Friday, March 31, 2023

Belarusian President Lukashenko Says Russia Could Deploy ICBMs In Belarus


Reuters: Lukashenko: Russia could put intercontinental missiles in Belarus if necessary 

(Reuters) - President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that Russia, which has already decided to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, could if necessary put intercontinental nuclear missiles there too. 

In an annual address to lawmakers and government officials, Lukashenko said Moscow's plans to station nuclear arms on the territory of its close ally would help protect Belarus, which he said was under threat from the West. 

"I am not trying to intimidate or blackmail anyone. I want to safeguard the Belarusian state and ensure peace for the Belarusian people," Lukashenko said.  

Read more .... 

Belarusian President Lukashenko Says Russia Could Deploy ICBMs In Belarus 

Lukashenko says Putin could deploy more powerful Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus -- CNN  

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko warns of threat of invasion, says Belarus needs Russian nuclear arms ahead of meeting with Putin -- ABC News Australia  

Belarus might host strategic nuclear weapons, says Lukashenko -- Al Jazeera  

Belarus ready to host Russian strategic nuclear weapons – president -- RT

Belarusian President Lukashenko Says NATO Is Planning To Invade Belarus From Belarus

Reuters: Lukashenko alleges there are plans to invade Belarus from neighboring Poland 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that he had intensified talks with Russia about deploying tactical nuclear weapons in his country, alleging there were plans to invade Belarus from neighboring Poland. 

Speaking at an annual address to lawmakers and government officials, Lukashenko said Moscow’s plans to station nuclear arms in Belarus would help “safeguard” the country, which he said was under threat from the West. 

“Take my word for it, I have never deceived you. They are preparing to invade Belarus, to destroy our country,” he told the audience.  

Read more ....  

Update: Lukashenko states NATO plans to invade Belarus (Ukrayinska Pravda) 

WNU Editor: Polish - Belarusian relations were bad before the war. It is (of course) far worse now. I am hearing some reports that Latvia is threatening its Russian minority to learn the native language or face deportation. It is getting very ugly now.

Concerns that NATO may use Poland to invade Belarus in the future is one of the reasons why Putin and Lukashenko agreed to the deployment of nuclear weapons to Belarus .... Russia To Deploy Nuclear Weapons To Belarus (Reuters).

Russian President Vladimir Putin Has Dismissed Russia’s Ambassadors To Latvia and Estonia Two Months After They Were Expelled

Novaya Gazeta: Vladimir Putin dismisses Russian ambassadors to Latvia and Estonia 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed Russia’s ambassadors to Latvia and Estonia, the corresponding orders have been posted on the state law website. 

Mikhail Vanin is no longer the Ambassador to Latvia, while Vladimir Lipaev was released from his post in Estonia. 

In January, Russia announced downgrading the level of diplomatic relations with Estonia. The formal reason behind this move was said to be “reduction in the size of the Russian Embassy in Tallinn”, as per the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement. The ministry stated that Estonia’s Ambassador to Russia Margus Laidre was to leave the country by 7 February 2023.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: These two Russian ambassadors were expelled by Estonia and Latvia two months ago .... Estonia and Latvia remove Russian ambassadors as tensions rise (Politico). 

The dismissal of these ambassadors is just another sign on how diplomatic relations between Russia and the Baltic nations are now all but non-existent.

Hungarian Prime Minister Says Europe Close To Deciding On Deploying Peacekeeping Troops in Ukraine

Hungarian Prime Minister Orban  

Newsweek: Europe Close to Deciding on Peacekeeping Troops in Ukraine—Viktor Orbán 

European leaders are close to discussing whether the European Union can send peacekeeping troops to Ukraine, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was quoted as saying on Friday. 

Orbán, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was speaking to local radio station Kossuth Rádió on Friday morning about Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, media outlet Mandiner reported. 

Earlier in March, the Russian government mentioned Hungary as being in a group of foreign states that it said had committed "unfriendly actions against Russia, its companies and citizens," despite a longstanding amicable relationship between Orbán and Putin.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: EU ready to discuss ‘some peacekeeping missions’ in Ukraine, says Hungary’s Orban (New Voice of Ukraine)  

Update #2: EU Leaders Ready To Discuss Peacekeepers For Ukraine - Orban (Ukrainian News)  

WNU Editor: Such a deployment of EU "peacekeepers" will be viewed by Russia as a deployment of NATO troops into Ukraine .... Former Russian President Medvedev warns NATO ‘peacekeeping’ troops in Ukraine will be legitimate targets (EuroWeekly News).

