This Week in the News

Just like in 1941

Thomson/Reuters wrote on February 25:

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday…  the bombing of Kyiv was reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s attacks during World War Two…

“Zelenskyy said there was now a ‘new iron curtain’ between Russia and the rest of the world, adding in a later speech his nation had been ‘left alone.’ ‘Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don’t see anyone.’”

Hitler and Putin… two of a Kind

The Washington Post wrote on February 24:

“By 1939, parts of Czechoslovakia had already been carved off and taken over by Nazi Germany, which claimed that millions of ethnic Germans were being persecuted there. The previous September, European powers, seeking to avoid war, had acquiesced and done nothing…

“On March 15, 1939, the sickly Czech president, Emil Hacha, was in Hitler’s study surrounded by the Führer’s henchmen. ‘Hitler was at his most intimidating,’ historian Ian Kershaw wrote in his 2000 biography of the Nazi leader. ‘He launched into a violent tirade against the Czechs.’ The Nazis needed to take over Czechoslovakia to protect Germany. Hacha must agree or his country would be immediately attacked and Prague, its capital, bombed. Hacha fainted… but was revived and gave in to Hitler’s demand. German troops marched in a few hours later. Hitler said it was the happiest day of his life.

“Russia’s Vladimir Putin did not bother to speak with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, before launching his assault Thursday. But some observers see brutal similarities to Hitler’s seizure of Czechoslovakia just before World War II. ‘This is all truly dictated by our national interests and dictated by care for the future of our country,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday after the Russian assault began. Putin on Monday claimed pro-Russian residents of Ukraine faced ‘genocide.’…

“In March 1938, during the run-up to World War II, Hitler had first engineered the Nazi takeover of Austria, which already had strong pro-Nazi sympathies. Seven months later, he was plotting the seizure of part of Czechoslovakia, claiming that ethnic Germans in the Sudeten regions bordering eastern Germany were being mistreated. ‘I must also declare before the German people that in the Sudeten German problem my patience is now at an end,’ Hitler said on Sept. 26, 1938. Czechoslovakia must ‘give the Germans their freedom, or we will get this freedom for ourselves.’

“Four days later, during the famous Munich conference — now known as the centerpiece of the ‘appeasement’ of the Nazis — Great Britain, France and Italy agreed to the handover of the Sudeten region to Germany, hoping it would prevent further aggression. ‘It is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe,’ Hitler said. Within six months, he took the rest of Czechoslovakia, and on Sept. 1, 1939, he attacked Poland, starting World War II….

“Hitler wanted to take over all of Europe… Putin wants to restore Czarist Russia, the Russian empire. It’s a threat in particular to Finland, which was part of the Russian empire, to the Baltic states, which were part of the Russian empire, and to Poland, which was part of the Russian empire…”

Some have even wondered whether it is Putin’s intent to include East Germany in his envisaged new Russian Empire.

Where are our Leaders?

The Sun wrote on February 25:

“A MAD, murderous dictator threatens to unleash a nuclear world war. No longer is this a mere movie plot. Today it is terrifyingly real. It is paramount, as in 1939, that the free peoples of the West defeat this hideous new evil, this Hitler for our times… Putin is inflicting his monstrous tyranny on an innocent population. And, if unrestrained, he will keep coming.

“Decades of unpunished crimes and unchallenged power have addled his mind. Forget his ludicrous denials and lies — such as Russia being ‘threatened’ by Nato… or that he is ‘de-Nazifying’ Ukraine. The chilling reality is that he has publicly declared that a ­democratic country of 43 million people has no right to exist.

“With age now against him, he intends to go down in history as the man who, by force, folded Ukraine into Russia before establishing a new empire to replace the Soviet Union he still mourns. Putin will turn a deaf ear to the screams of children he orphans — and a blind eye to the cities he destroys and the thousands he slaughters, his own soldiers included. He believes this is his ­destiny…

“Most of us in the West are not currently blessed with great leaders and Putin knows it. The fractious, feeble, hand-wringing squabblers of the EU. America’s frail, doddering Joe Biden, pathetically intoning as the tanks rolled in that ‘Jill and I are praying for’ Ukraine…

“Leaders even congratulated Putin on winning blatantly rigged elections. Angela Merkel brainlessly closed Germany’s nuclear power stations and left her country mainly reliant on Russian gas and coal… Russia is not, and was not, our friend. Nor China. Nor evidently is President Imran Khan of Pakistan… [Neither is India which did not condemn Russia for its invasion.]

“All of us in the West should have woken up years ago. But if there was still any doubt about Putin, his not-so-veiled threat to nuke countries standing in his way must end them for good. The man is deranged.”

Who Will Stop Putin?

