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12 minutes ago, Kargokings said:

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.”



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Ukraine could use an Elon Musk in Ottawa 

This is precisely the kind of leadership Ukraine needs from its allies

Chest-thumping about sanctions and “standing with” Ukraine may feel good but Russian rockets and tanks won’t be defeated by words. Ukraine’s allies, Canada included, need to actually deliver the military hardware they have promised and build new energy infrastructure.


In short order, the war in Ukraine forced German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government to pivot away from long-standing energy and defence policies. The world is impressed: Scholz has rallied Germans with his promises to beef up military budgets and build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in the North Sea. Now that new directions have been set for them, what Germans are discovering is relevant for Canadians, too: the real challenge is turning words into deeds.


With Europe’s biggest and the world’s fourth largest economy, Germany certainly has the financial wherewithal to both boost its defence budget to the two per cent of GDP threshold prescribed by NATO and also at the same time invest in a new energy and climate plan. The most limiting factor?  The ability of Germany’s public administration to actually spend the money on military hardware and implement the energy plan.


Sound familiar? Our own federal budget earmarked $500 million for additional military aid to Ukraine. How long do you suppose it will be before that money actually gets arms to Ukraine?


So far in the war Canada has delivered M72 rocket-launchers from our military’s inventory of spare arms. And Defence Minister Anita Anand dug deeper last week to deliver four — though only four — M777 howitzers and ammunition for them. She also promised delivery of armoured vehicles “as soon as possible.” And she is moving forward on the government’s decision to procure 88 new F-35 fighter aircraft, a fleet that will ultimately help Canada meet its commitments under NATO and NORAD — though not soon.


Good intentions are fine but protracted, hierarchical and risk-averse decision-making, long lead-times for equipment procurement, and overly restrictive training requirements for Ukrainian soldiers could easily defeat even the best of intentions in this rally to defend Ukraine.

Those with experience of Germany’s public administration cite the risk of bottlenecks in bureaucratic processes within institutions built on a “Prussian” model that encourages incrementalism and discourages risk-taking. Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, Teslas first manufacturing location in Europe, was opened with much fanfare in March. What’s revealing is that the plant was almost completely built relying on a sequence of preliminary permits. “If you build it, they will eventually be forced to approve it,” apparently was Tesla’s operating principle. Despite the theoretical chance that final approval would not be granted Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the local government in Brandenburg pushed ahead. To reduce business risks, fast-tracking the construction of floating LNG terminals in Germany’s North Sea may likewise require some kind of guarantee until final permissions are in place.

Such stories are familiar in Canada, too, another country where federalist power-sharing structures and bureaucratic habit favours steady, incremental change. Finding money is often not the problem for western leaders. The challenge is the inability of governments to act in a time of war. Political will and skill are needed to overcome these hurdles. It’s a question of leadership.

Anyone needing a lesson in how to lead in times of duress would be hard-pressed to find a better role model than Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the face of crushing constraints, Zelenskyy and his band of civilian warriors are using modern technology, including their country’s mobile network, to keep ahead of the Russian army and deploy agile, real-time tactics in the fog of war. Zelenskyy’s call to action both implores and empowers individual Ukrainians to fight this battle: Don’t do what I ask because I’m president, says Zelenskyy. Do it because you are Ukrainian.


Zelenskyy understands the Russians’ playbook and so far has figured out how to beat them at their own game — though the Russians now show ominous signs of adapting. Something similar happened in Estonia when that small country was abandoned by Russia and stuck with unreliable and horribly expensive Soviet infrastructure. In response to a desperate need to communicate affordably with the outside world, two Estonian innovators dared to break the Soviet-style command-and-control leadership paradigm, didn’t ask for permission from government leaders and, through trial-and-error innovation, created “voice-over-internet protocols” (a precursor to Skype).


The question for politicians in Germany and Canada is how to fire up their public services to mobilize highly-motivated, highly-qualified, enterprising leaders. It’s not as if either country suffers from a lack of tech-savvy young leaders, comfortable working from a coffee shop’s wi-fi and keen on making a difference in public service.


Elon Musk, architect of arguably the most enterprising businesses on (and off) the planet, has made it clear to job applicants: If your brain is polluted with business-speak from the colleges of higher-learning, do not apply. Musk is looking for ambitious talent that aims high and isn’t constrained by rigid ways of thinking. This is precisely the kind of leadership Ukraine needs from its allies.


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Anita Anands " as soon as possible" will be right after Trudeau plants his 2 billion trees! And that is  IF there is any room for them after the Ontario Liberals plant their promised 800 million🤔

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Sanctioned Russians targeted

  • Calgary Herald
  • 27 Apr 2022
img?regionKey=%2fHGrw%2bRkKUq3rcLbbnCSWQ%3d%3dFRANCISCO UBILLA/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Canadian government has tabled new legislation that would allow it to not only seize sanctioned Russian oligarchs' assets in Canada, like the U.S. did with this $90 million yacht that belongs to Putin ally Viktor Vekselberg, but sell them off as well.

OTTAWA • In light of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the federal government wants to give itself the power not only to freeze or seize, but also sell off assets in Canada owned by individuals targeted by international sanctions.

Planes, yachts, helicopters, mansions, condos, bank accounts and even cryptocurrency wallets.

Those are just some of the assets that the Liberals want to be able to seize and then sell off from foreigners sanctioned under the country's Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) and Magnitsky Law, according to new legislation proposed in the 2022 budget implementation bill tabled Tuesday in the House of Commons.