Editor's Note

There is major electrical work happening near my home that has resulted in no power to my home (and everyone else around me) since early this morning. I have been told that power will be restored later this evening. Maybe even late tonight. When that happens blogging will return.

Russia To Deploy S-500 ‘Prometheus’ Air Defense Missiles To Defend Moscow

S-500 air defense system  

EurAsian Times: Russia To Deploy S-500 ‘Prometheus’ Air Defense Missiles To Defend Moscow As Ukrainian Strikes Become Frequent 

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced earlier this month that the country would finish modernizing the missile defense systems pressed into duty to protect the capital, Moscow, by the end of this year. 

The nation will establish an air defense division and brigade, a special-purpose air and missile defense brigade, an anti-aircraft regiment with the S-350 surface-to-air missile complex, a space monitoring radar station Razvyazka and a special operations brigade for air and missile defense by 2023 end, Shoigu said. 

Starting in 2020, a significant part of Russia’s State Armament Program has focused on developing aerospace defense capabilities. Over 3.4 trillion Rubles (roughly US$44.3 billion) have been invested in the initiative since it began in 2011, with the air defense upgrade making up about 17.5% of that total.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This deployment of the advanced S-500 air defense missile system around Moscow is not because of Ukraine. It is being deployed to counter any NATO threat.

Russia To Assist China's Nuclear Weapon Ambitions

China has plans to expand its nuclear arsenal. Photo: Facebook 

Asia Times: Russia to power China’s nuclear weapon ambitions  

‘No limits’ partnership means Russia will provide China the tech and fuel it needs to tip the prevailing global nuclear bomb balance 

Russia plans to provide fast breeder nuclear reactor technology to China, an agreement that could allow Beijing to significantly grow its nuclear arsenal and tip the prevailing global balance of nuclear weapons. 

This month, Bloomberg reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping announced a long-term agreement to continue developing fast breeder nuclear reactors optimized for plutonium production for nuclear weapons. 

The report notes that in December 2022, Russia’s-state owned Rosatom nuclear power company finished transferring 25 tons of highly-enriched uranium to China’s CFR-600 nuclear reactor, which analysts say has the capacity to produce 50 nuclear warheads a year.  

Read more ....  

WNU editor: The above story should put to bed any doubts on how deep the Russia - China alliance has become.

Brazil, China Strike Trade Deal Agreement To Abandon The US Dollar In Trade Transactions

© AFP 2023 / Fred DUFOUR  

FOX News: Brazil, China strike trade deal agreement to ditch US dollar 

Brazil and China have reportedly struck a deal to ditch the U.S. dollar in favor of their own currencies in trade transactions. 

The deal, announced Wednesday, will enable China and Brazil to carry out trade and financial transactions directly, exchanging yuan for reais – or vice versa – rather than first converting their currencies to the U.S. dollar. 

Brazil-China The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) said the new arrangement is expected to "reduce costs" and "promote even greater bilateral trade and facilitate investment." 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Another indication that the US is losing its global reserve currency status. 

Brazil, China Strike Trade Deal Agreement To Abandon The US Dollar In Trade Transactions  

China, Brazil Strike Deal To Ditch Dollar For Trade -- AFP  

China, Brazil reach agreement to ditch intermediary US dollar -- China Daily  

Drubbing the Dollar: China and Brazil ditch dollar, strike deal to settle trade in yuan, real -- First Post  

China, Brazil ink deal to ditch US dollar for direct currency trade -- ET Now  

Brazil, China Sign Agreement to Trade in Yuan -- Sputnik

Thursday, March 30, 2023

President Xi Jinping Says He Is Mobilizing China For A Large Scale War

Chinese President Xi Jinping during the closing session of the National People’s Congress, Beijing, March 2023. Noel Celis / Pool / Reuters 

 Foreign Affairs: Xi Jinping Says He Is Preparing China for War  

The World Should Take Him Seriously 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping says he is preparing for war. At the annual meeting of China’s parliament and its top political advisory body in March, Xi wove the theme of war readiness through four separate speeches, in one instance telling his generals to “dare to fight.” His government also announced a 7.2 percent increase in China’s defense budget, which has doubled over the last decade, as well as plans to make the country less dependent on foreign grain imports. And in recent months, Beijing has unveiled new military readiness laws, new air-raid shelters in cities across the strait from Taiwan, and new “National Defense Mobilization” offices countrywide. 

