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Azov Fighters For Pro-Kremlin Oligarch? Biggest Prisoner Swap Of War Has Outraged Some In Russia

Azov Fighters For Pro-Kremlin Oligarch? Biggest Prisoner Swap Of War Has Outraged Some In Russia.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2022

Russia airs video of UK fighters captured in Ukraine asking to be exchanged for Putin ally Medvedchuk in a prisoner swap

In the video, likely filmed under duress, British captives asked Boris Johnson to broker a deal involving Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk. Aiden Aslin (left) and Sean Pinner (right) in clips aired by Rossiya-1 on April 18, 2022, asking to be part of a prisoner swap.Rossiya-1 British men captured by Russia while fighting with Ukraine appealed for a prisoner swap. They asked to be swapped for Viktor Medvedchuk, an oligarch held by Ukraine who is friends with Putin. Russian state TV aired the footage, which appears to have been taken under duress. Russian state TV broadcast video footage Monday of two UK men who were captured for fighting with the Ukrainian army in Mariupol.In the videos, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner proposed a prisoner swap for Viktor Medvedchuk, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is in Ukrainian captivity.Pinner appears tired in the video and Aslin seemed to have been hurt. Given their status as prisoners of war, neither would have been able to speak freely and they were likely speaking under duress.Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs after being detained on April 12, 2022.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on TelegramThe videos were aired by Rossiya-1, a state-run channel. It was not immediately clear how the footage made it from the military to them.Pinner and Aslin asked UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to arrange the swap via Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.—Bob in NZ (@BobInNZ1) April 18, 2022"I'd like to see my wife again," Pinner said, addressing Johnson. "We look to exchange myself and Aiden Aslin for Mr Medvedchuk. Obviously I would really appreciate your help in this matter."Aslin linked his request to a prior request by Medvedchuk's wife, Oksana Marchenko, for Medvedchuk to be part of a prison swap.Aslin said: "I think that Boris needs to listen to what Oksana has said. I remember seeing in the news when Viktor Medvedchuk was arrested for his political affiliations. If Boris Johnson really does care about British citizens like he says he does then he will help pressure Zelenskyy to do the right thing and return Viktor to his family and return us to our families.'Aslin previously appeared on Russian state TV looking battered and bloodied, prompting his family to condemn his treatment in custody as "shocking," Insider's Natalie Musumeci reported.—COSSACKGUNDI (@cossackgundi) April 14, 2022Russia responded Monday to the idea of a prisoner swap in lukewarm terms. Putin's official spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists that the Kremlin was in no hurry to arrange anything.Ukraine and Russia have arranged some prisoner swaps, but not involving anyone as famous as Medvedchuk.In Putin's circleMedvedchuk is a pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch who says Putin is his daughter's godfather. He was captured on April 12 after escaping longstanding house arrest, and accused of treason, Insider's Rebecca Cohen and John Haltiwanger reported.Cohen and Haltiwanger said Medvedchuk is thought to have been the Kremlin's favored candidate to lead a puppet government in Ukraine.Viktor Medvedchuk (left) with Vladimir Putin (right) in St Petersburg, Russia, in July 2019.Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via APHe has been friends with Putin for decades, and has been photographed with the Russian president. He is one of Ukraine's wealthiest men, with an estimated worth of $620 million, and has been sanctioned by both the UK and the US.In a video posted on Telegram on April 12, Zelenskyy said he was open to trading Medvedchuk for captured Ukrainians, but the Kremlin declined the offer the next day.In earlier comments, Peskov said Medvedchuk was "not a citizen of Russia" in comments that seemed to dash his hopes of being traded.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 18th, 2022

The Wall Street Journal: Saudi Arabia’s ‘MBS’ teamed with Russian oligarch and former Chelsea FC owner Abramovich and Turkish leader Erdoğan to help broker Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

Abramovich said to have played a role as a backchannel to Russia, leveraging personal relationships with both Vladimir Putin and the Saudi crown prince......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchSep 26th, 2022

The Wall Street Journal: Saudi Arabia’s ‘MBS’ teams with Russian oligarch and former Chelsea FC owner Abramovich and Turkish leader Erdoğan to help broker Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

Abramovich said to have played a role as a backchannel to Russia, leveraging personal relationships with both Vladimir Putin and the Saudi crown prince......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchSep 23rd, 2022

Billionaire Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich met Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help broker a Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap, report says

The Russian oligarch and the crown prince met in late August to discuss the release of the prisoners, three anonymous sources told Bloomberg. Mohammed bin Salman and Roman Abramovich met at the end of August.ADEM ALTAN/AFP and Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman met in late August. Their meeting helped broker a Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap announced Thursday, Bloomberg reported. Ukraine handed over 55 captives, while Russia turned over more than 200 prisoners, including 10 foreigners. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in late August in a meeting that ultimately led to a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing three sources.Few details of Abramovich's involvement were reported.In a major prisoner swap announced Thursday, Ukraine handed over 55 captives, including pro-Russian tycoon Viktor Medvedchuk.In return, Russia turned over 215 Ukrainians, the majority of whom fought to defend the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol.Among the prisoners handed back by Russia were 10 non-Ukrainians — five Brits, two Americans, a Moroccan, a Croat, and a Swede, Bloomberg said.In tweets sent Thursday, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry thanked Saudi Arabia for playing an "essential" role in negotiations to free the 10 foreign prisoners, who were flown to Riyadh after their release.Saudi Arabia confirmed on Friday that Mohammed Bin Salman had been involved in mediation efforts that led to the release of the overseas prisoners, but did not give further details on the process. It also said Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked the prince for his contribution over a phone call. The Saudi, Ukrainian, and Russian governments did not immediately respond to separate requests for comment from Insider on the prisoner swap Friday.The Sun newspaper reported Thursday that Abramovich was on a private jet used to transport the freed foreign prisoners from Russia to Saudi capital Riyadh. The newspaper added that Abramovich gave the prisoners each phones to allow them to call home.Abramovich attended peace talks between Russia and Ukraine earlier this year. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged President Joe Biden not to sanction him at the time, saying he may prove useful to the process. Not long after the peace talks took place, Zelenskyy said the talks had reached a "dead end because we will not trade our territory and our people."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 23rd, 2022

Ukraine says it has completed a massive prisoner swap with Russia where key Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk was sent to Russia and 215 Ukrainians returned home

The prisoner swap includes 100 fighters from the controversial hard right-wing Azov Regiment, who will be sent back to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest associates, Ukrainian tycoon Viktor Medvedchuk, left, speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, July 18, 2019.Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP Ukraine and Russia have completed a monumental prisoner swap, Zelensky's office said. The swap means that 215 Ukrainians who were captured by Russia will go back to their country. As part of the deal, Viktor Medvedchuk, a key Putin ally in Ukraine, has been sent to Russia. Ukraine and Russia have completed a prisoner swap in which hundreds of fighters and civilians were returned to Ukraine in exchange for the freeing of 55 Russians and Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin's key ally in Ukraine and his daughter's godfather.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's staff Andriy Yermak said in an update posted in the administration's telegram channel that 215 Ukrainians were returned as a result of the prisoner swap, which Yermak added was also negotiated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.Viktor Medvedchuk, an MP and one of Putin's staunchest Ukrainian allies, was sent to Russia, Reuters reported. He was arrested by Ukrainian authorities in April.Among the 215 Ukrainians released were 100 fighters from the controversial, hard right-wing Azov Battalion, which Russia has previously called "neo-nazis." Some founding members of the paramilitary group which sprouted as a result of Russia's 2014 invasion have also worn nazi paraphernalia and ascribed to the moniker.Five of the Azov commanders will remain in Turkey until the war is over as part of the terms of the deal, according to The Washington Post. Over the past 30 years, Medvedchuk has nurtured a close personal and political relationship with Putin, amassing an estimated worth of $620 million before the war, according to Forbes. When he was arrested in Ukraine, authorities seized a yacht, 23 houses, 32 apartments, 30 pieces of land, and 26 cars.Earlier on Wednesday, 10 foreign fighters fighting on behalf of Ukraine who were captured by Russia – including two Americans – were also released in a settlement negotiated in part by Saudi Arabia. The bilateral prisoner swap is a massive coup for Ukrainians, who have made considerable gains against Russian invaders in recent weeks.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2022

A helicopter and private jet seized from a pro-Putin oligarch were handed over to Ukraine"s army

Ukraine's army took delivery of the aircraft belonging to Viktor Medvedchuk, who was once considered Putin's pick for Ukraine puppet leader. The helicopter, believed to have been used by Viktor Medvedchuk's family, was seized by Ukrainian police.Department of Strategic Investigations of the National Police of Ukraine Ukraine's army was given a pro-Russia oligarch's helicopter and private jet on Wednesday. Police seized the items, saying they were used by Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk, a longtime Putin ally, was arrested in April on allegations of treason.  A helicopter and a private jet were seized from a pro-Putin Ukrainian oligarch and handed over to the country's armed forces, according to a statement from Ukrainian police.Officers said on Wednesday they seized the aircraft as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged abuse of power and embezzlement.A private jet believed to have been in use by Viktor Medvedchuk's family.Department of Strategic Investigations of the National Police of UkraineMedvedchuk, a politician and business tycoon, has been under US sanctions since 2014 and was placed under house arrest on charges of treason last year.He escaped at the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but was caught and detained again in April.He was close to the Kremlin and was considered Putin's likely pick for a puppet leader in Ukraine. Medvedchuk had an estimated net worth of $620 million, linked the media and oil industries.Until lately, Medvekchuk had a close relationship with Putin, who is the godfather to his youngest daughter.He founded the pro-Russian For Life party, which frequently echoed Kremlin propaganda. Medvedchuk bankrolled the party's campaign in the 2019 election, where it was beaten by Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his party.Pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk seen in handcuffs while being detained by security forces in an unknown location in Ukraine. Handout picture released April 12, 2022.Press service of State Security Service of Ukraine/Handout via ReutersAfter his arrest, Ukraine seized 154 assets belonging to Medvedchuk, including dozens of homes, plots of land, cars, and a yacht, according to The Washington Post. Ukraine's Office of the Prosecutor General requested the seizure, saying in a Wednesday statement that the helicopter and the jet were in use by Medvedchuk's family.The interior of Viktor Medvedchuk's helicopter, seized by Ukrainian police on July 6, 2022Department of Strategic Investigations of the National Police of UkraineThe Office of the Prosecutor General also seized items, including a luxury estate, where the ultimate beneficiary was Medvedchuk's wife Oksana Marchenko, the statement said. Marchenko — formerly a host on "Ukraine's Got Talent" — called on Zelenskyy to release her husband in April, after President Vladimir Putin declined to arrange his release in a prisoner swap.The cockpit of a helicopter believed to be in use by Viktor Medvedchuk's family.Department of Strategic Investigations of the National Police of UkraineRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 8th, 2022

2 British men captured while fighting for Ukraine sentenced to death in "sham judgment" by Russian-occupied territory: UK

