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Russia Invades Ukraine


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So, y'all are wondering if Russia would actually do this, right? Damn right they would, and more too, watch for mines... Russians love mines.

And you may be wondering if Ukraine would deliberately lie about it... yup, damn right they would.

So maybe you are relying on your own national media to sort the wheat from chaff and help clarify it for you... right? Well prepare for disappointment.

I's too late, that won't happen, and BTW, we let it not happen. I have no idea what's going on there... and neither do you.

 

 

Zelenskyy warns UN of more discoveries of alleged Russian atrocities in Ukraine

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37 minutes ago, Wolfhunter said:

I have no idea what's going on there... and neither do you.

 

Yes, it at the point now where I honestly don't know who to believe, what's true, what's fake, what's exaggerated, what's being downplayed.

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21 hours ago, Seeker said:

 

Yes, it at the point now where I honestly don't know who to believe, what's true, what's fake, what's exaggerated, what's being downplayed.

Much like the majority of members' posts in this forum (Non Aviation Discussion Forum )  🙃😃

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22 hours ago, Seeker said:

 

Yes, it at the point now where I honestly don't know who to believe, what's true, what's fake, what's exaggerated, what's being downplayed.

Just read my posts. 😛

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Big oil can get a little greasy....

The Backdoor That Keeps Russian Oil Flowing Into Europe

European energy companies are finding workarounds to keep Russian crude flowing while placating public opinion

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Sat Apr 9, 2022 - Bloomberg News

Quote

"The moral question awaits its reckoning."

When is a cargo of Russian diesel not a cargo of Russian diesel? The answer is when Shell Plc, the largest European oil company, turns it into what traders refer to as a Latvian blend.

The point is to market a barrel in which only 49.99% comes from Russia; in Shell’s eyes, as long as the other 50.01 percent is sourced elsewhere, the oil cargo isn’t technically of Russian origin.

The maneuver underpins a burgeoning and opaque market for blended Russian diesel and other refined petroleum products, one of the many that oil companies and commodity traders are using to keep Russian energy flowing into Europe while at the same time satisfying public opinion that demands an end to subsidizing Vladimir Putin’s war machine. 

As Europe has stopped short of applying any limits or penalties to the purchase of Russian oil, gas or coal, selling the novel blend is perfectly legal. If Shell and others followed European rules to the letter, they could buy cargoes of 100 percent Russian origin.

But blending is a convenient tool for companies to publicly say one thing (phase out Russian molecules) and do another (buy lots of Russian molecules). 

In the case of Shell, the company has amended the so-called general terms and conditions of its contracts to allow for Russian blending. The new terms say (my emphasis):

“It is a condition of this bid and shall be a condition of any resulting contract that the goods sold and delivered by Seller shall not be of Russian Federation ('RF') origin and shall not have been loaded in or transported from RF. Goods shall be deemed of 'RF origin' if produced in RF or if 50% or more of their content (by volume) consists of material that was produced in RF.”

In the oil market, traders whisper about a “Latvian blend” – a new origin for diesel that looks like a workaround to supply Russian product mixed with something else. The typical trade goes from Primorsk, a Russian oil export town near St Petersburg, into Ventspils, a port in Latvia that has a large oil terminal and tanking capacity. That’s where the blending takes place. There are many other locations where blending is happening, including in the Netherlands, and on the high seas, in what traders call ship-to-ship transfers. For many in the market, the Latvian blend is simply shorthand for any blend that contains Russian molecules, regardless of where the mixing took place. 

The Latvian blend is a reminder of similar backdoors to trade in sanctioned Iranian and Venezuelan crude, which for years had been offered in the Far East as “Malaysian blend” or “Singapore blend.” For Shell, the strategy is not risk free. The company was forced to issue a rare apology last month after its traders bought a single cargo of deeply discounted Russian Urals crude, triggering an outcry that included the Ukrainian foreign affairs minister accusing the company of profiting from Ukrainian blood. 

In a subsequent statement, Shell said it had started a “phased withdrawal from Russian petroleum products” and announced it "immediately stopped buying Russian crude on the spot market."

While Shell has taken the route of accepting shipments containing up to 49.99% of Russian diesel, others haven’t. France’s TotalEnergies SE stipulates that no cargo “in all or in part” shall originate in Russia, according to the company’s updated general terms and conditions. Repsol SA of Spain has similar rules banning any Russian molecules, according to its general terms and conditions.  

There are other loopholes – again, all legal. For example, the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. allows traders to deliver Russian diesel against its popular European gas-oil contract. In a circular on Wednesday, the exchange reminded traders that “product of any origin shall be deliverable” in the region of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. So a trader can take a position on the contract, and be able to deliver Russian diesel, all while remaining in compliance with EU rules.

The loopholes and backdoors are a reminder of why sanctions are hard to implement. And when sanctions aren’t imposed but actually self-sanctions, it opens the door for companies to do as they see fit. The result? Russia keeps selling its fossil fuels, and making money. Europe, too, benefits from higher diesel supply, and lower energy prices. The moral question awaits its reckoning.

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President Biden on Tuesday said Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine, telling reporters "it’s become clearer and clearer" that Russian President Vladimir Putin "is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian."

The big picture: While Biden had previously accused Putin and Russian forces of committing war crimes, the U.S. had refrained from using the term "genocide" to describe Russia's actions in Ukraine. 

  • National security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this month that the administration "not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide" in Ukraine.

What he's saying: "Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide, a half a world away," Biden said earlier Tuesday while addressing rising consumer costs during his remarks in Iowa. 