The Sun published on February 25 a strongly-worded editorial by Piers Morgan, with the title, “Knock Him Out.”

It continued:

“WHO’S going to stop him?… I don’t see any answer. Oh, I hear lots of talk.

“Boris Johnson, desperate to restore his shattered reputation as the partygate scandal still rages, is giving it the full Churchillian rhetoric and demanding: ‘Diplomatically, politically, economically — and eventually, militarily — this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.’ Fine words, Prime Minister — but how, exactly, do you intend to make him fail?…

“French President Emmanuel Macron, humiliated by his pointless and deluded attempts at diplomacy, is feeling betrayed by Putin’s duplicity in their conversations (a former KGB officer lied? Wow, I’m shocked!) and has ordered Russia to ‘immediately put an end to its military operations’. Why would it do that? Putin’s doing what he’s wanted to do, and planned to do, for years.

“Germany’s new Vice-Chancellor, Robert Habeck, huffed and puffed and warned Russia would have ‘severe political and economic consequences.’ Like what, exactly? His country’s grown so dependent on Russian energy that it can’t afford to do anything meaningful for fear of Putin literally turning their lights out…

“Putin’s a bully; a vile, snivelling, mean, ruthless, heartless, humourless, narcissistic bully…  Mike Tyson once so perfectly put it: ‘Everyone’s got a plan [including a bully] until they get punched in the face.’ But who’s going to punch Putin in the face?

“Normally, we could rely on the United States of America to do it, just as they punched Adolf Hitler and the Japanese so hard in the face to help us win the Second World War. However, President Biden is showing about as much will to square up to Putin as a timid tadpole confronted by a great white shark. This is hardly surprising given his cowardly overnight desertion of the Afghan people last summer which continues to cause abject misery and despair in a country thrown back to the Taliban wolves, and which sent Putin the firm message that America no longer had the stomach for a fight. It’s depressingly obvious that the ageing and increasingly decrepit-sounding Biden hasn’t got a clue what to do about this situation… he even smirked and chuckled as reporters bombarded him with questions, as if there was somehow something amusing about it all.

“Nothing about this crisis is anything but incredibly serious and worrying, carrying with it the very real potential to spiral into something utterly catastrophic if it encourages China to follow Russia’s lead and seize Taiwan. As Biden stumbled and mumbled, I saw a leader of the free world racked with confusion and bereft of any real desire to engage with Putin in any kind of language that he will either understand or heed…

“From the moment Russia seized Crimea in 2014, and the world did nothing about it, Putin was emboldened to pursue his long-held dream of restoring the Soviet Union to its former size and power. He’s a gangster, a murderer, a cruel, wicked man for whom human life carries no sanctity or importance. And if he is allowed to invade and conquer Ukraine, he’ll keep on invading other countries he believes should be back in his despotic control. The world has empowered this monster with its deplorably complacent inaction and slavish desire to continue enriching him through global reliance on Russia’s vast energy resources…

“When the Nazis imperilled our liberty, Churchill [said:]… ‘One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it… If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!’ Right now, we’re running away from the urgent danger this Ukraine invasion represents. Putin is the new Hitler, a power-crazed, unhinged megalomaniac intent on reshaping Europe’s borders by invading sovereign democracies with impunity. And like Hitler, he spews vicious apocalyptic threats to scare off any resistance…

“It has been 70 years since a totalitarian regime tried to do what Russia is doing now, and Hitler would have got away with it if Churchill hadn’t stood up to him so courageously and magnificently, and if the Americans hadn’t flexed their massive military muscles when it really mattered. We’re at that point again…

“In February 2020, then presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted: ‘Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.’ He was referring to a 2011 meeting at which Biden claimed he told Putin he had no soul… But the truth is that he’s thrilled Biden is president, believing him to be a weak, dithering strawman who’s big on talk, small on walk. The time for words is over, President Biden. It’s time you lived up to them and went properly toe-to-toe with the soulless tyrant who is currently making a mockery of your empty threats. It’s time to… punch Putin in the face — and knock him out.”

But Biden won’t knock anyone out. He is far too weak for that…

 Subsequently, the New York Post published the following editorial from Piers Morgan on February 28:

“When Saddam Hussein invaded Iraq’s neighboring state of Kuwait in 1990, America led a NATO military intervention, Desert Storm, that sent him and his forces packing in just 43 days. President George H.W. Bush explained his decision by saying: ‘The terrible crimes and tortures committed by Saddam’s henchmen against the innocent people of Kuwait are an affront to mankind and a challenge to the freedom of all… no nation will be permitted to brutally assault its neighbor.’

