• Spain’s Switch to Latin American Grain Offsets Ukraine War Impact
  • Swedish Economy Contracts as Price Hikes Start to Bite
  • Uniper, the largest importer of Russian gas to Germany, will transfer payments for Russian gas to a Russian bank.
  • German pool temperatures are being lowered to save electricity, with the councils saying that “guests just have to swim a little faster”.
  • Supplies to Spain might be cut off, Algeria warns

Algeria, which boasts Africa’s second biggest gas reserves, has announced it will stop gas deliveries to Spain if energy is then transferred to a “third destination.” The warning follows a recent decision by Madrid to provide gas to the North African nation’s neighbor and regional rival, Morocco.

  • Apparently several dozen districts in Poland are without a gas supply.
  • Poland is buying 30 mcm of natural gas per day from Germany. I’m not sure how this squares with the recent claim by their energy minister that they will be fine without gas. -Moldova says no alternative to Russian gas.

Moldova’s contract with Gazprom expires on May 1. In order for it to be prolonged, the country has to complete an audit of its huge debt for earlier gas deliveries before the Russian side. But Chisinau is unlikely to meet the deadline, having claimed earlier that the conflict in Ukraine has prevented it from hiring a foreign auditor to do the job. According to Gazprom, Moldovagas owes it some $709 million.

Earlier this month, Moldova addressed Gazprom in order to get a respite so that deliveries would continue despite the debt issue remaining unsettled.

Hasn’t Moldova basically spent the last two months pissing off Russia?

  • Bulgarian producers demand to negotiate with Gazprom and restore gas supplies. They also demand to freeze the prices of natural gas and introduce new taxes on the excess profits of fuel companies.
  • Bulgarians want Russian gas back

Earlier in the day, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that Bulgaria has enough gas supplies to last more than one month should nothing change, stressing that Sofia would not accept Russia’s terms on exports of gas.

  • Slovakia confirms that it has opened a ruble bank account, as has Hungary. I believe Serbia and Moldova are also going with the gas-for-ruble scheme, though the latter may or may not get it.
  • Lithuanian Railways will dismiss 2000 workers due to sanctions against Russia and Belarus, due to the loss of millions of tons of transit cargo. There were a total of ~9000 workers in the corporation.
  • Germany top buyer of Russian energy since war began. Also: Europe has bought $46 billion worth of Russian energy since the Ukraine war began

A study published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air calculates that Russia has earned 63 billion euros ($66.5 billion) from fossil fuel exports since Feb. 24, the date Russian troops attacked Ukraine.

  • Germany says it’s ready to stop buying Russian oil, paving the way for the EU to impose a full embargo

In a Wednesday meeting, German representatives said they would pull back their prior objections to a full Russian oil embargo, as long as Berlin would have time to find alternatives to Russian supplies.

  • Sweden is seeking cash for combat supplies it sent to Ukraine, wants compensation from EU.

Asia and Oceania:

  • Indonesia’s ban on exporting palm oil begins today. Ironically, with the sunflower oil shortage, Europe had began importing palm oil.
  • Nepal’s government imposes a ban on the import of some products for a few months due to rising import costs.
  • Iran, EAEU bloc continue free trade deal talks in Russia

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) have held a fresh round of talks aimed at finalizing a free trade agreement that could lead to a major expansion in economic exchanges between the two sides.

  • S. Korea presses US to ratify key international labor conventions
  • India looks to scoop up offloaded Western assets in Russia – media

New Delhi reportedly wants to purchase BP’s stake in Rosneft, as well as Exxon’s in the Sakhalin 1 project

  • Heat wave in India threatens residents and crucial wheat harvest. Also: Record temperatures in India are causing toxic landfills to burst into flames


  • Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry pledges to end child labor and deforestation

The bulk of Zimbabwe’s flue-cured tobacco crop comes from more than 100,000 small-scale Black farmers. Small-scale farmers produced about 63% of the total crop of over 200 000 tons sold last year sold last year.

