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EU’s next potential sanctions target revealed Forging High-quality Partnership For a New Era of Global Development : Xi Jinping পদ্মা সেতুর উদ্বোধন উপলক্ষে ১০০ টাকা মূল্যমানের স্মারক নোট ২৪ জুন এক নজরে বাংলাদেশ পদ্মা সেতু উদ্বোধন উপলক্ষ্যে প্রধানমন্ত্রী ও রাষ্ট্রপতির বাণী  Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons shipment Germany warns entire industries could stop due to gas shortage Japan wants more people-to-people cultural bond with Bangladesh হাওর এলাকার আশংকাজনকহারে জলাভূমি হ্রাস বন্যার ভয়াবহতা বাড়িয়ে দিচ্ছে : আইপিডি EU and NATO forming coalition ‘for war against Russia’ : Lavrov অবিলম্বে দেশে ভোজ্যতেলের দাম সমন্বয়ের দাবি ক্যাব এর ২১ জুন এক নজরে বাংলাদেশ imo steps in to facilitate flood victims LafargeHolcim signs agreement with Swisscontact Bangladesh to support waste management in MSMEs তামাকের দাম বাড়াতে মন্ত্রিপরিষদ সচিবকে ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণের সুপারিশ ৯৭ সাংসদের Prerona Foundation-Bengal Meat collaborates NATO chief ‘cannot guarantee’ membership for Finland and Sweden Energypac Sponsors 4th Dhaka Automotive Show 2022 Putin’s Global Ratings Drop to 20-Year Low : Pew Australian envoy expects Padma Bridge to enhance regional growth

US, EU inflation result of ‘unprecedented’ money-printing : Putin

Bangladesh Beyond
  • Updated on Saturday, June 4, 2022
  • 132 Impressed

US, EU inflation result of ‘unprecedented’ money-printing : Putin

 

Dhaka June 04 2022 :

 

Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by the Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on June 04 2022.

INSIDE RUSSIA

 

Putin: Europe’s ‘Stupid, Short-Sighted’ Policies Provoked Energy, Food Crises

Officials in Brussels have repeatedly blamed Moscow for spiraling energy and food costs, while simultaneously freezing joint Russian-European energy projects and rejecting Russian gas and oil deliveries. On Friday, the EU formally approved a new, sixth package of sanctions, which includes plans to gradually phase out purchases of Russian crude oil.

European politicians’ short-sightedness, not Russia, provoked the energy crisis, and Russia is ready to take necessary measures to alleviate a global food crisis, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“We see attempts to shift the blame for what is happening on the food market on Russia, but this is an attempt to pin the blame on someone else,” Putin said in an interview with Rossiya-1 on Friday. He recalled that contrary to Western politicians’ claims, problems on the global food market began during the COVID-19 pandemic, long before Russia kicked off its special military operation in Ukraine.

Putin also suggested that Ukraine’s role as a food commodity exporter is not as significant as its being made out to be by the West. “The world produces about 800 million tonnes of grain and wheat per year. Now we are told that Ukraine is ready to export 20 million tonnes. 20 million tonnes compared to the 800 million tonnes the world makes is 2.5 percent of that figure. But if we proceed from the fact that wheat makes up only 20 percent of the total food supply (and this is the reality, these are not our figures but those of the UN) this means that these 20 million tonnes of Ukrainian wheat make up 0.5 percent,” he said. He added that this “20 million tonnes” figure is the potential export figure, with Kiev’s real capabilities today below that.

Putin characterized Western countries’ decision to sanction Russian fertilizer producers as a “short-sighted, stupid and erroneous policy” which is “leading to a dead end.” He warned that due to sanctions, the situation on the world fertilizer market will worsen, with food prices subsequently expected to go up even further.

The same goes for energy, the Russian president said, noting that Western countries overestimated the possibilities of alternative sources of energy, and that Brussels’ “short-sighted” policies are behind the current price crunch.

Putin dismissed claims that Russia was supposedly trying to block the export of Ukrainian grain, calling the allegations a “bluff” and pointing out that the cheapest way to export Ukrainian grain would actually be to send them through Belarus, but that this would require the lifting of sanctions against Minsk. Kiev also still has access to ship grane up the Danube River, and through Poland, he said.

