Media reports said:

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Saturday that Ukrainian statehood is in jeopardy and likened the West’s sanctions on Russia to “declaring war,” while a promised cease-fire in the besieged port city of Mariupol collapsed amid scenes of terror.

Putin continued to pin the blame for the war squarely on the Ukrainian leadership and slammed their resistance to the invasion.

“If they continue to do what they are doing, they are calling into question the future of Ukrainian statehood,” he said. “And if this happens, it will be entirely on their conscience.”

He also hit out at Western sanctions that have crippled Russia’s economy and sent the value of its currency tumbling.

“These sanctions that are being imposed, they are akin to declaring war,” he said during a televised meeting with flight attendants from Russian airline Aeroflot. “But thank God, we haven’t got there yet.”

U.S.-Russia Military Hotline

The U.S. and Russia have established a military hotline aimed at preventing miscalculation during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine military conflict.

“The United States retains a number of channels to discuss critical security issues with the Russians during a contingency or emergency,” an anonymous senior US defense official was quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

“The Department of Defense recently established a deconfliction line with the Russian Ministry of Defense on March 1 for the purposes of preventing miscalculation, military incidents, and escalation,” the official said.

Ukraine War Is Economic Catastrophe, Warns World Bank

The World Bank President David Malpass says “it’s too early to say” if the war in Ukraine will lead to a global recession

The war in Ukraine is “a catastrophe” for the world which will cut global economic growth, the president of the WB has told the BBC.

“The war in Ukraine comes at a bad time for the world because inflation was already rising,” said Malpass.

He stressed his biggest concern is “about the pure human loss of lives” that is occurring.

Malpass said the economic impact of the war stretches beyond Ukraine’s borders, and the rises in global energy prices in particular “hit the poor the most, as does inflation”.

Food prices have also been pushed up by the war, and “are a very real consideration and problem for people in poor countries”.

Malpass points out that both Russia and Ukraine are big food producers. Ukraine is the world’s biggest producer of sunflower oil, with Russia number two, according to S&P Global Platts. Between them they account for 60% of global production.

The two countries also account for 28.9% of global wheat exports according to JP Morgan. Wheat prices on the Chicago future exchange have been trading at 14-year highs.

Russian supplies of these commodities are being restricted because of the widespread sanctions which make it hard for the rest of the world to buy its products. Ukrainian supplies have been stopped because fighting has closed the country’s ports.

“There’s no way to adjust quickly enough to the loss of supply from Ukraine and from Russia, and so that adds to prices,” said Malpass.

He says the same is true of Russian energy supplies, and it is particularly damaging for western Europe, where governments have “neglected other aspects of how to have enough electricity”. About 39% of the EU’s electricity comes from power stations that burn fossil fuels, and Russia is the biggest source of that oil and gas.

No Chinese Student Killed

After verifying with Kharkiv state academy of culture, Chinese Embassy in Ukraine told two Chinese students reportedly named Jin Tianhao, Li Zhi do not exist, after foreign media reported two Chinese students were killed as Russian army attacked a university.

China Questions U.S. Role In Ukraine

The U.S. has been spreading disinformation and using the Ukraine crisis to smear China. Its rumor mongering in order to shift its own responsibilities is hypocritical and despicable, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday amid report that an anonymous U.S. defense official criticized China for not condemning or imposing sanctions on Russia, and being reluctant to take part in a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine issue.

The ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Friday’s routine press briefing such smears cannot cover up the U.S.’ responsibility for the situation but instead exposes its real intention of taking advantage of the crisis.

The spokesperson raised three questions for the U.S.: Despite claiming the promotion of NATO’s eastward expansion is to maintain peace, has the U.S. done it? Despite claiming to prevent war in Europe, has the U.S. done it? Despite claiming to be committed to the peaceful resolve of the crisis, but in addition to providing military assistance and increasing deterrence, what has the U.S. done that is conducive to peace?

China decides its position and policy according to the merits of the matter itself. We encourage all diplomatic efforts conducive to political settlement of the Ukraine issue, support Russia and Ukraine to address both sides’ legitimate concerns in a way that is conducive to long-term peace and stability in Europe via dialogue and negotiation, Wang said, noting China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

Operation In Ukraine Goes As Planned, Says Putin

Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine is proceeding in strict accordance with the schedule and plan, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

“All the assigned tasks are being successfully fulfilled,” Putin said at a meeting with the permanent members of Russia’s Security Council.

Russian soldiers and officers “act courageously” and “fight steadfastly, with a full understanding of the rightness of their cause,” he told the country’s top officials.
The operation is aimed at clearing the threats caused by the West over past years right at Russian borders, including threats from nuclear weapons, said Putin.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that 498 Russian servicemen had been killed during the special military operation in Ukraine that started on Feb. 24.

