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UFO shot down by $400K US missile may have been a $12 hobby balloon: report
One of the UFOs shot down last weekend by the US Air Force with a $400,000 missile may have simply been a $12 balloon belonging to an Illinois enthusiast club, a report said.
The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade told Aviation Week on Thursday that it fears one of its diligently tracked gasbags that recently went missing was the mystery object taken out by the military over Canada on Saturday.
The Pico Balloon — a silver-coated, cylindrically shaped object — reported its last position at 38,910 feet off the west coast of Alaska on Friday.
By Saturday, based on the balloon’s projected path, it would have been over the central part of the Yukon Territory around the same time a military Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same area of Canada, the outlet reported.
The NIBBB — a group of enthusiasts dedicated to creating, releasing and tracking homemade balloons — declared its K9YO device “missing in action” on Saturday.
The K9YO balloon had circumnavigated the globe six times during a 123-day span before its tracking device went dark Friday. Such balloons usually float around until they’re brought down by bad weather or damaged.
The NIBBB’s balloon was equipped with a small GPS transmitter and an antenna, allowing the group to track it with a ham radio.
The Air Force used Sidewinder missiles in its targeted attacks against the Chinese spy balloon downed earlier this month and the mystery UFOs taken down last week, Fortune reported. Each missile comes at a price tag of roughly $400,000.
Pico Balloons, however, typically fall between $12 and $180 each depending on the type, Aviation Week reported.
The US downed airborne objects over Alaska on Friday and Lake Huron on Sunday, in addition to Saturday’s takedown.
On Thursday, President Biden finally addressed the unprecedented military action in North American airspace after five days of silence and told Americans there was no evidence that the three unidentified flying objects were nefarious.
“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were,” Biden said, echoing remarks by other administration officials.
“But nothing, nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program, or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country,” the president added, acknowledging a disclosure made Tuesday by his National Security Council.
“The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects are most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreational or research institutions, studying weather or conducting other scientific research,” Biden said.
Authorities have been working to recover the debris from the three objects recently downed over North America.
But the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, searching for the object shot down over Lake Huron on Sunday, suspended their efforts on Thursday.
The RCMP said there was a slim chance of finding the device in the 23,000-square-mile lake, especially as weather conditions worsen Friday.
So far, the US military has only found debris from the Chinese spy balloon shot down off the coast of North Carolina on Feb. 4. The object — with a payload the size of three school buses — was equipped with antennas capable of collecting communications signals and other intelligence-gathering tools.
Biden did say Thursday, “I expect to be speaking with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping]” about the spy-balloon incident — without saying exactly when and while repeating his well-worn call for “competition, not conflict” with China.
“I gave the order to shoot it down as soon as it would be safe to do so,” Biden said of the surveillance balloon shot down.
White House officials admitted this week that “hundreds, if not thousands” of objects in the sky — including the UFOs it shot down last week — could be as innocuous as “used car lot balloons.”
The North American Aerospace Defense Command told Fox News that the FBI reached out to the NIBBB and “expects the National Security Council to have more on potentially identifying the objects.”
The NIBBB did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
A hobby group may have the answer to what the U.S. shot down over Canada last week
The FBI has reportedly reached out to an amateur club in Illinois that flies high-altitude balloons.
[…]“I have no information for you from NORAD on the objects,” said Air Force Col. Elizabeth Mathias, a spokesperson from the North American Aerospace Defense Command. “I understand FBI spoke with that hobby group, and I expect the [National Security Council] task force to have more on the potential identification of the objects.”
POLITICO has reached out to the club for comment. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The brigade flies pico balloons, which are filled with hydrogen and carry a transmitter with GPS tracking. The balloons rise to 47,000 feet, the group says on its website. The Yukon object was reported to be floating around 40,000 feet.
“As we travel, our GPS is able to locate our current location, and other information is gathered depending on what chips we have on our transmitter while using other programs to gather other inflight information,” the group says on its website.
The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade, which formed two years ago, got its name from the children’s film “Up”. The founders drew inspiration from the Ellie Badge, a grape soda bottle cap on a pin that’s a prized possession for the main character in the movie.
“There were 10 of us to start, aged 11 years old and up, kids, their parents and friends, some licensed in Amateur Radio some having an interest in science and engineering,” according to the website. “We met monthly to research and report and had our first launch on September 25th 2021.”
CNN – Amateur balloonist group from Illinois says small balloon last reported over Alaska ‘missing in action’
[…]“We send a small transmitter, with GPS tracking and antenna on a balloon filled with Hydrogen, rising to 47,000 feet, and travelling with the speed of the Jetstream,” the NIBBB website explains.
The NIBBB says its members, ranging from kids to adults, are responsible for launching more than 25 balloons since the group’s inception in June 2021.
“Six ended up in trees (we found a fix for that). Six balloons never said hello (we think we have a fix for that). We had eight balloons that traveled the United States. We had nine balloons that left the United States. We had three balloons that almost made it around the world. We have two balloons flying around the world,” the group said on its website.
It remains to be seen where Pico Balloon K9YO will be found.
nibbb blog – February 14th, 2023, K9YO, Missing in Action, KD9UQB, 7th Circumnavigation.
Pico Balloon K9YO last reported on February 11th at 00:48 zulu near Hagemeister Island after 123 days and 18 hours of flight.
Hagemeister Island is an uninhabited island in the U.S. state of Alaska, located on the north shore of Bristol Bay at the entrance to Togiak Bay. The island is 16 miles long, has a land area of 115.9 square miles, and its highest point is 604 feet. It has no permanent population at the 2000 census.
Pico Balloon KD9UQB was launched from Neumayer Station III in Antarctica on November 24th 2022, completing the 7th Circumnavigation, on February 14th 2023 at 18:12 zulu at Grid ID52vd.
