In which Europe swerves away from the brick wall but decides to keep going for the cliff, Russia makes significant advances on the Donbass front, the end of the McDonalds theory of global peace, and some very lazy propaganda about Azovstal.

Link back to the discussion thread.



  • Ukraine, Moldova to renew FTA agreement Bilaterals

  • Ukraine warns of draconian measures to support crashing economy RT

  • Energy Prices Soar As The UK Battles A Cost-Of-Living Crisis OilPrice

In April, the UK increased the Energy Price Cap by more than 50 percent, effectively doubling the number of fuel-stressed households overnight.

In October this year, that price cap it set to spike once again, adding yet more pressure to consumers who are struggling to pay energy bills.

  • Britons told to work more to handle cost-of-living crisis RT

  • Europe’s Economic Outlook Is Looking Bleaker By The Day OilPrice. Also: EU Revises Growth Forecast Down and Inflation Estimate Up TeleSUR

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is generating fresh headwinds that will choke the European economy, reveal official forecasts published today. Surging energy prices caused by concerns over supply security following Moscow sending troops into Ukraine are set to strain households and businesses on the Continent.

High input prices are likely to weigh on production, while elevated living costs will push spending lower than first expected.

Weaker projected activity levels led the European Commission today to downgrade its forecasts for growth in the bloc to 2.7 percent this year from four percent just a few months ago.

The downgrade came as analysts at Dutch bank ING warned a slow down in retail sales and “anti-Covid lockdowns” will result in China’s economy shrinking one percent this quarter.

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing untold suffering and destruction, but is also weighing on Europe’s economic recovery.”

“The war has led to a surge in energy prices and further disrupted supply chains, so that inflation is now set to remain higher for longer.”

The Commission now expects inflation to peak at 6.9 percent in the second quarter of this year and decline thereafter.

  • Euro zone trade plunges into record deficit in March on energy Reuters

  • Absolute record for the price of wheat in the European market – At 438.25 euros per ton CyprusMediaNet

  • German manufacturing backlog higher than ever, survey shows Reuters

  • Soaring cost of living forces Poles to change lifestyles RT

  • Financial woes rising in EU following sanctions on Russia RT

  • Germany’s RWE To Follow Kremlin’s Rubles-for-Gas Scheme OilPrice

Germany’s largest producer of power, the giant RWE utility, has opened an account to pay for Russian gas in euros, Reuters reports, which will then be converted to rubles, following European Union clarifications that essentially allow companies to follow the Kremlin’s gas-for-rubles scheme without violating sanctions.

  • EU Softens Stance in Gas Fight With Russia Bloomberg. Also: EU gives companies green light to buy gas from Russia AlJazeera

As NakedCapitalism says, this seems like the EU getting out in front of the mob and calling it a parade.

The EU softened its tone on interpreting sanctions, which should keep Russian gas flowing into the bloc. It had become clear that a number of member states couldn’t accept a cut-off. After concluding that Vladimir Putin’s decree requiring gas payments in rubles violated sanctions, the bloc’s new guidance offers companies a way to keep purchasing the fuel, even if their hard currency is later converted into rubles. The move has Berlin and Rome sighing with relief, and Italian gas giant Eni ready to open a rubles account at Gazprombank. But with the bloc’s bid to ban Russian oil stalled over Hungary’s opposition, the softer stance on gas shows that Europe’s willpower to stem the Kremlin’s cash flow may be reaching its limit.

  • EU states fail to agree on Russian oil embargo RT

  • Europe looks to Israel for natural gas RT

  • Soaring oil and gas prices help Russia more than triple its current account surplus to $96 billion, its largest in 28 years BusinessInsider

  • Brussels expects Russian economy to stabilize RT

Asia and Oceania

  • China’s Oil Demand May Rebound If Shanghai Reopens In June OilPrice

  • China Remains Against Restrictive Measures Targeting Russia TeleSUR

“China always decides its own position and policy,” Zhao Lijian said, and added: “We have always opposed the imposition of unilateral sanctions on other countries beyond the authorization of international law and the United Nations.”

According to Zhao, sanctions against Russia “are not an effective means to solve the problem, but will accelerate the spread of the Ukraine crisis and generate new and complex problems.” In this respect, the spokesman said that “China calls on all parties to do more to encourage and promote peace talks.”

