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bluewater

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Member since: Fri Jun 7, 2019, 02:43 PM
Number of posts: 5,376

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Ukraine to Halt Key Russian Gas Transit to Europe, Use Alternative

Source: USNews/Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) -Ukraine said on Tuesday it would suspend the flow of gas through a transit point which it said delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe through Ukraine, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere.

GTSOU, which operates Ukraine's gas system, said it would suspend flows via the Sokhranivka route from Wednesday, declaring "force majeure", a clause invoked when a business is hit by something beyond its control.

The company said in a statement that it could not operate at the Novopskov gas compressor station due to "the interference of the occupying forces in technical processes", adding that it could temporarily shift the affected flow elsewhere, to the 'Sudzha' physical interconnection point located in territory controlled by Ukraine.

But Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, said it was "technologically impossible" to shift all volumes to the Sudzha interconnection point, as GTSOU proposed.

Read more: https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2022-05-10/ukraine-operator-to-suspend-russian-gas-flow-via-sokhranivka-entry-point?msclkid=ad830abdd09311ecbb607eb911ae2025



This impacts "almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe through Ukraine".

Good lord.


"The Russian company added that Ukraine proposed switching all gas transit to Sudzha, adding that it saw no proof of force majeure or obstacles to continuing as before."



Why is Ukraine doing this?

This damages all the EU countries that have been backing Ukraine with weapons and financial support.

Thomas Friedman bashes Ukraine: "Ukraine was, and still is, a country marbled with corruption."

...
Alas, we have to be alive to the fact that it’s not only the Russians who would like to involve us more deeply. Have no illusions, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has been trying to do the same thing from the start — to make Ukraine an immediate member of NATO or get Washington to forge a bilateral security pact with Kyiv. I am in awe of Zelensky’s heroism and leadership. If I were him, I’d be trying to get the U.S. as enmeshed on my side as he is.

But I’m an American citizen, and I want us to be careful. Ukraine was, and still is, a country marbled with corruption. That doesn’t mean we should not be helping it. I am glad we are. I insist we do. But my sense is that the Biden team is walking much more of a tightrope with Zelensky than it would appear to the eye — wanting to do everything possible to make sure he wins this war but doing so in a way that still keeps some distance between us and Ukraine’s leadership. That’s so Kyiv is not calling the shots and so we’ll not be embarrassed by messy Ukrainian politics in the war’s aftermath.

The view of Biden and his team, according to my reporting, is that America needs to help Ukraine restore its sovereignty and beat the Russians back — but not let Ukraine turn itself into an American protectorate on the border of Russia. We need to stay laser-focused on what is our national interest and not stray in ways that lead to exposures and risks we don’t want.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/06/opinion/biden-ukraine-leaks.html


Fed: Inflation, Ukraine Biggest Threats to Financial System

Source: NBC News

The Federal Reserve said Monday that Russia's war in Ukraine and surging inflation are now the greatest threats facing the global financial system, supplanting the coronavirus pandemic.
...
The Fed said economic uncertainty has increased since the bank's previous report, with the Ukraine war being a big part of the deterioration. The bank also highlighted the large fluctuations in asset prices — from Treasuries to stocks — as investors reevaluate risk in a high-inflation environment.

“Inflation has been higher and more persistent than expected, even before the invasion of Ukraine, and uncertainty over the inflation outlook poses risks to financial conditions and economic activity," the Fed said in its report.

The Fed said persistently high inflation may require central bankers to quickly raise interest rates, which could also be a potential risk for financial instability in the form of lower economic output as well as higher borrowing costs for individuals and businesses. It could cause debt levels, which the Fed says are elevated but not yet a major concern, to become unsustainable for some businesses.






Read more: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/fed-inflation-ukraine-biggest-threats-to-financial-system/3679103/?msclkid=33d57769cfe111ec8242a66a021c9587



The Fed said persistently high inflation may require central bankers to quickly raise interest rates, which could also be a potential risk for financial instability in the form of lower economic output as well as higher borrowing costs for individuals and businesses.




