Aharon Haliva has got to go. Now.

Immediately after the blackest day in Israeli history, a consensus formed that we must wait until after the war to investigate how Hamas was able to invade the country, slaughter 1,200 innocents and get away with 240 hostages. There’s a lot to recommend this position.

We’re at war. Now is not the time for action, not recrimination and trials for failed generals, security chiefs and politicians.

Good or bad, you go to war with the army and leaders you have. People have jobs to do, and our job is to let them do theirs.

While reasonable on its face, there is a problem with delaying a reckoning. At least in some cases, it seems clear that the people whose failures enabled the Hamas attack are not capable of bringing us victory.

Case in point: Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Directorate Chief Chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva. In the weeks since Oct. 7, more and more information has come out about why Hamas was able to pull it off. All of the information points to Haliva and his close subordinates.

  • The Field Observers unit at Nahal Oz base suffered the greatest losses there during Hamas’s assault. The unit, comprising female soldiers, is responsible for monitoring the footage from security cameras along the Gaza border around the clock and alerting forces on the ground and in the intelligence community to anything suspicious.

Seventeen observers were killed on Oct. 7. Seven were taken hostage.

  • One, Naama Levy, was videoed barefoot, being dragged from the trunk of a vehicle by her hair and pushed into the back seat. Her hands were zip-tied behind her back. The seat of her sweatpants was stained with blood, indicating she had been raped violently.
  • One observer, Ori Megidish, was rescued by the IDF in early November. Another, Noa Marciano, was filmed in a hostage video, first alive, and then dead. Her body was later recovered by IDF forces.

Days after their friends were slaughtered, raped and kidnapped, the two surviving members of the unit and a number of former members started coming forward to tell their story.

In interviews with Channel 11, two women related that in the months before the invasion, they were warning it was in the works. The women saw Hamas terrorists training to take over kibbutzim and IDF bases. They watched terrorists practicing taking hostages and blowing up tanks. They saw terror commanders watching the drills. They saw spies probing the fence for weaknesses. They saw it all and reported it all.

Rather than giving them medals, unnamed top-level officers in the intelligence corps ordered them to stop. When they continued reporting, the observers were warned that they would be disciplined and removed from the unit if they kept raising their concerns.

  • The observers weren’t the only ones silenced. Rafael Hayun, a civilian hacker who monitors open intelligence networks, worked for the IDF for years. The IDF provided Hayun with equipment to monitor Hamas’s internal communications.

In late 2019, Hayun began reporting on Hamas training exercises involving invading Israel, penetrating the security fence at multiple points, taking over communities, committing mass murder and kidnapping. Over time, the training became more intense and detailed. Hayun alerted the units he was working with about Hamas’s activities in real time.

  • Five months before the assault, his colleagues in the IDF were ordered to seize all of his equipment and stop working with him. Around the same time, the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate Unit 8200 signals intelligence unit also stopped monitoring Hamas’s communications.

Hayun said that his military colleagues told him the order to cut him off came from “senior leadership,” and they had no explanation for the decision. Hayun told reporters he is convinced that if he had been listening in the weeks before Oct. 7, the invasion would have been prevented.

Hayun and the observers weren’t the only ones who recognized what Hamas was doing. As Channels 11, 12 and Haaretz all reported, a tactical intelligence NCO and Hamas expert in Unit 8200 with 20 years of experience began providing detailed reports on Hamas’s preparations for the invasion in May 2022.

In a series of three, increasingly detailed and urgent reports over succeeding months, the NCO set out in granular detail how Hamas was preparing a broad invasion of Israel that included the invasion of IDF bases, border towns and kibbutzim.

  • Her reports included all aspects of the invasion that took place on Oct. 7, including Hamas’s use of paragliders, pick-up trucks and motorcycles.

-She detailed Hamas’s plans to massacre and kidnap civilians and soldiers.

-She warned that their intention was to use provocations along the security fence in the weeks leading up to the operation to get the IDF used to breaches and so lull its commanders into complacency.

-She even secured Hamas’s own training manual for the operation.

-She was able to get the information in front of Unit 8200’s commander and a top officer in the Southern Command.

They apparently did nothing.

Convinced by his subordinate’s reporting, her commander, an NCO with 30 years’ experience, canceled a family vacation because he heard Haliva would be visiting their base. He waylaid Haliva, and he and his subordinate presented her reports. Haliva dismissed their warnings and detailed information as hot air. Hamas, he insisted, was just pretending, to make an impression on its followers. He did not communicate her report to either the head of Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) or the IDF Chief of General Staff.

The NCOs weren’t the only ones who saw what was happening. As Channel 11 reported on Tuesday, in May 2023, the Gaza Division’s intelligence officer created a slide presentation titled, “The Walls of Jericho,” setting out in detail how Hamas intended to bring down the security fence and invade Israel at up to 60 separate points, invade the division’s bases and enter civilian communities to commit mass murder and seize hostages.

In a follow-up report from August, the intelligence officer even explained that Hamas intended to carry out its plan either on Shabbat or on a holiday when only a small cadre of soldiers would be on duty. His work was dismissed as unrealistic and out of line with Hamas’s true intentions by senior intelligence officers at Tel Aviv headquarters.

At 4 a.m. on Oct. 7, due to warnings of increased Hamas movement near the border fence, the senior security leadership, including IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevy, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, Southern Command Commander Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman and Haliva’s assistant (Haliva was apparently asleep), discussed the movements and decided to go back to bed.

  • Bar sent a small team of fighters to the border area, but that was all. The group didn’t inform the Gaza division commander, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Instead, they agreed to speak again at 8 a.m. Hamas invaded at 6:30.

Since at least 2022, Haliva and his colleagues in the Intelligence Directorate and the top echelons of the IDF and the Shin Bet were convinced that Hamas was deterred.

Hamas, they insisted both in public statements and in intelligence briefings to political leaders, was interested in providing economic prosperity to Gaza.

In one speech, Haliva spoke derisively of an unnamed political leader (between the lines it was apparent he was referring to Netanyahu) who had questioned his judgment.

  • “In one of the meetings, I don’t want to divulge where, a closed, classified meeting, someone—I won’t say who—said to me, ‘Intel Chief, your view is as good as mine.’ I responded, ‘Look, I respect very much your position and standing, and your leadership. But your narrative isn’t as good as my narrative, because behind my narrative stand professionals,’” he said.