  • In comments to reporters later Tuesday, he said: "Yes, I called it genocide, because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian, and the evidence is mounting."
  • He added that it's "a horrible thing that the Russians have done in Ukraine."

State of play: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian forces of committing genocide earlier this month after reports and images emerged showing bodies of civilians — some with their hands tied behind their backs — strewn in the streets of the city of Bucha.

  • Since the start of the invasion Russia has denied accusations that it has targeted civilians or committed war crimes in Ukraine. The Kremlin called Biden's "war criminal" comments "unacceptable." 
  • Russia's chief investigator last week ordered an investigation into what he described as a Ukrainian "provocation," following Kyiv's allegations that Russian forces massacred civilians in Bucha, per Reuters.
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And the danger of escalation raises it's ugly head.

Russia says U.S., NATO weapon transports in Ukraine are legitimate targets

Reuters

April 13 (Reuters) - Russia will view U.S. and NATO vehicles transporting weapons on Ukrainian territory as legitimate military targets, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the TASS news agency in an interview on Wednesday.

Any attempts by the West to inflict significant damage on Russia's military or its separatist allies in Ukraine will be "harshly suppressed," he added.

"We are warning that US-NATO weapons transports across Ukrainian territory will be considered by us as legal military targets," TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying."We are making the Americans and other Westerners understand that attempts to slow down our special operation, to inflict maximum damage on Russian contingents and formations of the DPR and LPR (Donetsk and Luhansk People's republics) will be harshly suppressed," he said.

 

From <https://www.reuters.com/world/russia-says-us-nato-weapon-transports-ukraine-are-legitimate-targets-2022-04-13/>

As NATO bolsters its defences, more Canadian soldiers arrive in Latvia

When Master Cpl. Josaphat Nicolas-Marchal arrived for his deployment at the Adazi military base in Latvia in December, Western intelligence officials had just started warning that Russia could be poised to invade Ukraine.

Now four months into the soldier's rotation, NATO is trying to deter Russia from launching additional offensives and is bolstering the number of troops deployed in eastern Europe.

"It is very different for us, because now we are close to what is happening," said Nicolas-Marchal, who is normally stationed at CFB Valcartier in Quebec but has served previously in NATO missions in Poland and Iraq.  

"Whatever happens can happen in Ukraine — or around the world," he said. "We can keep training together and be ready if someone sends us somewhere."

Nicolas-Marchal is one of approximately 700 Canadian troops stationed at Camp Adazi, a Western alliance military base and training range that's located 25 kilometres outside Riga, Latvia's capital. 

Canada's military presence in the country grew last month when an artillery battery consisting of 120 troops and guns arrived from Quebec. 

Given the heightened security threat, Canada has extended its Latvia mission indefinitely. Latvia's ministry of defence told CBC News that the government is hoping to strengthen the contingent even further and develop it as a true "war-fighting unit."

But as Latvia looks to bolster its defences, not everyone living close to the base feels reassured by the growing number of troops — with some fearing it could make the region a bigger target for Russian aggression.

In Adazi, a community of 12,000 that borders the base, those who live there can sometimes hear artillery being fired during practice exercises. Residents who spoke with CBC News near the centre of the town gave differing views on the burgeoning NATO mission.  Some expressed fear the additional troops could provoke Russia. 

"If NATO is going to get involved, we have no idea what will happen to us here," said Adazi resident Ligita Voitkane. "It's not just the base that will suffer, our whole little town here, too."

 

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1 hour ago, Kargokings said:

As NATO bolsters its defences, more Canadian soldiers arrive in Latvia

Not to worry…as soon as the wind blows the wrong way pretty boy will no doubt move them to safety.

Edited by Jaydee
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How dare they retaliate back!!!!! 🙃

Russia accuses Ukrainian forces of shelling Russian village

Caroline Vakil  1 hour ago

 

Russia accused Ukraine’s military of shelling a Russian village on Thursday, alleging seven people were wounded in the attack, including one young child.

 

The Investigative Committee of Russia claimed that at least six strikes had been carried out in the Russian village of Klimovo, which is located near the borders of Belarus and Ukraine, by two combat helicopters flying at low altitude.

In addition to the seven people injured, at least six residential buildings were hit, Russia claimed. The committee said it opened a criminal case as a result of the alleged shelling.

“The investigation established that persons from among the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine entered into a criminal conspiracy among themselves in order to influence the adoption by the authorities of the Russian Federation of a decision to terminate the special military operation,” the Investigative Committee said, referring to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

 

Gallery: US and NATO countries are dispatching planes filled with military equipment for Ukraine – here are some of the weapons sent to hold back Russian tanks and aircraft (Business Insider)

Multiple news reports noted that Ukrainian officials did not immediately respond to Russia’s accusation

Earlier this month, a Russian regional governor alleged that a fuel depot in the city of Belgorod had been targeted by Ukrainian forces. 

During a Fox News interview, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would not say whether the attack on the fuel depot had been carried out under his order. 

“I’m sorry. I do not discuss any of my orders as commander in chief, the leader of this state, and there are things which I only share with the military armed forces of Ukraine and when they talk with me,” Zelensky told Fox News’s Bret Baier.

“It’s not professional to talk about it. They occupied our territory. They attacked us,” he added later. “So whatever happens in a certain situation … it’s hard for me to comment.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.

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Russia warns of nuclear, hypersonic deployment if Sweden and Finland join NATO

Guy Faulconbridge Published Thursday, April 14, 2022 1:31PM EDT
 
 

LONDON -- One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the U.S.-led military alliance then Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in an exclave in the heart of Europe.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance. Finland will decide in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday. 