However, it is common for children as young as five to work in the fields with their parents to help meet family costs. A 2018 report by Human Rights Watch stated that children on Zimbabwean tobacco farms “work in hazardous conditions, performing tasks that threaten their health and safety or interfere with their education.”

Almost a month into Zimbabwe’s 2022 tobacco selling season, one of the priorities is to fight deforestation and child labor. Africa’s biggest tobacco grower and one of the world’s top exporters pledged to make the industry more sustainable.

  • IMF: Rising food and fuel prices stoke risk of unrest in Africa

North America:

  • Hawaii’s oil-dependent economy is being battered by Russia’s war
  • Meta’s profits crash by 21% in 2022’s first quarter.
  • US economy hit by unexpected slowdown, but don’t freak out

The country’s GDP shrank 1.4% in the first quarter, data shows

“The first quarter was not as bad as it looks at first glance,” Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica Bank, told Fortune. “Despite a decline in real GDP, it wasn’t a recessionary quarter: GDP fell and was much weaker than expected, but consumer spending growth was solid and fixed investment growth robust.”

  • Business group blasts Mexico’s new lithium law as violating trade deal

The business group said it recognized that Mexico’s constitution already declares that all mineral resources belong to the nation.

“But that recognition shouldn’t be confused with the rights of Mexican and foreign investors to participate, by way of concessions, in economic activity related to exploration, exploitation and production of mineral resources,” according to the statement.

South America:

  • Costa Rica Sets Program To Seal Gender Gaps In Financial Sector
  • The Bolivian Government Agrees to Wage Increases

On Wednesday night, President Luis Arce announced that he will increase the “national minimum wage” by 4 percent and the “basic wage” by 3 percent. This announcement is made after several hours of negotiations with the Bolivian Workers' Center (COB).


China’s stringent rules to curb Covid-19 are about to unleash another wave of summer chaos on supply chains between Asia, the U.S. and Europe.

Diplomatically and Politically:

Involving Ukraine or Russia:

  • The Ministry of Construction of Russia intends to help restore Mariupol, and are already working in the city to survey destruction and draw up restoration plans.
  • The Kherson region will enter a 4 month transition period from May 1st where the ruble will be phased in and the hryvnia will be phased out.
  • Massive fuel shortages in Odessa; residents share photos of closed gas stations.
  • Lukashenko: “Minsk and Moscow are building a union of sovereign states, to which other republics of the former USSR may want to join in the future”
  • Lukashenko believes that the Union State of Belarus and Russia may attract other countries.
  • The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence is saying that Poland could deploy troops in western Ukraine under the pretext of protecting them from Russia. This would be without a NATO mandate, but with the participation of “willing states”, but Poland has not yet been able to put together a coalition on board with this plan.
  • Poland declares that they will be doing military exercises in the north and east of the country.
  • Zelensky says that Bulgaria will take part in the restoration of southern Ukraine. If you missed it: Zelensky also said the same to Sweden, and the Swedes were surprised and had to do a “well, that sounds very interesting, we shall see what we can do to fulfil this request…” deflection.
  • Jacobin: Transnistria Has Soviet Flags, but Its Oligarchs Want to Trade With the West


  • Foreign Minister Liz Truss warned Beijing that it must “play by the rules.” Otherwise, sanctions like anti-Russian ones will be imposed against it. “China is not impenetrable, and its rise is not inevitable,” she said. “It won’t continue to grow if it doesn’t play by the rules. China needs trade with the G7 countries. We represent about half of the global economy. And we can make a choice,” Truss said.
  • Liz Truss also says that NATO should arm Taiwan like they did Ukraine.
  • Sweden refuses to hold a referendum on joining NATO, plans on just joining it.
  • NATO Secretary Offers Quick Admission for Finland and Sweden

“We know that their armed forces meet NATO standards, are interoperable with NATO forces. We train together, we exercise together and we have also worked together with Finland and Sweden in many different missions and operations,” Stoltenberg said.