Current laws only allow the government to freeze assets and bar transactions in and out of targeted accounts of sanctioned individuals and organizations.

The legislation also proposes a broader definition of the property that government could sanction, such as “any type of property … and includes money, funds, currency, digital assets and virtual currency.”

It would also allow the government to donate the equivalent value of the sales to help victims of sanctioned individuals or organizations.

“We are seeking the capacity to not only seize but to allow for the forfeiture of the assets of sanctioned individuals and entities and to allow us to compensate victims with the proceeds,” Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said in a statement.

“These changes would make Canada's sanctions regime the first in the G7 to allow these actions.”

The proposal comes as the Liberals face increased pressure domestically to impose harsher sanctions than simply freezing assets on allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin or supporters of his “illegal” invasion of Ukraine.

Two weeks ago, the NDP called on the Liberals to “expand” sanctions against Putin and allies, including that the government begin selling off seized assets.

As of Tuesday, the federal government has sanctioned more than 1,100 Russian, Ukrainian or Belarusian individuals and organizations considered to be close to or aiding Putin's regime since the beginning of his invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

But to go so far as to sell off a seized asset, Ottawa would first need to convince a Superior Court judge to approve the forfeiture and sale, according to the new legislation.

The judge's job will be to determine if the property is in fact owned, held or controlled “directly or indirectly” by a sanctioned foreign state directly, someone in a foreign state or a foreign national who may occasionally “but does not ordinarily” reside in Canada.

“Before making the order in relation to the property, the court shall require notice to be given to any person who, in the court's opinion, appears to have an interest in or right to the property, and the court may hear any such person,” reads the proposed amendment.

Creditors on any asset, say a mortgage lender on a seized real estate property that is subsequently sold by Ottawa, would maintain their right to reclaim due portions of the proceeds of the liquidation sale (as long as they are not also sanctioned by Canada).




The government is also proposing to give itself the power to then donate the equivalent sale amount of the seized assets to either:

The “reconstruction” of a foreign state impacted by a “grave breach” of peace or security.

The “restoration” of international peace and security.

Compensation for victims of war, terrorism, “gross and systematic human rights violations” or “significant corruption.”

The Liberals' new bill also proposes to give the minister of Foreign Affairs the power to compel “any person” to provide information believed “on reasonable grounds” to be relevant to the imposition and enforcement of sanctions.

In other words, the government could compel organizations such as banks to tell them about accounts, properties and other assets owned or controlled by sanctioned foreign individuals or groups. But the bill contains no details as to how the power will be circumscribed.

Federal Liberal sources who were granted anonymity so as to speak freely about the proposals said they expect the budget bill to pass through Parliament mostly unhindered thanks in large part to the support agreement struck between their party and the federal NDP last month. The deal guarantees the NDP will support the Liberals on any confidence vote, such as on a budget bill like this one, until 2025 in exchange for moving forward on New Democrat promises such as a national pharmacare and dental-care program.

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Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerer of death's construction
In the fields, the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord, yeah!
Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor, yeah
Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!
Now in darkness, world stops turning
Ashes where their bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing, spreads his wings
Oh lord, yeah!
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John Ivison: Putin's dangerous escalation of nuclear threats jeopardizes NATO solidarity

John Ivison - 5h ago
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© Provided by National PostRussian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Russian parliament in St. Petersburg on April 27, 2022.

In case nervous Europeans did not get the veiled threat of a first nuclear strike by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov his boss Vladimir Putin removed the veil on Wednesday.

Lavrov said that the danger of nuclear confrontation is serious and “we must not underestimate it.”


Speaking to lawmakers in St. Petersburg, Putin reinforced the point. “If someone from the outside tries to intervene in what’s happening, if they create threats, threats of a strategic nature, our retribution, our counter-strike will be instantaneous,” he said. “We have all the necessary instruments, ones that no-one else can boast of. And we will not be bragging about them, we will use them if necessary.”

Putin’s goal has long been to weaken NATO’s solidarity. Nothing is likely to achieve that more than the threat of the nuclear option.

The Doomsday Clock, the prediction of man-made global catastrophe was set at seven minutes to midnight by atomic scientists in 1947. It currently stands at 100 seconds to midnight. The risk of nuclear conflict, which, as the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said in his 1991 Nobel Prize acceptance speech had “practically disappeared,” is back with a vengeance.

As the war of attrition in Ukraine weakens Putin’s conventional strength, there is no doubt he is boasting about his nuclear weapons to project power to domestic and international audiences.

But he also seems to believe he has a nuclear advantage.

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted the first meeting of the Ukraine Defence Consultative Group at Ramstein Air Base in Germany earlier this week. The meeting was attended by representatives from 40 countries, including Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand and Austin urged allies to “move heaven and earth” to keep Ukraine well stocked with weapons.

Germany, which had refused to supply heavy weapons, said it will send 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft systems, and Canada said it will supply eight new armoured cars, built by Mississauga-based Roshel.

But the unity is fragile. It is understood that a Russian tactical nuclear strike was discussed and that the reaction of a number of European countries, including Germany, was much more skittish than that of the Americans.

After ruling out direct engagement in the conflict and an initial hesitancy about supplying lethal aid, the Americans are now fully committed to supplying Ukraine with the heavy weapons and intelligence support it needs to survive as a sovereign nation.

In a visit to Kyiv last weekend, Austin seemed to go beyond the agreed war aim of defending Ukraine. “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kind of things it has done in invading Ukraine,” he said.

Anand is currently in Washington for her first official visit and, regardless of the commitment to continue providing Ukraine with military aid, even Canada is edgy about the expanding objectives.

