Thursday, March 31, 2022

Washington's Playbook for Destabilizing Russia - Part 1 - The Non-military Options

One of Washington's most influential think tanks, in part, because it is heavily funded by the U.S. government as shown here:


...and here:


...published a fascinating research brief back in 2019 on how Washington could destabilize Russia, a subject that is particularly pertinent given the ongoing military operations in Ukraine:



In this brief, the authors note that Russia remains a powerful nation that still manages to be a peer competitor to the United States in several key areas.  While observing that "some level of competition with Russia is inevitable", RAND assessed "cost-imposing options" that could unbalance and overextend Russia.  These options would ideally place heavier burdens on Russia than would be imposed on the United States.  Since this report is copyrighted (even though taxpayers have funded it), I will not be able to supply you with screen captures of the information included.


The authors outline a total of six cost-imposing options as follows with each option be assessed using three metrics; the likelihood of success in extending Russia, the benefits and costs/risks of each option.  For the purposes of the first part of this two part posting, we will examine RAND's three recommended non-military cost-imposing options.


1.) Economic cost-imposing options which includes expanding U.S. energy production, imposing deeper trade and financial sanctions, increasing Europe's ability to import natural gas from non-Russia suppliers and encouraging the emigration of skilled labor and well-educated youth from Russia.


With Washington putting pressure on the Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline, Europe has few options for importing natural gas other than importing LNG from the United States, a move that plays right into the hands of the American oil industry, a substantial supporter of Washington's political class.  As Europe has found out this winter, there are significant unforeseen economic consequences to an energy shortage.


Here is a table showing the likelihood of success, benefits and costs/risks of each option:

2.) Geopolitical cost-imposing options which includes providing lethal aid to Ukraine, increase support to Syrian rebels, promoting liberalization in Belarus, expanding ties in the South Caucasus, reduce Russian influence in Central Asia, flip Transnistria and expel Russian troops from the region.


Here is a brief quote from the report on the Ukraine option which seems prescient:


"Providing lethal aid to Ukraine would exploit Russia’s greatest point of external vulnerability. But any increase in U.S. military arms and advice to Ukraine would need to be carefully calibrated to increase the costs to Russia of sustaining its existing commitment without provoking a much wider conflict in which Russia, by reason of proximity, would have significant advantages."


As Washington found out the hard way, prolonged military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq can prove to be non-winnable and extremely costly, a lesson that Moscow could have taught the political class in the Capitol after its own experience in Afghanistan.  As well, Washington should have learned that supporting rebels is not a workable option after its own support for the rebels in 1980s Afghanistan led directly to the formation of al-Qaeda.


Here is a table showing the likelihood of success, benefits and costs/risks of each option:


3.) Ideological and informational cost-imposing options which includes diminishing faith in the Russian electoral system, creating the perception that is not pursuing the public interest, encouraging domestic protests and other non-violent resistance, undermining Russia's image abroad.


Ironically, the first two of these options seem to be playing out in the United States now!  Given the close and growing geopolitical ties between Russia and China, it is highly likely that any efforts by Washington to discredit Russia will have exactly the opposite effect, pushing the two most likely heirs of global supremacy closer together.


Here is a table showing the likelihood of success, benefits and costs/risks of each option:



Let's close this posting.  RAND is obviously a very politically connected global policy think tank despite claiming that it is non-partisan.  It exists to serve its political masters/funders in Washington and it would appear that it is highly influential in the hallowed halls of the ruling class.  Like the vast majority of politicians, RAND sees the world through the eyes of America's global supremacy and seems to advise its political masters as such, seemingly with no ability to understand that every action that Washington imposes on the global stage has a series of unintended consequences that ripple through the geopolitical ecosystem.


In part 2 of this posting, we will examine RAND's recommended military cost-imposing options that could destabilize Russia and remove it as a threat to Washington's global hegemony and both reestablish and reaffirm the unipolar world.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

An Update on the Evolution of Central Bank Digital Currencies - March 2022

Over the past two years, it has become very apparent that certain nations including Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have been chosen as test cases for the new globalist reality that is being undertaken by the ruling class.  One of the key aspects of our "better future" is the rollout of Central Bank Digital Currencies or CBDCs which will form an essential role in how individuals are governed in the future.  While the world was distracted with all things COVID-19 and is now distracted with the situation in Ukraine, the global powerbrokers are moving ahead with their cashless future agenda as you will see in this posting.