Sounds like they’re already basically in it, lol

  • Jacobin: The French Left Is Uniting Around Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Radical Agenda

For much of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, the French left has been badly divided. In April, this culminated in a nightmarish string of individual presidential bids that complicated the clear front-runner Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s hopes of advancing to the runoff.

Yet today, a tectonic shift is underway: for the various left-wing parties are moving toward an alliance for the parliamentary elections in June, with Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (LFI) the undisputed leader of the group.

Asia and Oceania:

  • Chinese Defense Minister arrives in Tehran. They discussed the expansion of strategic, defense, and security relations and ways to improve the levels of interactions between their armed forces.
  • India-US Relations and the ‘Jaishankar Doctrine’
  • Sri Lanka: Rajapaksas’ Unpopularity Surges as Debt Crisis Worsens
  • Sri Lanka trade unions strike asking president to resign
  • Turkey’s military operation causes controversy, division in Iraq
  • Iraq is on the Verge of a New Round of Political Struggle
  • Syria Pledges Due Response to Israel, Turkey, US Attacks
  • South Korean activist says he has resumed flying anti-North leaflets

Uncritical support for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea against their US-occupied lower half.


North America:

  • Lawmakers (headed by Warren) push to prevent civilian harm in US military operations
  • More than 55% of Americans believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed Russian troops to commit war crimes
  • 62% of Americans see the China-Russia partnership as a very serious problem for the US, new poll shows

The survey showed 82% of Americans have unfavorable opinions of China, including 40% who expressed “very unfavorable” views as 42% said they had “somewhat unfavorable” opinions.

  • Biden welcomes Ukrainian refugees, neglects Afghans, critics say

South America:

  • Peru govt declares state of emergency near MMG’s Las Bambas mine as stand-off continues

The Peruvian government on Wednesday declared a state of emergency near MMG Ltd’s (1208.HK) Las Bambas copper mine, where production has been halted for a week due to indigenous communities camped inside. A state of emergency suspends civil liberties such as the right to assembly and protest.


General news

  • Yesterday, the Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed 40 armored vehicles and killed 300 Ukrainian soldiers.
  • NATO is reporting that the total military assistance sent to Ukraine by NATO countries is at least $8 billion.
  • While fueling Ukraine proxy war, NATO and EU are militarizing the Balkans
  • German Defense Ministry says that while they have 350 infantry fighting vehicles, only 150 of them are combat-ready, and the situation with their helicopter is similar, so there’s very little left that Germany can give Ukraine.
  • Bloomberg: Ukraine’s Forces Get Boost From Arsenal of Old-Fashioned Artillery

So this one isn’t the Arsenal of Democracy?

  • Britain says Russia’s Black Sea fleet retains ability to strike Ukraine

About 20 Russian Navy vessels, including submarines, are in the Black Sea operational zone, the ministry said on Twitter.

  • Biden seeks $33 billion more for Ukraine

“The Administration is requesting $20.4 billion in additional security and military assistance for Ukraine and for U.S. efforts to strengthen European security in cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in the region,” the white House said in a statement.

Northern Ukraine:

  • Missile strike on a factory in Kiev which produces ammo.
  • Missile strike on Zhuliany airport in Kiev.

Western Ukraine:

  • The US has an intelligence center in Lviv in which Americans work with General Staff officers to get information from planes, UAVs, and satellites.

