For those who missed the speech, Putin announced that he is personally going to fight in Ukraine in a 100-foot tall mech with a really cool laser sword in one hand, and a absolutely massive spoon in the other.

Link back to the discussion thread.



  • G7 to phase out Russian oil, U.S. sanctions Gazprombank execs over Ukraine war Reuters

“We commit to phase out our dependency on Russian energy, including by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil. We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion,” G7 leaders said in a joint statement. “We will work together and with our partners to ensure stable and sustainable global energy supplies and affordable prices for consumers.”

  • EU’s oil embargo may benefit Russia, says Swiss analyst RT

The ban on imports of Russian crude proposed by the EU authorities will only raise Moscow’s oil revenues, according to Norbert Rucker, head of economics and next-generation research at Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer.

The impact of the ban on Russia is “debatable,” the analyst said in an interview with Swiss news outlet 20 Minuten, adding that the EU could ha

  • Russia’s Oil Revenues Are Soaring Forbes

Although the U.S. has stopped buying Russian oil, the challenge remains that Russia is one of the largest global producers and exporters of oil. There is no way to completely remove Russian oil from the market without sending oil prices much higher — perhaps to $200 a barrel.

  • Trade turnover between Russia and China up 25.9% to $51.09 bln in 4 months TASS

  • Minsk, Moscow to complete gas pricing effort for 2023 by August 1 TASS

  • Russia sanctions ‘don’t work’, says European Parliament member Clare Daly RT

An embargo on Russian oil will not stop the war or save any lives in Ukraine, a European Parliament member from Ireland, Clare Daly, has said.

“Not because I’m sorry for Russia, not because I’m on the Putin payroll, but because sanctions don’t work. They have never stopped a war,” Daly said in a speech on Friday, as quoted by the Irish Independent.

Daly, who is a member of the left-wing Independents 4 Change party, argued that “not a single Ukrainian life will be saved” by the EU’s embargo on Russian oil.

“If Europe isn’t buying it, someone else will. The ordinary people of Europe will be paying that price.”

  • Ukrainian farmers export their harvest via Romania EuroNews

With their ports blocked by the conflict, exporters are now looking to Constanta in Romania as an alternative. Trains, lorries and barges are being used to transport the goods to the strategic port city from small Danube ports such as Reni and Izmail in the southwest of Ukraine.

  • Southeast Europe’s Search For Natural Gas Supplies OilPrice

Bulgaria says it does not expect shortages. Before Russia invaded Ukraine and sent Europe’s energy markets into a tizzy, Sofia had signed a deal to import 1 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year of Azerbaijani gas through the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a network of pipelines crossing Turkey, and also via Greece through an existing pipeline as well as a second new connection due to be completed later this year.

Serbia too is expecting Azerbaijani gas to help replace Russian imports, but it will have to wait. Those deliveries will arrive through Bulgaria via an EU-funded connection agreed upon in 2018; construction finally began earlier this year and it is slated to be finished by October 2023.

But currently, Azerbaijan can only deliver a maximum of 10 bcm/year to the Balkans through the SGC, which is already operating at capacity. Most of the volume of the SGC, which continues through Greece to Albania and across the Adriatic, is earmarked for Italy and Central Europe, which will also be looking for new supplies if Moscow acts on its threats to close the taps.

For Azerbaijan to begin to meet the sudden demand, it will require the various consortia that own Azerbaijan’s Caspian fields, as well as the three pipelines that together form the SGC, to make the billions in investments needed to both boost production and increase pipeline capacity.

BP has long cautioned that expanded production at its Shah Deniz field, which currently produces all of Azerbaijan’s gas for exports, would not fill new SGC capacity.

More significant according to BP are untapped reserves around the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oil field, which BP operates and which produces the bulk of Azerbaijan’s oil exports … Even in a best-case scenario, it would take several years to begin producing – and thus be of little use in the current Russia-inspired gas crisis.

There is one other option that industry analysts are watching, one that does not require any new infrastructure. … Azerbaijan last December concluded a gas swap agreement with Turkmenistan. While not a huge volume, that could meet demand in some Balkan states. Most importantly, it is technically simple and potentially quick.

  • IKEA stores owner Ingka to pay Russia staff through August Reuters

  • Britain’s Biggest Bank Is Caught in the U.S.-China Crossfire Bloomberg

For years, HSBC Holdings Plc and Ping An Insurance Group Co. enjoyed a cozy relationship, from the turns they took financially backing each other to the easy rapport between their influential chairmen.

That’s why shock rippled through the top ranks of the $3 trillion British bank when it emerged the firm’s biggest shareholder was pushing for the most dramatic split in banking history.

