Russia builds warships in Crimea to counter NATO build-up

By Vladimir V. Sytin

Currently, keels are being laid for warships at the Crimean shipyard Zaliv, which is incorporated in the Zelenodolsk plant in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. They will be adopted by the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and the Northern Fleet.

Specifically, two vessels are designed for missions within the framework of the Arctic gas project. In addition, the cable laying ships Volga and Vyatka that will be used to lay communications cables on polar sea beds between many scattered islands and the mainland are nearing completion at the Kerch-based shipyard. Designed for 50-day sailing without stopping, these unique ships with a displacement of 10,000 tons are capable of laying cables and repairing them while sustaining storm force up to five under severe icing conditions.

Readers of The Ukrainian Times know that the purpose of Russia is to convert Crimea into an unsinkable aircraft carrier, the strategic military base, capable of challenging the old and faulty NATO (essentially the United States). In particular, the Russian peninsula is outfitted with the cutting-edge weaponry, including S-400 Triumph and Pantsir air-defense missile systems, as well as with Bastion mobile antiship missile complexes and Bereg coastal mobile artillery systems.

According to Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, Russia has allowed Washington to put ABM bases on its borders with Poland and Romania. This is like the U.S. permitting Russia to put missile bases in Cuba. The fact that no one in Washington or any Western government has stepped forward to reassure the Russian government and demand the removal of U.S. missile bases surrounding Russia indicates a level of hubris or denial that is beyond comprehension. And what about the vote of the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion and instead add a whopping $74 billion to the Pentagon budget?

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Ornex Ltd. takes blocking stakes in energy troika

By Vladimir V. Sytin

Recently, the State Property Fund of Ukraine has sold blocking stakes in three energy companies, namely DonetskOblEnergo, ZapadOblEnergo and KievEnergo
by exchange auctions. All blocks of shares were acquired by the limited liability company Ornex of Cyprus, which is incorporated in the System Capital Management Group controlled by Ukrainian industrial magnate Rinat Akhmetov. As a result, DonetskOblEnergo, ZapadOblEnergo and KievEnergo are respectively 96.5%, 97.2% and 97.4% owned by Akhmetov’s companies today.

According to many observers, Kiev authorities’ assurances to return KievEnergo to communal ownership turned out to be worthless. At present, privatization in Ukraine is the way that bureaucrats can reward tycoons and cronies by giving them valuable public resources for a low price. As a rule, this deregulation entails high prices and poor services, whereas private owners would not move a finger to build new power plants or mend power networks, but milk very hard-pressed Ukrainian taxpayers of their cash.

Cannabis activity prohibited in Ukraine, its neighbors

In Ukraine, cannabis is mainly grown in small plantations, hidden amongst corn, in the black soil suitable for cultivation, which is found in the central and southern parts of this country. According to Ukrainian legislation, cultivation (without intent to sell) of up to 10 cannabis plants qualifies as an administrative violation, with a fine of from 18 to 100 tax-exempt minimum incomes and the seizure of plants. Reportedly, the limit for possession without intent to sell, for which no criminal liability is provided, shall not exceed five grams of cannabis.

By comparison, Russia reduced the limits for criminal possession of many drugs in 2006, with the criminal threshold for cannabis being cut from 20 to six grams.

Cannabis activity is strictly prohibited in Byelorussia. When a person is caught with cannabis, be it small or large amount, it can cost him or her a lot more (from bribing) and a law-breaker may well receive an 8–10 years’ prison sentence.

P.S. A joke overheard in a pub:

Two Hippies are walking along a railroad track, stoned. One Hippie says: “This is a really long staircase, man!” The other Hippie says: “I don’t mind the stairs, man. It’s this low handrail that is killing me.”

Germany owes Greece EUR300 billion WWII reparations

By Vladimir V. Sytin

Recently, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of Greece, has reiterated that Germany must pay reparations of damages done by the Nazi military during the occupation of the Balkan country in World War II. Prokopis Pavlopoulos made this statement when he visited the Greek village of Kommeno where Nazi war criminals executed 317 inhabitants and torched the village on August 16, 1943.

The President of Greece honored the memory of the victims of German fascist terror and stated that “our claims [for the reparations] are legally effective and judicially enforceable”. Overall, Germany owes 300 billion euros to Greece.

During the German occupation, much of Greece was subjected to enormous destruction of its industry (80% of which was destroyed), infrastructure (28% destroyed), ports, roads, railroads and bridges (90%), forests and other natural resources (25%) and loss of civilian life (up to 11.17% of its citizens). Reportedly, the occupying Nazi regime forced Greece to pay the cost of the Nazi occupation in the country, as well as requisitioned raw materials and food for the occupation forces, creating the conditions for the Great Famine during which over 300,000 Greeks died from starvation. In 1942, the Greek Central Bank was forced by the occupying Nazi regime to loan 476 million Reich marks at 0% interest to Nazi Germany to fund its North African campaign.

The Greek newspaper Ekathimerini notes that Germany has repeatedly rejected Greece’s claims as it allegedly honored its obligations, including a 115 million deutschmark payment to Athens in 1960.

Poroshenko regime, U.S. are no match for Russia’s military leviathan

According to analysts, the Ukrainian military dare not attack heroic defenders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics for fear of the retaliatory strike that could be made by Russia. The Ukrainian army would have long launched a major offensive on the republics if it were not for the deployment of Russian armed forces on borders with Ukraine.

Additionally, Russia conducts ongoing military exercises on its west and south-west borders with Ukraine to prevent any attack against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. In the meantime, President Vladimir Putin has brought in the bill into the State Duma, Russia’s parliament, which will allow Moscow to put air defenses on Byelorussia’s borders with Ukraine.

Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, wrote that it was Washington that enabled Ukraine’s attack on its former provinces with large Russian populations. Some of the crazed neoconservatives erroneously believe Russia is not sufficiently well-armed to respond to U.S. aggression, but the fact of the matter is that Russia’s strategic weapons are superior and more powerful than those of the United States.

Critics say Ukraine’s attack on the Donbas region is mindless. It shows Washington’s puppets, who still sit in Kiev, totally devoid of all intelligence. Even a fool understands that violence creates growing resistance, and the Poroshenko regime has not even the intelligence of fools. In the event of non-fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, Kiev will have to bear a great expenditure on a civil war in Donbas, borrow from international financial institutions and submit to the loss of a part of territory.

Russia bars 79 Washington’s puppets linked to voting for Montenegro’s NATO membership

By Vladimir V. Sytin
The Ukrainian Times

Russian authorities have barred 79 citizens of Montenegro from entering the country in response to recent bans Podgorica placed on 149 Russians traveling to Montenegro. The “undesirable” list reportedly includes prime minister Dusko Markovic, president of the Assembly Ivan Brajovic, the leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists, Milo Djukanovic, and members of Montenegrin parliament, among others. Those placed on the Russian blacklist were selected because of their role in voting for Montenegro’s NATO membership.

Previously, the Montenegrin opposition coalition Democratic Front stated that it would initiate a referendum on the entry of the country into the NATO if a decision about Montenegro’s NATO membership were made by a legislature. According to opposition leader Andrija Mandic, the Western alliance has made the great mistake of sending Montenegro an invitation because NATO member states know that two thirds of Montenegrins are against membership of the country in NATO. He thinks it is especially dangerous for Montenegro that the decision was made by parliament in defiance of the will of citizens.

Incidentally, Serbian authorities stated recently that Serbia would not enter NATO. It is worth recalling that the aggressive Western alliance (essentially the United States) waged the illegal bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999, although the Balkan country posed no threat whatsoever to NATO members. Do you remember “war criminal” Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian President branded “the butcher of the Balkans,” who was compared to Hitler? Mr. Milosevic died in prison, some say murdered, before he was cleared of charges by the International Criminal Tribunal. Unsurprisingly, the Serbian society is full of hatred for the Western alliance.

In fact, the Western alliance is the cover for Washington’s war crimes. Many observers think it can provide no other service.

So, the government of Montenegro should take note that the only sovereign country in the West is the U.S. All the rest are Washington’s vassals. Anyone integrated into the West, be it NATO or the European Union, is subject to U.S. pressure.

Crimean forums offer candid insights into development prospects of peninsula, Russian World

The 11th international festival of Russian and Slavic Culture, which is entitled Great Russian Word, took place at the Livadia Palace in Yalta on June 5-6. Aimed to preserve the Russian language and culture, the format of the event included Pushkin recitations and performances given by folklore groups.

The festival gathered more than 30 foreign delegations, many politicians and political analysts who discussed questions concerning the expansion of the Russian World into all corners of the globe. It was held under the patronage of Valentina Matvienko, Speaker of the Russian Federation Council, who stated that the forum gave politicians, government officials, experts and NGOs a unique opportunity to debate the critical issues and prospects of development of the Russian World, as well as a huge role played by the Russian language and culture in integration processes within the post-Soviet space and throughout the globe on the whole.