It is too early to say for certain what these developments mean. Conflict is not certain or imminent. But something has changed in Beijing that policymakers and business leaders worldwide cannot afford to ignore. If Xi says he is readying for war, it would be foolish not to take him at his word.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: To be fair. Chinese President Xi has been telling China to prepare for war for a very long time. From 2021 .... Xi Jinping orders China’s military to be ready for war ‘at any time’ (American Military News). 

But the mood in China is different this time. The U.S. and China have always had their differences, but House Speaker Pelosi's trip to Taiwan last year was IMHO the straw that "broke the camel's back". And what is worse is that I sense the lines of communication between Beijing and Washington are now being shut down, and the rhetoric only becoming more hostile and confrontational.

A Quarter Of Austria's Parliament Walks Out During Zelensky Address


BBC: Austria's far-right walks out of Zelensky speech 

More than 20 far-right Austrian MPs walked out of parliament during a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

The politicians from the Freedom Party (FPO) argued Mr Zelensky's speech violated Austria's neutrality. 

They warned ahead of the speech they would hold some form of protest against the address. 

Austria has previously said it cannot help Ukraine's defence militarily, but does support Kyiv politically. 

In a video address, Mr Zelensky thanked Austria for its humanitarian assistance and help clearing land mines. 

He was speaking on the 400th day of Russian invasion. He also invited MPs to travel to Ukraine for themselves and see the destruction caused.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Austria's far-right walks out on Zelenskiy speech (Reuters)  

Update #2: Austria’s far-right lawmakers walk out of Zelenskyy speech (Al Jazeera)  

WNU Editor: Austria's Freedom Party sees their position on Ukraine as a winning issue .... Austria far-right eyes comeback under new hardline leader (France 24).

U.S. State Department Asks Americans To Leave Russia Immediately


Reuters: U.S. asks citizens to leave Russia immediately 

STORY: State Dept's deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told a news conference "Our message to American citizens residing in Russia is that the travel advisory warning is a level four and that they should leave." 

"Any U.S. citizen residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately as stated in our latest travel advisory. Those who require assistance in departing Russia should contact the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for assistance." 

A Moscow court ruled that U.S. national, and journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Evan Gershkovich should be detained for nearly two months on suspicion of spying. 

It is believed to be the first criminal case for espionage against a foreign journalist in post-Soviet Russia, a crime punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Blinken calls on all Americans to leave Russia 'immediately' after journalist arrested (Kyiv Independent)  

Update #2: US urges Americans to leave Russia ‘immediately’ (RT)  

WNU Editor: This is not the first time the US State Department has told its citizens to leave Russia immediately. In September .... US Embassy warns Americans to leave Russia (CNN). Last month .... US tells citizens to leave Russia immediately (The Hill).

Did Russia Attack And Dstroy A NATO Command Center In Ukraine Killing 40 Western 'Advisers'?

WNU Editor: I first heard about this attack 3 weeks ago .... 2nd Kinzhal Attack Hits NATO’s Western Command Center 80 meters Underground, 40 Killed (The Intel Drop). And since then the reports on this strike keep on coming in  (see the above tweet as an example). 

My Ukrainian sources are saying that they have heard rumors .... and it is just rumors .... that 300 were killed, and that number included 40 Westerners. I do not know if this story is true, but I do know that  people want answers, and no one in Kyiv or int he West are giving them.

Germany To Send An Additional €12 Billion Of Military Aid To Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with a Leopard tank and German soldiers  

Reuters: Germany to send additional 12 billion euros in military support to Ukraine 

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government has agreed to send an additional 12 billion euros ($13.01 billion) worth of military support to Ukraine. 

The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag gave the green light on Wednesday for the unbudgeted expenditure, which was requested by the defence ministry and the foreign office. 

The additional funding includes 3.2 billion euros to be disbursed in 2023 and credit lines for the period between 2024 and 2032 amounting to some 8.8 billion euros.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Germany to allocate additional €12 billion of military aid for Ukraine (Ukrainska Pravda)  

Update #2: Germany to allocate €12B (over $13B) in military aid for Ukraine (Anadolu Agency)  

WNU Editor: 3.2 billion euros to be disbursed in 2023 and the rest will be spread out between 2024 to 2032.

Turkish Parliament Approves Finland’s NATO Membership

A view from a session of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye (TBMM) General Assembly in the capital Ankara, Türkiye, Oct. 4, 2022. (AA Photo)  

BBC: Turkey approves Finland Nato membership bid 

Finland will become the 31st member of Nato after Turkey's parliament voted to approve its application. 