“Bush then quoted two members of the US forces tasked with liberating Kuwait. ‘Listen to one of our great officers out there, Marine Lieutenant General Walter Boomer. He said: “There are things worth fighting for. A world in which brutality and lawlessness are allowed to go unchecked isn’t the kind of world we’re going to want to live in.” And listen to Jackie Jones, an Army lieutenant, when she says, “If we let him get away with this, who knows what’s going to be next?”’…

“If the US lets Putin use his nuke threats to scare them off, Russia will continue its nation-seizing rampage like the Nazis did in 1938/9, and other foes like China and North Korea may feel emboldened to start doing the same. It will be like waving a white flag of surrender.”

Peace Talks Fail; EU Membership Far Way Off

Newsmax wrote on February 28:

“An embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its bond with the West Monday by signing an application to join the European Union, while the first round of Ukraine-Russia talks aimed at ending the fighting concluded with no immediate agreements….

“At this stage, Ukraine is many years away from reaching the standards for achieving EU membership, and the 27-nation bloc is expansion-weary and unlikely to take on new members any time soon. Also, any addition to the EU must be approved unanimously, and some member states have complicated approval procedures.

“Overall, the consensus has been that Ukraine’s deep-seated corruption could make it hard for the country to win EU acceptance. Still, in an interview with Euronews on Sunday, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said, ‘We want them in the European Union.’”

Breitbart added on March 2:

“The Parliament of the European Union welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s application to join the bloc in a resolution on Tuesday – a first step in a long and difficult official joining process that Ukraine may not technically qualify for… The European Parliament is one of the less powerful bodies of the bloc…. However, it has only at press time agreed to help Ukraine become a candidate, not a member…”

The European Council is to have an informal meeting on March 10 during which the matter might be discussed.

Cease Fire Agreement?

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 3:

“The Ukrainian and Russian negotiators at talks in Belarus say the two sides have agreed provisions for a number of humanitarian issues. The understanding involves a temporary cease-fire to allow the evacuation of citizens and the delivery of aid to areas where fierce fighting has been taking place. The Ukrainian negotiator said that the second round of cease-fire talks had not yielded the results Kyiv hoped for, but the sides had agreed to speak again. … Podolyak said cease-fires will only take place in designated humanitarian corridor areas. “

Bild Online added on March 3:

“However, the establishment of escape corridors is not a sign of hope, but a sign that Putin now wants all of Ukraine! The two most important points of the Ukrainians – an immediate ceasefire, followed by a permanent ceasefire – were rejected by Putin’s negotiators.

“The Ukrainian side also says that all men between the ages of 18 and 60 would stay behind to defend their cities. The resumed motive of Russia for the escape corridor is that when people have left the cities, Putin’s troops could launch the final attack – without being accused of hitting uninvolved civilians with their rockets.”

It Will Get Worse

Mirror wrote on  March 3:

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is going ‘according to plan’ and the violence will ‘get worse’, … Putin warned today. The Russian President made the alarming comments to Emmanuel Macron, his French counterpart, during a phone call on Thursday afternoon. After hanging up the phone at the end of the exchange, which lasted for an hour and a half, Mr Macron said “the worst is yet to come”.

No Fighter Jets and No-Fly Zone

Breitbart wrote on March 3:

“Despite widely-reported claims that 70 fighter jets were being provided to Ukraine by EU member-states… these plans seem to have fallen through, with Europe’s Josep Borrell Fontelles… being reported to have back-tracked on previous comments regarding the provision of fighter aircraft.”

This “change of mind” came after NATO objected, saying that this would mean getting actively involved in the war between Russia and Ukraine.  NATO  and “Western allies” also rejected the idea of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as this would be “tantamount to a declaration of war.”

Israel’s Bennet Conspicuously Muted

The Associated Press wrote on February 24:

“Vladimir Putin told the world in the lead-up to Thursday’s attacks on Ukraine that his operation aims to ‘denazify’ Ukraine, a country with a Jewish president who lost relatives in the Holocaust and who heads a Western-backed, democratically elected government… historians see their use as disinformation and a cynical ploy to further the Russian leader’s aims. Israel has proceeded cautiously, seeking not to jeopardize its security ties with the Kremlin, despite what it considers the sacred memory of the 6 million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust….

“Israel has butted heads with certain countries, like Poland, over the memory of the Holocaust. But Israel has appeared more reticent to challenge Putin and his narrative… because of its current security interests. Israel relies on coordination with Russia to allow it to strike targets in Syria, which it says are often weapons caches destined for Israel’s enemies…

“Israel was conspicuously muted in its criticism of Russia in the lead-up to the attacks on Ukraine. Commentator Raviv Drucker wrote in the daily Haaretz that Israel was “on the wrong side of history” with its response… Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stopped short of issuing a public condemnation of Russia’s attack.”

