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NATO FINALLY UNDERSTANDS THAT RUSSIA'S "AMBITIONS" GO BEYOND UKRAINE AND IS READY FOR WAR

Political strategic level
Admiral Rob Bauer, chairman of NATO's military committee, told the Portuguese TV channel RTP that the bloc is ready for war, but needs to switch to a "peacetime war economy" and rearm.
The Admiral noted that for a long time NATO has had the initiative to decide when, where and how many troops should be sent to address a particular problem. But Russia has shown up and, as Bauer noted, it may "come uninvited". The Admiral stressed that the Russian Federation is seeking to rebuild the USSR and its strategic objectives are not limited to Ukraine.
NATO is aware that Russia's ambitions go beyond Ukraine and does not rule out a direct military confrontation with it. However, the risk of nuclear war is still low. "I think that Vladimir Putin is not crazy and that is good news. His ideas are not the same as ours. But he is not crazy," the Admiral noted.
Finally. A breath of fresh air in the vapour of the Alliance's usual linguistic breathlessness. Yes, we need to fire up the military industry. Yes - paradoxical as it sounds, we need to threaten the collective Putin with war if we want to end the war. And yes, Russia's target is not Ukraine, but the war criminals in the Kremlin, not the crazies.
Therefore, the news that Ukraine and its Western allies are in fast-track negotiations on the possibility of supplying the attacked country with long-range missiles and warplanes is another right step that should have been taken nine years ago.
Mikhail Podoliak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Ukraine's supporters in the West "understand how the war is developing" and that there is a need to supply aircraft capable of covering the armoured fighting vehicles that Poland, the United States, Germany and other countries pledged to supply at the beginning of the month.
"We need to work on this. We need to show the real picture of this war," said Mr Podoliak. "We need to speak intelligently and tell them, for example, 'This and this will reduce the number of casualties, this will reduce the burden on infrastructure. This and this will reduce the threat to the security of the European continent, this and this will help to keep the war localised". And we are doing it."
Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday that Western countries providing arms and money to Ukraine to help it in its war with Russia were "targeting" active participants in the conflict. Mr Orban has refused to send arms to neighbouring Ukraine and has sought to block EU funds for military aid.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it would summon the Hungarian ambassador and issue a note on Orban's remarks. Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said that Orban had told journalists that Ukraine was a "no man's land" and compared it to Afghanistan.
"Such statements are completely unacceptable. Budapest continues on its course of deliberately destroying relations between Ukraine and Hungary," said Mr Nikolenko. Nikolenko said in a Facebook post.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will try to bring the war in Ukraine to an end through direct talks with Russian Führer Vladimir Putin. "I will talk to Putin again on the phone because we have to talk to each other. It is Putin who has to withdraw the troops from Ukraine and put an end to this horrible, senseless war that has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives," the German Chancellor said. He noted that the situation will not change until Russia stops its aggression against Ukraine.
Things will change, and for the worse, if the so-called leaders of the strong Western powers, with bowed knees and wet palms, call the world's No. 1 terrorist and beg for mercy. Every such call to the Kremlin is an expression of Western weakness. Putin's collective operating principle, like that of any street thug, is as clear as the palm of his hand - punch the coward until he falls down and then kick him with your feet. This rule was most accurately stated by Zhirinovsky, who is now rubbing Kobzon's back with sulphur cream.
Several powerful explosions at Iran's strategic facilities took place overnight. Military warehouses, an ammunition production centre and an air force base were attacked. According to the IRNA news agency, a large motor oil factory in the town of Shahid Salimi in East Azerbaijan province caught fire, while the Tasnim news agency reported that a military warehouse in the central province of Isfahan and an ammunition production centre were attacked by drones.
There were also reports of an explosion at an air force base in the western Iranian city of Dizful, as well as explosions and fires in the cities of Hamadan (western Iran) and Resht (northern Iran). Explosions were also heard in the Iranian capital Tehran. Witnesses say that planes were lifted into the sky over the city. The Iranian Air Force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have declared a full military alert and the internet has been shut down throughout Iran.
Middle Eastern sources report that Israel has launched a military operation against Iran. However, neither the Israeli government nor the army has made any official statement to this effect. Israeli officials rarely acknowledge operations by the country's covert military units or the Mossad intelligence agency.
In the early hours of the morning, Iran's defence ministry reported several drone attacks on a military factory in the country's central city of Isfahan, stressing that the attacks were "unsuccessful" and that there were no casualties.
Both Allah and Yahweh are punishing all those who contribute to Russia's genocide of Ukrainians. As they do for all others who kill, rape, torture and commit violence.
Petr Pavel, a former army commander and senior NATO official, won the Czech presidential election on Saturday, promising to maintain the Western course and to reduce political differences in society. Pavel, a 61-year-old retired general running for the first time, received 58.3% of the vote in all polling stations, defeating billionaire, Putin crony, Bolshevik firebrand and ex-prime minister Andrej Babiš, who for a decade has been a dominant but polarising force in Czech politics.
