Update(1645ET): A major new and sensational charge of a Ukrainian false flag plot in the making issued by Russia’s defense chief has set off a string of tit-for-tat accusations and statements Sunday.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed in rare phone calls that included his counterparts from the United States, Britain, France, and Turkey that Ukrainian forces are preparing a “provocation” with a radioactive device. A Kremlin statement cited that he conveyed a warning over “possible Ukrainian provocations involving a ‘dirty bomb'”.
Shoigu’s office said in follow-up that he conveyed the warning to all the above-named countries’ defense chiefs. As for his conversation with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, it was the second phone call in merely three days. The Pentagon in the hours after said Austin told Shoigu he “rejected any pretext for Russian escalation” – which strongly suggests the US perceives that Moscow is about to heighten attacks on Ukrainian cities further:
Russian authorities repeatedly have made allegations that Ukraine could detonate a dirty bomb in a false flag attack and blame it on Moscow. Ukrainian authorities, in turn, have accused the Kremlin of hatching such a plan.
The Kremlin is further charging that this low-intensity nuclear provocation is being prepared with the help of Great Britain; however, the Western allies have said no evidence whatsoever was presented in the phone calls alongside the accusations.
The UK defense ministry said in its statement following Shoigu’s phone call with Secretary Ben Wallace that the Russian side “alleged that Ukraine was planning actions facilitated by Western countries, including the UK, to escalate the conflict in Ukraine.”
“The Defense Secretary refuted these claims and cautioned that such allegations should not be used as a pretext for greater escalation,” the ministry said.
Russia is saying that such a ‘dirty bomb’ detonation, which would spread radioactive waste and potentially contaminate large urban areas, would then be blamed on Moscow in order to justify greater Western intervention.
Ukraine, for its part, blasted what the presidency’s office called an “absolute and quite predictable absurdity” and blatant “lie”. France too agreed with Ukraine’s assessment, and a statement from the French Foreign Ministry has ominously warned that the crisis is “trending towards uncontrollable escalation.” But Macron on Sunday admitted that “peace is possible” – yet it depends on when the Ukrainians “decide it”.
Meanwhile, Zelensky’s own rhetoric urging Western military intervention has escalated as well, all of which strongly suggests the war will soon grow hotter.
* * *
Now much of Western Ukraine, which lies far away from the front lines of fighting with Russia in the east, is without power due to fresh weekend airstrikes across the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a Saturday night address said new “massive” strikes targeted Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytsky, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Rivne, Volyn and Zaporizhia regions.
“We continue eliminating the aftermath of today’s terrorist attacks on our infrastructure,” Zelensky said. “The geography of this new massive strike is very wide.”
The past days have already seen power outages in Kyiv, with energy grid authorities warning of rolling blackouts, and urging residents to take power-saving measures such as the avoidance of running large appliances.
On Saturday the national power utility operator Ukrenergo said that damage from the latest round of Russian strikes set a new record. The Saturday air offensive by Russia was bigger than an initial major wave of strikes from earlier this month:
Over 1.4 million Ukrainian households have lost electricity after a morning of repeated Russian air raids, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office says.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that 40 cruise missiles and 16 allegedly Iranian-made drones hit Ukraine throughout the day.
Oleksandr Kharchenko, a Ukrainian energy official, said in an interview with US media that national infrastructure vital for the people is facing “really huge trouble”.
“When you don’t have electricity in a city, it means you have no water, you have no supply of gas, you have nothing,” Kharchenko said. Days prior to the stepped-up Saturday assault the government said one-third of all power stations had been hit or damaged in Russian strikes.
Most new damage to energy has been recorded in the country’s west, south and center, with some hospitals since reporting they are running on backup generators. Reserves of oxygen and fresh water are also being tapped by hospitals.
Ukrenegro has on Sunday introduced phased blackouts to “avoid accidents”, per The Guardian:
The blackouts began at 11.13am local time (09.30am BST), with households in Kyiv divided into three groups that will be “disconnected for a certain period of time”, DTEK said.
It added that the blackouts should last “no more than four hours” but may be longer “due to the scale of damage to the power supply system”.
According to the latest estimate of the damage reported in Reuters, “Russia has hit at least half of Ukraine’s thermal generation capacity and caused billions of dollars of damage in attacks since Oct. 10, but not all stricken power units have stopped working completely, Ukraine’s energy minister said on Friday.”
Further, “Herman Halushchenko told Reuters in an interview that 30-40% of overall national power infrastructure had been hit in attacks that he depicted as intended to destroy Ukraine’s energy system — a goal that he said had not been achieved.”This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Jordan Peterson Calls For Regime Change in Iran
To fight “misogyny”.
Jordan Peterson has called on the west to embark on regime change in Iran to fight “misogyny”.
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Video: Belarusian Tennis Star Calls Out Sports Reporters For “Dragging Players Into” Ukraine Conflict Talk
“I don’t know what’s the goal here that it’s continuously brought up.”
Belarusian tennis star Victoria Azarenka has called out sports reporters for continually asking players questions about the Russia/Ukraine conflict, noting “I don’t know what you guys want us to do about it.”
Azarenka was speaking during a press conference after a recent match at the Australian open, when she lost patience with journalists asking question after question about pro-Russia protests by some at the event, and accused the reporters of continuously “dragging players into” political issues.
“I don’t know what you guys want us to do about it,” Azarenka asserted, adding “Like talk about it? I don’t know what’s the goal here that it’s continuously brought up.”
The former world number one continued, “These incidents that, in my opinion, have nothing to do with players, but somehow you keep dragging players into it. So what’s the goal here?”
“I think you should ask yourself that question, not me,” she sternly added.
Azarenka also stated that whatever she says will be twisted by the reporters to suit their own narrative anyway, so why should she bother.
“Whatever the answer I’m going to give it to you right now, it’s going to be turned whichever way you want to turn it to,” the tennis star urged, adding “So does it bother me? What bothers me is there’s real things that’s going on in the world. And I don’t know. Are you a politician? Are you? Are you covering politics?” she rhetorically asked the sports reporter.
“I’m an athlete,” Azarenka further proclaimed, adding “and you’re asking me about things that maybe somebody says are in my control, but I don’t believe that. So I don’t know what you want me to answer. And if it’s a provocative question, then, you know, you can spin the story however you want.”
“Obviously it’s a topic you want to continue to bring up and up and up again,” Azarenka charged, telling the reporters “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
Azarenka is correct, there is a sustained effort by reporters, even non-politics reporters to involve sports personalities in narratives centred around the ‘current thing’ they obsessively use to sell newspapers and garner clicks.
Novak Djokovic has been repeatedly subject to such treatment, with tennis officials also guilty of dragging politics into the sport.
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Former UK Defense Minister Says NATO May Need To Send Ground Forces To Ukraine
The “domino theory” was once used to great effect in order to manipulate the American public into supporting the Vietnam War, but will the same narrative work to get the west to support World War III with Russia?
Former UK Defense Minister Sir Gerald Howarth seems to think so as he uses this exact claim to justify NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine.
It should be noted that a large percentage of the American populace and most of Europe have no interest whatsoever in engaging with Russia and possibly its allies in all out war, but the establishment appears intent on forcing the issue anyway. The delivery of NATO tanks and the possibility of longer range missiles will no doubt trigger a wider response from Russia, which will then be used by NATO as a reason to escalate further.
At the very least, Howarth does admit what many in the alternative media have been saying for some time – That Ukraine’s efforts have ground to a halt without further support from NATO troops. The deliveries of money and weapons are nothing more than a stop-gap; wars are won by men.
The former minister suggests that Ukraine is essentially too big to fail and that NATO cannot allow Russia to prevail in the region, otherwise they will be emboldened to strike other nearby nations. There is zero evidence to support this argument, but it is clear that NATO talking heads are desperate to drum up some kind of public fervor.
Are western citizens willing to fight and die for Ukraine? It’s highly unlikely.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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