Showing posts with label NATO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NATO. Show all posts


Putin warns West it is leading the world towards a potential nuclear confrontation

CC™ Headline News

President Vladimir Putin warned Thursday of a “real” risk of nuclear war if the West escalates the conflict in Ukraine, offering a defiant and emboldened stance in his annual speech to Russians.

Speaking in Moscow, Putin said his soldiers were advancing in Ukraine and warned the West of “tragic consequences” for any country that dared to send troops to Kyiv.

They have announced the possibility of sending Western military contingents to Ukraine… The consequences for possible interventionists will be much more tragic,” he said in his address to the nation.

“They should eventually realise that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. Everything that the West comes up with creates the real threat of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and thus the destruction of civilisation,” said Putin.

His comments appeared to be a response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s refusal earlier this week to rule out sending troops to Ukraine — a stance that drew swift rejection from other leaders in Europe.

Nevertheless, the debate has struck a nerve in Moscow, which has long seen its conflict with Ukraine as part of a wider “hybrid war” being waged against it by NATO.

Western leaders have repeatedly criticised Putin for what they see as his reckless use of nuclear rhetoric.

After pulling Russia out of arms control treaties with the United States and previously warning he was “not bluffing” when he said he was ready to use nuclear weapons, Putin had appeared in recent months to dial down his nuclear threats.

But the fresh warning comes with the Kremlin buoyed by recent gains on the battlefield in Ukraine, but also an economy that has largely defied sanctions and ahead of an election certain to extend Putin’s term in the Kremlin until 2030.

- Russian forces ‘advancing’ -

The current state of affairs marks a sharp reversal in fortunes for Moscow over the last 12 months.

Last year at this time, Russian troops were reeling from Ukrainian counteroffensives that pushed them back in northeastern and southern Ukraine.

But after a Ukrainian campaign in the summer of 2023 failed to bring similar results, Kyiv is back on the defensive.

The initially strong Western support for Ukraine also appears to be fraying, with a $60-billion US aid package stalled in Congress.

Outgunning Ukrainian forces on the battlefield, Putin’s troops seized the eastern stronghold of Avdiivka and are attempting to build on their advances.

Putin on Thursday pointed to recent successes.

“The combat capacity of our armed forces has increased many times over,” he said.

“They are advancing confidently in a number of areas,” he added, without providing details.

Flanked by Russian tricolour flags and standing alone on stage at the Gostiny Dvor Palace near Moscow’s Red Square, the Russian leader reeled off his country’s arsenal of advanced weapons, including the Zircon and Kinzhal supersonic missiles.

But he slammed reports Russia was preparing to deploy a nuclear weapon in space as a “ploy” by Washington to draw Moscow into arms control talks “on their terms”.

- Election campaign -

Putin also touted Russia’s strong economic performance at home and outlined a number of small-scale domestic reforms as part of his pitch to Russians ahead of next month’s presidential election.

His speech was broadcast not only on state television but also on large digital screens and free of charge in cinemas across the country.

On the economic front, he said Russia was faring better than many expected.

Massive investment in military production, as well as high salaries and benefits for soldiers, has largely shielded the economy from the worst consequences of Western sanctions.

There is little doubt on the outcome of the March 15-17 vote, with all genuine opposition candidates barred from standing and the Kremlin’s most vocal critic Alexei Navalny now dead.

But Putin has still been campaigning, traveling around the country and making numerous media appearances since the start of the year, including recently flying a Russian bomber.

The 71-year-old former KGB officer, in power since the final day of 1999, is the longest serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin — a record he is set to pass during his next six-year term.

Even before Putin ordered forces into Ukraine in February 2022, he had increasingly portrayed himself as a defender of Russian values against a decadent, liberal and expansionist West.

He has used the military campaign to escalate a crackdown on domestic opponents, with hundreds prosecuted for criticising the Kremlin and its military offensive.

The speech came on the eve of a planned funeral for Putin’s top opponent Navalny, who died in prison on 16 February in unclear circumstances.

Putin, who famously never referred to the opposition leader by name, has remained silent on Navalny’s shock death that prompted outrage at home and abroad.



The Russian Navy will receive a nuclear-powered submarine armed with SS-NX-30 ballistic missiles with a thermonuclear warhead and a range of 9,300 kilometres

CC™ MilitarySpective

By Mak Panasovskyi

The Russians have announced plans to take into service a fourth-generation nuclear submarine "Emperor Alexander III". This was announced by the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. 

Here's What We Know

According to the head of the Russian defence ministry, the Russian Navy will be replenished with a dozen surface and submarine ships. One of them will be the nuclear-powered submarine "Emperor Alexander III".

The submarine is being built under the modernised Borei-A project. It was launched in the last days of 2022. The submarine "Emperor Alexander III" will join the Pacific Fleet. Very often the words of Russian officials have nothing to do with reality. So only time will tell when the new ship will be inducted into the fleet in 2023.

"Emperor Alexander III" will be part of the nuclear triad. It will be armed with 16 R-30 Bulava ballistic missiles (SS-NX-30 according to NATO classification). The missile has a maximum launch range of 9,300 kilometres and can deliver 6-10 thermonuclear warheads.