The Times of Israel wrote on February 27:

“Russia on Friday summoned Israel’s Ambassador to Moscow Alexander Ben Zvi to clarify Israel’s position regarding the Ukraine invasion…  Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov asked Ben Zvi why Israel was expressing support for the ‘Nazis’ in Ukraine… Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has avoided condemning Russia or even mentioning the country by name… However, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a far more clear condemnation Thursday… “

Israel to Condemn Russia

Israel 365 wrote on February 28:

“Russia has consistently voted to condemn Israel at the United Nations including on 14 separate occasions in 2021. Now the Kremlin is about to see how it feels as Israel prepares to participate in a UN vote condemning the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Jerusalem will co-sponsor and vote in favor of a resolution at the UN condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…”

I accuse…

Bild Online wrote on February 25:

“For years, the West watched as Putin grew in power. For years nothing was done about his crimes. Now the West is watching how a democratic country in the middle of Europe is being destroyed and many Europeans don’t care… With tears in my eyes and anger in my stomach, I now have to watch my friends fight for their lives, how the Obolon district of Kiev, where I grew up, is now fighting, and at the same time the world is doing nothing.

“As someone who was born Ukraine, I accuse!

“I accuse the SPD of still not separating from Putin’s friend former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder…

“I accuse the left, who for years, despite the criminal wars and the destruction of democracy in Russia, played down the despot Putin and always blamed NATO. They are hypocrites and only talk about human rights when it suits them politically.

“I accuse the federal government and the EU of still not having decided on tough sanctions against Putin. What are you waiting for? What red line does Putin have to cross?

“…a humanitarian catastrophe looms as food becomes scarce, while women and children are forced to sleep in metro stations, while children’s homes must seek shelter for their residents.

“Finally, I accuse the West. In just a few years, Putin’s regime will be forgiven for this criminal war. Ultimately, as always, economic interests and greed for profit will triumph over human rights and freedom. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King once said: ‘In the end, it will not be the words of our enemies that we will remember, but the silences of our friends.’”

Determined to Murder Zelensky?

Axios wrote on February 25:

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told EU leaders ‘this might be the last time you see me alive’ during a video conference on Thursday night… Shortly before the call, Zelensky gave a televised address saying he was Russia’s ‘number one’ target for capture or assassination, and his family members were the ‘number two’ target. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who participated in the video conference, call told the TT news agency that when the EU leaders said goodbye to Zelensky they knew they might not see him again…

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the Ukrainian military to perform a coup against Zelensky and then negotiate with Russia.”

When Zelensky spoke in Munich during the conference, he received a standing ovation from all in attendance. Now the same people are standing idly by and are perhaps watching what might very well be his murder. Biden asked Zelensky to evacuate Kyiv and offered him refuge in the USA. Zelensky declined, saying, “I need ammunition and not a ride.”

Zelensky to be Assassinated

Daily Mail reported on February 28:

“More than 400 Russian mercenaries have been flown in from Africa to assassinate Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, it was revealed last night. A private militia known as the Wagner Group allegedly has orders from Vladimir Putin to take out Zelensky – and 23 other government figures – to allow Moscow to take over its eastern European neighbour…”

Apparently, one attempt on his life was thwarted.

A National Hero

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 26:

“An actor, a political satirist, underestimated even by his supporters, decides to switch careers and stand for the highest office in the country. It’s almost inconceivable. And yet, this man has something many politicians lack — something that enables him to rise above himself and shine, especially in times of crisis: He is an outstanding communicator. Many of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s sentences will be remembered for years to come, and will eventually find their way into the history books.

“On June 12, 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the former Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan, who had by then been US president for seven years, declaimed the words that are repeatedly quoted whenever people refer to the period that ended the Cold War: ‘Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate…  Tear down this wall.’

“Nearly 45 years later, a man with a similar entertainment background speaks to his countrymen in video messages as the national leader, addressing them as ‘Free people! Free country!’ Zelenskyy says things like: ‘We Ukrainians are a peaceful nation. But if we remain silent today, we will be gone tomorrow!’ He is fiercely critical of the lack of support from abroad, saying, ‘We need an anti-war coalition. We are defending our country alone.  The most powerful forces from all over the world are looking on.’…

“Observers regard the speech he made just after the Russian invasion began as the best of his life. Emotional, fearless, and resolute, he told the Russian troops: ‘If you attack, you will see our faces, not our backs!’…

“Following the Russian president’s confused, hour-long speech in which he recognized the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine as independent republics, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy reassured his compatriots: ‘Don’t panic! We are strong and ready for anything. We will defeat everyone, because we are Ukraine!’, and in doing so forestalled mass panic.

