 

 Bloomberg: Ukraine Should Be Free to Hit Military Targets in Russia, Latvia Says  

Ukraine should be free to strike military sites inside Russia as it fends off attacks on its critical infrastructure, Latvia’s foreign minister said. But allies including the US have held back on sending weapons that can strike Russia.  

(Bloomberg) — Ukraine should be free to strike military sites inside Russia as it fends off attacks on its critical infrastructure, Latvia’s foreign minister said. But allies including the US have held back on sending weapons that can strike Russia. 

“We should allow Ukrainians to use weapons to target missile sites or air fields from where those operations are being launched,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said Tuesday in an interview on the sidelines of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Bucharest. Allies “should not fear” escalation, he added.  

Read more ....  

Update: EU country urges Ukraine to strike Russia (RT)  

WNU Editor: Ukraine does not need encouragement from Latvia to strike Ukraine. If Ukraine had the means, they would be planning and launching strikes against Russia immediately.

The Ukraine War Has Created A $19 Billion Backlog In U.S. Arms To Taiwan

Washington Post: U.S. Effort to Arm Taiwan Slowed by War in Ukraine 

WASHINGTON—U.S. government and congressional officials fear the conflict in Ukraine is exacerbating a nearly $19 billion backlog of weapons bound for Taiwan, further delaying efforts to arm the island as tensions with China escalate. 

The U.S. has pumped billions of dollars of weapons into Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February, taxing the capacity of the government and defense industry to keep up with a sudden demand to arm Kyiv in a conflict that isn’t expected to end soon. 

The flow of weapons to Ukraine is now running up against the longer-term demands of a U.S. strategy to arm Taiwan to help it defend itself against a possible invasion by China, according to congressional and government officials familiar with the matter. 

Read more ....  

Update #1: Taiwan has nearly US$19 billion in arms sales backlogged in US (Taiwan News)  

Update #2: There's A $19 Billion Backlog Of Weapons Bound For Taiwan (Zero Hedge)  

WNU Editor: The arms that Taiwan is waiting for are Javelins, Stinger missiles, HIMARS, and howitzers. My advice to Taiwan is that they should look elsewhere for their arms. The US is tapped out because of their commitment to Ukraine.  

Update #3: Russian media has picked up on this story .... How Did US Weapons Ordered by Taiwan Wind Up in Ukraine? (Sputnik).

Five Cars Rented By The U.S. Secret Service Burst Into Flames After President Biden's Thanksgiving Vacation To Nantucket

Daily Mail: Five cars rented by Biden's Secret Service burst into FLAMES in Nantucket: Investigation into blaze with vehicles used by the first family 

* The vehicles that went up in flames were rented by the U.S. Secret Service during President Joe Biden's Thanksgiving vacation to Nantucket 

* Fire happened Monday in the parking lot of the Nantucket Memorial Airport – just one day after the president left the island to return to Washington, D.C. 

* The flames were just 40 feet from the airport's 25,000-gallon jet fuel tanks  

* One of the vehicles, a Ford Expedition, is under a manufacturer battery recall 

* The incident is now under investigation 

A fire near Nantucket Memorial Airport set ablaze at least five vehicles that were used by the Secret Service during President Joe Biden's Thanksgiving vacation on the wealthy Massachusetts island.

The vehicles are owned by Hertz and were just recently returned to the rental car company by USSS, according to sources who spoke with the Nantucket Current. 

The fire involving the rental cars occurred Monday – one day after Biden left Nantucket to return to the White House.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Biden’s Secret Service rental vehicles burst into flames after he left Nantucket vacation (FOX News)  

Update #2: Biden’s Secret Service rental cars left charred after catching fire in Nantucket (NYPost)  

WNU Editor: One car bursting into flames is not big news. Two cars catching fire will raise my eyebrows. But 5 cars?!?!?!? Something does not add up here.

French President Emmanuel Macron Heads To US For A Wide-Ranging State Visit


France 24: France's Macron heads to US for a wide-ranging state visit 

French President Emmanuel Macron heads to Washington Tuesday to discuss a slew of issues with US counterpart Joe Biden, ranging from aligning policy on Russia's invasion of Ukraine to easing trade spats. 

Macron, in a rare honor the first French leader to be invited for two US state visits, can look forward to another 21-gun salute and ostentatious White House dinner that ex-president Donald Trump provided in 2018. 

His traveling entourage of foreign, defence and finance ministers, as well as business leaders and astronauts, illustrates the range of transatlantic cooperation Paris hopes to push forward.  

Read more .... 

French President Emmanuel Macron Heads To US For A Wide-Ranging State Visit  

Biden, Macron ready to talk Ukraine, trade in state visit -- AP 

Harris, French president to meet at NASA headquarters -- The Hill  

Trade Tensions Overshadow Macron's Showy White House Visit -- Barrons  

French President Macron to meet with Biden, Harris in Washington this week -- UPI  

Biden hosts Macron Thursday for the president's first state dinner. Here's what to know.-- USA Today  

Why the White House choose Macron for first State Dinner -- Washington Post

NATO Head Jens Stoltenberg Says The Alliance Will Not Back Down In Its Support For Ukraine


DW: NATO chief Stoltenberg vows Ukraine support will not wane 

NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Bucharest to discuss more aid for Ukraine over the winter. 

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would not back down in its support for Kyiv. 

Foreign ministers from across NATO gathered in Bucharest on Tuesday to discuss future support for Ukraine and the strengthening of the eastern flank of the alliance. 

In an opening address, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO must not waiver in its commitment to Ukraine. 

Read more .... 

NATO Head Jens Stoltenberg Says The Alliance Will Not Back Down In Its Support For Ukraine

NATO renews membership vow to Ukraine, pledges arms and aid -- AP  

Ukraine war: Nato pledges to provide more weapons and fix power grid -- BBC  

Western allies to help Ukraine brave winter of war -- RFI  

Ukraine calls for air defense help, NATO vows not to waver -- DW  

NATO says Russia is using 'winter as a weapon of war' as air raid sirens sound across Ukraine -- ABC News Australia  

NATO head warns Russia using 'winter as weapon of war' -- FOX News

Russia - Ukraine War Maps -- November 29, 2022 (Click on Images to Enlarge)