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Chess

Russia to withdraw troops from deployment on border with Ukraine, Moscow confirms, as major snap exercises in Crimea conclude

russian missiles
© Russian Ministry of Defense
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced that troops deployed in the west and south of the country in recent days will soon begin returning to base, saying they have now passed tests of their combat readiness.

The chief of the country's military revealed on Thursday that a number of units of the regular army and airborne divisions had been transferred to the area, near the shared border with Ukraine, as part of surprise military exercises. The buildup had caused alarm in Kiev, and been cited by Western nations as a potential precursor to an invasion, which the Kremlin repeatedly denied.

According to Shoigu, "the goals of the sudden inspection have been fully achieved. The troops demonstrated their ability to ensure reliable defense of the country."

Comment: Ukraine continues to try and stab Russia in the back. They have requested the EU remove Russia from the SWIFT system of international bank transfers, which is used almost worldwide. Russia has called such a move a "declaration of war."

Considering how inept and impotent the previous economic sanctions against Russia were, this seems like another hopeless attempt to kneecap the Russian economy.


Bad Guys

US troops in Syria seem to be getting hit with directed-energy attacks, Pentagon throws shade at Russia

US troops syria
© US Army/Spc. Jensen Guillory
The US is investigating what appears to be directed-energy attacks on US troops, and the Pentagon suspects Russia is behind them, Politico reported.

Four national-security officials involved in the investigation told Politico that the Department of Defense has been investigating the incidents of suspected attacks since last year.

Two sources told Politico that this included incidents in Syria, where troops developed flu-like symptoms last fall.

Comment: It's entirely plausible that the culprit is closer to home. See: Sonic attacks in Havana, Cuba: CIA-specialty false flag?


Russian Flag

'Red lines,' coup attempts and Zircon missiles: Highlights of Putin's address to Federal Assembly

Vladimir Putin
© Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev
The president's annual address, given to members of the two houses of Russia's parliament, plus members of the cabinet, regional governors, and various distinguished guests, outlines his views on the state of the nation, and establishes guidelines for the country's foreign and domestic policy in the year to come.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his annual address to Russian lawmakers and officials on Wednesday, with this year's speech lasting 78 minutes, and dedicated to a broad range of issues including foreign and defence policy, the economy and social policy, the coronavirus and climate change.

Sputnik has collected the speech's highlights. A complete readout of the address can be found here.

Comment: Given some of his prior statements about global warming Putin is likely throwing a bone at the global warming wolves so that he has one less monkey on his back. And the same may be said regarding his views of the Coronavirus plandemic.

On the other hand, he is very determined to show the West that there is no messing around with Russia when it comes to defending their national interests and on their Western border and in Ukraine.

See also:


Info

Biden to pledge to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030

joe biden kamala harris
© Tom Brenner/Reuters
President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 20, 2021.
President Biden is expected to pledge this week to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 50 percent by the end of the decade, two people familiar with the plan told the Washington Post on Wednesday.

The administration will likely present the broad goals of the plan before releasing details on how it plans to achieve the cuts in emissions, the people said. It is also possible that the administration will announce a target range for emissions cuts with the higher limit above 50 percent.

A final decision on the target has not been made, the White House told the Post.

Tornado1

AOC says 'trampling' of 'indigenous rights' and 'racial justice' is a cause of climate change

aoc tax the rich
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faulted the rejection of "indigenous rights" and "racial justice" on Tuesday as causes of climate change.

"The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice, and it is a crisis born of the pursuit of profit at any and all human and ecological cost, which means that we must recognize in legislation that the trampling of indigenous rights is a cause of climate change," the New York Democrat said, "that the trampling of racial justice is a cause of climate change because we are allowing people and we are allowing folks to deny ourselves human rights and deny people the right to healthcare, the right to housing and education."


Comment: AOC is verging on some magical thinking here. It would be interesting to hear how exactly she thinks that racial justice is going to change the climate.