“When the Russian president speaks of baseless claims of ‘genocide’ in eastern Ukraine, and rants about ‘denazification’ as a pretext for war, it must seem like pure mockery, especially for Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian head of state — who grew up in a Russian-speaking family — is Jewish. His grandfather, who was in the Red Army, lost three of his brothers in the Holocaust…”

Putin Furious

The New York Post wrote on February 27:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin is ‘furious’ that his invasion of Ukraine hasn’t been ‘easy’ after Russian troops have been unable to take even one major city in three days of fighting… The Russians are in shock of the fierce resistance they have encountered…”

Putin Threatens Sweden and Finland

Newsmax wrote on February 25:

“Russian officials have now threatened ‘serious military-political repercussions’ for [non-NATO members] Finland and Sweden if they make a move to join NATO.”

Putin’s new Threats

The New York Post wrote on February 27:

“President Vladimir Putin on Sunday ordered Russian nuclear deterrent forces to be placed on high alert, due to what he described as ‘aggressive statements’ by Western adversaries. The instruction means Putin has ordered Russia’s nuclear weapons prepared for heightened readiness to launch, raising the possibility the Russia-Ukraine war could escalate to a nuclear war….

“Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Sunday warned that Putin could use ‘the most unsavory means,’ including banned chemical or biological weapons, against Ukraine.”

Breitbart added:

“The move is also a reaction to the West announcing hard-hitting financial sanctions against Russian businesses and key individuals, including Putin himself, the president said in televised comments.”

We are dealing with an unpredictable madman who is willing to do everything. He is obviously possessed.

China won’t Condemn Russia

Fox News reported on March 2:

“China on Wednesday said it would not consider sanctioning Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine and said it will continue with ‘normal trade cooperation.’ And China abstained during a United Nations General Assembly vote Wednesday on a nonbinding resolution calling on Russia to halt its war on Ukraine and withdraw its military forces. Just five nations opposed the resolution – Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria – which passed with 141 aye votes…

“A resolution put forward by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council condemning Russia’s illegal invasion failed to pass Friday after Russia vetoed the measure and China abstained from voting…”

Newsmax added on March 2:

“Senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing Biden administration officials and a European official. The Times said a Western intelligence report indicates senior Chinese officials had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans or intentions to invade Ukraine…”

Not much of a surprise there!

Religious Freedom in Ukraine Will Be Destroyed by Putin

Religion News Service (RNS) wrote on February 24:

“The physical landscape of Ukraine isn’t the only battle space Russian invaders hope to dominate. For the past decade, the two countries have fought another battle — not over territory but the religious orientation of Ukraine. And if Russia occupies the country, religious freedom will be one of the many casualties.

“Ukraine is an ancient nation, dating back to at least the 10th century, with an eastern Christian identity at its root. Founded at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Ukraine is the second-largest European country, second only to Russia. While many faiths operate freely in Ukraine, such as Roman Catholics, evangelicals, Muslims and Jews, the country’s population of 43 million is overwhelmingly Christian and predominantly identifies with Orthodoxy…

“Putin’s efforts to restore Russian prestige have included elevating the Russian Orthodox Church…

Christians on both sides are fighting: ‘Tanks are rolling down from Russia, Russian Orthodox priests are blessing the tanks,’ while ‘Ukrainian Orthodox priests are blessing the Ukrainian soldiers to fight against Russia.’

“… Putin’s demands are also connected with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its independence from Moscow. De facto what Putin wants is the full capitulation of Ukraine. The capitulation sought is both physical and spiritual. Indeed, Russian control of Ukraine would be a humanitarian disaster and a human rights catastrophe. And the implications for religious freedom in Ukraine would be dire. The U.S. government has ranked Russia as one of the worst in the world for religious freedom at home… Moscow would likely not countenance an independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine, possibly forcing it back into the family of the Russian Orthodox Church. Russia’s regressive treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and proselytizing groups would likely be forced on the entire country.

“Concerns about Ukraine’s Jewish community also exist. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum condemned Putin’s ‘exploitation’ of the Holocaust as a pretext for war. ‘The Museum stands with the Ukrainian people, including the thousands of Holocaust survivors still living in the country,’ said a statement released Thursday.  The Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz said, ‘War is the continuation of politics by other means.’ War was probably the only outcome Putin wanted. The implications for Ukrainian religious freedom and other human rights, however, hang in the balance…”

Sanctions against Putin No Good

The New York Post wrote on February 25:

“‘Following a telephone conversation President Biden held with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and in alignment with the decision by our European allies, the United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian national security team,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday…

“Slapping sanctions on individuals entails preventing them from travel to and from certain jurisdictions. [It is unclear whether the new sanctions include a travel ban for Putin and Lavrov. While Europe says no, the USA seems to imply yes, but the statements in that regard are anything but clear]. It also bans companies from engaging in any sort of transaction with those persons… Putin’s assets, which are believed to be most vast than any human in the world, are hidden from view. Putin doesn’t need to hold his assets in traditional institutions like banks or brokerage firms because the entire Russian economy — with its significant oil and natural gas stockpiles as well as its rich array of natural resources – is under his control.

