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by John Helmer, Moscow 

American, British and Canadian troops in NATO’s forward bases in Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania are being told to prepare for deployment to the Ukraine next year. They are also being warned to expect to fight under heavy Russian artillery, missile, guided bomb, and drone strikes.

This message is also intended to slip into the hands of Russian military intelligence and find its way to the Kremlin. There, Moscow sources believe, the intelligence is interpreted as provocation — part of the US and NATO scheme to escalate NATO attacks in the Black Sea and deep into Russian territory, in order to encourage Russian counter-attacks against NATO targets, triggering thereby Article Five of the NATO Treaty and collective NATO force intervention to follow

Additionally, Russian sources interpret the intelligence as confirming that the US will not allow capitulation and replacement of Vladimir Zelensky and his regime in Kiev — so no denazification, which is one of the two main objectives of the Special Military Operation.  Also, no peace terms will be countenanced short of Russian withdrawal from Crimea and the four regions of Novorossiya, and the military defeat of the Russian Army. So, no demilitarization, the second of Russia’s long-term security objectives.

The immediate General Staff response has been to devise “soft” measures to combat the US, UK and other NATO airborne electronic warfare units which are providing guidance, targeting, launch timing and flight manoeuvre of Storm Shadow and ATACMS missiles, as well as coordination of Ukrainian aerial and naval drone strikes.   The Russian command has also unleashed a new round of missile attacks against Ukrainian airfields – Voznesensk and Mirgorod  –  where the bombers launching long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles are based, and where the NATO-supplied F-16s are planned for deployment in a few weeks’ time.   

Under growing domestic pressure to counter attacks as damaging to civilians as the Sevastopol beach strike of June 23,   President Vladimir Putin has been making a sequence of statements of calculated ambiguity, if not of strategic deception. One interpretation of this by security analysts in Moscow is that the president is avoiding the provocation trap, creating instead a record of peace terms he is offering, confident they will be dismissed in Kiev, Brussels, London, and Washington. This is to reserve Russian freedom of action for now, reverse the blame later on.   

On Friday, in Putin’s remarks to the press after meeting at the Kremlin with Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban – currently the rotational president of the European Union Council – Putin repeated his peace terms offer and his expectation of their rejection: “We remain open for a discussion on a political and diplomatic settlement. However, the opposite side only makes clear its reluctance to resolve this issue in this manner. Ukraine’s sponsors continue using this country and its people as a ram, making it a victim in the confrontation with Russia.”   

“We outlined our peace initiative quite recently at my meeting with the senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.  We believe that its implementation would make it possible to end hostilities and begin negotiations. Moreover, this should not just be a truce or a temporary ceasefire, nor should it be a pause that the Kiev regime could use to recover its losses, regroup and rearm. Russia advocates a full and final end to the conflict. The conditions for that, as I have already said, are set out in my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are talking about the complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and from the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. There are other conditions as well.”

Putin is not alone in the war staff – the Stavka  – in suspecting provocation by the Americans and British while they prepare for escalation to direct war. Too, the Stavka recognizes this was Stalin’s problem interpreting intelligence from Tokyo and Berlin, especially Richard Sorge’s cables from December 1940 through the early days of June 1941,    warning of Hitler’s preparations to invade across the Soviet border.

Moscow sources are sure that avoiding Stalin’s catastrophic misjudgement of Hitler’s timing is a priority of Putin’s and of the General Staff’s.  Misjudging the timing of the US coup in Kiev of February 21, 2014, almost cost the loss of Sevastopol and Crimea; misjudging the readiness of Ukrainian forces at Hostemel on February 24, 2022,  cost the lives of at least 300 Russian paratroopers, failed at triggering regime change in Kiev, and doomed the peace negotiations in Istanbul of March 30.  

“We told you so” is not a refrain the Kremlin is hearing now from the General Staff for the first time.   

Putin’s reluctance to act is criticized in Moscow as the pace of the Ukrainian missile and drone raids increases. “I know for a fact that General Staff fully anticipated NATO’s involvement from the start and contingency planning has been done accordingly,” reported the US-based military analyst Andrei Martyanov on July 3.    “It was clear from the first day of SMO [Special Military Operation] not now. The only issue was how Russia will approach escalation and the gradual involvement of NATO until it becomes clear that it is between combined West and Russia.”