What Haliva failed to mention was his habit of ignoring everything the professionals told him and not sharing their information with his superiors.

All of this would be bad enough. But it becomes even worse when seen in the framework of the 10-month insurgency the Israeli left waged against the Netanyahu government. That insurgency was led by Haliva’s family.

  • His ex-wife and the mother of his children, Shira Margalit, is married to Ilan Shiloah, a senior advertising executive. Margalit and Shiloah stood behind much of the political unrest that Israel has experienced since last year. Haliva’s daughter spoke at anti-government protests. His son’s twitter feed is filled with anti-Netanyahu invective.
  • Haliva reportedly did not share the mountain of information his professional intelligence corps gathered on Hamas’s plans. But he reportedly repeatedly warned Netanyahu that his government’s legal reforms were emboldening Israel’s enemies and increasing the likelihood of war.

In theory, all of this could be set aside until the end of the war, except Haliva’s actions since Oct. 7 indicate that he is still informed by his false narrative about Hamas. On the eve of the ground invasion, Netanyahu addressed the public. He explained that the war is Israel’s “second war of independence,” and that it presents Israel with an “existential challenge.” In other words, Israel has no choice but to win. Netanyahu defined victory as rescuing the hostages, destroying Hamas as a military and political entity and preventing it or any other terror group from rising in Gaza ever again.

Three days later, in his first public remarks since Oct. 7, Haliva rejected Netanyahu’s description of the war as an existential conflict.

Speaking to graduates of the Intelligence Corps officer training course, Haliva insisted, “It’s a war we have no choice but to fight. It isn’t an existential war.”

The difference between an existential conflict and a non-existential conflict is self-evident. You must win a war for your state’s existence. You can fight to a draw for a lesser conflict. An intelligence chief who publicly rejects the government’s characterization of a war, whose poor professional judgment led to catastrophe and who has a history of contemptuous insubordination simply cannot be trusted to act in accordance with the government’s directives.

Oct. 7 was not prevented because many people in positions of responsibility failed the people of Israel. In most cases,

it is probably reasonable to wait until after the war to part ways with them.

  • Haliva however, needs to go. Now.

Source: JNS-Caroline Glick via Arutz Sheva

Two Bedouin teens still held in Gaza with father and older brother

Among the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza are four children: Ariel and Kfir Bibas, aged four years and ten months respectively, and siblings Aisha and Bilal Ziyadne, from the Bedouin community of Ziyadne, near Rahat, named after their family.

  • Both of them are below the age of 19 — Aisha is 17 and Bilal is 18 — and according to the terms of the truce between Israel and Hamas, they are eligible to be freed during the current halt in fighting.

Around 35 children and teenagers held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza have been released as part of a ceasefire deal that began Friday with an initial four-day truce, extended by an additional two days.

  • Eight more hostages are expected to be released on Thursday in a further one-day extension.

The releases have brought the number of civilian hostages freed from Gaza in the last week to 95 — 73 Israelis and 22 foreign nationals, mostly Thai agricultural workers.

In exchange for the freeing of Israeli hostages, 210 Palestinians serving time in Israeli prison for security offenses have been released so far.

  • Youssef Ziyadne, 53, has been working for the past 17 years in farming at Kibbutz Holit, located a short distance away from the Gaza border. About five years ago, his son Hamza, now 22, joined him to work in the kibbutz. Another son, Bilal, now 18, followed suit about a year ago.

  • On October 7, Youssef and his two sons were working the night shift at the cowshed, and took along with them Aisha, 17, one of the daughters of the large family, which counts 19 children from two wives.
  • Their shift was supposed to end at 7 a.m. The Hamas onslaught began just half an hour before, at around 6:30 a.m.

Youssef and his three children were abducted and dragged into Gaza, together with about 240 other hostages — both Israelis and foreign agricultural workers from the kibbutzim of the area.

  • In addition to the four members of the Ziyadne family, two other members of the Bedouin communities in southern Israel were abducted on October 7 — Samer Fouad Talalka, 22, and Farhan al-Qadi, 52.
  • The terms of the truce agreement between Hamas and Israel stipulate that children under the age of 19 who are not in the military, such as Aisha and Bilal, should be released during the lull.

Since the onset of the truce, the army has been in daily contact with the Ziyadne family, updating them on the names slated for release.

  • Aisha, a quiet girl, is engaged to her cousin Rizeq, whom she plans to get married and start a family with after she graduates from high school.
  • Her brother Bilal loves animals, and owns a horse and a camel.

Since the day of the assault, the extended Ziyadne family has been holding a permanent vigil outside the house of Youssef Ziyadne, observing a ritual that is normally held during days of mourning.

The family has launched appeals to the international community, particularly Qatar and Egypt, to intercede for the release of its four members from Hamas captivity, emphasizing that they are Arabs and Muslims.

Source: TOI

Header: Bilal (left) and Aisha Ziyadne, two Bedouin siblings kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, 2023, and taken to Gaza together with their father and older brother. (Courtesy)

Ukraine won’t accept NATO compromise deal – FM

The idea that Ukraine could cede territories that it lost to Russia in exchange for NATO membership remains unacceptable, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told journalists on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

The idea has been floated by former senior NATO officials, including ex-Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and ex-Supreme Allied Commander Europe James Stavridis. Kuleba blasted the proposal ahead of a NATO-Ukraine Council of foreign ministers.

  • Supporters of the plan should tell other nations to make similar concessions, “and if they do so, then I am ready to listen to their arguments,” he said.

The minister also dismissed the notion that there was “fatigue” with the conflict in Western nations, insisting that a shortage of arms deliveries was not related to it.

Last week, the German tabloid Bild claimed that American and German officials wanted Kiev to compromise and hold peace talks with Moscow.

  • As the biggest providers of aid to Ukraine, the two nations are restricting supplies of new weapons to a bare minimum necessary to avoid a full collapse of the Ukrainian army, the newspaper suggested.

Kuleba was asked about the “elephant in the room” during a joint briefing with EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell in Brussels. He mused that “all the right elephants are on our side,” before stressing: “No, I don’t feel any pressure.”

