Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have discussed bilateral cooperation and measures to stabilize the global oil market in a phone call, the Kremlin stated on Monday.

“Issues of further development of bilateral cooperation in the political, trade, economic and energy fields” were discussed, according to the Kremlin. Furthermore, the two leaders spoke of “cooperation within the framework of OPEC Plus to ensure the stability of the world oil market.”

Putin and Prince Mohammed have spoken several times since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine last February, with these calls taking place amid a growing rift between Saudi Arabia and the US, the Kingdom’s closest international partner.

Over the last year, Riyadh has deepened its ties with Beijing and declared its readiness to trade oil for Chinese yuan, a move that would threaten the US dollar’s standing as the world’s dominant petrocurrency.
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As the de-facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Arabia further snubbed the US last July when it refused to increase oil production following a meeting between Prince Mohammed and US President Joe Biden. An increase would have simultaneously benefited Biden by lowering gas prices in the US ahead of November’s midterm elections, and weakened the Russian economy by reducing its oil revenue.

Instead, OPEC and its allies (a group of nations including Russia that make up the ‘Plus’ in the organization’s title) agreed in October to cut production by two million barrels per day, a move that kept prices steady for the benefit of producers.

With Moscow and Riyadh both interested in maintaining their petroleum profits, the US-backed price cap on Russian oil is viewed in both capitals as a potential threat to revenue. Furthermore, OPEC’s members worry that the measure could become “a global price cap” in the future, potentially ruining their economies.

Washington responded to Saudi Arabia’s refusal to boost production by threatening to re-evaluate its relationship with Riyadh “in a very deliberate fashion.” Democratic lawmakers pressed Biden to halt arms sales to the Kingdom unless it would reverse OPEC’s production cut, accusing the Saudis of “colluding” with Russia.







サウジアラビアが増産を拒否したことに対し、ワシントンはリヤドとの関係を "非常に慎重な方法で "見直すと脅すことで対応した。民主党議員はバイデンに、OPECの減産を撤回しない限り同国への武器売却を停止するよう迫り、サウジがロシアと「結託」していると非難した。

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 15:50| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


Moscow provides more evidence of US biolabs in Ukraine
Kiev’s troops were among the test subjects for Pentagon-funded research, the Russian MOD says

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday laid out more evidence that US-funded laboratories were working in Ukraine. Documents and materials recovered by Russian troops showed that Western pharmaceutical companies operating in territory under Kiev’s control conducted HIV/AIDS research on Ukrainian military personnel.

The commander of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, presented Ukrainian-language documents referring to HIV infection studies that began in 2019. The list of targeted groups shows service members alongside prisoners, drug addicts and other “patients at high risk of infection.”

According to Kirillov, the Russian military has recovered more than 20,000 documents and other materials related to the biological programs in Ukraine, while interviewing eyewitnesses and participants. The evidence “confirms the focus of the Pentagon on creating biological weapons components and testing them on the population of Ukraine and other states along [Russia’s] borders,” the general told reporters.

Based on documents originating with the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Russian military identified eight more individuals involved in the US-funded research in Ukraine. Among the names Kirillov singled out was Karen Saylors of Labyrinth Global Health, previously of Metabiota, a company linked to US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

US 'military biological activities' a threat to the world – Russia
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The latest trove of documents, belonging to the company Pharmbiotest, was unearthed in Lisichansk in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) early in January, Kirillov noted.

“Clinical samples and patient records with their personal data were buried, and not cremated or destroyed in a proper fashion. This suggests that the destruction of this evidence was carried out in extreme haste,” the lieutenant general said.

In October 2022, Russia filed an official complaint over alleged US-backed biological activities in Ukraine and requested a UN probe into the matter. The UN Security Council rejected Moscow’s proposal after the US, UK, and France voted against it. The US opposition “once again confirms that Washington has something to hide, and that ensuring the transparency of biological research is contrary to US interests,” Kirillov said.