I posted two articles on the this topic today. In the first, experts said that interest rates must be lowered at once to ensure a soft landing for the stock market and to avoid further economic instability. In this article, the Federal Reserve says persistently high inflation might require raising interest rates sharply, while hedging that doing so could result in financial instability.

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

The fear is that we might get the worst of both outcomes, persistent inflation and a recession leading to further significant stock declines.

Dow falls more than 600 points, S&P 500 tumbles below 4,000 to the lowest level in a year

Source: CNBC

Stocks fell sharply Monday, pushing the S&P 500 to breach the 4,000 level for the first time in more than a year as the market sell-off continued.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 653.67 points to 32,245.70, or 1.99%. The S&P 500 fell 3.2% to settle at 3,991.24, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 4.29% to 11,623.25.

The S&P 500 traded as low as 3,975.48 on the day, dipping below the 4,000 mark to its lowest level since March 2021 and pulling back 17% from a 52-week high as traders struggled to bounce back from last week’s big market swings. All sectors except for consumer staples dipped into the red.
...
“This is significant repricing, this is significant dislocation and this is all being spurred and driven by Federal Reserve policy,” said Jeff Kilburg of Sanctuary Wealth. “The only way I see us finding the bottom in equities short-term, the only way I see markets healing is if the Fed has the ability with the tools in their toolbox to calm down interest rates. The 10-year note needs to go back under 3%.”

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/08/stock-futures-fall-as-wall-street-looks-to-stabilize-after-rollercoaster-week.html



“This is significant repricing, this is significant dislocation and this is all being spurred and driven by Federal Reserve policy,” said Jeff Kilburg of Sanctuary Wealth. “The only way I see us finding the bottom in equities short-term, the only way I see markets healing is if the Fed has the ability with the tools in their toolbox to calm down interest rates. The 10-year note needs to go back under 3%.”


Dow tumbles 1,000 points, Nasdaq loses 5 percent in worst day since 2020

Source: NBC News

Stocks suffered their worst day of the year on Thursday, pulling back sharply and completely erasing a rally from the prior session in a stunning reversal that deepened the market’s losses for 2022.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1,120 points, or 3.3 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell 3.7 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

The moves come after a major rally for stocks on Wednesday. The Dow surged 932 points, or 2.81 percent, and the S&P 500 gained 2.99 percent for their biggest gains since 2020. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.19 percent.

Those gains had all been erased before noon in New York on Thursday.
“If you go up 3 percent and then you give up half a percent the next day, that’s pretty normal stuff. ... But having the kind of day we had yesterday and then seeing it 100 percent reversed within half a day is just truly extraordinary,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.


Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/markets/markets-tumble-day-after-federal-reserve-interest-rate-hike-rcna27513?share=facebook

Mariupol evacuation corridors 'in the hands of the occupiers' as mayor tells everyone to leave

Source: CNN

Ukrainian forces "continue to maintain circular defense" in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the Ukrainian general staff said early Tuesday, even as Russian forces consolidated control around the southeastern port city.

On Monday, the mayor of Mariupol said that evacuation corridors had come largely under the control of Russian forces, after weeks of bombardment left the city in pieces, killed an unknown number of civilians and forced hundreds of thousands of residents from their homes.
"Not everything is in our power," said Mayor Vadym Boichenko, in a live television interview. "Unfortunately, we are in the hands of the occupiers today."

We need a complete evacuation from Mariupol," Boichenko said. "Our most important mission today is to save every life ... And there are hopes that we will succeed. For example, there are 26 buses that have to go to Mariupol to evacuate, but unfortunately, they haven't received permission to move," he said.

"And this game is played every day. A cynical game like, 'Yes, we are ready. You can drive there,' but in fact it does not work," he said. "Our heroic drivers under the fire are trying to reach the places where Mariupol residents can be picked up, and they are waiting with the hope that they will have such an opportunity. But the Russian Federation has been playing with us since day one."


Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/28/europe/mariupol-mayor-ukraine-occupiers-intl/index.html




Local resident Valentina Demura, 70, next to the building where her apartment was destroyed in Mariupol, on March 27.

"You should go back to constantly demoralizing us about Mariupol..."

I am sorry some people feel that way, but I am too shaken to post funny memes about this war.


There are now 3.8 million Ukrainian refugees in the E.U.

Source: Washington Post

About 3.8 million Ukrainians have sought refuge in the European Union since the Russian invasion, half of whom are children, though the pace of new arrivals is slowing, E.U. officials said.

The latest update on the largest refugee crisis since World War II came after E.U. ministers met in Brussels on Monday to discuss the bloc’s response.

The majority of those fleeing the Russian invasion have traveled to neighboring countries, especially Poland, though about 1 million have traveled elsewhere in the bloc, Ylva Johansson, the E.U.'s commissioner for home affairs, said at a news conference in Brussels on Monday. The pace of new arrivals is down to about 40,000 a day from a peak of 100,000 a day, she said.

The E.U., which has been less-than-welcoming to previous waves of refugees, is offering those fleeing Ukraine something called “temporary protection,” which will allow them to live, work and access social services across the bloc. Johansson said about 800,000 people have registered for it, noting that the E.U. is working on a system to better track and register new arrivals.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/28/russia-ukraine-war-news-putin-live-updates/#link-75QCP3AKWJAKZASCAB2U7CDU44



Because of the brutal Russian invasion, Ukraine's GDP is expected to drop 55% this year:


The Ukrainian government estimated on Monday the economic losses from the Russian invasion, which has been underway for just over one month, at nearly $565 billion (€515 billion)

Ukraine’s economy minister, Yulia Svyrydenko, said on Facebook that the estimate includes immediate damage plus expected losses in trade and economic activity.

"It should be noted that every day the numbers change and unfortunately they are increasing," said Svyrydenko, who is also a deputy prime minister. Damage to public and private property -- with Russian forces resorting to fierce bombardments that have levelled some cities as their invasion has stalled -- was the biggest element.

Svyrydenko estimated gross domestic product in 2022 would be down by $112 billion (€102 billion), which would be a drop of more than 55 percent of Ukraine's economic activity last year.

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220328-live-new-round-of-ukraine-russia-talks-expected-in-turkey-catastrophic-situation-in-mariupol




Ukraine is not rich, Ukraine was the third poorest country in Europe in 2021

15 poorest countries in Europe with the lowest GDP per capita

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita reflects the average wealth of each resident in a given country. It is obtained by dividing the country's gross domestic product, adjusted by inflation, by the total population. Here is a ranking of European countries by wealth.

1. Kosovo - GDP per capita $10,766
2. Moldova - GDP per capita $12,325
3. Ukraine - GDP per capita $12,377
...
11. Russia - GDP per capita $26,456

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/other/15-poorest-countries-in-europe-with-the-lowest-gdp-in-2021/ar-AAPplFU


so much for twitter threads claiming the opposite as a reliable news source...



But more on point, because of the brutal Russian invasion, Ukraine's GDP is expected to drop 55% this year:


The Ukrainian government estimated on Monday the economic losses from the Russian invasion, which has been underway for just over one month, at nearly $565 billion (€515 billion)

Ukraine’s economy minister, Yulia Svyrydenko, said on Facebook that the estimate includes immediate damage plus expected losses in trade and economic activity.

"It should be noted that every day the numbers change and unfortunately they are increasing," said Svyrydenko, who is also a deputy prime minister. Damage to public and private property -- with Russian forces resorting to fierce bombardments that have levelled some cities as their invasion has stalled -- was the biggest element.

