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Lavrov, Blinken Reportedly Had ‘Testy Exchange Over Ukraine’




Sputnik: Lavrov, Blinken Reportedly Had ‘Testy Exchange Over Ukraine’ at OSCE Gathering

Over the past few weeks, Washington has repeatedly voiced concern about Moscow allegedly laying the groundwork for a potential invasion of Ukraine with a buildup of Russian forces on the nation’s border with its immediate neighbour. The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected the allegations.

There was “a testy exchange over Ukraine” between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at an Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe dinner in Stockholm earlier this week, Bloomberg has reported.

The news outlet cited unnamed sources as saying that the pair’s showdown took place during the 1 December gathering attended by “dozens of their colleagues”.


WNU Editor: TASS is being diplomatic on what happened …. Lavrov-Blinken meeting enabled debate on divergent Russian-US positions, says Kremlin (TASS). But other Russian media sources are saying that it got very “testy” at the end of what became a very short meeting, and that is why there has been a rush to have this virtual summit between Biden and Putin this Tuesday.

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President Biden Is Now Saying That Any Russian Incursion Into Ukraine Will Be Seen As an Invasion



Daily Mail: ‘Any incursion into Ukraine is an invasion’: Blundering Biden is sent out with a SCRIPT to read as White House scrambles to clear up mess caused by his press conference gaffe that was taken as a ‘green-light’ for Russian attack

* Biden joined the concerted White House cleanup effort Thursday morning

* He said if ‘any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion’

* He also warned there would be a response to cyber attacks or ‘Little Green Men’ – Russian forces disguised as militia

* His comments came after furious pushback from Ukraine

* ‘We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,’ wrote Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky

* Ukraine’s foreign minister said Biden’s comments could invite a Russian attack

* VP Kamala Harris snapped at NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie when she told the vice president that the White House’s messaging was unclear

* She reiterated that any invasion of Ukraine’s borders by Russia would be come at a ‘severe cost’

President Joe Biden today used a script to offer his fulsome backing to Ukraine after he yesterday inflamed the invasion crisis by suggesting a ‘minor incursion’ by Russia would go unpunished.

Biden said Thursday a move by any Russian forces into Ukraine would constitute an unacceptable invasion.

Biden also said the U.S. would respond to any moves by ‘Little Green Men’, a reference to Russian soldiers posing as militia, as well as cyber actions and ‘paramilitary tactics.’


Update #1: Biden, White House Seek to Define Ukraine ‘Invasion’ Amid Confusion (Reuters)

Update #2: Biden clarifies stance on a Russian incursion in Ukraine: ‘Russia will pay a heavy price’ if units move across Ukrainian border (CNN)

Update #3: Biden clarifies comments on Ukraine, says any Russian move across border would be an ‘invasion’ (ABC News)

WNU Editor: This is both embarrassing and dangerous. The Kremlin believes that the Biden administration is dysfunctional and disorganized. This only reinforces that perception.

The US Secretary of State is also clarifying the U.S. position on the consequences of any Russian military “incursion” into Ukraine …. US: Swift, severe response if Russia sends troops to Ukraine (AP).

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President Biden Again ‘Makes No Apologies For’ Afghanistan Withdrawal



Biden on his withdrawal from Afghanistan: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial)

January 19, 2022

The Week: Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit: ‘I make no apologies for what I did’

President Biden held a press conference on Wednesday, marking the end of his first year in office, and offered a firm defense of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“I make no apologies for what I did,” Biden told reporters.

His administration drew scrutiny for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in August, only for the Taliban to rapidly take control of the country, with some critics arguing the U.S. should have known how quickly the government would fall without American support.

But Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.


Update #1: Biden ‘Makes No Apologies’ for Afghanistan Withdrawal, Regrets Taliban Rule, ISIS-K Attack — Newsweek

Update #2: Joe Biden ‘Makes No Apologies For’ Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal — PJ Media

WNU Editor: Small comfort to the people of Afghanistan who allied with the U.S. to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban and who are now left adrift.

In the meantime the Afghan humanitarian crisis continues (see below).

Afghanistan: 500,000 jobs lost since Taliban takeover (UN News)

ILO report says Afghan crisis causing massive job losses (AP)

IRC warns of growing crisis in Afghanistan as millions pushed to brink of famine and UN releases historic $5 billion appeal (IRC)

Famine: new battleground for displaced Afghans – a photo essay (The Guardian)

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Will a Russian Invasion of Ukraine Damage the Russian Defense Industry?



Breaking Defense: Russia’s defense industry might not survive an invasion of Ukraine

Russian industry is already struggling with sanctions and export limits. An invasion of Ukraine could be disastrous for them – and, politically, might spell doom for Vladimir Putin’s regime.

KYIV: Russian troops on the Ukrainian borders of both Russia and its pliant ally, Belarus, still hover at the 100,000 mark. This is accompanied by a naval buildup in the Azov Sea where Russian vessels outnumber Ukrainian ships by a ratio of 4 to 1. While the Russian presence is understandably causing heartburn in Ukrainian circles, it’s also causing agita in a surprising place: inside Russia’s defense industry.

The most recent full-scale exhibition of Russian military hardware was at the Nov. 2021 Dubai Air Show, where the subject of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would decide to have his troops mount an invasion was a popular one among the Russian delegation. This was the largest contingent of Russian defense industry representatives to ever attend this event, with a number of serious players attending in hopes of breaking through in the regional market.


WNU Editor: The Russian defense industry will adapt. And there are many customers around the world who will continue to buy Russian weapons …. sanctions or not.

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