Let's look at some recent moves by three key nations:


1.) Canada:  Here is a recent announcement from the Bank of Canada:


MIT's Digital Currency Initiative (DIC) claims that it is "...empower(ing) individuals by making it as fast and easy to move value across the world as it is to move information".  Here is the announcement from MIT's standpoint:


MIT's Digital Currency Initiative has the following goals:


1.) Conduct research on blockchain and digital currency, broadly defined within two categories:

a.) Core software and infrastructure development that addresses questions about security, stability, scalability, privacy, and the internal economics of these systems

b.) Pilot projects and other research initiatives aimed at exploring and testing applications and use cases for the technology within business, government and society at large.

2.) Be a neutral convener for governments, nonprofits, and the private sector to research and test concepts with high social impact.

3.) Foster diversity and inclusion in the development and adoption of this technology by promoting access to educational resources among a wider body of students inside and outside MIT.


4.) Equip students with skills to drive innovation blockchain technology.


 ...and the following values:


1.) Serve the public good

2.) Have real-world impact

3.) Act with integrity and rigor

4.) Have the courage to rethink everything from the ground up

5.) Challenge everything and be fearless


The goal of DCI was to bring together the brightest minds at MIT and elsewhere to conduct research that is necessary to support eh development of digital currency and blockchain technology and is working together with other educational and research institutes to research, run polio use cases of the technology and develop open source software that will aid in the roll-out of CBDCs.


2.) United States: The Biden Administration recently issued an Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets as shown here:


In this wide-ranging Executive Order, the Biden Administration outlines its game plan for digital assets including cryptocurrencies and, most importantly from the Federal Reserve's viewpoint, the issuance of a United States CBDC since the Fed does not have the legal authority to issue a CBDC....yet.  


Here are some pertinent extracts from the EO:


"Policy and Actions Related to United States Central Bank Digital Currencies.  

(a)  The policy of my Administration on a United States CBDC is as follows:


 (i)    Sovereign money is at the core of a well-functioning financial system, macroeconomic stabilization policies, and economic growth.  My Administration places the highest urgency on research and development efforts into the potential design and deployment options of a United States CBDC.  These efforts should include assessments of possible benefits and risks for consumers, investors, and businesses; financial stability and systemic risk; payment systems; national security; the ability to exercise human rights; financial inclusion and equity; and the actions required to launch a United States CBDC if doing so is deemed to be in the national interest. 


 (ii)   My Administration sees merit in showcasing United States leadership and participation in international fora related to CBDCs and in multicountry conversations and pilot projects involving CBDCs.  Any future dollar payment system should be designed in a way that is consistent with United States priorities (as outlined in section 4(a)(i) of this order) and democratic values, including privacy protections, and that ensures the global financial system has appropriate transparency, connectivity, and platform and architecture interoperability or transferability, as appropriate.


(iii)  A United States CBDC may have the potential to support efficient and low-cost transactions, particularly for crossborder funds transfers and payments, and to foster greater access to the financial system, with fewer of the risks posed by private sector-administered digital assets.  A United States CBDC that is interoperable with CBDCs issued by other monetary authorities could facilitate faster and lower-cost cross-border payments and potentially boost economic growth, support the continued centrality of the United States within the international financial system, and help to protect the unique role that the dollar plays in global finance.  There are also, however, potential risks and downsides to consider.  We should prioritize timely assessments of potential benefits and risks under various designs to ensure that the United States remains a leader in the international financial system."


