Economically:

Europe:

  • Almost nine in 10 British adults say their living costs are rising

Heaping further pressure on Rishi Sunak to increase his support for those on low and middle incomes, the Office for National Statistics said a quarter of all those in its survey were struggling to pay their bills and 17% had turned to loans or borrowing on credit cards to make ends meet.

  • German businesses feel impact of rising energy prices – survey

90% of companies are ready to hike prices to counter skyrocketing costs

  • Russia urges allies to dump dollar and euro in trade

“What is happening today in the global economy and in the world gives us a hint about how we need to rebuild our logistics, industrial cooperation, in what directions we can develop our economies”

The minister added that Western Europe and the US are now experiencing hyperinflation

  • How Europe’s Main Diesel Exchange Can Help Russia Keep Exporting.

Europe’s main commodities futures exchange is offering an anonymized conduit for Russian diesel to be supplied into the continent’s oil trading hub.

Sanctions are now being bypassed in sneaky ways, rather than revoke them and risk public backlash, or pressure from other countries or even the US. Europe’s knee is beginning to bend.

Asia and Oceania:

  • Russia poised to exploit Mongolia on Soyuz–Vostok pipeline. Interesting, if short, article on an underreported country in western media. Notably, it says that construction on the newest pipeline from Russia to Asia will begin in 2024, so it looks like the timelines of Russia’s and Europe’s major gas market changes are coinciding.
  • Russia is actively switching to settlements in national currencies with Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  • Pakistan Asks IMF to Pour in More Funds Amid Khan-Led Protests
  • China makes signing FTA a condition for helping Sri Lanka
  • With no jobs, millions of Indians are exiting the labour force

Frustrated with the lack of good jobs, more than half of the 900 million Indians of working age no longer want one.

North America:

  • Biden’s Solar Plans Run Into a Chinese Wall

If Commerce ultimately agrees, then more than four-fifths of solar-module imports to the U.S. and half of all cells could suddenly be subject to steep tariffs, perhaps levied retroactively. The Solar Energy Industries Association warns of dire consequences for U.S. solar-power development — critical to Biden’s decarbonization targets — claiming that some suppliers are already backing away because of the risk.

  • With Warehouses Packed, Canada’s Logistics Industry Is Straining
  • How The Supply Chain Crisis Is Being Solved. Walmart is paying its truckers more. Absolutely incredible, out of the box thinking. I still think more pizza parties would have done it but I guess this works too.

Global:

  • Russia’s War Is Turbocharging the World’s Addiction to Coal

In Germany and Italy, coal-fired power plants that were once decommissioned are now being considered for a second life. In South Africa, more coal-laden ships are embarking on what’s typically a quiet route around the Cape of Good Hope toward Europe. Coal burning in the U.S. is in the midst of its biggest revival in a decade, while China is reopening shuttered mines and planning new ones.

Just a few months ago, negotiators arrived in Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference optimistic they could “consign coal to history.”

Europe is desperate for a way to reduce its reliance on Russia, a key supplier of fossil fuels. The EU is moving to ban Russian coal while also cranking up its overall use of the fuel as it seeks to simultaneously decrease its use of Russian natural gas.

Adding to the chaos, policymakers and companies in Japan and South Korea are also making moves to curb Russian coal imports. That will leave even more of the world looking for alternatives to the 187 million tons that Russia exported to power plants last year, which equals about 18% of the world’s thermal coal trade.


Diplomatically and Politically:

Involving Ukraine or Russia:

  • UN Security Council’s inaction on Ukraine prompts questions on reform

“The language of the Republic of China, in the in the U.N. Charter, was reinterpreted to mean that the membership moved from Taiwan to the mainland,” Scheppele said. This could be applied to Russia as well, given that the U.N. charter lists the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” as a permanent member of the Council, not Russia. This could leave room for any of the other former Soviet states to replace Russia, possibly even Ukraine, Scheppele said.

lmfao

Europe:

  • Spain announces probes into alleged spying on Catalan separatists

Announcement came after rights group claimed the phones of more than 65 Catalan leaders were hacked.

Spain will investigate itself and find no wrongdoing.

Asia and Oceania:

  • ‘Failed state’: Sri Lanka’s Buddhist leaders want gov’t to resign
  • India, EU agree to broaden ties as Ukraine war shadows talks. I think India is just gonna play both sides here, rather than being particularly committed to either the west or east.
  • Japan to send envoy to Solomons amid worry over China pact

Africa:

  • Leaders of Egypt, Jordan and UAE meet to discuss Jerusalem tensions

They also urged Israel to “stop all measures that undermine the two-state solution,” and to find a way to return to serious negotiations with the Palestinians.

South America:

  • Cuban President Holds Talks With Former President Evo Morales
  • Nicaragua withdraws from regional bloc OAS after election row

Militarily:

General news

  • The Russians Just Grabbed One Of The Ukrainians’ Rarest Tanks

The roughly 100 Bulats that Ukraine’s tank plant in Kharkiv produced starting in the 1990s never really work as advertised. Into storage they went … until the Ukrainian army apparently got desperate enough to send some of them to the front line.

The Ukrainians seem to have reached that point before late April, as mounting losses of armored vehicles strained the growing roster of Ukrainian brigades.

Fake news. I have been informed that Ukraine actually has more tanks than Russia.