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said that should Sweden and Finland join NATO then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea.

Medvedev also explicitly raised the nuclear threat by saying that there could be no more talk of a "nuclear free" Baltic - where Russia has its Kaliningrad exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.

"There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic - the balance must be restored," said Medvedev, who was Russian president from 2008 to 2012.

Medvedev said he hoped Finland and Sweden would see sense. If not, he said, they would have to live with nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles close to home.

Russia has the world's biggest arsenal of nuclear warheads and along with China and the United States is one of the global leaders in hypersonic missile technology.

Lithuania said Russia's threats were nothing new and that Moscow had deployed nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad long before the war in Ukraine. NATO did not immediately respond to Russia's warning.

Still, the possible accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO - founded in 1949 to provide Western security against the Soviet Union - would be one of the biggest strategic consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917 and fought two wars against it during World War Two during which it lost some territory. On Thursday, Finland announced a military exercise in Western Finland with the participation of Britain, the United States, Latvia and Estonia.

Sweden has not fought a war for 200 years. Foreign policy has focused on supporting democracy and nuclear disarmament.

KALININGRAD

Kaliningrad, formerly the port of Koenigsberg, capital of East Prussia, lies less than 1,400 km from London and Paris and 500 km from Berlin.

Russia said in 2018 it had deployed Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, which was captured by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union at the Potsdam conference.

The Iskander, known as SS-26 Stone by NATO, is a short-range tactical ballistic missile system that can carry nuclear warheads. Its official range is 500 km but some Western military sources suspect it may be much greater.

"No sane person wants higher prices and higher taxes, increased tensions along borders, Iskanders, hypersonics and ships with nuclear weapons literally at arm's length from their own home," Medvedev said.

"Let's hope that the common sense of our northern neighbors will win."

While Putin is Russia's paramount leader, Medvedev's comments reflect Kremlin thinking and he is a senior member of the security council - one of Putin's main chambers for decision making on strategic issues.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said Russia had deployed nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad even before the war.

"Nuclear weapons have always been kept in Kaliningrad ... the international community, the countries in the region, are perfectly aware of this," Anusauskas was quoted as saying by BNS. "They use it as a threat."

Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced millions and raised fears of a wider confrontation between Russia and the United States - by far the world's two biggest nuclear powers.

Putin says the "special military operation" in Ukraine is necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia and Moscow had to defend against the persecution of Russian-speaking people.

Ukraine says it is fighting an imperial-style land grab and that Putin's claims of genocide are nonsense. U.S. President Joe Biden says Putin is a war criminal and a dictator.

Putin says the conflict in Ukraine as part of a much broader confrontation with the United States which he says is trying to enforce its hegemony even as its dominance over the international order declines.

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Russian warship Moskva has sunk - defence ministry

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Image shows Moskva shipIMAGE SOURCE,MAX DELANY/AFP
Image caption,
The Moskva patrolling the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria

A Russian warship that was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday has sunk, Russia's defence ministry has said.

Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, was being towed to port when "stormy seas" caused it to sink, according to a ministry message.

The 510-crew vessel was a symbol of Russia's military power, and has led Russia's naval assault on Ukraine.

Kyiv claims it struck the warship with its missiles, but Moscow has made no mention of an attack.

Late on Thursday, however, Russian state media broke the news that the ship had been lost.

"While being towed ... towards the destined port, the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank," state news agency Tass quoted the ministry as saying.

 

Earlier, Russia had said there was a fire on board after ammunition exploded.

Ukrainian military officials said they struck the Moskva with a Ukrainian-made Neptune missile - a weapon designed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the naval threat to Ukraine in the Black Sea grew.

Earlier in the conflict the Moskva gained notoriety after calling on Ukrainian border troops defending Snake Island in the Black Sea to surrender - to which they memorably radioed a message of refusal which loosely translates as "go to hell".

Originally built in Ukraine in the Soviet-era, the Moskva entered service in the early 1980s according to Russian media.

The missile cruiser was previously deployed by Moscow in the Syria conflict where it supplied Russian forces in the country with naval protection.

It carries over a dozen Vulkan anti-ship missiles and an array of anti-submarine and mine-torpedo weapons, the reports said.

 

The Moskva is the second major Russian ship known to have been severely damaged since the invasion began.

 
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4 hours ago, Kargokings said:

He said / 
They said

 

Russian warship Moskva has sunk - defence ministry

Published
5 minutes ago
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Image shows Moskva shipIMAGE SOURCE,MAX DELANY/AFP
Image caption,
The Moskva patrolling the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria

A Russian warship that was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday has sunk, Russia's defence ministry has said.

Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, was being towed to port when "stormy seas" caused it to sink, according to a ministry message.

The 510-crew vessel was a symbol of Russia's military power, and has led Russia's naval assault on Ukraine.

Kyiv claims it struck the warship with its missiles, but Moscow has made no mention of an attack.

Late on Thursday, however, Russian state media broke the news that the ship had been lost.

"While being towed ... towards the destined port, the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank," state news agency Tass quoted the ministry as saying.

 

Earlier, Russia had said there was a fire on board after ammunition exploded.

Ukrainian military officials said they struck the Moskva with a Ukrainian-made Neptune missile - a weapon designed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the naval threat to Ukraine in the Black Sea grew.

Earlier in the conflict the Moskva gained notoriety after calling on Ukrainian border troops defending Snake Island in the Black Sea to surrender - to which they memorably radioed a message of refusal which loosely translates as "go to hell".