Ping An, led by Peter Ma, is urging HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker to consider options including breaking the firm apart and listing its Asian operations separately on the stock market. In a recent private memo, the Chinese financial giant enumerated a litany of perceived management failures at HSBC, from underwhelming returns to swelling costs.

  • UK introduces 35% duties on Russian platinum and palladium TASS

The United Kingdom will impose higher 35% duties on import of certain goods from Russia and Belarus, including platinum, palladium, and chemicals, totaling 1.4 bln pounds sterling ($1.72 bln), the government of the UK said in its statement released on Monday.

  • UK economy ‘one of the most vulnerable’ in the world right now due to mortgage trends, strategist says CNBC

Asia and Oceania

  • Philippine exports vulnerable to Russia–Ukraine war Philstar

Philippine exports are still vulnerable to the continued tension between Ukraine and Russia, even if direct trade exposure among the countries is limited, an economic research firm said.

Philippine merchandise exports to Russia was just 0.2 percent of the total in 2021.

But Rajiv Biswas, S&P Global Market Intelligence chief economist for Asia Pacific, warned that the global economic transmission effects are increasingly impacting Southeast Asian economies, including the Philippines, as the war has become more protracted.

“The indirect transmission effects from weaker growth in Western Europe are a greater vulnerability for the Philippines export sector,” Biswas said.

  • Economists see strong GDP growth for Philippines in Q1 AsiaNews

  • Major biomass power plant on track to go online by July in Phnom Penh. PhnomPenhPost

The plant aims for “100 per cent renewable thermal energy, 60 per cent reduction on CO2 emissions in production … saving 17,000 tonnes of CO2 per year”, the May 5 joint press release issued by BECIS and the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) said without providing a concrete timeframe.

  • Laos National Assembly Passes Resolution On Fuel Price Stabilization Measures LaotianTimes

According to the Resolution, dated today, measures to stabilize the fuel price will include a reduction of excise tax collected from the sale of fuels. Excise tax on diesel fuels will be reduced from 21% to 11%, while excise tax on gasoline will see a drop from 31% to 16%.

The reduction of excise tax for fuels is a temporary measure that will remain in place for three months, according to a notice issued by the National Assembly, and could be repealed should the global situation change.

  • South Korea hunts tungsten treasure in race for rare minerals Reuters

The mine in Sangdong, 180 km southeast of Seoul, is being brought back from the dead to extract the rare metal that’s found fresh value in the digital age in technologies ranging from phones and chips to electric vehicles and missiles.

“Why reopen it now after 30 years? Because it means sovereignty over natural resources,” said Lee Dong-seob, vice president of mine owner Almonty Korea Tungsten Corp.

[China] is the largest supplier of critical minerals to the United States and Europe, according to a study by the China Geological Survey in 2019. Of the 35 minerals the United States has classified as critical, China is the largest supplier of 13, including rare earth elements essential for clean-energy technologies, the study found. China is the largest source of 21 key minerals for the European Union, such as antimony used in batteries, it said.

Middle East

  • Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter, has cut prices from record highs for Asia - but not for the US BusinessInsider

Aramco cut its June selling price for its major export grade, the Arab Light crude, to $4.40 a barrel above a benchmark price for cargoes, according to Reuters, Bloomberg and S&P Global. This premium for buyers in Asia is less than half the $9.35 per barrel — an all-time high — it had set in May, the outlets reported.

Aramco also cut its June price for Arab Light crude Europe, pricing it at $2.10 a barrel above Brent crude oil — down from a premium of $4.60 in May, according to the media outlets.

Aramco’s selling price to the US was unchanged. The company declined to comment about the price moves to Insider.


From Saturday public transport has become more expensive. Bus and tram fares have gone between 25 and 40%.

The government has already invested one billion rupees to control food prices.

The government is actively consulting with economic and social actors to present the national budget to the population in a few weeks.

  • Transport Fares Go Up 20 Percent Due to Rise in Fuel Prices, Spare Parts AllAfrica

  • Global scramble for metals thrusts Africa into mining spotlight. Scramble for Africa 2. Reuters

The need to secure new sources of metals for the energy transition amid sanctions on top producer Russia has increased the Africa risk appetite for major miners, who have few alternatives to the resource-rich continent.

Companies and investors are considering projects they may have previously overlooked, while governments are also looking to Africa, anxious to ensure their countries can procure enough metals to feed an accelerating net-zero push.

  • How Chinese loans help fuel African military spending SCMP

The country has signed deals with eight countries worth a total US$3.5 billion over the past 20 years to buy equipment and build bases

North America

  • Joe Biden’s new proposal to sell off seized assets belonging to sanctioned oligarchs seems unattainable, experts say BusinessInsider

  • Americans change habits as fuel costs bite RT

About two-thirds of vehicle owners or households in the US are making significant changes to their driving patterns as the cost of gasoline keeps increasing, the latest survey carried out by Maru Public Opinion shows. According to the poll, 66% of drivers have either changed or will change their daily driving habits, if the gasoline price remains between $4.12 and $4.35 per gallon.

