No, The Ukraine War Has Not Stoked A Global Food Crisis

No, The Ukraine War Has Not Stoked A Global Food Crisis


ER Editor: Claims that Kiev is mining its territorial waters – Black Sea and Sea of Azov – have been made by others over the last few weeks. A report by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) shows, however, that Kiev is putting more roadblocks in the way of its ports than just mines.

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No, The Ukraine War Has Not Stoked A Global Food Crisis

MOON OF ALABAMA

Russia is falsely accused of blocking Ukraine’s sea ports and thereby increasing a global food shortage:

The United Nations has warned that the war in Ukraine has helped to stoke a global food crisis that could last years if it goes unchecked, as the World Bank announced an additional $12bn in funding to mitigate its “devastating effects”. UN secretary general António Guterres said shortages of grain and fertiliser caused by the war, warming temperatures and pandemic-driven supply problems (ER: notice how Guterres just rolled 3 manufactured ‘problems’ into one here) threaten to “tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity”, as financial markets saw share prices fall heavily again on fears of inflation and a worldwide recession.

Speaking at a UN meeting in New York on global food security, he said what could follow would be “malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years”, as he and others urged Russia to release Ukrainian grain exports.

Before the invasion in February, Ukraine was seen as the world’s bread basket, exporting 4.5m tonnes of agricultural produce per month through its ports – 12% of the planet’s wheat, 15% of its corn and half of its sunflower oil.

But with the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and others cut off from the world by Russian warships, the supply can travel only on congested land routes that are far less efficient.

It is not Russia that is withholding Ukrainian grain or cutting off its seaports. Ukraine is doing that all by itself. As the Russian Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine reports:

75 foreign vessels from 17 countries remain blocked in 7 Ukrainian ports (Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa, Yuzhniy and Mariupol). The threat of shelling and high mine danger created by official Kiev in its internal waters and territorial sea prevents vessels from safely leaving the ports and reaching the open sea. In confirmation of this, the Russian Federation is opening daily from 08:00 to 19:00 (Moscow time) a humanitarian corridor, which is a safe lane south-west of Ukraine’s territorial sea, 80 nautical miles long and 3 nautical miles wide.

Detailed information in English and Russian on the modus operandi of the maritime humanitarian corridor is broadcast daily every 15 minutes on VHF radio on 14 and 16 international channels in English and Russian.

At the same time, the Kiev authorities continue to avoid engaging with representatives of states and ship-owning companies to resolve the issue of ensuring the safe passage of foreign vessels to the assembly area.

The danger to navigation from Ukrainian mines drifting off their anchors along the coasts of Black Sea states remains.

The Russian Federation is taking a full range of comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of civilian navigation in the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

That is just Russian propaganda you might say. But no, it is not. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published reports about the Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov:

At the start of the conflict approximately 2,000 seafarers were stranded aboard 94 vessels in Ukrainian ports. 10 vessels have subsequently safely departed the Sea of Azov and 84 merchant ships remain, with nearly 450 seafarers onboard.

The Council (C/ES.35) on 10 and 11 March agreed to encourage the establishment, as a provisional and urgent measure, of a blue safe maritime corridor to allow the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high-risk and affected areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to a safe place in order to protect the life of seafarers, and ensure the mobilization and commercial navigation of vessels intending to use this corridor by avoiding military attacks and protecting and securing the maritime domain.

The Russian Federation has informed IMO that it had established a humanitarian corridor, to provide for the safe evacuation of ships once outside the territorial waters of the Ukraine. Despite this initiative, there remain many safety and security issues which hamper access to the corridor and the ability for ships to depart from their berth in Ukrainian ports. Ukraine’s ports are at MARSEC (maritime security) level 3 and remain closed for entry and exit. Sea mines have been laid in port approaches and some port exits are blocked by sunken barges and cranes. Many ships no longer have sufficient crew onboard to sail.

Ukraine also provided their preconditions for the safe evacuation of ships from their ports. These include an end to hostilities, the withdrawal of troops and ensuring the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, including carrying out mine-sweeping activities with the involvement of Black Sea littoral states.

The MARSEC level of a port is determined by the local authorities. Ukraine is simply prohibiting ships from entering or leaving the ports it controls. It has taken these hostage and makes unreasonable demands for their release.

It also has laid some 400 anchor mines around Odessa which are so old that some of them have parted from their chains and drifted south towards Turkey. It does not allow Russia to de-mine the sea.

Meanwhile, foreign ships that had been held by Ukraine in Mariupol have been able to leave since Russia has taken the city and its harbor.

UN secretary general Guterres certainly knows all this. That he is accusing Russia of causing a blockade only shows that he does not honor the neutrality his position demands.

The global food shortage has, by the way, been around since early 2021. It was not caused by the Ukraine crisis but, as an October 2021 report says, by high prices following supply chain disruptions during the pandemic:

[T]he food shortage around the world isn’t just a factor of supply chain issues. According to a rapid phone survey done by the World Bank in 48 countries, a significant number of people are running out of food or reducing their consumption. Global food prices have hit a 10-year peak, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), driven by gains in cereals and vegetable oils. Despite record cereal consumption, a shortage is forecasted on higher consumption projections.

Guterres’ accusations were copy-pasted from remarks U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had made in an interview:

Blinken: Ukraine is one of the leading producers of, among other things, wheat in the world. Russia, of course, is a large producer itself. And in Ukraine, there are literally tens of millions of tons of wheat that are stuck there because Russia’s blockading Ukraine’s ports. There are about 85 ships right now with grain, wheat in them. They can’t get out. There are another 22 million tons of wheat in silos near the ports that can’t get there.

Blinken is lying about the port blockade. The Ukraine is, by the way, currently exporting wheat via railway, Danube barges and then through the Romanian port Constanta. That wheat, though, is likely to go to Europe.