  • China economy: coronavirus slowdown accelerates as retail sales, industrial production slump SCMP

  • Sri Lanka Down to Last Day of Petrol, PM Tells Crisis-Hit Nation TheWire

  • Wheat stocks in India may fall to their lowest level since ’16-17 HindustanTimes

North America

  • California Reconsidering Closure Of Its Last Nuclear Power Plant OilPrice

  • Highest Ever U.S. Gasoline Prices Aren’t Destroying Demand OilPrice

U.S. gasoline demand is not going down despite record-high gasoline prices, which have been beating previous all-time highs on a daily basis in the past two weeks.

  • Texans told to conserve energy as six power plants go offline amid heatwave Independent)

  • FDA announces it will make it easier to import some baby formulas to ease shortage CNN

  • Surging natural gas prices squeeze U.S. industrial sector Reuters


  • Failure To Implement Russian Oil Ban Could Send Oil Crashing To $65 OilPrice

  • Tin Supply Is Running Dangerously Low OilPrice

  • Moscow says G7 attempts to isolate Russia make global food crisis worse Inquirer

  • Western banks explore asset swaps as a way of exiting Russia FT

Diplomatically and Politically

Involving Ukraine or Russia

  • ‘No Other Nation Fosters Neonazism Like Ukraine’, Putin Warns TeleSUR

Once again, Putin has a horrific take. The nation that does the most to foster neo-Nazism is America, with Ukraine as a distant second.

  • Putin’s useful allies are throwing a wrench in the works CNN


  • ‘Oil Fuels War’: Greenpeace Activists Block Tanker Carrying Russian Diesel to UK CommonDreams

  • 4-day working week is coming to Belgium EUReporter

  • Yellen warns Europeans about working with China, urges unity ABC

Even as Western allies grapple with how to counter Russia’s assault on Ukraine, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Tuesday that they also must take a wary and united approach to checking China and its business practices.

“We have a common interest in incentivizing China to refrain from economic practices that have disadvantaged all of us," Yellen said in a speech to the Brussels Economic Forum.

“These practices range from those affecting trade and investment, to development and climate policies, to approaches to provide debt relief to countries facing unsustainable debt burdens,” she added.

…what? Am I parsing this wrong is this purely a mask-off moment?

“And China is more likely to respond favorably if it cannot play one of us off against the other,” she said. “The Biden administration believes that cooperation of this kind will be more effective than the unilateralism that we saw in the not-too-distant past.”

Yellen also spoke about the need to implement a global minimum tax of 15% on multinational corporations. It’s meant to deter global companies from stashing profits in countries where they pay little or no taxes.

Asia and Oceania

Is the U.S. strategy of reducing Russian and (especially) Chinese influence in Southeast Asia working? If the recent summit with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders in Washington is any indication, the answer has to be a no.

This speaks to the continued futility of a strategy of attempted exclusion in a time of greater autonomy and assertion in the region and the Global South more generally. For furthering American interests in the region, President Biden may be better served by a math lesson in addition rather than subtraction.

Much media attention after the summit was focused on the fact that the joint statement failed to condemn Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine. … The summit’s joint statement mentioned “freedom of navigation” and “open, inclusive, and rules-based regional architecture,” but did not include Washington’s pet phrase “free and open Indo-Pacific” (though President Biden used it in his media remarks.) China was not explicitly referred to in either the statement or in President Biden’s subsequent remarks. Countering illegal fishing was a key area of agreement during the summit, however— Chinese vessels have been major purveyors of this activity in the South China Sea. In that vein, the United States offered $150 million to the region, $60 million of which is to be directed toward strengthening coast guards of ASEAN states, and $40 million toward climate action.

Washington routinely stresses “ASEAN centrality” and has stated that it does not seek to force Southeast Asian states to choose between the United States and China. But Washington’s actions on the ground tell a different story.

… But the maritime disputes in the South China Sea are not a simple ASEAN v. China matter. Southeast Asian states have disagreements with each other. Taiwanese claims to the South China Sea are as sweeping as those of China’s — that is why both China and Taiwan rejected the international tribunal’s decision in the case won by the Philippines in 2016.

Over a decade, Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative has delivered major infrastructural projects that the region values, such as the Laos-China high-speed railway, multiple infrastructure projects in Brunei, metro rail in Vietnam, and others. The Quad in comparison has little to show over the five years of its second wind, apart from recent Covid vaccine deliveries to the region.