“What happened to no NATO, and de-Nazification?” a military source asks.  “The Americans,   Ukrainians, British have been escalating and the president has been temporizing in response,” he answers. “I don’t believe Orban is just making overtures in Hungary’s interests either. He’s an emissary for Trump’s end-the-war plan”.

The source is referring to Orban’s boostering for Trump’s election in November. “You can criticize [Trump] for many reasons,” Orban has said, “but the best foreign policy of the recent several decades belongs to him. He did not initiate any new war, he treated nicely the North Koreans, and Russia and even the Chinese … and if he would have been the president at the moment of the Russian invasion [of Ukraine], it would be not possible to do that by the Russians. Trump is the man who can save the Western world.”  

No other NATO member but Orban, the US ambassador said in Budapest last week, “not a single one — that similarly, overtly and tirelessly, campaigns for a specific candidate in an election in the United States of America, seemingly convinced that, no matter what, it only helps Hungary, or at least helps him personally.”  

Moscow sources suspect Orban told Putin he is Trump’s go-between on terms for ending the war in the Ukraine. Orban openly hinted at this himself, telling the press after their meeting   “we will not achieve peace without diplomacy, without channels of communication.” As Trump’s channel, Orban then repeated Trump’s recent claims that he will end the war the day after he wins the election on November 5. “I wanted to know what the shortest road to end the war is. I wanted to hear Mr President’s opinion on three important questions, and I heard his opinion. What does he think about the current peace initiatives? What does he think about a ceasefire and peace talks, and in what succession can they be carried out? And the third thing that interested me was Mr President’s vision of Europe after the war.”

For analysis of Trump’s claims and the staff plan he authorized for release in April, click to read this.  

For Orban’s repeat version of what he claims to be doing, and his omission of everything which has transpired before he arrived on the scene by “secret message”, “under the carpet”, and “surprise”, watch this interview with the owner of a Swiss German magazine.

“Next surprise on Monday morning”, Orban told his Weltwoche interviewer. “You will see – follow the path”. This was no surprise in Moscow because Orban had told Putin he was planning to fly to Beijing to meet President Xi Jinping, and the Russian milbloggers were briefed hours before the western propaganda agencies, Reuters, Deutsche Welle,  and the Voice of America picked up the story. The first Moscow report on Sunday evening commented that Orban is performing “cynical antics”. “Orban is advertising his trip to Moscow. Tomorrow morning [Monday July 8] Orban is waiting in Beijing, where negotiations are expected with Comrade Xi Jinping.”   

Original source: https://weltwoche.ch/
Subtitled version: https://x.com/

There is no Russian military confidence in Trump’s proposals, or in Orban’s version of them, or in the Russian oligarchs also presenting themselves to the Kremlin as go-betweens. Instead, there is suspicion that Trump and his intermediaries are attempting to hoodwink the Kremlin with a repeat of the “October surprise” with Iran of Ronald Reagan’s first election campaign in 1980.  

To support their case for reciprocal measures, the General Staff are making sure the military bloggers in Moscow report each day on the escalation of frequency, range, and damage of Ukrainian raids, directed by manned aircraft and drones directed from the Black Sea by the US and the UK.

Source: Mikhail Zvinchuk’s Rybar Telegram channel.   Republished by Boris Rozhin’s Colonel Cassad on July 6 at 14:49.   

The map shows Ukrainian (AFU) strikes by air-fired missile, aerial and naval drones over July 5 and 6, as well their launch points west of the current line of contact, and Russian air defence interceptions. “At night, Ukrainian formations again attacked the oil infrastructure with drones in the Krasnodar Krai [Territory] ff the coast of the Sea of Azov. Several settlements were hit. The work of the air defence was noted in Yeysk, Pavlovskaya, Leningradskaya. The drones were shot down by 51 air defence divisions, but some of the debris from the warheads fell on to the territory of power facilities, but did not cause serious damage.”  