Pico Balloon KD9UQB last reported flying at an altitude of 11,560 meters, 37,928 feet, completing the 7th time around the world in 82 days and 12 hours of flight.
CNN – Ret. US Army Major says unidentified objects are a wake-up call for US
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NBC News – Courtney Kube: U.S. government leaning towards theory that UFOs shot down were ‘benign’
NBC News Pentagon Correspondent Courtney Kube joins Andrea Mitchell to dig into her exclusive interview with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the unidentified objects the U.S. military shot down.
The U.S. government is “leaning towards this theory that they were benign, that they didn’t present any kind of a threat.
In fact, Secretary Austin said that, that they presented no military threat to people on the ground. The concern was that they may have presented a threat from the air to commercial aviation,” says Kube. “But the reality is, I asked Secretary Austin, if given the fact that you had shot down these three not knowing what they were, and now they believe they weren’t necessarily a threat, does that mean we’ll see more shoot downs like this?
And he said, ‘first they need to figure out exactly what these first three were.’ So we still don’t have a lot of answers.”
CBC – Flying object downed in Yukon sparks conversations about arctic security
An unidentified aerial object shot down in Yukon has led community members to have conversations about arctic security — and about how to ensure First Nations are included in discussions with Ottawa.
Pentagon warned UFOs are a threat weeks before China spy flight incident
“Knowing everything [Biden] knows now, would he take the exact same steps and shoot off these expensive missiles?”
NEWSMAX Chief White House Correspondent James Rosen [@JamesRosenTV] questions John Kirby.
+ 2 min 17 video
( 9 min 15 )
redacted – NATO launches UFO attack team to take out alien craft
NATO says it will launch a space project in order to create a “fleet of spy satellites.”
Timely announcement after this week of spy balloons!
They say that they have to do this because they fear that Russia and China will edge them out up there.
yahoo news – Nuland: US supports Ukraine striking targets in Crimea
The U.S. supports Ukrainian strikes on military targets in the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, said U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
“Russia has turned Crimea into a massive military installation…those are legitimate targets, Ukraine is hitting them, and we are supporting that,” Nuland told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
“No matter what the Ukrainians decide about Crimea in terms of where they choose to fight, etcetera, Ukraine is not going to be safe unless Crimea is at a minimum demilitarised,” she added.
In response, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, has accused the U.S. of inciting Ukraine “to further escalate the war,” Reuters reported.
On Feb. 16-17, several explosions were reported in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, followed by Moscow-installed proxies claiming Ukrainian drone attacks.
Russia illegally annexed and occupied Crimea in 2014 in the wake of Ukraine’s Euromaidan Revolution. The peninsula is also home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
Since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to return Crimea to Ukraine.
reuters – Russia accuses United States of inciting Ukraine to escalate the war
MOSCOW, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Russia on Friday accused the United States of inciting Ukraine to escalate the war by condoning attacks on Crimea, warning that Washington was now directly involved in the conflict because “crazy people” had dreams of defeating Russia.
Moscow was responding to comments by U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland who said the United States considers that Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, should be demilitarised at a minimum and that Washington supports Ukrainian attacks on military targets on the peninsula.
“Now the American warmongers have gone even further: They incite the Kyiv regime to further escalate the war,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, told reporters when asked about Nuland’s remarks.
“They supply weapons in huge quantities, provide intelligence and participate directly in the planning of combat operations,” Zakharova said, adding that some U.S. officials dreamed like “crazies” of defeating Russia.
Crimea, which includes the port of Sevastopol where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based, is seen by Western and Russian diplomats as the biggest potential flashpoint of the Ukraine war.
The Kremlin has said all territories considered by Moscow to be part of Russia – including the areas of Ukraine under Russian control – are covered by its nuclear umbrella.
“No matter what the Ukrainians decide about Crimea in terms of where they choose to fight etcetera, Ukraine is not going to be safe unless Crimea is at a minimum, at a minimum, demilitarised,” Nuland told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
Asked about the dangers of escalation in the Ukraine war, Nuland said Russia had a host of military installations crucial for the conflict. “Those are legitimate targets, Ukraine is hitting them and we are supporting that,” Nuland said.
President Vladimir Putin casts Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine as an existential battle with an aggressive and arrogant West, and has said that Russia will use all available means to protect itself and its people.
The United States has denied that it wants to destroy Russia, while President Joe Biden has cautioned that a conflict between Russia and NATO could trigger World War Three, though he has also said Putin should not remain in power.
Crimea, which juts out into the Black Sea, was absorbed into the Russian empire after Catherine the Great annexed it in the 18th century.
In 1921, the peninsula became part of the Soviet Union and of Russia within it until 1954, when it was handed to Ukraine, also a Soviet republic, by Josef Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev.
In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Russia recognised Ukrainian sovereignty in its existing borders – which included Crimea – and agreed to refrain from using force against Kyiv.
Attacks on Russian air and naval bases in Crimea, as well as on a Russian-built road and rail bridge linking it to Russia across the Kerch Strait – have been celebrated by Ukrainian officials.
FEB 16 2023 – Inside Biden’s Ukraine Strategy With Ambassador Victoria Nuland | Carnegie Connects
As the war in Ukraine nears its one-year anniversary, the coming months could prove decisive in a conflict that has become a war of attrition.
The possibility of any negotiation in the near future appears dim as rumors spread of massive Russian and Ukrainian offensives.
Kiev and its Western partners are scrambling to bolster the Ukrainian military with tanks, air defense, and other capabilities.
How does the Biden administration view the effectiveness and sustainability of its overall strategy?
And how can Ukrainian and Western leaders persuade Putin that he is wrong to pin his hopes on simply outlasting his opponents?