Originally built in Ukraine in the Soviet-era, the Moskva entered service in the early 1980s according to Russian media.

The missile cruiser was previously deployed by Moscow in the Syria conflict where it supplied Russian forces in the country with naval protection.

It carries over a dozen Vulkan anti-ship missiles and an array of anti-submarine and mine-torpedo weapons, the reports said.

 

The Moskva is the second major Russian ship known to have been severely damaged since the invasion began.

 

WOW. No other word for it. Serves the Soviet b***ards right. Their pride at the bottom of the Black Sea.

 

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On 4/14/2022 at 7:02 PM, Moon The Loon said:

WOW. No other word for it. Serves the Soviet b***ards right. Their pride at the bottom of the Black Sea.

 

The interesting part is that the Ship was built in the Ukraine and they of course have the complete plans etcetera and knew exactly where to hit to do the most damage.

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1 hour ago, Moon The Loon said:

WOW. No other word for it. Serves the Soviet b***ards right. Their pride at the bottom of the Black Sea.

 

Updated information from the Russian Defense Ministry. The pride of the fleet was not sunk or damaged in any way. Any mention of a Ukrainian attack is a blatant lie. Instead, with the extremely successful phase one of the special operation complete, the ship has been re-assigned to anti-submarine duties.

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If you join Nato we will place Nukes and hypersonic missiles around your countries.

Now they are threatening the US re arms supplies and I guess the rest of us are next.

Russia formally protests US weapons shipments to Ukraine

By Natasha Bertrand, Evan Perez and Kylie Atwood, CNN  19 mins ago

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Russia this week formally protested the US' ongoing shipment of weapons to Ukraine, sending a diplomatic note to the State Department warning of "unpredictable consequences" should the support continue, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the document.

© Carolyn Kaster/AP President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One at Des Moines International Airport, in Des Moines Iowa, Tuesday, April 12, 2022, en route to Washington. Biden said that Russia's war in Ukraine amounted to a "genocide," accusing President Vladimir Putin of trying to "wipe out the idea of even being a Ukrainian."

The note, known as a demarche, was sent earlier this week as the US was preparing to announce that it would be sending an additional $800 million military aid package to Ukraine. The Washington Post first reported on the document.

The US has for the first time agreed to provide Kyiv with the types of high-power capabilities some Biden administration officials a few short weeks ago viewed as too great of an escalation risk a few short weeks ago, including 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons and 300 more Switchblade drones.

A source familiar with the Russian diplomatic note said it was expected that Moscow would protest the shipments, and it was still unclear whether it means Russia will change its behavior in any way. But this person acknowledged that the note could signal a more aggressive Russian posture against the US and NATO as the war drags on.

CNN previously reported that the United States believes Russian President Vladimir Putin's risk tolerance has increased, and that he may be willing to take more aggressive action against the US in response to its support for Ukraine.

Latvian president calls for permanent US military presence in Eastern Europe

Asked for comment, a separate US official said, "We won't confirm any private diplomatic correspondence. What we can confirm is that, along with Allies and partners, we are providing Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of security assistance, which our Ukrainian partners are using to extraordinary effect to defend their country against Russia's unprovoked aggression and horrific acts of violence."

The first flight from the US of the $800 million in new aid for Ukraine is expected to arrive in the region in the next 24 hours, according to a senior defense official. The official said the material will be picked up at the border by Ukrainians and taken into the country. The manifest is not being disclosed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has for months been pleading with the West for heavier equipment in order to effectively fight off the Russians, who invaded Ukraine on February 24. Russia was turned back in northern Ukraine and its forces were ultimately unable to capture the capital, Kyiv.

But Ukrainian and Western officials have since expected Russia to launch a major offensive in eastern Ukraine, which is a different kind of terrain and requires different kinds of weaponry.

"It's the first time that we've provided these [155mm] howitzers and the associated rounds, and that's reflective of the kind of fighting that the Ukrainians are expecting to be faced with here in this more confined geographic area," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday, referring to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Despite Russia's protests, the US is showing no signs of slowing down its military support to Ukraine. Pentagon officials met with defense contractors this week to discuss how to increase production of the kinds of systems and weapons that Ukraine will need to continue fighting.

"This [meeting] was really focused on the kind of systems and weapons that have been relevant in the Ukraine war," Kirby said on Wednesday, as well as "the possibility for accelerating some of those production lines and expanding based on the heavy draw on our inventory."

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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Conrad Black: How the West will be won in Ukraine

Conrad Black  4 hrs ago

 

When Russia invaded Ukraine seven weeks ago, I wrote in this space that if Russia succeeded in crushing Ukraine as an independent state and strangling it as an aspiring democracy, in addition to a tragedy for Ukraine, it would be a terrible setback for the West. The egregious and vastly over-decorated chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, predicted that Russia would occupy Kiev within three days. If this had occurred, it would have been the first roll-back of western civilization since the early days of the Second World War. And when added to the terrible self-inflicted fiasco of the economic shutdown of the western world at the start of the pandemic, and the impending surrender of the West to the nuclear military ambitions of Iran, it would have announced a much clearer and stronger trajectory of western decline than global warming (which has contributed to Western decline also, as we inflict terrible economic hardship on ourselves to reduce carbon emissions on the basis of insufficient knowledge of what we are fighting).

© Provided by National Post Ukrainian service members inspect a damaged Russian tank, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, on April 13.