The foreign men who reportedly joined Ukrainian forces were captured by Russian troops in the southern port city of Mariupol in April. A still image taken from footage released June 7, 2022 of the Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, shows Britons Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun captured by Russian forces during a military conflict in Ukraine.Supreme Court of Donetsk People's Republic/Handout via REUTERS TV Two British nationals and a Moroccan man were sentenced to death by a pro-Russian court, state media said. The trio who were fighting with Ukrainian forces were accused of being "mercenaries." UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called the sentencing a "sham judgment" on Thursday. Two British citizens and a Moroccan national who were reportedly fighting on behalf of Ukraine were sentenced to death on Thursday by a court in a Russian-occupied part of Ukraine, according to multiple reports. A court in the Donetsk People's Republic — a Moscow-backed separatist-controlled region in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region — accused Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, and Brahim Saadoun of being "mercenaries," Russian state news agency TASS reported. State media claimed the trio pleaded guilty to all charges.According to the TASS report, the region's Supreme Court claimed the three men were "participating in hostilities" alongside Ukrainian forces. The three men were captured by Russian troops in the southern port city of Mariupol in April, CNN reported, after they joined Ukraine's military as foreign fighters — a practice that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has encouraged throughout the 15-week-long war. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called the sentencing a "sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy," as the court in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic has no international recognition. "I utterly condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine," she wrote on Twitter. "My thoughts are with the families. We continue to do everything we can to support them."Truss said the men are prisoners of war — a status that would grant them certain protections under the Geneva Convention.In mid-April, Russian state TV aired footage of Aslin and Pinner, asking the UK to negotiate a prisoner swap for Viktor Medvedchuk — an ally of President Vladimir Putin who was captured by Ukrainian forces. Another state TV report showed Aslin bloodied and bruised in captivity. Since the early days of the war, Russia and Ukraine have routinely spoken publicly about the soldiers they each captured and held as prisoners from the other side.  Last month, Ukraine sentenced a captured Russian soldier to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing a civilian in the country's northeast Sumy region.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 9th, 2022

Turkey: NATO"s Pro-Putin Ally

Turkey: NATO's Pro-Putin Ally Authored by Burak Bekdil via The Gatestone Institute, Western leaders shrugged it off when, in 2016, Erdoğan said in plain language that Turkey did not need to join the European Union "at all costs" and could instead become part of a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations. Erdoğan's popularity, since he came to power in 2002, has worked as a self-poisoning instrument in the Turkish society, increasingly fuelling anti-Western sentiment, particularly anti-Americanism. The... poll also indicated that 48% of the Turkish public think that the U.S. and NATO are responsible for the situation in Ukraine. Turks also think that Russia is their country's third most important partner. Nearly six out of 10 Turks (58.3%), according to the GMFUS poll, see the U.S. as the country's biggest threat, while 31% said Russia and 29% said Israel. The percentage of Turks who say the U.S. should help solve global problems stands at just 6%. While sending smiley messages of reconciliation to the West and the West's partners in the Middle East, including Israel, Erdoğan keeps fuelling anti-Western sentiments in Turkey. When they are not reading pro-Erdoğan newspapers, Turks are watching pro-Erdoğan television channels featuring commentators who blame the war on Washington and NATO's eastward expansion. Turkey... dismissed the idea of send its S-400 missiles to Ukraine to help Kyiv resist Russian troops. "The Russians are buying houses and other properties in Turkey, taking advantage of the law that allows foreigners to become Turkish citizens if they invest at least $250,000. Many Russians are able to circumvent Western sanctions by transferring their money from Russian to Turkish banks and converting their rubles to Turkish liras or other currencies. All NATO member countries, with the exception of Turkey, have imposed strict sanctions on Russia..." — Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2022. "Turkey's central bank took in about $3 billion in just two days in mid-March... That money was likely largely composed of deposits from Russians." — Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2022 This is how NATO ally Turkey is "fighting" the Western battle against Russian aggression. In return, the Biden administration seems to be rewarding Erdoğan. The Biden administration, evidently, at the behest of Turkey, has tried to kill the EastMed gas pipeline project, which could supply gas from Cyprus and Israel, via Greece, to Europe. Worse, the US State Department, in a March 17 letter to Congress, said that a potential sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey would be "in line with U.S. national security interests" and would also "serve NATO's long-term unity." Greece, which recently has experienced countless illegal Turkish overflights, not to mention the last few years, must be thrilled. Turkey needs to start acting like an ally; not a deceitful, pro-Putin ally. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's popularity, since he came to power in 2002, has worked as a self-poisoning instrument in the Turkish society, increasingly fuelling anti-Western sentiment, particularly anti-Americanism. Turkey needs to start acting like an ally; not a deceitful, pro-Putin ally. Pictured: Erdoğan meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, on March 10, 2017. (Image source: kremlin.ru) Turkey's "balancing act" during the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the result of the country's Islamist leader's two-decade long indoctrination of a generation of Turks to make them "pious." President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may or may not have raised pious generations, as he declared was his political mission, but he has definitely raised an anti-Western generation. That anti-Western sentiment once again makes Turkey the odd-man-out in NATO. Western leaders shrugged it off when, in 2016, Erdoğan said in plain language that Turkey did not need to join the European Union "at all costs" and could instead become part of a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations. Earlier, in 2013, Turkey had signed up as a "dialogue partner" saying it shared "the same destiny" as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) -- which was formed in 2001 as a regional security bloc. The same Western leaders looked silly when they were "shocked" at a 2019 Turkish decision to buy the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system. They simply missed that Turkey had long been only a part-time NATO ally. Erdoğan's popularity, since he came to power in 2002, has worked as a self-poisoning instrument in the Turkish society, increasingly fuelling anti-Western sentiment, particularly anti-Americanism. The Turkish public's views of the Russian invasion of Ukraine today is an inevitable consequence. A poll by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. (GMFUS) found that nearly 84% of Turks want their country either to mediate or stay neutral -- 10 times more than those who want Turkey to back only Ukraine. Put in other words, 84% of Turks do not support Ukraine in the conflict. Turkish pollster MetroPoll found in March that fewer than half (49.3%) of those surveyed think Turkey should be a member of the EU, down from 80% in the early 2000s. The same poll also indicated that 48% of the Turkish public think that the U.S. and NATO are responsible for the situation in Ukraine. Turks also think that Russia is their country's third most important partner. Nearly six out of 10 Turks (58.3%), according to the GMFUS poll, see the U.S. as the country's biggest threat, while 31% said Russia and 29% said Israel. The percentage of Turks who say the U.S. should help solve global problems stands at just 6%. While sending smiley messages of reconciliation to the West and the West's partners in the Middle East, including Israel, Erdoğan keeps fuelling anti-Western sentiments in Turkey. Speaking at the inauguration of a madrassa (Islamic seat of learning) on April 15, Erdoğan spoke of "these days when the Western culture and life-style has invaded the whole world." Echoing his boss' ideological obsession, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in a March 14 interview that the Ukraine war shows that the "UN, NATO, and global institutions are going bankrupt" and "the EU is no longer meaningful as a community." Soylu claimed that the Kremlin merely reacted against U.S. efforts to contain Russia "at a time when the vulnerability of the U.S. and the EU reached a peak under the pandemic." The war, in Soylu's thinking, symbolizes the end of globalization as nation-states rise to power. When they are not reading pro-Erdoğan newspapers, Turks are watching pro-Erdoğan television channels featuring commentators who blame the war on Washington and NATO's eastward expansion. One well-known admiral saluted the Russian invasion of Ukraine as "a step to end the imperialist Atlanticist age", and another claimed that Moscow was tricked into the conflict so that it can be weakened for years to come. Others said that Moscow was not massacring people and was in fact opening an opportunity for peace by not seizing Kyiv. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, some of the confused Turkish action reflecting the country's confused directions included: On February 25, Turkey abstained from voting on suspending Russia's membership in most bodies of the Council of Europe in response to the military operation in Ukraine. "During the vote in Strasbourg, Turkey decided to abstain," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. "We don't want to break off the dialogue with Russia." In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, former CIA official Paul Kolbe suggested that "Turkey should send Ukraine the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems." Turkey, however, dismissed the idea of send its S-400 missiles to Ukraine to help Kyiv resist Russian troops. Although Turkey has blocked some Russian ships from their Black Sea blockade of Ukraine, according to retired U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, "This is an illegal blockade in every dimension -- no declared war, no self-defense involved, illegitimate and flagrant violation of international law. Designed to starve the population and break the economy. Yet another example of Russian criminal behavior." No one, of course, has held Russia accountable. Turkey has, in fact, blocked all naval vessels, including NATO's ships, which must make Russia happy -- but not supplies. As Western governments targeted Roman Abramovich and several other Russian oligarchs with sanctions to isolate Putin and his allies, a second superyacht linked to the Russian billionaire docked in a Turkish resort. A source in Ankara told Reuters that Abramovich and other wealthy Russians were looking to invest in Turkey, given the sanctions imposed elsewhere. "He wants to do some work and may buy some assets," the source said, adding that the oligarch already had some assets in Turkey. Another source in Ankara said Turkey was not currently considering joining sanctions action and expected wealthy Russians to purchase assets and make investments. Çavuşoğlu said on March 26 that "Russian oligarchs are welcome in Turkey." The message was taken. On April 16, the Clio, a superyacht owned by Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, arrived at Turkey's port of Göcek. Deripaska, the founder of the Russian aluminum giant Rusal, was sanctioned by the US, the EU and Britain. Erdoğan's government announced the creation of an airline, Southwind, with the aim of bringing Russian tourists to resorts and attractions in Turkey. This is part of a Turkish-Russian understanding that Russia keeps using Turkish airspace as free as if it had never invaded Ukraine. The Wall Street Journal reported in a headline that "Superyachts, Seaside Apartments and Suitcases Full of Cash: Russians Pour Money Into Turkey." The article said that tens of thousands of Russians have fled to Turkey with suitcases full of money, yachts, private jets and other assets: "The Russians are buying houses and other properties in Turkey, taking advantage of the law that allows foreigners to become Turkish citizens if they invest at least $250,000. Many Russians are able to circumvent Western sanctions by transferring their money from Russian to Turkish banks and converting their rubles to Turkish liras or other currencies. All NATO member countries, with the exception of Turkey, have imposed strict sanctions on Russia, preventing its citizens from wiring their money out of the country, blocking Russian Airlines from flying to western countries, and confiscating the oligarchs' superyachts and private jets. Refusing to impose sanctions on Russia, Turkey is trying to revive its bankrupt economy by generating desperately-needed funds... Turkey's central bank took in about $3 billion in just two days in mid-March... That money was likely largely composed of deposits from Russians." This is how NATO ally Turkey is "fighting" the Western battle against Russian aggression. In return, the Biden administration seems to be rewarding Erdoğan. The Biden administration, evidently, at the behest of Turkey, has tried to kill the EastMed gas pipeline project, which could supply gas from Cyprus and Israel, via Greece, to Europe. According to Gatestone Senior Fellow Soeren Kern: "The EastMed pipeline has been in the works for more than a decade. The Israel-Greece-Cyprus project — joined by Bulgaria, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia — has long been seen as a way to diversify natural gas supplies to Europe." Worse, the US State Department, in a March 17 letter to Congress, said that a potential sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey would be "in line with U.S. national security interests" and would also "serve NATO's long-term unity." Greece, which recently has experienced countless illegal Turkish overflights, not to mention the last few years, must be thrilled. Turkey needs to start acting like an ally; not a deceitful, pro-Putin ally. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/06/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 6th, 2022

Zelensky Offers Swap Of Arrested Pro-Putin Opposition Leader For Captive Ukrainians