Join Aaron David Miller as he sits down in conversation with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland to discuss these and other issues.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE
Special Online Briefing with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland
AMBASSADOR VICTORIA NULAND, UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS
FEBRUARY 16, 2023
BRUSSELS MEDIA HUB
MODERATOR: Good afternoon from the State Department’s Brussels Media Hub. I would like to welcome everyone joining us today for this virtual press briefing. We are very honored to be joined by Ambassador Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the Department of State.
We will try to get to as many questions as possible in the 30 minutes that we have today, so please show your support and like the questions you’d most like us to cover. You can notify us of any technical difficulties at TheBrusselsHub – one word – @state.gov.
Finally, a reminder that today’s briefing is on the record. And with that, let’s get started. Under Secretary Nuland, thank you so much for joining us today. I’ll turn it over to you for opening remarks.
AMBASSADOR NULAND: Thank you, John. Thank you, so many colleagues, for joining us. So we are, as you all know, approaching the one-year anniversary of Putin’s brutal war against Ukraine. A year ago today, the U.S. was warning the world that Putin intended to do this, and we were all concerned about how Ukraine would manage and how the world would react.
Today, we see that Putin gravely underestimated both the resolve, capability, and bravery of the people of Ukraine to defend their country, their democracy, and their freedom; he also gravely underestimated the resolve of the free world to stand with Ukraine, our allies and partners, for as long as it takes.
We are more united now than we were before this brutal invasion. Not only is Ukraine fighting bravely, but today we have 50-plus nations providing tens of billions of dollars in military support, economic support, humanitarian support. NATO is stronger. The UN community (inaudible) is united than it’s ever been. Ukraine has put forward a formula for a just peace in President Zelensky’s 10 points, and Russia keeps talking about a false peace. What we need is a durable peace where Ukraine can again not only survive but thrive within its international borders, and we will not stand for any kind of a false or phony peace that just gives Russia the opportunity to rest, refit, and return.
You see the war grinding in the east, in Bakhmut. Russia has declared that it is launching a new offensive. Well, if this is it, it is very pathetic, I would say. Ukraine itself is planning its own counteroffensive for later on.
Let me pause there to go to your questions. It is hard to think back that this has been going on for a year. I want to just again salute the bravery and the tenacity and the courage of the Ukrainian people, led by President Zelensky. Not only are they fighting on the battlefield, but they are also now withstanding this vicious escalation that Putin has launched against them in the form of attacks on energy and other critical infrastructure, indiscriminately attacking civilians and bombarding cities, and of course the evil, evil filtration of Ukrainian children to Russia. They should be ashamed of themselves. Let me pause there.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Under Secretary, for your opening remarks. We’ll go now to the question-and-answer portion of the conversation. Our first question was pre-submitted by Kristina Zeleniuk from the Ukrainian Television Channel 1+1. She asks: “What do you think Putin’s goals will be during the second year of this full-scale war against Ukraine? Will he try again to capture Kiev? And can we say now that this war will last for years?”
AMBASSADOR NULAND: Well, Kristina, one thing that I never like to do, and I’m not going to start now, is to get into the head of Vladimir Putin. That is not a place that I want to be. I think what we’ve seen is that he is arrogant enough to believe that he can defeat Ukraine, that Ukraine is Russian, and that he will continue. I think the more interesting question is whether the Russian people will stand for this given how many of their sons they are losing – more than 200,000 Russians killed in action or wounded in action over the course of the year. They have in some categories lost more than half of their military equipment in this war and more than a million of the brightest and best Russians have left the country.
So what is this war bringing the average Russian? Nothing. Death, destruction, loss of a future, loss of the technological and economic potential that would come from being integrated with us.
So what is more interesting is whether the Russian people will stand for this, and whether the Russian army can even put up a fight when we see how it is going in Bakhmut.
MODERATOR: Thank you, ma’am. We’ll go to a live question. Hiba Nasr, you have the mike.
QUESTION: Hi, can you hear me?
MODERATOR: Yes, I can.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thanks for taking my question and thanks, Madam Under Secretary, for this briefing. After one year, I want to understand what is the end state that the United States wants there? I understand that the President said many times and the Secretary and you yourself that you will support Ukrainians as long as it takes. The Ukrainians want all their territories, including Crimea, but they are not supported with the needed means, the needed weapons to do that. What the United States want in Ukraine – wants in Ukraine? Can you please give us an idea after one year of this war?
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: The President has said, as you said, that we will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. Ukraine is fighting for the return of all of its land within its international borders. We are supporting them, including in preparing a next hard push to regain their territory . Obviously this war – if Russia stopped fighting, this war could end tomorrow. Unfortunately, if Ukraine stopped fighting, Ukraine would end. So it is a Ukrainian decision how they prosecute this war. It is a Ukrainian decision how they pursue other avenues towards peace, including diplomacy. But our position remains unchanged. If you – I’m not sure what your home country is, but I can imagine that you would not be satisfied to have pieces of your country bitten off by another country and expect the international community not to stand with you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, ma’am. The next question, we’ll go to John O’Donnell from Reuters. It’s pre-submitted. He asks: “How does the United States intend to step up sanctions enforcement relating to Russia, and what role can the enforcement of financial sanctions play?”
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: Well, thanks for that question, John. I think you will see around the 24th a big new package of sanctions from both the U.S. and from all of our G7 partners. These sanctions will deepen and broaden in certain categories where we have been active before, particularly in limiting the flow of technology to the Russian defense industry, high-tech equipment, et cetera, to sanctioning those individuals who are directly involved in prosecuting this war and supporting it. But we will also have a number of targets that go to the question of sanctions evasion, because we are seeing the Russians get quite clever – everything from importing laptops and refrigerators through third countries, including sometimes our own countries, which they then strip-mined for chips and other things that go into their war machine.