As the U.S. involvement has expanded, so Putin’s rhetoric has sharpened, to the point where he is now pledging to use nuclear weapons, “if necessary.”

There is a frank acknowledgment in Ottawa that if that were to happen, only one man would determine the response – President Joe Biden.

Canada has already shown that its policy is to move in lock-step with the U.S., sending four M777 howitzers to Ukraine the week after the U.S. announced it would send its own big guns.

Biden has already spoken in vague terms about the response to a Russian nuclear strike.  “We would respond…The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” he said.

Scott Sagan, co-director of the Centre for International Security and Co-operation at Stanford University, said that Washington should make a clear statement that crossing the nuclear threshold would bring the gravest consequences for Russia, and that the U.S. should be prepared to take further military steps.

If Putin dropped a single nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian city to force President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into an immediate surrender, the pressure on Biden to move from proxy war to direct engagement would be immense. A single-use demonstration-style attack, though horrific, would likely not provoke a nuclear response from the U.S. It might, though, result in pressure to send in troops on the ground. Such a decision could shatter the consensus in NATO.

That these discussions are no longer theoretical speaks to the steady escalation of hostilities.

The flow of Western weapons into Ukraine led Lavrov to accuse NATO of “pouring oil on the fire,” a move that could provoke a Third World War. Austin called such talk “very dangerous and unhelpful.”

Russia’s “escalate to de-escalate” doctrine suggests the use of a battlefield tactical nuclear weapon is not a fanciful idea, even if the prospect of fall-out crossing the border back into its country of origin makes it irrational.

The precarious status quo that has ensured nuclear weapons have never been used since the Second World War  is under more pressure than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly 60 years ago.

Biden could do worse than echo the cautious resolve expressed by President John F. Kennedy in his address to the nation on that occasion.

The U.S. would not unnecessarily risk nuclear war, following which “even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth,” JFK said, but it would not shrink from the risk if it must be faced.

“Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right – not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom,” he concluded.

America’s anxious allies may need to be reminded that the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.

• Email: jivison@postmedia.c


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EasyJet Exits Leases on Russia-Owned Jets in Sanctions Turnabout

Siddharth Philip, Bloomberg News

An Easyjet Plc aircraft, left, lands at London Luton Airport in Luton, U.K., on Monday, July 19, 2021. While fully vaccinated tourists headed for the Mediterranean were cheered by the removal of quarantine requirements on their return, people bound for France hit out a decision late Friday that means they’ll still need to self-isolate.

An Easyjet Plc aircraft, left, lands at London Luton Airport in Luton, U.K., on Monday, July 19, 2021. While fully vaccinated tourists headed for the Mediterranean were cheered by the removal of quarantine requirements on their return, people bound for France hit out a decision late Friday that means they’ll still need to self-isolate. , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- EasyJet Plc terminated rental contracts on six Airbus SE jets owned by a Russian state leasing company in a rare example of sanctions depriving a European carrier of aircraft.

EasyJet canceled the leases on the A319 narrow-bodies -- each over 11 years old -- owned by a unit of state-controlled GTLK shortly after the U.K. and European Union acted to punish Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine in late February, according to a person familiar with the matter.  

The low-cost U.K. carrier acted due to the Russian link even though it wasn’t clear at the time whether rapidly evolving rules would allow it to operate or maintain the aircraft, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing confidential matters.

Aviation has been a flash point in the global faceoff between Moscow and nations led by the U.S., U.K. and European Union since the Feb. 24 invasion. While a range of sanctions targeting the industry were meant to sever Russia’s links with the outside world, European entities have also been caught up in the measures. 

EasyJet is one of a handful of non-Russian carriers that rented planes from Russian-owned lessors. The six jets have been in storage since March 2020, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium, when the coronavirus pandemic caused a sudden drop in demand for air travel. 

Read More: Ukraine War Sparks Epic Aircraft Insurance Struggle - Bloomberg

Hundreds of foreign-owned planes have effectively been confiscated by Russian carriers as part of the economic battle. The U.K. and EU directly sanctioned GTLK, or State Transport Leasing Co., this month.

The lease terminations were confirmed by an EasyJet spokeswoman. GTLK didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Turkey’s SunExpress, which is partially owned by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, also has a GTLK-owned Boeing Co. 737-800 jet in storage, according to Cirium data. SunExpress didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Latvia’s SmartLynx Airlines confirmed it has stopped paying leases on four grounded Airbus A321s.

Qatar Airways last used two GTLK-owned aircraft on April 19, according to tracking website FlightRadar24. Emirates continues to use a single GTLK-owned Boeing 777. Their governments haven’t invoked sanctions on Russia.

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Both the US and Canada are going to open their Ukraine Embassy.  Now the question, if they do and if I(since they are in a war zone) they are hit by Russia (accident or otherwise), what will happen?

Canada plans to reopen embassy in Ukraine in coming days or weeks: Joly

  • CTVNews.ca Producer

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly says the Canadian government intends to reopen its embassy doors in Ukraine shortly, following in the footsteps of its allies.

Appearing before the Senate foreign affairs and international trade committee on Thursday, Joly said Ottawa is considering “different scenarios” to do so.

“My objective is to do so in the coming days, coming weeks. We just need to make sure that there is a secure environment for staff and also we're looking at what our other Five Eyes colleagues and allies are doing,” Joly said.


Canada closed its embassy in Kyiv on Feb. 12, and relocated diplomatic staff to the western city of Lviv as threats of a Russian invasion intensified. All staff have since been moved to Poland.