Eastern Ukraine:

  • Russia takes the villages of Spivakivka, Zavody, and Zarichne. Battles continue as Russia slowly gains control of Rubizhne, Pospasnaya, and Maryinka; there is footage of lots of dead Ukrainian soldiers coming out of those areas. Perhaps a WW1-style meat grinder, though with much fewer overall deaths.
  • Russia shoots down a Su-24 near Nikolaevka. I like to imagine it’s the same pilot getting shot down every time this happens and then ejecting and trying again a few days later - the Ukrainian John McCain.
  • Russia is saying they show down a Ukrainian missile aimed at a hospital in Izyum.
  • Meanwhile, the DPR is shelled, killing 5 people.
  • The DPR is saying that they have 3000 Ukrainian prisoners, and can hold up to 10,000.
  • DPR says that they were able to penetrate the defense of Ukraine between Avdiivka and Gorlovka and are expanding their foothold. The difficulties so far have been due to the numerical superiority of the Ukrainian forces - in total, there’s approximately 3 Ukrainian soldiers for every Russian or DPR/LPR soldier; possibly even higher due to conscription. So attritional wars will not work - you need clever and quick manuevering.

Southern Ukraine:

  • Looks like yesterday’s Ukrainian missile attack on Kherson was actually several - Russia is saying 12 high-power MLRS shells and 2 Tochka-U missiles, all shot down.

  • Forbes: Russia Further Sows Justification For Potential Transnistria Offensive As Ukraine Warns Of ‘False-Flag’ Operation. Probably dipshittery but I don’t wanna put it there and then Russia invades and then I’m owned.

  • Russian media: Here’s what I found at the reported ‘mass grave’ near Mariupol

I went to the site in question and found no mass graves.

While walking around the site, two men responsible for burials arrived, and when presented with the former mayor’s accusations of mass graves they vehemently rejected the claims. “This is not a mass grave and no one is throwing bodies into a pit,” one told me.

That’s exactly what somebody who was digging a mass grave and was throwing bodies into a pit would say!

Meanwhile, as Roman noted while walking, mass graves is something Ukraine has previously been accused of. He cited DPR leader Denis Pushilin as having stated that at least 300 such sites have been discovered since 2014.

He also spoke of what he witnessed. “In 2014 or 2015, mass graves were discovered as Azov or Aidar fighters retreated from the Donetsk region. I even saw a woman, she was dug up, she had her arms tied behind her back, she was in the late stages of pregnancy and she had a hole in her head, so that means she was executed.”

Dipshittery, Cope, and Acceptance:

  • Coronavirus: China urged to be ‘more precise and scientific’ with controls as economic toll mounts

“Pandemic controls require people to stay put, but economic development requires mobility. The flow of production factors are the presumptions for growth,” said Yang Weimin, deputy director of the economic affairs committee under the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body.

Another government adviser in Beijing, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that local officials are prioritising zero-Covid. “Have you ever seen officials dismissed because of poor economic conditions? [Right now] they are dismissed only because of the failure to control the outbreaks,” the adviser said.

  • UN secretary general describes war in Ukraine as ‘absurdity’ in 21st century

“There is no way a war can be acceptable in the 21st century.”

  • Julian Ropcke, who works for the German newspaper Bild, says:

Today is another grim day for Ukraine. And as much as I understand your anger, dear Ukrainians, I’m gonna report what’s happening, not what you would like to happen. Better times will come, hopefully. But right now, Russia is crushing the Ukrainian defense in many areas.

And then:

Seeing that Russian propagandists are using this tweet to claim, “even Germans know, Ukraine will lose”. Actually, nope. Ukraine will win this war. These are the last (maybe 30) days of Russian advances. The Russian army will be defeated inside Ukraine, if Kyiv keeps fighting.

  • Lloyd Austin is right. Russia must be weakened.

Putin officials have now begun to whine that this is a “proxy” war, fanning the Russian paranoia that the West is out to encircle and destroy Russia. Well, this certainly is a proxy war insofar as the United States is supporting Ukraine as it fights on the front lines for self-determination and democracy.

But Putin gets one thing very wrong: True to NATO’s mission as a defensive alliance, the West did not initiate the war in Ukraine. The conflict was one of choice. Putin and Putin alone brought on the ferocious response from the West, just as Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union provoked a mammoth response that eventually helped destroy the invaders.