See also:


Chess

U.S. Ambassador to Moscow returning to Washington 'for consultations' amid rising tensions

John Sullivan

The U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan
U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan says he will be returning to the United States for consultations this week amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow.

Relations between Washington and Moscow have entered a new phase of heightened tensions recently with U.S. President Joe Biden announcing punishing sanctions over cyberattacks, election interference, and threats against U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Further souring the mood has been the issue of the health of jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny, Russia's buildup of troops along the border in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and new allegations of Russian involvement in a deadly explosion at a munitions depot in the Czech Republic in 2014.

"I believe it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia," Sullivan was quoted on April 20 as saying by embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross.

Light Sabers

Russia block of Black Sea would be 'escalation': Washington

black sea
The US State Department on Monday branded as an "unprovoked escalation" reported Russian plans to block parts of the Black Sea, which could ultimately impact access to Ukrainian ports.

Russian state media have reported that Moscow intends to close parts of the Black Sea to foreign military and official ships for six months.

Such a move could affect access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait, on the eastern tip of the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

Comment: Russia is fortifying their Western border because the US has been sending weapons to Ukraine. The Americans know Russia has to respond, then they act as though there's no reason for Russia to react to American aggression. They are like the bully who gaslights their victims, only on a much grander and more horrible scale.


Nuke

Alarms go off near Israel's nuclear reactor amid reports of explosions & missile defense system being activated

Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center

Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center
Sirens have pierced the air in Israel's southern Negev province near the secretive Dimona nuclear facility, with reports of multiple blasts heard far away from the site and anti-missile systems responding.

The sirens were heard in Abu Qrenat - a village some 13 miles (21km) northwest of The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center in the Negev desert - following reports of explosions from the vicinity of the nuclear facility on Thursday morning, according to the Jerusalem Post. A military spokesperson said the incident resulted in no casualties.

Unconfirmed footage has circulated on social media, in which a siren can be heard blaring in the distance. The location the video was captured is unclear. Another clip purporting to show the moment a missile was intercepted by Israel's defense systems has also made the rounds.


Eye 2

UK & allies "reserve the right" to launch NEW military action in Afghanistan

RAF Harrier
© MOD
An RAF Harrier GR9 flies over Afghanistan in 2009. A defence minister has suggested a review will be carried out into Britain's military involvement in the country.
The UK and its allies "reserve the right" to launch new military action in Afghanistan should international terrorism thrive, the Government has said.

Defence minister James Heappey has left the door open for military action should "ungoverned spaces" return which pose a threat to the UK homeland or the interests of allies, as well as the option of providing air support to Afghan forces.

The Afghanistan veteran also suggested a review will be carried out into Britain's military involvement in the country.

Comment: The West appears to have no intention of leaving, and the longer it stays, the worse the situation will become:


Bad Guys

America's domestic political turmoil is making world unstable & fueling conflicts with its main adversaries - Iran, China & Russia

White House
© Getty Images / Caroline Purser
FILE PHOTO. The White House.
America's internal political battles have smothered consensus and led to Washington being asleep at the wheel in foreign affairs for many years now. The lack of US strategic clarity only fuels uncertainty and instability globally.

The Afghanistan Papers, published by the Washington Post in 2019, revealed that the US has for many years been aware that it cannot win the war in Afghanistan, yet it has been reluctant to accept defeat and withdraw.

US policy has been defined in indecisiveness, as neither victory or defeat has been an option. The continued waste of money and blood has merely resulted in a corrupt government in Kabul dependent on the influx of US funding, a hardened and militarized opposition, and neighbouring states frustrated with the unpredictability of the enduring US presence.

Comment: The fruits of US involvement in all of these affairs seems to be chaos creation, perhaps because that's partly the objective? And also just a reflection of the ponerized state of the US administration?

Is it any wonder Russia and China have openly stated that the US has 'lost its mind, morals and credibility'?