Discussing arms supplies at NATO HQ, the minister said he had “no reason” to believe that Western failure to deliver as much as Kiev expected was due to a “lack of political will.”

  • “But I do have good reasons to believe that a lot of [technical work] needs to be done to deliver in this area,” he added.

Kuleba noted that out of the 1,000,000 artillery shells that the EU pledged to send to Ukraine in 2023, only some 300,000 have arrived.

Kiev remained firm in its war goals, the minister said, vowing that “nothing will stop us.” He called sponsoring Ukraine instead of sending their own troops to fight Russia a “fair deal” for the West.

  • “You give us all what we need, we do the fight. We are not asking you to sacrifice your lives,” he described the arrangement.

Moscow has called the Ukraine conflict a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which the Ukrainian people are used as “cannon fodder.”

The Russian Defense Ministry has estimated Ukrainian losses in its Western-backed counteroffensive this year at over 100,000 troops.

Source: RT

Ukraine is not fighting for Europe – EU state

Hungary rejects any approach to the Ukraine conflict that suggests that Kiev is somehow fighting to protect peace and democracy in Europe, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said, adding that the conflict is only about Ukraine’s own territorial integrity.

Speaking at a press conference following a meeting of foreign ministers of the NATO-Ukraine Council, Szijjarto called for an end to deliveries of lethal aid to Ukraine, warning that such assistance has the potential to spark an escalation of the conflict.

He noted that while Hungary supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev is “not Europe’s fight” and is not about peace and democracy in Europe.

  • “Ukraine is fighting for itself, for its own territorial integrity, its own sovereignty and its own independence, which we value very much, because it is a heroic fight, of course, but I say again, this is not our war, which is why we reject any approach that starts from this,” Szijjarto said.

He added that NATO membership for Ukraine should be out of the question given the current circumstances.

He noted that Kiev’s accession to the bloc is not even an option given that countries at war cannot be accepted.

Such a move would put the alliance itself in danger and could potentially spark a world war, the minister said.

The second reason, according to Szijjarto, is the fact that NATO is a “community of values,” which has no place for a state that “constantly suppresses the rights of national minorities.”

  • Budapest has repeatedly accused Kiev of suppressing the right of the nearly 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine to speak their own language by introducing laws requiring that Ukrainian be spoken in public life, school, the media, as well as in offices.

Despite assurances from Kiev that a bill has already been drafted to address the issue, Szijjarto insisted that simple promises are meaningless and that Hungary only believes in fully adopted and implemented legislation.

  • “You can’t lead us or mislead us with statements,” he said.

Szijjarto’s statement comes after NATO promised on Wednesday that it will “develop a roadmap toward Ukraine’s full interoperability” with the bloc’s militaries but stopped short of offering any membership prospects for Kiev.

  • Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly made it clear that Ukraine’s membership in NATO would be unacceptable to Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has also cited Kiev’s potential accession to the US-led bloc as one of the key reasons for the military operation against Kiev.

Source: RT

Russia seizes the initiative: Has the Ukraine conflict entered its endgame?

  • Six months after the start of Ukraine’s counteroffensive near Artemovsk [which Kiev calls Bakhmut], the operation completely collapsed and Russian troops were able to seize the initiative.
  • Launching a series of attacks, Moscow’s forces recovered some of the positions they had lost to the northwest of the city in the area of the Berkhovsky reservoir, and again took control over the line along the Artemovsk-Gorlovka railway on the southern flank.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian plan, which implied an offensive in at least three operational directions – towards Melitopol, Berdyansk and Artemovsk – failed.

Instead of focusing on one task at a time, as Western experts had recommended, Kiev dispersed its forces and did not succeed in any of its goals. Now, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has been forced to switch from offensive to defensive tactics.

The background story

  • Ukraine’s initially ambitious plan to launch an offensive on Artemovsk implied taking action in at least four areas: from Chasov Yar towards Kleshcheyevka and further along the southern flank of Artemovsk; from Chasov Yar to the northern outskirts of Artemovsk, south of the Berkhovsky reservoir; from Slavyansk in the direction of Artemovsk and Soledar; and from Seversk towards Soledar.

However, this plan did not succeed because of the lack of numbers and the timely transfer of Russian units, which replaced PMC Wagner fighters involved in the final battles for Artemovsk.

Attacks from the directions of Slavyansk and Seversk failed, while the assault on the city’s northern flank was only partially successful – the Ukrainian army advanced several kilometers and exhausted its offensive potential.

  • The AFU managed to actively gain ground only in the south, in the direction of Russia’s defenses, constructed along the Kleshcheyevka-Andreevka-Kurdyumovka line.
  • The Ukrainians were able to take control over the first two villages only by mid-September, five months into their counteroffensive in this area. Kurdyumovka, however, is still controlled by the Russian army. In the following days, the AFU continued its eastward offensive, managing to advance past the rail line in some sections.

Apparently, the next goal of the Ukrainian army was to expand the staging area on the eastern bank of the Seversky Donets–Donbass canal in order to reach the southern outskirts of Artemovsk and the northern outskirts of Gorlovka. At just about that time, in October 2023, rumors about an impending assault on the latter began to circulate in the media.

Russians seize the initiative

  • In order to counteract this plan, the Russian army launched a series of counterattacks near the Berkhovsky reservoir.

In their analysis of the summer campaign (dated September 25),

  • Ukrainian military analysts from the military portal DeepState stated the following: “Things aren’t that good on the northern front, where there was initial success. But the strategic mistake of going to Berkhovka, exposed to enemy fire in the lowlands, cost us dearly. Now, the enemy has seized the initiative there.”
  • Based on information provided by its sources at the front, in October and November DeepState reported that the Ukrainian army had retreated from its positions.

By November 24, the Russians had practically returned to their starting points, once again threatening to take control over the villages of Bogdanovka and Khromove.

  • Ukrainian forces in this area – primarily consisting of the Third and Fifth Assault Brigades (which largely exhausted their strength during the course of previous assaults), the 80th Airborne Assault Brigade, the Lyut Assault Brigade and their colleagues from the 22nd, 28th, 92nd and the barely-recovered 93rd Mechanized Brigades – were not able to hold back the Russian troops, especially after active battles around Avdeevka, which required the concentration of Ukrainian artillery in that area.