As evidence of the widespread threat posed by the Pentagon’s biological research conducted beyond America’s borders, Kirillov referred to the previously mentioned US involvement in coronavirus studies, including by funding the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance that contracted with the laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Kirillov also brought up the 1977 outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Egypt, near a biological laboratory run by the US Navy. The disease previously known only south of the Sahara made a surprise appearance in Cairo a few months after the lab employees were vaccinated against it, the general said. Moreover, the Cairo strain was “highly pathogenic” compared to the disease’s normal flu-like symptoms, suggesting the involvement of gain-of-function experiments.



ロシアの核・生物・化学防衛軍司令官イーゴリ・キリロフ中将は、2019年に始まったHIV感染研究に言及したウクライナ語の文書を提示した。対象となるグループのリストには、囚人や薬物中毒者などの "感染リスクの高い患者 "と並んで、軍人の姿が記されている。



米国の「軍事的生物学的活動」は世界にとっての脅威 - ロシア



2022年10月、ロシアはウクライナで米国が支援する生物学的活動の疑惑について公式に提訴し、国連の調査を要求した。国連安全保障理事会は、米国、英国、フランスの反対票を投じ、モスクワの提案を拒否した。 米国の反対は、「ワシントンが何か隠していること、そして生物学的研究の透明性を確保することが米国の利益に反することを再び確認させた」とキリロフ氏は述べた。




posted by ZUKUNASHI at 14:30| Comment(0) | 健康・病気


As the Pentagon's favorite think tank calls for a swift end to the Ukraine conflict, is the mood shifting in Washington?
The RAND Corporation believes the fighting must end sooner rather than later

The RAND Corporation, a highly influential elite national security think tank funded directly by the Pentagon, has published a landmark report stating that prolonging the proxy war is actively harming the US and its allies and warning Washington that it should avoid “a protracted conflict” in Ukraine.
What are the US' interests in Ukraine
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The report has an unequivocal title, “Avoiding a long war: US policy and the trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” which provides a strong indication as to its contents.

It starts by stating that the fighting represents “the most significant interstate conflict in decades, and its evolution will have major consequences” for Washington, which includes US “interests” being actively harmed. The report makes it very clear that while Ukrainians have been doing the fighting, and their cities have been “flattened” and “economy decimated,” these “interests” are “not synonymous” with Kiev’s.

The US ending its financial, humanitarian and particularly military support promptly would cause Ukraine to completely collapse, and RAND cites several reasons why doing so would be sensible, not least because a Ukrainian victory is regarded as both “improbable” and “unlikely,” due to Russian “resolve,” and its military mobilization having “rectified the manpower deficit that enabled Ukraine’s success in the Kharkiv counteroffensive.”

From the perspective of US “interests,” RAND warns that while the Kremlin has not threatened to use nuclear weapons, there are “several issues that make Russian use of nuclear weapons both a plausible contingency Washington needs to account for and a hugely important factor in determining the future trajectory of the conflict.”

And what are the risks for the US

The think tank believes the Biden administration “has ample reason to make the prevention of Russian use of nuclear weapons a paramount priority." In particular, it should seek to avoid a “direct nuclear exchange” with Moscow, a “direct conflict with Russia”, or wider “NATO-Russia war.”

On the latter point, RAND worries that US general Mark Milley’s demand that the conflict stay “inside the geographical boundaries of Ukraine” is on the verge of being disrespected, as “the extent of NATO allies’ indirect involvement in the war is breathtaking in scope,” including “tens of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and other aid” and “tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support,” along with “billions of dollars monthly in direct budgetary support to Kiev.”
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Such largesse could, RAND forecasts, prompt Moscow to “punish NATO members…with the objective of ending allied support for Ukraine; strike NATO preemptively if Russia perceives that NATO intervention in Ukraine is imminent; interdict the transfer of arms to Ukraine; retaliate against NATO for perceived support for internal unrest in Russia,” if the Kremlin concludes the country’s national security is “severely imperiled.”

