RUSSIA-CHINA. The big story of the… what? Decade? Century? We’ll see. The big gas deal was signed; we don’t know all the details but 30 years, 38 bcm/year, $400 billion, $70 billion of infrastructure are some of the numbers. But not in USD; bank agreement to use renminbi/rubles; joint production agreements; statements chiding the USA; cooperation in foreign affairs. “Multipolar” was heard a lot. And, we are told, sales of the S-400 air defence system coming. More details will trickle out. One cannot help seeing it as a predictable consequence of the Western anti-Russia campaign of which Ukraine is just the latest and most transparent.
SANCTIONS. Russia is finally starting to respond. I wonder if anyone in the White House or Foggy Bottom was aware that the US military depended on Russian-made rocket engines to launch their satellites. They are now. Maybe six years to develop an alternative. The US sanctions affected some VISA and Mastercard users in Russia, Moscow reacted and now the two wonder whether they can continue operations there. Thus far nothing about getting US astronauts to and from the ISS or US forces’ supply routes to Afghanistan. It transpires that Russia did indeed dump billions of US securities (immediately bought by “Belgium”); then it bought gold. Will there be more of this? Possibly involving China now? After all, the new Russia-China friendship reduces what you might call USA Futures Inc. Pepe Escobar ties the various possibilities together; highly recommended reading, he’s certainly got a lot of it correct.
ABSURDITY. Watch this and tell me “incompetent” is not the appropriate word for the US Administration. What’s Putin’s next stop? Alaska, of course. It is apparently Russia that is bringing “fascism” to Ukraine; Svoboda and Pravy Sektor being unimportant. “China signs $400 billion deal to prop up Russia’s economy as it becomes isolated”. Loud stupidity is still stupidity.
SYRIAN CW. We are told by the OPCW that 92% of Syrian’s CW stock is already out of the country.
FEARLESS PREDICTION. Ukraine is supposed to have a presidential election next week. Despite the fact that one candidate has pulled out because he kept getting beaten up by Anne Applebaum’s “patriots” and another has dropped out because he sees them as illegitimate, that many areas in the east won’t vote at all and that they are under attack, that one of the two likely winners, neither of whom could be called “new”, says, if not elected, there will be a “third round of revolution”; despite all that, we may be confident that the USA, the OSCE, EU and so on will say the election was perfectly acceptable.
JACKALS. The Hungarian PM has called for autonomy for ethnic Hungarians living in other countries. There are said to be 200,000 in Ukraine, entitled, says he, to citizenship and self-administration.
UKRAINE MISCELLANY. Referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk went as expected; the atrocity in Odessa is actually being investigated by Ukrainian officials and results so far do not accord with bland Western MSM accounts that fire “broke out”. Likewise the Ukrainian investigator tells us that there is no forensic evidence linking Berkut to sniper killings in Kiev. (Pretty important pillars of the Official Western Narrative, by the way). One of the EU’s “presidents” politely hopes EU gas supplies will not be disrupted; for some reason he sent the letter to Moscow not Kiev. (Can this this flabby plea be the answer to Putin’s letter?). Moscow has said cash in advance as of 1 June, but is still trying for something else. Kiev’s efforts to bring the east and south to heel are failing; indeed they’re having the opposite effect: who wants to stay in a country where you are terrorists? The West persists in calling them “pro-Russian”. Some are, but many want to live in a Ukraine not run by Pravy Sektor, Svoboda and the like; the latter being condemned, in other times, by the EU. It is not, and never has been, a united space on the map and cannot be run as if there were, to kick Applebaum’s nonsense again, a “patriotic Ukrainian” monoview.
REPORTING. Western reporting in Ukraine remains pretty faithful to the party line but a few things are appearing to shake it. Some reports in the German media that the US mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater have 400 people in Ukraine. (Denial by company here and by White House here). Paris Match has a piece arguing that Pravy Sektor goons killed unarmed civilians in an attack on a polling station in Krasnoarmeysk. I am amused to see the BBC saying: “There is a danger for EU nations that Ukraine will start taking the gas Russia had earmarked for its European clients, something it did when it was cut off from Russian gas during previous disputes in 2006 and 2009.” I say “amused” because my memory last time was that the BBC was reporting on the sinister “Russian gas weapon”. But, in general, the Western media is in full propaganda mode, the currently most outrageous example being Applebaum’s attempt to whitewash this.