NATO’s army of robots continues to rush headlong towards WW3

Czech senators mull lawsuit accusing President Milos Zeman of HIGH TREASON, after he cast doubt on Russian role in 2014 ammo blast
RT.com, Apr 27 2021

A group of Czech senators is considering a constitutional lawsuit against President Milos Zeman accusing him of high treason, after he said there was not enough evidence of Russia’s involvement in a 2014 ammunitions depot blast. The head of the Czech Senate, Milos Vystrcil, told local media on Monday:

I assume that we will at least deal with the possibility of filing [a lawsuit] over high treason.

He added that lawmakers would consult experts on the matter first. The Senate factions of the two liberal-conservative parties, ODS and TOP 09, also confirmed they would discuss a proposal to file a lawsuit against the president at their meeting on Tuesday. The factions tweeted:

The steps taken by the president of the republic in recent days show that the president is not acting in the interests of the Czech Republic.

They added that the situation could “no longer be ignored.” Vystrcil and others accused Zeman of having divulged sensitive information about a live case in his TV address on Sunday, and claimed that could jeopardize the “security” of the country. In his speech, Zeman broke an almost week-long silence on the scandal that has rocked relations between the Czech Republic and Russia, insisting there was not enough evidence to back up new claims about Moscow’s involvement in the blast at an ammunitions depot in Vrbetice in 2014. He said investigators were working on two theories: one that suggested the blast was a result of the mishandling of explosives, and another that suggested “foreign intelligence service” interference, a theory that emerged only a few weeks ago. His words came amid the bitter row that occurred after the Czech government accused Moscow of involvement in the incident.

Zeman also said there was no evidence that Petrov and Boshirov were anywhere near the ammunitions depot, despite claims of their involvement. Moscow denied the allegations, but Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats immediately after leveling the accusations, prompting the Kremlin to respond in kind, declaring 20 Czech diplomats personae non gratae. Vystrcil, who was also present at the security briefings on the case, and was “provided with the details of the investigation,” later told CNN Prima that there were some “details the President chose not to disclose but must surely be aware of.” Pavel Fischer, head of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, swelled the wave of outrage, saying Zeman was not acting in the interests of the Czech people, but as Russia’s “advocate.” Meanwhile, dozens of Czech public figures, including historians, writers, film directors, and politicians, have launched a petition urging the government to file a constitutional lawsuit against the president. the petition reads:

President Zeman again acted as an advocate and agent of the Russian Federation, and not as the head of our state.

It was also signed by Michael Kocab, a former Czech minister, who oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the former Czechoslovakia in the 1990s. Zeman has not commented on the accusations so far.

Lavrov Warns Reversing Minsk Agreements Could Lead to Massacre in Donbass
Sputnik News, Apr 28 2021

In an interview with Sputnik, the Russian Foreign Minister has touched upon a wide range of issues, including the recent escalation around Ukraine, the West’s attempts to take advantage of it, as well as the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West. Ukraine should not count on military assistance from the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sputnik, weighing in on the recent Donbass escalation. He said:

There is no point in relying on military assistance from the US. Everyone always knew that. If someone had an illusion that such help would come, well, such ‘advisers’ would be worthless in any government, including the government of Zelensky.

According to Russia’s top diplomat, Zelensky’s team is “tying itself into knots” to reverse the Minsk agreements while the West, which backed the agreements at their inception, and is showing its powerlessness as it simply watches on. The foreign minister recalled Zelensky’s statement about the agreements, when the Ukrainian president became “desperate to turn Minsk agreements around” and said that the treaty “is no longer good for us, but we need it because preserving the Minsk agreements guarantee so that the sanctions against Russia will remain in place.” He said:

We ask the West, how do you assess that? They cast their eyes down in shame and cannot say anything. But I think that it’s a shame, it’s a disgrace when an international legal document is being twisted like that, and the West, which co-authored the document and backed it in the UNSC, is showing an absolute lack of power.

The West keeps trying to convince Moscow of the need to “soften” the Minsk agreements or change the sequence of the implementation of the set of measures, but doing so would lead to a massacre in Donbass, Lavrov cautioned, while slamming Kiev’s attempts to promote the need to “reaffirm” the ceasefire in Donbass. He said:

A couple of weeks ago, the Ukrainian leadership decided it is necessary to revive the ceasefire topic again. This is shameful and reproachful.

The foreign minister continued by saying that the OSCE is trying to avoid publishing fair data on the situation in Donbass, while Moscow is making an effort to ensure the regular publication of such reports. He said:

The leadership of the Special Monitoring Mission and of the OSCE itself feels very uncomfortable about this and is trying in every possible way to avoid publishing the honest data.You remember how they cried that Russia is pulling its troops closer to the border with Ukraine … And then, when the exercises ended and we made a relevant announcement, we heard spiteful exclamations from there, from the Western side, like, look, Russia was forced to back down, Russia retreated. You know, there is such an expression, a self-fulfilling prophecy, but this is about something else, this is wishful thinking. It shows that the West wants to take advantage of this, first of all, to tout its decisive word and decisive place in modern international relations. This is sad.