Under the Executive Order, within 180 days of the EO, the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of tHomeland Security, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Director of National Intelligence and the head of other relevant agencies shall provide a report to the President which included the following regarding a U.S. CBDC:


"(i) the potential implications of a United States CBDC, based on the possible design choices, for national interests, including implications for economic growth and stability;


(ii) the potential implications a United States CBDC might have on financial inclusion;


(iii) the potential relationship between a CBDC and private sector-administered digital assets;


(iv) the future of sovereign and privately produced money globally and implications for our financial system and democracy;


(v) the extent to which foreign CBDCs could displace existing currencies and alter the payment system in ways that could undermine United States financial centrality;


(vi) the potential implications for national security and financial crime, including an analysis of illicit financing risks, sanctions risks, other law enforcement and national security interests, and implications for human rights; and


(vii) an assessment of the effects that the growth of foreign CBDCs may have on United States interests generally."


Under the EO, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve is also encouraged to continue to research the implementation of a CBDC.


3.) Australia: While not directly related to the issuance or research into a CBDC, recent news from the world's largest COVID-19 penal colony gives us a sense of what lies ahead as the timeframe for the end of the era of cash payments comes to a dystopic end: 


The planned closing of a significant proportion of Australian banks and ATMs is the "canary in the cashless society coal mine".  One of Australia's big four banks, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia or CBA had 1121 bank branches in 2017 and now has 875.  The number of CBA's ATMs has also fallen from 4398 in 2017 to 2492 according to the company's 2021 annual report as shown here:

It's pretty obvious, if there's no cash, you don't need ATMs and if you are living off a very modest Universal Basic Income and owning nothing, you probably don't need the services offered at a bank branch.


As you can see, the global financial system is rushing headlong into what will be a historical evolution in the economy.  The implementation of a Central Bank Digital Currency will forever change the ability of consumers to maintain any semblance of privacy since both governments and central banks will have access to all of our spending habits.  With the issuance of a digital identity (aka a vaccine passport by another name) and the ability to program the use of digital currencies, the totalitarian governments of the world that exposed their agendas during the pandemic will have further control over their citizens.  Just ask Canadians who donated a few dollars to the recent truckers' protest how it feels having your savings frozen by government decree.  Welcome to our collective futures.


Remember, today's conspiracy theories have proven to be tomorrow's reality.

Monday, March 28, 2022

The International Energy Agency and the Blueprint for our Zero Net Emissions Future

While oil prices have moderated somewhat, a recent press release from the International Energy Agency or IEA provides us with a potential roadmap for our zero net emissions future given the so-called climate emergency that is likely to be used as the next excuse to trample what little remains of our freedom.


As background, the IEA was founded in 1974 around the time of the world's first oil crisis with the mission of securing energy supplies, particularly oil.  The IEA's current mission is to shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all.  Its founding members are as follows:


Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway (under a special Agreement), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. 


The founding membership was followed by Greece (1976), New Zealand (1977), Australia (1979), Portugal (1981), Finland (1992), France (1992), Hungary (1997), Czech Republic (2001), Republic of Korea (2002), Slovak Republic (2007), Poland (2008), Estonia (2014), and Mexico (2018), bringing the total membership to 31 nations.


Since 2015, the IEA has opened its membership to developing economies.  As such, there are now also association members which include, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.


In addition to being a member of the OECD (i.e. the world's advanced economies), to be a member of the IEA, one must meet the following criteria:


1.) Crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply;

2.) A demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%; Legislation and organisation to operate the Co-ordinated Emergency Response Measures (CERM) on a national basis; 

3.) Legislation and measures to ensure that all oil companies under its jurisdiction report information upon request;

4.) Measures in place to ensure the capability of contributing its share of an IEA collective action. An IEA collective action would be initiated in response to a significant global oil supply disruption and would involve IEA Member Countries making additional volumes of crude and/or product available to the global market (either through increasing supply or reducing demand), with each country’s share based on national consumption as part of the IEA total oil consumption.

The IEA's current mission is to shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all.


With that background, let's go back to the recent press release dated March 18, 2022, entitled "Emergency measures can quickly cut global oil demand by 2.7 million barrels a day, reducing the risk of a damaging supply crunch":

In this press release, the IEA announced that it has provided the world with a new 10-point plan to cut oil demand by 2.7 million BOPD within four months, a move that would offset the loss of oil supplied to the market by Russia.


