Vladimir Putin

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Washington's Bait-And-Switch: NATO Armed Kiev Under Cover Of Ceasefire





Just over ten days ago, as the pro-independence forces in east Ukraine were on the march with significant gains on the battlefield, a ceasefire was signed in Minsk, Belarus. It turns out to be a grotesque sleight of hand, with Kiev receiving guarantees at the September 5, NATO summit in Wales that NATO members would provide the military equipment to finish the pro-independence forces in the east after the ceasefire gave time to re-group a badly beaten, largely conscript Ukrainian army.

 
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Russia Sends Second Humanitarian Convoy Into Ukraine, And Nobody Says A Word





About a month ago, when Russia sent a humanitarian convoy to aid ethnic Russians in east Ukraine, the Western world, and of course media, screamed bloody murder, with everyone from NATO to the Kiev government declaring it, without a shadow of a doubt, an invasion, a Trojan Horse, and a convoy of arms deliveries for the rebels caught in the Ukraine civil war, not necessarily in that order. Nobody thought it could possibly be just that: a convoy of humanitarian aid delivering provisions to hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle of a war. Then finally, after weeks of delays, the convoy was allowed in and after unloading its cargo, promptly returned to Russia without a single incident.

 
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Frontrunning: September 12





  • Russia faces new U.S., EU sanctions over Ukraine crisis (Reuters)
  • Glasgow pulls no punches in welcome to 'Save the Union Express' (Guardian)
  • Pound Seen Tumbling Up to 10% on Scottish Yes Vote (BBG)
  • Moscow stifles dissent as soldiers return in coffins (Reuters)
  • Ukraine's leader sees no military solution of crisis, eyes reforms (Reuters)
  • Venezuela Threatens Harvard Professor for Default Comment (BBG)
  • Australia Raises Terror Alert to Highest Level in a Decade (BBG)
  • Activist Investors Build Up Their War Chests (WSJ)
 
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George Soros Warns "This Is The Worst Possible Time" For Scottish Independence





"This is the worst possible time for Britain to consider leaving the EU – or for Scotland to break with Britain. The EU is an unfinished project of European states that have sacrificed part of their sovereignty to form an ever-closer union based on shared values and ideals. Those shared values are under attack on multiple fronts. Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine is perhaps the most immediate example but it is by no means the only one. Resurgent nationalism and illiberal democracy are on the rise within Europe, at its borders and around the globe."

 
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Russia And Iran Put Oil-For-Goods Deals Into Motion As Iran Signals Similar Arrangements Coming With China





Russia-Iran Oil-for-Goods Contracts
Representatives of the Russian and Iranian governments met in Tehran yesterday for the 11th meeting of the Iran-Russian Trade Council, where details of a ground breaking oil-for-goods swap between the two heavily sanctioned countries were revealed.

With both countries now sanctioned by the West, Russia and Iran have been in extensive negotiations on how to facilitate Iranian oil exports without breaching the UN Security Council nuclear deal that was agreed between Iran, Germany and the five UN Council permanent last January.

 
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Putin To Head Military-Industrial Commission, Sees Nuclear Deterrence As Top Task





When we exposed the shift in Russia's military doctrine towards one of nuclear deterrence and pre-emptive strikes, many eschewed it as fantastical thinking of extremists. They were wrong. Speaking at a defense meeting this morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he is taking charge of Russia's military-industrial complex:

*PUTIN SAYS NEW MILITARY DOCTRINE READY BY DEC, CALLS ENSURING NUCLEAR DETERRENT TOP DEFENSE TASK TO 2030

This does not seem like de-escalatory conversation as NATO continues to push - to justify its existence - and Putin now prepares an increasingly Cold-War-esque response threat (following an overnight nuclear missile test).

 
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Guest Post: "We" Don't Want The Ukraine Ceasefire To Hold





While unofficial reports note the ceasefire has ended, officially there has been no comment. This is not surprising, since we few believed a truce or ceasefire holding for long. The ‘rebels’ have a lot of reasons to keep fighting: first off, they were winning; and second, they were on their way to establish a land bridge to the Crimea - which would lift their isolation. And does anyone truly believe the US/EU/NATO coalition expansionism, having spent billions on their Ukraine regime change project, are going to leave it at this? Ukraine as we draw it on the map today has ceased to exist. But that doesn’t mean the west won’t be willing to give it another try.

 
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Putin, Poroshenko Speak; Kiev Church Says Russian "Under Satan's Spell", Locals Say "Ceasefire Just Theater"





So far, and contrary to most expectations, the latest ceasefire between Ukraine and the eastern separatists, which was announced early yesterday, has managed to hold up. "Contrary" because while it is the talking point of the west that it is Putin's desire to perpetuate the proxy civil war, in reality it was Ukraine's own troops who voiced against a ceasefire as we reported yesterday:  "A ceasefire would be a disaster, we would lose everything. By fighting we can resist the invasion and send them back. With a ceasefire they will consolidate and carry on after a while," said Ukrainian soldier Taras. Ironically, their rebel opponents share the same but opposite opinion: "The ceasefire is looking good for now but we know they (the Ukrainian side) are only using it to bring in more forces here and ammunition and then to hit us with renewed strength," said one rebel commander in Donetsk known by his nickname Montana. In other words, both sides believe their adversary is merely using the break in the fighting to regroup and reinforce. But for all the rhetoric and posturing, one person summarized it best: "This is no ceasefire but a theatre," said Donetsk resident Ksenia. "This war will go on for five to nine years. Slavs are killing Slavs, there can be nothing worse than that."