  • Will Russia Win the War for the Donbas? Not much here that we don’t already know, just a mini-summary of how things have been going in the east and the south. I was drawn to this line, though:

As Russian forces gear up for an eastern offensive that both sides say will be decisive to the course of the war, the prospects for meaningful peace talks to end the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe since 1945 appear dimmer than ever.

Yugoslavia would like a word. Well, maybe the refugee crisis tops it.

  • In a similar vein, Financial Times: The battle for Donbas: ‘the real test of this war’
  • The Italian prime minister said that he would give Ukraine M109 and PzH 2000
  • US announces a further $700 million in military aid.
  • If Russia waged full-scale war in Ukraine, it would have been over long ago — Duma speaker

This is a special military operation. If Russia were fighting a full-scale war, it would have been over long ago. This would have happened if we used the United States’ customary carpet bombings and scorched land tactics, repeatedly employed by ‘the world’s most democratic Air Force’ in Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq and Syria”

  • The Russian Aerospace Forces today/yesterday(?) hit 56 Ukrainian military facilities, including a fuel storage facility in the Kharkiv region, killing up to 160 personnel. During the night, the missile forces delivered 19 strikes, destroyed: four command posts, three ammunition depots, more than 240 personnel. Russia reports that the S-500 (Prometheus) air defense system has already been put into mass production.

Northern Ukraine:

  • The Guardian reports that many if not most of the dead civilians in Bucha were killed by artillery, and that the artillery used flechette rounds that Ukraine widely used in the Donbass war.

Western Ukraine:

Eastern Ukraine:

  • An oil depot in Bryansk, Russia, went up in flames today.
  • The situation is getting harder to follow but Russia continues to make advances as far as I can tell.
  • UK intelligence suggests that a general offensive will begin within 72 hours. A reminder - we’re seeing the beginning of Phase 2, not, so far, a general offensive. Phase 1 also began with a series of bombardments and missile strikes on Ukrainian airports and positions, etc. Russia has spent the last week or so bombarding the everloving shit out of Ukrainian positions and making advances, though not terribly large ones. If the UK is correct then we might see some very serious action quite soon.

Southern Ukraine:

  • Russian telegram says that in the near future, there will be an attack on Kryvyi Rih, with Russian forces in Kherson forming a “powerful armored fist”.

Dipshittery and Cope:

  • The Russians appear ready to repeat Germany’s mistake

In his April 20 op-ed, “As the fight shifts east, a race against time to arm Ukraine,” David Ignatius wrote that the Soviet encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad will be Russia’s model for defeating Ukrainian forces in Donbas, Ukraine. More likely, Moscow’s offensive will replicate Operation Citadel, Germany’s failed attempt to recover the strategic initiative after the Stalingrad debacle. The Germans were stopped with massive losses after less than two weeks. Germany never recovered.

With up to 80 tactical battalion groups and supporting elements, perhaps totaling 120,000 troops, Russian forces are too weak to successfully encircle Donbas. Perhaps most important, the Russians simply lack the quality to successfully conduct a battle of encirclement on the scale envisioned. They are poorly trained, led, motivated, disciplined, supplied and maintained. Their “army” is a mixed force of mercenaries, conscripts, separatists, reservists and “contract” soldiers wholly unprepared to fight as a cohesive force. The generals have demonstrated a basic incompetence at combined arms warfare and stunning tactical ineptitude. If they attempt to encircle Donbas, they likely will suffer a defeat of historic magnitude, just as Germany did 79 years ago.

Russia is experiencing historic defeats as they closer and closer to the edge of Donetsk’s and Lugansk’s borders.

  • Putin Used Conspiracy Theories Before. Now He Seems to Believe Them.

For two decades, journalists and officials, in concert with the Kremlin, have merrily spread disinformation. However far-fetched or fantastical — that the C.I.A. was plotting to oust Mr. Putin from power, for example.

Here are five of the most prevalent theories that the president has endorsed, with increasing fervor, over the past decade.

The West wants to carve up Russia’s territory

Correct. It already basically did that to the USSR.

NATO has turned Ukraine into a military camp

Mostly correct. It certainly was going to with more time.

The opposition wants to destroy Russia from within — and is backed by the West

I don’t know, seems plausible? The only opposition groups in Russia I really care about are the communist ones.

The global L.G.B.T.Q. movement is a plot against Russia.

Obviously false.

Ukraine is preparing bioweapons to use against Russia

Seems extremely plausible, especially given that China is also expressing concern over the biolabs.

  • Sorry, China. Most Americans Support Higher Prices On Your Imports.

According to a poll released this week by Morning Consult, 73% of survey respondents said they support the U.S. government using trade remedies on China to protect U.S. industries and American workers with a similar high number — 71% — supporting the trade war tariffs imposed on $250 billion worth of China imports during the Trump administration.

Even with inflation at levels not seen since the 1970s, American voters seem willing to force companies to import from elsewhere or make it locally instead.

61% of voters believe that increased imports have caused the U.S. to become dependent on China for goods that are critical to the U.S. economy and U.S. national security.

60% of voters oppose China continuing to receive Most Favored Nation trade status with the U.S. which give it a 3.4% tariff for imports.

  • Mariupol’s defences ‘on brink of collapse’, Ukraine official says. Mariupol’s defence is currently dying underground and no real threat anymore. Once again, the western media is weeks behind reality.

I Thought I’d Mention: