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Watch Live: Putin Declares Annexation Of Eastern Ukraine

Watch Live: Putin Declares Annexation Of Eastern Ukraine

Just ahead of a Friday ceremony declaring the official annexations of the four occupied Ukrainian regions which held controversial referendums, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed two decrees which recognized the “independence” of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

“Recognize the state sovereignty and independence” of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions “effective from the day of signing,” the two decrees stated. This paved the way for Friday’s ceremony where he’s expected to give a major speech which will incorporate those two territories plus Donetsk and Luhansk. WATCH Putin’s speech declaring annexation live:

According to Russian state media, “In the documents, Putin refers to the universally recognized principles and norms of international law, and the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, enshrined in the UN Charter.”

In contrast to this Kremlin perspective, Western officials and media sources are slamming the big ‘land grab’ – which comes at a moment the entirety of these territories are not yet under Russian military control. A White House statement said in response to the “sham” referendums, “The United States will never recognize Ukrainian territory as anything other than part of Ukraine. Russia’s referenda are a sham – a false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force in flagrant violation of international law, including the United Nations Charter.”

Putin said in a televised meeting with officials on Tuesday as voting closed in the four regions: “Saving people in the territories where this referendum is taking place… is the focus of the attention of our entire society and of the entire country.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Washington Post Dabbles in Orwell

The Washington Post Dabbles in Orwell

In scrubbed piece about Edward Snowden, the Bezos Post offers a preview of how history will be re-written

Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship on Monday to Edward Snowden, a former security consultant who leaked information about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs and is still wanted by Washington on espionage charges.

The story added:

Snowden’s disclosures, published first in The Washington Post and the Guardian, were arguably the biggest security breach in U.S. history. The information revealed top-secret NSA surveillance as part of a program known as PRISM and the extraction of a wide range of digital information.

Snowden is America’s most famous revealer-of-secrets, and the way he’s talked about has evolved to an extreme degree in less than a decade, showing how quickly a story about security overreach can be flipped into an argument for more vigilance. The press, which once worked with Snowden in its proper role as a bulwark against government excess, is effectively an arm of the state now, as is shown again in this absurd episode.

This article began as an aggressive rewrite of history and the Post’s own views, but underwent numerous alterations after it attracted criticism online yesterday.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Putin: Oil Sanctions Will Be Europe’s “Economic Suicide” On Orders From “American Overlords”

Putin: Oil Sanctions Will Be Europe’s “Economic Suicide” On Orders From “American Overlords”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that EU countries are committing “economic suicide” by refusing Russian energy resources amid a push to impose an oil embargo, but which has been thus far blocked by Russian energy-dependent Hungary and a handful of others.

As quoted in RIA Novosti, Putin described that the oil sector is busy undergoing a “tectonic shift” which will only be made worse by “ill-thought-out” sanctions by the West. The address was given virtually to an energy conference of the country’s industry heads.

“Changes in the oil market are tectonic in nature and doing business as usual, according to the old model, seems unlikely,” he said. “In the new conditions, it is important not only to extract oil, but also to build the entire vertical chain leading to the final consumer.”

Putin signs a pipeline in 2011. AFP via Getty

He called out the current EU-US trajectory of seeking to inflict maximum punishment on Moscow as a strategy ensuring higher energy prices and higher inflation. That’s when he observed:

“Of course, such an economic suicide is a domestic affair of the European countries,” based on the AFP translation.

At the same time, Putin additionally pointed out, Europe’s “chaotic actions” would eventually serve to boost oil and gas revenues for Moscow, also as Russia diverts energy supplies to “friendly” countries. He urged Russian industry authorities to be more proactive in leveraging the situation for the nation’s benefit.

Putin described a scenario of Europe feeling the brunt of the crisis worst, according to state media:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Knows The Monetary System Is A Credit Based Ponzi Scheme: Lawrence Lepard

Putin Knows The Monetary System Is A Credit Based Ponzi Scheme: Lawrence Lepard

Larry also lays out 4 key catalysts for higher gold, silver and bitcoin prices.