Blinken is also lying about fertilizers:

Blinken: Now, the reason for that is there’s also a fertilizer shortage because a lot of that is produced in the region. That means that as farmers are thinking about next year’s crops, if they don’t have fertilizer, the yields are going to go down. So there’s going to be even less food on the market and and prices go up even more.

Russia and Belarus are big fertilizer producers. Neither has been hindered to produce by the war. There is therefore no shortage. The only reason the U.S. and ‘western’ countries will not get fertilizer from those countries are the sanctions they have enacted against buying from them.

This passage from Blinken’s interview has a comical element:

Q: You were in Kyiv recently, about a month ago, and you said that Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding. What is your assessment now? Blinken: That remains the case. Here’s what’s important: Putin’s number one objective in going into Ukraine was to erase its independence, erase its sovereignty, to bring Ukraine fully back into the Russian fold, to make it part, in some fashion, of Russia. That’s already failed.

How would Blinken know what Putin’s number one objective was or is? Has he put himself into Putin’s mind? Putin himself has given the reasons for the launching the operation in his Victory Day speech. Ukraine’s independence was never questioned in it.

The next question after Blinken had put himself into Putin’s mind is this one:

Q: How did he get this so wrong? How did he miscalculate this so badly? Blinken: It’s very hard to fully put yourself in the mind of anyone else.

Yeah. Thought so.

Q: What are you hearing intelligence wise? Blinken: Well, we had, of course, very good information about Russia’s planned aggression in the first place, which we shared with the world. A lot of people were skeptical. And it’s one of those things where, as I said, I wish we’d been wrong about it, but we were right. …

When during the winter of 2021 Biden warned of an ‘imminent Russian invasion’ of Ukraine, he did not know what Russia’s plans were. What he did know was that the Ukraine was planning, with U.S. help, for an all out on attack on the Donbas republics in February 2022.

Biden knew that no Russian politician could stand back when that were to happen. When you know on what date a war will start, it is of course easy to predict when the response to it will happen.

Starting on February 16, Ukrainian artillery attacks on Donbas increased from a few dozen per day to more than 2,000 per day as was duly noted and reported by the OSCE special observer mission. It were these artillery preparations for a full blown attack that pushed Russia towards the preemptive operation in Ukraine.

This is confirmed in a recent Russian news report about the liberation of Azovstal (machine translation):

The [Russian] operation [in Ukraine] began against the backdrop of the situation in the Donbass that worsened in mid-February. The authorities of the DPR and LPR reported increased shelling by Ukrainian troops, announced the evacuation of civilians in the Russian Federation and asked for recognition of independence. On February 21, Putin signed the relevant decrees.

Again:

  • There was and is a global food crisis because food has become unaffordable for some people.
  • The war in Ukraine did not cause the food crisis.
  • Russia is not blockading Ukrainian harbors.
  • Ukraine could export more wheat if it would allow ships to leave its harbors.
  • Putin has not questioned the independence of Ukraine.
  • The reason for the war was the planned and prepared for Ukrainian attack on Donbas.

Anything else said about those points is just propaganda.

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Russia Is Holding Its Own Against the West’s Hybrid War

Russia Is Holding Its Own Against the West’s Hybrid War


ER Editor: For some specifics on the current state of play in Ukraine, we recommend Moon of Alabama’s latest piece, detailing yet another call by Austin and Milley to Russia’s Minister of Defense, Sergey Shoigu. Of note:

In total, the social-economic situation for Ukraine is catastrophic. The military situation is even worse. Mariupol has fallen and Russian troops working there will soon be able to go elsewhere. The Propasna (Donbass) bulge is threatening to envelope the whole northern frontline together with the core of the Ukrainian army.

There is no more talk of the Ukrainian army ‘winning’ like in Kiev or Karkov, where the Russian troops retreated in good order after finishing their task of holding Ukrainian forces in place.

The Ukrainian command has sent several territorial brigades to the front lines. These units were supposed to defend their home towns. They consist of middle age men drafted into service. They have little fighting experience and lack heavy weapons. Several of these units have published videos saying they were giving up. They are lamenting that their commanders left them when their situation became critical.

That the Ukrainian army is now using such units as cannon fodder shows that it has only few reserves left.

Weapons that come in from the ‘west’ have difficulties reaching the front lines and had so far very little effect. They amount to drops of water on a hot plate.

We remind readers that the name for Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine is ‘Operation Z’. 

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Russia Rewrites the Art of Hybrid War

Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up.

PEPE ESCOBAR via THE SAKER

The ironclad fictional “narrative” imposed all across NATOstan is that Ukraine is “winning”.

So why would weapons peddler retrofitted as Pentagon head Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin literally beg since late February to have his phone calls answered by Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, only to have his wish finally granted?

It’s now confirmed by one of my top intel sources. The call was a direct consequence of panic. The United States Government (USG) by all means wants to scotch the detailed Russian investigation – and accumulation of evidence – on the US bioweapon labs in Ukraine, as I outlined in a previous column.

This phone call happened exactly after an official Russian statement to the UN Security Council on May 13: we will use articles 5 and 6 of the Convention on the Prohibition of Bioweapons to investigate the Pentagon’s biological “experiments” in Ukraine.

That was reiterated by Under Secretary-General of the UN in charge of disarmament, Thomas Markram, even as all ambassadors of NATO member countries predictably denied the collected evidence as “Russian disinformation”.

Shoigu could see the call coming eons away. Reuters, merely quoting the proverbial “Pentagon official,” spun that the allegedly one-hour-long call led to nothing. Nonsense. Austin, according to the Americans, demanded a “ceasefire” – which must have originated a Siberian cat smirk on Shoigu’s face.

Shoigu knows exactly which way the wind is blowing on the ground – for Ukrainian Armed Forces and UkroNazis alike. It’s not only the Azovstal debacle – and Kiev’s all-around army breakdown.