These outcomes are “by no means inevitable,” but still represent an “elevated” risk, particularly in light of incidents such as a Ukrainian air defense missile striking Polish territory in November 2022 – a situation exacerbated by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky falsely claiming it was a deliberate Russian strike. While this event “did not spiral out of control, it did demonstrate that fighting can unintentionally spill over to the territory of neighboring US allies.”

Another incident like that could mean “the US military would immediately be involved in a hot war with a country that has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.” This, as well as a conventional conflict between NATO and Russia, is a prospect Washington should avoid at all costs, RAND argues.

A clear implication is the US could lose such a conflict, one key reason being, as pointed out by RAND, “the intensity of the military assistance” being given to Ukraine by its Western backers is already approaching an “unsustainable” level, with US and European weapons stocks “running low.” This consequently means a longer war equals more Ukrainian territory reunified with Russia.
A Russian servicemen speaks over walkie-talkie near a BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket system in the course of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, at the unknown location. コピーライトマーク Sputnik / Konstantin Mihalchevskiy
Is there a solution?

On the subject of territorial losses, RAND is unmoved by arguments Ukraine should attempt to recapture all that it has lost since 2014, as “greater territorial control is not directly correlated with greater economic prosperity” or “greater security.” Land having been retaken by Kiev since September means “Russia has imposed far greater economic costs on the country as a whole.”

RAND also considers the worth of arguments that “greater Ukrainian territorial control” should be assured “to reinforce international norms, and to foster Ukraine’s future economic growth” to be “debatable,” as even in the “unlikely” event Kiev pushes “beyond the pre-February 2022 line of control and manages to retake areas that Russia has occupied since 2014,” the risks of escalation from Moscow, including “nuclear use or an attack on NATO” will “spike.”

The Kremlin would likely treat the potential loss of Crimea as a much more significant threat both to national security and regime stability,” the report warns.

All these factors make “avoiding a long war…the highest priority after minimizing escalation risks,” so RAND recommends the US “take steps that make an end to the conflict over the medium term more likely,” including “issuing assurances regarding the country’s neutrality,” something that Moscow had requested before the conflict began, to deaf ears, as well as “sanctions relief for Russia.”
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However, the report warns against a “dramatic, overnight shift in US policy,” as this would be “politically impossible – both domestically and with allies,” instead recommending the development of “instruments” to bring the war to a “negotiated end,” and “socializing them with Ukraine and with US allies” in advance to lessen the blow. This process should be started quickly though, as “the alternative is a long war that poses major challenges for the US, Ukraine, and the rest of the world.”


What this proposal ignores is that Western leaders have consistently proven they cannot be trusted to respect or adhere to treaties they have signed and brokered with Russia, such as the Minsk Accords, which former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted were never intended to be implemented, but rather to buy time for Kiev.

It may be the case then that Moscow won’t be interested in RAND’s solution at all, and choose instead to finish the war on its own terms. ペンタゴンお気に入りのシンクタンクがウクライナ紛争の早期終結を求める中、ワシントンのムードは変わりつつあるのだろうか。










これらの結果は「決して避けられないものではない」が、特に2022年11月にウクライナの防空ミサイルがポーランド領を攻撃したような事件-ウラジーミル・ゼレンスキー大統領がロシアの故意の攻撃だと誤認したことによって状況が悪化した-を考慮すれば、依然として「高まった」リスクを示している。この出来事は、"制御不能に陥ることはなかったが、戦闘が意図せずして近隣の米国同盟国の領土に波及する可能性があることを示した "のである。



posted by ZUKUNASHI at 11:56| Comment(0) | ウクライナ


Davos2023から得た有益な情報 - COVIDsafeなミーティングの運営方法。どんな組織的な集まりでも、これを欠かしてはならない。多くの人に広範な感染が存続する中で、支配者層のこの程度の保護が明らかにとても快適である皮肉。
私は、それがメディア、ひいては一般大衆から失われているのではないかと心配しています。それは一面のニュースであるべきです。 ️






posted by ZUKUNASHI at 09:51| Comment(0) | Covid19