FRANCE AND ITS PERMANENT COLONIES: It ruined Haiti, the first black country to become independent in 1804 • It is on course to ruin all its former African colonies

CC™ FeatureSpective

By Toyin Falola

It is no coincidence that the recent spate of coups in Africa has manifested in former French African colonies (so-called Francophone Africa), once again redirecting the global spotlight on France’s activities in the region.

And that the commentaries, especially among Africans, have been most critical of France and its continued interference in the region.

This is coming against the backdrop of France’s continuous meddling in the economic and political affairs of “independent” Francophone countries, an involvement that has seen it embroiled, both directly and indirectly, in a series of unrests, corruption controversies, and assassinations that have bedevilled the region since independence.

Unlike Britain and other European countries with colonial possessions in Africa, France never left—at least not in the sense of the traditional distance observed since independence by the other erstwhile colonial overlords.

Instead, it has, under the cover of a policy of coopération within the framework of an extended “French Community,” continued to maintain a perceptible cultural, economic, political, and military presence in Africa.

On the surface, the promise of cooperation between France and its former colonies in Africa—which presupposes a relationship of mutual benefit between politically independent nations—where the former would, through the provision of technical and military assistance, lead the development and advancement of its erstwhile colonial “family—is both commendable and perhaps even worthy of emulation.

However, when this carefully scripted façade is juxtaposed with the reality that has unfolded over the decades, what is revealed is an extensive conspiracy involving individuals at the highest levels of the French government.

Along with other influential business interests—also domiciled in France—they have worked with a select African elite to orchestrate the most extensive and heinous crimes against the people of today’s Francophone Africa.

A people who, even today, continue to strain under the weight of France’s insatiable greed.

The greed and covetousness that drove the European nations to abandon trade for colonialization in Africa are as alive today as they were in the 1950s and 1980s.

The decision to give in to African demands for independence was not the outcome of any benevolence or civilised reason on the part of Europe, but for economic and political expedience.

Thus, when the then President of France, Charles de Gaulle—who nurtured an ambition to see France maintain its status as a world power—agreed to independence for its African colonies, it was only a pre-emptive measure to check the further loss of French influence on the continent.

In other words, the political liberation offered “on a platter of gold” was a means to avoid the development of other costly wars of independence, which, after World War II depleted France, was already fighting in Indochina and Algeria.

Independence was, thus, only the first step in ensuring the survival of French interests in Africa and, more importantly, their prioritisation.

Pursuant to this objective, De Gaulle also proposed a “French Community”—delivered on the same “golden platter”—as a caveat to continued French patronage.

As such, the over ninety-eight percent of its colonies that agreed to be part of this community were roped into signing cooperation accords—covering economic, political, military, and cultural sectors—by Jacques Foccart, a former intelligence member of the French Resistance in the Second World War, handpicked by De Gaulle.

This signing of cooperation accords between France and the colonies, which opted to be part of its post-independence French Community, marked the beginning of France’s neo-colonial regime in Africa, where Africans got teachers and despotic leaders in exchange for their natural resources and French military installations.

Commonly referred to as Françafrique—a pejorative derivation from Felix Houphouet Boigny’s “France-Afrique,” describing the close ties between France and Africa—France’s neo-colonial footprint in Africa has been characterised by allegations of corruption and other covert activities perpetrated through various Franco-African economic, political, and military networks.

An essential feature of France is the crookish mafia-like relations between French leaders and their African counterparts, which were reinforced by a dense web of personal networks.

On the French side, African ties, which had been the French presidents’ domaine réservé (sole responsibility) since 1958, were run by an “African cell” founded and managed by Jacques Foccart.

Comprising French presidents, powerful and influential members of the French business community, and the French secret service, this cell operated outside the purview of the French parliament, its civil society organisations, and non-governmental organisations.

This created a window for corruption as politicians and state officials took part in business arrangements, which amounted to state racketeering.

Whereas pro-French sentiments in Africa and elsewhere still argue for France’s continuous presence and contributions, particularly in the area of military intervention and economic aid, which they say have been critical to security, political stability, and economic survival in the region, such arguments intentionally play down the historical consequences of French interests in the region.

Enjoying a free reign in the region—backed mainly by the United States and Britain since the Cold War—France used the opportunity to strengthen its hold on its former colonies.

This translated into the development of a franc zone—a restrictive monetary policy tying the economies of Francophone countries to France—as well as the adoption of an active interventionist approach, which has produced over 120 military interventions across fourteen dependent states between 1960 and the 1990s.

These interventions, which were either to rescue stranded French citizens, put down rebellions, prevent coups, restore order, or uphold French-favoured regimes, have rarely been about improving the fortunes of the general population of Francophone Africa.

French interventions have maintained undemocratic regimes in Cameroun, Senegal, Chad, Gabon, and Niger.

At the same time, its joint military action in Libya was responsible for unleashing Islamic terrorism that threatened to engulf countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria.