After the fall of Popasnaya – the crucial, most fortified Ukrainian stronghold in Donbass – the Russians and Donetsk/Luhansk forces have breached defenses along four different vectors to north, northwest, west and south. What’s left of the Ukrainian front is crumbling – fast, with a massive cauldron subdivided in a maze of mini-cauldrons: a military disaster the USG cannot possibly spin.

Now, in parallel, we can also expect full exposure – on overdrive – of the Pentagon bioweapons racket. The only “offer you can’t refuse” left to the USG would be to present something tangible to the Russians to avoid a full investigation.

That’s not gonna happen. Moscow is fully aware that going public with illegal work on banned biological weapons is an existential threat to the US Deep State. Especially when documents seized by the Russians show that Big Pharma – via Pfizer, Moderna, Merck and Gilead – was involved in several “experiments”. Fully exposing the whole maze, from the start, was one of Putin’s stated objectives.

More “military-technical measures”?

Three days after the UN presentation, the board of the Russian Foreign Ministry held a special session to discuss “the radically changed geopolitical realities that have developed as a result of the hybrid war against our country unleashed by the West – under the pretext of the situation in Ukraine – unprecedented in scale and ferocity, including the revival in Europe of a racist worldview in the form of cave Russophobia, an open course for the ‘abolition’ of Russia and everything Russian.”

So it’s no wonder “the aggressive revisionist course of the West requires a radical revision of Russia’s relations with unfriendly states.”

We should expect “a new edition of the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation” coming out soon.

This new Foreign Policy Concept will elaborate on what Foreign Minister Lavrov once again stressed at a meeting honoring the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy: the US has declared an all-round Hybrid War on Russia. The only thing lacking, as it stands, is a formal declaration of war.

Beyond the disinformation fog veiling the application of Finland and Sweden – call them the Dumb and Dumber Nordics – to join NATO, what really matters is another instance of declaration of war: the prospect of missiles with nuclear warheads stationed really close to Russian borders. Moscow already warned the Finns and Swedes, politely, that this would be dealt with it via “military-technical measures”. That’s exactly what Washington – and NATO minions – were told would happen before the start of Operation Z.

And of course this goes much deeper, involving Romania and Poland as well. Bucharest already has Aegis Ashore missile launchers capable of sending Tomahawks with nuclear

warheads at Russia, while Warsaw is receiving the same systems. To cut to the chase, if there’s no de-escalation, they will all eventually end up receiving Mr. Kinzhal’s hypersonic business card (pictured).

NATO member Turkey, meanwhile, plays a deft game, issuing its own list of demands before even considering the Nordics’ gamble. Ankara wants no more sanctions on its purchase of S-400s and, on top, it be re-included in the F-35 program. It will be fascinating to watch what His Master’s Voice will come up with to seduce the Sultan. The Nordics engaging in a self-correcting “clear unequivocal stance” against the PKK and the PYD (Kurdish groups) is clearly not enough for the Sultan, who relished muddying the waters even more as he stressed that buying Russian energy is a “strategic” issue for Turkey.

Counteracting Financial Shock’n Awe

By now it’s evidently clear that open-ended Operation Z is targeting unipolar Hegemon power, the infinite expansion of vassalized NATO, and the world’s financial architecture – an intertwined combo that largely transcends the Ukraine battleground.

Serial Western-sanctions-package hysteria ended up triggering Russia’s so far quite successful counter-financial moves. Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up: inflation, higher commodity prices, breakdown of supply chains, exploding cost of living, impoverishment of the middle classes, and unfortunately for great swathes of the Global South, outright poverty and starvation.

In the near future, as insider evidence surfaces, a convincing case will be made that the Russian leadership even gamed the Western financial gamble/ blatant robbery of over $300 billion in Russian reserves.

This implies that already years ago – let’s say, at least from 2016, based on analyses by Sergey Glazyev – the Kremlin knew this would inevitably happen. As trust remains a rigid foundation of a monetary system, the Russian leadership may have calculated that the Americans and their vassals, driven by blind Russophobia, would play all their cards at once when push came to shove – utterly demolishing global trust on “their” system.

Because of Russia’s infinite natural resources, the Kremlin may have factored that the nation would eventually survive the financial Shock’n Awe – and even profit from it (ruble appreciation included). The reward is just too sweet: opening the way to The Doomed Dollar – without having to ask Mr. Sarmat to present his nuclear business card.

Russia could even entertain the hypothesis of getting a mighty return on those stolen funds. A great deal of Western assets – totaling as much as $500 billion – may be nationalized if the Kremlin so chooses.

So Russia is winning not only militarily but also to a large extent geopolitically – 88% of the planet does not align with NATOstan hysteria – and of course in the economic/financial sphere.

This in fact is the key Hybrid War battleground where the collective West is being checkmated. One of the next key steps will be an expanded BRICS coordinating their dollar-bypassing strategy.

None of the above should overshadow the still-to-be-measured, interconnected repercussions of the mass surrender of Azov neo-Nazis at UkroNazistan Central in Azovstal.

The mythical Western “narrative” about freedom-fighting heroes imposed since February by NATOstan media collapsed with a single blow. Cue to the thunderous silence all over the Western infowar front, where no mutts even attempted to sing that crappy, “winning” Eurovision song.

What happened, in essence, is that the crême de la crême of NATO-trained neo-Nazis, “advised” by top Western experts, weaponized to death, entrenched in deep concrete anti-nuclear bunkers in the bowels of Azovstal, was either pulverized or forced to surrender like cornered rats.

Novorossiya as a Game-Changer

The Russian General Staff will be adjusting their tactics for the major follow-up in Donbass – as the best Russian analysts and war correspondents incessantly debate. They will have to face an inescapable problem: as much as the Russian methodically grind down the – disaggregated – Ukrainian Army in Donbass, a new NATO army is being trained and weaponized in western Ukraine.