“The president’s inner circle is comprised of oligarchs who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The vast net worth of these cronies, who hide their wealth in offshore tax havens, suggests that Putin is far more richer than he is letting on… Putin’s net worth rivals those of the richest people in the world.”

US Sanctions’ Glaring Omission

The Associated Press wrote on February 27:

“There is a glaring carve-out in President Joe Biden’s sanctions against Russia: Oil and natural gas from that country will continue to flow freely to the rest of the world and money will keep flowing into Russia…

“‘Energy exports are the whole game,’ said Columbia University historian Adam Tooze… ‘I don’t think Russia is blind to what is going on and it must indicate to them that the West does not really have the stomach for a painful fight over Ukraine.’…

“This dependence on Russia could limit the potential devastation of sanctions… Should there be a loss of oil and natural gas from Russia, the U.S. appears unable to quickly increase production of oil and natural gas, while OPEC-plus countries have yet to publicly commit to substantially more production.”

The USA had been gas- and oil-independent. But the Biden Administration changed all of that.

Germany’s “Change of Heart”?

Deutsche Welle reported on February 27:

“On Saturday, the German government announced its decision  to provide 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 surface-to-air missiles from German military stocks to Ukraine as soon as possible. Additionally, Estonia and the Netherlands received permission from the German government to transfer German-made weapons to Ukraine, whereas previously such permission had been denied. The moves reverse Germany’s long-standing principle of not sending or selling weapons to conflict areas…

“In announcing the policy reversal on Saturday, Scholz said that the ‘Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It threatens our entire post-war order. In this situation, it is our duty to support Ukraine to the best of our ability in its defense against Vladimir Putin’s invading army.’…

“Scholz said the German government would allocate €100 billion for extra German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, in the 2022 budget. ‘From now on, more than 2% of our GDP will be invested in our defense,’ Scholz said. Germany has previously been criticized for devoting less than the 2% mark on defense spending called for by NATO agreements…

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Germany’s change of heart. On Twitter, he wrote, ‘Keep up the good work, Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Anti-war coalition in action!’ Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, told Germany’s DPA news agency: ‘We are glad that Germany has finally made this 180-degree turnaround.’ Melnyk also told German newspaper Die Welt that Ukraine expects ‘this is only Germany’s first step.’… Melnyk said he hopes that as the Russian invasion rumbles on, the German government will provide additional defensive weapons so Ukraine can protect itself.”

Germany did send and sell weapons to other conflict areas before. Scholz’s statements are just false and hypocritical.

Bolster the German Army

The Local wrote on February 25:

“The German government on Thursday pledged to boost military spending…

“Finance Minister Christian Lindner said it was time for a ‘turning point’ in German defence investment… ‘I worry that we have neglected the armed forces so much in the past that it can’t completely fulfil its duties,’ he told public television.

“… the chief of the German land army, Alfons Mais,… said it was high time to bolster the army…

“Germany’s dark past has nurtured a strong pacifist tradition… Russia’s invasion may well force changes in priorities, with the Bundestag’s armed forces commissioner Eva Hoegl saying the army may have to switch from focusing on foreign missions to ‘domestic and allied (NATO) defence.’”

Die Welt wrote on February 26:

“In view of Russia’s military aggression, there is a first call for a return to conscription in Germany, which has been suspended since 2011…”

EU Stands up to Russia

Express wrote on February 27:

“European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced unprecedented EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus this afternoon. She announced an immediate shut down of EU airspace to all Russian planes [including private jets]  and confirmed that the EU will finance weaponry for another country [under attack] for the first time ever. This will see the EU purchase and finance weapons to Ukraine…  The bloc is also moving to ban ‘the Kremlin’s media machine in the EU’. This means that the state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, ‘will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war’…

“The move follows the joint decision yesterday from the US, UK, EU and Canada to block Swift access for some Russian banks [for international payments]… Ms von der Leyen said: ‘The European Union and its partners are working to cripple Putin’s ability to finance his war machine.’”

Scholz had stubbornly refused to agree to block Russian banks to Swift access. Finally, he relented and “agreed.” Another “change of heart” or just bowing to pressure?