As the foreign minister zeroed in on the tensions prevailing between Russia and the West, especially against the background of the expulsion of Russian diplomats, he emphasised that Moscow will not indiscriminately label countries as “unfriendly” without first conducting a deep analysis before making such a decision. He said:

If we come to the conclusion that nothing else can be done, I believe the list will be updated from time to time.

The minister noted that “unfriendly” countries will be banned from hiring staff in Russia, not only among Russians, but among citizens of third nations as well. Lavrov then went on to describe as “pure schizophrenia” Prague’s official statements about the deadly 2014 blasts at the ammunition depot in Vrbetice and the high treason accusations levelled against Czech President Milos Zeman, who called for all explanations to be considered, including the possible careless handling of weapons. Lavrov said:

I cannot talk about it because I do not understand what they actually want. One can follow this like watching some sort of not-too-elegant TV series, there are a lot of schizophrenic components in this story. When President Zeman says we need to figure it out, he does not rule out the possibility that this could have been sabotage by some foreign agents. He just proposes taking into account the version that was raised by the Czech leadership, including current Prime Minister Babis: they said in 2014 that this happened because of negligence of the warehouse owner. And President Zeman just suggested considering this version, that has never been vitiated in the past seven years. Now he is accused of treason. And the parliament chairman claimed that, having pointed to the need to study all versions, President Zeman revealed a state secret … Well, is not this schizophrenia? In my opinion, this is pure schizophrenia.

Zeman’s statements come a week after the Czech government accused Russia of being behind the explosion at the Vrbetice ammunition warehouse. Following the Czech government’s accusations on Apr 17, Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats and removed the Russian state company Rosatom from the list of contenders for building a new reactor at the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. Moscow has strongly denied Prague’s accusations and linked the Czech Republic’s actions to a new wave of anti-Russian hysteria initiated led by the US. Russia responded to the expulsion of its diplomats reciprocally, expelling 20 Czech diplomats. Prague may also fall under the conditions of a recently-announced law banning the embassies of “unfriendly” countries from hiring Russian citizens.

The UK is playing a significant subversive role in relations between Russia and the EU, the Russian foreign minister stressed. He said:

As far as the relations between Russia and Europe are concerned, I still believe that the UK is playing an active and a very serious subversive role. It withdrew from the EU, but we see no decrease in its activities on this track. On the contrary, they are trying to influence EU member states’ approaches to Russia to the maximum possible extent. At the same time, you know, they send us signals, they propose establishing contacts. This means, they do not shy away from communication, but try to discourage others. Again, probably, their desire to have a monopoly of these contacts and again prove that they are superior to others.

In this vein, he added that Russia has no intention of joining the G7 format, as it believes the group has lost its significance in the new world order. He said:

We have repeatedly said we will never rejoin it. There will be no G8, this is a thing of the past. Their statements calling for Russia to join the format are only aimed at promoting their own authority.

The G8 format, established in 1998, was reduced to G7 in 2014, when the other member states accused Russia of interference in Ukraine’s domestic affairs following Crimea’s reunification with Russia, and slapped sanctions on Moscow.

Brussels Wants SWIFT Shut-Off, Halt to Russian Energy Use ‘If Ukraine Aggression Continues’
Ilya Tsukanov, Sputnik News, Apr 28 2021

Tensions in war-torn eastern Ukraine between Kiev and the breakaway Donbass republics escalated this spring after the Ukrainian government mobilised its troops, prompting Donbass leaders to express fears of a general offensive. Moscow, which serves as a guarantor of the Minsk peace agreements, has urged calm and warned Kiev against any escalations. Over 50 European Parliament lawmakers have tabled a resolution proposing disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT payment system and halting the purchase of Russian oil and gas supplies if Moscow’s alleged “aggression and continued destabilisation of Ukraine, hostile behaviour towards and outright attacks on EU member states and societies” escalates into military action. In a draft resolution tabled on Wednesday “on Russia, the case of Alexei Navalny, the military build-up on Ukraine’s border and Russian attacks in the Czech Republic,” the group of mostly Eastern European lawmakers suggested that if the current tensions over Ukraine turn into an outright Russian invasion, imports of “oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled.”