Zelensky Offers Swap Of Arrested Pro-Putin Opposition Leader For Captive Ukrainians A bizarre 'prisoner swap' offer has been made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who in a Tuesday video address announced that Viktor Medvedchuk - long a highly visible pro-Russian member of Ukraine's parliament - has been arrested and is under confinement. He's seen as Vladimir Putin's closest ally in the country, but hours ago "Ukraine's security service SBU posted a photo purportedly showing Mr Medvedchuk in handcuffs and wearing Ukrainian military fatigues." BBC details that "He had been under house arrest in the capital Kyiv on suspicion of treason - but escaped soon after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February." And now Zelensky wants to swap Putin's 'right-hand oligarch' for captured Ukrainian soldiers. Zelensky's official telegram account announces that SBU caught the fugitive oligarch and Putin's close friend Viktor Medvedchuk. Camouflage and all. pic.twitter.com/DkWa5xlOEq — Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) April 12, 2022 “I propose to the Russian Federation to exchange 'your guy' for our boys and our girls who are now in Russian captivity. It is therefore important that our law enforcement and military also consider this possibility,” Zelensky said in the video address. "We will establish the full truth about all these savages. No matter how much time and effort it takes, we will find them all,” Zelensky said, warning also that Ukrainian forces will capture many more soldiers and Russia sympathizers such as Medvedchuk. He stressed this should be taken as a "warning" - saying, "Let Medvedchuk be an example for you." However, it appears Zelensky is aware of the criticism he will face over the whole spectacle of rounding up civilian opposition leaders who were once members of parliament. As The Hill points out:  Zelensky on Tuesday said it was “especially cynical” that Medvedchuk was wearing military camouflage when he was detained, arguing that wearing such clothes means he “falls under the rules of wartime.” “I think it is especially cynical of him to use military camouflage. He tried to disguise himself like that. Such a ‘soldier.’ Such a ‘patriot,’” Zelensky said. “Well, if Medvedchuk chose a military uniform for himself, he falls under the rules of wartime,” Zelensky stressed. “Even the former oligarch did not escape, not to mention much more ordinary criminals from the Russian boondocks. We will get everyone,” Zelensky said. The 'offer' of a major prisoner swap comes after it's been widely reported that Kiev authorities are locking up the political opposition on the mere basis of being pro-Russian or seen as sympathetic to Moscow. In recent weeks Ukrainian forces have also been accused of torture and carrying out field executions of captured Russian soldiers. Western mainstream media has begun confirming some instances, however, it's still not been subject of much media attention, given also public sympathies across Europe and the US lie with the Ukrainians, causing this tragic and brutal element of the war to be ignored. Tyler Durden Wed, 04/13/2022 - 14:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 13th, 2022

One of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s more ‘modest’ superyachts changed ownership on the same day Russia invaded Ukraine

The Guardian on Friday reported the transfer of the Aquamarine to David Davidovich, whom Forbes calls "Abramovich's much lower-profile right-hand man." The Aquamarine.Heesen Yachts A yacht linked to oligarch Roman Abramovich changed hands hours after Russia invaded Ukraine.  Abramovich appears to have transferred it to his associate, David Davidovich, The Guardian reported. At 164 feet, the Aquamarine is modest compared to Abramovich's 536-foot Eclipse and 460-foot Solaris 460 feet. On February 24, the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, a $40.3 million superyacht named the Aquamarine changed owners, according to an investigation The Guardian published Friday.Based on public records, Roman Abramovich transferred ownership of the Aquamarine to an associate, the businessman David Davidovich, the outlet reported. Forbes has called Davidovich "Abramovich's much lower-profile right-hand man."The Guardian tracked the yacht's apparent ownership swap through two companies, MHC Jersey Ltd, which is registered in New Jersey, and an entity called Norma Investments, which is listed in the British Virgin Islands. Abramovich was thought to be in charge of Norma Investments, but mere hours after Russia attacked Ukraine, Davidovich became the owner, per securities filings previously reported by the Wall Street Journal.The Guardian reported that Norma Investments is the only listed shareholder in MHC Jersey Ltd, per New Jersey public records. MHC Jersey Ltd is also the owner of the Aquamarine yacht, per MarineTraffic. The Aquamarine is currently dry-docked Vlissingen, a port in the Netherlands, and while Dutch authorities seized 14 yachts on Wednesday, representatives declined to comment to The Guardian if the Aquamarine was among them.  Compared to Abramovich's megayachts, the Eclipse and the Solaris, the Aquamarine is modest: it comes in at 164 feet. The Eclipse is 536 feet, and the Solaris is 460 feet.The $600 million Solaris and the $700 million Eclipse are docked in Turkey, and two other yachts are in the Caribbean. All appear to be on the run from sanctions.The UK, EU, and Canada have sanctioned Abramovich, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked the US not to sanction him, saying that Abramovich could potentially be a peace negotiator, the Wall Street Journal reported. He has reportedly assisted with prisoner exchanges and escape routes.Davidovich told The Guardian in a statement that he could "confirm that I am the owner of MHC Jersey Ltd and the Aquamarine yacht," as well as the majority owner in Norma Investments, and said he did not think the Aquamarine was subject to sanctions.Representatives for Abramovich told The Guardian that he is not the ultimate beneficiary of MHC Jersey.The Aquamarine is currently moored for repairs at Damen Shiprepair, where an anonymous source told the Guardian it was "generally understood that it had been Abramovich's yacht," the outlet reported. The source added that the vessel went into Damen in November 2021 but that no one but its existing crew has worked on it since March 10, when Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK.In addition to his status as a Russian oligarch, Abramovich is known as the owner of Chelsea FC, the English Premier League soccer team, which he bought in 2003. Last month, he announced plans to sell the club amid sanctions, apparently for $2.5 billion, the New York Times reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 8th, 2022

Russia Confirms "Sporadic" Contacts With US On Nuclear Weapons

Russia Confirms 'Sporadic' Contacts With US On Nuclear Weapons Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that the US and Russia have had “sporadic” contact over the issue of nuclear arms as tensions are soaring between the world’s largest nuclear-armed powers. "There are channels for dialogue at the proper level, but they are of a very sporadic nature. At least they allow for the exchange of some emergency messages about each other’s positions," Peskov said. When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization last week, he warned that Russia could use nuclear weapons to protect its "territorial integrity." The warning was significant since Russian territory is set to expand into Ukraine once referendums on joining Russia are completed in Russian-controlled areas. On Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US warned Russia it would face "catastrophic consequences" if it used a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Sullivan wouldn’t explain what that means but said the US "spelled out in detail" to Russia how it would respond. When asked if Russia had received such a message from the US, Peskov declined to comment. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, there have been virtually no public high-level meetings between US and Russian officials. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in July, but the conversation was focused on a potential prisoner swap. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/27/2022 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2022

Blain: The UK"s Monumental Policy Mistake - How Bad Will It Get?

Blain: The UK's Monumental Policy Mistake - How Bad Will It Get? Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “This is the man who bet it all on Red and it came up Black…” What a mess. Kwasi Kwarteng’s Special Fiscal Operation failed to stabilise UK markets and has zero prospect of driving growth. The new government stumbled at the first jump. How bad will it get? What are the implications? Who is next for the Chancellor’s job? There are policy mistakes, and there are Policy Mistakes, but few compare to the market Judder on Friday morning…. In terms of screaming, all-in POLICY MISTAKES new UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s not-a-budget, his “Special Fiscal Operation”, went down about as well as a battalion of Russian chocolate tea-pots on the road to Kyiv. It was moment confidence in the UK’s Virtuous Sovereign Trinity snapped. Sterling Crashed. Gilt yields capped wider. It ain’t over yet, this morning Sterling traded below 1.03 for the first time ever during an Asian flash crash. I will post regular updates on the comments page and Twitter as this crisis unfolds. The working assumption is even if Gilts and Sterling stabilise – the damage is already done. Expect… volatile politics and markets. This is going to be a critical week for sterling. There are calls for the Bank of England to jump in with a 100 bp rate hike and currency intervention to stem the crippling currency losses. There are even rumours of yet another internal Tory coup being scoped in Westminster. Ministers trying to talk up export prospects on the back of the currency collapse knew they were defending the indefensible – the UK is a re-exporter and is importing further inflation at speed. I warned three weeks ago that new UK Premier Liz Truss and Kwarteng had “5 days to Avert a Confidence Crisis in the UK”. She got a time extension because of the Royal Funeral. Turns out I was right to worry about markets. On Friday morning it happened – a 0.7% jump in Gilt Yields and the 3% tumble in Sterling. The response to the not-a-budget confirmed just how badly market confidence in the UK’s political competence, sterling stability and gilt market sustainability has been shaken. Kwarteng’s response to the mayhem? “I don’t comment on market movements.” Fair enough. When you know nothing and people suspect you are an idiot it’s best to stay quiet so as not to confirm it. But is he aware of the consequences of what he’s done? The UK’s reputation for fiscal prudence has been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. This is going to hurt. The weekend analysis was harshly critical – it was right to be so. Dr Doom, Nouriel Roubini, tweeted “Truss and her cabinet at clueless.” Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said the UK will be remembered for the “worst macro-economic policies of any major country in a long-time..” He called the policies naïve, and the UK was an emerging market turning into a submerging market. I could fill the rest of this morning’s Porridge with similar negative punditry and doomster soundbites from analysts presenting variations on the same thing. If there is a single positive economic comment written by someone not called Patrick Minford or Gerald Lyons – please post it in the comments section, because I can’t find it. Of course, there is always a chance events may yet bail Kwarteng out. Dollar strength might suddenly reverse if the Fed joins other banks to scale back the Greenback’s inexorable rise, or maybe things may suddenly change re Ukraine/Russia to reduce energy crisis pressures.. but these are hopes. Its best to know where the lifeboats are before the iceberg, rather than looking for them while swimming. Kwarteng’s budget failed on two critical elements. First, it was incredibly tone deaf – and likely to prove an unforgivable electoral mistake by a new chancellor who, by his comment about his new government only being in office 19 days, seems to have forgotten it’s been his party running the nation for the last 12 years. Secondly, the policy choices were largely for show to create a sense of shock and awe. He succeeded in making himself look stupid and inexperienced. Hubris. Let’s start off by making a number of things clear: The new UK government of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng had to act. There was no alternative but to alleviate the massive consumer and business crisis triggered by inflation and the energy crisis. The market’s sell off on Friday reflects how badly they got the solutions wrong. Mistakes of Friday’s degree are not easily forgiven or quickly forgotten. Political instability will likely remain at crisis level in the UK. Already there are rumours of a no-confidence motion. Kwarteng and Truss were not the first choice of the majority of Tory MPs. Tory grandee Kenneth Clark was one among many criticising the budget. When (if) Truss realises the scale of the market debacle its not inconceivable we’ll get yet another New Chancellor. On the other hand: The UK is not going to default. Although the UK’s credit default swap price has gapped wider in recent weeks, (up 170% last week!) the UK retains control of its financial sovereignty. The vast bulk of the national debt is denominated in Sterling. If the worst happens, we can simply print more money to repay current debt – which will have massive consequences on the currency and interest rates, but confers enormous advantages and likelihood of long-term stability – unlike nations that have borrowed in currencies not of their own control. The UK is not a financial basket case. Despite what analysts were saying about Blighty now being doomed by political incompetence, we are actuall a thriving, inventive, innovative, well-educated and vibrant economy.. Ignore Dr Doom’s weekend prediction of an imminent trip to the IMF – the UK’s sovereign finances aren’t so dire. Yet. The UK will muddle through. We always do. This is a political and economic crisis. We can solve the second one after we solve the first. We may have to shoot a Chancellor pour le encourage les autres, but at some point UK Inc stocks and UK Sov Plc debt are going to be massive buys. However, before we get to that stage, lets reflect on the reality of what really happened last week? Kwarteng’s plan was to deliver two goals: Stability and confidence through cogent and coherent policies. Growth to stall a recession through a tax giveaway. He failed massively on the first, and will fail on the second. He chose to grandstand the policies and spin confabulations about growth prospects. He has utterly lost the trust of the market – impressive after only three weeks in office. More to the point, the Bank of England and the Treasury will struggle to conceal their delight in Kwarteng being brought low after he browbeat BOE Governor Andrew Bailey and sacked the Treasury secretary for not being radical enough. Hubris indeed. Kwarteng played politics – the Banker Bonus a desperate attempt to gas-light a Brexit dividend, while the abolition of the top tax rate played to Tory faithful (who will benefit most). They were pointless, tone-deaf political signals. He thought he was being clever. What the market saw was the cost to the UK of financing the energy bailouts and stimulating recovery through increased borrowing being used to back pointless tax bribes, an unnecessary increase in the national debt, regressive taxes and no attempt to look at better alternatives. 2/10 on his test paper. In terms of UK Financial Stability: Friday increased the potential for the UK to enter a destructive cycle of economic instability. Using the Virtuous Sovereign Trinity analogy: as confidence in the politics weakens, then the currency and bond market will wobble. Gilt Yields jumped – interest rates rose, even as the currency crashed. As the currency falls, inflation via imported goods rises, causing the Bank of England to further raise interest rates, causing the bond market (Gilts) to sell off. The UK is a re-exporter, meaning a lower currency does nothing to boost exports. At the same time, the cost of debt funding rises, the market worries more, and the currency continues to fall, reflect the market’s distrust of policy and consequences. The UK is now caught in a negative feedback loop that could spawn a bunch of secondary consequences. Not the least of these is chronic currency instability will cause investors to switch out of sterling – including the folk who got the biggest tax breaks last week. They will be investing their tax windfalls outside the UK. So much for the trickle-down effect. (I wrote about the trickle-down fallacy last week.) Meanwhile, corporates retain their increased profits from lower corporation taxes and decide the prospect for returns in the UK are less than more stable economic zones. The second aspect is growth: Truss and Kwarteng have told us this was budget for growth, putting money into the economy to engender a boom. That is not going to happen. Unlike the Barbour Boom of the early 1970s – which was founded on the back of a rising economy, this budget “giveaway” was money thrown into an already tumbling economy. The opportunity to boost growth was many many months ago. In effect Kwarteng threw good money after bad. The average UK household has an pre-tax income £36,000 will see a £526 reduction in their tax and national insurance. (68% of UK households earn less than the average.) But, their average energy bill has risen from last year’s Energy Price Cap of £1277 to £2500. Inflation has already cut the purchasing power of the average salary by over £1500 in the last 12 months. Their mortgages and credit card debt is already more expensive. In real terms “average” UK households have seen their net post tax spending power of nearly £29,000 reduced down to £26,000 from £28,000 last year – even after their tax bribe from Kwarteng. That’s a massive real cut to real income – and leaves the bulk of the UK population with significantly less discretionary spending power to instigate the boom Kwarteng has promised. There is no consumer money to fuel a boom. It’s a similar story in UK SMEs. At the other end of the spectrum, the top 1% of UK households, those with yearly earnings in excess of £160k, will see a £2720 tax cut, which will also be more than swallowed by higher energy costs and inflation. Higher mortgage rates and rising bills, (I not our Virgin Media internet bill has just gone up by 53%!) will hit their discretionary spending. I was in Wales over the weekend – the BBC Welsh news observed less than 9,000 Welsh Citizens out of a nation of 3.2 million pay the higher 45% tax rate. The abolition of the 45% Higher Earners Tax Rate was hailed by Tories as the showstopper, Rabbit out the Hat, icing on the cake of Kwarteng’s tax bonanza. It was a slap in the face with a rancid halibut to most citizens. What should the Tories have done? At the end of the day, the tax cuts in Stamp duty, Income Tax, National Insurance and Corporation taxes will cost £45 bln. He will borrow a further £30 bln plus to cover energy bailouts. The costs of funding that debt have doubled in recent months. There are no figures on just how much we expect the energy bailout liability to cost long-term. The tax cuts and bailout will not stop a recession that is already upon the UK – and will be little more than a minor alleviation. While £525 a year will be welcome for the average family it will be swallowed by rising bills. Effectively the tiny sums lower earners will not pay in taxes will make zero difference to their diminishing discretionary spending. The ending of the Banker bonus restrictions is pointless. Most bankers saw their salaries increased years ago to compensate lower bonuses. The optics of banker bonuses are terrible – no matter how much the City applauds it. The abolition of the 45% tax rate will make the top 1% of the population smile, and buy a few more bottles of Bolly. The marginal worth to them is meaningless. If they are clever enough to be earning that much, they will be clever enough to be investing outside sterling. Again, the optics are beyond terrible. In brutal terms the tax cuts to stem a recession that is already here were pointless. Kwarteng would have been better to have never mentioned them – and reduced the amount to be borrowed. Kwarteng was wrong. Rishi was right. The Government would have been better to have refocused tax cuts solely on supporting the lowest earners. A considered statement about raising the tax threshold to start paying taxes, while raising high earner taxes would have had milage in terms of the market, and widespread political acceptance.. Funding the energy bailouts via Gilt funding, rather than a windfall tax was political largesse from Truss and Kwarteng to their supporters and a clumsy attempt to differentiate themselves from Labour and Rishi Sunak. Although a windfall tax on Energy companies would have consequences, the massive increase in funding Truss and Kwarteng have committed themselves to – over £250 bln in the next three years – could have been significantly lower, and would have taken the future tax burden off households. Kwarteng’s Growth Offensive was a massive fail. When the new Government came in 3 weeks ago they promised to sort the economy and the NHS. I will write about the NHS later this week. Based on the ABCD Health Plan announced last week – it’s going to be another massive disappointment. What would sort the UK? A snap election…. Oh dear… Instead, Kwarteng will try to brazen this out… oh dear squared. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 08:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 26th, 2022

Brittney Griner: Where Are We At With The Prisoner Swap? This NYC Lawyer Has Inside Info

Criminal defense attorney Steve Zissou and his client the convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving out a 25-year sentence in federal prison, are looking forward to making big news when/if the prisoner swap takes place. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaSep 24th, 2022

Putin, Zelenskyy Exchange Over 300 Prisoners Of War In Biggest Such Swap Since Russia"s Ukraine Invasion Began

Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday carried out the largest surprise prisoner swap since Vladimir Putin’s invasion began nearly seven months ago. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaSep 22nd, 2022

What Does The Right"s Historic Victory In Sweden Mean For Europe?

What Does The Right's Historic Victory In Sweden Mean For Europe? Authored by John Cody via Remix News, After Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson admitted defeat and conceded the election to a coalition of right-leaning parties, conservatives across Europe are celebrating. The Scandinavian nation, which was once one of the most left-leaning countries in Europe and well-known for accepting the most refugees per capita during the 2015/16 migrant crisis, has made a radical turnaround. Of course, the reasons behind this turnaround are well known despite heavy censorship in the country. The utopian multicultural future envisioned by many Swedes has come crashing down over the last few years, and as Remix News has exhaustively documented, the shootings, murders, drug dealing, clan crime, attacks on women, honor killings, random assaults, and rising sexual crimes have left the once-peaceful nation shell shocked. The deteriorating security situation even led Germany’s top-selling newspaper, Bild, to label Sweden the “most dangerous country in Europe.” Out of the turmoil of the last years, the Sweden Democrats have emerged as the second-largest party in Sweden with over 20 percent of the vote. As a result, much of the domestic and international media are openly acknowledging the much maligned party is the biggest winner of the entire election. However, there are a number of challenges ahead, and the conservative party will have to walk a tightrope to succeed during a troubling time for Europe. For one, despite the party’s enormous victory, a version of the cordon sanitaire remains in effect. Historically, all parties refused to work with the Sweden Democrats, and in truth, all the parties in the new government will do their best to maintain that policy. That means that despite the Sweden Democrats being the biggest party in the new four-party right-wing government, the SD’s leader, Jimmie Åkesson, will have no opportunity to become prime minister. Instead, that right will go to Ulf Kristersson, who leads the Moderates party, which saw only 19.1 percent of the vote, an embarrassingly low result for what was once the “mainstream” conservative party in the country. Even more importantly, the new government plans to lock the Sweden Democrats out of any ministerial positions. That represents a major check on the party’s power and ability to influence policy. If the Sweden Democrats are not careful, they risk having little power in the new government while still being shouldered with the blame if crime levels continue to rise, immigration continues unabated, and inflation and a recession wrack the Swedish economy over the coming year. It is unclear what direction the Moderates will steer the government, and in many ways, they will desire to maintain the status quo. Like the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany, the Moderates party can at best be described as “conservative-lite.” Given the mandate handed to the Sweden Democrats, and the sharp turn against more immigration by the Swedish public, the Moderates will do their best to look like they are taking action on immigration and crime while only offering cosmetic changes at best. The Moderates will also work to distance itself from the Sweden Democrats, even willingly attacking its ostensible coalition partner in order to raise itself up as the “tolerant and respectable” conservative alternative. It is also worth noting that the Moderates belong to the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, the same powerful political grouping that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has accused of losing its soul to the left. In a memo Orbán wrote in 2020, he took the EPP to task, pointing out that it has embraced a number of left-wing concepts over the years, including gender ideology and pro-migration stances. The EPP’s leadership long pursued a goal of kicking Orbán’s Fidesz party out of the coalition, which culminated in Fidesz withdrawing from the EPP in 2021. To grasp what kind of ideological vision the Moderates represent, it is worth reading Orbán’s memo to the EPP before his party was pushed towards the exit in 2021. “We gave up the family model based on matrimony of one woman and one man, and fell into the arms of gender ideology. Instead of supporting the birth of children, we see mass migration as the solution to our demographic problem. We don’t stand up for ourselves as old and great Europeans, and don’t take on the fight against left-liberal intellectual forces and the media they influence and control,” Orbán wrote in a scathing two-page memo, which in many ways, represented his farewell note to a politically grouping that had once historically represented Christian conservatives in Europe. I share with you the #OrbánMemorandum. The need for a dialogue on the future of the @EPP came up during several recent meetings with our partners. Today, Viktor #Orbán, president of #Fidesz, PM of #Hungary shared the below memorandum with EPP partners. pic.twitter.com/9uqvnnsrOQ — Katalin Novák (@KatalinNovakMP) February 18, 2020 The other partner in the four-party Swedish government, the Christian Democrats, also belong to the EPP, underlining the challenges the Swedish Democrats will face to bring their agenda to fruition. Is a new sound immigration policy possible? The Sweden Democrats, for their part, say they will put Sweden first again, with Åkesson writing on Facebook, “Now the work begins to make Sweden good again… We have had enough of failed social democratic policies that for eight years have continued to lead the country in the wrong direction. It is time to start rebuilding security, welfare, and cohesion. It is time to put Sweden first.” Nevertheless, the narrow two-vote majority enjoyed by the right in Sweden remains fragile, and already one Liberal party MP said she would try to bring down the government if it included the Swedish Democrats, which could torpedo any real policy moves designed to control immigration or clamp down on crime. “I went to the polls to defend human rights and freedoms,” MP Romina Pourmokhtari told Swedish media. “That is where we Liberals will have to aim our fire in the coming years.” The right can expect more politicians from their own coalition trying to gain the adoration of Sweden’s dominant left-wing media by “voting with their conscience” and “standing for tolerance.” Although they may harm their own parties, the potential for personal gain remains substantial. The same kind of accolades were heaped on U.S. Republicans such as former President George W. Bush, former Senator John McCain and current Senator Mitt Romney for their constant opposition to Donald Trump. All three were suddenly lionized by the media and cultural establishments that had long lambasted them, and for many politicians, whether they are in Sweden or the U.S., such praise can become intoxicating and even financially lucrative. The Sweden Democrats ran a campaign focused on immigration and crime, and proposed that Sweden should stop accepting all refugees except those from Ukraine. It is clear that there are going to be some in the new government likely to fight this agenda. Even if the new government does manage to acquire the needed votes to limit or even halt migration to Sweden, they face an uphill battle from hostile EU institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), an organization staffed with judges known for their connections to billionaire oligarch George Soros and which has long stymied the United Kingdom’s attempts to control its own unchecked immigration problems. What does the Swedish election mean for Europe? In many ways, Sweden is one of the main canaries in the coal mine in Western Europe. Unlike its fellow Nordic neighbors, which have taken a far more pragmatic and restrictionist view on immigration, Sweden went full bore on opening up its country, which has changed its demographics dramatically and reshaped entire cities. The country’s shift to the right represents a reactionary response that may come home to roost in other countries with radically open immigration policies, with Germany the most notable example. The current left-wing German government is promoting an aggressive immigration agenda, which includes mass amnesty, a faster naturalization process, and a push for 500,000 more immigrants a year, all while illegal immigration numbers are soaring higher. Notably, all parties in Germany have long vowed to reject any cooperation with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, but the same was once said in Sweden before this election shattered those past promises. Can such a political rearrangement ever occur in Germany? Undeniably, with each erosion of this “vow” in surrounding countries, which also occurred in Austria under former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the chances become higher of such a breakthrough in Europe’s economic and political powerhouse. The AfD must first appeal to a broader section of the electorate, and although it has been rising in the polls as of late, it would need a result likely in the range of 20 percent or higher to carry enough weight to have a chance to break out of its political isolation. For Hungary and Poland, the election result will be seen as a sort of reprieve — far better than if the socialists had retained power, but still unclear as to what direct benefit the new government will deliver to conservative causes at the European level. Both Hungary and Poland are facing unprecedented pressure from the European Union, which is pushing to do away with the veto process that has long protected the sovereignty of both countries and served as a check on the power of a more federalized Europe. Even more worrisome for conservatives, Nyamko Sabuni, the former leader of the Liberal party, which currently shares power in the four-party government, said Hungary should be removed from the European Union over its stance on LGBT issues. She remains a member and a powerful voice in the party, which means the Liberals are shaping up to be potentially the most problematic member of the entire Swedish coalition. Even if the new Swedish government backs the EU’s attempts to punish Hungary and Poland with funding cuts and sanctions, it likely that the Sweden Democrats will actively work against this agenda by pressuring their own government. It remains unclear how much power Åkesson will be able to wield on foreign policy issues and the machinations taking place in Brussels, but it does offer a glimmer of hope for conservative governments. What happens in Italy’s upcoming election will likely be far more important for the future of the EU, as a solid right-wing coalition there in a major founding EU member state could upend the political chessboard and buy the European right more time to survive and even flourish. Nevertheless, what happened in Sweden is perhaps the best result European conservatives could have hoped for. The Sweden Democrats must now use their bully pulpit as the largest party of the new government to cajole and pressure the Moderates and their other government partners into following an agenda that will reverse the policies that have greatly harmed Sweden’s once world-class standard of living and transformed the nation’s demographics, largely to the detriment of the country’s ethnic Swedish population, which have lived in and called the country home for thousands of years. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/17/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 17th, 2022