Putin called on Kiev to clear areas under its control of sea mines and deliberately sunk ships to ensure the safe export of food supplies, and indicated that Russia was finishing up work to clear areas under its control, and will be prepared to ensure the peaceful transport of goods and the entry of ships into Black and Azov Sea ports. He added that there are still dozens of foreign commercial vessels still trapped in Ukraine’s ports, and that their crews are effectively being held hostage.

The Russian president also announced that Russia is ready to increase its own wheat exports to 50 million tonnes. “In the current agricultural year of 2021-2022, we will export 37 million tonnes, and in 2022-2023 I think we will raise this to 50 million tonnes,” Putin said.

 

Medvedev dismisses claims of Russia being responsible for global food crisis

MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Western attempts to accuse Russia of creating the global food crisis are lies, as the situation started to worsen a few years ago, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview to Qatar’s Al Jazeera television.

“In order to improve food security worldwide, to optimize the food situation, we need to renounce mutual sanctions, and prices will start to decline,” Medvedev said.

Commenting on Western attempts to blame the crisis on Russia, the Russian official replied: “This is lies.”

“The food situation on the planet started to worsen about five or seven years ago,” he explained. “This was due to many reasons – macroeconomic miscalculations, bad harvests, draughts, climate changes, decisions made by some governments that sometimes were not quite right. This was when it all began.”

Russia does not want its grain to be arrested

According to the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, Russia is ready to export grain, but it must be exempt from any sanctions.

“They [Western countries] want us to export wheat, for example, so that they could arrest it afterwards, or what?” Medvedev said, describing this scenario as “impossible.”

In his words, the global food situation has worsened “as a result of sanctions imposed by the Western world.”

“They tell us to ‘go ahead and export,’ but, at the same time, our <…> commercial ships are not being serviced, and attempts are being made to seize our property,” the Russian official continued.

“The question is how we are going to transport it and whether it will be affected by sanctions. So, in this case, the ball is in their court now, in the West’s court,” Medvedev said.

Fertilizer sanctions

He also urged to lift “foolish sanctions regarding fertilizers.”

“They impose sanctions first, and then get scared and lift them. Why? Because they realize that in this situation, nothing will grow,” Medvedev said. “Those who make decisions about imposing restrictions should be guided by common sense, not rampant Russophobia, which became a common thing in the majority of [Western] countries: overseas, in the United States, and also in Europe, whose political leaders seem to be running in some sort of a competition for who is the biggest Russophobe.”

He said he had discussed those matters with international partners, including with those who have friendly relations with Moscow.

“By the way, <…> in terms of proportions, numbers and population, friendly countries surpass those that are currently hostile to our state,” the official said.

Nuclear war can’t be ruled out – ex-Russian president

Issuing a stark warning, Dmitry Medvedev said everyone must work to prevent “the end of humanity”

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said “nobody should forget” about situations that could force Russia to use nuclear weapons, but stressed that “no one wants nuclear war.”

Since the launch of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine in late February, relations between Moscow and the West have soured to the lowest levels in modern history. Russia has repeatedly warned the US and its allies that sending more weapons to Ukraine risks direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, said that while he doesn’t want to scare anyone, “when people say that something is impossible, because it is never possible, they are always wrong.” He noted that the world has already witnessed the use of nuclear weapons – and “by none other than the Americans.”

Referring to the Russian nuclear doctrine, Medvedev stated that Russia’s commander-in-chief (the president) can order a nuclear strike in several scenarios – for example, if Russia or its critical infrastructure is targeted by a nuclear strike.

“Or there might be another reason – in the event that Russia was subjected to a strike by conventional weapons, but this strike is of such a nature that it threatens the very existence of the state itself. Nobody should forget about this either,” Medvedev said.

He urged other countries to make decisions by “taking into account all the realities.”Medvedev stressed that “no one wants a nuclear war.”

This is a dead end, this is the end of humanity, and we must all do something so that a nuclear collapse never happens on Earth.

In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that the risks of nuclear war are “quite significant.”

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin blasted Lavrov’s remarks as “very dangerous and unhelpful.”

“Nobody wants to see a nuclear war happen. It’s a war where all sides lose,” Austin said.