Turkey had delayed Finland's bid to join the West's defensive alliance for months - complaining the Nordic nation was supporting "terrorists". 

Sweden, which applied to join Nato at the same time last year, is still being blocked by Ankara over similar complaints. 

Any Nato expansion needs the support of all its members. 

Finland will now be formally admitted into Nato at its next summit, taking place in July in Lithuania. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave his approval to Finland's bid earlier in March, praising the country's "authentic and concrete steps" on Turkish security.  

Read more .... 

Turkish Parliament Approves Finland’s NATO Membership  

Turkey’s parliament ratifies Finland’s membership in NATO -- AP  

Finland’s way into Nato clears as hold-out Turkey votes in favour -- The Guardian/Reuters  

Turkey formally approves Finland’s NATO membership, in setback for Russia -- CNBC  

Turkey’s parliament ratifies Finland’s membership in NATO -- The Hill  

Turkey becomes last NATO member to ratify Finland's bid -- DW 

Turkish parliament ratifies Finland’s NATO membership -- Al Jazeera

Turkey approves Finland’s NATO application, clearing the last hurdle. Sweden is still waiting -- CNN

Indictment Of Former President Trump -- News Updates March 30, 2023


Daily Mail: Trump is expected to be ARRESTED in Manhattan next week: Former president slams Biden and Dems after Manhattan grand jury voted to INDICT him over $130,000 hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels - warns 'this witch hunt will backfire' 

* Donald Trump has become the first former president to face criminal charges 

* It marks the end of a years-long investigation into hush money paid to Daniels 

* It means Trump faces arrest and the prospect of humiliating court appearances 

Donald Trump reacted with fury on Thursday as news broke that a Manhattan jury had voted to indict him over $130,000 in hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. 

He said Democrats would regret ever persecuting an innocent man when his supporters dump them out of office. 

And he is expected to travel to Manhattan next week to be formally arrested, according to a source familiar with the plans, who said the head of his security detail traveled recently to New York to liaise with prosecutors.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Former President Trump has responded (see below): 


Indictment Of Former President Trump -- News Updates March 30, 2023  

Trump indictment live updates: Latest news, developments -- AP  

Trump claims ‘political persecution’ in wake of grand jury indictment – live -- The Guardian  

Donald Trump indicted; 1st ex-president charged with crime -- AP  

Trump criminally charged in New York, a first for a US ex-president, article with image -- Reuters  

Trump indicted on criminal charges, a first for a US ex-president -- France 24 

Donald Trump indictment: Ex-US president to be charged over hush money -- BBC  

Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury -- CNN

Trump indicted after Manhattan DA probe for hush money payments -- FOX News  

Trump indicted in porn star hush money payment case -- Politico

"This Is Political Persecution": Trump Rages After Indictment Announced, DeSantis 'Won't Extradite' -- Zero Hedge  

Trump will pose for a mugshot, be fingerprinted and held in custody until a deal is negotiated if he surrenders in Stormy Daniels case: What next after ex-President was indicted on charges that carry up to four years in prison -- Daily Mail 

Fingerprints and a mugshot: This is what will happen when Trump is arrested -- BBC

Russia - Ukraine War: Military Summary And Analysis For 3.30.2023 (Video)


WNU Editor: A lot of updates on the Russia - Ukraine war from the Military Summary channel (see above). Alexander Mercouris gives his updates on the war below. 

Tweets On The Russia - Ukraine War

Tweets Of The Day

AP And The New York Times Says The New York Grand Jury Has Voted To Indict Former President Donald Trump


Reuters: Trump hit with criminal charges in New York, a first for a US ex-president -New York Times 

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury after a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, becoming the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges even as he makes another run for the White House, a law enforcement source said on Thursday. 

The charges, arising from an investigation led by Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, could reshape the 2024 presidential race. 

Trump previously said he would continue campaigning for the Republican Party's nomination if charged with a crime. 

The specific charges are not yet known and the indictment will likely be announced in the coming days, the New York Times reported. Trump will have to travel to Manhattan for fingerprinting and other processing at that point.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is a breaking news story. I will be updating this story within the next hour or two.

Former President Trump Increases His Lead In The Polls For The Republican Presidential Nomination

Daily Mail: Trump DOUBLES his lead in Republican primary and is up 30 points over DeSantis, new poll finds, as support swells in face of NYC indictment 

* Trump leads DeSantis 54% to 24% in new Fox News poll 

* That is double from last month * Pollster says voters showing their support to Trump amid indictment reports 

Donald Trump has doubled his lead in the Republican presidential primary amid reports he'll be indicted by the Manhattan district attorney's office, a new poll finds. 