Out of 1,392 respondents, 34% said they will not likely change their driving habits until the price is close to $5 per gallon. Several US states, including California and Nevada, have already exceeded that level.

  • The great American consumer is navigating inflation and just may save the economy from a recession. Consume. No. No money. Just consume. CNBC

  • Biden’s trade team: RIP globalization. God, this is a long fucking article. I ain’t reading that shit. Happy for you or sorry that happened. Politico

President Joe Biden came into office hoping to chart a third way on trade — away from the economic nationalism of Donald Trump and the free-wheeling globalization that preceded him. But by the start of 2022, that agenda was on life support.

Now, Congress is rushing to pass tax credits for American-made computer chips, considering new investment rules for companies in China and, potentially, making a push for broader manufacturing incentives soon. Biden’s proposed Asian economic pact has new momentum, with key ally South Korea signing on, and European allies are taking a harder line on Beijing. The White House economic team, meanwhile, is united in its plans to sanction the Chinese economy if and when it helps Russia in Ukraine.

Biden’s State of the Union captured the mood. Outside of his declarations of support for Ukraine, the biggest applause line came when the president pledged to rebuild domestic manufacturing to decrease American reliance on China, Russia and other adversarial regimes.

“Instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America,” Biden said, to cheers from both sides of the aisle.

That agenda is a stark departure from American trade policy of the last 40 years, when both parties enacted policies that led American firms to move production abroad. The hope was globalization would lead to lower prices for Americans and democratic reforms in countries like China and Russia. But the invasion, along with the supply chain crunches of the Covid-19 pandemic, have challenged both narratives.

“We believed that the arc of history guaranteed the primacy of our free and open societies over closed authoritarian systems, and of course, we thought great power rivalry was a relic of the past,” H.R. McMaster, Trump’s former national security adviser, said during a recent media appearance with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Well, we know for sure now, because of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, that is not the case, and that China is the key enabler of Russia in this horrible war.”


  • World risks ‘worst famine since WWII’, says German minister RT

‘Millions’ could die because of the pandemic and the ongoing military action in Ukraine, Germany’s development minister believes

Diplomatically and Politically

Involving Ukraine or Russia

  • Russian US Ambassador: We Will Not Allow Resurgence of Nazism TeleSUR

  • “We do not plan to hold a referendum and create a republic. Today, based on the opportunities that we have, we will integrate as much as possible into the Russian Federation,” says the Russian head of the Kherson region. Lying, or planning annexation? Russia did annex Crimea, and Kherson is just the next region along from it.

  • Ukraine is rebuilding cities as fast as Russia destroyed them WaPo

President Volodymyr Zelensky says it will cost Ukraine at least $600 billion to rebuild what has been destroyed in Bucha and across the country during the Russian invasion. But local officials and regular citizens are not waiting for some new Marshall Plan. They are cleaning up and rebuilding their cities, even as the question of when the war will end remains unanswerable.

According to Safari, Novak will meet with Mokhber to discuss oil, gas, and financial cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

  • On WWII anniversary, Zelensky says evil has returned. What, from its bathroom break? There’s been no shortage of evil since 1945. Inquirer

  • U.S. diplomats return to Kyiv embassy on first visit since invasion Reuters

  • Lukashenko to the peoples of Western countries: “Your politicians have done a lot to make you forget to whom the world owes liberation from fascism! The Soviet soldier won World War II!”

  • Putin, as not a single person on earth expected, did not announce anything during his speech. I know, I am just as fucking shocked and distraught as you are right now. I can’t believe Putler isn’t admitting that his entire army has been destroyed for the last 70 days as the food and fuel shortages that western analysts predicted on March 1st came true.


  • UN agency chief resigns after probe into its investments ABC

Grete Faremo, a former Norwegian minister of justice and public security, had been undersecretary-general and executive director of the U.N. Office for Project Services since August 2014.

The office, headquartered in Copenhagen, says its mission is to provide “infrastructure, procurement and project management services for a more sustainable world.”

Faremo’s resignation was accepted on the day the New York Times reported that the agency made “a baffling series of financial decisions” that purportedly led to $25 million in losses.

  • Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrations in Cologne AfricaNews

About 1,000 people gathered to demonstrate against arms shipments to Ukraine and in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. A pro-Ukrainian demonstration attracted many more participants. However, the estimated 10,000 registered protesters were not reached. A large police contingent was deployed to prevent clashes between the two groups.

  • Scholz’s SPD Trounced in Ukraine-Tinged German State Election Bloomberg

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats suffered their first defeat in a regional election since he took office in December, tumbling by some 12 percentage points in the state of Schleswig-Holstein while the Christian Democratic Union gained, according to exit polls.