Nearly two weeks later, Russian forces invaded the country.

Last Friday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain planned to revive its on-the-ground diplomacy in Ukraine this week. The U.S., France, and Italy have announced similar plans.

This has placed enhanced pressure on the Canadian government to follow suit. Joly said she addressed the issue with Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza on Thursday morning.

Former Canadian ambassador to Russia Jeremy Kinsman says Canada should never have moved its diplomatic presence out of Ukraine.

“We should never have left. We shouldn’t have closed the embassy. I don’t know why governments repeatedly forget what we’ve learned from the past… Our embassies are accredited to a government and you don’t walk out on the government,” he said on CTV News Channel’s Power Play last Friday.

More details to come…

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26 minutes ago, GDR said:

Boy, there'll be a lot of career diplomats fighting to get that position I'll bet....

If subject to request, it will def. go Junior, if assigned....Hmmm. And what about the guards,?


The MPSS employs over a hundred Military Police personnel. The MPSS personnel are located at the unit headquarters, in Ottawa, and at 47 Canadian Embassies, High Commissions, or Consulates around the world. The first embassy to employ MP personnel as Military Security Guards was Beirut, Lebanon in 1976.


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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Kargokings said:

they are hit by Russia (accident or otherwise), what will happen?

Just imagine the mileage he could get if something like that happened





Edited by Jaydee
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1 hour ago, Jaydee said:

Just imagine the mileage he could get if something like that happened





I really don't give a damn  about his reaction, my concern is and should be for all of us the possible loss of life along with the whathappens next.  🤬

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Quote of the day. Two years ago, if you had suggested that sole sourcing essential commodities from hostile trading partners was a patently foolish idea, 70 percenters would have subjected you to the same level of ridicule that they heaped on Trump... remember? Where are the before and after video collages?

While you can't (easily) anticipate specific events, it's not hard to identify specific vulnerabilities, even a dumb grunt can do that. Vote on policy and stop listening to the MBA crew. Can anyone name one thing, one bloody thing that these fools have gotten right over the last 24 months?

“From May, it is forbidden to cool below 25 degrees in schools and public buildings in Italy, and to heat public buildings above 19 degrees in winter. At the beginning of the session, Timmermans asked citizens to turn off the heating in their homes. Is the EU initiating similar measures at European level? And do you want to prescribe how many degrees they want to heat the buildings? In practice, how do they want to control this?”

Edited by Wolfhunter
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As allies visit Ukraine's capital, Canada's absence is being noticed

Canadian Embassy should not be among first out, last back in: former Ukrainian ambassador to Canada


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shake hands during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Canada has not sent any high-profiles to meet Zelensky since Russia invaded his country earlier this year.

Sun May 01, 2022 - CBC News
by David Common 


'With the largest Ukrainian diaspora outside former Soviet states, Canada has claimed to be one of Kyiv's biggest supporters, making the absence of a high profile visit and an open embassy all the more puzzling for some.'

In the month since Russia's retreat from Ukraine's north, the capital Kyiv has seen a frenzy of high-profile visitors: 11 prime ministers, Austria's chancellor, the U.S. secretaries of state and defence, its House speaker, the UN secretary-general — even Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.

Canada has not sent even a cabinet minister.

Ukraine has noticed.

"When you physically see a friend, an ally … present in the capital, that would mean a lot," said Andriy Shevchenko, who was until recently Ukraine's ambassador to Canada.

It's not just the question of a visit. 

Twenty seven nations have reopened diplomatic posts in Kyiv — but Canada's embassy in Kyiv remains locked up, vacated prior to the start of the war.

"Canada was one of the first countries to move the embassy out. We do not want Canada to be the last one to return," said Shevchenko.

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly has said plans are in the works to reopen. 

"We need to make sure the security situation on the ground allows for it," her office said in a statement.

Others have moved faster. Poland and Georgia never left. Italy and The Netherlands reopened their mission, as did the United Kingdom.

Kyiv is "the right place to be," Britain's ambassador told The Guardian newspaper.

With the largest Ukrainian diaspora outside former Soviet states, Canada has claimed to be one of Kyiv's biggest supporters, making the absence of a high profile visit and an open embassy all the more puzzling for some.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office did not directly respond to a question about a possible visit, but said in a statement that he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "remain in frequent contact, in addition to regular contact across the federal government with their Ukrainian counterparts."

Why a visit is important

Many VIP visits to Ukraine's capital include stops north of the city where Russia left a trail of destruction in its aborted northern front.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Bucha, scene of mass graves, and Irpin, a leafy suburb outside the capital where half the buildings were razed in Russia's initial invasion.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov visited the smoldering ruins of Irpin, and told a CBC News crew it is imperative that world leaders visit because "it's very different when you make public statements from the comfort of your office. It's very different to see it first hand."

Canada's contributions to Ukraine

Since the outbreak of the latest chapter in nearly a decade of on-and-off conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the federal government has pledged support. That process went into overdrive after February's invasion.

But some countries have been far more generous, relative to the size of their economies.

Poland, for instance, is approaching 1 per cent of its total GDP in contributions of both financial and military support.

Canada did not rank in the top 12 of donors in a tracker established by Kiel University in Germany at the end of March.

Since then, Canada has committed an additional $500 million in support.

The Biden Administration has requested an additional $33 billion US in aid for Ukraine, the majority for purchases or transfers of military equipment.

American and Canadian soldiers are training Ukrainian soldiers — outside Ukraine — on the use of sophisticated M777 howitzers, which have a range of 30 kilometres. When equipped with high precision Excalibur shells, they are accurate to within 10 meters.