However, this is the second day in a row when the enemy is attacking the coastal zones of the Sea of Azov. Yesterday, Primorsko-Akhtarsk became the target of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in the direction of which 20 drones were launched. Almost all of them were shot down by air defence calculations and units of the 4th Army. However, one UAV hit a local [power] substation, which caused problems with electric lighting.  After that, the Ukrainian Armed Forces struck again: this time three Neptune anti-ship missiles were launched from the territory of the Zaporozhye region, which are increasingly being observed along the entire line of contact, starting from Belgorod and ending with Crimea. Two missiles were shot down by air defence units; one went off course and hit a residential building, which injured civilians. A little later, seven Ukrainian drones were shot down between Rostov-on-Don and Bataisk. The ultimate objective remains unclear: this could be oil depots, or maybe the drones were flying further in the direction of the Morozovsk airfield. And there was trouble in Crimea yesterday [July 5]. During the day, missile and unmanned drones were introduced at least 5-6 times, and in most cases due to deception missile launches and false targets. However, at one point, a Ukrainian Su-24M bomber launched two Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which were shot down near Tarkhankut and south of Yevpatoria by MiG-31 fighters of the Russian Aerospace Forces.” 

The milbloggers leave no doubt that the USAF Global Hawk (RQ-4B) electronic war drone has returned to Black Sea airspace from its new base in Romania  to direct the new Ukrainian raids.  

Zvinchuk’s Rybar has also reposted a report on NATO preparations for basing NATO ground forces, manned aircraft, and drones on Romanian territory, as well as for repairing HIMARS and other artillery units salvaged from the Ukrainian battlefield,  in order to return them to action.  

For a list of the eight forward battlegroups NATO is preparing for direct NATO war against Russia, click to read.  

On the fareastern front which Russia shares with China, Vzglyad has just published a warning that “NATO is approaching Russia’s borders from the other side.” The author, Gevorg Mirzoyan, is a regular writer for the semi-official security medium Vzglyad and an academic at the state Finance University in Moscow.  

Source: https://vz.ru/
Days after the publication, a Ukrainian military publication reported the first ever Chinese Army deployment in Belarus for exercises described as “anti-terrorist training”.    

NATO is approaching Russia’s borders from the other side
By Gevorg Mirzayan
July 4, 2024

The NATO bloc will become a global one in the medium term, te experts say. They are referring to the possible advance of the alliance in the Pacific region – directly at the borders of China and the Far Eastern borders of Russia. How will this happen and how can it affect relations between Russia and China?

The leadership of the North Atlantic Alliance has announced its readiness to participate more actively in East Asian affairs. This is ostensibly a response to China’s actions.

Firstly, because of its cooperation with Russia. “The growing rapprochement between Russia and its authoritarian friends in Asia makes our work with friends in the Indo-Pacific region even more important,” says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Western states are looking for the culprits in this – and find them in the person of the Chinese comrades, who, they say, have provided Russia with everything necessary to confront the “civilized world.”

Secondly, because China’s actions allegedly threaten the security of Europe. “Publicly, President Xi pretends that he avoids the conflict in Ukraine in order to avoid sanctions and maintain trade relations. However, in fact, China supports the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II, while wishing to maintain good relations with the West,” continues Stoltenberg.

In China, of course, they deny all the accusations. “NATO is a product of the Cold War and the largest military force in the world. Instead of denigrating China and attacking it with all sorts of statements, NATO
should realize the role that the alliance has played in the Ukrainian crisis,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lin Jian (right). According to him, China is neither the initiator nor a party to the Ukrainian crisis. “I advise the parties concerned to stop shifting responsibility and sowing discord, to refrain from adding fuel to the fire and provoking an inter-bloc confrontation. And instead do something useful for a political solution to the crisis,” the diplomat explained.

Moreover, the Chinese claim NATO has no place in East Asia, if only because the organization will bring with it only conflicts and wars. “All countries of the Asia-Pacific region are committed to promoting peace and development. Americans need to respect this commitment and also work for peace and development, and not bring block confrontation and conflict with them to the region,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington has said in a statement.  

However, the Americans seem to ignore these accusations. The arrival of NATO in East Asia has already been resolved for them —  it will be implemented under whatever administration comes next. And the statement about China’s partisan involvement in the Ukrainian crisis is just an excuse, as well as a rhetorical device in order to put pressure on the European countries and convince/force them to support the expansion of NATO to the Far East.

“The fact is that Europe is trying to avoid genuine participation in the military confrontation with China. And it motivates this by the fact that the confrontation with Russia is already difficult enough. Europe is ready to support the United States verbally, but at the same time it is not even ready to allocate money for the fareast confrontation, not to mention sending the military to the shores of China,” Vadim Trukhachev, associate professor at the Russian State University, explains to  Vzglyad.