  • Scholz Sets Limits on Germany’s Ukraine Policy to Rally Support Bloomberg

While Europe’s largest economy will continue to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and send Kyiv heavy weapons, Germany wouldn’t sacrifice its own security in the process, Scholz said on Sunday in a rare televised address to the nation.

“We defend law and freedom,” he said in prepared remarks ahead of a speech to be broadcast later. “We support Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor. Not doing so would mean capitulating to sheer violence – and empowering the aggressor.”

The 63-year-old Social Democrat laid out four red lines in Germany’s Ukraine policy: coordinating policy and sanctions with transatlantic and European allies; military support for Ukraine can’t compromise Germany’s defensive capabilities; no sanctions or other action against the Kremlin can harm Germany more than Russia; no action that would make NATO a military participant

  • DUP to warn Boris Johnson it will stall power-sharing until Christmas Guardian

The Democratic Unionist party is to seek an urgent meeting with Boris Johnson to warn him it will stall power-sharing at Stormont until Christmas if the Northern Ireland protocol is not modified.

The ultimatum came as the UK justice secretary, Dominic Raab, pledged to do “whatever necessary” to alter the protocol, which mandates checks on goods crossing into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Asia and Oceania

  • Ushering stronger Indonesia-US post-pandemic ties JakartaPost

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), the organizing committee of Business 20 (B20) Indonesia, has just ended a business roadshow to the United States. This trip was special as it was aimed not only at enhancing bilateral economic cooperation but also to promote Indonesia’s Group of 20 (G20) presidency this year and B20 as its business engagement group.

  • Japan, Palau vow to ensure free Indo-Pacific AsiaNews

  • Pro-government supporters attack protesters in Sri Lanka SeattleTimes

  • Vietnamese PM to visit United States, United Nations from May 11-17 VietnamNews

Middle East

  • Assad meets Iran’s Khamenei in Tehran Reuters

“Today’s Syria is not what it was before the war, although there were no destructions then, but the respect and prestige of Syria is greater than before, and everyone sees this country as a power,” Khamenei told Assad, according to Iran' state TV.

Assad was able to turn the tide of Syria’s civil war, which erupted from pro-democracy protests in 2011, with crucial help from Iran’s proxy militias and Russia’s major military intervention in 2015.

  • Iran FM says diplomacy is only solution to Ukraine war TehranTimes

  • Israel plans 4,000 new settler units TehranTimes

The regime’s announcement of approving the planning and building of 3,988 settler units has alarmed human rights organizations and the international community; not for the first time.

An official with the Tel Aviv regime claims there is a “growing need” for settlements as the Israeli settlers increase in occupied Palestine in the latest bid to ethnically cleansed the Palestinian natives from their land.

  • A Yemeni political analyst and activist says that a vast majority of Yemeni people support the Palestinian cause and their rights to liberate their lands. TehranTimes

  • The West Approves Turkey’s Operation against the Kurds but Condemns Russia’s Special Operation in Ukraine NEO

North America

  • Justin Trudeau visits Irpin in Ukraine TASS

  • Cuba and Mexico Presented a Joint Declaration in Havana TeleSUR

The document signed at the Palace of the Revolution highlights the interest of both governments in promoting development in the educational, cultural, commercial and economic areas, while ratifying cooperation to face the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and other disasters or epidemics.

The Mexican Head of State, in a long speech, rejected the fact that the United States has excluded Cuba, together with Venezuela and Nicaragua, from the Summit of the Americas to be held next month in Los Angeles, California.

  • Biden to give remarks on inflation Tuesday, contrast plan with Republicans Reuters

On Tuesday Biden will lay out his plan to fight inflation and “contrast his approach with Congressional Republicans' ultra-MAGA plan to raise taxes on 75 million American families and threaten to sunset programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” the official said.

… the Biden administration is demanding non-nuclear concessions from Iran in exchange for rescinding the foreign terrorist organization designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iran is refusing, and sticking to its position that the designation be removed as part of a mutual return to compliance with the nuclear deal. If compromise options are being pursued, there is little indication that they are gaining traction.

Trump was the arsonist who tried to burn down the nuclear deal, but Biden has just lingered around the scene of the crime rather than put out the fire. The increasingly likely consequence is that he will pay the costs for the arson, in the form of a disastrous war or Iran securing a nuclear weapon.

  • Young Americans Aren’t as Woke as You Think WaPo

One of the few things that red and blue Americans can agree on in this age of pig-wrestling polarization is that the young have turned sharply to the left — not just in the sense of the natural generosity (or naivete) of youth, but in a more profound and philosophical shift towards statism.