"We greatly appreciate all the Canadian help, the weapons and the military training and the financial support," said former ambassador Shevchenko. 

Canada gave Ukraine four of these big guns. Australia, with a smaller population, offered six. The U.S. transferred 90.

European nations have also purchased or dispatched military equipment from their own stocks, though they are more at risk of Russian retaliation.

Many remain reliant on Russian gas to power their economies. Poland and Bulgaria were cut off last week. Others may follow. Canada, however, does not depend on Russian gas and, by virtue of its geography, is less vulnerable to Russia's orbit.

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How the ‘jack-in-the-box’ flaw dooms some Russian tanks

Mon May 02, 2022 - The Washington Post
By Sammy Westfall and William Neff


For the U.S. military, Hamilton said, “if the tank is destroyed and the crew survives, you can make another tank more quickly than you can train another crew.”
For Russia, “the people are as expendable as the machine,” he said. “The Russians have known about this for 31 years — you have to say they’ve just chosen not to deal with it.”

The sight of Russian tank turrets, blown off and lying in ruin along Ukrainian roads, points to a tank design issue known as the “jack-in-the-box” flaw.

The fault is related to the way many Russian tanks hold and load ammunition. In these tanks, including the T-72, the Soviet-designed vehicle that has seen wide use in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, shells are all placed in a ring within the turret. When an enemy shot hits the right spot, the ring of ammunition can quickly “cook off” and ignite a chain reaction, blasting the turret off the tank’s hull in a lethal blow.


Other tanks on the modern battlefield generally store their ammunition away from the crew, behind armored walls. The Russian T-72 main battle tank’s ammunition sits in a carousel-style automatic loader directly beneath the main turret and members of the crew.

If a penetrating hit on the tank’s relatively thin side armor detonates one of these rounds, the explosion can set off a chain reaction, killing the crew and destroying the tank.

“For a Russian crew, if the ammo storage compartment is hit, everyone is dead,” said Robert E. Hamilton, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, adding that the force of the explosion can “instantaneously vaporize” the crew. “All those rounds — around 40 depending on if they’re carrying a full load or not — are all going to cook off, and everyone is going to be dead.”

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace this week estimated that Russia has lost at least 530 tanks — destroyed or captured — since it invaded Ukraine in February.

“What we are witnessing now is Ukrainians taking advantage of the tank flaw,” said Samuel Bendett, an adviser at the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded nonprofit research institute. Ukraine’s Western allies have provided antitank weapons at high volume.

Ukraine, too, has been using Russian-made T-72 variants, which face the same issue. But Russia’s invasion has relied on the large-scale deployment of tanks, and Ukraine has been able to fight back better than expected.

The flaw speaks to a broader difference in approaches between Western militaries and Russia’s, analysts say.

Why Russia gave up on urban war in Kyiv and turned to big battles in the east

“American tanks for a long time have prioritized crew survivability in a way that Russian tanks just haven’t,” said Hamilton. “It’s really just a difference in the design of the ammo storage compartment and a difference in prioritization.”

Ammunition in most Western tanks can be kept under the turret floor, protected by the heavy hull — or in the back of the turret, said Hamilton. While a turret-placed ammunition storage compartment is potentially vulnerable to a hit, built-in features can prevent the same level of decapitating devastation seen in the case of the T-72.

Even the early versions of the American M1 Abrams tanks in the 1980s were fitted with tough blast doors separating the crew inside from the stored ammunition. These tanks have a crew of four, including a loader who opens the ballistic door manually. These were designed to be stronger than the top armor, so that if ammunition is cooked off, the explosion would be channeled upward through blowout panels, rather than into the crew compartment, Hamilton said.

On the battlefield, Ukraine uses Soviet-era weapons against Russia

On the other hand, Russian tanks rely on mechanical automatic loaders, allowing them to be manned by a team of three.

The design of Russian tanks prioritizes rate of fire, firepower, a low profile, speed and maneuverability vs. overall survivability, said Hamilton. Russian tanks tend to be lighter and simpler, and have thinner, less-advanced armor than Western tanks. The design vulnerability was probably “just cheaper and lighter,” Hamilton said.

Newer Russian models have come out since the T-72, which was produced in the 1970s by the Soviet Union. One of them, the T-14 Armata, has been described as a sophisticated battlefield game-changer since it debuted at a 2015 military parade. But the Armatas have not yet seen much use outside parades. Newer variants of the T-72 have come with greater tank protections, Bendett said, but the prevailing principle has been the same: a three-person crew with a lower profile, and shells in a circle within the turret.

For the U.S. military, Hamilton said, “if the tank is destroyed and the crew survives, you can make another tank more quickly than you can train another crew.”

For Russia, “the people are as expendable as the machine,” he said. “The Russians have known about this for 31 years — you have to say they’ve just chosen not to deal with it.”

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PM Trudeau makes surprise visit to Ukraine

Ukraine says its troops incapacitated a Russian warship, while Moscow claims it was an onboard explosion. ABC News' James Longman reports.01:52

Russian warship heavily damaged02:54


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made an unannounced visit to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

The Prime Minister's Office says he is scheduled to meet Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to show Canada's support for the country and its people.

Ukraine: PM Trudeau makes surprise visit | CTV News

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Is Ukraine conducting a sabotage campaign inside Russia?