Friend of Fringe Finance Lawrence Lepard released his most recent investor letter a few days ago with his updated take on the seismic changes occurring in monetary policy globally as a result of the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

He takes us through history as to how this landscape has changed in the past, and what could be coming in years ahead.

Larry had joined me for several interviews last year and I believe him to truly be one of the muted voices that the investing community would be better off for considering. He’s the type of voice that gets little coverage in the mainstream media, which, in my opinion, makes him someone worth listening to twice as closely.

Lawrence Lepard (Photo: Kitco)

Larry was kind enough to allow me to share his most recent thoughts. Part 2 is below and Part 1 can be found at this link.

In Part 1, Larry reminded us of the history and structure of the world monetary system, starting in 1944 and ending in 1980, and how he uses that to make his investment decisions.

In Part 2, he picks up around 1980 and discusses current problems the Fed has.


1980-Present Gold Market 

In the chart below, you can see the effect that Paul Volcker’s policies had on the dollar price of gold. By pushing interest rates up to 20%, he managed to cool inflation and ultimately stop it. This brought the gold price back to the $260 to $400 range where it lived for quite some time.

The 1980’s and 1990s were marked by a period of dis-inflation and ultimately deflation given technological innovations and productivity gains from Microsoft, Intel and the like in the 1980s, and then the Internet in the 1990s…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Driving Up Oil Prices Is An “Outrageous Lie”: USF Geology Professor Dr. Marc Defant

Putin Driving Up Oil Prices Is An “Outrageous Lie”: USF Geology Professor Dr. Marc Defant

“I read a lot of the literature on global warming and for AOC to come out and say 2 or 3 years ago that the world was going to end in 12 years – that’s just hysterical craziness.”

About two weeks ago, I published an interview with Dr. Marc Defant about why he thought President Biden’s oil policies were “bat-shit crazy” and creating more turmoil than they were helping alleviate problems in markets.

This past weekend, I was happy to welcome him onto my podcast for a discussion about the current state of energy in the U.S., including pros and cons of natural gas, fracking, shutting down pipeline projects in the U.S. and the cost benefit analysis of extreme activist environmentalists.

Why We are Alone in the Galaxy | Marc Defant | TEDxUSF - YouTube

Dr. Marc J. Defant is a professor of geology/geochemistry at the University of South Florida. He worked for Schlumberger Well Services and Shell Oil for three years, with two years at Shell working as an exploration geologist.

He has been funded by the National Science FoundationNational Geographic, the American Chemical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences, and has published in many internationally renowned scientific journals including Nature. He has written a book entitled Voyage of Discovery: From the Big Bang to the Ice Age and published several articles for general readership magazines such as Skeptic and Popular Science and appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. You can reach him via this contact form.

First, we talked about how the price of oil got so high to begin with.

Dr. Defant told me: “Gas was up 40% and oil was up 80% before the Ukrainian war started. What got me a little incensed was that Biden is going around saying the price of gasoline is due to to Putin.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Opening Salvos Thrown – What Are Putin’s Next Steps in Ukraine?

Opening Salvos Thrown – What Are Putin’s Next Steps in Ukraine?

Last week I wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin rewrote the rules for the geopolitical game board. A week into his campaign to officially “demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine” it’s clear to me that Putin’s ambitions lie far beyond this stated goal.

He will, however, stick to that script until that part of the campaign is complete.

Today I want to start outlining where we go next and to do that we have to describe where we are.

Looking around the reports that are the most credible (and properly bracketing for any partisanship) we are staring at a complete, effective neutralization of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) to hold any of the ethnically-dominant areas of Ukraine.