It is easy to see why this assumption has taken root. Many young people are undoubtedly frustrated with the way the world works. Their frustration sometimes takes the form of praising “socialism.”

But a new study of younger Americans by Wake Forest University’s (gloriously named) Center for the Study of Capitalism should give us pause. … The survey comes with all the usual caveats: Polling results depend on what questions you ask and people often believe in contradictory things. Still, the results suggest, at the very least, that the attitudes of young people are not fixed in stone. Their attitudes to capitalism depend on the willingness of politicians to woo them and the ability of the economic system to generate opportunities for them.

The study demonstrates that younger Americans continue to believe in the holy trinity of competition, individual responsibility and earned success: Some 68% of younger millennials agree that “competition is good” and “stimulates people to work hard and develop new ideas,” while only 9% disagree.

Roughly two-thirds agree that “there’s nothing wrong with trying to make as much money as you honestly can.” Nearly half agree that “people who overcome all competitors on the road to success are models for young people to admire.” Some 73% of younger millennials agree with or are neutral about the idea that “people should be allowed to keep what they produce, even if there are others with greater needs,”

Asked how responsibility for post-high school education should be divided between individuals, business and government, they say 51% of responsibility belongs to individuals, 11% to business and 38% to government. Asked the same question about retirement they believe that 43% of the responsibility lies with individuals, 18% with business and 38% with government.

Only 66% of under-40s agree that “when I get what I want, it’s usually because I worked hard for it,” compared to the 78% of all Americans who said the same in the 2019 Cato study. A depressing 47% of older Gen Zs (excluding students) expect to earn less than $25,000 a year in their current jobs.

Faith in entrepreneurs is also showing signs of wear. Nearly half of all under-40s disagree with the proposition that “people at the top deserve their high position.” More younger millennials (41%) believe that Elon Musk owes his success to “advantage” than believe he earned it (38%). (LeBron James fares much better with 62% opting for “earned” and 10% for advantage.)

Nevertheless, they continue to put their faith in institutional competition rather than government activism when it comes to solving their problems. They strongly believe that large swathes of U.S. industry (notably health insurance, social media and mobile phone networks) don’t have enough competition.

There is also evidence that the old adage — if you’re not a socialist when you’re young, you’ve got no heart and if you’re not a conservative when you’re older, you’ve got no head — continues to apply. People continue to become more conservative as they accumulate resources and responsibilities. Only 20% of older millennials identified as “very liberal” compared with 26% of older Gen Zs. They were also more likely to regard religion as “very important” in their lives (28%) than older Gen Zs (22%).

What are the implications of all this? The most obvious is that younger Americans are much more like older ones than we often imagine. Instinctively more wary about government than their European cousins, they are neither the woolly-minded virtue signallers of Republican demonology nor the progressive cadres of AOC’s fantasies.

South America

  • Argentina will attend BRICS summits at China’s invitation, in step towards formal entry to the bloc. Multipolarista

  • Venezuela And Iran Deepen Cooperation To Overcome US Sanctions PopularResistance

Caracas and Tehran have agreed to build more “routes and mechanisms” to counter US sanctions and strengthen their oil industries.

  • Costa Rica’s new leader takes over with a blast at the past WaPo

Rodrigo Chaves began a four-year term as Costa Rica’s president on Sunday, taking office with a lengthy list of reproaches for his predecessor and the country’s political class while promising great change.

  • Nicolás Maduro Tries a New PR Campaign: Going Woke. Oh god. Politico

On Venezuelan state television, the American delegation was framed as a bridge-building effort between the two countries. “Venezuela is looking to strengthen ties of brotherhood and solidarity with the American people, with the activists fighting for democracy,” the state TV narrator said.

But the group of Americans sitting across from Maduro weren’t diplomats. The U.S. cut ties with the Maduro government three years ago. Rather, they were representatives of the Democratic Socialists of America — the rising American political organization that includes four House Democrats among its members. The delegates sat deferentially during the appearance and, afterward, expressed admiration for Maduro.

“Who I met is not a dictator,” tweeted Austin González, one of the delegates. “I met a humble man who cares deeply about his people.”

They visited the mausoleum for former President Hugo Chávez, the autocratic socialist who Maduro succeeded, and posed with their fists up. They even repeated the regime’s talking points about its historic opponents: Delegate Sean Estelle, for example, referred to former Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez — a social democrat who had nationalized the oil and iron industries and later became a vocal critic of Chávez — as a “right-winger.”

Venezuelan observers have noted that he increasingly relies on progressive language familiar to young Western leftists. In contrast to older bellicose speeches loaded with macho (and sometimes homophobic) imagery, Maduro is now co-opting the language of “feminism, LGBTI rights, the environment,”

The government is using a “progressive narrative as a possibility for strategic alliances,” though it’s not actually enacting progressive policies to match, says Yendri Velásquez, an LGBTQ activist who works with Amnesty International. Maduro is essentially “wokewashing” — a term usually used to describe corporations advertising the appearance of social consciousness — his government’s image.