As a result, Russian troops were able to reverse the situation in their favor, including in the area where the Ukrainians continued to slowly advance.

  • On October 30, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian ground forces, Alexander Syrsky, reported that Russian forces were strengthening their presence in the Artemovsk area and transitioning from defensive to offensive tactics.
  • On November 18, 19, and 24, the Ukrainians admitted that Russian troops had advanced near Kleshcheyevka, and on November 22, they reported that their enemies had moved closer to Andreevka, which was left in ruins during previous battles.
  • According to visual confirmation by open-source intelligence (OSINT) communities, Russian troops were able to almost completely restore their defensive line along the Artemovsk-Gorlovka railway and cross it in a number of places.

The fiercest fighting is now taking place in the heights which dominate the area to the northwest of Kleshcheyevka. If they are forced to retreat, Kiev’s troops will have to withdraw to their original positions so as not to remain in the lowlands exposed to enemy fire – a problem similar to the one they faced on the northern flank.

The assault on Gorlovka – foolish tactics or a PsyOp?

  • Why did the Ukrainians decide to disperse their forces and advance in three operational directions during the summer campaign?

Several Russian experts stated that Kiev’s strategy was to win the battle of reserves –and to this end, its army attempted to create several hotbeds of tension that were supposed to swallow up Russian manpower.

In case of success, the AFU would have been able to overcome the deadlock of positional warfare and deliver a crushing blow in one of the directions.

In reality, however, the Ukrainians were not able to beat the Russian army, which was strong enough to carry out both a localized offensive on the border between the Lugansk People’s Republic and Kharkov region this summer, and the offensive on Avdeevka in October.

  • On top of that, Russian troops continued to hold their defensive lines in Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, as well as near Artemovsk.

So why did the Ukrainians refuse to concentrate their forces in one area, as Western experts advised them to do?

  • One possible explanation for this was the reputational and media significance of the “Bakhmut Fortress,” which the Ukrainian political and military leadership fell victim to.

The ‘heroic’ defense of one position, which gradually lost its strategic and operational importance, endowed Artemovsk with ideological and reputational significance. In an attempt to recapture this city, Ukrainians pulled their reserves and most motivated units into battle.

Or perhaps, the situation was even worse. After the summer defeat, they needed to distract the public from negative news.

The best way to do so would have been to break through the front line separating Ukraine and the Donbass republics which had existed from 2015 to February 24, 2022. In case of success, Zelensky would have had the chance to proclaim the return of “Ukrainian” land lost by his predecessors.

One of the areas where this plan was theoretically possible to carry out was Gorlovka – a large industrial city located south of Artemovsk, where about 300,000 people lived before the war. Gorlovka has been under the control of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) since the latter declared independence in 2014. Some of the fiercest battles in Donbass were fought there.

After Time magazine published an article about the conflict between Kiev’s political and military leadership around plans to storm the city (the military command refused the idea),

Ukrainian expert Bogdan Miroshnikov commented on November 16:

  • “In order to liberate it, it is necessary to conduct a strategic offensive operation and involve at least 150,000-200,000 troops along with thousands of units of equipment. Some may say that we are [positioned] near Gorlovka. Yes, we are. But that direction is surrounded by numerous spoil tips. This means a frontal assault is necessary. But no one would do that.”

However, on November 17, footage appeared of Ukrainian stormtroopers atop one of the spoil tips – which used to be in the gray zone, but formally under Russian control. After that, battles in this area intensified. The Ukrainian media, however, refused to comment, claiming that “the situation is being clarified.”

Considering the landscape with the spoil tips, a potential offensive on Gorlovka could not be carried out using several brigades. In order to start an offensive in this direction, the AFU would have needed to recover its positions to the north of the city, in the area of the southern flank of Artemovsk. Whether this was the plan of the Ukrainian leadership all along or an improvised change in operational tactics remains unknown.

In any case, the initiative in this direction has currently been seized by Russian troops, who will attempt to recover their positions and set up defenses along the Seversky Donets–Donbass canal.

  • This would secure the area around Artemovsk and deprive the Ukrainian army of its staging area.

In order to do so, however, the Russians will need to occupy Ukrainian strongpoints near the village of Ivanovskoye, which PMC Wagner units could not seize during their attempt to encircle Artemovsk.

  • At the time, however, it was a critically important zone for both sides, and both the Russian and Ukrainian armies concentrated their firepower there. Now, the priorities have shifted and Artemovsk – despite continuing to be the site of daily battles – is considered a direction of secondary importance.

Source: Vladislav Ugolny – RT

The French are desperate for a new Napoleon. Will they get one?

Say what you want about Napoleon Bonaparte, but there’s no denying that he was an absolute alpha who can still blow a beret right off the head of a Frenchman. The kind that sorely lacks nowadays in Western leadership roles.

Which would explain why a new poll, released just as a Ridley Scott-directed biopic about him hits theatres, has found that 74 percent of French view his actions positively.

Napoleon blazed a trail of death and destruction, with his army slaughtering millions around the world at a time when empire-expanding sword-measuring contests were all the rage — and he happened to be particularly good at it. But he claimed to do it for France, however misguided and extreme.

Which stands in stark contrast to today’s parade of self-interested French politicians in front of the courts for abuse of public office.

Napoleon emerged from the ashes of the French Revolution on the side of the people, then went on to conquer much of the world on their behalf.

According to the survey, 40% of respondents consider his top achievement to be his creation of the Napoleonic Civil Code to enshrine the values of the revolution.

  • His contributions to academia were also invaluable, as every country that interested him as a potential military conquest led to detailed scientific, sociological and archeological studies that still serve as references today.

He’s frequently judged by today’s standards, which is patently unfair. Sure, if you took Napoleon and transplanted him into modern day society — stuck him in a typical office cubicle — he probably wouldn’t fit in too well, what with his penchant for global conquest and his belief that women belong at home. He’d wind up in sensitivity training in pretty short order. But the French are willing to overlook his many flaws because his accomplishments are so spectacular; he singlehandedly hoisted France to the front of the global stage. Yeah, maybe he wouldn’t have done so if he had the mores of “social justice” Bob from accounting or your neighbor who never misses date night with the wife. But that whole debate is moot. And stupid.