While senior US officials, including President Joe Biden himself, insist they are not sending Ukraine weapons capable of striking Russia, it was confirmed this week that Kiev will receive HIMARS multiple rocket launchers from Washington. These systems fire barrage rockets with an effective range of around 30km, but can also deploy tactical ballistic missiles with a range of up to 300km.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Russian Soyuz Rocket Blasts Off to International Space Station

The Progress MS-20 will bring fuel, water, compressed nitrogen, and various types of equipment: on-board resource equipment, instruments and devices for spacewalks, cables, sensors, medical supplies, and clothing to the International Space Station (ISS).

Sputnik is live as a Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying the Progress 81P (MS-20) cargo spacecraft.

The spacecraft is carrying 2,500 kg of cargo to the ISS, including 599 kg of fuel, 420 litres of water in the tanks of the Rodnik system, 40 kg of compressed nitrogen in cylinders, as well as about 1,458 kg of various equipment and materials in the cargo compartment.

This will be the 173rd flight of a Progress spacecraft.

 

Russia does not mind energy cooperation with Japan, needs to keep Tokyo’s unfriendly attitude in mind – Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. June 3 (Interfax) – Russia is ready for energy cooperation with Japan but will have “to keep Tokyo’s unfriendly attitude in mind” while exploring the possibility of particular projects, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

“Regretfully, Japan, which is rather vulnerable from the angle of energy, has acted contrary to its interests and followed in the footsteps of the authors of restrictions on Russia,” Zakharova said at a press briefing on Friday.

“As a result, multiple promising projects of LNG supply, production of new types of energy, including hydrogen, and implementation of green energy technologies for the sake of climate protection, have been endangered,” she said.

“Yet again, this is the choice made by Japan, and the responsibility rests with the Japanese government. We stand ready for constructive cooperation with Japan in the energy field, as we realize our responsibility in this area,” Zakharova said.

“Clearly, we will have to keep the unfriendly stance of Tokyo in mind while making decisions on the fate of energy projects,” she said.

“The demand for energy will be growing fast in the Asia Pacific region,” Zakharova said.

“Hence, many countries are interested in using mutually advantageous cooperation with Russia to build a stable basis for reliable energy supply and to strengthen national energy security,” she said.

Russia believes “Tokyo is capable of understanding our premise correctly,” Zakharova said.

 

First cargo ship arrives in Rostov-on-Don from Mariupol since special operation began

ROSTOV-ON-DON. June 3 (Interfax) – The first cargo ship has arrived in Rostov-on-Don from the reopened Mariupol seaport, the Rostov seaport administration told Interfax.

“The ship has arrived [in the port of Rostov-on-Don], it is waiting for a commission in the roadstead,” a port representative said.

As reported earlier, a Slavutich-class cargo ship arrived in the fully demined port of Mariupol and took aboard metal before heading for Rostov-on-Don. The Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the ship’s departure from Mariupol with an escort of boats from the Novorossiysk naval base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on May 31.

The Russian military said on May 25 that the Mariupol port had resumed normal operation.

 

Russia ramps up oil output and exports – media

A full industry recovery following the sanctions will depend on successfully redirecting supplies, analysts say

Russian oil production rose by 5% last month after a sharp decline in April, the newspaper Vedomosti reported on Friday, citing an industry source.

May output amounted to 10.2 million barrels per day, up from 10 million in April but is still 2.5% down on production in May 2021.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that oil production in 2022 could drop to 480-500 million tons, from 524 million tons in 2021. According to the official, however, the government expects a gradual recovery in production by about 1 million barrels per day this month.

According to the Vedomosti report, over January-May Russian oil producers increased output by some 3.5% compared to last year to 219.9 million tons. This was led by Surgutneftegaz (up 13%), Lukoil (up 10%) and NNK (up 9%).

Oil exports rose by almost 13% to 102.7 million tons, statistics show. This comes despite some foreign oil traders being hesitant about buying Russian crude due to the risk of secondary sanctions.

The US and Britain have already placed an embargo on Russian oil, while the EU agreed on a partial ban on Thursday. Under the bloc’s sixth round of sanctions, the import of Russian oil to the EU by sea will be banned within six months. However, restrictions on imports via the Druzhba oil pipeline have been postponed. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria have been temporarily exempted from the embargo of Russian oil supplies.

