Biden announces permanent base in Poland. Sweden, Finland join NATO. Russia says West is destabilizing the situation

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Europe’s new Iron Curtain: The defenses designed to keep Putin out as Biden announces a new permanent base in Poland – while Sweden and Finland are formally invited into alliance and Russia blasts ‘destabilizing’ move
  • US will sent thousands more troops to Europe along with fighter jets and ships to help defend against Russia
  • Biden also announced first permanent US military base will be created in Poland – a move hailed by Warsaw
  • Finland and Sweden were also formally invited to join the alliance, after Turkey dropped its opposition
  • NATO has sent 4,000 extra troops to eastern flank and will boost high-alert force from 40,000 to 300,000

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Gas exports halted by Russia to Poland and Bulgaria sending fuel prices through the roof

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘Blackmail’: Russia Shuts off Gas to EU States Poland, Bulgaria, Energy Prices Soar on News
  • The Russian government has halted all gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria after, they say, a deadline passed for the nations to pay for gas in Russian rubles rather than western currency.
  • The European Union has called the suspension of gas deliveries “blackmail”
  • The report further noted that this is not the first time Russia has cut Poland off from gas supplies as a punishment, claiming seven suspensions lasting from a few days to six months over the past 18 years. A notable period of such cuts was during the last Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
  • Germany, the largest importer of Russian gas in Europe, has been the most hesitant to back any halting of gas supplies, with some suggesting the German economy could face a major recession if supplies were cut off.

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Russian Forces inch closer to Poland Border as military base is bombed in the City of Lviv

Revelations 6:3-4 “ when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Putin’s forces strike close to NATO border: Explosions are heard in Ukraine’s western city of Lviv that is haven for refugees fleeing war-torn nation as 30 Russian missiles hit military base and kill 35 just 12 MILES from Poland
  • It is claimed the base was targeted by 30 missiles, with 35 people killed and 134 wounded in the strike
  • The base has previously been used to host NATO drills and housed foreign military instructors, but NATO has said none of its personnel were on the base at the time.
  • In a statement released this afternoon, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov told Reuters it had attacked two separate bases and killed ‘up to 180 foreign mercenaries’.
  • He added ‘a large amount of foreign weapons were destroyed’.
  • This morning there were reports on social media that explosions could be seen and heard from the outskirts of Lviv nearly 30 miles away.

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Experts predict there’s more to come after Ukraine

Revelations 6:3-4 “ when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Why Did Vladimir Putin Invade Ukraine?
  • Once he gains control over Ukraine, he will turn his focus to other former Soviet republics, including the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and eventually Bulgaria, Romania and even Poland.
  • “The Eurasian Empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, the strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.” — Aleksandr Dugin, Russian strategist
  • “Normally wars that take place between states are about conflicts they have between them. Yet this is a war about the existence of one state, which is denied by the aggressor. That’s why the usual concepts of peacemaking — finding a compromise — do not apply. If Ukraine continues to exist as a sovereign state, Putin will have lost. – Ulrich Speck, German geopolitical analyst.

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Additional troops prepare to help evacuate 30,000 Americans in Ukraine

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Important Takeaways:

  • Biden approves thousands of additional troops to Eastern Europe
  • US officials told CNN that approximately 2,000 additional troops will be sent to Poland while additional forces will be dispatched to southeastern Europe.
  • The US forces are expected to be shipped out in the next few days, officials told the Journal.
  • “They are trained and equipped for a variety of missions during this period of elevated risk,” a senior defense official told the newspaper.
  • Military personnel who are part of the new forces could also be used to help evacuate the approximately 30,000 Americans living in Ukraine, the official told the Wall Street Journal.

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Possible “Hybrid War” if talks fail, Archbishop of Latvia

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Important Takeaways:

  • Latvian Archbishop: If Putin Attacks Ukraine ‘We Will Be Next’
  • “If Vladimir Putin attacks Ukraine, we — the Baltic states — will be next, and then Poland too,” said Stankiewicz, the archbishop of Riga, Latvia’s capital. “If there is no dialogue, it will be very dangerous and could lead to a military situation.”
  • The archbishop said that Latvia fears a possible “hybrid war” combining military and non-military measures, such as propaganda and cyberattacks, used to destabilize the country.