Voters see the case as politically motivating, pollster Daron Shaw said, and it's bringing them back to Trump's corner. 

The Fox News poll found Trump has doubled his lead since February and is up by 30 points over Ron DeSantis, 54% to the Florida governor's 24%. Last month, Trump led DeSantis by 15 points: 43% to 28%.  

Read more ....

Update: Fox News Poll: Trump's lead grows in GOP primary race, now over 50% support (FOX News)  

WNU Editor: Former President Trump is the clear leader in the Republican primaries. It is going to be very difficult for Governor DeSantis to win the Republican Presidential nomination, and doubly so if the former President is indicted.

Top US General Says The Battle For Bakhmut Has Become A "Slaughter-Fest" For The Russians


Daily Mail: Bakhmut is 'a slaughter-fest for the Russians' who are 'getting hammered' by Ukrainian forces in the area and 'not making any progress whatsoever' 

* US General Mark Milley said late last night that Russia was suffering major losses 

 * Hard fighting in and around Bakhmut has inflicted huge casualties on both sides 

Russian forces are 'getting hammered' in the battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in fighting described as a 'slaughter-fest' by senior US officials. 

Chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff General Mark Milley told lawmakers late last night: 'The Russians have not made any progress whatsoever in and around Bakhmut. 

'It's a slaughter-fest for the Russians. They're getting hammered in the vicinity of Bakhmut and the Ukrainians have fought very very well.'  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The media narrative from the West continues to stay same. The battle for Bakhmut is going their way, and Russian forces are getting slaughtered .... Ukrainians in a Hidden Command Post See Bakhmut Going Their Way (DNYUZ/New York Times). But the problem with this narrative is that if the Russian forces are facing massive losses that would cripple any army, how come they continue to advance and seize more territory .... Ukraine controls a third of Bakhmut, says presidential adviser (Straits Times). 

Top US General Says The Battle For Bakhmut Has Become A "Slaughter-Fest" For The Russians  

The battle for Bakhmut has turned into a 'slaughter-fest' for Russia, says top US general -- Business Insider 

Battle for Bakhmut has turned into a "slaughter-fest for the Russians," top US general says -- CNN  

Bakhmut is 'slaughter-fest' for Russians who are being 'hammered' by Ukrainians -- The Mirror  

Ukraine Situation Report: Wagner Has Up To 36,000 Troops In Bakhmut Says Top US General -- Warzone/The Drive

Israel Launches More Missile Attacks Against Syria

Al-Monitor: Two Syrian soldiers injured in suspected Israeli strikes  

Israel is suspected of carrying out numerous attacks against Syrian and Iranian military targets in Syria this year. 

Two Syrian soldiers were injured in a suspected Israeli missile attack early Thursday morning. 

Syria's official news outlet SANA reported that the missiles hit unspecified targets outside of Damascus at 1:20 a.m. local time (6:20 p.m. ET Wednesday). The missiles were fired from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Syrian air defenses downed some of the missiles. Two Syrian soldiers were injured in addition to material damage, according to SANA. 

Videos spread of social media purportedly showing the Israeli strikes.  

Read more ....

 Israel Launches More Missile Attacks Against Syria  

Syria says Israeli strikes near Damascus wound 2 soldiers -- AP  

Two injured as Israel launches 'a number of missiles' at Syria's Damascus -- WION 

Israeli airstrike wounds two soldiers in Damascus – Syrian state media -- Times Of Israel  

Israeli missile attack on Syria’s Damascus area wounds 2 soldiers -- Al Jazeera  

Syria says Israeli strikes near Damascus wound 2 soldiers -- Arab News  

Syrian air defenses counter fresh Israeli attack on Damascus -- Cradle  

Damascus Rocked By Israeli Attack On Heels Of Saudi-Iran Rapprochement -- Zero Hedge

In A Blow to Peace Talks, Colombian Rebels Kill Nine Soldiers

The ELN rebel group has been in negotiations with the government to reach a ceasefire [File: Jaime Saldarriaga/Reuters] 

Al Jazeera: Colombian rebels kill nine soldiers in blow to peace talks  

Preliminary military assessment has identified the left-wing ELN as responsible for the attack in a northern province. 

An attack by the Colombian rebel group known as the National Liberation Army (ELN) has allegedly killed nine government soldiers, in a blow to the government’s efforts to negotiate a truce with armed groups and curb violence in the country. 