To entice potential buyers, Russia has offered discounts on its oil, which, analysts say, is keeping the country’s exports attractive despite the Western ban. For instance, Russian oil exports to India jumped by nearly 25 times in May compared to last May. Exports to China also grew, rising 4% on the year in April to 6.55 million tons. Russia is behind only Saudi Arabia as China’s main source of the commodity.

Experts predict that Russian producers will continue to reorient export flows toward Asian markets in the coming months, which will ensure a further recovery in production. According to Refinitiv-compiled forecasts, Russian oil exports to India could rise to a record 900,000 barrels per day, while additional deliveries to the Chinese market could amount to up to 400,000 barrels per day as the country’s demand recovers after the recent Covid-19 lockdowns.

“If the refusal of European consumers to import sea shipments of Urals is gradual, we can safely assume that all the falling export volumes will be redirected to Asia within one and a half to two months,” Alfa-Bank senior analyst Nikita Blokhin told Vedomosti, adding that a further redirection of export flows to Asian markets will help stabilize production at the level of 10.3 million barrels per day.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

 

Russian Embassy Rejects Criticism Included in US Religious Freedom Report

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Russian Embassy in the United States has denied the US State Department’s allegations of systematic violations of religious rights in Russia.

“We would like to remind you that Russia was originally formed as a multinational and multi-confessional state. It is in the blood of Russians to build mutually respectful and tolerant relations with representatives of various ethnic groups and religions,” the embassy said in a statement on Telegram.

“Protecting the rights of believers is our absolute priority. We have no religious persecution.”

The embassy said that the usual reproaches included in the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report released on Thursday reflect Washington’s tendency to “arrogantly label” certain countries in order to have an excuse to interfere in their internal affairs.

The Russian embassy accused the US of provoking sectarian tensions in the countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and the former Yugoslavia for the sake of its geopolitical interests.

“Such actions have always led to conflicts and numerous victims,” the embassy stressed.

On Friday, India rejected the criticism included in the US State Department’s annual report on religious freedom, saying that it reflected Washington’s biased views.

 

OUTSIDE RUSSIA

US, EU inflation result of ‘unprecedented’ money-printing – Putin

The Russian leader pointed to the US “printing press” and EU “green energy” policies

Inflation in the US is a consequence of mistakes by American financial authorities, which they admitted to, while in the EU it has more to do with short-sighted energy policies in Brussels, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. Either way, it has nothing to do with Moscow or its actions in Ukraine, he added.

Attempts to blame the turmoil in Ukraine for the skyrocketing cost of living in the West amount to dodging responsibility, Putin said in a TV interview that followed his meeting with the African Union head Macky Sall in Sochi.

Pretty much all governments resorted to fiscal stimulus to support the population and enterprises affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns. Russia did so “much more carefully and precisely,” without disturbing the macroeconomic picture and fueling inflation, Putin argued. In the US, by contrast, the money supply grew by 38% – by $5.9 trillion – in less than two years, in what he termed the “unprecedented output of the printing press.”

Apparently, the US financial authorities assumed that since the dollar is the world currency, as in the old days, this would dissipate throughout the world economy and would not be noticeable in the States. It turned out that this was not the case.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen did the “decent” thing by admitting she was wrong about inflation, Putin said. “So this is a mistake of the financial and economic authorities of the US, it has nothing to do with Russia’s actions in Ukraine, not at all.”

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Yellen said she did not fully understand the “unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that boosted energy and food prices, and supply bottlenecks” that ended up driving inflation.

As for the EU, Putin suggested the inflation there was due to the “short-sighted policy” of the European Commission in the energy sector in promoting the “green agenda” out of climate concerns. The Europeans also rejected Russian proposals for long-term natural gas contracts, which drove up prices on the spot market, Putin said.

“Everything is interconnected,” the Russian leader said, noting that rising gas prices then “dramatically” drove up the price of fertilizer – among other things – and turned many industries unprofitable, forcing them to close.

For many European politicians, he said, this was a totally unexpected development. “But we warned about this, and this has nothing to do with any Russian military operation in the Donbass, nothing to do with it at all,” Putin said.

 

African Union wants Russian sanctions lifted

Western sanctions against Russia threaten Africa with a food security crisis, the head of the African Union (AU) and Senegalese President Macky Sall said during a meeting, in Sochi, on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He advocated the abolition of restrictions that apply to Russian grain crops and mineral fertilizers.