So there is a real danger that depending on the ultimate long-term aims of Operation Z – which are only shared by the Russian military leadership – Moscow runs the risk of encountering, in a few months, a mobile and better weaponized incarnation of the demoralized army it is now destroying. And this is exactly what the Americans mean by “weakening” Russia.

As it stands, there are several reasons why a new Novorossiya reality may turn out to be a positive game-changer for Russia. Among them:

  1. The economic/logistics complex from Kharkov (north-east, near Donbass region) to Odessa (south-west) – along Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolaev (Donbass region) – is intimately linked with Russian industry.
  2. By controlling the Sea of Azov – already a de facto “Russian lake” – and subsequently the Black Sea, Russia will have total control of export routes for the region’s world-class grain production. Extra bonus: total exclusion of NATO.
  3. All of the above suggests a concerted drive for the development of an integrated agro-heavy industry complex – with the extra bonus of serious tourism potential.

Under this scenario, a remaining Kiev-Lviv rump Ukraine (centre-north to far west), not incorporated to Russia, and of course not rebuilt, would be at best subjected to a no-fly zone plus selected artillery/missile/drone strikes in case NATO continues to entertain funny ideas.

This would be a logical conclusion for a Special Military Operation focused on precision strikes and a deliberate emphasis on sparing civilian lives and infrastructure while methodically disabling the Ukrainian military/logistics spectrum. All of that takes time. Yet Russia may have all the time in the world, as we all keep listening to the sound of the collective West spiraling down.

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Joe Biden Welcomes Finland President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to Join NATO Alliance Against Russia

Joe Biden Welcomes Finland President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to Join NATO Alliance Against Russia

Earlier today, the installed occupant of the White House, Joe Biden, flanked by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, said the two countries would “make NATO stronger.”

With great enthusiasm Biden called their applications join the NATO pact a “victory for democracy,” as the proxy war in Ukraine continues.  The speech transcript – is here, and the White House readout of the meeting – is here.

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met today with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland and warmly welcomed their applications for NATO membership, which will strengthen our collective security.  At this historic moment for both Finland and Sweden, the President underscored his commitment to support both countries as they seek formal NATO accession, including by working with NATO Allies and Congress to welcome them into the Alliance as quickly as possible.  The leaders also discussed their ongoing cooperation on shared global challenges, and their commitment to continued strong support for Ukraine.” (LINK)

Joe Biden also thanked Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell for their bipartisan support to affirm Sweden and Finland. “I greatly appreciate Senator Schumer and McConnell’s support, as well as Senator Menendez and Risch, to move this through the Senate as quickly as possible once the perspective of all Allies are addressed and NATO adopts the accession protocols,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to the same people, Russia putting a military base in Cuba is an existential threat to world peace.

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Sitrep Operation Z: NATO Surrenders at Azovstal

Sitrep Operation Z: NATO Surrenders at Azovstal


ER Editor: Some tweets of interest —

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Sitrep Operation Z: NATO surrenders in Azovstal

For the Saker Blog by Saker Staff with thanks to Pepe Escobar for that prescient title

Nazi Azovites – from rats in a hole to fish in a barrel – This is what denazification looks like!

The New York Times prevaricates as follows: Ukraine ended its “combat mission” in Mariupol and said fighters were being evacuated, signaling that the battle at a steel plant was over. https://nyti.ms/3sIon9B

Zelensky adds some Ukrainian/Cocainian dreams to that: “The evacuation mission from Azovstal continues. It is led by our military and intelligence officers.”  (OK, Mr PianoDick, they’re being led straight into war-criminal prison! – thank your military and intelligence officers for doing the job for the world!)

Dmitry Polyansky says it differently:  “I didn’t know English has so many ways to express a single message: the #Azovnazis have unconditionally surrendered.”

Nightfall did not stop the surrender process. Ukrainians are still surrendering in crowds without stopping. Sufficient forces to deal with this are on the terrain and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DPR are kicking ass and taking prisoners.

Illumination rockets are being constantly launched into the sky, which at least somehow facilitates the crawling out of underground inhabitants 🙂

These invincible heroes are emaciated, ragged, hungry and a pitiful sight.

Donetsk Defense HQ – 962 Azovites surrendered and the process continues. In the meantime, 11 servicemen of the 25th airborne brigade and seventeen of the 54th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine voluntarily laid down their arms and went over to the side of the DPR. We hope this is the start of a mass surrender.

This is denazification, and movies will be made and books will be written. After this major loss of prestige, expect a doozy of a false flag.

Starting point today is the MoD report and somewhat reformatted for ease of use.

💥Over a day, high-precision air-based missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces have hit

  • 2 command posts, including the territorial defense headquarters near Soledar in the Donetsk People’s Republic,
  • as well as 31 areas of concentration of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment, including locations of foreign mercenary units from European countries in Nikolaev and Krasnogorovka.
  • In addition, 2 Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft have been destroyed at a military airfield near Dnepropetrovsk, 1 division of Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems near Nikolaev, as well as 4 ammunition depots for missile and artillery weapons and ammunition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Ugledar, Pokrovskoe, Soledar and Bakhmut, Donetsk People’s Republic.

✈️💥Operational-tactical and army aviation have hit

  • 3 command posts,
  • 41 areas of concentration of AFU manpower and military equipment, as well as
  • 1 ammunition depot near Ugledar, Donetsk People’s Republic.
  • The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 270 nationalists and up to 54 armoured and motor vehicles.