May 8, 2022
On the front line, Ukrainian and Russian troops are just a few kilometres apart
On the front line, Ukrainian and Russian troops are just a few kilometres apart - Copyright AFP Dimitar DILKOFF

A deadly fire at an aerospace research institute in Tver, northwest of Moscow. Another blaze at a munitions factory in Perm, more than 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the east. And fires in two separate oil depots in Bryansk, near Belarus.

Coincidences, or a sign that Ukrainians or their supporters are mounting a campaign of sabotage inside Russia to punish Moscow for invading their country?

Since the blaze at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver on April 21, which killed at least 17 people, social media has leapt on every report of a fire somewhere in Russia — especially at a sensitive location — as a sign that the country is under covert attack.

No one is claiming responsibility, but analysts say at least some of the incidents, particularly those in Bryansk, point to a possible effort by Kyiv to bring the war to their invaders.

In a post on Telegram, Mykhaylo Podolyak

Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, called the fires “divine intervention.”

“Large fuel depots periodically burn… for different reasons,” he wrote. “Karma is a cruel thing.”

– ‘We don’t deny’  –

In a massive country such as Russia, a fire at a remote factory or building would normally not be particularly eyebrow-raising.

Analysts say at least some of the incidents, particularly those in Bryansk, Russia, point to a possible effort by Kyiv to bring the war to their invaders

Analysts say at least some of the incidents, particularly those in Bryansk, Russia, point to a possible effort by Kyiv to bring the war to their invaders – Copyright AFP ISAAC LAWRENCE

But since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, more than a dozen blazes noted by people who document the war have drawn huge attention on social media, amid fears there is a concerted campaign of arsonous terror by the Ukrainians.

Even fires late last month in Russia’s far east — at an airbase north of Vladivostok and at a coal plant on Sakhalin — raised suspicions.

And on Wednesday, a massive conflagration struck a chemicals plant in Dzerzhinsk, east of Moscow.

“Russian saboteurs against Putin continue their heroic work,” said Igor Sushko, a Ukrainian racecar driver who regularly posts photos and videos on Twitter of alleged acts of sabotage inside Russia — but offers no proof they were deliberate.

Another Zelensky advisor, Oleksei Arestovych, was equally opaque to The New York Times, noting that Israel never admits its covert attacks and assassinations.

“We don’t confirm, and we don’t deny,” he said.

– Part of the strategy? –

War analysts believe the infernos in Bryansk, which hit facilities sending oil to Europe, were deliberate and tied to the war.

The anonymous analysts behind “Ukraine Weapons Tracker,” a Twitter account that posts detailed accounts with supporting videos of attacks by both sides, said they received “reliable” information that the Bryansk fires were the result of attacks by Ukrainian Bayraktar drones.

“If accurate, then this story again shows the ability of Ukrainian forces to conduct strikes in Russian territory using long-range assets,” they wrote.

“I think it was probably a Ukrainian attack, but we cannot be certain,” Rob Lee, another war analyst, told The Guardian.

Added to that have been a number of apparent shellings by helicopters and drones and evident acts of sabotage against infrastructure in Kursk and Belgorod Oblast on the Ukrainian border, close to the fighting.

The governors of Belgorod and Kursk have both blamed the fires and destruction of infrastructure such as railway bridges on saboteurs and attackers from Ukraine.

An April 1 attack on a Belgorod fuel depot, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on his Telegram channel, was the result of “an air strike from two helicopters of the armed forces of Ukraine, which entered the territory of Russia at a low altitude.”

“Nothing that would confirm Ukrainian sabotage, except for the fact that many of the fires seemed to hit strategic/military targets,” said Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Such attacks “certainly seem to be a part of their strategy,” he said.

Pentagon officials have said that Russian forces inside Ukraine are hobbled by weak supply chains, and attacks on their infrastructure would further affect their war effort.

But US officials would not comment on whether, deeper inside Russia, there is an active campaign of sabotage hitting targets not-so-directly related to the invasion.

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Ukrainian commanders lash out at Kyiv over Mariupol resistance

Criticism from Azov regiment comes as Russia continues assault on steel plant before May 9 Moscow celebrations


Sun May 08, 2022 - Financial Times 
by Ben Hall in Kyiv


'The Azov battalion has far-right origins but was incorporated into the Ukrainian armed forces in 2014 and is considered one of the best trained parts of the military.'

The commanders of the Ukrainian forces holding out against Russian troops in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol lashed out at the government in Kyiv for not doing enough to help them defend the city.

“Our government failed in the defence of Mariupol, failed in the preparation of the defence of Mariupol,” said Ilya Somoilenko, a lieutenant in the Azov regiment, the military unit that has been leading the Ukrainian resistance from a last redoubt at the vast steel works on the edge of the city.

The “authorities have been sabotaging the defence of Ukraine for eight years,” he said.

Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment, accused the government of “cynicism” for celebrating the evacuation of small groups of civilians when so many people had been killed in Russia’s assault on the south-eastern port city.

The two officers were speaking to reporters via Zoom from one of the bunkers at the besieged Azovstal facility.

Their comments are the first public display of dissent within the Ukrainian military which has otherwise celebrated its battlefield achievements in fending off Russia’s full-scale invasion over 10 weeks. It is also a sign of the desperation of the Ukrainian forces who are under constant artillery bombardment and repeated attempts by Russian forces to storm their redoubt underneath the steel plant.

All remaining women, children and seniors were evacuated from the steelworks in the south-eastern port city on Saturday, according to the deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk. In total 300 civilians have been freed from the plant.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian authorities, in conjunction with the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross, were planning to evacuate all medical staff and wounded soldiers.