Here are the ten key actions and the impact to the oil markets:


1.) Reduce speed limits on highways by at least 10 km/h 


Impact: Saves around 290 kb/d of oil use from cars, and an additional 140 kb/d from trucks


2.) Work from home up to three days a week where possible 


Impact: One day a week saves around 170 kb/d; three days saves around 500 kb/d


3.) Car-free Sundays in cities 


Impact: Every Sunday saves around 380 kb/d; one Sunday a month saves 95 kb/d


4.) Make the use of public transport cheaper and incentivise micromobility, walking and cycling 


Impact: Saves around 330 kb/d


5.) Alternate private car access to roads in large cities 


Impact: Saves around 210 kb/d


6.) Increase car sharing and adopt practices to reduce fuel use 


Impact: Saves around 470 kb/d


7.) Promote efficient driving for freight trucks and delivery of goods 


Impact: Saves around 320 kb/d


8.) Using high-speed and night trains instead of planes where possible 


Impact: Saves around 40 kb/d


9.) Avoid business air travel where alternative options exist 


Impact: Saves around 260 kb/d


10.) Reinforce the adoption of electric and more efficient vehicles 


Impact: Saves around 100 kb/d

Some of these suggestions could easily have been taken from the climate change proponents playbook and could well provide a template for government actions when it comes to clamping down on carbon emissions.  The suggestions involving working from home three days per week, car-free Sundays (or any other day or or any number of days for that matter) and alternate private car access to the road infrastructure in large cities all have an odour of totalitarianism should they become mandatory.   As well, the suggestion that car sharing should be increased along with the potential all-encompassing "adopt(ing) practices to reduce fuel use" could, at some point in the future, provide the ruling class with just the ammunition it needs to reduce vehicle ownership which plays right into the "you don't own anything but are happy" narrative.  It is also interesting to see that avoiding business air travel when alternative options exist is recommended particularly given that the global ruling class (oligarchs and politicians included) seem to find it necessary to have face-to-face meetings with their peers while the rest of the sweaty masses deal with Zoom and other virtual meeting technology.  


Given that Western governments that have used the pandemic as an excuse to impose totalitarian restrictions on their citizenry that we could not have imagined being a reality two short years ago, in my mind, it is not a stretch to think that the IEA's plan for reducing oil consumption in light of the Ukraine - Russia conflict could form at least part of the blueprint for our so-called "zero net emissions" future.  And, again I say, today's conspiracy theory is tomorrow's reality.

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Impact of the Conflict in Ukraine on the Global Agrifood Ecosystem

It is becoming increasingly apparent that high levels of inflation are impacting the world's food commodities.  The United Nations Food Price Index which tracks the international prices of vegetable oils, meat, cereals, sugar and dairy products among others hit a record high in February 2022 according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, rising by 4 percent on a month-over-month basis and up 24.2 percent on a year-over-year basis as shown here


...and here:


Note that these food price increases took place prior to the current military adventures taking place in Ukraine.  The FAO notes that there are several factors behind the rise in food prices including concerns over crop conditions, adequate abilities to export food products, an increase in demand at the same time as there were supply-side issues.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has the potential to significantly worsen the world's food production and price situation.  According to the FAO, at least 12 percent of the world's food calorie exports pass through the Black Sea region.  A recent report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) assess the impact of the military operations in Ukraine on trade and development given the fragile state of the global economy, particularly given the importance of both Russia and Ukraine to the world's food supply:


Together, the two nations represent the following share in key food items:



Here is a graphic showing the global dependance on agrifood commodities from Russia and Ukraine by nation:


Let's look at some of the world's most food-susceptible nations.  If we focus on the market for wheat in Africa, between 2018 and 2020, African nations important $3.7 billion in wheat (32 percent of total African wheat imports) from Russia and an additional $1.4 billion from Ukraine (12 percent of total African wheat imports).  As many as 25 African nations import more than one-third of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine and 15 of them import more than one-half of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine as shown on this graphic:


History has shown that civil unrest is often associated with food shortages and resultant increases in food prices.  Africa is definitely on the front lines of the food issues that will face the world if Ukraine delays or completely misses the planting of this season's crops.