In a post for my patrons on February 25th, responding to an excellent article by Alistair MacLeod I wrote the following:

MacLeodBoth sides probably do not know how fragile the Eurozone banking system is, with both the ECB and its national central bank shareholders already having liabilities greater than their assets. In other words, rising interest rates have broken the euro system and an economic and financial catastrophe on its eastern flank will probably trigger its collapse.

I’ve been banging my shoe on this table for 3 years now.  If the US/NATO respond with some kind of guerilla war here to hang Ukraine like an albatross around Putin’s neck, as we should expect, then Europe is in big trouble financially.

Because the financial war will keep escalating as Putin responds militarily.  Remember, he’s openly threatened the ‘decision makers’ here.  And no amount of mealy-mouthed CIA/MI6 disinformation will deter him from action anymore.

This is always what I meant by “spooks start civil wars, militaries end them.”  There is no more War for Ukraine.

I still believe that. This isn’t a war for Ukraine, it’s a war for the future of the entire world. Ukraine represents the hill both Davos and Russia have chosen to live or die on.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Ushers in the New Geopolitical Game Board

Putin Ushers in the New Geopolitical Game Board

Up until February 23rd, 2022, the powerful countries of the world played a very rarified game.

Too many people try to analyze geopolitics like it is a game of chess. Move, counter-move. Push a pawn? Threaten a knight, that type of thing. It’s easy to understand and makes for good copy.

In the past I’ve tried to liken it to a multi-player version of Go, with anywhere from four to 6 different colored stones on the board trying to take territory. It was a better metaphor but nearly impossible to describe adequately. In fact, at times, it was exhausting.

The reality is that neither of these metaphors are explanatory.

Because the only accurate model for geopolitics is actually Calvinball.

You know that game. That’s the one from Calvin & Hobbes.

Contrary to your memory of the legendary comic strip, there were rules to Calvinball that went something like this: Calvin got to make the rules up as he went along.

In geopolitics it pretty much comes down to whoever is the strongest player got that power.

Here’s the thing. Up until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (and yes, it is an invasion, justifiable or otherwise) there was something called the ‘rules-based order’ promoted mainly by the US but also supported directly by the European Union and the Commonwealth.

The rules of the ‘rules-based order’ were simple. We make the rules, you follow them. We reserve the right to change the rules whenever we want to suit our purpose.

It was the geopolitical equivalent of Sam Francis’ idea of ‘anarcho-tyranny,’ which boils down to, “rules for thee, but not for me.”

We’ve heard the Russian diplomats complain about this for years. Why have these rules if they are not ever enforced?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Orders Peacekeeping Operation In Ukraine’s Breakaway Regions

Putin Orders Peacekeeping Operation In Ukraine’s Breakaway Regions

Update (422pmET): It appears that boots are about to hit the ground. According to Reuters and RIA, Putin has ordered a peacekeeping operation in Eastern Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

  • PUTIN ORDERS RUSSIAN ARMED FORCES TO START ‘PEACEKEEPING MISSION’ IN E. UKRAINE BREAKAWAY REGIONS — RIA

And while Russian troops appear headed for the Donbas, Ukraine troops are now moving toward Kharkiv, located due north of the separatist areas.

* * *

Update(2:30pmET): It’s official: Putin has confirmed the change of status recognition while warning Kiev and the West that Russia’s military will act against any further aggression. He warned that Ukraine’s government must now halt all military actions against Donbas or whatever happens next will be on them.

“Modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia,” Putin stated at the outset of his speech.