The most extreme of this new generation of American leftists have found a home on sites like Twitter and Reddit, where Maduro’s “wokewashing” is designed to earn their retweets and upvotes. Colloquially known as “tankies,” a term originally used disparagingly to denote pro-Soviet British leftists, the members of these online communities of leftists who support foreign authoritarian regimes — many of whom decorate their profiles with a hammer and sickle or emoji flags of countries like Cuba, Venezuela and China — range from the niche to the verified, with hundreds of thousands of followers.

For Smith, the politics and economics blogger, “the new tankies have no personal connection with the old tankies” and would more appropriately be called “campists,” a term he uses to denote leftists who support certain countries only for their mere opposition to the U.S. and its allies, while disregarding the actual political situation of these countries.


General News

  • Russian high-precision weapons hit six Ukrainian weapons depots TASS

Eastern Ukraine

  • Russian forces destroy weapons from US and Western countries at Sol railway station TASS

  • LPR takes the village of Nizhne in the Popasnyansky district.

  • Footage of Russian planes flying over Popasna on their way to the Ukrainians south of the city.

  • The Ministry of Construction of Russia has begun an assessment of the costs of restoring the infrastructure of Donbass.

Southern Ukraine

  • Large Russian landing ship with signs of damage spotted in Sevastopol Yahoo

Two large landing ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet have been spotted at jetties in Sukharna Bay, which is part of the larger Bay of Sevastopol. One of them has external signs of damage.

One of the large landing ships in Sukharna Bay has visible signs of damage - large red spots on the port side. This is the colour of the primer which is applied before the coat of grey paint.

  • Ukraine trying to strike at Kherson, explosions, but air defense is apparently working. 5 missiles(?) shot down.

Dipshittery and Cope

  • Americans are stuck in an age of scarcity, and they don’t like it. WaPo

Why are Americans so gloomy about the economy? Jobs are plentiful and unemployment is back at pre-pandemic lows, yet sentiment is in the dumps. The obvious answer is that inflation is at a 40-year high and that wages largely aren’t keeping up. But there’s a deeper force at work that is fundamental to why Americans are so upset: scarcity.

Availability of products, or lack thereof, is as critical an issue as rising prices. The last time Americans experienced this phenomenon was in the 1970s, with long lines at gas stations. Today, more than two years into the pandemic, generations of Americans at a variety of income levels are encountering shortages across a much wider array of products. It is, in many ways, a new age of scarcity.

Meanwhile, Americans have been primed to focus on negatives. The past two years have been a time of massive chronic stress, as communities feared the coronavirus and had to navigate ever-changing advice for workplaces, schools and even family gatherings. This kind of sustained stress makes people more likely to focus on negative news, psychologists say.

“Once we believe the economy is in bad shape, the information we tend to look for and the evidence we remember reinforces that belief,” said Anne DePrince, a psychology professor at the University of Denver. “It reinforces the view that we don’t have control.”

There is good economic news, but until Americans can easily get ahold of what they want, too many will still feel like they’re not able to get ahead.

  • Dr. Fauci Diagnoses China’s Bad Economic Habits. As I’m writing this, I’m trying to get into a positive mental attitude to prepare myself for reading this article. Breathe in, breathe out…. Okay, here we go. Forbes

Dr. Anthony Fauci is earning himself prominent placement on any list of foreign experts China is annoyed to hear offer critiques of its “zero-Covid” debacle.

There was a time when economists called President Xi Jinping’s obsession with lockdowns a “strategy” to curb infection rates in the most populous nation. These days, they’re calling it what it really is: an overwhelming headwind damaging growth prospects for Asia’s biggest economy.

Breathe in… breathe out…

Or a “disaster,” in the words of White House medical adviser Fauci. In recent interviews with Foreign Policy magazine and German talk show Maischberger, Fauci opined that massive lockdowns of the kind in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing are fine at first to stamp out infection. But they’re the epidemiological equivalent of a tourniquet. Lockdowns and doing nothing else to improve the quality of vaccines and employ more creative mitigation won’t work.

“China did well in the beginning—it’s a disaster now,” Fauci told Foreign Policy.

Breathe in… breathe out…

And an avoidable disaster at that. As 2021 was stumbling toward 2022, geopolitical experts like Eurasia Group CEO Ian Bremmer worried Xi’s Community Party would make precisely this error. As Bremmer argued in January: China’s stubborn embrace of lockdowns is out of step with the Omicron phase of the pandemic.