The western world, which includes western emulative countries in the East such as Japan and South Korea, steadily expanded with the victories of the western Allied powers in the Second World War, the reorientation of Germany and Japan under Allied occupation, the tremendous economic and political progress of many countries in Latin America, South Asia, Europe, the Middle and the Far East, and the entirely satisfactory and nonviolent conclusion of the Cold War. The western world in Europe advanced eastwards from the border of East Germany to the eastern border of a reunited Germany and on to the eastern border of Poland (875 kilometres). The burning question is whether this steady expansion of the West will take the next step: 1,200 kilometres through Ukraine to the border of Russia. The grand geopolitical prize in the generally peaceable contest for world leadership between the West and China is the status of Russia, the largest component of the great Eurasian landmass. The historic struggle for the heart and soul of Russia between the western emulators led initially by Peter the Great and most recently by Boris Yeltsin, and the Russian nativists exemplified by Leo Tolstoy and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and, politically, by Vladimir Putin, will have a decisive impact on the comparative influence of the West and China. We must preserve Ukraine for the West and confirm the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and then we must set our minds to attracting Russia out of the arms of China, where incompetent western post-Cold War leadership has driven it, and back to the West, where Russia belongs.

It is these geopolitical factors that give the Ukraine War it’s very high significance, even more than the affront to civilization of a completely unprovoked military assault designed to snuff out a nationality whose sovereignty Russia had officially conceded, and justified only by Putin’s incoherent claim that Ukrainians were not a distinct people, the country had no legitimacy and that it was ruled by a cabal of Nazis and drug addicts (led by a duly elected Jewish president). Hitler’s charade of a false flag attack on a German border outpost by paid plants in Polish army uniforms to justify his invasion of Poland in 1939 was equally credible.

At the time of the invasion, on the basis of my own research, I wrote that I did not see how the Russians could possibly overwhelm a heavily armed, well-trained Ukrainian army of over 200,000 reinforced by a large contingent of semi-trained reservists who would quickly become highly proficient in combat, and occupy a country of 40 million. I should mention that the most accurate information I received was from my friend of over 60 years, the distinguished CBC News commentator Brian Stewart. Many of his habitual viewers are readers of this column and they will want to join me in wishing him a happy 80th birthday next week. How Brian and I formulated fairly accurate views of what would happen on the ground in Ukraine and the chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs did not (and he last week revised his prediction to say that the war will endure for years), escapes my imagination. The only area, predictably, where the Russians prevail is in high-altitude bombing and missile-fire, which rains terror on the civil population, affronts the sensibilities of the world and achieves no worthwhile military objectives.

The western campaign of sanctions has been seriously overrated. Since China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and many other large countries are ignoring the sanctions, they will be substantially ineffectual. U.S. President Joe Biden’s claim of having gone to great lengths to secure world opprobrium for Russia is as irrelevant as his claim to be protecting “every square inch of NATO territory,” as the Kremlin doesn’t care what the world thinks and no NATO country is under threat. Because of Russian oil and gas sales to the West, and because the Americans have inexplicably engaged the Russians and not their British, French or German allies to fumble through the insane effort to patch back together the Iranian nuclear military agreement, NATO is trying to suck and blow at the same time by helping the Ukrainians without offending the Russians, even as Biden denounces Putin as a war criminal. The U.S. secretary of state had declared that he favoured advancing Polish warplanes to Ukraine and was quickly contradicted by a Pentagon press spokesman.

Despite the thoroughly unprofessional, frequently implausible, American babel, where the right is claiming that Washington is full of neocon warmongers who want to exchange live fire with the Russians, and the left is wailing that a third world war is imminent, it seems that this war will end soon with Russia gaining those in eastern Ukraine who would rather be Russian, but the bulk of Ukraine continuing to be universally recognized and guarantied as a sovereign state, though deferring NATO membership. (It already had Russian and American guaranties, but they weren’t trustworthy.)

Instead of severely defeating the West, Russia has endured a terrible and shameful fiasco. And its Chinese big brother is back to welding closed the doors of people in Shanghai, having failed to learn the lesson of the public health crisis it inflicted upon us. China’s attempt at puppeteering in Europe has been a disaster, and is a cautionary tale about Taiwan. The West has been greatly strengthened by the imminent applications for NATO membership by Sweden and Finland and the statement that Germany, the most powerful European country since Otto von Bismarck unified it 150 years ago, will finally pull its weight in NATO and begin with a 100-billion euro rearmament plan.

Believing Christians reckon Easter was the greatest miracle of all; we can all celebrate the much less astounding current revival in the fortunes of the West, which is due to the comparative merits of democratic society more than to the talents of our current leaders. A happy Easter and Passover to all.

National Post

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Rob Huebert: Did Chrystia Freeland just commit Canada to Russian regime

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On 4/15/2022 at 12:00 AM, Junior said:

Updated information from the Russian Defense Ministry. The pride of the fleet was not sunk or damaged in any way. Any mention of a Ukrainian attack is a blatant lie. Instead, with the extremely successful phase one of the special operation complete, the ship has been re-assigned to anti-submarine duties.

So very sorry. How could I have been so mistaken... Woe is me. (What a crock...)  😂

 

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Based on the Russian performance in Ukraine to date, I have my doubts that any threat of nuclear attack is reliable.

They have commited fully 75% of their standing military to Ukraine and have not performed as well as one would think.  Who is to say that Nukes and Hypersonic Missiles are not just empty threats because no one has been maintaining the the munitions.  All of the money was funnelled to the Oligarchs.  

I believe nothing from Russia 

 

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Sadly as usual, our pm is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.🤬  How about a bulletin saying that the weapons have been sent and are in place?