  • PUTIN SAYS UKRAINE WAS NOT ABLE TO ACHIEVE STABLE STATEHOOD AND HAS THEREFORE HAD TO RELY ON FOREIGN COUNTRIES LIKE THE UNITED STATES
  • PUTIN: UKRAINE HAS BECOME ‘A COLONY WITH A PUPPET GOVERNMENT’
  • PUTIN SAYS UKRAINE PLANS TO CREATE ITS OWN NUCLEAR WEAPONS
  • PUTIN SAYS WE WERE PROMISED NATO WOULD NOT EXPAND PUTIN SAYS THE OPPOSITE HAPPENED
  • PUTIN: I WILL SAY SOMETHING IVE NEVER SAID FOR THE FIRST TIME: I ASKED CLINTON HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT RUSSIA JOINING NATO?
  • PUTIN SAYS WE SAW FIVE WAVES OF NATO EXPANSION RECENTLY
  • U.S. DOES NOT NEED SUCH A BIG COUNTRY AS RUSSIA IN NATO
  • ‘WHY MAKE AN ENEMY OF US

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Says the West Is Taking Russia’s ‘Red Lines’ Too Lightly

Putin Says the West Is Taking Russia’s ‘Red Lines’ Too Lightly

The Russian leader says relations with US are ‘unsatisfactory’ and is open to more talks

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Western powers are taking Moscow’s “red lines” too lightly.

“We’re constantly voicing our concerns about this, talking about red lines, but we understand our partners — how shall I put it mildly — have a very superficial attitude to all our warnings and talk of red lines,” Putin said in a foreign policy speech.

The Russian leader has warned NATO against expanding cooperation with Ukraine, but NATO countries continue to do so. This week, the UK signed a new navy deal with Kyiv to build warships for Russia’s neighbor.

The US and NATO have stepped up military activity in the Black Sea, which Moscow views as a major provocation. Putin described this activity as going “beyond boundaries” and said a Western strategic bomber recently flew within 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) of Russia’s borders. US B1-B bombers recently flew over the Black Sea, but it’s not clear how close they were to Russian territory.

Putin said that NATO has destroyed all mechanisms for dialogue with Moscow. The military alliance recently expelled diplomats from Russia’s mission to NATO in Brussels, and Moscow responded by closing the mission.

Putin described relations with the US as “unsatisfactory,” but said he was open to more talks. “However, I want to say once again, we are open to contacts and exchanges of opinion, constructive dialogue,” he said.

 

“No Extra Gas Booked” – European Gas Prices Surge After Putin Punks Freezing Continent

“No Extra Gas Booked” – European Gas Prices Surge After Putin Punks Freezing Continent

In late October, the market rejoiced and nat gas prices puked (even as we warned this was just the latest joke the Kremlin was playing at gullible Europe’s expense) after news that Russian President Vladimir Putin had asked Gazprom to “gradually” raise volumes to Europe starting November 8. So fast forwarding to November 8, i.e., today when not only is there no gas being shipped to Germany via Russia’s anchor Yamal pipeline as of today…

… but there are there no signs the continent will get any relief any time soon, with Gazprom moments ago tightening the proverbial (and literal) squeeze on Europe’s gas supply:

  • GAZPROM DIDN’T BOOK EXTRA GAS PIPELINE CAPACITY FOR TUESDAY
  • GAZPROM OPTS AGAINST SENDING MORE GAS TO EUROPE VIA UKRAINE
  • NO PIPE SPACE BOOKED TO SHIP EXTRA GAS INTO GERMANY’S MALLNOW.

Today’s squeeze follows a supply shock on Sunday, when no extra capacity to send additional supplies to Europe was booked in auctions. That’s a disappointment for traders who had been counting on Gazprom to follow Putin’s orders to ease the continent’s supply crunch.

Oops.

Natural gas prices have more than tripled this year as Europe started the heating season with the lowest inventories in more than a decade. Russia had been keeping supplies capped, but traders were hoping for relief after Putin ordered Gazprom to send more gas to Europe from Nov. 8, when domestic storage sites were set to be full. Meanwhile, after peaking above €160 then tumbling back to €60, Dutch nat gas futures have resumed their steady climb again as the prospect of a freezing European winter once again gets all too real.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Lays Cards Down: Approve Nord Stream 2 To Get More Gas

Putin Lays Cards Down: Approve Nord Stream 2 To Get More Gas

Russia could immediately increase natural gas deliveries to Europe as soon as German authorities approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Financial Times reports, citing President Vladimir Putin as saying gas can be delivered “the day after tomorrow” if approval is granted “tomorrow”.