  • Marcos’ Victory Offers Washington the Chance for a Diplomatic Reset with the Philippines TheDiplomat

Marcos might not have been the ideal choice of many U.S. policymakers, but he offers the opportunity for a more stable and predictable partnership.

  • In Marcos Jr’s foreign policy, nothing will be set in stone TheStraitsTimes

Despite his family’s historical baggage that tilts him towards China, economic imperatives and institutional resistance from the military will be factors that the incoming president cannot ignore.

Middle East

  • CSTO Summit in Moscow on Military Cooperation and Biosecurity TeleSUR

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit marking the 20th anniversary of the organization, aimed to discuss deepening military cooperation and biosecurity to effectively address traditional and emerging challenges and threats, including the ones stemming from the Afghan territory.

Attending the meeting were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon.

The high level delegation sent to Abu Dhabi in the wake of Sheikh Khalifa’s death shows where the administration’s priorities are.

  • Tehran, Havana confer on expanding economic ties TehranTimes

  • Hezbollah’s coalition loses parliamentary majority in Lebanon’s first vote after uprising, financial collapse CNN


  • Angola seeks to strengthen relations with Morocco Bilaterals

  • U.S. to redeploy troops to Somalia to counter Al Shabaab AfricaNews. Also: Reversing Trump, Biden acts to deploy U.S. troops to Somalia Politico

  • Mali’s military government says it foiled countercoup attempt AlJazeera

North America

  • Canada: Complaining about gas prices only helps Putin and China Multipolarista

Their burning hatred of Putin will keep them warm at night, I’m sure.

  • “One Limited Step in the Right Direction” Cuba Responds to US TeleSUR

Today, the government of the United States announced several measures, which are positive but of a very limited scope, regarding Cuba associated to the granting of visas, regular migration, flights to Cuban provinces, remittances and adjustments to the regulations governing transactions with the non-state sector.

  • The COVID Testing Company That Missed 96% of Cases ProPublica

South America

  • Venezuelans Pay Tribute to Journalist Killed by Israel TeleSUR

  • Chile Finalizes New Draft Constitution in Bid to Bury Pinochet’s Neoliberal Legacy CommonDreams

  • Evo Morales Praises Leaders Not Attending Americas Summit TeleSUR

  • Summit Of The Americas Could Be Biden’s Foreign Policy Embarrassment PopularResistance

The grandly named Summit of the Americas is due to be held in Los Angeles next month, if the Biden administration can decide who to invite and what to talk about if they turn up. As things stand, Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina, Honduras and most of the Caribbean states have said they will not attend if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are not included.

Although Biden no longer calls them the ‘troika of tyranny’ like Trump did, the governments of these three countries are still ostracized by Washington. But in Latin America, Biden’s threat to exclude them from the party has not gone down well. While it might be Washington’s turn to host the summit, the invitation list is supposed to include every state in the two continents, regardless of political disposition. Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, one of those threatening to stay away, asked ‘how can a summit be “of America” without all the countries of America?’ He’s now been joined by several other countries calling on Biden to reconsider. Even Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro says he’s not going to Los Angeles, although this may be more to do with US criticisms of his attempts to undermine Brazil’s October elections.

  • US Commission to Go to Mexico to Negotiate the Americas Summit TeleSUR


General News

  • Russian fuel and lubricants warehouse destroyed near Chornobaivka - Pivden Operational Command Yahoo

  • U.S. Air Force says it conducted successful hypersonic weapon test Reuters

  • Russia Opens Fire On Israeli Jets Over Syria Newsweek

Russian forces may have opened fire at Israel’s jets in Syria, according to a report. The alleged attack is believed to have taken place in Syria on Friday last week, according to Israel’s Channel 13 news. Newsweek has not been able to independently verify whether the attack did take place and whether it was the act of Russian forces. The unsourced report alleges that Russia used its S-300 anti-aircraft missiles as the Israeli jets attacked targets in Northwestern Syria.

Western Ukraine

  • 10-12 cruise missiles hit a military complex which is believed to have housed a large shipment of American weapons. Looks like similar missile strikes all over the country.

Eastern Ukraine

  • Avdiivka, a prominent city similar to Popasna, has now been encircled.