Every time someone puts France on the map, they’re rewarded with popularity, as proven by various polls of the top French personalities of all time.

Napoleon is consistently in the top spot, followed by figures like Charles De Gaulle, Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) and Marie Curie.

What do all these folks have in common?

Clarity of vision, and courage in the face of adversity — values with which the French personally want to be associated. Unfortunately, one has to go back quite far in order to find their incarnation.

While Napoleon put France in a prominent spot on the world stage, it was arguably former French President and World War II General Charles de Gaulle that gave it any hope of persisting there. Beyond leading the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation,

De Gaulle subsequently ensured France’s post-war independence by kicking the Americans out of the country, refusing their demand for permanent bases, and then keeping France out of NATO to avoid the ultimate fate of ending up under de facto US military command.

  • Always with French independence in mind, De Gaulle then went to Moscow in 1944 to sign mutual assistance agreements, and envisioned the Soviet Union as an important partner for French independence within a vision of Europe that stretched from the Atlantic to the Urals.
  • De Gaulle also spearheaded state-backed nuclear energy projects that were so successful that they’ve saved France amid the current EU energy crunch (and to think that current President Emmanuel Macron was on the verge of killing the whole industry in favor of trendy green energy fantasies — the same ones that flopped when Germany realized that it couldn’t power its economic engine with the wind and sunshine after its Nord Stream pipeline network of Russian gas was mysteriously blown up.)

Jeanne d’Arc was a teenage peasant girl who led the French to victory against the English, then was unrepentant about who she was and what she did when she was burned at the stake in Rouen — for literally having wild visions of French victory, then making them happen.

French-naturalized Pole Marie Curie was yet another French woman who fell outside the conventional role for females in society, winning the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903 and for chemistry in 1911, for her groundbreaking research, alongside husband Pierre Curie, on radioactivity, including the discovery of radium and polonium. Her achievements put France on the intellectual global map. Over a century later though, in 2019, French officials yanked mandatory mathematics from the last two years of the high school curriculum.

  • It was such an unmitigated disaster for numeric literacy and such a looming disaster for French competitiveness on the global playing field that they had to reinstate the courses in September 2023.

Therein lies the difference between those still admired by the French — despite having long shuffled off the face of the Earth — and those who have since come and gone from power or prominence with little fanfare. A lack of unwavering leadership — foresight, clarity, and determination.

  • Macron doesn’t have it — although he’s an avowed admirer of De Gaulle.

It seems that every French politician fancies himself the second coming of De Gaulle, but very few have the strength to stick to a course of action that serves the French people and nation first and foremost. Instead, they double-deal and play both sides of the court from the middle, trying to serve their EU masters — currying favor with unelected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen — or aligning their interests with Washington’s, placing Western solidarity above sovereign national interests. Imagine if Napoleon had done that — sold out France’s ambitions to the whims of his allies and their own agendas.

  • Unsurprisingly, the latest Ifop-Feducial poll found that the two current political figures considered to most closely resemble Napoleon are right-wing opposition leader Marine Le Pen and former center-right President Nicolas Sarkozy.

It’s hardly a coincidence that both have been criticized recently for speaking out against the French and Western establishment status quo of blindly following anti-Russian US foreign policy on Ukraine — with both favoring immediate peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and an end to hostilities over prolonged spending on “aid” to keep a conflict going that’s to the net detriment of France and the EU as whole.

  • Napoleon came to power with the backing of the people after they had literally beheaded the entire corrupt establishment.

Today’s establishment has given itself more than enough rope to ultimately hang itself.

One can’t help but notice the parallels. The question is, at what point will the French people have the courage to once again choose the kind of anti-establishment visionary leader on whom they could one day look back and realize they absolutely needed. Until then, they’ll be stuck longing for, and romanticizing, times and figures of greatness.

  • The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Source: Rachel Marsden – RT

Russia quickly replaced Western technologies – Putin

The Russian economy has successfully overcome the “addiction” to Western technologies and is developing a competitive domestic market, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

During a meeting with participants in the 3rd Congress of Young Scientists in Sochi, Putin commented on the ‘Our Lab’ exhibition of scientific equipment produced in Russia.

  • “Our so-called partners believed that they had hooked us on a technological needle and we would never get off,” Putin told the scientists.
  • “Thanks to the efforts of people like you and your colleagues, it turned out that this could be done – and quite quickly, too.”

Russian researchers used to buy their equipment abroad, but have since turned to domestically produced alternatives, in part due to the embargo imposed by the US and its allies over the Ukraine conflict.

  • “This is important,” Putin said.
  • “Because that means there is a domestic market for these devices. And if there is a market, then there was an economic incentive to produce. Back then, when you could buy everything abroad, there was no domestic market.”

The ‘Our Lab’ exhibit in Sochi featured 110 pieces of scientific equipment from 17 leading suppliers in Russia and Belarus. The program’s online catalog features 19,000 products from over 5,000 companies.

Putin praised this kind of competition as a way to ensure quality of any item that is mass-produced, while custom builds can satisfy the need for certain specialized devices.

  • “It’s a very simple thing, but it works,” he said.

The three-day conference has been hosted by the Sirius Park for Science and Arts in Sochi, established in the facilities originally built for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Source: RT

Jihad from the deep: Can Israel handle this secret advantage of Hamas?

Hamas, an Islamic movement that controls Gaza, is believed to have a network of tunnels that is 500 kilometers (310 miles) long. It features command rooms and training grounds, bunkers, and meeting rooms and is connected to a sophisticated ventilation system and a steady water and electricity supply.

It’s been more than 50 days since Israel launched its Swords of Iron operation aimed at eliminating Hamas, following the group’s deadly attack on the country’s southern communities, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,400 people and injured thousands of others.

Key locations, including Gaza’s parliament and the court and police headquarters, have already been captured by the IDF. The main, and the largest hospital of Gaza city – Shifaa – has also been taken. Israel believes the medical complex boasts a sophisticated tunnel system, with gathering rooms and bunkers, where some of the hostages might have been kept.

Shifaa is only one element of the puzzle, however, according to Israeli intelligence.

Based on reports, the city has some 1,300 tunnels whose overall length stands at 500 kilometers – a hundred kilometers longer than the metro system of London.