In addition, the resort town of Alushta hosted the inaugural international forum Open Crimea on June 11-12. Financed by Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev, the event brought together political scientists, experts and mass media representatives from Britain, Syria, Armenia, Cuba, Germany, France, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands and other countries. The forum offered its participants candid insights into development prospects of the peninsula, construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait, achievements in the field of investments and the banking system.

German top politicians call for return to detente toward Russia

By Vladimir V. Sytin

Recently, two German top politicians have called for resumption of friendly relations with Russia.

Christian Lindner, leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party of Germany, spoke for a change in Berlin’s policy with respect to Moscow. According to him, it is necessary to prepare the suggestions that would allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to change the policy without losing face. Mr. Lindner thinks the conflict around the Crimea, which reunited with Russia in March 2014, should be “encapsulated” so that progress can be made on other issues such as a civil war in the Donbas region.

Sahra Wagenknecht, member of the National Committee of the Left Party of Germany, supported the standpoint of the Free Democratic Party. She believes a prompt return to the foreign policy tradition of detente toward Moscow would be quintessential for peace and security in Europe.

Surely you have heard at least one thousand times that Russia invaded Ukraine; yet Washington’s puppet still sits in Kiev, according to Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of the Institute for Political Economy. As he wrote, one does not have to have an IQ above 90 to understand that if Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukraine would not still be here.

Economic indicators: trade

By Vladimir V. Sytin

The export turnover of Ukrainian goods amounted to $17,242.1 million and the volume of import to $18,572.2 million in January-May, a 25.9% and 28.6% increase respectively from the same period of 2016. The unfavorable foreign trade balance worked out to $1,330.1 million, compared with $745 million in January-May 2016.

Export to the European Union rose by 25.2%, compared with January-May 2016. Within the period under review export to Byelorussia and Russia rose by 44.7% and 33.2% respectively.

According to James Rickards, editor of the Strategic Intelligence newsletter, Russia is the 12th largest economy in the world, is one of the three largest energy producers, has abundant natural resources other than oil, has advanced weapons and space technologies. President Vladimir Putin remains the geopolitical chess master he has always been. His long game involves the accumulation of gold, development of alternative payments systems, and the ultimate demise of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency. As far as Ukrainian-Russia trade and economic ties are concerned, The New York Times once noted that there has never been a country in world history, which wrecked relations with its main, nation-state, trading partner and prospered from it.

A retail trade turnover increased by 7.3% to 362.6 billion grivnas in Ukraine in January-June, compared with the same period last year. The turnover of enterprises of wholesale trade rose by 1.5% to 857.7 billion grn in January-June, compared with a year-earlier period.

Athens anticipates fresh surge of refugees by winter

According to the Greek Coordination Center for the Management of the Refugee Crisis, every day about 100 refugees from Washington’s wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya are coming to Greece. Data from the center show that 9,400 people have entered Greece this year alone, compared with 173,450 refugees and migrants who flowed into the country in 2016.

After registration and obtaining documents, many of them are hoping to reach West European countries where they expect to find an earthly paradise with huge social benefits.

At present, more than 62,000 asylum seekers still stay in Greece. Local authorities take great pains to accommodate refugees and migrants in transit centers lest they should scare away rich tourists who would fill Greece’s coffers to a great extent. Most of them, 6,237 asylum seekers, have been accommodated on the island of Lesbos and 2,018 on Chios while continental Greece gave refuge to over 47,500 people. The largest makeshift refugee camps were pitched in Athens and nearby districts, as well as on the Greek-Macedonian border near the tiny village of Idomeni.

The Greek migration ministry stated that the influx of migrants stabilized by July with about 2,000 refugee arrivals in May and June. However, Greek authorities anticipate a fresh surge of asylum seekers arriving in the country by winter. Without the influx of funds from the European Union, it would be increasingly difficult for Athens to maintain the unbidden guests who beg for alms, commit theft to survive and raid vegetable farms.

Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, wrote that the American state murderous rampage through the Middle East and North Africa was enabled by the Europeans who provided diplomatic and military cover for Washington’s war crimes. Today the Europeans are suffering the consequences as they are overrun by refugees.

It is worth noting too that the total budget of the U.S. military/security complex has been estimated at $1.1 trillion, a figure that is 70% of Russia’s estimated 2017 GDP. There are 195 countries in the world. Only 14 of them have the GDP larger than the budget of the U.S. military/security complex.