Zelensky has also called for Ukrainian military personnel — thought to number between several hundred and 2,000 — to be allowed to leave the vast facility. He said on Friday international diplomatic efforts were under way to secure their safe passage.

The next phase of the evacuation would be “extremely difficult” but “we do not lose hope,” Zelensky said.

Somoilenko said “surrender was not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives, is not interested in letting us live”. He appeared to criticise what he said was an attempt to negotiate with Russia over their release and said they need a “third party to intervene to extract the garrison”.

“The evacuation could be done if some people did their jobs better,” Somoilenko added.

He claimed that the defenders of Mariupol had killed 2,500 Russian soldiers and had “blocked” 25,000 troops and therefore accounted for a disproportionate share of Ukraine’s success against the invaders.

The Azov battalion has far-right origins but was incorporated into the Ukrainian armed forces in 2014 and is considered one of the best trained parts of the military.

Ukrainian officials say Moscow has been trying to crush the resistance at Azovstal so that president Vladimir Putin could present a battlefield success when Russia celebrates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany on May 9.

Russian forces continued to attack Ukrainian positions along the 1,000km frontline and struck targets over the weekend, including Odesa. Up to 60 civilians are feared dead after a Russian air strike on a school in eastern Ukraine.

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Adam Zivo: Trudeau's perfectly timed visit may have saved some of my Ukrainian friends

Adam Zivo - 2h ago
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KYIV — Perhaps it sounds strange to call Justin Trudeau a human shield — but you must understand the context of this weekend.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) watch' Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L)greet an unidentified Ukrainian service man (R) as the two leaders arrive for a joint press conference in Kyiv on May 8, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
© Provided by National PostUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) watch' Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L)greet an unidentified Ukrainian service man (R) as the two leaders arrive for a joint press conference in Kyiv on May 8, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The prime minister made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly. The timing of the visit was significant — there has been palpable fear that Russia will escalate its war on Ukraine in anticipation of its Victory Day holiday on May 9. Ukrainians have been hunkering down all weekend out of concern for potential mass bombings, but, by being present in Kyiv, Trudeau was acting as a kind of human shield, at least for the Kyiv region (assuming Russia doesn’t want to kill the leader of a foreign nation). He should be commended for this.

Russia celebrates Victory Day annually in commemoration of the Soviet Union’s triumph over Nazi Germany in the Second World War (known as the “Great Patriotic War” in Russia). Though decades have passed since Hitler’s defeat, the traumas of Germany’s invasion, which killed approximately 14 million Russians, have remained integral to Russian history and identity.

Putin leans heavily into the memory of the Great Patriotic War to bolster the legitimacy of his regime. Earlier in his career, his legitimacy was based on his contrast to his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, who was considered a drunkard and a disastrously weak leader. Putin maintained power by being the anti-Yeltsin — strong and decisive.

As the Yeltsin years faded away, Putin needed a new source of legitimacy, so he tapped into the Great Patriotic War. Victory Day has been celebrated in Russia since the 1960s, but, under Putin, its importance ballooned and it became an extravaganza of widely broadcast military parades. Glorification of the Soviet resistance against the Nazis was also added to Russia’s constitution in 2020 .

Hence why it has been so important for Putin to create the false image of Ukraine as a Nazi-governed country — it allows him to invert the moral script, to pretend that Russia, rather than being an imperial power colonizing an unwilling people, is simply defending itself against Nazis in the tradition of its venerable forefathers.

So, considering this exploitation of history , you can understand why many observers, including the United States, have suspected that Putin wanted to celebrate Victory Day by subjugating Ukraine — what better way to borrow the legitimacy of anti-Nazi predecessors than to subdue a “Nazi” country?

But no victory has been forthcoming, and so now the concern is whether, to cut his losses, Putin will use Victory Day as an opportunity to escalate the war. As of now, Putin has framed his invasion as a “special military operation;” doing so allows him to avoid some international scrutiny and to avoid potentially unpopular measures, such as conscription.

Should he escalate the conflict, many worry that it will mean a formal declaration of war, which might be accompanied by mass bombings. The streets of Kyiv have been empty the past few days. The country holds its breath.

I have been reporting from Ukraine for five weeks now, and Ukrainians have been more anxious about bombings lately than any other time that I have seen. The Ukrainian government has advised everyone to pay close attention to air raid sirens . I, along with many of my friends, have temporarily left Kyiv for nearby villages until Victory Day passes. Some have stayed put, but sent their families away. Friends in Lviv have messaged me, panicked by the thought of bombings — the mayor tells them not to flee. My meeting with a human rights organization on the 9th was postponed due to safety concerns.

No one knows what will happen. All we have is rumours, but that is the nature of war. And maybe nothing will happen. Maybe Putin will be satisfied with simply claiming victory over Mariupol, where Ukraine’s controversial Azov Battalion is stationed and is on the verge of defeat. Until we know, there is anxiety. I don’t scare easily, but last Friday was the first time during this war that I felt uneasy.

And so, speaking honestly, I sighed with relief when I heard that Trudeau was in Kyiv — because his presence made it less likely that my friends in Ukraine would be hurt. I don’t care if Trudeau’s itinerary — touring neighbouring Irpin, hanging a flag at an embassy — was rote symbolism. Trudeau’s presence in Kyiv, in the flesh, made him a human shield for the duration he was here.

And if Putin is considering escalating this war, Trudeau’s bold show of support, visiting Kyiv right on the cusp of Victory Day, may serve as a reminder that liberal democracies are united against Russian aggression, and if that can deter, even by some small iota, the possibility of escalation, that is enough.