It is also important to keep in mind that Russia is a major supplier of agricultural chemical products including fertilizer (the world's largest producer) and its component ingredients as well as other crop nutrients.  Over the past year, increases in fertilizer prices have already been partially responsible for much of the increase in food prices.  With Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade recommending that fertilizer exports be halted, the negative impact on yield of the world's food supply and further increases in food prices is almost guaranteed.  

To show us how dire the food situation is across the globe, here is a summary of an analysis by the International Fund for Agricultural Development or IFAD showing the impact of price increases and other ripple effects of the Ukrainian conflict on some of the world's poorest communities:


1.) In Somalia, where an estimated 3.8 million people are already severely food insecure, the costs of electricity and transportation have spiked due to fuel price increases. This has a disproportionate impact on poor small-scale farmers and pastoralists who, in the face of erratic rainfall and an ongoing drought, rely on irrigation-fed agriculture powered by small diesel engines for their survival.

2.) In Egypt, prices of wheat and sunflower oil have escalated due to Egypt’s reliance on Russia and Ukraine for 85 percent of its wheat supply and 73 percent of its sunflower oil.

3.) In Lebanon, 22 percent of families are food insecure and food shortages or further price hikes will exacerbate an already desperate situation. The country imports up to 80 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but can only store about one month’s worth of the crop at a time due to the blast in Beirut’s port in 2020 that destroyed the country’s major grain silos.

4.) Central Asian countries that rely on remittances sent home by migrant workers in Russia have been hit hard by the devaluation of the Russian ruble. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, remittances make up more than 31 percent of the GDP, the majority of which comes from Russia. Remittances are crucial for migrants’ families in rural areas to access food, education and other necessities.

Just in case you weren't aware, the World Bank's President David Malpass did warn people against hoarding food and gasoline because we can count on governments to be there to help us if we need it.  I wouldn't bet on it if I were you.


The impact of the military operations and resulting increased sanctions environment that has been enacted on Russia will most certainly not favour the sweaty masses who consume the world's food supplies.  Perhaps the self-appointed ruling class at the World Economic Forum will see its vision of the serf class surviving on a diet of insects and weeds come to fruition as more and more households in advanced economies find themselves unable to afford to eat, drive and heat their homes and are forced into a subsistence life style, something that Africans have long experienced.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Sergey Lavrov on the Russia - Ukraine Situation - March 2022

On March 18, 2022, Sergey Lavrov gave an interview with Russian Television or RT regarding the current situation in Ukraine among other issues.  Let's look at some of the key takeaways from this question and answer session with my bolds throughout:


Question: The sanctions that are currently imposed on Russia are of course unprecedented. And they are really negatively affecting the lives of ordinary Russians, even though Washington is saying that it’s not targeting Russians. What can you say about what the goals of these sanctions are and who the target really is?


Sergey Lavrov: I believe the goal of the sanctions is much more strategic than just Ukraine. I think what we witness in Ukraine is the quintessence of the western course, strategic course to marginalise Russia, to contain Russia, to stop Russia’s development and to reduce Russia to a zero role in world politics and world economy, world trade, world sports, art, science, education. And we observe unprecedented steps our Western colleagues are taking. One of the underlying trends is the United States’ desire – which has been much more manifested by the Biden administration – to come back to a unipolar world....


The latest sanctions wave was really unprecedented and, as President Putin recalled, we are now champions in the number of sanctions introduced against the Russian Federation – more than 5,000 individual acts, almost twice as many as was introduced against Iran and North Korea. But sanctions, or all of this, made us stronger....


If you wish to see all of Washington's anti-Russia sanctions, please click on these two links:

1.) Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions.

2.) Ukraine- /Russia-related Sanctions.

If the past eight years have taught Washington anything it's that Russians are not about to change the trajectory of their nation and their leadership just because the Obama, Trump and Biden Administrations all think that it's a great idea.