Putin said Russia could deliver an additional 17.5 billion cu m of gas if the new pipeline gets the green light. This amount, according to the FT, is equal to a tenth of Russian gas deliveries to Europe and Turkey last year and would come not a moment too soon as Europe continues to struggle to fill up its reserves ahead of winter.

However, the Russian president’s statement is also likely to spark anger in Europe since it confirms suspicions that Russia wants to withhold additional supplies for Europe until Nord Stream 2 is approved. Moscow officials have said that Gazprom was prioritizing domestic energy security, and the company itself has repeatedly stated that it had fulfilled its delivery obligations under long-term contracts with European buyers.

Earlier this week, sources from Moscow also hinted that there would be more gas for Europe if Nord Stream 2 is approved, Bloomberg reported. But, separately, speaking to Bloomberg, a Russian MP said, “We cannot ride to the rescue just to compensate for mistakes that we didn’t commit.”

Meanwhile, top Russian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and former Energy Minister Alexander Novak, have argued that Europe’s gas crisis was not the result of insufficient supply but a consequence of lower than usual inventories and bad decisions on the part of politicians.

At the same time, some in Brussels are accusing Gazprom of market manipulation to make prices rise. More than 40 members of the European Parliament from all political groups have reportedly urged the European Commission to launch an investigation into Gazprom over alleged market manipulation that could have contributed to the record-high natural gas prices in Europe.

Putin: $100 Oil Is “Quite Possible”

Putin: $100 Oil Is “Quite Possible”

  • It is “quite possible” that the WTI Crude oil prices reach $100 per barrel in light of growing global demand for energy commodities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday
  • Putin: Russia and its allies in the OPEC+ oil producer group want a stable oil market without any shock spikes in prices

It is “quite possible” that the WTI Crude oil prices reach $100 per barrel in light of growing global demand for energy commodities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on a CNBC panel at the Russian Energy Week on Wednesday.

Asked by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble whether the U.S. benchmark could hit $100 a barrel, Putin replied “That is quite possible.”

However, Russia and its allies in the OPEC+ oil producer group want a stable oil market without any shock spikes in prices, Putin said.

“Russia and our partners and OPEC + group, I would say we are doing everything possible to make sure the oil market stabilizes,” Putin said, according to a translation.

“We are trying not to allow any shock peaks in prices. We certainly do not want to have that — it is not in our interests,” the Russian president added.

The OPEC+ group decided last week to stick to their planned 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) increase in collective production in November, despite calls from oil importing nations to add more supply and despite an expected additional demand from a gas-to-oil switch due to record high natural gas prices in Europe and Asia.

Oil prices could hit $100 in case of a colder winter, some analysts and investment banks have said in recent weeks. Record-high natural gas prices are forcing some utilities to switch to oil derivatives instead, boosting demand for crude.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia Says US Engineered June’s Black Sea Provocation, “We’ll Sink” Any Threat Next Time

Russia Says US Engineered June’s Black Sea Provocation, “We’ll Sink” Any Threat Next Time

In the days after the June 23 incident between the UK Royal Navy’s HMS Defender and a Russian patrol vessel and military aircraft near Crimea which resulted in warning shots fired from the Russian side, Putin asserted that a US reconnaissance plane had been nearby monitoring the dangerous close-call incident as it unfolded below. Putin had cast the whole showdown as a “provocation” in which the US aircraft was present monitor Russia’s response to the UK vessel. Moscow’s position is that the UK vessel had ventured a full three kilometers into Russian territorial waters, which was met with a Su-24M dropping bombs in the Defender’s path along with the Russian patrol ship firing warning shots.