“Sanctions against the Russian Federation have exacerbated the situation because we no longer have access to grain, especially wheat from Russia, and most importantly, to fertilizers, which poses a serious threat to food security on the continent,” said Sall.

He pointed out two major problems, the global food crisis and anti-Russia sanctions, and said those problems needed to be worked out so that food products, in particular grains and fertilizers, are removed from the sanctions list.

President Putin, meanwhile, said that Russian-African relations are currently at a new stage of development, which is very important for both sides. “I would like to remind that our country has always been on the side of Africa, supported Africa in the fight against colonialism,” he said.

According to Putin, the volume of bilateral trade between Russia and the continent has been growing and is up by more than 34% in the first months of this year.

The United Nations has warned recently of a worsening global food crisis due to the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia. The situation is particularly dire in East Africa, a region that has traditionally procured roughly 90% of its imported grain from Russia and Ukraine.

According to the UN World Food Program, even before the crisis in Ukraine, around 13 million people in the Horn of Africa suffered from hunger. Moreover, according to the agency, the situation could become even more troublesome due to a drought that affected crops and killed livestock in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

The UN estimates that the global food crisis could put 323 million people on the brink of starvation.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

 

US Think Tank Founder: Most Americans Can Accept Kiev’s Defeat, No Longer Trust Biden’s Strategy

The majority of American respondents are resigned to Ukraine losing the conflict with Russia, and 16 percent of those polled would like to see Vladimir Putin as their president. The Democracy Institute’s founding director, Patrick Basham, explains what’s going on.

Sputnik: The Democracy Institute’s recent poll has found that only 36 percent of American respondents support Biden’s Ukraine policy and 53 percent disapprove. Furthermore, 45 percent would be okay if America allowed Ukraine to lose (against 40 percent who feel it wouldn’t be okay). What’s behind these numbers? Why is Biden’s administration failing to command support from the US population for its military adventure in Ukraine?

Patrick Basham: American public opinion continues to evolve around the Ukraine crisis. The reduction in support for Biden’s Ukraine policy reflects both the events unfolding on the ground in Ukraine and Russia, as well as events in America.

President Biden and his surrogates predicted that American economic pressure upon Russia would end the conflict quickly and that the intentional crushing of the Russian economy would lead to popular discontent among the Russian people, which would result in President Putin’s removal from office by his own people. As none of the Biden administration’s economic, military, or political predictions have come true – in most cases, the opposite has occurred – the American people no longer have much faith in their government’s pronouncements and promises about the crisis.

This loss of faith is occurring quite rapidly because most Americans already entertained negative views about Biden, including his foreign policy, before the Ukraine conflict began. Most Americans remain deeply upset about how America withdrew from Afghanistan. The American government’s failure to influence events in Ukraine confirms a growing view among these voters that their political leadership is increasingly impotent when it comes to international relations.

A plurality of Americans can accept Ukraine losing the conflict with Russia because they do not consider the conflict to be of utmost importance to them. Americans are preoccupied with economic and social problems at home, such as inflation, supply chain disruptions, crime, and illegal immigration. These problems are affecting them every day, and in the most tangible ways. The Ukraine conflict is not. So, Americans continue to oppose Russian actions in Ukraine, but they do not see those actions as necessarily threatening the American people, themselves.

The Biden administration has been unable to maintain support for economic or military action because its principal spokesmen – Biden, vice-president [Kamala] Harris, secretary of state [Antony] Blinken, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan – have been unable either to craft or deliver a compelling message that can become the central, driving narrative of this policy debate. For the first two months of the conflict, American public opinion was led by the mainstream media, which did a far more effective job than the Biden administration of rhetorically shepherding Americans into thinking what the administration wanted them to think.

In recent weeks, however, many mainstream media outlets have begun to publish accounts of the situation on the ground in Ukraine that do not reflect the White House’s public line on the conflict. These newer media accounts better reflect the Ukrainian military’s rapidly worsening position vis-à-vis the Russian military.

The American media now realises that it must report the conflict more accurately otherwise it risks the conflict ending suddenly in Russia’s favour, which would prompt viewers and readers to ask: “How did Ukraine lose? All along, you’ve been telling us that Ukraine was winning!” The mainstream media’s newly nuanced reporting, in line with more accurate reports from independent journalists since the conflict began, makes it that much harder for the Biden administration to present its message effectively and, subsequently, for its message to gain sufficient traction to resonate with most Americans.