John Ivison: It's time for Canada to be more than a covert friend to Ukraine

 

© Provided by National Post Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in Dalhousie, N.B., on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Trudeau said Canada will send heavy artillery weapons to Ukraine but gave no details about what kind of weapons they will be or when they will be delivered.

Ukraine is set to convene with its closest allies to discuss future security guarantees in the event of a diplomatic settlement in the war with Russia, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

But Canada will not be at the table — much to the chagrin of some senior diplomats who want to see a more energetic response from Ottawa.

As the Russians launch a renewed assault on Donbas, peace talks might seem far away. But Ukraine is determined to make sure that when hostilities cease, it is not left with worthless security guarantees, such as those contained in 1994’s Budapest Memorandum, under which it gave up its nuclear weapons, in exchange for nonbinding commitments by the U.S., U.K. and Russia.

Earlier this month, Ukraine sent draft documents on its future security to a number of countries.

Zelenskyy said in an interview last weekend that the first round of talks on the subject will include countries that have demonstrated a readiness to protect Ukraine, including France, Italy, Germany and the United States. He said Turkey and Poland will join later.

Canada was mentioned as a potential guarantor by the Ukrainians but Zelenskyy said he has not received confirmation that it is ready to talk about a future security memorandum.

Privately, Canadian officials point out that negotiations have broken down as the war has intensified and that, in any case, the Russians were not negotiating in good faith.

Canada will send heavy artillery for Ukraine, Trudeau pledges

Matt Gurney: Canada's competency crisis is preventing Afghani and Ukrainian refugees from coming

Allied to those concerns, are fears that the Ukrainians want guarantees that amount to the equivalent of NATO’s Article 5, where an attack on one member is an attack on all. It is unlikely that any of Ukraine’s allies are prepared to commit to legally binding protection in perpetuity. Given Russia’s invasion was partially motivated by a desire to stop Ukraine joining NATO, it seems unlikely it would sign up to such a collective security agreement.

Zelenskyy recognized that the guarantees are a complex issue. “What we want and what they are ready to provide are two different things,” he said.

But surely Canada should be engaged in discussing the options and resolving its concerns about a lack of clarity?

Having written a number of columns on this theme, it is clear that many, many Canadians are frustrated by the government’s plodding performance.

Marcus Kolga, a senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, said Canada should not be lagging behind its allies. “We should be out front, and we’re not,” he said.

“The slow pace of getting lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine is frustrating.”

Kolga pointed out that Estonia, which has a population the same size as Calgary, has supplied $250 million in weapons, compared to Canada’s $40-50 million. “The $500 million (in military aid) in the budget is very good but the question is where is it going to go and more importantly, when?”

Answers to those questions may come soon. During a visit to New Brunswick on Tuesday, Justin Trudeau said Canada will send heavy artillery weapons to Ukraine but did not specify what kind of weapons or when they will be delivered.

Canada has made much of its willingness to sanction Russian individuals. More associates of Vladimir Putin were listed on Tuesday, including his two adult daughters.

“Canada continues to stand by the brave men and women fighting for the future in Ukraine,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly.

But the cost to Canada of such actions is minimal.

A statement from Joly’s press secretary, Adrien Blanchard, said Canada is strengthening Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table through every means available — sanctions, lethal and non-lethal aid, loans and humanitarian assistance.

However, a survey released Tuesday by the Kiel Institute said Canada came ninth on a list of 12 countries, just behind Estonia, when it came to supplying financial, military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the month after the war started.

Officials point to discussions held between Zelenskyy and Trudeau and between Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his counterpart, Joly. The government prefers to keep those discussions in the background, the official said, hinting at wheels within wheels.

But if the government is wielding covert influence, it is not sharing that information with its own MPs or senior bureaucrats, who complain privately about a policy that is tentative, opaque and ponderous.

It would be funny, if not so potentially tragic, but it evokes an old Yes Minister quote about a system of government with the engine of a lawnmower and the brakes of a Rolls Royce.

It’s time to get the foot off the bureaucratic brakes.

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I share Sir Walter Scotts opinion of mercenaries. He said (something to the effect of).... with mercenary forces, the gains are slow and inconsiderable, the losses sudden and astounding:

Russia deploys up to 20,000 Syrian, Libyan mercenaries in Donbas region, European official says

As an aside, Ukraine is a signatory to the United Nations Mercenary Convention.

My interpretation of this is should any mercenaries be captured by Ukrainian Forces (or any other force signatory to the convention), then those mercenaries would be deemed to be illegal combatants. Assuming the headline is right and they aren't folded into the Russian Army.

Lawyers... is this negated by the fact that Russia isn't a signatory state?

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Looking more and more like this war could drag out for quite some time. Neither side wants to relent and peace negotiations are all but a thing of the past. I think we can expect a summer or longer of turmoil. With COVID on the decline now the media has something new to fixate on.

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41 minutes ago, Jaydee said:

Looking more and more like this war could drag out for quite some time. Neither side wants to relent and peace negotiations are all but a thing of the past. I think we can expect a summer or longer of turmoil. With COVID on the decline now the media has something new to fixate on.

Lots of others on the go other than in the Ukraine. However the Russian invasion of the Ukraine is very different from the rest which are mostly internal. Some of course supported by outside influences. 