We are going to get those evaders, both in our own space and in third countries. We are also broadening banking sanctions. We’re going to broaden our export controls, which will capture much of the illicit trade, and particularly we’re targeting areas of concern and countries that are helping Russia evade sanctions. We’ve spoken publicly about our concerns about Iran, the DPRK, China, but there are other countries as well, whether they are witting or unwitting, who are being used for sanctions evasion. And the next round of the packages, both from us and our G7 partners, will focus very, very intently on that.
MODERATOR: Thank you, ma’am. We’ll go live to the next question. Momchil Indjov from Bulgaria. Momchil, you have the mike.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Your Excellency. Do you hear me?
MODERATOR: Yes, we hear you.
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: I do.
QUESTION: Okay. Your Excellency, everyone knows that some European countries including Bulgaria, Hungary, for example, are not keen to help arm Ukraine. What’s your message to the leaders of those countries?
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: Well, first, I would say that every single NATO Ally has supported Ukraine’s war effort. Allies do it in different ways. Many of the countries that are former members of the Warsaw Pact have Soviet-era equipment, which they no longer use, which they have been willing to donate. There is also the question of training. There is a question of support in terms of non-lethal but nonetheless highly important military – things like winter uniforms and boots and medical training. I’m not going to speak directly to what the countries you mentioned are giving except to say that everybody in the NATO family is supporting in some manner and to their capacity. And many, many other countries, including beyond Europe, other former states with deep, close ties to Russia and the Soviet Union behind – before, have made the choice to support Ukraine because of the evil and brutality of this war.
MODERATOR: Thank you, ma’am. We’ll go to a pre-submitted question from Andras Nemeth from HVG in Hungary. He asks: “Do you see, quote/unquote, ‘help fatigue’ after this first year of war? If yes, how do we maintain unity among the allies?”
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: On the contrary. I think based on what we saw when Secretary Austin and Chairman Milley were in Europe – I can’t remember if it was yesterday or the day before – to help stimulate the kinds of equipment that Ukraine will need to make another push this spring, we see allies from across the world providing things that they haven’t provided in the past – more sophisticated air defense, more mobile and effective tanks and mobility, long-range fire, et cetera. So far from being fatigued, we see countries around the world understanding, particularly after Putin’s escalation against civilians and against heating and water supplies over the winter, that this has to be stopped, and it’s only going to be stopped if the Ukrainians are enabled to fight the fight.
MODERATOR: Thank you, ma’am. We’ll go to another live question, this time from Jennifer Hansler at CNN. Jennifer, it’s your mike.
QUESTION: Hi. Can you hear me?
MODERATOR: Yes, we got you.
QUESTION: Great. Thank you so much for doing this. I know there’s been an evolution in the types of support that the U.S. and allies are providing to Ukraine. But, Under Secretary, do you think that this adaption has been quick enough to actually make a difference on the battlefield? And some of the things that the Ukrainians have been asking for – jets, attack – still have not been granted. Do you see those being given any time in the near future? Thank you.
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: Well, I’m not going to talk about specific pieces of equipment. As you have rightly said, what we have done is evolve our support to the needs on the battlefield and to what we see Russia bringing to bear on the battlefield. So you do see, as I said before, a new generation of tanks, including U.S. Abrams; you do see the higher-end air defenses, Patriots, et cetera, coming now.
There are – some of these kinds of equipment have long training lead times, so we’re looking at not just at what Ukraine is going to need for this immediate fight, but we’re also thinking about, with the Ukrainians, the Ukrainian military of the future. And some of the things that you are talking about, if you think about a military that will need, whenever this stops and however it stops, to be able to deter Russia from coming back again, they’re going to have to have sophisticated, enduring air defense. They’re going to have to have much stronger border defenses and the ability to ensure Russia can’t invade again. They’re going to have to have better radars and early warnings.
So we are thinking about the fight that they’re in today, but we’re also thinking about our enduring commitment to ensure that, even if this stops on the battlefield now, we don’t see a repeat, where Putin invaded in ’14 and ’15, then he went home to retrofit, and he’s back again in ’22. So that cycle could repeat, whether it’s in six months or six years, and that’s what we need to be thinking about, in addition to the current fight, and we are.
MODERATOR: Thank you, ma’am. We’ll go to another pre-submitted question, this time from Priscilla Imboden from Republik in Switzerland. She asks: “Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but an important financial and commodities trading center. What do you expect the Swiss Government to find, block, and seize Russia assets? The Swiss Government communicated yesterday that the seizure of Russian assets would be unconstitutional. Do you expect the government – what do you expect the government to do regarding the trade of Russian oil and coal by trading companies based in Switzerland?”
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: Well, Switzerland has been a great partner throughout the year, generally tracking with EU sanctions and EU measures to impose costs on Russia, doing things that had not been conceivable in the past, including de-SWIFTing all of the major banks, ensuring that assets are not liquid and available to go back to Russia, so freezing them; participating with us in the oligarch – in the capture of oligarch property, et cetera; and we also have the EU oil price cap. I believe Switzerland is part and party to that. So we are very grateful for the partnership that we’ve had, and we expect that we’ll be – continue to have these discussions as we are with our G7 partners including all of the EU with regard to the frozen assets. But what I will say is that we are united in believing that Russia has to pay for the hellacious devastation that it has wrought on Ukraine.
MODERATOR: Thank you, ma’am. We’ll go to one more pre-submitted question from Thiago Amancio from Folha de Sao Paolo in Brazil. He asks: “What is the Biden administration’s position on countries such as Brazil that have not yet fully aligned with the strong condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?”