 
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Ukraine, Separatists Agree On Cease-Fire; EU May Suspend Sanctions





UPDATE: So far no good...*HEAVY ARTILLERY BLASTS HEARD IN UKRAINE'S MARIUPOL: RIA

While we had grown weary of trashed truces and snapped cease-fires in Israel, it appears, according to Interfax, that Ukraine and the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine (having gained notably over the army in recent days) have agreed a cease-fire:

*UKRAINE, SEPARATISTS AGREE ON CEASE-FIRE FROM 6PM TODAY, PRELIM. PROTOCOL TO CEASE-FIRE SIGNED IN MINSK: BBC

Great news, especially for Merkel (and Hollande) who has already come out and noted that the cease-fire means EU could suspend sanctions (saving face and avoiding some further escalation). The question is - how much of Putin's 7-point-peace-plan will Ukraine acquiesce to? If any?

 
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As Fighting Rages In Mariupol, Ukraine Soldiers Say President Would "Betray The Country" If He Backs Peace





"Our artillery has come and is being deployed against the rebels," said the mayor of Mariupol, Yuri Khotlubey. The commander of the Azov volunteer militia, Andriy Biletsky, said his men had regained territory from the rebels in a counter-offensive after they came within just five km (three miles) of Mariupol on Thursday. And while leaders meet in Minsk to discuss peace, "A ceasefire would be a disaster, we would lose everything. By fighting we can resist the invasion and send them back. With a ceasefire they will consolidate and carry on after a while," said Ukrainian soldier Taras.  And an interesting undercurrent has emerged: now the Ukraine army is stronly against a ceasefire, with one possibly leading all the way to yet another presidental coup. To wit: Another Ukrainian soldier who gave his name as Mykola said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - who was attending the second day of a NATO summit in Wales on Friday - would "betray the country" if he backed a peace plan at this time.

 
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Is This Putin's Ukraine Strategy?





"The West is afraid of a major war and Putin is exploiting that," says one former Kremlin adviser, adding that "his end goal is a Ukraine that is a buffer state between Russia and the West." After the recent rebel offensive, it's now militarily possible to gain full control of Donetsk and Luhansk and to create a 'land bridge' to Crimea, and "without help, Russian troops can roll ever-deeper into Ukraine." As Bloomberg reports, Vladimir Putin will continue his shadow war until he's created quasi statelets in Ukraine’s easternmost regions with veto power over the country’s future, five current and former Russian officials and advisers said. As they ominously conclude, "Ukraine's only way out is to admit defeat... the longer Ukraine waits, the more territory it will lose and the harsher demands it will face." However, as Gavekal explains, Putin may have staved off an immediate defeat but the stakes have undoubtedly been hugely raised - here are 3 scenarios.

 
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Frontrunning: September 4





  • Global stocks bounce on sign ECB could launch ABS program (Reuters)
  • Putin unveils Ukraine ceasefire plan, France halts warship (Reuters)
  • Poroshenko Flummoxes Investors With About-Face on Truce (BBG)
  • No Free Lunch for Companies as IRS Weighs Meal Tax Rules (BBG)
  • Turkey Struggles to Halt Islamic State 'Jihadist Highway' (WSJ)
  • Lego Becomes World's Largest Toy Maker on Movie Success (WSJ)
  • U.N. says $600 million needed to tackle Ebola as deaths top 1,900 (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs Named 'Stabilization Agent' for Alibaba Stock Offering (WSJ)
 
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ISIS Threatens Putin, Caliphate In Chechnya; Kadyrov Responds "You Will Be Destroyed"





ISIS threats, it would appear, are not limited to President Obama and his American allies. RIA is reporting that Russian leaders are seeking to cut access to an ISIS video posted that threatens Putin (for ties to Assad), and plans to liberate (via Caliphate) Chechnya, and calls the Chechnyan leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin puppet. The Chechnya leader took to Instagram to respond slamming "these bastards have no relation to Islam," and exclaiming if they try to threaten Russia or Chechnya "you will be destroyed."

 
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Saxo Bank Warns Swiss Franc Tail Risk Is Concerning





The chance of EURCHF breaking the peg at 1.2000 have increased from 10% to 25-30% based on European Central Bank monetary policy, geopolitical risk and a lack of policy choices for the Swiss National Bank. This means that being long EURCHF no longer is a safe bet and although the 70% chance of the floor being both defended and protected is still high, the tail-risk involved is becoming too concerning.

 
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