  • The network – which is located 75 meters (246 feet) deep under the surface – allegedly boasts ammunition caches, command and control centers, as well as training grounds and meeting rooms. The ‘metro’ also possesses its own ventilation system and a steady supply of water and electricity.
  • “What we know so far is that the Gaza Strip has different types of tunnels,” says Avi Melamed, a Middle East expert and a former intelligence officer of the IDF.
  • “There are the so-called smuggling tunnels [used to smuggle goods, weapons and fighters from Sinai – ed.]. There are attack tunnels that penetrate the Israeli territory, and there are also those that have been constructed by Hamas for inner military purposes.”

The construction of the network has reportedly been carried out for years, starting in 2007, when Hamas took control of the enclave, prompting Israel to impose a blockade of the area.

Israel has been well aware of the challenge and has tried to thwart it by limiting or banning the import of concrete, steel, and other essentials into Gaza, but Hamas has always found ways to divert the flow of construction materials from civilian projects into their military purposes. It has also allegedly used the generous money donations – coming from Qatar – to fund this grand project.

  • “Our intelligence knew about those tunnels but we didn’t have any will to destroy them,” said Amit Assa, a former member of Israel’s inner security agency, the Shin Bet, which has been tackling the issue of Hamas for years.
  • “[Instead], Israel invented underground barriers and technologies to prevent infiltrations. We exerted diplomatic efforts [to stop the flow of funds to Hamas], and we believed that if we gave Palestinians prosperity or created for them economic opportunities, they would drop their plans to destroy us.”

By “economic opportunities,” Assa was referring to a number of boons introduced by the Israeli governments in recent years. Those included the permission for thousands of Gazan employees to enter Israel for work, the expansion of fishing zones, and the permission to import goods.

Now, however, Assa claims Israel has come to realize that the concept of concessions was fundamentally wrong and this is why, he says, the state is determined to “fight back.”

It is not that Israel hasn’t attempted to fight back before. Over the course of many years, it has launched a number of operations aimed at weakening the military capabilities of Hamas, including their tunnels, but – although have been damaged or partially destroyed – they have always managed to withstand the pressure. Now, Assa promises, it will be a different ball game.

  • According to estimates of the IDF, Israel destroyed 400 tunnel shafts since the beginning of the war on October 7. Thousands of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants have been killed.

Experts are certain that once Israel tackles the issue of tunnels in the north of Gaza, it will move down south, where another network is allegedly located, and Melamed says the IDF will know to exploit the Achilles heels of those tunnels’ construction.

  • “Operating and staying in these tunnels requires a constant supply of oxygen, and that depends on the functioning of generators and fuel that operates them,” Melamed explained.
  • “So one option for us is to suffocate them by cutting off the flow of the oxygen to the tunnels. Another one is to collect enough intelligence about the exits and entrances so that we can block them, and catch Hamas terrorists inside.”

That, however, might be a mission impossible. Hamas and other Palestinian factions are believed to be holding more than 200 hostages and at least some of them are hidden in tunnels.

Blocking these constructions or cutting them off from oxygen would mean certain death for these people too, and it is widely believed that this is a step Israel would not risk taking.

And there is another catch, Assa believes – time. While eliminating the threat of terror, Israel has also been bombarding civilian infrastructure, including mosques, schools, hospitals, and residential buildings.

  • More than 14,000 Palestinians have already been killed, many of whom are civilians. Nearly 36,000 have been wounded.

Pressure on Israel has long started mounting, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying Israel should stop targeting women and children. Similar calls have also been made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders, and officials in Jerusalem believe it is only a matter of weeks until this criticism grows louder.

  • “Stop watch [on Israel’s actions] has always been an issue,” Assa believes.
  • “But this time Israel is not in a position to take advice from anyone. If we really want to get rid of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, we should show no tolerance in this war. We need to go till the end, no matter what our allies are saying,” he summed up.

Source: Elizabeth Blade – RT

Erdan responds to UN chief: ‘He does not acknowledge Hamas committed any crimes’

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, responded to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ comments about sex crimes committed by Hamas.

  • “The Secretary-General’s words only sharpen the fact that when it comes to Israeli women, sexual violence that has been proven by state authorities still needs to be ‘investigated.’ For him, when it comes to Israeli women, you can doubt the facts and wait 55 days to call an unknown party to conduct an ‘investigation.’ He does not acknowledge that Hamas committed these crimes!” said Erdan.
  • “The Secretary-General was merely trying to calm the justified anger of many around the world for his silence and the silence of the UN. The Secretary-General ignores the shocking sex crimes of Hamas, but when it comes to the claims of Hamas and the ‘Gaza Ministry of Health’ against Israel regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza, for him there is no doubt and no need for ‘investigations’” he added.
  • “Next week we will hold an important event at the UN where we will present findings proving that Hamas committed sexual crimes. I once again invite the Secretary-General to come, unequivocally condemn Hamas for committing these shocking crimes, and act to open an investigation against Hamas,” concluded Erdan.

Earlier on Wednesday, nearly two months after the Hamas massacre of October 7, Guterres finally acknowledged that Hamas committed acts of sexual violence during the attack.

  • “There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” Guterres wrote on X.
  • “Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere,” he added.

Israel has criticized UN Women for its failure to condemn the rape and murder of Israeli women by Hamas terrorists during the October 7 attack.

Survivor testimony and interrogation of captured terrorists gathered by the Israel Police found that the Hamas terrorists who perpetrated the October 7 attack committed mass rape against their victims during the massacre.

Israel’s First Lady, Michal Herzog, last week published an opinion piece in Newsweek, expressing the sense of outrage and betrayal over the international community’s failure to condemn the use of gender-based sexual violence by Hamas.

Guterres recently caused an uproar when he said that Hamas’ attack on Israel “did not happen in a vacuum” and appeared to blame Israel for the attack.

After his remarks were widely condemned, Guterres claimed his comments were misinterpreted and that he had indeed condemned Hamas.

  • He later criticized Israel once again, claiming that the high numbers of civilian casualties reported from Gaza show that there is something “clearly wrong” with Israel’s response to the Hamas attack on October 7.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dies at 100

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger passed away on Wednesday at the age of 100.

Kissinger died at his home in Connecticut, Kissinger Associates, Inc. said in a statement.