Die Welt had written on February 26:

“Chancellor Olaf Scholz has encountered resistance within his own party with his no to Russia’s exclusion from the Swift banking communications network… At the EU summit on Thursday, Germany rejected such a move. Italy, Austria, Hungary and Cyprus have also been counted among the opponents so far. However, Italy, Austria and Cyprus have now given up resistance…”

Subsequently, Politico wrote on February 26:

The decision was an abrupt change in course, coming after Berlin clung to its initial position for weeks despite the rising Russian menace and pressure from EU and NATO allies. On Saturday, Berlin finally bowed to that pressure, and to the reality that Russia is encircling Ukrainian cities and threatening to topple the government in Kyiv…. Yet Berlin’s changing stance does not necessarily mean all requests for arms shipments will be approved, as each case is decided individually… Before Saturday’s turnaround, senior Ukrainian officials had been complaining bitterly for weeks about Germany’s refusal to allow arms shipments to bolster Ukraine’s defenses. That stance bewildered some European officials…”

New German “Expansive” Course

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 27:

“It was a powerful speech on Ukraine that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered in the Bundestag. It was clear that it’s the end of ifs and buts, as well as the politics of hesitant little steps…  Germany’s coalition government has taken a clear stance against Russia the aggressor. Finally, NATO allies, in particular the Baltic states, know where they stand with Germany…

“Frankly: It’s about time. For too long, Germany has only engaged in political maneuvering and discussions. However… reconciliation between Germany and Russia remains a historically important building block of German politics, as Scholz stressed…

“But let’s not fool ourselves. This new era in Germany will be expensive, possibly even painful… Russia is set to be isolated from the world economy. High energy prices, supply bottlenecks and a partial collapse in the trade of raw materials may well be the immediate consequences.

“Germans will have to prepare themselves. The government must quickly show how the country is supposed to deal with this and what the consequences will be…  It is right that Germany is finally supporting shutting Russian banks out of… SWIFT…  But here too the consequences need to be clearly communicated. It’s quite possible that the flow of Russian gas to Germany will stop, because without SWIFT it won’t be possible to pay for it. Retaliation, as popular and as correct as it may be, comes at a price..

“For the Ukrainian people, holding their ground against the Russian aggressor, this complete change in German politics is meaningful… For far too long it has been entirely unclear where Germany stood. Now everyone knows. At last.”

Thousands Fleeing Russian and Ukraine

Express wrote on February 27:

“Thousands [of Russians] are said to be trying to reach the United States to claim political asylum and avoid being forced to fight in the war with Ukraine… The Russian government has already called up conscripts and reservists aged between 18 and 60… many Russians have openly opposed the war, with many saying the battle is ‘not wanted’ by the people of Russia. Thousands of people joined demonstrations across Russia last week to protest against the invasion of Ukraine… The [Russian] government crackdown on protesters has been swift and ruthless, with more than 1500 people arrested on Thursday night alone…

“Legal routes to the US for Russians have dwindled in recent years. The pandemic limited travel between the countries and took a toll on consular services, making it difficult for Russians to get a visa… This has left Russian people who want to reach the US little choice but to take the route from Mexico…

“Record numbers of Russian citizens have already been crossing into the US from Mexico to claim political asylum in recent months… in response to Putin’s increasingly brutal crackdown on opposition…

“Increasing numbers of Ukrainians have also been fleeing to America in recent months via the same route, taking long and expensive journeys in search of safety while the threat of Russia has grown larger.”

Thomson/Reuters wrote on February 27:

“The European Union needs to prepare for millions of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the bloc…”

Ruble in Trouble; Anti-Putin Demonstrations in Russia

The Sun wrote on February 28:

“A RUN on Russian banks has begun as Western sanctions send the ruble into freefall, sparking hopes of civil unrest against Vladimir Putin. Pictures show long queues outside cash machines in St Petersburg as locals race against time to withdraw their life savings before it’s all wiped out. It comes as Russia’s central bank says it will not open the Moscow Stock Exchange today…

“Russia’s central bank hiked interest rates from 9.5 percent to over 20 percent in a bid to stop a run on the country’s currency, the ruble… the value of the ruble continues to tumble against the dollar and euro on the Moscow Stock Exchange on Monday… Russia’s economy shrank by 30 per cent overnight to an all-time low.

“Russia is believed to be spending as much as £15billion a day to fund the invasion of Ukraine, experts believe…

“More than 2,000 people were arrested at peaceful anti-war protests in Russia on Sunday while more than 5,500 people have been detained at other protests since the invasion began on Thursday… Russian celebrities, dignitaries and officials also joined calls for the attack to be halted last night. More than 150 municipal deputies… from various Russian cities wrote in an open letter: ‘We, the ­deputies elected by the people, unreservedly condemn the attack of the Russian army on Ukraine. This is an unparalleled atrocity for which there is and cannot be justification.’”