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Polish president vetoes media bill, U.S. welcomes move

By Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Pawel Florkiewicz

WARSAW (Reuters) -Poland’s president vetoed a media bill that critics said was aimed at silencing a Discovery-owned news channel that is critical of the government, citing worries about the strain the law would put on relations with Washington.

The move allows NATO-member Poland to sidestep a potentially explosive row with the United States at a time of heightened tension in eastern Europe amid what some countries see as increased Russian assertiveness.

However, the decision means that a project voted through parliament by the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) has been blocked by a president elected as their ally.

President Andrzej Duda said in a televised statement on Monday that if the law came into force it could violate a treaty signed with the United States on economic and trade relations.

“One of the arguments considered during the analyses of this law was the issue of an international agreement that was concluded in 1990 … this treaty speaks about the protection of investments,” he said.

“There is a clause which says that media-related investments may be excluded, but it concerns future investments.”

The United States had urged Duda to use his veto. The U.S. charge d’affaires in Warsaw, Bix Aliu, thanked him on Twitter ” … for leadership and commitment to common democratic values and for protecting the investment climate in Poland.”

MEDIA FREEDOM

Unexpectedly rushed through parliament this month, the legislation would have tightened rules around foreign ownership of media, specifically affecting the ability of news channel TVN24, owned by U.S. media company Discovery Inc, to operate.

TVN24’s parent, TVN, is owned by Discovery via a firm registered in the Netherlands in order to get around a ban on non-European firms owning more than 49% of Polish media companies. The law, which drew nationwide protests, would have prevented this workaround.

“This is a victory for the Polish people,” Discovery said in a statement. “We commend the president for doing the right thing and standing up for the democratic values of a free press and the rule of law.”

Duda told private broadcaster Polsat News mass street protests in December had not influenced his decision as he had already stated his position on the issue in August.

Duda said at the time he believed any take over of media owned by foreign companies should be carried out on market terms instead of introducing compulsory solutions.

Asked whether he was disappointed that PiS lawmakers had tried to proceed with the legislation despite his previous comments he said he was “amazed”.

PiS spokeswoman Anita Czerwinska told state-run news agency PAP the party was “disappointed” by his decision.

Parliament could vote to overturn the president’s veto, but PiS does not have the required qualified majority of votes.

PiS has long argued that foreign media groups have too much power in Poland, distorting public debate.

However, critics say that moves against them seek to limit media freedom and are part of an increasingly authoritarian agenda that has put Warsaw at loggerheads with the European Union.

Duda said during his televised statement announcing his decision that he generally believed limiting foreign ownership of media was sensible, but that any regulation should concern future investments in the sector, not current owners.

(Reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Additional reporting: Dawn Chmielewski; Writing by Alan Charlish, Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alison Williams)

Belarus denies aggravating migrant situation at Polish border

KYIV (Reuters) – Belarus on Tuesday said its security services did not aggravate the migrant situation at the border by throwing firecrackers or taking other actions as Poland claimed the previous day.

The Belarus State Border Committee rejected the allegation by Polish Border Guard Captain Krystyna Jakimik-Jarosz and accused the Polish government of avoiding scrutiny of its own activities.

“Poland deliberately spreads fake information in order to hide from the public the real picture of the events taking place on the border,” the spokesman for the border committee Anton Bychkovsky said in a statement to Reuters.

Poland’s government maintains all of the allegations it has presented against the Belarusian authorities, special services spokesperson Stanislaw Zaryn told Reuters.

Thousands of people mostly from the Middle East have crossed the Polish border from Belarus since the summer, with the European Union accusing Minsk of flying them in and pushing them to cross into the bloc via neighboring Poland.

International organizations have said Poland was breaching humanitarian standards in forcing some migrants back into Belarus, a charge the Warsaw government denies.

On Monday, there were 116 attempts to cross the border. By contrast, on Nov. 17, 501 attempts were reported.

(Reporting by Kacper Pempel; additional reporting by Matthias Williams and Natalia Zinets and Joanna Plucinska in Warsaw; Writing by Alan Charlish; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Poland says Belarus border crisis may be prelude to “something worse”

By Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Andrius Sytas

WARSAW/VILNIUS (Reuters) -Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned on Sunday that the migrant crisis on the Belarus border may be a prelude to “something much worse,” and Poland’s border guard said Belarusian forces were still ferrying migrants to the frontier.