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: Well, we had good conversations with the new Brazilian Government when President Lula visited President Biden just last week, and we’ve had a number of delegations down to see the new Brazilian Government. We have asked Brazil to put itself in the shoes of Ukraine. If it had a big neighbor that was biting off pieces of its territory and invading it militarily, would it expect and hope for the support of the democratic community in withstanding that and pushing that back? So what we are upholding here are the UN Charter, the international rules of the road. Brazil now being on the UN Security Council is a very important player in that conversation.
I would also say that we have worked intensively with Brazil as we have with countries around the world from Egypt to South Africa to deal with the fallout from Putin’s war on their economy, including the fact that they weren’t getting the fertilizer that they needed. The U.S. and other partners have come – have stood up to try to improve that situation for them. So, again, these conversations will continue, but it is about defending the UN Charter. It is about defending rules of the road that have – allow our children grow up in a relatively civilized international environment and whether that will continue or not.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Under Secretary. I think we have time for one more question. We’ll go to Christian Wehrschuetz from ORF, the public station in Austria. He asks: “Having in mind the enormous challenges of the defense industry in many NATO member states, which perspective has Ukraine to – or can Ukraine receive enough weapons in time to fight the Russian aggressor? What can and must be done to diminish the problem? How is the situation with the defense industry in the United States?”
UNDER SECRETARY NULAND: Well, Christian, we’ve talked a lot about the equipment that we are seeking to get to Ukraine and that we are in fact flowing in both the U.S. and our allies, but you are right. All of us now need to work together to spin up our defense industries to replace what was needed on the battlefield in Ukraine, and Ukraine itself needs to spin up its defense industry. We also have countries around the world, like India, which are fully dependent on Russian weapons who now understand not only that Russian weapons stink – as we’ve seen on the battlefield – but that there’s not going to be resupply there. So we have an opportunity not only to ensure our own stocks are replenished, that countries like Ukraine that have a long-term defense requirement as we talked about before can be replenished, but that countries that have made a bad bet on Russian weapons have other options. And we’ll also working on that.
Thank you all for being with us today. We very much appreciate it. Thank you, John.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Under Secretary. As the – as the Under Secretary noted, we’re out of time for today. Thank you for your questions and thank you, again, Under Secretary Nuland for taking the time to join us. Before we close the call, I’ll note that we’ll provide an audio recording of the briefing to all the participating journalists and we’ll also provide a transcript as soon as possible. We’d also love to hear your feedback, and you can contact us at any time at TheBrusselsHub@state.gov. Thanks again for your participation, and we hope you can join us for another press briefing in the future. This ends today’s briefing.
europravda – Zelensky urges Western allies to speed up military aid for Ukraine
Extended Interview: Fiona Hill on Putin and Ukraine
Interview with Alexander Vindman on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war on Ukraine
Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news
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the telegraph – ‘Ukraine cannot prevail against Russian Spring offensive’
Russian soldiers, much like Iraqis in the First Gulf War, simply don’t have a reason to fight. On the 24th of February 2022 Russian troops rolled into Ukraine and began one of the bloodiest wars Europe has seen in decades. Almost one year on from the invasion The Telegraph’s Steven Edginton is joined by Colonel Richard Kemp, who served in the British army from 1977 until 2006, to discuss what happened and what could happen next.
Radio free europre/ radio liberty – Ukrainian Team Sends Drones Deep Into Russian-Controlled Territory By Night
Vlad, Yevhen, and their crew say they have made 2,000 sorties since the war began, by day and night.
Zelensky asks for support in Berlinale video
… at the opening of the Berlin International Film Festival. (Feb. 17)
Allies who can send Ukraine tanks must ‘do so now,’ says Scholz
Weapons for Ukraine tops agenda at Munich Security Conference
CNN gets rare access inside a plant making ammo for Ukraine
…. munitions factories across US are increasing production as fast as possible to meet the demand of the Ukranian military.
Oren Liebermann goes inside an American munition plant and reports the US’ long-term plan for the war.
Defense Secretary Austin says US would enter conflict if Russia attacks Estonia
In the event that Russia launches an attack or invasion against Estonia, the United States will enter the conflict, according to the head of the Department of the Defense.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III spoke Thursday at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium. The conference focused heavily on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is approaching its year anniversary.
Austin was asked by a reporter how the country could be confident they’d have the backing of U.S. military might in the event of a Russian invasion.
“You know, I’ll just point to what our president, President Biden, has said a number of times and what I’ve also said. Our commitment to Article 5 is ironclad. And we take that very seriously and will live up to our commitments,” Austin told the press.
Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty is known as “the principle of collective defence.” It obliges all member countries to come to the aid of another member whose sovereignty or territorial integrity might be under threat.
NATO defines it as being “at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty.”
The defense secretary explained that the US military has maintained a comprehensive presence within the Baltics since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We also set up, you know, back at Madrid, our president made the decision to rotate forces in and out of the Baltics on a consistent basis in a heel-to-toe fashion so that we had the, you know, consistent presence. We’ve lived up to that. We’ll continue to live up to it,” Austin said.
Austin touted this level of military presence as a promise kept, stating that similar promises of military support would be kept if necessary.
“And the final thing I would just point out to you is that prior to Russia’s invasion, you know, I met with your minister of defense and I told him that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would deploy forces to Estonia the next day. And we did. We were the first to be here and we meant every word we said. And we’ll live up to our commitments going forward. So we are committed to to Article 5. And you can bet on it.”
FR4NCE PR4VD4 – Muslims from Ukraine and abroad fight common enemy in Ukraine: Russia
Together with the Ukrainians they are not only defending Ukraine and its values, but fighting a common enemy: Russia.