Kissinger was the first Jewish person to serve in the position of Secretary of State. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam in 1973.

The year before, he was named TIME Magazine’s person of the year.

  • He was born as Heinz Alfred Kissinger was born to a Jewish family in Furth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, and moved to the United States with his family in 1938 before the Nazi campaign to exterminate European Jews.

Anglicizing his name to Henry, Kissinger became a naturalized US citizen in 1943, and served in the US Army in Europe in World War Two.

He then went to Harvard University on scholarship, earning a master’s degree in 1952 and a doctorate in 1954. He was on Harvard’s faculty for the next 17 years.

When Richard Nixon’s pledge to end the Vietnam War won him the 1968 presidential election, he brought Kissinger to the White House as national security adviser.

  • In 1973, in addition to his role as national security adviser, Kissinger was named Secretary of State.
  • His most recent interview was with the Israeli newspaper Maariv in September, in which he expressed his apprehension regarding the developing negotiations between his country’s government and Saudi Arabia.

President Isaac Herzog paid tribute to Kissinger.

  • “Henry Kissinger was one of the greatest diplomats. A Jewish teenager who fled the Nazis and went on to become a giant who shaped world politics with his own hands and mind. The entire family of nations is blessed to this day by the fruits of the historic processes he led, including the laying of the foundations for Israel’s peace agreement with Egypt. In our last conversation, in which I congratulated him on his birthday, he told me: ‘Remember, I have always loved and supported Israel, and always will,’” said Herzog.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Report: Military censor says PM unjustifiably pressing him to clamp down on reporting

Israel’s military censor Brig. Gen. Kobi Mandelblit has complained privately that the prime minister and other senior government officials are pressing him to muzzle some media publications without a valid security justification for doing so, according to a report Wednesday.

Haaretz said Mandelblit vented on the matter to other senior IDF officers in a recent private conversation, during which he made several harsh remarks about the prime minister and told them he fears Netanyahu wants to remove him from his post or deprive the censor of authority.

  • The Prime Minister’s Office responded in a statement that the censor had in its view harmed national security and endangered soldiers by permitting the publication of some news during the current conflict in the Gaza Strip.

It did not provide details. It also denied that Mandelblit’s job had been threatened.

Two senior officers who were present during the conversation told Haaretz that Mandelblit said he had been asked to tighten censorship policy by Netanyahu himself, National Security Adviser Tzahi Hanegbi and by Netanyahu’s military secretary Maj. Gen. Avi Gil.

Mandelbit ostensibly told the gathering that there was no security justification for the requests and that the pressure being applied on him was unusual. According to the report, the other officers present agreed with him.

  • The sources said that pressure on Mandelblit has increased over the past two weeks and has included remarks that were not made directly to him but were passed on through others.

Mandelblit, a cousin of former attorney general Avichai Mandelblit who indicted Netanyahu on corruption charges, specified that he was asked to clamp down on information from cabinet meetings in which Netanyahu came off as hesitant about the ongoing war with Hamas.

  • One item that he was requested to withhold, and which was indeed prevented from publication, concerned private matters relating to Netanyahu and his wife, the report said. The censor justified the ban by ruling it was due to security considerations relating to the Netanyahu couple, Haaretz reported.

Mandelblit refused to comment to Haaretz on its report and demanded that the story itself be first approved by the military censor, but later withdrew the request.

  • The Prime Minister’s Office told Haaretz in a statement: “Throughout the war, the censor has approved news whose publication harmed the national security of the State of Israel, endangering our soldiers and the safety of the prime minister himself.”

The statement said that any criticism relayed to the censor “is factual,” does not include “threatening messages of impeachment or curtailment of the censor’s powers” and that any report otherwise “is not true.”

There have been increasing complaints from media outlets about Mandelblit’s policies, including that he has unfairly exercised his powers, permitting some outlets to publish stories while banning others from releasing the same information.

The Union of Journalists in Israel sent a letter Tuesday to Mandelblit complaining of differential treatment among outlets.

Last week Channel 12 reported that during a recent security cabinet meeting ministers discussed at length the issue of leaks from the top security forum.

  • Netanyahu said he intended to bring forth a law making it illegal to publish any content from security cabinet meetings. Such a move would circumvent the authority of the military censor.

A draft memo of the planned bill, circulated last week, would also require ministers to undergo regular polygraph tests.

However, the move is reportedly opposed by the Shin Bet security agency which would be tasked with carrying out the tests. Ynet reported last week that there is also opposition to the bill in the judiciary and among ministers.

Source: TOI

Gaza area leaders to PM Netanyahu: ‘How will we go home? We don’t want more sirens’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with the municipal leaders from the Gaza envelope and was heavily criticized for the government’s conduct.

“We’re sick of stories. You didn’t conquer the northern Gaza Strip; how can we return home? How can our children again live under rocket fire? Again, we’ll go back and see Gazans on the fence? That won’t happen,”

  • some of the leaders attacked the Prime Minister and added,

“The October 7th massacre was enough. We want a security zone and the dissolution of Hamas’ rule.”

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi told Netanyahu:

“I don’t want to hear about the Palestinian Authority ruling Gaza or its demilitarization. Tell the truth, please; you haven’t even captured the northern Gaza Strip. You need to erase and collapse Hamas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu answered:

“You have nothing to worry about. The security control of the area will be in our hands. We need the United States mostly for arms. Until now, we dealt with the issue of the hostages, and I don’t know what you’re being told, but unequivocally, we are going back to battle with all our strength.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

COVID-19 lockdowns caused cognitive decline – study

Elderly adults experienced a disastrous decline in cognitive functioning during the UK’s COVID-19 quarantine policies, a study published in the Lancet on Tuesday revealed.

  • The accelerated worsening of working memory and other key intellectual metrics persisted even after lockdown ended.

Analyzing data collected by the government’s PROTECT study of adults aged 50 and above before, during, and after the pandemic lockdowns, researchers affiliated with the University of Exeter, King’s College London, and Imperial College London found “significant worsening of executive function and working memory” across all groups studied.

  • Reduced exercise and increased alcohol use were associated with worsening of memory and executive functioning during lockdown even among individuals who had no previous history of cognitive impairment, while depression and loneliness were strongly linked to worsening of existing cognitive issues.