Ahead of next week's EU-Ukraine summit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the bloc unconditionally supports Ukraine and that the country needs to confront Russian attacks to defend European values. "We are on Ukraine's side without any ifs and buts," von der Leyen said on Saturday in a speech at an event organised by her party, the Christian Democratic CDU, in Düsseldorf, Germany.
On Sunday, Russia said it would not hold annual talks with Japan on the renewal of a pact allowing Japanese fishermen to fish near the disputed islands because of Japan's anti-Russian measures. The islands, which lie off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, are known as the Kuril Islands in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, and have been the subject of tension between the neighbours for decades.
"In view of the anti-Russian measures taken by the Japanese government <...> the Russian side has informed Tokyo that it is unable to agree on intergovernmental consultations on the implementation of this agreement," Russia's foreign ministry said.
Operational level
No change.
German arms maker Rheinmetall is ready to sharply increase production of tank and artillery ammunition to meet strong demand in Ukraine and the West, and may start production of HIMARS multiple rocket launchers in Germany, its CEO Armin Papperger told Reuters.
"Rheinmetall produces a range of defence products, including the 120 mm cannon for the Leopard 2 tank.
"We can produce 240,000 rounds of 120 mm tank ammunition a year, which is more than the whole world needs," Papperger told Reuters in an interview. He added that the production capacity for 155 mm artillery shells could be increased to 450 000-500 000 per year, which could be done immediately. Rheinmetall produced an estimated 60,000-70,000 tanks and artillery shells each in 2022.
"We are approaching €30 billion worth of orders and next year I expect to reach €40 billion (in order backlogs)," said the company's CEO.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denounced the idea of neutrality in sport at a time when his country's athletes are fighting and dying in the war, while their Russian counterparts may be allowed to compete. Calling his efforts a "marathon of honesty" to prevent Russian athletes from participating in the 2024 Olympics, Mr Zelensky said their participation would normalise the Russian invasion of his country.
"There is no such thing as neutrality when there is a war like this. And we know how often tyrannies try to use sport for their own ideological interests," Mr Zelensky said in a video address on Saturday evening.
On Friday, Mr Zelensky said Ukraine would launch an international campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.
In the morning, the Ukrainian army announced that its forces had repelled an attack on Blahodatne in the eastern Donetsk region, while the Russian private military group Wagner said it had taken control of the village. "Units of the Ukrainian Defence Forces repelled attacks by the invaders in the areas of Blahodatne, Donetsk region," said the daily eastern message of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, referring to the battles on Saturday.
With the loss of Soledar and the transformation of Bakhmut into a second Mariupol, the tactical victories in these areas are presented as having significant operational significance. The loss of Blahodatne, and in particular the control of the 05-13 roadblock leading to Bakhmut, would open up the northern approaches to Bakhmut to a direct assault by the Russian Marauders. According to our data yesterday, the Ukrainians had already lost control of this section.
Tactical level
Three people were killed in a Russian strike in a residential area of the eastern Ukrainian town of Kostantynivka on Saturday, the regional governor said. Fourteen other people were injured in the attack, which also damaged four apartment blocks and a hotel.
Russian fascists continue to destroy Ukraine's critical infrastructure and attack civilian targets and residential areas.
Over the past day, the Russian occupiers have carried out 1 rocket and 32 air strikes and more than 65 volley fire attacks on targets along the front line. These attacks have mainly affected civilians.
The threat of air and missile strikes remains high throughout Ukraine.
The enemy continues its offensive operations along the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka axes. On the Kupyansk, Lyman, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson axes, Russian forces remain on the defensive.
Russian marauders control all approaches to Bakhmut on the north, north-east, east, south-east and south. Intense fighting continues at Krasna Hora and on both sides of the Bakhmutka River in this area. In the south and south-west, the Russians continue to push towards the Časiv Yar.
The enemy is suffering heavy losses. Up to 300 mercenaries of the Wagner Group, a private military company, have been admitted to the 15th hospital in the town of Juvileyn (Luhansk region) for treatment. Local medics are refusing to provide medical assistance to the mercenaries due to the fact that most of them are carriers of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, tuberculosis and pneumonia.
During the past day, the Ukrainian Air Force has launched 4 air strikes against Russian troop concentrations. Ukrainian rocket and artillery units hit 2 command posts, 2 enemy air defence positions, 6 troop concentrations, an ammunition depot and a radio electronic warfare station.
The Yaroslavl Mayor's Office decided to grant a lump sum of 10 000 roubles (approximately €130) to the survivors of the Leningrad blockade. One of them, Lidiya Churliskiene, a current resident of Yaroslavl (clearly a Lithuanian surname), who was born in Leningrad and was later repressed in 1942 with her mother as the daughter of an "enemy of the people" and deported to the Siberian labour camps, had to put on a Soviet military uniform with a "Z" symbol.
Photo: Lidija Čurliskienė, the 83-year-old daughter of an "enemy of the people", a deportee and orphanage pupil, is used for propaganda to humiliate the old woman once again.
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