💥Missile troops and artillery have hit

  • 76 command posts,
  • 421 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration, as well as
  • 147 artillery and mortar units at firing positions, including
  • 1 Ukrainian battery of US-made 155mm M777 howitzers near Pogornoe.
  • 1 pontoon crossing point equipped by Ukrainian Armed Forces to cross the Severskyi Donets River has been destroyed near Protopopovka, Kharkov Region.

💥Russian air defence means have shot down

  • 1 Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft over Tripolie, Donetsk people’s republic.
  • 1 Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 has been shot down near Kamennaya Yaruga, Kharkov Region.
  • 15 Ukrainian UAVs have been shot down near Semenovka, Velikie Prokhody, Balakleya, Malye Prokhody, Velikaya Kamyshevakha in Kharkov Region, Rudnichnyi, Grabskoe, Staromikhailovka, Volnoe in Donetsk People’s Republic, Belyaevka, Chernobaevka in Kherson Region.
  • 8 Ukrainian Smerch multiple-launch rockets have been also intercepted near Kamenka and Malaya Kamyshevakha, Kharkov Region.

Not too shabby for a day’s work. And they will repeat it, and repeat it, and rinse, and repeat it again.

Secrets from Azovstal and surroundings are beginning to be revealed.  There will be many!

How the OSCE mission cooperated with the Azov terrorists (ER: OSCE is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. As Russia is one of its participating states, it shouldn’t be helping NATO in Ukraine.)

The filming crew of IA “Arbelet” was the first to visit the territory where the OSCE mission in Mariupol was located. Among other valuable finds, they found two mortar positions, equipped directly near the mission’s administrative building. The mortars themselves and their ammunition are of Italian origin, as evidenced by the markings. Another noteworthy fact: the last delivery of the Italian BC is dated March 11, 2022.

Do ordinary Italians know that their authorities are helping outright terrorists of the national battalions? How will the OSCE comment on the fact that they were in clear collusion with the terrorists, allowing “Azov” to fire from their territory? How, after these facts, will the OSCE be able to clean up their reputation at all?

(Sidebar: Do you now understand why Russia is leaving international organizations Simple, these organizations are corrupt to the extent that they cannot be reformed but they have to be broken. Mr Lavrov today is meeting with SCO Secretary-General Ming where new structures are being built.)

Update from Brian Berletic:  He views the canoodling from western sources and he hoists them on their own petard.  Do take a listen, specifically Brian’s explanation of how the Russian command and soldiers keep certain areas ‘fixed’.

Here is another example of such a ‘fix’. The Russian army attacked Ukrainian defense facilities in the Odessa region with precision weapons from the Black Sea. This information is confirmed by the Ukrainian operational command “South”.  https://t.me/intelslava/29149

(Sidebar:  Today in Odessa – On this day “Russian Spring”

May 18, 2014 – “Odessa is a Russian city”, “Donbass – we are with you” – such slogans sounded at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa.

Hundreds of protesters with Russian flags and banners of the Victory came out not only to honor the memory of those killed in the May 2 tragedy, but also to show the Ukrainian Nazis that Odessans are Russian people who are not afraid of the Kyiv punishers.)

Is the Russian SMO beginning to touch hearts and minds?  Remember the stories that Russia underestimated the willingness of the Ukrainian people to support the denazification. 

Telescoping into the current pic on a map­, we see that cauldrons do not come in onesies any longer but in threes:

Readovka on the fronts

Kharkiv Front. The fighting in the area of Kazachya Lopan and the village of Liptsy is of a positional nature. The enemy in the area of Ternovka reached the border. MASS MEDIA: Ukrainian Armed Forces have reached the Russian-Ukrainian border in Kharkiv region. Ukraine conducted a counterattack in the north-east of the Russian Federation, and is also probing the positions of the Russian Armed Forces in the area of Volchansk. The Russian Armed Forces are not conducting active offensive operations in the Kharkiv direction.

On the Izyum part of the front, fighting continues in the area of Kamyshevakha, Kurulka and Dolgenky. The enemy continues to try to strain the flank of the Russian group to the north-west of Izyum, forcing the Seversky Donets. In the Slavic direction, the troops took Drobyshevo and Krasny Liman in a semicircle. The front also approached Svyatogorsk.

In the Luhansk-Donetsk part of the front, fighting continues in the area of Kamyshevakha, north of Popasna. There are also battles for Toshkovka. There are attempts to enter the flank and rear of the fortified area in Gorsky and Zolotoy. Fighting continues on the outskirts of Severodonetsk, as well as to the west of Lisichansk in the area of Privolye and Belogorovka. According to unconfirmed reports, Russian troops occupied the town of New York.

On the Zaporozhye part of the front without any special changes. An attempt by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to attack in the area of Malinovka ended in failure and heavy losses. The battles here are of a positional nature all the way from Gulyai-Pole to Velikaya Novoselovka. The enemy is moving part of the reserves from the Zaporizhia direction to the Donbass, where the situation for the Severodonetsk group is rapidly deteriorating. Heavy fighting continues in the area of Novomikhailovka and Ugledar.

On the Southern Front, the development of the offensive is not yet taking place. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are waiting for the landing of Russian troops in the Odessa region and are working on mining the entire coast. In the Nikopol and Kryvyi Rih directions, the Ukrainian command is accumulating forces to uncover weaknesses in the Russian positions.

On arrival, it is already traditional – the APU shelled Petrovsky district Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled Petrovsky district of Donetsk.  The shell hit the school grounds Donetsk, a shell hit the school territory. The Ukrainian side also shelled the outskirts of Kherson, which resulted in the death of one civilian.

SmoothieX12 (ER: Andrei Martyanov) is correct when he says that the only battle that the Ukrainians know is the battle taught to them by their NATO advisors, which is to shell civilian territory and hide behind civilians.

The battlefront is still in a relatively chaotic state, but Russia is now forming and shaping it.