Serious Underreporting of Side Effects

LifeSiteNews wrote on February 25:

“A large German health insurer has raised concerns over what its data shows to be an excessive underreporting by government authorities of adverse events after experimental COVID-19 gene-based vaccine injections…. Explaining that their sample includes 10,937,716 insured clients, with available data covering only the first 7½ months of 2021, their company had already logged 216,695 cases of adverse reactions for COVID-19 gene-based injections.

“Extending this rate for the full year, and then applying it to the full population of Germany (around 83 million), one can estimate that likely 2.5 million to 3 million individuals in the nation were treated by medical professionals for such adverse events.”

LifeSiteNews reported on March 1:

“Fully 66% of Israelis surveyed say they had adverse reactions to a COVID-19 booster jab… The adverse events ranged from mild to serious. Altogether, 66% of interviewees reported at least one adverse reaction. Nearly half of these reported having difficulties performing daily activities as a result… A March analysis also revealed dramatic rates of vaccine-related deaths in the country.”

Biden as Unpopular as Ever

Breitbart wrote on February 27:

“A strong majority of adults in the United States believe President Joe Biden is mentally unfit to serve as commander in chief, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. The poll, which was released only days before the president is slated to give the State of the Union address, showed a majority believe Biden is unfit to serve as president while also revealing the lowest job approval rating (37 percent)…”

Kamala Harris Mocked

The New York Post wrote on March 1:

“Kamala Harris just took dumbing down to a whole new level. During an appearance on the syndicated ‘Morning Hustle’ radio program, Harris was asked by co-host Headkrack to explain the conflict ‘in layman’s terms for people who don’t understand what’s going on and how can this directly affect the people of the United States?’

“Speaking slowly, Harris began, ‘So, Ukraine is a country in Europe.’ ‘It exists next to another country called Russia,’ she continued. ‘Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine. So, basically, that’s wrong, and it goes against everything that we stand for.’…

“Washington Examiner executive editor Seth Mandel described Harris’ statement as ‘terrifying.’ ‘She just has a real inability to talk normally to [people],” Mandel noted… ‘Apparently Vice President Kamala Harris believes the average American layperson is aged 4,’ seethed The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech. ‘You will hear higher levels of explanation of international affairs in Peppa Pig.’…

“This is not the first time Harris’ grasp of foreign policy had been called into question. While meeting with reporters at the Munich Security Conference in Germany last month, the [vice president] was criticized for stating that Europe had enjoyed ‘peace and security’ since the end of World War II, apparently forgetting Soviet incursions into Hungary and Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, the Balkan civil wars of the 1990s and Russia’s campaigns in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine under President Vladimir Putin.”

When we consider the current leadership of the USA, it is indeed a frightening scenario.

Biden’s Supreme Court Pick

Breitbart wrote on February 25:

“President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill retiring Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the Supreme Court, but conservative groups are warning of Jackson’s ‘radical, left-wing activism’…

“National pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony’s List (SBA List) noted her pro-abortion bona fides. ‘Joe Biden is fulfilling his promise to only appoint justices who support the Roe v. Wade regime of abortion on demand up to birth – a policy so extreme only a handful of countries in the world hold it, including North Korea and China. Ketanji Brown Jackson is backed by many of America’s most radical pro-abortion groups… She is on record opposing the free speech rights of pro-life advocates pleading to save lives outside abortion centers and supporting the false claim that abortion is ‘health care.’ We have no doubt she will work with the most pro-abortion administration in history to enshrine abortion on demand nationwide in the law… The overwhelming majority of Americans reject the Democrats’ extreme agenda that includes late-term abortions when unborn children can feel pain, dismemberment abortions, lethal discrimination abortions, and more.’

“Similarly, CatholicVote is sounding the alarm on Jackson’s propensity to oppose free religious expression, defying the First Amendment. ‘Judge Jackson is the choice of the radical Left. By all indications, she will be a rubber stamp for Left-wing judicial activism that will continue to punish and penalize Catholic beliefs in the public square… Judge Jackson has been nominated because she is expected to use the Court to reward the far Left with support for policies that a majority of the country opposes. When judges become legislators, among those that stand to lose the most are Catholic hospitals, schools, charities and families.’

“Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project had a similar sentiment, saying ‘Not a huge surprise — Biden just picked the most extreme left-wing SCOTUS nominee in our nation’s history… She’ll become the most predictable vote on the court — pro abortion, pro gender ideology, everything.’”

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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