Coordinated Sanctions Aim at Russia’s Ability to Tap Its Oil Reserves

New York Times, By Peter Baker, Alan Cowell and James Kanter, July 29

Washington — The United States and Europe kicked off a joint effort on Tuesday intended to curb Russia’s long-term ability to develop new oil resources, taking aim at the Kremlin’s premier source of wealth and power in retaliation for its intervention in [...]

Russia Will Only Get Worse. Maybe.

Putin is on the horns of a dilemna. For the first time since the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Russia faces a severe economic crisis – after enjoying years of relative prosperity – and she has a warmongering chief executive. This is a nexus of events that will shape and define Russia for at [...]

Pentagon Plan Would Help Ukraine Target Rebel Missiles

New York Times, By David E. Sanger & Eric Schmitt, July 26

The Pentagon and American intelligence agencies are developing plans that would enable the Obama administration to provide specific locations of surface-to-air missiles controlled by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine so the Ukrainian government could target them for destruction, American officials said.

But the [...]

Stephen Cohen: Downed Malaysian Plane Raises Risk of War Between Russia and the West

Democracy Now, July 18

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 298 people has exploded and crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board. U.S. and Ukrainian officials say the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, but it is unclear who fired the missile. The plane was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur [...]

Open Source: Latest Updates on Malaysian Plane Crash in Ukraine

NYT – On Friday, Open Source continues to follow the aftermath of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in rebel-held eastern Ukraine to supplement the latest coverage of New York Times reporters on the ground.

Updates below mix breaking news reports with new information on the investigation into the disaster and the reaction to [...]

Russia launches large-scale naval drill in Black Sea same day as NATO

RT, July 4

Some 20 warships, over 20 airplanes and helicopters, as well as the marines and coast artillery are taking part in the Black Sea Fleet exercise, Russian Defense Ministry reported. The war games launched the same day as NATO’s military drill in the area.

Starting from July 4, the scheduled training maneuvers are [...]

Ukraine Says Russia Has 38,000 Troops on Border Amid ‘Invasion’

Bloomberg, By Kateryna Choursina & Daryna Krasnolutska, June 16

Russia has amassed as many as 38,000 soldiers on its borders with Ukraine and continues to supply arms and personnel to rebel forces in the eastern part of the country, Ukraine’s National Security Council chief said.

Russia has moved about 16,000 troops to Ukraine’s eastern frontier [...]

Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis worsens as tens of thousands flee combat in east

Appalling conditions force exodus from Slavyansk as daily shelling disrupts food supply.

The Guardian, By Alec Luhn, June 12

Slavyansk – Fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian militia is fuelling a worsening humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine. Tens of thousands of people are fleeing combat, most of them from the rebel capital of Slavyansk, [...]

Russia says Ukraine situation worsening, submits U.N. resolution

Reuters, By Steve Gutterman & Michelle Nichols, June 2

Moscow / UN – Russia on Monday circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution calling for humanitarian corridors in eastern Ukraine but said that Western council members raised so many questions about the text that Moscow would now contemplate what its next move would be.

The [...]

Russia to Deny United States Access to International Space Station Starting in 2020

(The Diplomat) – As U.S.-Russia relations reach their lowest point since the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s decision to annex Crimea, both sides have been keen to punish the other for what they perceive as unjustified and inappropriate behavior on the international stage. The United States has already hit several high-profile [...]

Blackwater in Eastern Ukraine?

German press (Bild am Sonntag) reports that the German secret service BND provided information about US mercenaries operating in the Eastern Ukraine. Purportedly the German government has been briefed on this almost two weeks ago (April 29th). The company that provided these soldiers for hire is identified as Academi, the latest name of the outfit [...]

Heavy Clashes In Mariupol As Ukrainian Security Forces Target Separatists

Radio Free Europe, May 9

Deadly fighting raged in the eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol after Ukrainian security forces stormed a separatist-held police station on May 9.

The Interior Ministry said some 20 “terrorists” had been killed in the battle between security forces and pro-Russian supporters.

Civil War Has Begun in Ukraine; U.S. Backs [...]

Former German Chancellor Celebrates 70th Birthday with Putin

Given the current Ukraine crisis, former German chancellor Schröder felt it was inappropriate to invite Putin to his official 70th birthday bash in Germany. So instead he opted for yet another birthday party with his friend in Saint Petersburg (link to German news article).

Putin, who is fluent in German, hugs his friend Schröder [...]

The Great Expectancy

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Pax Americana continues to crumble before our eyes. The belief that the United States has a divinely-inspired obligation to police the entire world has always been most strongly held among Americans themselves; some of the beneficiaries of this largesse, such as the Vietnamese and most recently the Iraqis, never quite showed the gratitude America felt [...]

More Ian: The Prelude to the End of the American Era

By Ian Welsh

And so it begins. Russia is not restraining the separatists, the Kiev government is finally really sending in the troops, Barack Obama and EU leaders claim they will impose real sanctions and Russia and China are set to ink a deal to export Russian Gas to China, the world’s industrial heartland.

If [...]

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