Let’s take a look at Martyanov’s levels of war as we can categorize from this handy depiction:

Finland and Sweden formally submit applications to join NATO – currently, it is harassment but may well move up the scale to major operations.  We cannot say where Russia will stop.

FM Lavrov: “Ukraine… No one wants Ukraine. They are an expendable country in this hybrid war against Russian Federation. No one has doubts anymore”.  The language from Russian sources has changed and they are now saying clearly that Ukraine is a tool and the fight is against Russia by the West.

Weapons

Russian self-propelled howitzers “Msta-S” and “Acacia-M” are being put to good use and they destroy armored vehicles and fortified positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.  Distance of fire is up to 30 km and they use high-explosive fragmentation projectiles that can destroy buried concrete fortifications of the enemy. https://t.me/intelslava/29140

Incoming weapons.  On the Polish-Ukrainian border, seven South African-made Mamba Mk2 EE armored vehicles transferred to Ukraine by Estonia as military assistance were seen. These vehicles were specifically produced for the Estonian army.

We have to conclude if we can see these armored vehicles via telegram channel on the Polish border, then the Russian forces can see them too. And ditto for all other incoming weapons.

There are smaller reports of new Russian artillery weapons appearing in the field of battle, but it is limited as yet.

Major Fail, other than war. 

Washington failed to get the summit with the ASEAN countries to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ASEAN nations are Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

Another failure of freezing funds:  Switzerland released $6.33 billion of Russia’s frozen funds.

We end with biolabs

Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy gives key takeaways from the last UN Security Council meeting on US biolabs in Ukraine:

  1. The US refuses to explain its engagement in military bio activities in Ukraine. Keeps shrugging off several hundred pages of evidence. “These are all lies and Russia’s propaganda, and we are good guys because it can’t be otherwise”. Not a word on the point of discussion.
  2. Western delegations are praising the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and calling on us to make use of its mechanisms. They fail to mention however that it is the US who is blocking the elaboration of BWC verification mechanism. Such a hypocrisy!
  3. The US refuses to explain why it doesn’t want an effective international verification mechanism for bio weapons. Why act like this unless you are trying to conceal something? Why does Washington position itself above the international law? American exceptionalism at its best.

Main conclusion: we have definitely hit their soft spot. It’s clear for any unbiased observer that they are obscuring the issue and trying to divert attention from this uncomfortable topic trying to discourage us to raise it by repeating mantras on “Russian aggression,” etc.

So stay tuned, there’s more evidence on US military biological programs to follow!

Top level headline in China’s Global Times today:  ‘Neo-Nazism’ poisons Ukraine, Europe under US, West’s connivance

That is it for today. Enjoy your discussion and be careful with the Ukie propaganda. It is everywhere.

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Erdogan Slams Door On Approving Sweden, Finland NATO Bids: ‘Nesting Ground For Terrorist Orgs’

Erdogan Slams Door On Approving Sweden, Finland NATO Bids: ‘Nesting Ground For Terrorist Orgs’


ER Editor: We’re doing a two-fer on this topic, one from FreeWest Media and one from Zerohedge.

Word is also that Sweden and Finland are sympathetic to the Kurds (in Syria), which is always a fierce red line for Erdogan. This is mentioned below.

Notice that the retired Turkish admiral expects to see Trump return.

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Retired Turkish admiral questions wisdom of Sweden and Finland joining NATO

FREEWEST MEDIA

Retired Turkish Rear Admiral Ali Deniz Kutluk said the constant expansion has turned NATO into a cumbersome and unmanageable organisation. The discussed inclusion in the North Atlantic Alliance of two more countries – Finland and Sweden – will make the structure even weaker, and ultimately more dangerous for current members.

“Is NATO expansion right? Already the alliance is unmanageable. It has 30 member states. In addition, it has 39 countries that are called partners. Will the inclusion of these countries [Sweden and Finland] in NATO provide greater security or reduce it even more?” The Aydinlik newspaper quoted Kutluk as saying.

The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO is not beneficial for Ankara. “Why would Turkey agree to a situation that would reduce its own security?” the retired military man added.

According to the Turkish expert, NATO is taking a step towards creating a less secure environment, as its expansion in Scandinavia may provoke Russia to retaliate. The rear admiral is afraid of a nuclear confrontation, where Turkey, as a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, can also be drawn into.

Retired Turkish Rear Admiral Ali Deniz Kutluk has noticed the decline of a firm NATO supporter, the Democratic Party in the US. Screenshot from YouTube

In addition, he noted that the prospect of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election in 2024 may lead to the refusal of protection of the members of the Alliance by the United States.

“If Trump is re-elected, the US will cool relations with NATO as in the past. If he takes steps to reduce or sever transatlantic ties and abandon Europe to see to its own security, then will we not find ourselves in an even more desperate situation?” he asked rhetorically.

Earlier, Finland and Sweden announced that they would seek to join NATO as soon as possible. In turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not support this decision as long as both countries assist Kurdish militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the Turkish authorities consider to be terrorists.

Ankara, like other members of the North Atlantic Alliance, can block the admission of new members by imposing a veto. Despite upcoming meetings with officials from both countries, he said Ankara would not be swayed on its decision.

If Turkey, which has NATO’s second largest army, has no veto right in the decision-making mechanisms of the alliance and remains ineffective on this issue, NATO would be underscoring the futility of its own structure, said Professor of Political Science and International Relations of Maltepe University, Hasan Unal.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin noted on May 16, speaking at the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the inclusion of Finland and Sweden in NATO does not pose an immediate threat to Russia. However, “the expansion of military infrastructure into this territory” would result in a “reaction” from Moscow.

The Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto was nevertheless optimistic about his country’s prospects: “I’m sure that we will find a solution to this matter,” said the 64-year-old, but according to the NATO statutes, the admission of new member states requires the unanimous consent of all thirty member states.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was less welcoming. “We wouldn’t say ‘yes’ to them joining NATO, a security organisation. They were going to come on Monday to convince us. Sorry, they don’t have to bother.”