Sputnik: Half of Americans disapprove of the $40Bln military aid package for Ukraine and only 5 percent see Ukraine as a priority for the US. Is the Biden administration aware that its Ukraine policy is unpopular among Americans? Why is the White House proceeding with supplying Kiev with new heavy weapons, including HIMARS? Do Biden’s Democrats have no fear of losing the mid-terms?

Patrick Basham: The Biden administration is aware that its Ukraine policy has lost considerable support since the conflict began. However, this administration has no intention of changing course to reflect public opinion better. In fact, the administration’s approach is to double-down on its failing policy in Ukraine.

There are two reasons this should not be a surprise: first, the Biden administration never acknowledges or admits that it has made a mistake, whether the issue is military, economic, social, or cultural. When one considers how last year’s disastrous American exit from Afghanistan was brushed aside by the Biden administration, it is unsurprising that the failed Ukraine policy is not a catalyst for a course correction.

On those occasions when it is impossible for the administration to ignore a failure, it tries to characterise the failure as a “problem,” which is blamed on someone or something else. Currently, the administration prefers to blame America’s litany of problems on President Putin, former President Donald Trump, Trump’s supporters, and American corporations.

Second, the Biden administration is filled with experts who hold elitist views about policy-making. They believe that only the best-educated and allegedly the most knowledgeable people should be devising and executing policy. This way of thinking is especially apparent in foreign policymaking, as it maintains that foreign policy is too complex, too difficult, and too dangerous for the average American either to understand or to be able to influence.

The Biden administration continues to throw so much taxpayer money at the Ukraine conflict because it continues to hope that eventually this policy will be the silver bullet that rescues the Democrats from defeat in the mid-term election.

To date, there is little evidence either that the policy is working or that there is any political advantage to the Democrats from serving as the Ukrainian government’s principal financial and military patron. Yet, so long as the Democrats’ electoral prospects remain bleak, due in large measure to America’s economic trauma, the administration will cling to its belief that Ukraine can, somehow, save the [election] day for the Democrats.

Sputnik: Who are those 16 percent polled who would like to see Putin in the White House as their president? What parties or ethnic/social groups do they belong to?

Patrick Basham: When asked to choose a foreign leader to become their own president, one in six American voters opted for Putin. Although support for Putin is found in varying degrees across the political spectrum, it skews strongly to certain demographic groups with particular political preferences.

Some of his support, both on the Left and on the Right, comes from voters who seek a strong leader with a firm sense of the direction he or she wishes to take their country and the ability to make tough decisions without regard for elite opinion. Those Americans with such views think Putin exhibits some or all of those qualities.

More specifically, Putin is especially popular among those with strongly nationalist views, who think the American president should put Americans before citizens of other nations. A number of conservative-minded, Republican, working class, and Trump supporters are drawn to Putin’s patriotic and populist sentiments on various issues and his support for traditional values in the areas of family, gender, and education. These same voters have anti-globalist views, so they approve of Putin standing up to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the EU, the World Economic Forum, and so on.

Sputnik: According to the Democracy Institute’s poll, Russia is seen as only the fourth-biggest international threat (14 percent), behind China (45 percent), Iran (20 percent) and North Korea (17 percent). Could we expect a change of heart within the US foreign policy establishment, given that former secretary of state Henry Kissinger has already started to talk about the need for a peaceful settlement with Russia and negotiations between Kiev and Moscow?

Patrick Basham: For a host of reasons, the US foreign policy establishment will continue to project Russia as the greatest threat to America. That said, it is also true that America’s foreign policy elites do not wish to be embarrassed for supporting the losing side in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, especially as they have said not only that Ukraine should, but could or would win.

So, Kissinger’s pro-diplomacy speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos was a signal to foreign policy establishments throughout the West that it was time to accept the inevitable in Ukraine – that is, a Russian military victory. As an arch-realist when it comes to foreign policy, Kissinger seeks to lead his American successors down the path of a negotiated settlement that brings the Ukraine conflict to a peaceful conclusion thereby minimising further loss of Ukrainian lives.