  • DPR punches forward north of Avdiika, taking a village.

  • DPR breaks through the defenses of Niu-York.

  • LPR captures villages south and west of Popasna as they encircle Ukrainian stronghold positions there. Looking more and more like the Izyum advance by the week.

  • Russia reportedly captures a couple villages on/near the Izyum front, further encircling Liman.

  • “Up to 16,000 Ukrainian militants fell into the “cauldron” near Severodonetsk and Lisichansk” - assistant to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the LPR. Even the LPR knows it’s le cauldron.

  • Ukraine’s forces near Kharkiv take some villages.

Southern Ukraine

  • The Nazis in Azovstal have surrendered and have been moved to Russia and the DPR. The State Duma is considering the banning of the exchange of Nazis.

  • Despite Ukrainian Claims, Russian Navy Support Ship Appears Unharmed MaritimeExecutive

Dipshittery and Cope

  • Moon of Alabama reports today on the dipshittery and cope of western media in reaction to the Azovstal plant surrender. MoA

  • Putin’s Micromanagement of Ukraine War To Blame for Russian Failures Newsweek

Russia might have obtained a first victory of the Ukraine war on Monday, as Kyiv called a halt to its weeks-long “combat mission” to defend the Azovstal steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol. But it can’t be ignored that this hard-earned success follows nearly three long months of battling by Russian troops without obtaining any significant result.

I’m looking at the map, and… yeah, I don’t see any significant result by the Russians there.

Putin has become so involved in the war in Ukraine that he’s taking operational and tactical decisions that would normally be the responsibility of “a colonel or a brigadier,” Western military sources cited by U.K. newspapers the Guardian and The Times said.

“We think Putin and Gerasimov are involved in tactical decision-making at a level we would normally expect to be taken by a colonel or a brigadier,” the military source said, as quoted by the Guardian.

I’m pretty sure these are just opinions. Why report this? …well, the answer is obvious, but still.

  • Russian analyst says Putin regime’s missile threats against Finland are a joke Yahoo

A retired Russian colonel and current defense columnist seriously downplayed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s missile threats against Finland and openly criticized the country’s military campaign. Russian defense columnist Mikhail Khodaryonok appeared on Russian state television on Monday and offered a stunningly honest assessment of his country’s performance in its months-long invasion of Ukraine.

“The main deficiency of our military-political position is that we are in full geopolitical isolation, and however much we would hate to admit this, virtually the entire world is against us,” Khodaryonok said in a panel discussion on Russia’s state-owned television channel. Khodaryonok also urged viewers to not accept the Russian state’s narrative about the war at face value.

Honestly? I respect the grift. Good for you.

Mission Accomplished!

Here is a list of the media reactions to Azovstal, ordered from least to most cope.

  • Ukraine declares end to battle for Mariupol, ceding control of key port city to Russia. Doesn’t say “surrender”, but at least acknowledges ground reality. NBC

  • Ukrainian troops evacuate from Mariupol, ceding control to Russia. Not bad but not good, Reuters. Reuters

  • Ukraine ends Mariupol fight; some Azovstal troops taken to Russian-held areas. “Some”? “ends”? WaPo

  • Ukraine evacuates steel plant soldiers and says it has stopped fighting in an apparent surrender of Mariupol. An “apparent surrender”? BusinessInsider

  • Hundreds of besieged Ukrainian soldiers evacuated. BBC

  • More than 260 fighters, including badly wounded, evacuated from Mariupol steelworks EuroNews

  • More than 260 Ukrainian fighters evacuated from Mariupol steel works. Politico

  • Ukraine’s Zelensky on Azovstal: We hope to save ‘lives of our guys’. Cope. Inquirer

  • Azovstal commander says obeys order to save lives. Shame on you, Reuters. Reuters

  • Azov Regiment commander says theyve completed their task and wants to save lives of his subordinates. Cope. Yahoo

  • Rescue mission under way at Azovstal. Huh. BangkokPost

  • Ukraine says mission at Mariupol steel mill is complete. Cope. ABC

  • Ukrainian forces completed a ‘combat mission’ in Mariupol after hundreds were evacuated. Cope. BusinessInsider

  • Ukraine ends bloody battle for Mariupol, evacuates Azovstal fighters. Cope. WaPo