China On IAEA’s Independence

The resolution on Ukraine’s nuclear security, adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), undermines the agency’s independence as a professional international organization, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna Wang Qun said Thursday.

Wang made the remarks after voting against the resolution at a meeting convened by the IAEA Board of Governors to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

The resolution on nuclear safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine, proposed by Canada and Poland, was adopted by the IAEA board at the meeting.

The Chinese envoy said the resolution has “obviously gone beyond the IAEA’s mandate by introducing many politicized elements.”

“It’s unacceptable that relevant countries, in disregard of the constructive suggestions of amendment, obstinately pushed the resolution into vote,” he said.

Ukraine’s Accession To EU: Mechanism In Motion

Visiting European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that the mechanism had been set in motion in the case of Ukraine’s application for membership of the European Union (EU).

“President (Volodymyr) Zelensky has sent a letter of candidacy for Ukraine, this mechanism has been set in motion,” the EC president said in a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

According to von der Leyen, who arrived in Bucharest late Wednesday, there was no doubt that Ukraine may be part of the European family, but at present, efforts are focused on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
For his part, Iohannis pointed out that work was being done to make a humanitarian hub operational in Romania as soon as possible where international donations to Ukraine would be collected and shipped.

Japan To Freeze Assets Of 4 More Russian Banks

Japan will freeze assets held by four more Russian banks in another round of sanctions in response to Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Thursday.

Japan’s latest round of sanctions followed the announcement by members of the European Union (EU) on Wednesday to exclude seven Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, the main system underpinning global financial transactions.

In a statement, SWIFT said that it would disconnect the seven Russian banks from its network on March 12, as per EU regulations.

“Japan supports the EU’s decision and will firmly implement sanctions with other Group of Seven members,” Suzuki told a press briefing on the matter.
In addition, the Japanese government on Thursday froze the assets of 18 additional Russian officials and seven high-ranking Belarusian officials, along with two Belarusian organizations, informed sources here confirmed.

Extent of U.S. Military Aid To Ukraine Revealed

The U.S. has drastically increased its shipments of lethal aid to Ukraine since late last year, including weapons and gear for urban combat, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, after viewing declassified accounting for transfers and sales.

According to the Pentagon’s paperwork, from as early as December Washington had been actively equipping the Kiev government with shotguns, special suits for explosive ordnance disposal and other items useful for combat in urban areas – that’s more than two months before the Russian invasion occurred.

And over the past week the deliveries of American arms to Ukraine intensified further, with Kiev getting Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems for the first time and boosting its arsenal of anti-tank Javelin missiles, among other things.

The list has illustrated the great extent to which the Biden administration “sought to prepare the Ukrainian military to wage a hybrid war against Russia,” the Washington Post added.

The delivery of weapons to Kiev is “a continuous process. We are always, always looking at what Ukraine needs, and we’ve been doing this for years now,” according to an unnamed high-ranking US defense official cited by the paper.

After the Russian incursion, “we have just accelerated our process of identifying requirements and accelerated our consultations as well with the Ukrainians, talking to them daily, as opposed to periodic meetings that we did before this crisis,” he explained.

Some $240 million out of the $350 million in lethal aid that had been approved in late February has already been supplied to Ukraine, according to a senior defense official.

This adds to around $200 million in military assistance that Washington green lighted for Ukraine in late December, sending M141 single-shot shoulder-launched rocket launchers, M500 shotguns, Mk-19 grenade launchers, M134 miniguns and other gear to the country.

U.S. Draft Plans For Government-in-exile, Guerrilla War in Ukraine, Say Reports

The U.S. and its allies are quietly working on “contingency plans” in case Russian forces succeed in their operation in Ukraine and force the current government into exile, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

The prospect of the Russian troops seizing the Ukrainian capital of Kiev has sparked “a flurry of planning” at the U.S. State Department, the media outlet has reported. Washington allegedly expects the weapons America and its allies are currently pumping into Ukraine to be used during the protracted “insurgency” war they expect to follow. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is given a role of “the pivotal force” rallying Ukrainians to continue fighting Russia, according to reports.

“We’re doing contingency planning now for every possibility,” a US administration official told the Washington Post, adding that one such possibility involves Zelensky establishing a government-in-exile in Poland.

Another part of the plan is to support what the U.S. calls a future “pro-independence” insurgency, including through supplying it with arms. Two members of the House Intelligence Committee – Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio) – are currently pushing for bipartisan legislation requiring the Biden administration to develop an insurgency support strategy, according to NBC.