At this point in the conflict, Kissinger is in much the same place as most American voters. He and they did not want the conflict to begin in the first place, and neither he nor they wanted it to end the way it apparently will. But both Kissinger and American voters are seeking to get out of the political, economic, and military hole that America’s foreign policy establishment has dug for itself in Ukraine. Given the situation, I believe Kissinger is advising his peers that, clearly, it is now time to stop digging.

 

SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE

Russia not waging campaign against Ukraine’s culture, says diplomat

MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Russia has never sought to harm Ukraine’s culture in any way, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Friday.

“Who has ever tried to intentionally damage Ukraine’s cultural heritage, when and in what way?” Zakharova said. “Unlike our neighbors, we have never been prone to such behavior. We have not launched a campaign to demolish monuments to prominent Ukrainians or rename streets, bearing their names, and have never done so.”

The EU’s accusations against Russia of damaging Ukraine’s cultural heritage cause confusion, Zakharova said. “What are you talking about? Do the people, who level such claims, know anything about our common history, about present-day reality?”

The EU’s weapons supplies to Ukraine are in conflict with the objective to protect and restore Ukraine’s cultural heritage the bloc has been declaring, the diplomat said.

“That’s another example of Brussels’ destructive logic: it is prepared to sacrifice basic principles of international humanitarian cooperation and politicize culture, sports, science and youth policy, while pursuing its aims or the aims imposed on it,” Zakharova said.

 

No understanding yet as for dates of possible referendums in Donbass — Kremlin spokesman

Dmitry Peskov remarked that “this is a very important issue and as the corresponding conditions take shape, the situation in this field will get clearer”

MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. There is no understanding regarding the dates of possible referendums in Donbass and a number of liberated regions of Ukraine, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Friday.

“No, there is no understanding yet regarding the time frame,” he said, while answering a question about the Kremlin’s position on when possible referendums on these territories’ admission to Russia might take place.

He remarked that “this is a very important issue and as the corresponding conditions take shape, the situation in this field will get clearer”.

 

Ukrainian Military Shells Cars With Media Workers, RT Correspondent Says

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A car with reporters, including from RT and Reuters, came under a Ukrainian attack in Donbass on Friday, RT correspondent Igor Zhdanov said, adding that several people were taken to hospitals.

“We came under shelling at the entrance to Severodonetsk. One of the shells landed exactly on a car 5-10 meters in front of us, which was transporting a Reuters film crew of two people … The car’s driver died on the spot, the journalists are in the hospital. Everything is fine with our group,” Zhdanov wrote on his Telegram channel.

 

Ukraine staging battle scenes for propaganda – Russia

The Russian Defense Ministry released on Friday what it claimed to be staged combat scenes filmed on behalf of the Ukrainian government and paid for by the British government. The two short clips appear to be raw footage of what looks like a war movie.

The filming of the videos took place on May 28 in the town of Meshkovka in Ukraine’s Nikolaev Region, the ministry said. A train station of the same name is located on the outskirts of the provincial capital in the south of the country.

One of the videos shows two armored vehicles facing the camera. At a command from a woman, who appears to be the film director, the backdoor of the closest vehicle opens, and a group of armed men in uniform wearing red armbands starts pouring out. Several others rise from the grass around the second vehicle in the distance and start moving forward, their weapons raised.

The second clip is a shootout scene, with a group of armed uniformed men retreating through rubble while firing back at an unseen enemy. Pyrotechnics appear to simulate enemy fire. At one point, a professional-looking filming crew comes into view.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the videos are meant to inspire confidence in Kiev’s fighting abilities both in Ukraine and Western nations, and to showcase the “supposed effectiveness” of Western weapons supplied to the country.

The shootout scene, according to the statement, is meant to be a recreation of a heroic Ukrainian stand against overwhelming Russian forces that never actually happened.

The first video, the Russian military claimed, is supposed to show advancing Russian troops, who were played by a group of Ukrainian militias. The statement claimed the film crew couldn’t get any actual Russian armored vehicles for the scene and used Ukrainian ones instead.

“The next filming session is scheduled for June 5 and 6,” Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed. “The footage will be of staged testimony by ‘ordinary Ukrainians’ accusing Russia of supposedly firing at peaceful communities on purpose.”

The ministry claimed that the UK not only funded the filming, but also offered its creative input. The project was launched “amid Kiev’s political disaster in Mariupol and military defeats in the Donbass,” the statement said.

