Ukrainian authorities decision to halt gas supplies to Donetsk amid the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe occurring there "bear the hallmarks of genocide," blasted Russia's Vladimir Putin during an awkward press conference with Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades (who he had just agreed bilateral military and trade deals with). "Apparently, some responsible leaders of the modern-day Ukraine are unable to understand the importance of humanitarian issues," Sputnik News reports Putin concluded. In an attempt to gain leverage and force Ukraine's hand however, Russia's Gazprom has indicated it intends to suspend gas deliveries to Ukraine (and thus Europe via pipelines) unless Kiev makes a further prepayment.
We don't get it, and we definitely don’t get why nobody is asking any questions. The IMF and EU make a lot of noise – through the Eurogroup – about all the conditions Greece has to address to get even a mild extension of support, while the same IMF and EU keep on handing out cash to Ukraine without as much as a whisper – at least publicly...
"We don't want to scare everybody, but we are preparing for full-scale war," warns Vadym Prystaiko - Ukraine's deputy foreign minister - telling CBC during a stunning interview that "what we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little." Prystaiko concludes, "we would like [The West] to send lethal weapons to Ukraine... weapons to allow us to defend ourselves."
- Greece requests euro zone loan extension, offers big concessions (Reuters)
- Germany Rejects Loan Request Saying Greece Must Meet Conditions (BBG)
- Did the Fed Just Enter the Currency Wars (BBG)
- French consumer prices fall for first time since 2009 (Reuters)
- Oil falls sharply after U.S. crude inventories rise (Reuters)
- High-Speed Firm Virtu Revives IPO Plans (WSJ)
- Fed Tiptoes Into Rate-Hike Debate (Hilsenrath)
- Rajoy’s Nemesis Is Back: Anti-Graft Editor Targets Vote (BBG)
Last week, German equities soared to record highs with the Dax surpassing 11K, not only on the imminent arrival of the ECB's Q€ which provides a risk-less bid to all asset classes, but on news that a second Ukraine ceasefire had been achieved in Minsk. Well, just like the first Minsk "ceasefire", one can promptly forget the just as "successful" second one, because overnight, after a several week siege, the Ukraine town of Debaltseve finally fell to rebel forces with "troops of Ukraine’s Armed Forces laying down arms en masse,” according to Donetsk rebel official Maxim Leschenko says, cited by Tass news service.
One thing is becoming clear: Greece will almost certainly not last until the proverbial D-Day on February 28 before it either i) runs out of money, ii) is forced to sign a "bailout extension" deal with the Eurogroup thus crushing its credibility with the people, or iii) exits the Eurozone. Needless to say, two of the three above options are very unpleasant for Greek savers, assuming any are left. And it is those savers that the Eurozone is directly targeting when it does everything in its power to provoke a bank run with statement such as these: "The situation of the banks is getting more and more difficult every day," said a European official. "In the end, in order to safeguard the banking system, capital controls will probably have to be imposed."
Vladimir Putin says he is "more optimist than pessimist" on Ukraine, but warns that there will be "no end to war if Kiev believes in a military solution." Noting that he believes there has been an "overall decrease" in military activity, he notes that Debaltseve was "possible to forecast," and then proclaims:
*PUTIN SAYS U.S. ARMS ALREADY BEING SUPPLIED TO UKRAINE
Of course, we already have "YouTube" proof of American military presence in Ukraine (which for Washington would have been good enough to wage war) but Putin offers no specific proof and adds rather pointedly that "most Ukraine troops want no part of fractricidal war."
War: people dying from sheer misery, people dying because they have no access to the services we take for granted, and even people being shelled by their own government. All these things are happening as we speak, and we accept them lying down – on our couches - and choose to ignore and even deny them, because we are trapped in narratives spun by those who see a profit in spreading these narratives. And who have a solid grip on what gets spun and what is not. This is not going to end well. Not unless we speak up. Not for anyone amongst us. This one will not pass by your door, or mine. We’re approaching decision time. For the world, for your life and mine. It’s time to pick sides.
The world has begun to devolve into two distinct factions. The imperialist actions of the American Empire in the Middle East and Ukraine have pushed Russia, China, India, Brazil, and Iran closer together regarding trade deals; transacting commerce without using the USD; oil and gas pipelines; and military cooperation. Totalitarian regimes are known for using foreign threats to distract the populace from domestic suffering. As a matter of fact, all regimes use this tactic. When the global economy rips apart at the seams due to the debt saturation, world leaders will attempt to blame other countries for their dire circumstances. Foreign enemies are good for business. Ask our Nobel Peace Prize winning President. War is inevitable.
Ukraine is back in the news cycle and for good reason as shelling continues even after the Minsk 'truce' deal. So what? The average American might ask. Ukraine is half a world away. Who cares what happens there? Putting aside the humanitarian reasons for not prolonging or intensifying a regional conflict, we risk not just only America's century-long ties with western Europe, but possibly the next world war. We are pushing our agenda and armaments right up against the Russian border -- for reasons that are still completely opaque at this time -- and Russia, understandably, will simply not stand for that.
NATO's Stoltenberg Claims "Documented Evidence" Of Russian Military Presence In Ukraine, OSCE Chief Says NoSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/13/2015 12:51 -0500
For the 4th time in February, NATO dispatched Typhoon jets to track a Russian Il-20 today over The Baltic Sea. However, as fighting rages in Ukraine - despite the apparent market excitement at a truce deal - today's biggest news is NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's claims that his alliance has evidence of Russian military presence in Ukraine, despite the 'independent' OSCE chief having stated he saw no Russian troops in Ukraine's east. One wonders if NATO has YouTube proof like that of the American-accented fighter we recently noted.
How geo-politics continues to influence macro markets
Ukraine Ceasefire Deal Agreed After Negotiations All-Nighter; Doubts Remain About Its ImplementationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/12/2015 06:34 -0500
It would have simply been too much to handle for Europe and the risk off algos if hours after the embarrassing failure of the emergency Eurogroup meeting in Brussels failed to reach any deal involving Greece, the Ukraine ceasefire negotiations in Minsk were also to fall apart. Again. Which is probably why after a marathon session lasting 17 hours, and following repeated trial balloons that a deal had and/or had not been reached, a short while ago all major media outlets were delighted to finally blast some Risk On news namely that leaders of France and Germany brokered a renewed deal to end Ukraine’s 10-month civil war in the separatist eastern region, which means that we have a Minsk-signed Ukraine ceasefire. Again.
First there was The BRIC nations; then South Africa was rolled in and the group became BRICS; but with news today (following yesterday's Russian invitations for Greece's new leader to meet with Vladimir Putin) that Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been invited to visit Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, we wonder if the growing non-dollar partnership will be expanded to BRICSH as The Hellenic Republic prepares to walk away from its European overlords 'partners'.
Since the anti-austerity Syriza party's victory in Greece's recent general election, the “Greek problem" is again preoccupying markets and policymakers throughout Europe. Some fear a return to the uncertainty of 2012, when many thought that a Greek default and exit from the eurozone were imminent.