So, coming back to sanctions: sanctions we will survive. The measures which the president and the government are developing, elaborating, are being announced. This is only the beginning of our economy getting adjusted to the new situation. After 2014, as I started to say, we did gain experience to rely upon ourselves. And the biggest lesson from this particular historical period is, unlike what we saw after 2014, that now, if there was any illusion that we can one day rely on our Western partners, this illusion is no longer there. We will have to rely only on ourselves and on our allies who would stay with us. This is the main conclusion for Russia in the context of geopolitics.


He goes on to note that, while the leaders of both Germany and France keep repeating that they want autonomy for the European Union from the diktats of Washington, in fact, he believes that that is highly unlikely.


Lavrov also observes the following about Ukraine which clearly outlines one of the reasons why Russia took action when it did, keeping this in mind:


The idea that Russians should get out of Ukraine is still very much on the minds of politicians in this country. Oleg Tyagnibok, the leader of the ultra-radical party, Svoboda (“Freedom”), has repeatedly said that “we must have de-Russification”, as he calls it.  And de-Russification means that ethnic Russians must not have their own language, history and identity in Ukraine and so many similar things. But what is more important for us to understand in the current state of play are these statements by Zelensky himself. So I said that the ultra-radicals called for Russians to be wiped out of Crimea, and President Zelensky, in September last year, said, if you believe you’re a Russian, if you believe you want to be a Russian and if you want to be friendly with Russia, go to Russia. He said this just a few months ago.


Having travelled through Russia twice in the past eight years, meeting and talking with Russians who, as I have said in the past, are just like us in so many ways but yet have a culture that is uniquely Russian, I found this question most interesting:


Question: I think it’s safe to say that Russian culture specifically has become accustomed to being part of, you might say, a global village of countries that share deep economic ties and enjoy travelling between each other. How do you think these sanctions are going to influence the everyday life of Russians in the long term in relation to that?


Sergey Lavrov: Well, as I said, the assessment of what is going on, in my view, clearly indicates that what America wants is a unipolar world, which would be not like a global village, which would be like an American village and maybe American saloon where who is strongest is calling the shots. And they said they are succeeding to mobilize behind themselves and, on the basis of their own interests, the entire Western world, which is indicative of how independent NATO members and European Union members are and which is indicative of what place the European Union, as I said, would have in the future configuration of the world situation and the world system.


There are players who would never accept the global village under the American sheriff, and China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico – I am sure these countries do not want to be just in the position where Uncle Sam orders them something and they say “Yes, sir.” And of course, Russia is not in the category of countries who would be ready to do so....


So we will be, as always, open to cooperation with anyone who is ready to do so on the equal basis, on the basis of mutual respect and searching for balance of interests, and the countries to the east of Russia are much more disposed to act on this basis, and we will certainly reciprocate for the benefit of both us and our partners. We are not closing the door on the West. They are doing so. But when they come back to their senses and when this door is reopened, we will be looking at proposed projects of cooperation with a very important thing in mind to which I alluded to already – that we will be going into cooperation with them knowing very well that we cannot be sure that they are reliable and that they are credible as long-term partners.


Given Victoria Nuland's recent Congressional testimony where she stated this:

...the following question is very pertinent:


Question: Well, I’d like to take the discussion now to a sort of different topic: these US-sponsored biolabs in Ukraine. I mean, for years already, Russia has been trying to bring the world’s attention to them. And the latest piece of evidence connected to them the Russian military just put forward not too long ago, with documents signed by US officials in connection to them. Why do you think is the world not paying so much attention to these biolabs? And will Washington and its allies be held accountable for what they’re doing there?


Lavrov begins by outlining discoveries made by the Russian military regarding the plans that Ukraine's military had for Donetsk and Lugansk, two of the most Russian regions of Ukraine who voted in 2014 to become independent of Ukraine and where there has been eight years of fighting between Ukrainian forces and what the Ukraine government terms as "terrorists" who have been fighting for their independence:


Sergey Lavrov: Actually, it’s interesting that the special military operation launched by the president of the Russian Federation helped discover many things which are very important for understanding what is going on. Recently, the military of Russia, together with Donetsk and Lugansk forces, discovered documents of the Ukrainian general staff indicating clearly that they were preparing a massive attack against the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. So the operation, which was launched by Russia, in fact, preempted this threat and did not allow them to implement what they wanted to do, and they wanted to do exactly what they failed to do implementing the Minsk agreements. They were trying to use what they called Plan B and to take these territories by force with bloodshed on an unbelievable scale, in addition to what they have been doing to civilians for the last eight years.