+ comments on the YT page
Islamic state in Ukraine :
+32 sec video
Original Associated Press video
DEUTSCHE PRAVDA- Former Chief Rabbi of Moscow wishes Russian troops would “go back to Russia”
Pinchas Goldschmidt, the former chief rabbi of Moscow, shares his concern for the future of Jewish life in Russia under Putin’s leadership.
FR4NCE PR4VD4- John Kirby: ‘When the weather improves, the Russians will make additional offensive moves’
John Kirby sat down with FRANCE 24’s Washington correspondent Kethevane Gorjestani to talk about the war in Ukraine, the United States’ diplomatic relations with China after the latter sent a spy balloon over its territory, and why the Iran nuclear deal is currently off the table.
‘Putin is trying to exhaust the West’, warns Poland’s president
Zelensky has accused Russia of planning to take over other former Soviet countries and has repeated his appeal for more Western weapons.
The president of neighbouring Poland has told Sky News that Ukraine will need fighter jets to fight Russia as well.
President Duda warned Putin is trying to exhaust the West militarily and economically.
BBC visits Serbia – Inside the country backing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine /b>
BBC – Zelensky rules out territory deal with Russia
Zelensky still believes Ukraine’s forces can continue resisting Russia’s advance until they are able to launch a counter-offensive
DEUTSCHE PRAVDA – Lithuanian president advocates to think about fighter jets and long-range missiles for Ukraine
Gitanas Naus?da advocates disregarding any red line that Putin may have set in supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
channel 4 – First German Leopard tanks to be delivered ‘very soon’
World leaders, officials and diplomats gathered in Bavaria today to talk tanks and tough on Russia.
CNN – German Chancellor: Prepare for a long war in Ukraine
So Justine’s use of the Emergency Act was OK. He and Freeland should be dancing in the streets, they kinda won. LOL LOL LOL Beating Canadian citizens, shutting up everybody that does not agree with their World Economic Forum tactics.
Follow in line citizens or the bloody disgrace we have as Prime Minister and the smirking, Deputy Prime Minister will take care of you in ways never ever seen before in this country.
Shocked at the ruling. Ha ha ha of the Trudeau appointed ………
Let this be a lesson to you, stay home and shut your mouth.
global – Trudeau’s use of Emergencies Act during “Freedom Convoy” justified, commissioner rules
Justice Paul Rouleau, who led the independent public inquiry into the so-called “Freedom Convoy” and the Trudeau government’s emergency powers, said the decision met the “very high threshold” for invoking the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history during the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa last year.
Trudeau, Freeland to react to result of Emergencies Act inquiry report
Hundreds converge on Manitoba for Convoy Reunion
Saying he’s on a mission from God, Walter Hiebert is playing host to hundreds of people associated with the so-called Freedom Convoy and he says the event’s aim is to heal.
European Parliament chiefs block von der Leyen’s public scrutiny of Pfizer contract –
[…]at a closed Thursday meeting of the Conference of Presidents (CoP) – which includes the leaders of all political groups and the Speaker of Parliament – leaders refused a request to hold a public grill. Instead, they decided to have von der Leyen answer questions privately at some point in the future, watering down the invitation to next to nothing.
“It was agreed that the CoP may lift… [the Parliament’s COVID-19 committee’s] concerns at their next regular meeting with the President of the Commission,” said an EU official familiar with the confidential discussions.
It’s an ironic twist given that the controversy surrounding von der Leyen’s negotiations with Pfizer centered precisely on a lack of transparency. Now all the discussions that will eventually take place will take place in front of senior MEPs and out of public view.
[…}MEPs on the COVID committee wanted to quiz the Commission boss about the unusual personal role she played in brokering what turned out to be by far the EU’s biggest vaccine deal. Worth an estimated 35 billion euros if fully exercised, it is 900 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, with the possibility of purchasing 900 million more.
Millions of those same doses now lie unused in warehouses across the EU, destined for landfills. Negotiators are desperately trying to get concessions from Pfizer to cancel or stop some of these deliveries, with apparently little success.
NEW – Biontech/Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine approval may have been based on incorrect documentation, WELT reports.
There are increasing doubts about the data from the pivotal phase 3 study.
Pfizer dodges the allegations and refuses a review.
MORE – “EMA e-mails obtained by WELT reveal that the FDA, the British MHRA, and the EMA had already agreed on the timing of the approval [of the vaccines] before they even had a chance to look at the Pfizer documents.”
john campbell – VAERS data from Florida
Never forget what they did.
+ 1 min 33 video
This is what you get with unelected con artists.
global news – Protesters in Lebanon set fire to banks over restrictions on cash withdrawals
Protesters in Lebanon set fire to six banks across a Beirut neighbourhood on Thursday in a statement against informal restrictions on cash withdrawals and rapidly deteriorating economic conditions.
Since 2019, Lebanese banks have imposed restrictions on withdrawals in U.S. dollars and Lebanese pounds that have never been formalized by law, leading depositors to seek access to their accounts through lawsuits and by force.
The Lebanese pound has lost more than 98 per cent of its value since the country’s financial sector imploded in 2019. The country’s central bank has struggled to manage the crisis.
Lebanon made a first step towards securing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout in April 2022 but, nearly a year later, has failed to carry out any reforms needed to finalize it.
reuters – ‘They stole everything’: Beirut banks set on fire
Lebanese protesters, furious at not having access to their own savings, set fire to banks in Beirut.
The country’s financial crisis has slashed the value of the Lebanese pound by more than 98% since 2019.
Never forget what they did.
+ 1 min 33 video
BBC – Members of far-right group jailed over Macron attack plot
Three members of a far-right group have been found guilty of plotting to attack French President Emmanuel Macron.