  • After 11 Weeks, Will The Mariupol Siege End With Honor Or Horror? Cope. Forbes

  • Ukraine says 264 ‘heroes’ evacuated from Azovstal steel works as Mariupol ‘combat mission’ ends. Nazi worship. Yahoo

  • ‘Our resistance is driving Russia crazy – we’re a bone stuck in Putin’s throat’. Cope. Telegraph

  • Ukraine official compares soldiers in Mariupol to Spartan warriors in ‘300’ for holding back Russia for 83 days while massively outnumbered. Holy shit, Business Insider is dying of a fucking copium overdose. Anybody here a doctor? BusinessInsider

  • A New NATO for the 21st Century. Politico

Prepare yourselves. Do some breathing exercises. Get some calming music.

As Vladimir Putin made clear in his recent Victory Day speech, the war in Ukraine will grind on for years. Even if Russia ultimately retreats, this won’t lead to a lasting peace. During the Cold War, Western Europe could confidently rely on American military power to deter Soviet aggression. This is no longer true. And Putin and his successors will continue to exploit this fact — unless and until NATO decisively reorganizes itself.

The United States and Europe are understandably wary of engaging in direct conflict with Russia, but they can still do more than provide short-term assistance to Ukraine. Now is the time to start taking steps to establish NATO as a credible force for the defense of Western democracy in the 21st century. Bold measures are required, including dramatically revising the NATO treaty, raising an army in Europe and even expelling countries who have betrayed their democratic commitments. But it’s the best way to deter the Kremlin and ultimately avoid more brutal wars in the future.

European democracies have resisted this path in the past, but the only realistic response to the attack on Ukraine is to construct their own powerful army as part of a reorganized NATO. The Ukraine tragedy has generated dramatic increases in European defense budgets, but this is only the first step toward building a large and permanent fighting force that could take the field against future Russian invasions of NATO members in the Baltic — or Finland or Sweden once they join the alliance. While the Europeans can continue to rely on American air and naval power, they themselves must be prepared to take the leading role in their own defense on the ground.

This won’t happen unless Europeans rapidly commit themselves to a concrete action plan that requires each NATO member to fulfill strong and specific military obligations on an annual basis. No less important, governments must place their troops under the control of a unified command structure. If each country sends its fighters into the field under its own national commander, their separate forces would be overwhelmed by coordinated Russian assaults, especially in an era of lightning-fast weapons.

Oh, come on. Russia isn’t capable of advanced military manuevres, as you’ve repeatedly claimed! We’ve all done the skull measurements! Why do you need a massive army if the Russian military is so utterly incompetent and underequipped?

Anyway, it goes on for a bit, then:

Here is where Joe Biden can play a crucial role. He should not only publicly encourage Macron and von der Leyen to begin the hard bargaining required to enact the dramatic revisions to EU law required before a European army can become a reality. Since the reorganization of NATO also requires America’s consent to treaty revisions, Biden should immediately announce his strong support for the necessary changes.

Normally, of course, it is virtually impossible to win the two-thirds Senate majority needed for treaty revisions. The Ukraine bloodbath, however, has dramatically transformed the political situation. With Macron and von der Leyen embarking on their own intensive efforts to reconstruct NATO, Biden will be in a strong position to gain the bipartisan support of a supermajority — especially since the Europeans are now prepared, at long last, to pay their fair share of the overall defense effort.

Even with America’s help, their success is by no means assured. At best, it will take a year or two of wheeling-and-dealing before EU leaders can gain the legal authority to develop a concrete action program and assure its effective enforcement in each of the states of the European Union. Nevertheless, there will never be a better time to make this effort — and if it succeeds, Putin and his successors will confront a decisive deterrent.

I don’t understand how this deterrent is going to be any more effective than what you currently have. Like, Putin knows he cannot invade Europe or risk the end of global human civilization, obviously his own included. Why would doubling the army size or whatever make any difference whatsoever. You can’t really sanction Russia any harder than you’re already doing unless you’re willing to literally just commit national industrial suicide and do energy rationing for years.

Seventy-five years later, it is painfully apparent that some NATO countries are working to destroy freedom rather than strengthen it. Turkey is the most obvious example. Over the past decade, it has been transformed into an authoritarian state by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Worse yet, Erdoğan sent his army to help Syria’s despotic regime fight NATO’s troops — battling against the very alliance he and his predecessors had pledged to support. Since Turkey is neither a reliable ally nor a defender of “free institutions,” Biden and the Senate should refuse to sign a treaty that continues to recognize it as a NATO member.