Futures Crater As Fedex Ushers In The Global Recession On $3.2 Trillion Triple Witch Day

Futures Crater As Fedex Ushers In The Global Recession On $3.2 Trillion Triple Witch Day Another day, another selloff, this time one driven by a catastrophic repricing by Fedex, which has plunged by the most ever this morning, down 20% and losing over $11BN in market cap... ... after pulling guidance and effectively warning that the entire world - and especially China - is in a recession. The fact that it is a $3.2 trillion opex today which guarantees even more volatility in the coming weeks... ... or that buyback blackout period begins today probably isn't helping, and sure enough, we end the week in a mirror image to how we started it, with equities extending declines with an index of global stocks on track for the worst week since June, while the dollar continued its relentless ascent, trading back to all time highs. S&P futures were down 0.8% at 730am, dropping to the lowest level in 2 months, while Nasdaq 100 lost more than 1%, as Europe  headed for a fourth day of losses, and Asian was a sea of red led by China. In premarket trading, besides the implosion in Fedex, Uber shares slid 5.3% in US premarket trading after the ride-hailing company said it has shut down internal Slack messaging as it investigates a cybersecurity breach. Bank stocks are also lower alongside S&P 500 futures, while the US 10-year Treasury yield advances. In corporate news, Credit Suisse’s securitized products group has drawn interest from Apollo Global Management and BNP Paribas, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Here are some other big premarket movers: FedEx (FDX US) shares plunged 20% in US premarket trading after the package delivery giant pulled its fiscal 2023 earnings forecast, triggering a raft of downgrades from analysts, including at KeyBanc and JPMorgan. Amazon (AMZN US) and UPS (UPS US) also fell. Adobe (ADBE US) shares fall another 2.3% in premarket trading, one day after its market value shrunk by $29.5 billion on an announcement to buy software design startup Figma. More analysts slashed ratings and price targets. Cryptocurrency- exposed stocks are likely to be active on Friday with Bitcoin dropping below $19,800 after SEC Chair Gary Gensler signaled that a feature of the network’s software could lead to tokens being considered securities by the commission. In the US premarket trading hours, Marathon Digital (MARA US) -3.2%, Coinbase (COIN US) -2.0%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -3.4% Watch Alcoa (AA US) as Morgan Stanley upgrades the stock and several peers, noting that value begins to show within Americas metals and mining shares, but cautioning that uncertainty remains. International Paper (IP US) slides 5.6% in US premarket trading after Jefferies downgraded the stock as well as shares in Packaging Corp of America (PKG US) to underperform in reflection of the “massive inventory glut in containerboard.” The broker stays at hold for Westrock (WRK US), noting that valuation is already depressed. Policy-sensitive two-year Treasury yields extended a rise to the highest since 2007, deepening the curve inversion that’s seen as a recession signal. The latest US economic data painted a mixed picture for the economy that backed the view for hawkish monetary policy. Swaps traders are pricing in a 75 basis-point hike when the Federal Reserve meets next week, with some wagers appearing for a full-point move. “Everything points to another 75 basis-point rate hike by the Fed when it meets next week. The likelihood that it will have to go ‘big’ again in November is elevated, too,” said Raphael Olszyna-Marzys, an economist at Bank J Safra Sarasin. “What’s more, its new projections should indicate that the fight against inflation will be more painful than previously acknowledged.” Market participants will face additional volatility on Friday from the quarterly expiry event known as triple witching, with contracts for stock index futures, stock index options and stock options all expiring, while re-balancing of major equity indexes also takes place. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 slumped 1.4%, headed for a 4th day of losses. The FTSE 100 is flat but outperforms peers, DAX lags, dropping 1.7%. Industrials, construction and autos are the worst-performing sectors as are mining stocks which as iron ore slid amid concerns over demand in China, while aluminum fell on the back of record Chinese output.  European mail and parcel delivery companies took a hit in the aftermath of the Fedex warning, led by Deutsche Post AG, down as much as 7.6%. The UK’s benchmark outperformed as the British pound sank to its weakest level against the dollar since 1985. All industry groups are in the red. Here are the biggest European movers: Jupiter Fund Management jumps as much as 4.2% after being upgraded to neutral at UBS. Separately, the FT reported that the new CEO will restructure the company after an operational review Krones rises as much as 1.6% on Friday, with Baader Helvea saying the company showed “huge confidence” during recent capital markets day at the Drinktec trade fair in Munich Ariston shares soar as much as 11%, the most intraday since March 14, after the company agreed to buy 100% of Centrotec Climate Systems for EU703m in cash and ~41.42m Ariston shares Capita shares rise as much as 9.3% amid a contract extension with Barnet Council and the sale of subsidiary Pay360 for GBP150 million to Access PaySuite UK and EU real estate shares slip after both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan published bearish reviews of the sector. Land Securities falls as much as 5.1% in London after being cut to sell at Goldman European mail and parcel delivery companies take a hit, led by Deutsche Post, down to July 2020 lows, after US peer FedEx withdrew its earnings forecast on worsening business conditions Mining stocks are among the biggest underperformers in Europe on Friday as iron ore slid amid concerns over demand in China, while aluminum fell on the back of record Chinese output Telecom Italia shares drop to a record low after Barclays cut the carrier to underweight from equal-weight, citing a more complex investment case amid political uncertainties in Italy Uniper plunges to its lowest level on record, with shares down as much as 16%, after people familiar with the matter said Germany is in advanced talks to take it over Virbac falls as much as 10% after the French veterinary-products company reported 1H results that showed inflation is weighing on profit margins Earlier in the session, Asian stocks headed for a fifth-straight weekly decline as markets remained volatile ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate decision next week, with the Xi-Putin meeting adding renewed geopolitical concerns. Stocks slumped in Japan, Hong Kong and mainland China, with little impact on sentiment from Chinese industrial-production and retail-sales data that beat expectations. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.3% on Friday, following weakness in US shares, led by technology and consumer discretionary stocks. China’s CSI 300 Index slumped the most in more than four months as the yuan weakened past 7 per dollar, offsetting upbeat August economic data, with the government ramping up stimulus to counter a slowdown.  Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping for the first time since the war in Ukraine began, underscoring increasing risks as Beijing continues to show support for Moscow. The Covid-Zero policy in China, a property crisis and the outcome of a US audit inspection will “keep the market in a relatively volatile state,” Laura Wang, chief China equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. The brokerage expects earnings growth for mainland companies “to decline to around mid-single digit” from Covid resurgence and lockdowns. India and Australia were among the region’s worst performers. Losses accelerated in afternoon trading as the dollar strengthened. Asian equities suffered a tumultuous week, falling more than 2% as risk assets took a hit from faster-than-expected US inflation, which fueled expectations for more aggressive monetary tightening by the Fed. A strong dollar and higher Treasury yields added to the headwinds. The regional stock benchmark is edging toward its lowest close since May 2020. Japanese stocks declined as concerns of a potential global economic slowdown and higher US interest rates damped demand for risk.  The Topix fell 0.6% to 1,938.56 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 1.1% to 27,567.65. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 3.8%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 589 rose and 1,501 fell, while 79 were unchanged. “The US interest rate hike will probably be 0.75 point, but there is still a strong sense of uncertainty about future hikes,” said Takeru Ogihara, a chief strategist at Asset Management One.  Summers Expects Fed to Raise Rates Above 4.3% to Curb Inflation The index for developing-nation equities fell to its lowest level in more than two years on Friday. A three-day slide has shaved $422 billion off MSCI’s EM stock index. The gauge fell as much as 1.5%, led by health care stocks. The EM equity gauge is down 5.5% this quarter, on track for a fifth consecutive drop, a record since Bloomberg began monitoring the data. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose as the greenback strengthened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen which is marginally up, trading at the 143/USD level. Pound at 1.13/USD, the lowest since 1985, underperforming G-10 peers. The euro fell a first day in three, trading once again below parity against the dollar. Bunds, Italian bonds slid, putting their 10-year yields on course to climb for a seventh week as traders continued to amp up ECB tightening bets, pricing as much as 200bps of rate hikes by July.  The euro volatility skew shifts higher this week and especially on longer tenors, suggesting that bearish sentiment wanes. This seems to be down to demand for topside strikes and not unwinding of shorts given move in the tails The pound was the worst G-10 performer and fell below $1.14 for the first time since 1985. UK retail sales fell at the sharpest pace in eight months in August as a worsening cost-of-living crisis and plunging confidence forced consumers to cut back on spending. The 1.6% drop was more than three times the decline predicted by economists. Monday is a national bank holiday in the UK The Australian dollar tumbled to the lowest level since the early days of the Covid pandemic as risk aversion swept across markets. Three-year yield touched as high as 3.44% after National Bank of Australia raised its forecast to a 50bps hike in October. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said a few hikes would be needed to tame inflation, though the case for outsized interest-rate increases has “diminished” now that the cash rate is approaching “more normal settings” Japan’s longer-maturity bonds extended declines after Thursday’s weak 20-year auction. Japanese markets will be shut Monday and Friday next week for national holidays Meanwhile, the offshore yuan remained on the weaker side of 7 to the dollar, even as the People’s Bank of China set the reference rate for the currency stronger-than-forecast for a 17th straight day. “While China activity showed some improvement this morning, equity investors really want to see substantial easing in China’s policies related to Covid to turn a bit more constructive,” said Chetan Seth, Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Singapore. “That has not happened.” In rates, the 10Y Treasury yield up 3bps to around 3.47%, gilts 10-year yield is flat at 3.16%, while bunds 10-year is also up 0.2bps at 1.79%. Treasuries remained lower after a bund-led selloff during European morning, with losses led by front-end of the curve as 2-year yields exceed Thursday’s highs, peaking near 3.92%. Further out, 5s30s breached Thursday’s low (reaching -21.1bp) to reach most inverted level since 2000. Yields are cheaper by more than 3bp across front-end of the curve with 2s10s spread flatter by ~2bp on the day; 10-year yields around 3.47%, trading broadly in line with bunds while gilts outperform by 2.5bp in the sector. US curve flattening persists as Fed rate expectations continue to grind higher; OIS markets price in a peak policy rate of around 4.5% for March 2023 In commodities, WTI and Brent are oscillating around the unchanged mark with the complex initially under pressure from the overall risk aversion. Kazakhstan energy ministry expects to stick to its oil production plans of 85.5mln tonnes this year; says Kashagan oilfield will resume output "in October at best." Spot gold is flat after the yellow metal took out the 2021 low (USD 1,676/oz) yesterday with clean air seen below until the COVID low of USD 1,450/oz. Bitcoin is flat around USD 19,750 whilst Ethereum remains pressured under USD 1,500. To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for September, as well as UK retail sales for August. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll hear from ECB’s President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Rehn and Villeroy. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.0% to 3,863.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.2% to 409.92 MXAP down 1.3% to 150.15 MXAPJ down 1.6% to 490.96 Nikkei down 1.1% to 27,567.65 Topix down 0.6% to 1,938.56 Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 18,761.69 Shanghai Composite down 2.3% to 3,126.40 Sensex down 1.8% to 58,881.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.5% to 6,739.08 Kospi down 0.8% to 2,382.78 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.78% Euro down 0.4% to $0.9961 Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,656.63 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.34% to 110.11 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A surging dollar is now the only possible hedge for what’s turning into the biggest destruction of shareholder value since the global financial crisis “The growing risk of recession in the euro area and the steadily increasing labor participation rate might also be factors that have kept wages in check,” European Central Bank Governing Council member Olli Rehn said in Helsinki “The slowdown of the economy is not going to ‘take care’ of inflation on its own,” European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos tells Expresso newspaper in an interview. “We need to continue the normalization of monetary policy” The French inflation rate will peak between now and the beginning of next year near the current level, “around 6% or a little more,” Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said A shortage of high-quality assets in the euro area is keeping a lid on short- term borrowing costs, a development that could endanger the ECB’s effort to tighten financial conditions Global equity funds saw inflows driven by US stocks in the week to Sept. 14, according to a Bank of America note, citing EPFR Global data China has ample monetary policy room and abundant policy tools, PBOC’s monetary policy department writes in an article that reviews the country’s monetary policies in the past five years China’s economy showed signs of recovery in August. Industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all grew faster than economists expected last month. The urban jobless rate slid to 5.3%, while the youth unemployment rate fell from a record high Japan’s increasingly incongruous policy stance aimed at securing both stable growth and inflation is adding to the likelihood of further yen losses, even as officials warn of possible intervention India’s sovereign bonds are defying a worldwide rout, as banks and foreign funds rushed to buy the high-yielding debt in anticipation that they will be included in global indexes Germany is taking control of Russian oil major Rosneft PJSC’s German oil refineries and is nearing a decision to take over Uniper SE and two other large gas importers as it tries to avoid a collapse of its energy industry A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia stocks fell despite better-than-expected Chinese activity data as the region took its cue from the losses in the US after mixed data and as markets continued to adjust to a more aggressive Fed rate path. ASX 200 was pressured as energy and miners led the broad retreat after recent losses in commodity prices. Nikkei 225 suffered from the downbeat mood and with the 10yr JGB yield stuck at the top of the BoJ’s target. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp conformed to the risk aversion with the latest Industrial Production and Retail Sales data failing to spur risk appetite despite both surpassing estimates. Top Asian News Chinese NBS said China is to coordinate economic development and COVID control, while it added that the economy continued a recovery trend in August and some factors exceeded expectations but also noted that the recovery in domestic demand still lags behind the recovery in production and that the property market faces downward pressure despite some positive changes. China's stats bureau also commented that the economy was affected by COVID flare-ups in August but the flare-ups impact was limited and that policies to stabilise growth are gaining traction although noted that China's economy faces more difficulties this year than in 2020. Chinese President Xi says China's economy remains resilient and full of potential Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki reiterated it is important for FX to move stably reflecting economic fundamentals and that sharp FX moves are undesirable, while he is concerned about sharp, one-sided JPY weakening and they will take necessary action without ruling out any options if sharp yen moves persist. Japan is to use JPY 3.5tln in reserve funds for economic measures, according to Kyodo News RBA Governor Lowe said the RBA is committed to returning inflation to the 2-3% target range over time and is seeking to do this in a way that keeps the economy on an even keel, while the Board expects further increases will be required to bring inflation back to target but they are not on a pre-set path. Lowe stated that with inflation as high as it is, they need to make sure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable time and will do what is necessary to make sure that higher inflation does not become entrenched. Furthermore, Lowe said at some point will not need to hike by 50bps and they are getting closer to that point, while they will consider hiking by 25bps or 50bps at the next meeting but also stated that rates are still too low right now. South Korean President Yoon and US President Biden are expected to discuss currency swap during a summit, according to Yonhap. South Korean Parliament Speaker Kim says need to promptly advance South Korean and Chinese trade negotiations Euro-bourses see the deepest losses whilst the FTSE 100 is cushioned by the slide in the Pound. European sectors are all lower and portray a clear defensive bias, with Healthcare at the top of the bunch. Stateside, US equity futures have been trundling lower with the NQ underperforming vs the ES, YM and RTY. Top European News No Movies. No McDonald’s. Britain Shuts for Queen’s Funeral WHO Panel Advises Against GSK, Regeneron Drugs for Covid AstraZeneca Gets Nod From EU for Evusheld and Respiratory Drug Telecom Italia Falls to Record Low Amid Barclays Downgrade Uniper Plunges to Lowest Level Ever on Nationalization Reports Cold War Relic Threatens Plans to Ditch Russian Oil FX GBP extended losses in wake of significantly weaker than forecast ONS retail sales data, with Cable sliding to the lowest level since 1985. DXY reclaimed 110.00-status as Sterling continued sliding, and now oscillates around the round figure. JPY stands as the outperformer, as USD/JPY hold within yesterday’s extremes amid the risk aversion and recent verbal jawboning. Chinese FX regulator says it is hard to predict short-term volatility in exchange rate, and urges companies not to bet on the exchange rate, according to state media South Korean Authorities are reportedly suspected of "smoothing operations" in USD/KRW trading, according to Reuters citing South Korean FX dealers. Fixed Income Bunds have staved off pressure on 142.00 within a 142.15-143.04 range. Gilts traded above par briefly between 104.93-105.50 extremes (+17 ticks at one stage). 10yr T-note is almost flat ahead of preliminary Michigan sentiment which will be watched closely for inflation expectations. Commodities WTI and Brent are oscillating around the unchanged mark with the complex initially under pressure from the overall risk aversion. Kazakhstan energy ministry expects to stick to its oil production plans of 85.5mln tonnes this year; says Kashagan oilfield will resume output "in October at best" Spot gold is flat after the yellow metal took out the 2021 low (USD 1,676/oz) yesterday with clean air seen below until the COVID low of USD 1,450/oz. Base metals meanwhile are softer across the board as the Dollar remains firm, but LME nickel bucks the trend with reports via Bloomberg also suggesting LME is being sued by hedge funds, including AQR, in the London High Court US Event Calendar 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 60.0, prior 58.2 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, est. 59.4, prior 58.6 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. Expectations, est. 59.0, prior 58.0 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.6%, prior 4.8% 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, est. 2.8%, prior 2.9% 16:00: July Total Net TIC Flows, prior $22.1b 16:00: July Net Foreign Security Purchases, prior $121.8b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Two weeks after coping with a manic birthday party for two manic 5 year old twins, we repeat the whole thing this weekend as my daughter Maisie turns 7 today and has a OTT Harry Potter themed party tomorrow at our house. I have a costume which I'm hoping will be cooler than the 10ft giant inflatable diplodocus outfit I had for the twins’ party. If you don’t believe me photos are available. Many people have kindly asked how Maisie is after being diagnosed with a rare hip disease called Perthes over 12 months ago. The answer is she is coping well but still needs to be in a wheelchair until the doctors see any sign that the hip ball is regrowing. We’re crossing our fingers that there might be signs at the next scan in December. At the moment it’s still slowly disintegrating. She’s had great news this week as she’s got accepted at a very young age into a prestigious artistic swimming club. Because of her regular rehab in the pool, and a natural talent even before her condition became apparent, she is phenomenal in the water. She is a stage 7 swimmer which on average is for around 10/11 year olds and used to love gymnastics before her incapacitation. So for a sport that I’ve perhaps always previously seen as one of my least favourite, I’m now a synchronised swimming convert ahead of her first session this Sunday. I suspect I'll stick to golf for myself though and won't be buying the nose peg. It was another synchronised sell off for both bonds and equities yesterday as investors moved to price in yet more rate hikes from central banks, raising market fears about a hard landing ahead. Those moves were prompted by a decent batch of US employment data, which added to the sense that the Fed could afford to keep hiking rates for the time being. But the prospect of more aggressive rate hikes proved bad news for equities, with the S&P 500 (-1.13%), its lowest level since July, more than reversing the previous day’s partial rebound that followed its worst daily performance for two years on Tuesday. In the meantime, sovereign bonds embarked on a further selloff and multiple recessionary indicators were flashing with increasing alarm, including the 2s30s Treasury yield curve that by the close was more inverted than at any time since 2000. Before we get onto the details however, we should point out that DB’s US economists, led by Matt Luzzetti, have also revised their expectations for the Fed funds rate following the latest inflation data, and now see the terminal rate some way beyond market pricing at 4.9% in Q1 2023 (link here). Matt has been consistently the highest on the street for economists in recent months and this upgrade is now closer to the 5-6% range that David Folkerts-Landau, Peter Hooper and I said was necessary to tame inflation in our “What’s in the tails?” note (link here) back in April. Today’s UoM inflation expectations series is going to be the last important release before next week’s FOMC, especially after this week’s messy CPI data. Year-ahead inflation expectations have been edging down of late but the upside surprise in June a few hours after a blockbuster CPI beat cemented the last minute 75bps hike. With +80.5bps priced in next week, it will be interesting to see if the expectations data move pricing any closer to 75 or 100bps, and if not, whether the Fed tries to influence pricing with a leak so the meeting isn't as “live”, or if they feel comfortable heading into the meeting with some split probability priced. While we're on the revision path, a reminder that our 10yr Bund forecast was upgraded to 2.25% late on Wednesday. See here for more. Against this rates higher backdrop, markets were revising their expectations in a hawkish direction following strong labour market data. In particular, the US weekly initial jobless claims for the week ending September 10 fell for a 5th consecutive week to 213k (vs. 227k expected), and the previous week was also revised down by -4k. The release added to the sense that the recent economic resilience over the late summer was proving to be more than just one data point, and it’s worth noting that the 213k reading was the lowest since May. Piling on, retail sales MoM increased 0.3% versus -0.1% expectations. As with most things macro related lately, there is a flipside, however. The core retail sales figure fell -0.3% versus expectations it would be flat, while the control group, which has outsize influence in GDP consumption tabulations, was flat MoM, versus expectations of a 0.5% expansion. Indeed, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker downgraded 3Q GDP estimates to 0.5% from 1.3% following the print. Recession talk will only bubble up with more with revisions like that. But overall a messy set of data yesterday. The recent inflation surprises has proven bad news for risk assets since it’s seen as giving the Fed the green light for faster rate hikes. In response, the terminal rate priced in for March 2023 rose +7.8bps yesterday to 4.46%, and that in turn led to another selloff for Treasuries. By the close, the 2yr yield was up +7.7bps to its highest level since the GFC, whilst the 10yr yield rose +4.5bps to 3.45%. In Asia the 2yr yield is up another couple of bps, with 10yr yields flat, further inverting the 2s10s curve to -44.5 bps as we go to press. Higher real yields were behind the latest moves, with the 10yr real yield crossing 1.0%, hitting a post-2018 high. And in Europe it was much the same story, with yields on 10yr bunds (+5.3bps), OATs (+3.6bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all moving higher as well. Yesterday’s losses were spread across multiple asset classes, and equities took a tumble given those fears about faster rate hikes. The S&P 500 shed -1.13% as part of a broad-based decline, and the impact of higher interest rates was evident from the sectoral breakdowns, as tech stocks including the NASDAQ (-1.43%) struggled, whereas the banks in the S&P 500 advanced +1.54%. Europe experienced a similar pattern, with the STOXX 600 (-0.56%) losing ground for a third day running, in contrast to the STOXX Banks index (+1.98%) which hit a three-month high. One more positive piece of news on the inflation side was that a deal was reached to avert an upcoming US rail strike, which would have had a significant impact on supply chains had that gone ahead. A sign of its potential impact was that even the White House was involved, with President Biden joining the meeting virtually on Wednesday evening. The news helped a number of key commodities to fall back in price, including US natural gas futures which ended the day -8.67% lower, whilst WTI oil was also down -3.82% at $85.10/bbl. Asian equity markets are weaker again this morning, heading for a fifth consecutive weekly drop amid further weakness in US equities overnight. As I type, the CSI (-1.13%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.97%) are trading in negative territory with stronger than expected economic data failing to boost risk sentiment. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (-1.08%), Kospi (-1.03%) and the Hang Seng (-0.55%) are also sliding. Looking ahead, stock futures in the DM world are pointing to additional losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.71%), NASDAQ 100 (-0.88%) and DAX (-0.70%) all moving lower. We have early morning data from China with retail sales standing out as it jumped +5.4% y/y in August (v/s +3.3% expected), up from +2.7% in July. The uptick in retail sales was primarily visible in the restaurant/catering sectors, an industry typically sensitive to lockdowns. Other activity series showed that industrial production grew +4.2% y/y in August, which is an improvement from July’s +3.8% increase. Also, fixed asset investment for the first eight months of the year rose by +5.8%, above the +5.5% increase forecast. However, there were some disappointing signs elsewhere as new home prices slid for the 12th consecutive month, falling -0.29% m/m in August against a -0.11% decline previously, indicating that the recently rolled-out measures failed to revive demand. Staying on China, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) continued its currency defense after the yuan weakened past the key level of 7 per US dollar for the first time in two years amid the relentless dollar rally. The central bank for the 17th straight day intervened while fixing the yuan 456 pips stronger than the average Bloomberg estimate to help prevent the currency’s slide. Back to wrapping up the rest of yesterday’s data, US industrial production was down -0.2% in August (vs. unch expected), and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook for September fell to -9.9 (vs. 2.3 expected). However, the Empire State manufacturing survey for September rose to -1.5 (vs. -12.9 expected), rebounding from its worst month since the Covid pandemic. To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for September, as well as UK retail sales for August. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll hear from ECB’s President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Rehn and Villeroy. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/16/2022 - 08:03.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 16th, 2022