“China’s zero Covid policy, which looked incredibly successful in 2020, is now fighting against a much more transmissible variant with vaccines that are only marginally effective,” Bremmer warned.

We can debate why Xi is doubling down on lockdowns. Bad headlines highlighting surging infection rates could complicate Xi’s quest for a precedent-shattering third term later this year. Bigger outbreaks could spotlight how China’s homegrown vaccinations are subpar. Xi may worry changing strategies would be seen as an admission of failure—or weakness.

But weakness is already showing up in China’s economic data. This week, Fitch Ratings cut its forecast for China’s 2022 gross domestic product to 4.3% from 4.8%. That’s well below Xi’s 5.5% target.

Nor is GDP likely to hit that level next year, says Fitch Chief Economist Brian Coulton. Fitch, he says, expects 5.2% 2023 growth “on the assumption that the government will phase out its ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ policy only gradually over the course of next year.”

Yet, as Fauci warns, hints of such a phaseout are few and far between. The problem with Omicron is that all evidence points to its current—and future—sub variants becoming increasingly transmissible. This suggests a Whack-A-Mole cycle whereby Xi’s government throttles back on lockdowns in some metropoles while racing to re-implement them in others.

Just as with personal health, bad economic habits die hard. This cycle is sure to keep China in the global headlines for all the wrong reasons. This includes another kind of “contagion” as slowing mainland growth and volatility in Shanghai shares unnerving markets everywhere.

On Covid, too, Xi appears to be working at cross purposes with what’s in the best interest of China’s huge economy and the 1.4 billion people relying on it to become more competitive and productive.

Fauci isn’t an economist. But the critique of the west’s most famous living medical doctor reminds us that Xi forgot the Hippocratic Oath of economics: first do no harm to a traumatized economy.


  • Once a zero-Covid poster child, Taiwan learns to live with the virus Guardian

The article begins by discussing the failure of Taiwan to supply adequate tests to its people, and then continues.

Once a poster child for the success of zero-Covid, Taiwan is now dealing with an “Omicron tsunami”. In response – and in stark contrast to regional neighbours – health authorities have decided zero-Covid is no match for the new variant and have flipped the switch to “living with the virus”.

Hong Kong, Taiwan and China were until now the last three major economies still clinging to zero-Covid. In Hong Kong the policy failed and the virus overwhelmed the city with disastrous results. In China, a steadfast commitment to it has produced arduous and economically damaging lockdowns, especially in Shanghai, with no end in sight. Taiwan appears to have seen both options, and decided on a third.

It’s called the “new Taiwanese model”: an acknowledgment that they can’t stop the spread of Omicron, but that they can try – to use an early pandemic-era phrase – to flatten the curve.

Cases are still rising and experts predict a peak is three weeks away, with as many as 3.5 million of Taiwan’s 24.5 million people expected to eventually be infected, and up to 16,000 dead.

So is it working? In many ways, yes.

  • Trudeau: World determined to make sure Putin loses in Ukraine Reuters

“What Putin needs to understand is that the West is absolutely determined and resolved to stand against what he is doing,”

Alright, that’s 15% of the world. What about the rest?

  • Putin’s ‘fascism and tyranny’ equal to Nazis, Ben Wallace says Guardian

Vladimir Putin and his inner political circle are “mirroring the fascism” of the Nazis through the invasion of Ukraine, the UK defence secretary will say on Monday morning ahead of the Kremlin’s annual military parade.

  • What does Putin have planned on Russia’s Victory Day? NBC

Monday is shaping up to be a pivotal day for Ukraine.

Known as Victory Day in Russia, May 9 is a national holiday commemorating the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, typically marked by an elaborate military parade in Moscow’s Red Sqaure surveyed by senior Kremlin officials.

Western officials have voiced concerns that President Vladimir Putin will use the occasion to officially declare war on Ukraine, which Russia invaded in February.

Experts say that after more than two months of thwarted offensives, Putin is left with limited options, ranging from all-out mobilization to declaring victory in the eastern Donbas region.

  • Ukraine “preparing for everything” as Putin plots next move, ambassador says CBS

Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova said Sunday that the country is “preparing for everything” as Ukraine’s military goes on heightened alert ahead of Russia’s “Victory Day,” with officials warning of possible escalation in the ongoing conflict.

“We know that there are no red lines for the regime in Moscow, so we’re preparing for everything,” Markarova said in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “They said they will not go into — that they were not going to attack us, and they did. They said that there is no war in Ukraine for the past eight years, and we know [there] was. They said they didn’t take the Crimea and they did. They said they’re not killing civilians, and yet we see everywhere the deaths of women, children. They torture them, they rape them, they kill them. So we can count that Putin and imperialistic Russia will do everything bad they can possibly try to do.”