Countries Currently At War 2022

Country  Type Casualty Range 2020-2021
Afghanistan Civil War/Terrorist Insurgency 10,000+
Algeria Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Burkina Faso Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Cameroon Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Chad Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Colombia Civil War/Drug War 1,000 - 10,000
DR Congo Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Ethiopia Civil War 10,000+
Iraq Terrorist Insurgency/Political Unrest 1,000 - 10,000
Libya Civil War 1,000 - 10,000
Mali Civil War/Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Mexico Drug War 10,000+
Mozambique Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Myanmar Civil War 1,000 - 10,000
Niger Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Nigeria Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
South Sudan Ethnic Violence 1,000 - 10,000
Syria Civil War 1,000 - 10,000
Tanzania Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Tunisia Terrorist Insurgency 1,000 - 10,000
Yemen Civil War 10,000+

 

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2022 | Crisis Group

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Air Canada Facilitates Flights for Ukrainians to Travel to Canada with Aeroplan Donation


NEWS PROVIDED BY

Air Canada 

Apr 20, 2022, 14:36 ET

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  • 100 million Aeroplan Points donated for travel on Air Canada, Star Alliance partners
  • Shapiro Foundation to double Aeroplan member donations up to 50 million points; Miles4Migrants to manage and facilitate bookings

MONTREAL, April 20, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ -Air Canada today said it is donating 100 million Aeroplan points to support the Canadian government's initiative to bring Ukrainians to Canada. The points will contribute towards facilitating transportation and can be used on flights operated by Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners including Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, SWISS, United Airlines and other carriers.  The Shapiro Foundation is also contributing to this effort and Miles4Migrants, a non-profit charity will manage and facilitate the flight bookings.

"Together with our employees, we are ready and prepared to assist and support the Canadian Government's plans to bring Ukrainian people to Canada. With our 100 million Aeroplan points donation, we offer our global network and the strength of our Star Alliance partnerships, in facilitating travel to Canada. We are proud to work with other organizations and international programs to contribute towards a goal to enable up to 10,000 people to travel to Canada as quickly as possible," said Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.

"Our vision at Miles4Migrants is a world where displaced persons of all backgrounds can find safety and community in new homes. As we have been seeing Ukrainians become displaced, our community of donors has once again responded, donating to support flights for Ukrainian families to reach safety over the past weeks," said Diane Padilla, Executive Director of Miles4Migrants.

"We are honoured and ready to join the Government of Canada, The Shapiro Foundation, and Air Canada to expand our impact and help fly thousands of Ukrainians to their new homes. We are confident that the Canadian public and private sector will join us in our effort to fund their flights."

"We are humbled to be able to play a part in assisting Ukrainian families who are being so warmly welcomed by Canadians. We know that access to flights is a critical need and we are proud to partner with Air Canada. We will double Aeroplan member donations towards Ukrainian travel, and donate the equivalent of up to 50 million Aeroplan points to help more people travel to Canada," said Ed Shapiro, trustee for The Shapiro Foundation.

Aeroplan members may elect to contribute towards this initiative facilitating Ukrainians travelling to Canada by donating Aeroplan points at Ukrainian Relief Fund.  From April 20 2022 until July 2022, members who donate Aeroplan Points to the Ukrainian Relief Fund or to Miles4Migrants will double the impact of their contribution as the value of the points donated will be matched, by a donation equal to up to 50,000,000 points, by the Shapiro Foundation.

Air Canada's support for Ukrainian relief aid to date includes:

  • An Air Canada donation of $10 per booking made on its website starting March 22 for a total donation of $250,000 to Ukraine relief aid;
  • Air Canada employees and the Air Canada Foundation donated $170,000 to support Ukraine relief;
  • On March 9 Air Canada operated a humanitarian special cargo flight on behalf of Airlink and other aid partners transport hospital beds, humanitarian and medical supplies to Warsaw, Poland and medicines destined for Lviv, Ukraine;
  • Ongoing transportation of medical supplies to Europe with a final destination in the Ukraine;
  • Transportation of rapid response teams to scale up operations in Europe to help arriving Ukrainian families.
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Zelensky Warns That Russian Ambitions Don’t End With Ukraine

Ukrainian president renews call for Western aid after Russian general states goal to push westward to Moldova 

 

 

KYIV, Ukraine—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia had its sights set on other European countries if its troops push past Ukrainian forces trying to hold back a renewed Russian offensive in the south and east of the country.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine was intended only as a beginning, then they want to capture other countries,” Mr. Zelensky said late Friday, renewing his calls for more weapons and support from the West.

Moscow’s gains over the besieged port city of Mariupol likely have begun to free up troops to push further west along Ukraine’s southern regions, where Russian troops have made the most progress since the start of its invasion in February. 

On Saturday two Russian missiles hit an unspecified military asset and two residential buildings in the coastal city of Odessa, more than 300 miles west of Mariupol, according to a post on the city government’s Telegram social-media account. Mr. Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, wrote on his Telegram account that at least five civilians, including an infant, were killed and 18 people wounded. Russian officials didn’t comment Saturday on any action in Odessa. 

A Russian general said Friday that Moscow wanted to establish a land corridor from Mariupol to Crimea and onward to the Russian-backed territory of Transnistria, a separatist region established inside neighboring Moldova with Moscow’s help, to support Russian speakers there.

Moldova on Friday summoned Russia’s ambassador over the comments of Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, saying they “are unfounded and contradict the position of the Russian Federation supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova.” 