Here is his response regarding the United States-sponsored biolabs in Ukraine:


But another set of documents which was discovered – as you said, documents related to military biological activity of the United States in Ukraine – documents with signatures of Ukrainian officials, US military. Those laboratories have been created by the United States all over the world. More than 300 laboratories in various countries, many of them on the perimeter of the Russian Federation – in the former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. Ukraine is probably the biggest project for the Pentagon, who is running this show. The special Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Pentagon is in charge of this biological activity, and they are developing very dangerous pathogens, including plague, brucellosis, anthrax and many others, which are really very dangerous. And we know that they were experimenting on potential infections, which could be related to the ethnic groups living in the east of Ukraine and in neighboring regions of Russia.


We have been raising this issue in international organizations for a while, I would say almost more than 20 years. In 2001, we suggested that the countries participating in the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons should develop a verification mechanism which would be transparent, which would be understood by everybody and applied to everybody because the convention itself provides for consultations if any participating state has some suspicions or some information which the state would like to clarify. And if these consultations indicate that there is a good reason for some kind of investigation, then an investigation is supposed to be launched. But there is no mechanism to investigate, and there is no mechanism which would require each and every country, in response to an address, to provide information and to guarantee transparency of its biological activity anywhere, be it on your own territory or abroad.


By the way, the Americans some years ago decided that it is too dangerous to do these things on their own soil. So they moved all these threatening and dangerous activities to other countries, and more and more they concentrate their research and experiments around the borders of the Russian Federation and China....


Lastly, Lavrov is asked about the end point for the operations in Ukraine:


Question: Well, just one more question for you, Mr. Lavrov. Of course, this conflict in Ukraine is not going to go on forever. When it does come to an end, what do you foresee as the main challenges in future Russia–Ukraine relations?


Sergey Lavrov: Well, we never had any issues with the Ukrainian people. I have many Ukrainian friends, the two peoples are very close culturally. Practically all of them speak, and those who don't, they understand the Russian language. Culture, common history, way of life, attitude to life, traditions of families and communities. So I hope that when this anomaly is over, this will gradually come back. It will have to be gradual.


It cannot come back fast because the efforts of our Western colleagues to make Ukraine a Russophobic and anti-Russian instrument – anti-Russia, as President Putin called it – they started long ago, and they are already rather deeply rooted in Ukrainian mentality, especially the young generation which was born after the demise of the Soviet Union. They have been indoctrinated in a very, very heavy way.


The purpose was always to make sure that Russia does not have Ukraine as a friend. It's like Zbigniew Brzezinski in the late 1990s said, “Russia with Ukraine, a friendly Ukraine next to it, is a superpower. Russia with Ukraine which is not friendly to Russia, is just a regional player.” This concept is very deeply rooted in the minds of American policymakers, and it will take time to get rid of these negative legacies.


Even now, when the armed forces of Ukraine are fighting, trying to procrastinate the crisis. The leaders of Ukraine with the help of American and other Western advisors have reformed the army in the way which puts these radicals, Bandera-like trained officers, to lead all more or less meaningful units in the Ukrainian army. And these people radicalise and terrorise others, especially those who don't believe that this should be the fate of their country.


Their actions in Mariupol is an example of that. The refugees coming from Mariupol to Russia in dozens of thousands tell such stories. It's really threatening how this kind of people command armed men and women.


And, most importantly, the question and answer session ends with this:


But I am sure, at the end of the day, the historic closeness of two fraternal nations will certainly prevail.


That, along with Lavrov's other comments on the current crisis are most certainly not what you will hear in the Western mainstream media and its political masters which have taken a Russia all bad, Ukraine all good position no matter what happens.