The so-called “Barjols” had chosen a World War One commemoration ceremony which the president was due to attend in November 2018 – where they planned to attack him with a knife.
Their lawyers claimed they were simply bumbling extremists with no clear plan.
But prosecutors said the gang was hoping to violently overthrow the government.
All three were found guilty of conspiring to prepare an act of terrorism.
Jean-Pierre Bouyer, 66, was handed the longest sentence of four years in prison, with one year suspended, far below the 10-year maximum jail term.
Two others were handed shorter prison terms.
A fourth man was given a six-month suspended sentence for possessing a weapon.
All were arrested in the eastern Moselle region. Police found a commando-style knife and an army vest in Bouyer’s car and guns were later found at his home.
Nine other members of the group were cleared.
During the trial, the court heard about racist online conversations in which they discussed migration, their fear about civil war, and their hatred of Mr Macron.
In one conversation, a mother of three boasted about her ability to storm the presidential palace with the help of 500 Russian soldiers.
The group were also suspected of plotting attacks against mosques and migrants.
“I was so furious, so angry that I might have said that,” one defendant, a 55-year-old woman, told the court when asked about an idea of kidnapping and burning Muslims.
The chief prosecutor called the group an “incubator of violent action”, and while some of their views could appear “eccentric”, the “threat was real”.
But defence lawyers said the group were marginalised people from the countryside, all supporters of the anti-government Yellow Vest movement. One lawyer accepted there was “hatred” expressed by some in the group, but said that it was driven by “social distress”.
The group formed in 2017 after jihadist attacks in France, including at the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in 2015.
“Our analysis suggests that the level of protection from past infection by variant and over time is at least equivalent if not greater than that provided by two-dose mRNA vaccines.”
Past SARS-CoV-2 infection protection against re-infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Protection from past infection against re-infection from pre-omicron variants was very high and remained high even after 40 weeks. Protection was substantially lower for the omicron BA.1 variant and declined more rapidly over time than protection against previous variants. Protection from severe disease was high for all variants. The immunity conferred by past infection should be weighed alongside protection from vaccination when assessing future disease burden from COVID-19, providing guidance on when individuals should be vaccinated, and designing policies that mandate vaccination for workers or restrict access, on the basis of immune status, to settings where the risk of transmission is high, such as travel and high-occupancy indoor settings.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, J Stanton, T Gillespie, and J and E Nordstrom.”
“Our findings show that immunity from COVID-19 infection confers substantial protection against infection from pre-omicron variants. By comparison, protection against re-infection from the omicron BA.1 variant was substantially reduced and wanes rapidly over time. Protection against severe disease, although based on scarce data, was maintained at a relatively high level up to 1 year after the initial infection for all variants. Our analysis suggests that the level of protection from past infection by variant and over time is at least equivalent if not greater than that provided by two-dose mRNA vaccines.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Lars Løkke Rasmussen IN FAVOR of the right to burn the Quran (17 FEB 2023)
Burning The Quran | Swedes Speak out About it
EU – Sweden rejects burning of holy scriptures, but defends granting permission!!! MFA Billstrom debates
Sweden’s foreign minister on Monday reiterated that his government does not support the burning of holy scriptures but also claimed freedom of expression “makes it legal from a Swedish point of view.”
“The Swedish government has been very clear that we both have freedom of expression in Sweden, but we also have made it very clear that we do not side with those people who have committed this,” Tobias Billstrom said ahead of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.
On Saturday Rasmus Paludan, the leader of Denmark’s far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, under police protection and with permission from the Swedish government, burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
“The Swedish government does not support the burning of holy scriptures of course in any way,” Billstrom added.
Asked by Anadolu if burning the holy book of another faith would still be freedom of expression, Billstrom said that “is always an open question.”
“Because I think it’s important to emphasize that the freedom of expression makes it legal from a Swedish point of view, and from the point of the Swedish legislation to do this. But this doesn’t mean that we have to side with this. The Swedish government does not do that,” he added.
Condemnations have poured in from across the Arab and Islamic worlds over the Quran burning.
In response to Stockholm giving permission for the provocative act, Ankara summoned Swedish Ambassador Staffan Herrstrom and also canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s planned visit to Turkey.
“At this point, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s visit to Turkey on Jan. 27 has lost its significance and meaning, so we canceled the visit,” Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Saturday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu strongly criticized Sweden for giving permission to burn the Quran, stressing that racism and hate crimes do not count as freedom of thought.
Along with Turkey, a host of other nations condemned the “vile attack,” including Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, and Afghanistan, as did many international organizations as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Germany also condemned the provocation, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Christian Wagner telling reporters: “It was disrespectful and highly inappropriate and we also doubt that this action represents the view of the majority of Swedish society.”
Memo to Justine Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland, Mark Carney, Steven Guilbeault, Klaus Schwab, Yuval Noah Harari, Bill and Melinda Gates, Barack and Michele Obama, Bill and Hill Clinton, mailin guy and wifelet, Mazin Abdul-Adhim, Canadian Leader of Terror group Hibz ut-Tharir, Kerry, Al Gore, all the left loons world wide. many year ago I learned the expression “lefty lousy, righty tightly”. I doubt that will help you with your psychopathic tendencies, but if it flips of few of you……..tolerance of you “fringe minority” types is wearing thin………..whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Lefty loosey, righty tighty, as in screw lose.
Trans teacher with Z-size prosthetic breasts dresses as man outside of school, neighbor says
The Post obtained exclusive photos of Lemieux walking on a residential street in Ontario, Canada, without prosthetics on.
A Canadian teacher who made international headlines for wearing gigantic prosthetic breasts rarely wears them outside of school — raising questions about whether the vulgar costume is just an act.