The general’s statements, on which the Kremlin declined to comment after they aired on state media, underscored one of Kyiv’s central rallying cries for Western support in its fight against Russia: that a revisionist Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, is trying to re-establish a Soviet-era sphere of influence that reaches deep inside Europe.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/zelensky-warns-that-russian-ambitions-dont-end-with-ukraine-11650704243

 

F2D07CB6-E0A2-4C47-AAC2-A78FC2A0A6DE.jpeg

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John Ivison: Why Canada has been slow to bring out the big guns for Ukraine

John Ivison - 8h ago
image.png.918c4636ca658add0eb652776dd82190.png
As the Americans recognized the need to equip the Ukrainians with heavy weapons in the second phase of the war, Canada decided to move in lockstep.
© Provided by National PostAs the Americans rec

On any given day, I’m open to the idea that I’m wrong on any given subject. But not on Canada’s over-cautious response to Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.

Being sanctioned by Vladimir Putin’s bandit regime confirmed my conviction that far too often, sober second thought in official Ottawa has been used as an excuse for delay and inaction.

The bureaucrats and generals at National Defence have blocked attempts to send anything bigger than Cold-War-era anti-tank weapons, claiming that the army would be bereft without any of its current kit.

Public servants at Global Affairs recoil at the sordid thought of sending weapons anywhere at all — as if the dark skies over Donbas can be lightened by their diplomatic efforts.

“The machinery of government, particularly Global Affairs, is uncomfortable with the idea of lethal aid in general,” said Mark Norman, a former vice-chief of the defence staff. “I find the distinction between ‘lethal’ and ‘non-lethal’ politically-motivated and unhelpful. We should focus on the best type of assistance provided to Ukraine and stop arguing over semantics.”

Meanwhile, the Trudeau government has been calcified by fears that it might really upset the Russians if it sends weapons that might tip the balance on the battlefield.

That is what made the prime minister’s announcement last week, that Canada will send heavy artillery to Ukraine, all the more surprising. Late Friday, the government confirmed that a number of M777 howitzers and ammunition have been delivered to Ukraine, “in conjunction with our American allies.”

So what happened?

The explanation is that the Americans provided Justin Trudeau cover to beef up a military aid program that was starting to look like it was all hat and no cattle.

The prime minister’s pledge came just days after President Joe Biden said the U.S. would send US$800 million of heavy weaponry, including howitzers. Canada has 37 of the same big guns, according to Wikipedia’s Canadian military inventory and CBC reported that Canada has committed to send four from its stocks, to be back-filled at a later date.

The government release also said it is in the process of finalizing contracts for a number of “commercial pattern armoured vehicles” which will be sent to Ukraine as soon as possible. The National Post reported last week that the Liberals are in discussions with Roshel Smart Armoured Vehicles of Mississauga, Ont.

It is also possible that the government will also free up some of its 600 or so light armoured vehicles for use in Ukraine.

But why has it taken two months of a conflict to restore justice in Ukraine for Canada’s contribution to come close to matching the rhetoric of its ministers?

The answer is that the government’s position has evolved at a slower pace than public opinion or the situation on the ground.

Discussions on how Canada might respond to an invasion began in January. There was a strong aversion to sending weapons around the cabinet table and in the upper reaches of the diplomatic corps. But the reality of the invasion became grim enough that the decision was finally made to send modest amounts of lethal aid.

Three days after the Russians invaded, the government announced it would send a package of aid, including 100 Carl Gustaf anti-armour weapons. The Rubicon had been crossed but with no great enthusiasm by a cabinet that was happier in mid-stream.

The lack of zeal was reflected in the military and the bureaucracy at National Defence, where the default position is to play down Canada’s ability to contribute.

While it’s true that the Canadian Forces are not bristling with surplus firepower, it is also true that they wouldn’t voluntarily give up the parsley off their fish.

The bureaucracy at National Defence ignored proposals to send Harpoon anti-ship missiles, telling political staff the Americans had blocked the idea, something the State Department later denied.

A proposal to send hundreds of LAV3s was also spurned on the basis that the Ukrainians don’t have the parts or the training to operate them.

Norman scoffed at that idea. “Send them the owners’ manual. They’ll figure it out,” he said. “The bureaucracy grabs on to this kind of thing if it is predisposed to not do something.”

The inaction suited a cabinet that was concerned about escalation by the Russians, if Canada contributed weapons that actually made a difference on the ground.

However, the success of the Ukrainian defence, and clear concerns that the $500 million in military aid in the budget might turn up too late, prompted a rethink.

As the Americans recognized the need to equip the Ukrainians with heavy weapons in the second phase of the war, Canada decided to move in lockstep.

The Biden Administration has committed an additional US$1.6 billion in heavy weapons in the past two weeks — a level of capability that was viewed as too provocative a month ago.

While the U.S. has still not sent fighter aircraft, it managed to scrounge enough parts to add 20 new operational planes to a fleet that now has more aircraft than it did three weeks ago.

“We’re in a critical window of time,” the president said, adding the U.S. and its allies are “moving as fast as possible” to provide weapons for Ukraine.

That sense of urgency, allied to Biden’s announcement on the howitzers, gave Trudeau the confidence to make his own vague promise on artillery, a commitment that appears to explode the idea that the political deal with the NDP is driving the Ukraine policy. Following in Biden’s slipstream will make things easier from a political and logistical point of view.

The fact that Biden and Trudeau feel the need to send in the big guns speaks to the precarious nature of Ukraine’s situation.

This is not a story where a happy ending is pre-ordained.

But Canada’s decision to dip into its modest stocks and send M777s, as well as the prospect of armoured vehicles, means it has done more than most of its critics expected.

• Email: jivison@postmedia.com | Twitter: IvisonJ

John Ivison: Why Canada has been slow to bring out the big guns for Ukraine | National Post

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