Putin has already failed in his objective and hobbled his own country. For that, the brave Ukrainians and the Biden administration deserve ample credit.

  • Ukraine has a right to fight for its survival, but the US can’t take on unlimited risk to help it do so

According to Sullivan, “we believe our job is to support the Ukrainians. They’ll set the military objectives, the objectives at the bargaining table … we’re not going to define the outcome of this for them. That is up for them to define and us to support them in.” This idea is wrong and potentially dangerous. For the sake of both national interest and basic prudence, no country should delegate its Ukraine policy to Ukraine.

The US can manage the escalation risks in Ukraine. But the same US, as the key enabler of Ukraine’s defense, can and must have a say in when and how this war ends.

  • Where Is Ukraine’s Southern Counteroffensive?

Russian troops marched into Kherson on March 2 following more than a week of bitter fighting. From that moment, supporters of a free Ukraine counted the days until Kyiv could organize a counteroffensive aimed at liberating the city of 280,000.

That day hasn’t yet come. Russian troops haven’t managed to advance much farther west than Kherson. But Ukrainian troops haven’t succeeded in pushing very far east, either.

… the Russians were under-supplied and incompetently led, and the Ukrainians fought harder than anyone outside of Ukraine expected they would. The Russian 49th Combined Arms Army’s advance ground to a halt outside Mykolaiv, 30 miles northwest of Kherson.

In the six weeks since then, Russia’s northern front around Kyiv has collapsed. Having lost 10,000 or more troops and a fifth of its 125 battalion tactical groups, the Kremlin dialed back its war aims.

The lack of progress by either army makes sense. The Russians are exhausted. The Ukrainians have mobilized their substantial reserves but haven’t yet armed them with the hundreds of armored vehicles and artillery pieces the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Poland and other countries have donated.

Unless and until the 5th Tank rolls east from Odessa, the 28th Mech and other Ukrainian formations around Mykolaiv might not have enough firepower to advance on Kherson.

  • The Russian Gas Ban On Poland, Is It Blackmail Or A Step Toward A Solution For The War In Ukraine.

If the West banned all they could of Russian gas, it would reduce Russia’s export revenue by 69% of 10% of their gas export revenue — which amounts to roughly 7%. But if the West banned all they could of Russian oil (crude plus petroleum liquids), it would reduce Russia’s export revenue by 45-50% (see Figure 1) of 74% of their oil export revenue – which amounts to roughly 35%.

So while the West complains that Russia is blackmailing Poland and Bulgaria, Russia is actually moving the EU in the right direction – to ban more oil imports from Russia, which could be huge leverage in stopping this tragic war.

  • US has evidence that Russian troops in the Donbas are executing Ukrainians even as they surrender, official says

The US has evidence that Russian troops in eastern Ukraine have executed people who are trying to surrender, a top US official told the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.

“We now have credible information that a Russian military unit operating in the vicinity of Donetsk executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender, rather than take them into custody,” Beth Van Schaack, the US ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice, said in the meeting.

She did not give any more detail about what reports she was referencing.

I am so fucking tired of the US having “evidence” that they never reveal.

  • Her again:

Beth Van Schaack, the US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, said the United States has concluded Russia committed war crimes, pointing to credible reports of individuals killed execution-style, bodies showing signs of torture and “horrific accounts of sexual violence against women and girls”. She said Russia’s political and military leadership and rank and file will be held accountable.

China, which is close to Russia, said the cause of civilian deaths should be established and verified. “Any accusations should be based on facts before the full picture is clear,” a Chinese diplomat said.

Other council members — Mexico, Gabon, Ghana, Brazil, India, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates — didn’t seek to lay any blame. They said investigations need to establish the facts behind the killings and attacks.

I Thought I’d Mention:

  • There’s footage of a Ukrainian cooking and eating the human flesh of a soldier found in a destroyed tank; he thought he was eating a Russian, but the destroyed tank was Ukrainian.