The resolution does not clarify what might provoke Russia to “invade” Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly urged the current government in Kiev to make good on its commitments under the Minsk peace accords. The resolution goes on to blame Moscow for the deterioration of the security situation in eastern Ukraine, and criticises Russia for suspending “the right of innocent passage for warships and commercial vessels” through the Kerch Strait until Oct 31. Calling Navalny “Russia’s best known anti-corruption activist and opposition politician,” the resolution demands his immediate release, and calls for an investigation into the alleged “poisoning” and “assassination attempt” against him. The resolution goes on to accuse Russia of a litany of crimes, including election meddling, “the use of disinformation, deep fakes, malicious cyber-attacks, sabotage and use of chemical weapons,” and the latest claims of Russian involvement in arms depot blasts in the Czech Republic, and urges the EU to “reduce its dependence on Russian energy,” stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and cancel multi-billion-dollar nuclear power plant construction projects with Rosatom.

Also on Wednesday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters that relations between Moscow and Brussels were at a “low point” and could deteriorate further in the future. Borrell accused Russia of “pretending” to be a neutral mediator in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and claimed Moscow was not interested in the realisation of the Minsk agreements. He alleged:

Up to now, Russia has shown no willingness to end the conflict on terms that would safeguard Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. For Russia, the full implementation of the Minsk agreement is not a key condition. For us, it is.

Under the terms of the Minsk accords, signed in early 2015 in the Belarusian capital after months of brutal fighting between Kiev forces and militias in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, the breakaways would return to Ukrainian jurisdiction in exchange for broad autonomy. The two sides made good on their promises to halt fighting and move heavy military equipment away from the line of contact, but the agreement’s implementation has since been stalled, with Ukrainian lawmakers refusing to proceed with the legislation to grant the Donbass autonomy. Earlier on Wednesday, in an interview with Sputnik, Lavrov accused Western nations of trying to convince Moscow to “soften” the Minsk accords and to change the sequence of the implementation of its provisions, and warned that doing so would lead to a massacre of its residents.

CENTCOM chief: US maintains a NATO Article 5 commitment to Turkey
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Apr 28 2021

General Kenneth McKenzie, chief of CENTCOM, applauded the scheduled meeting of Biden and Erdoğan on the sidelines of the NATO summit to be held in Brussels on Jun 14. In a virtual discussion with the AEI, the commander praised Turkey as “a long-standing ally” and “valued NATO partner.” Turkey first proved its value to the US in the Korean War, thereby gaining NATO membership in 1952. He also reiterated the fact that the US maintains a NATO Article 5 commitment to Ankara, which mandates all NATO members to come to the military assistance of any other member or members seeking it, meaning an attack against one is construed as an attack against all. Article 5 was first invoked in 2001 after the attacks in NYC and the Pentagon, and was used as the basis of NATO’s now twenty-year war in Afghanistan (with related deployments to Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) as well as in Operation Active Endeavour naval surveillance and interdiction throughout the Mediterranean Sea (succeeded by Operation Sea Guardian), Operation Eagle Assist (AWACS aircraft deployment over the US) and five other operations.

NATO’s Article 4, which calls for military consultations between all NATO members when “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened,” has been activated four times at Turkey’s request: in regard to Iraq in 2003 and to Syria twice in 2012 and once in 2020. As a result of the 2012 requests, NATO has maintained three Patriot anti-ballistic missile batteries in Turkey since 2013, also in alleged response to threats from Syria. General McKenzie also said Turkey has legitimate security concerns with regard to its borders with Iraq and Syria, which the US fully supports. In violation of international law, Ankara maintains military bases in northern Iraq and northeastern Syria. It is currently conducting a large-scale military offensive in Iraq and has been waging war and supporting a proxy war in Syria for seven years. The US also supports those actions. Despite differences over Turkey acquiring S-400 anti-aircraft weapons from Russia, McKenzie hastened to say:

You can still be friends, even if you disagree. There are some areas that we disagree on. So I think a good sign is the fact that the two presidents are going to talk at the NATO summit, I think coming up in the next month or so, and I think that’s a positive step forward.

Turkey has recently been directly involved in military actions in Iraq, Syria and Libya and in proxy wars in the South Caucasus and Yemen. It is involved in a territorial dispute with Greece in the Aegean Sea and in a sovereignty dispute with Cyprus, either of which could erupt into a military conflict at any moment. Those locations should be kept in mind in reading the following comments from McKenzie’s colleague General Tod Wolters, SACEUR and commander of EUCOM, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month:

Turkey remains a strategic US Ally, critical to NATO and US interests in Europe, Eurasia, North Africa, and the Middle East. Turkey retains a pivotal role in countering Russia.

On the last quote, the Turkish government has condemned Crimea’s return to Russia in 2014 and demanded Russia cede control of it, and has consistently trumpeted the rights and denounced the alleged oppression of Crimea’s ethnic Turkic Tatars in a manner that unavoidably suggests it would be ready to intervene on their behalf. Not only does the Pentagon support Turkey’s wars and proxy wars in the present, the recent past and to come, but it confirms it will rally its NATO allies to enter armed conflict on behalf of Turkey should the latter request it.

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