I dislike Trudeau in other contexts, but I feel deep gratitude for his visit, especially because I doubt that his team was unaware of the significance of this weekend and the associated risks.

National Post

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Opinion: What we learned from Putin's 'no Victory' Day speech

Opinion by Frida Ghitis - 1h ago
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© Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has marked the traditional May 9 Victory Day celebrations with no victory to celebrate. His plans to conquer Ukraine, perhaps replace its government with a Russia-friendly one, have been thwarted.

With no significant achievement on the battlefield, Putin was reduced on Monday to twisting history, claiming victimhood and fabricating yet another conspiracy theory in order to justify Russia's unprovoked invasion of a neighboring country and the mounting cost it is inflicting on his own people.

In Putin's telling, Russia had no choice but to defend itself from a growing menace. Russia sought reasonable compromise, but "NATO countries did not want to listen to us...[they] had entirely different plans, and we saw this," he said at a military parade in Moscow Red Square.

"In Kyiv," he added -- falsely -- "they announced the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons, the NATO bloc began actively taking military control of territories adjacent to ours." A clash with the "neo-Nazis" was "inevitable." Then came Putin's declaration of victory, such as it was: "Russia repelled this aggression."

A subdued Putin did not sound like the triumphant leader of a victorious nation. Instead, he sounded like a besieged, defiant man, trying to explain, to outflank his critics.

He tried to craft a direct link between the defeat of the Nazis in the Second World War, which the May 9 celebrations commemorate, to the fight in Ukraine. The connection is a phony, slanderous rewriting of history.

Instead of an intimidating message to the world, Putin undercut his own claim to the Russian people that this is not a war. It would be difficult for a Russian citizen watching the president rationalize the need for the "special military operation," not to take away the unmistakable sense the country is at war -- a banned term. The bulk of the speech aimed to explain to the Russian people why Russian soldiers are dying. Why life is changing.

Russia, according to Putin, is defending itself against an aggressive, ever more threatening NATO. Putin even tried to portray himself as the defender of traditional values against the West's "moral degradation." It's the kind of rhetoric that feeds his far-right supporters on Western propaganda networks. But it does nothing to change a dismal reality.

In the early days of the now 10-week-old war, when the Kremlin expected a quick, easy victory, Russia had apparently hoped to have a big parade in Kyiv. But Russia's disastrous performance on the battlefield, coupled with the Ukrainians' fierce resistance, boosted by weapons from abroad, made it impossible.

Instead, Russia has been left to put on a show, staging one of its undeniably impressive military parades. Though this year's was much less awe-inspiring than previous ones. The soldiers marched in perfect synchrony, their chins defiantly turned upward, their uniforms crisp, the weapons rumbling on Red Square. But the celebration had a different atmosphere.

Russia's briefly-vaunted military machine looks like a Potemkin army. Putin's reputation as an uncommonly skilled strategist lies in ruins. Instead of conquering or even weakening Ukraine he has electrified Ukraine's sense of nationhood and its commitment to follow its own path. Instead of turning Ukraine's Russian speakers against the central government, he has made Ukrainians unite in their disdain for Moscow. Instead of dividing NATO he has united it, and potentially led to its expansion.

The fumbling Kremlin even threw in some gaslighting on Victory Day. The much-anticipated air portion of the show promised to be spectacular, with 77 aircraft slicing the sky, marking 77 years since the Nazi surrender and making the shape of a Z, the insignia of Russian forces in Ukraine.

Mysteriously, the airshow was canceled. The cause was bad weather, according to Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov. But for those of us watching on TV, the skies were blue, a perfect day for a parade -- and for flying. Don't believe your lying eyes, the Kremlin seemed to be saying, in keeping with the runway of lies on which it launched this war.

In previous Victory Day celebrations, world leaders stood on the reviewing stand alongside Putin. After all, defeating the Nazis was a victory not just for the allies who fought them but for humanity.

Putin has stood on that date shoulder to shoulder with the presidents of the United States and France, the prime ministers of Italy and Japan, the German chancellor and the secretary-general of the United Nations.

This year, Russia was alone. World leaders are flocking to Kyiv, to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and President Volodymyr Zelensky, who marked the occasion in his own poignant fashion.

Putin has tried to paint victory over the Nazis as a Russian feat. But it was the Soviet Union -- along with the allies -- who defeated Hitler.

And the Soviet Union included Ukraine.

Zelensky, dressed in his familiar military olive green, posted a video of himself walking in the streets of Kyiv to mark the occasion. "We will never forget what our ancestors did in World War II," he vowed. "Very soon," he added, twisting a rhetorical knife, "there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine -- and someone won't have any."

His message to Putin, to the Ukrainian people, and to those around the world was clear: "We won then. We will win now. Happy Victory over Nazism Day!"

The question now, after a day when many expected Putin to announce a national mobilization, is what happens next with his war. The Russian president did not let out any hints of what his plan is. But by again casting the war as one against Nazis, and as a defensive one over which he had no choice, he implicitly told the Russian people the conflict will continue.

At the same time, he spoke only of the Donbas region in the east, not of the rest of Ukraine. Putin's goals in Ukraine have been sharply reduced. The focus has decisively shifted away from Kyiv, away from control of the country.

Now Putin wants to seize Donbas, and perhaps Ukraine's entire coast on the Black Sea, which would cripple Ukraine's economy. But even that is not going well.

In rewriting the past, Putin has to contend with the present. And the reality on this Victory Day, despite all the suffering and devastation he has inflicted on Ukraine, is that Putin has no victory to celebrate

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