 

Ukrainian military at odds with Zelensky – Belarus

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reasons to fear his own military, his counterpart in Belarus said on Friday. Alexander Lukashenko also repeated his earlier assertion that Poland was looking to seize parts of Ukraine, saying the Ukrainian military would “decapitate” anyone to prevent this.

“Already in Ukraine, according to my information, a serious confrontation and conflict is starting between Zelensky and the Ukrainian military,” Lukashenko told reporters in Minsk on Friday. He added that the Ukrainian military understands what’s involved in fighting Russia and knows they won’t be able to continue doing so much longer.

Noting that Russia has “changed tactics,” Lukashenko pointed out that Ukraine is running out of troops, having to rely on territorial defense militias to plug gaps in the line. Meanwhile, he added, Zelensky was making deals with Poland – which in his opinion seeks to “chop off” parts of western Ukraine that were once under its rule. Ukrainian nationalists, as well as the military, are displeased by this, according to the Belarusian president.

“They saw that he granted [special] status to the Poles,” which is a step toward losing the western regions, said Lukashenko, adding he was convinced the Ukrainian military and the nationalists are willing to “take the head off anyone” who would dismember the country, including Zelensky.

“We don’t need that. I warned about this long ago. Look, it’s happening. Just as I said, in time they will be asking us and the Russians to preserve Ukraine,” Lukashenko told reporters.

The Belarusian leader warned last month about alleged Polish aspirations to Ukrainian territories, echoing claims made in April by Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergey Naryshkin, citing declassified intelligence. Warsaw has vehemently denied such plans.

Between 1919 and 1939, Poland included parts of present-day Belarus and Ukraine. Cities such as Lwow and Stanislawow – known as Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk in present-day Ukraine – ended up in the USSR after WWII, as Poland’s borders were shifted westward to the Oder-Neisse line.

 

Ukraine accused of mass kidnappings

Ukrainian special forces are targeting relatives of the Donbass and pro-Russian activists, according to DPR officials

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) officials have accused Ukrainian special forces of conducting mass kidnappings against relatives of the Donbass and pro-Russian activists and politicians since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

The accusations were made by DPR Human Rights Commissioner Daria Morozova during a briefing on Friday, in which she stated that the daughter of a DPR people’s militia officer had been abducted by Ukrainian Special Operation Forces in Kharkov.

According to the ombudsman, on April 16, Aleksandr Demchenko, the officer, was contacted by an unknown group of people who offered him “cooperation in exchange for cooperation,” warning him that if he refused then “anything could happen to his daughter.”

Demchenko says that the people, who claimed they were members of the Ukrainian Special Operation Forces, demanded that he become a traitor and provide them with lists of captured soldiers, prisoner exchange plans, and other documents with which the officer says he has nothing to do with.

An investigation into the matter has reportedly revealed there was no official arrest of Demchenko’s daughter Ekaterina, and that she was abducted along with her husband by Ukrainian special forces and is currently being held at a secret prison.

Ekaterina has since sent her father a video saying she is being treated fairly. She asked him to cooperate with the abductors in “a calm fashion.”

The ombudsman said that the only way to save the lives of the woman and her husband was to bring this situation to public attention, since any country in the world defines such actions as kidnapping and the illegal detention of people, and is punishable by law.

Morozova noted that such actions by Kiev have become more widespread since Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine and are being carried out under guidelines coming from the US and the UK. She claims there are currently dozens of confirmed cases of people, including children, being abducted by Ukrainian special forces and subsequently being held in secret prisons, tortured both physically and mentally, and stripped of their human dignity.

Vasily Prozorov, the head of the UkrLeaks research project and a former member of Ukraine’s Security Service, noted that such practices by Kiev’s special services, intelligence service, and the Ministry of Defense are part of the methodology the US and UK have been implanting in Kiev since the mid 2000s.

He added that Kiev’s secret services, with the tacit consent of the West, have been playing by the methodology used by terrorist organizations. “Kidnapping, torture, murder – for all this they are given carte blanche by their visiting curators. There are dozens of secret prisons all over Ukraine, where the people they kidnapped have been kept for years.”

The DPR Prosecutor General’s office has officially launched several criminal investigations into the kidnappings, promising all the perpetrators will be found, identified, and put before a tribunal after the military operation is completed.

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