“The Americans are really creating a global planetary player or a police organization out of NATO. And they’re not shy about talking about it – to argue that not only American bases, but also European and other bases should restrain China. All this has already been implemented in the form of small missions, and now the Americans are pushing the topic of creating NATO rapid reaction forces. Now these troops consist of 30,000 people, but they want to increase them to 300,000,” Andrei Klintsevich, head of the Center for the Study of Military and Political Conflicts, explains to Vzglyad.

Left to right: Gevorg Mirzayan of the Finance University;  Vadim Trukhachev of the Russian State University for the Humanities; and Andrei Klintsevich, Trukhachev’s assesment of Orban’s “peacemaking” mission can be read here.  

Such international forces, Polish, German, French and Italian, would operate outside national command and control.  “That is, at any moment, the NATO general picks up the phone and, on instructions from Washington, issues a directive to certain units without the approval of their national parliaments. And the troops are flying away to carry out the multinational task,” Klintsevich continues.

Europe’s sluggish resistance to the prospects of such a deployment is the last problem on the way to the Far Eastern expansion of the alliance. Moreover, there are already enough countries in the Far East which are ready to support the arrival of NATO in the region.

Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea are seen as the key partners of the alliance here. Countries that are very much afraid of China’s growth. Which are much more dependent on the United States than India, and will attend the NATO summit in Washington. According to US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, the Indo-Pacific region is “now more connected to Europe than ever before.”

Finally, the United States has already made certain preparations – for example, the AUKUS bloc (consisting of Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States), which was conceived precisely as a weapon to deter the PRC. “The AUKUS bloc is likely to expand  – additional countries will be included, most likely Japan and South Korea. And then this bloc will sign some kind of unification agreement with NATO, after which the alliance will become a global one,” Klintsevich explains.

Australian Prime Minister Albanese meeting NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg at the NATO summit of July 2023. For the Australian version of joining NATO’s war in the Uklraine, click to read: https://www.afr.com/  NATO’s version of the Australian role in NATO: https://www.nato.int/

China understands the high probability of NATO’s arrival, as well as the fact that they will have to change their policy somewhat. Militarily, Beijing is, of course, ready. “The Chinese have already turned on their full military-industrial machine. They are laying down aircraft carriers in series, creating hypersonic weapons, building bases on landfill artificial islands in areas that they would like to control. The Chinese have imposed an arms race on the Americans – and this process will continue even without NATO moving there,” says Klintsevich.

But Chinese foreign policy will have to be modified. More recently, Beijing used the Ukrainian crisis to score international points. And not only through their peace initiatives.

For example, the Chinese accuse NATO of “nuclear blackmail” (based on Stoltenberg’s statements about the possible deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe). Thus, Beijing not only plays the role of a peacemaker, but also appears to be a kind of spokesman for the opinions of the Global South – non-nuclear countries which look with fear at the games of their nuclear colleagues. Such a position will also help the Chinese to divert the world’s attention somewhat from their own build-up of the nuclear arsenal (to which Beijing, not being a signatory to any START, has every right).

We are now talking about a confrontation already in the traditionally Chinese sphere of influence. Not on other people’s shores, but on their own. Which can be defended only with the support of Moscow – resource,  infrastructure, political,  and all other forms of support.

“This reduces the Chinese room for manoeuvre – it will be more difficult for them to push us into discounts on hydrocarbons and other aspects of Sino-Russian economic cooperation. The realization of a real confrontation with America will force them to build relations with us in a slightly different way. Just because, one by one, we are all just being pushed around,” Klintsevich sums up.

As a result, NATO’s expansion into the Far East could lead to what expansion in Europe has led to already. To bring together and unite the opponents of the United States.

The original of the lead image was this cartoon of August 1939, showing Hitler wrestling with the Russian bear. This was a comment on the non-aggression pact agreed between Hitler and Stalin and signed on August 25, 1939, by foreign ministers  Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov. It was known officially as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, On December 17, 2021, Putin authorized the Russian Foreign Ministry to present to Biden the Treaty between the Unired States of America and the Russian Federation on Security Guarantees. Biden dismissed it without negotiations.    

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