The ratification process for NATO membership normally takes about a year, but the military alliance was confident that it would be able to speed up this process.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reminded the press on Monday that Russia had “no territorial disputes with either Finland or Sweden”.

Essentially Sweden and Finland have joined a British military-political initiative

Sweden and Finland have been involved in NATO affairs for a while already through the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a UK-led force, comprising 10 nations working together to “complement” NATO. The coalition focuses on security in the Baltic Sea region and the North Atlantic, where its members are located.

The JEF is a British-led expeditionary force which consists of Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway. Eight of the countries are also members of NATO, with Finland and Sweden currently outside that alliance.

It was first conceived in 2012 and announced by the then UK Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards. The JEF arose from the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) which became redundant as a result of the UK’s focus on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The multinational JEF was publicly launched as a NATO initiative at the September 2014 Wales Summit, subsumed under the new “Framework Nations Concept” with Germany, the UK and Italy acting as support nations.

In September 2014, the British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also announced the signature of a Letter of Intent between Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, to establish the JEF so that it is fully operational before 2018.

In early October 2015, Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said that he did not rule out Sweden joining the Joint Expeditionary Force, even though no formal process exists to do so at the moment, when he was summoned by the Riksdag to confirm if the government was engaged in formal talks to join the JEF without the knowledge of parliament.

On 22 June 2017, the Swedish government confirmed that Sweden would be joining the Joint Expeditionary Force.

Recently, several European leaders met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Vladimir Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, in London as part of Johnson’s flagship Global Britain plan.

While there are no JEF-dedicated standing forces, the United Kingdom provides command and control. In 2021, the JEF conducted its first maritime task group deployment in the Baltic Sea, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Britain, however, is not able to defend itself without the United States. It relies on the Pentagon for its nuclear deterrence through the US–UK Mutual Defense Agreement, a treaty which was again extended to 31 December 2024.

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Erdogan Slams Door On Approving Sweden, Finland NATO Bids: ‘Nesting Ground For Terrorist Orgs’

Tyler Durden's Photo TYLER DURDEN

In fresh Monday comments, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued his firmest words of rejection yet concerning Finland and Sweden’s announced bids to join NATO. Over the weekend after Erdogan first stated Turkey is “not favorable” toward the Scandinavian countries entering the alliance, there was widespread speculation among officials quoted in Western media reports that Turkish reluctance could be easily resolved.

When asked about Turkey’s reservations on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “I’m very confident that we will reach consensus on that” – somewhat dodging the severity of Ankara’s recent unambiguous statements as nothing at all to worry about in terms of a NATO unified front. But now Erdogan has defiantly poured cold water on the collective Western enthusiasm for achieving the consensus needed among the 30 NATO member states to admit new countries. There was even talk of ‘fast-tracking’ them, which now seems like a fantasy in light of Turkey’s stance.

Bloomberg, too, notes following Erdogan’s Monday speech that “he intends to block membership for the two countries, or at least extract concessions for it” – following their separate weekend announcements which came hours apart, affirming they will apply.

Getty Images

“These two countries lack a clear stance against terrorism” and “Sweden is a nesting ground for terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said. He pointed out that both countries have joined other European allies in imposing “sanctions” on Turkey, specifically recent restrictions on arms sales to Ankara going back to 2019 in context of the running war with Kurdish groups along its southern border. Turkey’s military has also continued to intervene against the Syrian Kurdish YPG, which has US and Western backing.

“First of all, we cannot say ‘yes’ to those who impose sanctions on Turkey, on joining NATO which is a security organization,” Erdogan stressed while standing alongside his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune at the press conference in Ankara. “How can we trust them?” he posed in reference to Sweden and Finland.

Amid the blistering comments, Erdogan addressed earlier Monday statements by the Swedish foreign office indicating top officials would be dispatched from Helsinki and Stockholm to Turkey in order to address the objections. Stunningly (or perhaps no surprise at all), Erdogan dismissed the diplomatic attempts before they even begin. The diplomats “should not bother” coming, he said, if they hope to change Turkey’s mind on the matter.

According to Turkey’s Daily Sabah, in addressing the overture he again took the opportunity to apply the ‘terror supporters’ label

“They say they will come to Turkey on Monday. Are they coming to convince us? Excuse me but they should not tire themselves,” he noted.

Erdoğan said NATO would become “a place where representatives of terrorist organizations are concentrated” if the two countries join.

Starting Friday, Erdogan said that “Sweden has become a home for PKK and other terror groups” – which was echoed again the following day by Turkey’s foreign minister to a gathering of NATO ministers in Berlin. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the same time expressed optimism that this would be worked through, suggesting it’s but a “last-minute wrinkle” as described in Bloomberg.

Turkish commentary on the topic has grown more and more unbending by the day (on Saturday FM  Cavusoglu said the idea was “outrageous”), clearly demonstrating this is no small wrinkle at all, but is instead the Western military alliance’s second largest military in effect slamming the door on the prospect – or at least until it gets significant concessions.

As we described earlier the Turkish “demands” have already begun

Turkey laid out demands on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, saying it wanted the two Nordic countries to end support for Kurdish militant groups present on their territory, and to lift the ban on sales of some arms to Turkey.

With the West desperate to keep up the pressure on Moscow amid the grinding Ukraine war (increasingly looking much more like a Russia vs. NATO proxy war), circumstances certainly now put Turkey in the driver’s seat. Like with the recent years’ S-400 saga, which put Ankara at the center of a tug-of-war with Moscow and Washington, Turkey’s leadership can now use its considerable leverage on the NATO membership question to get what it wants out of NATO allies. Brussels must of course achieve full consensus in order to admit Sweden and Finland – the latter which shares an 810-mile border with Russia. Moscow has in turn threatened possible “military and technical” actions.