While parents have raged about transgender teacher Kayla Lemieux being allowed to wear Z-cup prosthetics in front of students, the shop teacher was spotted ditching the controversial fetishistic fashion after work and stepping out in public dressed as a man.
“He wears prosthetic breasts extremely infrequently,” a resident of Lemieux’s apartment complex told The Post.
“He puts the breasts on to teach, occasionally when he goes for a walk or when the cops visit.”
Both uniformed and plainclothes police do regular welfare checks at Lemieux’s apartment after they recieved death threats, according to a law enforcement source.
The teacher — who until a few years ago went by the name Kerry — left Ontario’s Oakville Trafalgar High School this week wearing the gigantic breasts, a blond wig and glasses, but it wasn’t long until the cartoonish clothing came off.
After shopping at a department store and pet supplies shop dressed as a woman, Lemieux headed home to get changed and emerged dressed as a man 30 minutes later.
Lemieux then spent the afternoon in public wearing men’s sweatpants, trainers, a gray T-shirt and a navy puffer vest without breasts, makeup, glasses or wig.
According to Lemieux’s neighbor, who asked not to be identified for fear of backlash, the transgender teacher was first seen “parading” gigantic prosthetic breasts while walking along a busy road in their neighborhood last May.
“I was driving past. You can see the breasts from so far away when you’re driving,” he said.
“He put the whole outfit on and just walked up and down Guelph Line — no bags, just walking.
“Everyone slows down because you can’t believe what they’re seeing.”
The neighbor has since seen Lemieux leave the apartment complex dressed as a man more often than as a woman.
Pictures and videos of Lemieux sparked serious complaints from parents that someone with such an outlandish look was not suitable for teaching their children, and was distracting them from learning.
The attention it brought to the school was also unwelcome, leading to bomb threats and a heavy police presence on campus.
Enraged Oakville parent Celina Close told The Post: “I was shocked to learn [Lemieux] appears in public as a male.
“The school has been adamant in telling parents this is a transitioning teacher who needs to express themselves as a woman.
“Lemieux’s appearance at school is unprofessional, offensive and has caused chaos in the school environment.
“I have an issue with Lemieux choosing to dress as a male because how he appears at school has become very disruptive to the school.
“Why does Lemieux choose to appear like he does at school when he dresses as a man in his personal time?”
The woke Halton District School Board has accommodated Lemieux’s identity and defended the teacher’s rights.
The Toronto Sun reported board chair Margo Shuttleworth saying that protecting employees’ “gender rights” is “the stance the school board is taking and they are standing behind the teacher.”
Parents also claimed that when Lemieux was working as a substitute teacher at another local school after sustaining a foot injury, pupils were threatened with suspension for taking pictures or videos of the teacher in prosthetics and makeup.
Attempts by The Post to speak with Lemieux have not been successful. It is not clear if they have taken any legal steps to identify as a woman.
The changes in Lemieux’s appearance have been profound, as Facebook images from five years ago show him with a full beard. Other pictures show him posing in muscle cars and indicate he used to own a rare DMC DeLorean car.
It is not transphobic to demand Lemieux lose some cup sizes before teaching impressionable children, according to the submission of transgender woman Julia Malott at a special hearing of the Halton District School Board on Wednesday, held to debate whether a dress code for teachers should be enforced.
“Adults in our schools are the role models for our children, and I would expect staff would present professionalism and decorum that is at least as stringent as that which we enforce upon our students,” Malott said at the school board meeting.
“So long as the dress code does not explicitly require an individual to present in alignment with birth sex, there should arise no gender expression issue arising out of standards of professionalism.”
The Post has obtained a section of Malott’s submission that was censored by the school board, which suggested Lemieux’s Z-cup breasts are more commonly worn by female impersonators and sex workers than people transitioning.
Malott wore her own set of 34B-size silicone breasts for six months in the early stages of her transition while she waited for hormone supplements to kick in.
“There are also breast forms that exaggerate natural proportions and are used by the drag industry and sex workers,” the censored section of the submission read.
“The distinction between these very different products is quite clear and a well written professionalism policy should have no difficulty distinguishing between the two.”
The Halton District School Board did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
HUGE: FOX News Filing Shows DOMINION Voting Systems Executives Including Eric Coomer Knew Its Voting Systems Had Major Security Issues, Was Hacked, and Was “Riddled with Bugs”
By Joe Hoft
Published February 17, 2023 at 2:25pm
Dominion Voting Systems is in big trouble after the filing by FOX News in its case with Dominion yesterday. FOX News uncovered through its discovery in the case that Dominion’s own employees expressed serious concerns about the security of its machines.
Dominion Voting Systems sued FOX News for $1.6 billion in a defamation lawsuit in March 2021. The AP reported on the suit in a very nasty and biased report.
The AP shared:
Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed in an effort to boost faltering ratings that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election
The AP included numerous falsities and biases in its report, so much so that it looked like it was written by Dominion
CBC – Fox News pushed election fraud claims to chase ratings, court filing alleges
Court documents filed by Dominion Voting Systems in a lawsuit against Fox News alleges that Fox hosts and executives pushed election fraud claims about Dominion voting machines to boost ratings.
redacted – Oh SH*T, this train crash is ECOLOGICAL atom bomb in Ohio
Residents of Ohio a taking showers with bottled water because their drinking water is contaminated with toxic chemicals.
Meanwhile the Biden administration is mostly absent from the worst ecological disaster in modern American history.
MODERNA/PFIZER CREATE ENTIRE COMMUNITIES OF VACCINE INURED PEOPLE.
Chris Sky announcement.
TRAVIS SCOTT CONCERT UPDATE!!! MODERNA/PFIZER create entire COMMUNITIES of vaccine inured people. Some paid to stay quiet. Some forced to participate in clinical trials. All being hidden from society!