In pursuit of its interests in Africa, France has made little secret of its contempt for all independent and populist reasons while upholding puppet regimes. In Guinea in 1958, De Gaulle embarked on a ruthless agenda to undermine the government of Ahmed Sékou Touré—destroying infrastructure and flooding the economy with fake currency—for voting to stay out of the French Community.

This behaviour was again replicated in Togo, where that country’s first president, Sylvio Olympio, was overthrown and gruesomely murdered for daring to establish a central bank for the country outside the Franc CFA Zone.

Subsequently, his killer, Gnassingbé Eyadema, assumed office and ruled from 1967 until his death in 2005, after which he was succeeded by his son, who still rules. In Gabon, you had the Bongo family, who ran a regime of corruption and oppression with the open support of France throughout 56 years of unproductive rule.

As for Cameroun’s most promising pan-Africanist pro-independence leader, Felix Moumie, he died under mysterious circumstances in Switzerland, paving the way for the likes of Paul Biya, who has been president since 1982.

France also backs a Senegalese government, which today holds over 1500 political prisoners and singlehandedly installed Alhassan Ouattara as president of Cote d’Ivoire.

Therefore, the widespread anti-France sentiment spreading through the populations of Francophone Africa and beyond is not unfounded, as it has become apparent to all and sundry that these countries have not fared well under the shadow of France.

In Niger, where France carried out one of the bloodiest campaigns of colonial pacification in Africa—murdering and pillaging entire villages—and which is France’s most important source of uranium, the income per capita was 59 percent lower in 2022 than it was in 1965.

In Cote d’Ivoire, the largest producer of cocoa in the world, the income per capita was 25 percent lower in 2022 than in 1975.

Outside the rampant unemployment, systematic disenfranchisement, and infrastructural deficits that characterise these Francophone countries, there’s also the frustration and anger of sitting back and watching helplessly.

In contrast, the wealth of your country is being carted away to nations whose people feed fat on your birthright and then turn around to make judgements and other disparaging comments on your humanity and condition of existence.

The people are tired of being poor, helpless, and judged as third-world citizens! France is a dangerous country.

It is indeed overdue for France to cut its losses—whatever it envisages they are—and step back from its permanent colonies to allow the people of Francophone Africa to decide on their preferred path to the future.

After nearly 200 years of occupation, the people have had good reasons to say France should leave.

The restlessness and coups that have become commonplace in the region are symptoms of deeper underlying social, economic, and political problems, including weak institutions, systematic disenfranchisement, poverty, corruption, and/or misappropriation of national wealth.

And as we call on France to do the honourable thing and withdraw, we should also rebuke Africa’s leaders, who have not only put their interests above those of their people but have also turned the instruments of regional intervention and development (like the AU and ECOWAS) into tools for ensuring their political survival.



Putin ally Patrushev says Russia is now fighting NATO in Ukraine

CC™ Global News

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) -One of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies said on Tuesday that Moscow was now fighting the U.S.-led NATO military alliance in Ukraine and that the West was trying to wipe Russia from the political map of the world.

Putin casts the war in Ukraine as an existential battle with an aggressive and arrogant West, and has said that Russia will use all available means to protect itself and its people against any aggressor.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev is seen by diplomats as one of the major hardline influences on Putin, who has promised victory in Ukraine despite a series of battlefield setbacks.

"The events in Ukraine are not a clash between Moscow and Kyiv - this is a military confrontation between Russia and NATO, and above all the United States and Britain," Patrushev told the Argumenti i Fakti newspaper in an interview.

"The Westerners' plans are to continue to pull Russia apart, and eventually just erase it from the political map of the world," Patrushev said.

The United States has denied Russian claims that it wants to destroy Russia, the world's biggest producer of natural resources, while President Joe Biden has cautioned that a conflict between Russia and NATO could trigger World War Three.

Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Soviet Union and United States came closest to intentional nuclear war.

The United States and its Western allies have condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine as an imperial land grab, while Ukraine has vowed to fight until the last Russian soldier is ejected from its territory.


As a former Soviet spy who has known Putin since the 1970s, Patrushev's views give an insight into thinking at the very highest levels of the Kremlin. He rebuffed CIA Director William Burns' warnings in 2021 against an invasion of Ukraine.

In a Soviet-style analysis of the West, Patrushev cast Western political elites as corrupt and controlled by trans-national corporations and business clans which planned and executed "colour revolutions" across the world.

"The American state is just a shell for a conglomerate of huge corporations that rule the country and try to dominate the world," Patrushev said.

The United States, Patrushev said, had sown chaos in Afghanistan, Vietnam and the Middle East, and had been trying for years to undermine Russia's "unique" culture and language.

Russia, he said, was a victim of Western designs to push it back to the borders of 15th century Muscovy, and accused the West of bleeding Ukraine to undermine Russia.

"There is no place for our country in the West," he said.

In response, he said, Russia would achieve economic sovereignty and financial independence but also build armed forces and special services capable of deterring any potential aggressor.

Russian business and private capital, he said, needed to be more "nationally oriented".

"The younger generation should be inspired by the ideas of creative work for the benefit of our Motherland, and not sit in the offices of Western corporations," he said.