  • Armed Forces of Ukraine make extraordinary efforts to create opportunity to deblockade Mariupol Yahoo

“As for the issue of the military deblockade of Mariupol, this is a question for the Armed Forces of Ukraine alone. If even one opportunity arises to deblockade by military means, the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will use it.

Today, the Armed Forces are making super efforts to create such an opportunity in the near future. But the question of military measures and plans is definitely not a subject for public discussion.”

“The defenders of Azovstal - the guys from Azov, the police, the border patrol service, [and] the military have become a living symbol of Ukraine. We are doing everything to save them.”

  • Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol say ‘surrender not an option’ AlJazeera

Ukrainian fighters at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southeastern city of Mariupol have vowed to continue to fight until the end, as they retain the last holdout against Russian forces in the strategic port city.

“We will continue to fight as long as we are alive to repel the Russian occupiers,” Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, told an online conference.

  • Russia’s scaled-down Victory Day parade puts focus on military’s significant losses in Ukraine, reports say Yahoo

Russia has scaled down its May 9 Victory Day military parade by almost 35%, according to Forbes.

The annual parade through Red Square, which marks the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, is usually a showpiece of Russian military power.

But Forbes reported that this year’s slimmed-down affair, due to take place on Monday, will more likely highlight the country’s military weakness in Ukraine.

There will be only 129 military vehicles and 10,000 personnel, compared to about 191 military vehicles and about 12,000 military personnel in 2021, according to information published by Russia’s Defense Ministry, per The Moscow Times.

Ukraine claims “colossal” Russian losses have taken place during their effort to fully capture the Donbas region. Numbers are difficult to verify, but some estimates have the Russian death toll since the start of the invasion at over 20,000.

Alright, I’m gonna say something absolutely fucking off-the-walls crazy here, so get ready. But… do you think that the reason why there might be fewer vehicles and soldiers there… do you think it could be because they’re being using in Ukraine, and not necessarily because they’ve all been destr– you know what, nah, that’s stupid of me. Never mind. 943 quintillion soldiers are dead, probably.

  • Ukraine will prevail as Europe did in 1945, Scholz to say in VE Day speech Guardian

  • ‘Let’s Take Out Putin’: Graham Doubles Down on Ukraine War ‘Off-Ramp’ Newsweek

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said Sunday that the goal in the ongoing Ukraine war should be to “take out” Vladimir Putin, contending that there is “no off-ramp” with the Russian president remaining in power.

On March 3, shorty after Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Graham first floated the idea of assassinating Putin during an interview with Fox News. The GOP senator put the idea forward on Twitter shortly later as well. “Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” Graham asked at the time.

“Putin must go,” he declared.

Who must go?

  • May 9 Is a Revered Day in Russia. For Many, Putin Has Hijacked It. NYT

But this year, for President Vladimir V. Putin, May 9 means something very different. Monday’s commemoration will be a lavish government-orchestrated show of Russian might and a claim of rightful dominance over a lost empire — a day to galvanize public support for the war by slandering Ukraine as a successor to Nazi Germany.

Warplanes will fly over Moscow in a “Z” formation — the symbol of support for this year’s invasion — and airborne troops who fought recently in Ukraine will parade through Red Square in their armored personnel carriers. In the Baltic navy town of Baltiysk, the local organizers of the “Immortal Regiment” march — a solemn procession of people with portraits of their World War II veteran relatives, held across the country on May 9 — are having wounded marines back from Ukraine join in.

It is a potent political strategy in a country that celebrates May 9, Victory Day, as its most important secular holiday, one that appeals to the shared sacrifice of 27 million Soviets killed in World War II. But to many Russians, Mr. Putin’s long-running politicization of the day is an assault on their identity, distorting one of the few shared experiences uniting almost all Russian families and now using it to build support for a 21st-century war of aggression.

I hate it when the day when we celebrate the destruction of German and Italian fascism at the cost of the lives of millions of communists is “politicized”. There was nothing political about the Nazis - the only political things are games with non-subservient women in them.


  • Texas: Heat crushed records Saturday and will swell northward WaPo

Temperatures as high as 112 degrees shattered records in Texas on Saturday, setting off a prolonged heat wave that will expand through much of the central United States.

Parts of Texas could see record-challenging heat in the next six days while record highs near 90 degrees could expand as far north as the Great Lakes by Thursday.

  • Without a better plan, New Zealand risks sleepwalking into a biodiversity extinction crisis TheConversation

  • The looming climate-stability crisis in South Asia ResponsibleStatecraft

  • Climate change takes China sea levels to record high, study finds SCMP

I Thought I’d Mention

  • China restricts minors from live streaming, citing need to improve their ‘physical and mental health’ SCMP

Users aged between 16 and 18 must obtain permission from their parents or guardians before doing live-streams, and minors are banned from tipping online

Link back to the discussion thread.