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15,000 NATO Troops Start Drills Near Russia – What Could Go Wrong?

15,000 NATO Troops Start Drills Near Russia – What Could Go Wrong?


ER Editor: Notice below the laundry list of countries doing ‘exercises’ just kilometres from Russia’s western border. A reminder of geography:

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15,000 NATO troops from 14 nations, including the US, Sweden, Finland and Ukraine, start drills near Russia

SAMIZDAT (RT) via ALETHO NEWS

Large-scale NATO military drills started in Estonia on Monday. The exercise dubbed ‘Hedgehog 2022’ is one of the largest in the Baltic nation’s history, according to the military bloc. The drills will involve some 15,000 troops from 14 nations, including both military bloc members and their partners.

Soldiers from Finland, Sweden, Georgia and Ukraine are among those that will take part in the exercise, Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported. The drills will include all branches of the armed forces and will involve air, sea and land exercises, as well as cyber warfare training, according to the broadcaster.

According to a NATO statement, the drills will also see the US Navy Wasp-class landing ship ‘Kearsarge’ take part in the exercises. Both the military bloc and Estonian Defense Forces deputy commander, Major General Veiko-Vello Palm, have denied that the drills, just over 60km from the Russian border, have anything to do with Moscow’s ongoing military action in Ukraine.

The drills started just a day after Finland and Sweden officially announced their plans to join NATO, and were planned long before the conflict in Ukraine broke out, Western officials have said.

The exercises in Estonia are, however, just one part of NATO’s large-scale military activities near the Russian border. Another Baltic state, Lithuania, is hosting the ‘Iron Wolf’ exercise, which involves 3,000 NATO troops and 1,000 pieces of military equipment, including Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks.

Two of NATO’s biggest exercises – ‘Defender Europe’ and ‘Swift Response’ – are taking place in Poland and eight other countries, involving 18,000 troops from 20 nations, according to NATO’s statement on Friday.

“Exercises like these show that NATO stands strong and ready to protect our nations and defend against any threat,” the military bloc’s spokesperson, Oana Lungescu, said, adding that the drills “help to remove any room for miscalculation or misunderstanding about our resolve to protect and defend every inch of allied territory.”

The NATO Response Force is currently taking part in the 7,500-strong ‘Wettiner Heide’ drills in Germany. The Mediterranean Sea is about to witness ‘Neptune series’ naval drills involving the USS ‘Harry S. Truman’ carrier strike group that will be placed under NATO command. This will only be the second time since the end of the Cold War that a US carrier group has been transferred under the military bloc’s command, NATO has said.

In June, the Baltic States and Poland will host what NATO describes as “Europe’s largest integrated air and missile defense exercise,” which would involve 23 nations.

In late April, Finland hosted NATO naval drills. Now, it is also hosting a joint land exercise, in which troops from the US, the UK, Estonia and Latvia are participating.

The massive military wargames are taking place amid heightened tensions between Russia, NATO and some of the military bloc’s partners. Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, and Sweden decided to reconsider their long-standing policy of non-alignment following a major change in public opinion after the launch of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The development sparked a wave of criticism from Moscow, which warned that it would have to respond if Finland and Sweden join NATO. Moscow also maintains that it considers NATO’s expansion as a direct threat to its own security.

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Published to The Liberty Beacon from EuropeReloaded.com

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Pentagon Says Military Families Also Facing Baby Formula Shortage

Pentagon Says Military Families Also Facing Baby Formula Shortage

The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that military families are also seeing shortages of baby formula in groceries stores on military bases, known as “commissaries,” in the United States and abroad.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a press conference that current stock levels of baby formula at commissaries are about 50 percent the normal amount at U.S.-based commissaries and about 70 percent the normal amount at overseas commissaries.

“We’re not immune to the same supply chain problems that other families across America are experiencing, and as you know we have the commissary system on bases that provides groceries and food stuffs for military families as a benefit of being in the military,” Kirby said.

“But again, we’re not immune to this problem, so we’re working our way through that very, very, very hard,” he added.

Kirby said the Defense Commissary Agency (DCA) is monitoring the current market situation impacting the supply of baby formula.

“Our assessment right now is that both overseas and remote commissaries are currently at an adequate level of supplies for baby formula,” Kirby said, adding that the Pentagon is monitoring the situation.

He said DCA is working to ensure that all orders for overseas and remote stores receive baby formula shipments and is working “daily with distributors to address any product disruptions.”

“We obviously take it very, very seriously — our responsibility to make sure that the kind of things our families need to take care of themselves, to feed their children, we take that very seriously and we’re working very hard at that,” he added.

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook. 

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Biden Redeploys U.S. Combat Troops to Somalia, Reversing Trump Draw Down

Biden Redeploys U.S. Combat Troops to Somalia, Reversing Trump Draw Down

Democrats love war, even when they have to go looking for one.  The New York Times is reporting that Joe Biden has signed a Defense Dept order authorizing 700 combat troops to redeploy to Somalia, reversing the Trump-era troop withdrawal.

WASHINGTON — President Biden has signed an order authorizing the military to once again deploy hundreds of Special Operations forces inside Somalia — largely reversing the decision by President Donald J. Trump to withdraw nearly all 700 ground troops who had been stationed there, according to four officials familiar with the matter.

In addition, Mr. Biden has approved a Pentagon request for standing authority to target about a dozen suspected leaders of Al Shabab, the Somali terrorist group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda, three of the officials said. Since Mr. Biden took office, airstrikes have largely been limited to those meant to defend partner forces facing an immediate threat.

Together, the decisions by Mr. Biden, described by the officials on the condition of anonymity, will revive an open-ended American counterterrorism operation that has amounted to a slow-burn war through three administrations. (read more)

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