Putin"s insistence that the war is going great is shooting Russia in the foot as it desperately tries to find new soldiers, experts say

Russia could conscript more soldiers if Putin formally declared a state of war. But doing so would highlight Russia's vast military failures thus far. Russian President Vladimir PutinContributor/Getty Images Russia is suffering from a lack of soldiers as Ukraine racks up a series of victories in the war. Putin could solve his military's personnel problem by declaring a formal state of war and conscripting men. But doing so would force Putin to acknowledge his country's failures thus far, an expert told Insider. Following a weekend of conclusive military defeats at the hands of Ukraine's unexpectedly capable troops, Russia is being forced to confront its glaring manpower problem — and an obstinate president who refuses to offer reprieve. Ukrainian troops over the weekend amassed their biggest victory yet, launching two major offensives in the northeast and south in an effective effort to reclaim occupied territory. Reports from the frontlines indicate that Russian troops fled as the country's battered military buckled under Ukraine's powerful performance.The humiliating losses are exemplary of Russia's aversion thus far to mobilize troops in the nearly seven-month war, according to experts who said the issue is likely to persist and worsen as long as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to present a confident front, despite a dismal reality.Plummeting morale amid heavy lossesAs the war drags on, morale among Russian troops is undoubtedly low and dropping further, according to Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy and a historian of the Soviet Union and US-Soviet relations."A lot of these units are not exhibiting what we would call military professionalism, including cutting and running," he told Insider.Increasing exhaustion among troops and subsequent, resulting setbacks can be traced back to strategic decisions that officials made at the start of the war, Miles said."We saw the best Russian military performance in the first few weeks of the war when the Russian military took its best units and sent huge numbers on basically suicide missions," the professor said. "They took the cream of the crop and threw them into the meat grinder, and now they are left with the remains."Russia has since been forced to court volunteer soldiers in order to keep men on the battlefield, pulling out all the stops to convince the country's people to join a brutal war.The Russian government has come up with what Miles called a "stopgap solution" to its personnel problem by offering lucrative contracts to woo able-bodied fighters, including a year's average salary for just three months of military work. The government is also offering sign-on bonuses and hazard combat pay, according to George Barros, a geospatial analyst on the Russia and Ukraine portfolio at the Institute for the Study of War. "This is an indicator that the conventional units that have fought in Ukraine have been degraded very badly," Barros told Insider in an August interview. "So the Russians have to scrape the barrel to try and pull in who they can."The country is not only targeting veterans with combat experience, but anyone who can feasibly fight, Barros said. The military trains them for approximately 30 days and sends them into combat.The strategy worked well enough at the start of the war, Miles said."Lots of people signed on for one round," he said. "But as summer gives way to fall and fall gives way to winter, I would doubt that given how disastrously things have gone in the last few days especially, that many people will sign up for spending winter in a Ukrainian trench."Especially as morale continues to plummet, "there's definitely a knowledge among folks in Russia that Ukraine is not where you want to go right now," Barros said.Russia ordered troops to cross into rebel-held Ukrainian territory in February.Russian Defense Ministry Press Service/Associated PressA refused solutionThe lack of men has led to grueling conditions for those soldiers who do find themselves on the frontlines."Combat is the most physically and mentally taxing thing a human can subject themself to," Miles said. "Units that have been in it for six months, it's just exhausting."But there's a seemingly simple solution to Russia's disappointing dearth of soldiers, experts said: The country could call for conscription. Drawing upon a draft would certainly help improve the military's personnel problem, but Putin remains resistant to taking the action necessary to do so, Miles said. In order to conscript soldiers, Russia would have to formally declare a state of war — an escalation that would highlight and confirm Russia's dismal performance in the conflict thus far. "Continuing to refuse to mobilize is denying the Russian military the resource it needs most, which is personnel," Miles said.Throughout nearly seven-months of fighting, the Russian government has refused to call the war by that name, instead maintaining that troops are in Ukraine for a "special military operation." "To declare mass mobilization, to declare formal war would be an explicit declaration that this isn't working," Miles said.Seemingly more important than actually winning the war, in Putin's mind, is keeping up the false pretense that Russia isn't failing, experts said."He's insistent on maintaining this narrative that everything is going great, which no reasonable person would believe," Miles said.Ryan Pickrell contributed to this reporting.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 14th, 2022

From eggs to coffee, these are the foods that have gotten the most expensive over the past year