The latest charge on Sunday, however, has gone further, with Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov accusing Washington and the UK of essentially engineering the dangerously close military encounter in order to probe and test Russia’s defense of its borders.

I think our intelligence certainly knows who made a decision there [in the situation with the British destroyer]. But certainly I think such operations are basically planned by senior partners from overseas,” Peskov was cited in TASS as saying.

UK military drills involving HMS Defender in the Mediterranean, via The Drive.

Given Putin’s prior words pointing the finger directly at Washington during his annual televised Q&A last month, this latest Kremlin statement is also no doubt a clear reference to the US (in terms of the provocative reference to “who made the decision here”). Presidential spokesman Peskov elaborated further in his Sunday statements that “in this case the destroyer was just a tool of provocation.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

German Ambassador Seconds Putin’s Fiery NS2 Remarks: “European Energy Policy Not Determined By Foreigners”

German Ambassador Seconds Putin’s Fiery NS2 Remarks: “European Energy Policy Not Determined By Foreigners”

The day after Putin announced the completion of the first leg of the Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, declaring that essentially Washington’s best efforts to halt it via an avalanche of sanctions have been defeated, Germany appears to have seconded his assessment.

German Ambassador to Russia Geza Andreas von Geyr on Saturday in his own statements on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum said that US efforts are illegal, going against international law. As cited in Russian media reports, the ambassador said: “At the moment, important negotiations between the American and German governments are ongoing, which include the topic of Nord Stream 2, but our stance on the matter is clear, and it will not change: we are convinced that the energy security of Europe, as well as European energy policy should be determined by Europeans only, and not by foreigners,” he stated confidently.

German Ambassador to Russia Geza Andreas von Geyr, Via FT

“As for the sanctions, our position is that such an instrument – extraterritorial sanctions – is not applicable, as it goes against international law“, he explained.

There’s nothing new in this position of Germany seeing in it a question of European sovereignty over its own energy policy. Both Russian and German sides have remain undeterred in completing the pipeline, yet interestingly it’s Washington’s position under Biden which appears to have softened and even reversed.

The Biden White House announced last month that it would waive sanctions for the German company overseeing its side of the 745-mile long pipeline project while at the same timing slapping more punitive measures on Russian vessels under Gazprom. Ostensibly an initiative to heal ties with Germany, it was clearly contradictory, as many observed…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Charges US With Using Dollar To Wage “Economic & Political War”

Putin Charges US With Using Dollar To Wage “Economic & Political War”

Yesterday Russia announced the dramatic news at its own ‘Davos-style’ economic forum in St. Petersburg which is running this week that it will dump the US dollar from its $186 billion National Wealth Fund. As we detailed previously it comes as Washington continues to tighten the sanctions screws on Moscow, blaming it for everything from a series corporate cyberattacks that’s appeared to target American infrastructure to election interference to expansionist aims in Ukraine to cracking down on opposition activists.

On Friday President Vladimir Putin hinted further at the rationale behind what was obviously a retaliatory and defiant we don’t need the US strong bit of messaging from Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov at the forum – who emphasized the day before, “We can make this change rather quickly, within a month”. Putin followed during his address by charging the United States with using the dollar as a tool to “wage economic and political war” on rival countries. Thursday’s prior National Wealth Fund announcement had delineated it will alternately pursue investments in euro, Chinese yuan as well as gold assets.

Via Reuters

Putin in his Friday speech hung a further threat over Washington, saying according to Reuters that Russia “may consider settling transactions for oil and gas in other national currencies and the euro.” 

And further, “Putin said it would be a serious blow to the US dollar if Russia’s oil companies stopped using the currency, but that Moscow did not want to do that.” Here’s more of his comments addressing this future provocative last-ditch scenario:

Putin also said European nations should pay for Russian gas in euros, as Moscow pursues its de-dollarization efforts amid US sanctions.

“The euro is completely acceptable for us in terms of gas payments. This can be done, of course, and probably should be done,” he said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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