Hungary is a tougher case. Like Erdoğan, Viktor Orbán has used his time in office to create an “illiberal democracy,” which decisively undermines NATO’s founding commitment to freedom.

Those tens of thousands of dead people in Yugoslavia are feeling real free right now.

At the very least, Biden should insist that Hungary be suspended from NATO until it can credibly reestablish that it has dramatically changed course and is on the way to rebuilding its “free institutions.”

“Viktor, you’re getting kicked out of the treehouse AND the big boy’s club unless you play nicer!” Awesome deterrent.

Indeed, von der Leyen is already leading the commission down a rarely invoked path that would strip Hungary of the billion-dollar EU subsidies its government receives — which Orbán now uses as a slush fund to sustain his dictatorial ambitions.

There’s been several articles already about how sanctions don’t work against authoritarian countries. They’ve tried nothing and they’re all out of ideas.

The challenges ahead are extraordinary. But the reconstruction of NATO not only represents the West’s best chance to prevent future Russian aggression. It also offers an opportunity for the United States and Europe to revitalize the great Enlightenment tradition of liberal democracy against the nationalist demagogues seeking to destroy it on both sides of the Atlantic.


  • The death of the McDonald’s peace theory, a dark day for capitalism CNN

I present this with no comment.

McDonald’s in Russia was supposed to change the world.

It was a tectonic shift in world affairs when McDonald’s opened its first store in Russia in January 1990.

“Granted that a Western hamburger emporium in Moscow has all the intrinsic appeal of an ice cream stand in hell,” the skeptical-sounding CNN correspondent Richard Blystone said from Moscow in 1990.

He marked the world-changing occasion and noted Russians used to dining in state-subsidized restaurants were shocked by the efficiency of mass-produced burgers and baffled by the promise of “service with a smile.”

If you bought into the triumph of Western culture over Soviet Communism and the promise of “burger diplomacy” – and who didn’t in the early 1990s – you might have wondered back then if NATO was no longer necessary.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed to stand up to the Soviet Union and stop the spread of communism. Now, it’s the era of Big Macs as symbols of global peace that is officially over.

In an email announcing the company would be “‘de-Arching’ a major market” for the first time in its history and completely exit Russia, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski noted that its existence in the country carried importance bigger than its burgers.

“In fact, hope is what brought McDonald’s to the Russian market 32 years ago,” Kempczinski said in his email, which is worth reading. “Hope for a country that was opening itself to the world after decades of isolation. Hope that the world was becoming a little more connected – and that being able to get the same Big Mac in Moscow that you got in Chicago was a tangible (and tasty) symbol of our growing connection.”

That hope and promise, he argued, is now impossible to imagine after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • China’s struggles delight some – but should make us all nervous Guardian


  • The Chinese Dimension of Russia’s Coal Business in a New Environment NEO

Various projects to do away with coal and switch to other fuels that emit less combustion gases have long been discussed in developed countries. Some experts have even begun to predict the imminent demise of the entire global coal industry. One of the reasons for these forecasts has been statements by China, the world’s main coal consumer, that it also wants to reduce its use of coal as much as possible, along with Western countries.

However, despite all these claims, coal is still the cheapest and most transportable fuel, which no country with a developed industry can do without. The global coal trade continues to grow, generating good revenues for its main suppliers, including Russia.

Although China is not an ally of the West, Russian coal exports to the Celestial Empire are also on the decline, as Chinese banks have reduced funding for related operations for fear of Western sanctions. The disconnection of a number of Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system and the fact that most of the coal purchase contracts were in dollars also played a role: the Chinese side has had difficulty making payments.

Some pro-Western media have concluded that the Russian coal industry has suffered serious damage, that trade with China will not compensate for this damage, and that coal exports may not recover to their previous levels. However, such conclusions are rather premature.

  • Cutting air pollution emissions would save 50,000 US lives, $600 billion each year ScienceDaily

  • Study Finds Many Existing Oil and Gas Sites Must Be Shut Down to Avert Climate Disaster CommonDreams

I Thought I’d Mention

  • Margaret Thatcher statue egged within hours of it being installed Guardian

Link back to the discussion thread.