The attack, one of the deadliest to occur in the last several months, took place on Wednesday in the rural state of Norte de Santander, near the border with Venezuela. It came more than two weeks after the government and the ELN held a second round of ceasefire negotiations in Mexico City.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Colombian soldiers killed in attack blamed on ELN rebels (BBC)  

Update #2: Colombian militants kill 9 soldiers, complicating peace efforts (France 24)  

WNU Editor: Colombia is still committed to the peace process .... Colombia reaffirms commitment to peace (Prensa Latina).

Wagner's Chief Admits That The Battle For Bakhmut Has Damaged His Forces


Reuters: Russia's Wagner Chief Says Battle for Bakhmut Has Damaged His Forces 

(Reuters) - The head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group acknowledged on Wednesday that fighting for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut had inflicted severe damage on his own forces as well as the Ukrainian side. 

Bakhmut, a small eastern city that has for months been the target of a Russian offensive, has seen intense fighting and destruction in what has become the longest, bloodiest battle of the war.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Ukraine updates: Bakhmut battle 'badly damaged' Wagner group (DW)  

Update #2: Russia's Wagner chief says battle for Bakhmut has damaged his forces (CTV News/Reuters)  

WNU Editor: Considering how long and bloody the battle for Bakhmut has been for the past 8 months, no surprises on the high casualties. And while the Western press is focused on Evgeny Prigozhin's remarks on the high casualties within the Wagner group, Evgeny Prigozhin has also commented on what he believes is the current state of the Ukraine army .... Ukrainian army ‘almost destroyed’ – Wagner chief (RT).

9 Soldiers Killed After Two HH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters Crash Near Fort Campbell. There Were No survivors


CNN: 9 soldiers killed after 2 Black Hawk helicopters crash in Kentucky during training mission, Army says  

Nine US service members were killed after two helicopters with the 101st Airborne Division crashed late Wednesday in southwestern Kentucky, officials said. There were no survivors. 

The two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed around 10 p.m. in Trigg County near the Tennessee border, officials at nearby Fort Campbell said early Thursday. They were taking part “in a routine training mission when the incident occurred,” the base said in a statement on Facebook. 

The helicopters were medical evacuation aircraft, and it’s believed the crash happened while they were flying and not during a medical evacuation drill, Brig. Gen. John Lubas, deputy commander of the 101st Airborne Division, said during a Thursday morning news conference at Fort Campbell. 

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: It looks like they collided while flying.

9 Soldiers Killed After Two HH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters Crash Near Fort Campbell

9 killed in Army Black Hawk helicopter crash in Kentucky -- AP 

Two Black Hawks crash near Fort Campbell, 9 soldiers killed -- Army Times  

Nine Confirmed Dead In Crash Of Two US Army Black Hawk Helicopters -- Warzone/The Drive  

Nine killed in US army helicopters crash during training in Kentucky -- ABC News (Australia)  

9 killed after 2 Army helicopters crash near Fort Campbell, Kentucky -- Axios  

US Army Black Hawk helicopters crash in Kentucky leaving nine dead. Here's what we know. -- USA Today

Wall Street Journal Reporter Arrested In Russia On Spying Charges


Politico: Russia detains Wall Street Journal reporter over spying allegations  

Evan Gershkovich, a US citizen, could face up to 20 years in prison. 

Russian security services detained Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal correspondent, in Yekaterinburg on Thursday on suspicion of spying for the U.S., according to state media reports. 

Gershkovich, who is a U.S. citizen, is “suspected of espionage in the interests of the American government” and accused of “trying to obtain secret information,” Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement, according to state news agency TASS. 

In Russia, the charge of espionage is punishable by 20 years in prison.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This appears to be the reason why he was arrested .... Wall Street Journal reporter, 31, is frog-marched into Russian court but his lawyer is BANNED - following arrest for 'spying' while writing about feared Wagner group (Daily Mail). 

I personally like the reporting that Evan Gershkovich has been doing for WSJ. He is in Russia, and for the past few months his reporting on how the war is impacting regular Russians has been a go to place for me. I know his reporting on the Wagner group has had an impact. Even Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin had to recently acknowledge this .... Wagner chief admits Bakhmut battle has 'battered' his army (CNN). 

On a personal note. Before the war I knew a lot of independent journalists and independent news organizations in Russia. I was a regular weekly guest for one Moscow radio station commenting on Canadian - U.S. politics. But the war has changed everything. Russia is in a state of war right now, and there are restrictions on what can be covered when it comes to the war and the industrial base that supports it. 