The price of eggs has gone up 39.8% over the past year, while margarine prices have risen by 38.3%, BLS data shows. Food and drink prices have soared by 13.5% over the past year.Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images Food and drink prices have soared by 13.5% over the past year. Inflation-strapped customers are changing how they swap, including switching to cheaper brands. Here are the products that have had the biggest price increases. Prices keep going up. In the US, the prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks bought for at-home consumption increased by 13.5% in the year to August 2022, per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall inflation, measured by the BLS's consumer-price index, was at 8.3%.Americans have plenty of savings and should keep spending, JPMorgan Asset Management has said.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSources: BLS, Insider, InsiderInflation-strapped customers are trading down by switching to cheaper brands or grocery store private labels. But the prices of some foods are increasing at a much more rapid rate than others. Here are the products that have had the biggest price increases over the past year, per BLS data.Inside Food Lion.Talia Lakritz/InsiderThe price of eggs has gone up 39.8%.Refrigerated eggsBI Photo / Isabel Fernandez PujolMargarine is close behind, costing 38.3% more than it did this time last year.gemredding/Getty ImagesButter costs 24.6% more.Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty ImagesFlour and prepared flour mixes for things like pancakes and cookies now cost 23.3% more.Michelle Arnold/EyeEm via Getty ImagesFats and oils, including peanut butter but excluding salad dressing, butter, and margarine, cost 21.3% more.A supermarket shelf in Spain half-stocked with sunflower oil.Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)Dairy and related products, excluding milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, and margarine, cost 20% more. This includes yogurt, cream, and milkshakes, as well as those made from non-dairy alternatives like soy, almond, rice, oat, and coconut milk.Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty ImagesThe price of olives, pickles, and relishes has risen by 19.4%.Olives make a great low-carb snack.Image Source/Getty ImagesRoasted coffee costs 18.7% more. The price of instant coffee, in comparison, went up by 13%.Tim Young Photography/Getty ImagesSoup costs 18.5% more ...Brandon Bell... as do frozen and freeze-dried prepared foods, like frozen ready meals, French fries, and burgers.Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty ImagesFrankfurters cost 18.3% more ...Matt Carey/Getty Images... while the price of lunchmeat rose by 18.2%.carlosgaw/Getty ImagesFrozen and refrigerated bakery products, including pies, tarts, and turnovers, are up by 18.1%.Pastry and Food Photography/Getty ImagesFresh meat, in comparison, hasn't risen much in price. According to BLS, the price of uncooked beef and veal increased by 2.5%, including a 7.8% rise for ground beef and a fall of 3% for beef steaks. Pork prices, including bacon and sausages, went up by 6.8%.Ground beef for sale at Walmart.ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImagesChicken has seen a much bigger increase, though, with prices jumping 16.6% over the past year.It's important to read the labels on your chicken.Joe Gough/ShutterstockPrices do seem to be stabilizing, though. The price of food and non-alcoholic drinks bought for at-home consumption rose 0.7% between July and August, down from 1.3% between June and July. And prices for some items, including rice, apples, and peanut butter, fell in the last month, the data shows.Grocery shopping in Rosemead, California on April 21, 2022.Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty ImagesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 14th, 2022

These Are The 10 Biggest Social Money Cryptocurrencies

Social tokens are the new emerging trend in the crypto market. In simple words, they are a cryptocurrency that a person, creators, influencers, brands or organizations can use to monetize themselves. These tokens help to eliminate the middlemen, allowing creators to keep all their earned money, as well as retain their artistic control. Let’s take […] Social tokens are the new emerging trend in the crypto market. In simple words, they are a cryptocurrency that a person, creators, influencers, brands or organizations can use to monetize themselves. These tokens help to eliminate the middlemen, allowing creators to keep all their earned money, as well as retain their artistic control. Let’s take a look at the 10 biggest social money cryptocurrencies. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   10 Biggest Social Money Cryptocurrencies We have used the market capitalization of the social money tokens (as of Sept. 8, 2022) to rank the 10 biggest social money cryptocurrencies. For most tokens, we have used the market capitalization data from coinmarketcap.com.  BBSCoin (BBS) This token is designed for internet forums. BBSCoin aims to help people monetize the virtual credits they earn on the internet forums. BBS is up by over 20% year to date and up almost 38% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, BBS is trading at $0.0000005736, giving it a market capitalization of more than $0.05 million. It has an all-time high of $0.00004102 (June 2019) and an all-time low of $0.0000001899 (June 2022). Yup (YUP) It aims to reward valuable opinions across the web by using its Yup Protocol, which is a decentralized semi-autonomous social consensus protocol. YUP is down by almost 99% year to date and down almost 26% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, YUP is trading at $0.01127, giving it a market capitalization of more than $0.072 million. It has an all-time high of $5.90 (November 2021). Zoracles (ZORA) It is a DeFi Oracle platform that aims to come up with a liquidity swap ecosystem to provide users with data, tools, and capital. ZORA is down by over 58% year to date but is up by over 81% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, ZORA is trading at $82.69, giving it a market capitalization of more than $0.41 million. It has an all-time high of $3,767.38 (November 2021). Props Token (PROPS) It aims to empower users who help digital communities thrive, as well as build a better association between app developers and their users. PROPS is down by almost 87% year to date and down over 25% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, PROPS is trading at $0.0009643, giving it a market capitalization of more than $0.49 million. It has an all-time high of $0.1926 (May 2021) and an all-time low of $0.0006098 (July 2022). HollyGold (HGOLD) It is a blockchain-based Hollywood movie production company that aims to use blockchain to get token holders indirectly involved in producing movies. HGOLD is down by over 37% year to date and down almost 24% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, HGOLD is trading at $0.1739, giving it a market capitalization of more than $0.77 million. It has an all-time high of $14.65 (January 2021) and an all-time low of $0.1179 (May 2021). Onooks (OOKS) OOKS aims to develop an integrated and interoperable open finance and monetary protocol matrix. It eventually wants to disrupt the traditional financial structures. OOKS is down by over 58% year to date and down over 13% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, OOKS is trading at $0.2376, giving it a market capitalization of more than $2.60 million. It has an all-time high of $1.83 (November 2021) and an all-time low of $0.06872 (October 2021). MORK (MORK) It is social money for the Hackatao art collective and their digital community. MORK is down by almost 90% year to date and down over 23% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, MORK is trading at $0.3646, giving it a market capitalization of more than $3 million. It has an all-time high of $30.26 (November 2021). Friends With Benefits Pro (FWB) It is a DAO and cryptocurrency-governed platform for artists and creators. FWB aims to use Web3 tools to develop an ecosystem for creators and artists to express creativity in various forms. FWB is down by over 83% year to date and down almost 7% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, FWB is trading at $10.27, giving it a market capitalization of more than $6 million. It has an all-time high of $628.02 (November 2021) and an all-time low of $4.23 (June 2021). WHALE (WHALE) It is a social currency backed by NFT and tangible assets. WHALE aims to work as an asset-backed currency that gets its value from collectibles and digital art instead of gold. WHALE is down by almost 92% year to date and down almost 37% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, WHALE is trading at $1.13, giving it a market capitalization of more than $10 million. It has an all-time high of $61.77 (November 2021) and an all-time low of $1.07 (September 2022). Rally (RLY) Launched in 2020, it is an Ethereum token that powers the Rally network. This network uses content sharing and crypto token rewards to develop communities around a brand or message. RLY is down by over 91% year to date and down almost 27% in the last 30 days. As of this writing, RLY is trading at $0.03138, giving it a market capitalization of more than $100 million. It has an all-time high of $1.40 (April 2021) and an all-time low of $0.02908 (June 2022)......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 12th, 2022

Russia"s reliance on Wagner Group in Ukraine is wearing down Putin"s favorite mercenary group, the British military says

Wagner Group's role in Ukraine will likely "exacerbate grievances" between it and Russia's military, the British Ministry of Defense said in July. A mural in Belgrade, Serbia, praising Wagner Group and its mercenaries, seen on March 30.Pierre Crom/Getty Images As Russia's military struggles in Ukraine, Moscow has relied more on private military contractors. Chief among them are the fighters of Wagner Group, a shadowy network with close ties to the Kremlin. The intensity of the fighting against Ukraine's military has in turn taken a heavy toll on Wagner. Russian private military contractor the Wagner Group has been fighting alongside — and often supplanting — the Russian military in Ukraine.But Moscow's reliance on Wagner Group and its mercenaries is wearing down the infamous private military company, according to recent assessments by British military intelligence.Wagner Group in UkraineA destroyed Russian T-90M tank in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on May 9.REUTERS/Vitalii HnidyiRussian President Vladimir Putin, apparently hoping for a quick victory that would topple the government in Kyiv, has seen his vaunted military fail time and again in Ukraine.The Kremlin has now limited its ambitions and is increasingly reliant on the Wagner Group to make up for the Russian military's lackluster performance and for the horrific losses that those regular forces have suffered.In a July 18 update on the war, the British Ministry of Defense assessed that Moscow has used the Wagner Group to "reinforce front-line forces" in Ukraine and to alleviate force-generation issues created by heavy Russian casualties.The total of Russian casualties after six months of war is not known publicly, and assessments vary, from US estimates of 70,000 to 80,000 total to Ukrainian estimates of 50,000 killed and many tens of thousands more wounded or missing.Extensive Russian casualties and Moscow's inability to regenerate its forces have sapped its military's ability to conduct large-scale offensive operations. Those factors have made Wagner Group and its mercenaries a more appealing option for the Kremlin.A soldier by a mock grave for Russian President Vladimir Putin near Zaporizhzhya in Ukraine on May 9.Rick Mave/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBesides the legal complications of that approach — captured mercenaries wouldn't be protected by the Geneva Conventions, for example — an expanded role looks likely to have negative consequences for Wagner and for the Russian campaign as a whole.Indeed, Wagner Group also appears to be suffering heavy casualties in Ukraine. In mid-August, Ukrainian forces used US-provided HIMARS rockets to strike a forward headquarters of the mercenary group in the Luhansk region.The strike reportedly killed and wounded Wagner Group fighters. "There is no more Wagner HQ in Popasna. Thank you, Himars and the Armed Forces of Ukraine!" Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of Ukraine's Parliament, said after the strike.Like Russia's regular military, Wagner Group has been forced to lower its standards in order to replenish its ranks. The mercenary group is drawing from unconventional sources, including convicts who have been promised freedom in exchange for fighting in Ukraine.Ukrainian personnel look over a grave for Russian troops near Kharkiv on May 9.Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images"Very limited training is made available to new recruits," The British Ministry of Defense said in its July 18 assessment, adding that the trend "will highly likely impact on the future operational effectiveness of the group and will reduce its value as a prop to the regular Russian forces."Wagner forces have been aiding regular Russian troops in achieving what are now Moscow's main objectives, including the capture of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk this summer, which gave Russia control of the Luhansk region.Amid those operations, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the oligarch believed to oversee Wagner Group, was granted the title Hero of the Russian Federation. That award, and Wagner's growing role in the war, come as senior Russian military commanders are being fired and replaced because of their forces' poor performance.The Kremlin's increasing reliance on Wagner Group, among other private military companies, "is likely to exacerbate grievances between the military and Wagner" and "to impact negatively on Russian military morale," the Ministry of Defense said in its July 18 assessment.The Wagner GroupYevgeny Prigozhin with Putin at a factory outside St. Petersburg in September 2010.ALEXEY DRUZHININ/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty ImagesWagner and other mercenary groups, many of which originated from the exodus of military personnel following the Soviet collapse, are closely linked to powerful interests in Moscow.The Kremlin's internal workings — intelligence services, the military, and oligarchs competing for resources and influence — have created the perfect conditions for Wagner to emerge and grow.Wagner has earned Putin's favor and international infamy from its operations on every battlefield it has deployed to over the past decade, including conflicts in Libya, Mali, Syria, the Central African Republic, and Ukraine.Wagner's mercenaries have also engaged US troops, most notably in northeastern Syria in 2018, when Wagner and Syrian pro-regime fighters attacked an outpost manned by US and Kurdish forces.US forces made quick work of the attackers, killing hundreds, including many Wagner members.Syrian and Russian soldiers at a checkpoint in Damascus in March 2018.Omar Sanadiki/ReutersOutside of Ukraine, the US is watching Wagner closely, especially in Africa, where the group is Moscow's "main action arm," US Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said at a Defense Writers Group event in late July.Wagner has roughly 1,000 fighters in Mali, where the group has deployed "sophisticated" radars and air defenses, but it appears to have "the greatest influence and sway" in the Central African Republic, where "basically they prop up that government," said Townsend, who retired as head of US Africa Command in August.Townsend said Wagner had pulled mercenaries from Africa, mostly from Libya, to support operations in Ukraine.When Russia's military "got into trouble in Ukraine," Townsend said, "they called for help and Prigozhin was tasked to send fighters there, and he has."Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working toward a master's degree in strategy and cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 11th, 2022