“We have to make sure that they are equipped with lethal and non-lethal assistance, as well as intelligence, to fight off the Russians,” Krishnamoorthi told NBC News on Friday.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a former Marine Corps infantry officer who served in Iraq and visited Ukraine last December, advocates supplying Ukrainians with small arms, ammunition, and explosives to equip them for guerrilla fights. “Think about the kinds of things that would be used by saboteurs as opposed to an army repelling a frontal invasion,” he has told Washington Post.

The Biden administration has not made any official comments on the alleged plans to support a potential insurgency in Ukraine. According to the Washington Post, U.S. and NATO officials are wary of openly supporting such ideas out of fear of being drawn into direct confrontation with Moscow.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin already compared massive sanctions imposed by the western nations against Russia over its attack on Ukraine to a “declaration of war.” So far, the Russian military action launched on February 24 has sparked fierce condemnation in the West and saw the U.S. and its allies slapping Moscow with unprecedented sanctions targeting Russia’s finances, banking sector, aviation, and space industry.

U.S. Sends Delegation To Venezuela

Senior U.S. officials reportedly traveled to Venezuela to meet with President Nicolás Maduro’s government as Russia’s conflict with Ukraine continues. Citing multiple unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” the New York Times reported on Saturday that the meeting is the “highest-level visit” from the U.S. in years after it broke diplomatic relations with the country in 2019 and recognized pro-U.S. politician Juan Guaido as “interim” president of Venezuela over the legitimate President Nicolas Maduro.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is allegedly attempting to “separate Russia from its remaining international allies” as unnamed U.S. officials believe Moscow’s allies in Latin America “could become security threats if the standoff with Russia” over Ukraine worsens.

Former Republican Virginia Congressman Scott Taylor claimed on Friday that a Venezuelan businessman had suggested Maduro was open to discussion with the U.S., while Maduro himself said in a speech on Thursday that “the oil of Venezuela” was “available for whomever wants to produce and buy it, be it an investor from Asia, Europe or the United States.”

While the senior U.S. officials are reportedly meeting with Maduro’s government, the U.S. government still officially recognizes Guaido as the leader of Venezuela and does not recognize Maduro’s presidency as legitimate.

Big Oil’s High Price

The sale of its stake in Russia’s Rosneft could cost British oil major BP up to $25 billion in impairment charges.

Impairment charges for Shell PLC could come in at $3 billion.

BP, the British oil company, formerly one of the real giants of the industry, purchased a 19.75% stake in Rosneft. BP’s Rosneft holdings currently account for 50% of its oil reserves and a third of its global oil production.

The BP holdings are currently valued at $14 billion, but BP is also encumbered by a reported $11 billion in foreign exchange losses, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Later in the week, Bloomberg reported that BP was considering selling its interest back to Rosneft at a highly-discounted price.

The other British major, Shell, followed on Monday with its own announcement of an exit from its various Russia-connected ventures. Those holdings include the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, for which Shell contributed 10% of the €9.5 billion construction costs in the form of a loan. They also include a 27.5% stake in the Sakhalin 2 LNG plant, which is 50% owned and operated by Gazprom.

Shell also warned that its exit from its Russian investments would result in an impairment that some estimate to be as high as $3 billion.

ExxonMobil said on Tuesday that it would exit Russian projects and investments it values at $4 billion. Exxon currently operates large oil and gas production facilities at Sakhalin Island as part of a consortium that includes Rosneft. The operations there are also the site of a proposed multi-billion-dollar LNG export facility. Obviously, Exxon’s departure puts the future of that facility in doubt.

Norwegian major Equinor also said this week that it would start the process of canceling its comparatively small investments in Russian oil production, which currently amounts to about 30,000 barrels of production daily.

At the end of the day, all investments in Russia’s oil and gas sector by western companies over the last three decades must now be considered at risk. These major companies and others have provided Russia-based projects with infusions of much-needed capital and helped to enable that country to raise its national oil production to as high as 11 million barrels of oil per day.

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  1. democracy has become a joke
    the white redneck mujahideen
    says ukraine is a sovereign country and has the right to chose to be in NATO
    but sovereign iran has no right to nuclear . Hamas though elected democratically is illegal
    hezbollah elected democratically is illegal
    Jewistan has the right to not allow nuclear inspections and has the right to deny they have nuclear
    China has no right to 5g
    and the american and Nato Mullahs cannot be taken to the ICC
    for war crimes exposed by assange
    PlHUCK the
    abu ghraib and guantanamo is a movie
    illegal invasion of afghan , Iraq and Libya never happened just like slavery

  2. anaisanesse says:

    I must agree with Kudson. The media in the West allow no freedom .