But even with these restrictions, Russian social media has been very active, and they are very critical of Russia's war effort. It should also be noted that while Russian news media is censored, Russians still have access to outside news media organizations via the internet.

Wall Street Journal Reporter Arrested In Russia On Spying Charges  

Moscow Court arrests WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich over espionage case -- TASS  

Kremlin comments on WSJ correspondent arrest -- RT  

Russia arrests Wall Street Journal reporter on spying charge -- AP  

Russia detains Wall Street Journal reporter for 'spying' -- DW  

Russia arrests Wall Street Journal reporter on espionage charges -- The Independent 

Russia arrests US journalist Evan Gershkovich on spying charge -- BBC  

Wall Street Journal reporter arrested in Russia on spying charges -- CNN  

Wall Street Journal defends reporter after he's arrested by Russia on suspicion of espionage -- FOX News

Picture Of The Day

An anti-war activist holds up a sign "Stop war exercise, Go home" in front of a South Korean marine taking position during a U.S and South Korea marine corps combined amphibious landing drill called the 'Ssangyong' exercise, in Pohang, South Korea. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji  

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

New Report Says Number Of Global Usable Nuclear Warheads Increased In 2022

DW: Number of usable nuclear warheads increased in 2022 — report  

The world's stockpile of usable nuclear warheads increased by over 130 in 2022, Norwegian People's Aid has reported. The authors have warned of the risk that nuclear weapons pose to humanity. 

The number of nuclear warheads that states could deploy reached a total of 9,576 at the beginning of 2023, up from 9,440 the previous year, according to a report published by the NGO Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) on Wednesday. 

The Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor report said that the weaponized nuclear power amounted to a "collective destructive power of more than 135,000 Hiroshima bombs."

The issue of nuclear weapons has become its most prominent since the end of the Cold War thanks in part to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent aggressive rhetoric, as well as fears over Iran's nuclear program and North Korea's renewed missile tests.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Driven by Russia and China, world's usable nuke arsenal rose in 2022, reveals study (First Post) 

Update #2: World’s arsenal of nuclear weapons now has power of 135,000 Hiroshima bombs, report says (Stars and Stripes)  

WNU Editor: The Norwegian People's Aid's report is here .... NPA’s latest Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor is out.

Russia Stages Major Nuclear Missile Exercises


Daily Mail: Putin stages major nuclear missile exercises involving 3,000 troops in show of strength to the West 

* Putin staging war games with Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system 

* Putin has aimed to make Yars missile system part of Russia's 'invincible weapons' 

Vladimir Putin is staging major nuclear missile exercises involving 3,000 troops in a show of strength to the West. 

The Russian despot's troops are staging war games with his 'invincible' Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system in three regions of Russia. 

A video shows the Yars missile system - which replaced the Topol - on drills amid his war against Ukraine and high tension with the West.  

Read more .... 

Russia Stages Major Nuclear Missile Exercises  

Russia starts exercises with Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles -- Reuters  

Russia announces exercises with nuclear capable Yars missiles following deployment deal with Belarus -- SKY News 

Russia Practicing Launches of Yars Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles -- Newsweek 

Russia starts Yars intercontinental ballistic missile drills -- Al Jazeera

US Has Stopped Exchanging Nuclear Data With Russia After Moscow's Treaty Suspension

CNA/Reuters: US to stop exchanging nuclear data with Russia after Moscow's treaty suspension  

WASHINGTON: The United States has told Russia it will cease exchanging some data on its nuclear forces following Moscow's refusal to do so, the White House said on Tuesday (Mar 28), calling this a response to Russia's suspending participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty. 

While Russian President Vladimir Putin has not formally withdrawn from the treaty, which limits the two sides' deployed strategic nuclear arsenals, his Feb 21 suspension imperils the last pillar of US-Russian arms control. 

Between the two of them, the United States and Russia hold nearly 90 per cent of the world's nuclear warheads - enough to destroy the planet many times over. "Under international law, the United States has the right to respond to Russia's breaches of the New START Treaty by taking proportionate and reversible countermeasures in order to induce Russia to return to compliance with its obligations," a spokesperson for the National Security Council said.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This US action is a response to Russia doing the same thing a few days ago .... Russia stops sharing missile test info with US, opens drills (Defense News/AP). Sighhh .... this is unprecedented. I cannot help but think that we are already at Defcon level two or three. And the rhetoric between the two countries continues to scalate .... Russia Calls Out 'Nuclear Weapons Hypocrisy': US Has Tactical Nukes In 5 Non-Nuclear Weapon States (Zero Hedge).