Svyrydenko estimated gross domestic product in 2022 would be down by $112 billion (€102 billion), which would be a drop of more than 55 percent of Ukraine's economic activity last year.

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220328-live-new-round-of-ukraine-russia-talks-expected-in-turkey-catastrophic-situation-in-mariupol


Alexander Vindman on Vladimir Putin and sending jets to Ukraine

MARCH 23, 2022

Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, 46, served in the U.S. Army and as director of European and Russian affairs for the National Security Council during the Trump administration. He testified in the first impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump. He lives in Virginia with his wife and children. This interview was conducted March 8 and has been edited for clarity and length.



So you don’t buy into Putin’s warnings that that would release catastrophic consequences?

He is very effective at preying on hopes and fears. For a long time, he preyed on our hopes that we could have a normal relationship, that the largest country in the world, by territory, was going to be a partner, whether with regards to climate change or terrorism. With very little progress. We put all our eggs on the promise, the hope, of a good relationship instead of committing to relationships that actually could bear fruit.

He’s also been very effective at preying on our fears. Extremely effective. This idea that somehow he’s a madman or somehow we’re lurching toward nuclear war — why would he pick a fight with a much, much more capable adversary if he’s already bogged down in Ukraine? And it is an absurd notion that sending over Cold War-era aircraft in NATO’s inventory to Ukraine to pilot is going to precipitate World War III. On what basis would Putin want to increase the prospects of mutually assured destruction? None. The guy loves himself. He sits a football field away from his closest allies and closest advisers because he doesn’t want to get sick. He is not suicidal. For him, this is all rational, based on the fact that he got away with things for so long.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2022/03/23/ukraine-russia-putin-war-alexander-vindman/?itid=hp_magazine


Lt. Col. Vindman has a proven track record of being honest, informed, and insightful.

Much more of this interview at the link.





Why has the Crimean Bridge, also called the Kerch Strait Bridge, not been blown up?

The Crimean Bridge, also called the Kerch Strait Bridge, or colloquially the Kerch Bridge, is a pair of Russian-constructed parallel bridges, spanning the Strait of Kerch between the Taman Peninsula of Krasnodar Krai and the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea.[d] The bridge complex provides for both road and rail traffic, and has a length of 19 km (11.8 mi),[e] making it the longest bridge Russia has ever built,[17][f] and the longest bridge in Europe.[18][15][19]

Having been considered since at least 1903, planning for the bridge began in 2014, after the Russian annexation of Crimea. In January 2015, the multibillion-dollar contract for the construction of the bridge was awarded to Arkady Rotenberg's Stroygazmontazh. Construction of the bridge commenced in February 2016;[a] the road bridge was inaugurated by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 15 May 2018 and opened for non-truck cars on 16 May and for trucks on 1 October.[7][20] The rail bridge was inaugurated on 23 December 2019 and the first scheduled passenger train crossed the bridge on 25 December 2019. The bridge was opened for freight trains on 30 June 2020. A record traffic was recorded on 15 August 2020 and amounted to 36,393 cars.[21]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_Bridge






This bridge is the main, no - make that the ONLY, railroad and highway link connecting Russia and Crimea.

Its strategic importance in conveying troops, equipment and supplies into Crimea and then on to southern Ukraine is simply immense.

Why is it still standing?

Surely, Russian air and missile defenses can't possibly be so impenetrable that this bridge cannot be destroyed, right?!?

EDIT ADDED:
A poster down thread suggested that this bridge might be out of range of Ukrainian jets or missiles.
If that is the case, does that mean we, the US and NATO, are afraid to give Ukraine missiles that _could_ reach this vital link?

Is it the case that we are afraid to give Ukraine missiles that would allow them to strike Russia itself? Hence they only get anti-tank weapons and short range stinger anti-aircraft missiles?

That said, isn't Crimea internationally recognized as sovereign Ukrainian territory? So, at least a portion of this bridge could be attacked since it indeed inside Ukraine, right?







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