Declines in working memory persisted even after lockdowns ended and overall cognitive decline declined at twice the rate it had prior to lockdowns, as measured by performance on the cognitive tasks participants completed as part of the PROTECT study.

  • This marked decline in overall cognition was observed even in elderly individuals who had shown no signs of impairment prior to the lockdowns. Nor was it limited to individuals who had contracted COVID-19, though several studies have established a link between infection and persistent cognitive deficits, with up to 78% of those infected reporting lasting mental difficulties.

The researchers hypothesized reduced exercise and increased alcohol consumption might be responsible for the cognitive decline reported, but cautioned against confusing correlation with causation and recommended further study.

  • “Ongoing concerns about the pandemic and a shift to more virtual communication forms, leading to less time spent out of the house and a less active lifestyle” were suggested as a hypothesis to explain the lingering debilitation post-lockdown.

The study did not distinguish between those who had received the COVID-19 vaccine and the unvaccinated.

  • A broad spectrum of neurological side effects including cognitive impairment have been associated with the shot, though to date no comprehensive studies have been performed on the subject.

Given the established role of loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for worsening cognitive impairment in elderly adults, the predictably detrimental effect of lockdowns on this population was the source of much controversy during the pandemic.

  • Elderly advocates as early as July 2020 warned that patients with mild cognitive decline were rapidly spiraling into full-blown dementia, losing the ability to care for themselves and even speak due to suspensions in healthcare services and social visits.

The UK locked its population down three times during the pandemic, exercising unprecedented societal controls.

That policy is currently under investigation in the government’s COVID-19 Inquiry.

Source: RT

Former Shin Bet head: ‘Seems Netanyahu does not want to get rid of Sinwar’

Yuval Diskin, former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) participated in the conference “Hostages – a Question of Price” organized by “Friends of Ron Arad” in collaboration with the Ono Academic College.

  • Diskin told journalist Liat Regev that, “The State of Israel has completely betrayed those who were kidnapped and murdered in the first days of the October 7th Hamas attack, and they continue to pay the price. This is a betrayal of every baby, every child, every mother and every father who was kidnapped from the Gaza region communities.”

Regarding the hostage deal, he said, “I used to be an extreme opponent of prisoner deals, of all for all, and favored proportional prisoner exchanges. Today I have changed my thinking by 180 degrees, and I am in favor.”

  • Diskin attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu and claimed that he was suffering from shell shock for the first two weeks after the attack, and the government did not function at all. Help was provided only by voluntary organizations and Israeli civilians.

Did the Shin Bet have a prospective scenario of what happened on October 7th?

  • “Already during my service, we saw that Hamas was moving in the direction of mass kidnappings and large operations. The scenario was well known in advance. But when you are a captive of a certain concept, they can put a pink elephant in the room and convince you that it’s a little yellow cat,” he said.

Diskin mentioned hostage Avera ​​Mengistu and said, “Until October 7th, the State valued soldiers and their bodies to a greater extent. When it comes to a black-skinned Ethiopian Jew and a Bedouin from the Negev, Israeli society should have a good look in the mirror.”

The former head of the Shin Bet supports two states for two nations, but right now “we don’t have a partner,” he emphasized.

“The US should be involved in this process, but the question is whether Biden will win the elections. For us, too, the question is who will rule, and will it be Netanyahu, who continues to lead us to destruction.”

Was the elimination of Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, on the agenda?

  • “When you (Netanyahu) send IDF Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, and former Director of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, to convince Qatar to continue sending suitcases of money to Gaza, you probably don’t want to get rid of Sinwar. The Prime Minister did not want to deal with a confrontation, in which he would have had to get rid of Sinwar.”
  • “I was the head of the Shin Bet until 2011 and I pushed to initiate the Cast Lead military operation in 2008, and Olmert went along with me. We did not overthrow Hamas, because Barak and Olmert fought, Barak closed a deal with the Egyptians without notifying Olmert, and the opportunity was lost.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

No Ukraine ceasefire in 2024 – Moscow

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov sees no chance for a ceasefire in the Ukraine conflict next year, considering that Kiev and its Western backers have taken a position that is totally unacceptable to Moscow.

The senior diplomat offered his analysis of Russia’s relations with NATO and Ukraine in an interview with the newspaper Izvestia published on Wednesday. He expects no breakthroughs, despite suggestions in the Western press that the US may be nudging Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky towards a negotiated settlement.

  • “Unfortunately, the US leads the Western group, which recites the ‘Zelensky peace formula’ as mantra, claiming it to be the only possible basis for an agreement,” he said, adding that a dialogue is “impossible on this basis.”

Asked whether he expected a ceasefire next year, Ryabkov responded negatively. He said:

  • “I expect the goals of the special military operation to be unconditionally achieved.”

The ‘peace formula’ proposed by Zelensky last year entails Kiev reassuming control over its pre-2014 borders and receiving war reparations from Moscow and subjecting Russian officials to a war tribunal amid extensive international support for Ukraine.

Moscow has dismissed the proposal as being detached from reality.

The German tabloid Bild claimed last week that Washington and Berlin were rationing arms deliveries to Ukraine to pressure Zelensky into concessions. The White House has said that its policy remained the same and it was up to Kiev to decide how to conduct the war.

However, David Arakhamia, a key Zelensky ally who leads the ruling party’s faction in parliament and headed up the Ukrainian delegation at last year’s peace talks in Istanbul, recently provided further grounds for doubt about how independent Kiev’s policy has been.

  • He confirmed in an interview last Friday that then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had derailed a possible truce with Russia, telling the Ukrainian leadership to “just make war.” Moscow’s primary goal was Ukraine’s neutrality, Arakhamia said.

Ryabkov reiterated that NATO’s expansion in Europe was the key cause of the Ukraine conflict. Moscow’s relationship with the US-led military bloc is unlikely to recover anytime soon “for reasons of principle and practical nature,” he told Izvestia.

  • “If someone in the West thinks we need that relationship and will at some point come and ask for it to be restored, that is a great error in judgment,” he said.

NATO members are “gambling” by encroaching on fundamental Russian interests and apparently believe that there can be no limit to upping the ante, but “they may end up among the losers,” Ryabkov warned.

Source: RT