The Incredible Rise Of China As An Export Country

WNU Editor: Impressive.

Top US General Says A Rusian Victory In Ukraine Would Force A 'Doubling' Of The US Defense Budget

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley testifies before the House Appropriations Committee-Defense on the 2024 DoD Budget in the Rayburn House Office Building, March 23, 2023, in Washington D.C. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza) Not Stopping Russia in Ukraine Would Force 'Doubling' of US Defense Budget, Milley Says 

The top general in the U.S. military warned Thursday that not supporting Ukraine now would lead to a massive increase in future defense budgets -- and global conflict that has been avoided since World War II ended. 

 "If that rules-based order, which is in its 80th year, if that goes out the window, then be very careful," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley testified to Congress on Thursday. "We'll be doubling our defense budgets at that point because that will introduce not an era of great power competition. That'll begin an era of great power conflict. And that'll be extraordinarily dangerous for the whole world." 

Milley's remark at a House Appropriations Committee defense subcommittee hearing comes amid growing skepticism from Republicans about the price tag of U.S. aid to Ukraine. Milley was testifying alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the Biden administration's $842 billion request for Pentagon spending for fiscal 2024.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The proposed 2024 US defense budget is $886 billion .... Biden wants $886 billion defense budget with eyes on Ukraine and future wars (Reuters).

Russia - Ukraine War: Military Summary And Analysis For 3.29.2023 (Video)


WNU Editor: A lot of updates on the Russia - Ukraine war from the Military Summary channel (see above). Alexander Mercouris gives his updates on the war below. 

Tweets On the Russia - Ukraine War

Tweets Of The Day

Months Of Leaks Rattle Canada’s Spy Agency

A sign outside the CSIS headquarters in Ottawa. Photograph: Chris Wattie/Reuters  

The Guardian: ‘This is very bad for them’: months of leaks rattle Canada’s low-profile spy agency  

Allegations of attempted meddling by China put uncomfortable spotlight on publicity-shy CSIS 

Most Canadians have no idea where the country’s spy agency is located, nor do they know much about its daily operations. This is not because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service operates in a particularly clandestine fashion, it’s because most Canadians don’t care. 

The CSIS, a civilian-run organisation based in a triangular structure of concrete and glass on the outskirts of Ottawa, lacks the intrigue of Britain’s MI5 and the notoriety of America’s Central Intelligence Agency. 

“I look nothing like Daniel Craig, and I did not arrive here in an Aston Martin. I’m just as disappointed as you are – on both fronts,” its director, David Vigneault, said in a speech in 2018, poking fun at the service’s largely uncharismatic reputation. “Most of you remember the movie Fight Club. And you will know that the first rule of Fight Club is ‘don’t talk about Fight Club’. Well, the first rule of CSIS has always been ‘don’t talk’. Period.”  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: No one really knows where these leaks are coming from. But it is clear that there is at least one person in the national security bureaucracy who is not satisfied with the complete lack of response from the Canadian government on intelligence reports that China is interfering in Canada's elections.

Ukraine President Zelensky Invites Chinese President Xi Jinping To Ukraine


Politico: Zelenskyy to Xi Jinping: Come to Ukraine 

'We are ready to see him here,’ Ukrainian president says. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday invited his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to Ukraine, for what would be the first direct communication between the two leaders since the beginning of Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine. 

“We are ready to see [Xi] here,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with the Associated Press, a U.S. newswire, on a train to Kyiv, adding, “I want to speak with him.” “I had contact with him before full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn’t have [contact],” Zelenskyy said.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Zelensky invites China’s Xi to visit Ukraine (The Hill)  

Update #2: Zelensky invites Xi Jinping to Ukraine (Ukrinform)  

WNU editor: I personally would not mind if Chinese President Xi goes to Kyiv. Anything to get the peace process moving forward should be supported. But I also know the Chinese do not operate like this. The will want Zelensky to first fly to Beijing to meet Xi. I also know the Chinese will first want to enter into talks before any official announcement is made. 

Beijing will not want President Xi to fly to Ukraine, or President Zelensky flying to Beijing, just for a photo-op. Beijing will want something concrete in return, but the problem is that I do not see Ukraine President Zelensky willing to compromise on anything right now.  

Update #3: This is not a good sign. The Chinese Foreign ministry does not know what the Ukraine President is talking about .... China’s MFA has no information about possible Zelensky–Xi meeting (Ukrinform).