The European Union accuses Belarus of flying in thousands of people from the Middle East and pushing them to cross into EU and NATO members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, in response to European sanctions.

Minsk, which denies fomenting the crisis, cleared a migrant camp near the border on Thursday and started to repatriate some people to Iraq, while Poland and Lithuania reported lower numbers of attempts to cross their borders in recent days.

But Morawiecki warned the crisis was far from over as he toured Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia on Sunday to discuss the situation.

A poll published by Poland’s Rzeczpospolita daily on Sunday said 55% of Poles are worried the crisis on the border could escalate into an armed conflict.

“I think that the things that unfold before our eyes, these dramatic events, may only be a prelude to something much worse,” Morawiecki said in Vilnius.

He pointed to increased Russian military presence close to Ukraine, as well as in Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave which borders Poland and Lithuania, as “an instrument which could be used directly for a direct attack”.

The situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover “may be used as the next stage of the migration crisis,” said Morawiecki.

CALLS FOR SUPPORT

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte warned European partners to not ignore Belarus’ neighbors, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel twice called Lukashenko looking for solution of the humanitarian crisis.

“For us, it is very important that any talks (with Belarus) are coordinated with Lithuania, Poland and Latvia, which are at the forefront of the hybrid attack, and no decisions are taken which do not solve the situation fundamentally”, she said after meeting with Morawiecki on Sunday.

France’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Russia had to exert pressure on its ally, Belarus, to end the migrant crisis.

FORCIBLY BROUGHT TO BORDER

Poland says Minsk continues to truck hundreds of foreigners to the frontier, where about 10 migrants are believed to have died with a frigid winter setting in.

“On Saturday … a group of about 100 very aggressive foreigners, brought to the border by Belarusian servicemen, tried to enter Poland by force,” the border guard said on Twitter on Sunday.

A dozen migrants from Iraq, speaking with Lithuanian news portal DELFI over the border with Belarus on Saturday, said they were forcibly brought there in military trucks by Belarus officials, who ignored their wish to go back to Iraq.

Hundreds of Poles took part in protests on Saturday to demand help for the migrants. The Catholic church organized a fundraiser on Sunday to collect money for those in need at the border and support the integration of refugees who will stay in Poland.

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw and Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Poland says Belarus ferries migrants back to border after clearing camps

By Yara Abi Nader and Kacper Pempel

BIELSK PODLASKI, Poland/BRUZGI, Belarus (Reuters) -Poland accused Belarus on Friday of trucking hundreds of migrants back to the border and pushing them to attempt to cross illegally, only hours after clearing camps at a frontier that has become the focus of an escalating East-West crisis.

The accusation by Poland suggests the crisis has not been resolved by an apparent change of tack by Minsk, which on Thursday had cleared the main camps by the border and allowed the first repatriation flight to Iraq in months.

European governments accuse Belarus of flying in thousands of people from the Middle East and pushing them to attempt to illegally cross the EU border, where several people have died in the freezing woods. Belarus denies fomenting the crisis.

Polish Border Guard spokesperson Anna Michalska said that by Thursday evening, just hours after clearing the camps, Belarus authorities were already trucking hundreds back and forcing them to try to cross in darkness.

“(The Belarusians) were bringing more migrants to the place where there was a forced attempt to cross,” Michalska said. “At the beginning there were 100 people, but then the Belarusian side brought more people in trucks. Then there were 500 people.”

When the migrants tried to cross the border, Belarusian troops blinded Polish guards with lasers, she told a news conference. Some migrants had thrown logs and four guards sustained minor injuries.

Access to the border on the Polish side is restricted by a state of emergency, making it difficult to verify her account.

‘NIGHTMARE’

In an interview with the BBC, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko repeated denials that he had orchestrated the crisis but, asked if Belarus was helping migrants try and cross into Poland, he said: “I think that’s absolutely possible. We’re Slavs. We have hearts. Our troops know the migrants are going to Germany. Maybe someone helped them. I won’t even look into this.”

The migrants from the camp on the Belarus side were taken on Thursday to a huge, crowded warehouse and journalists were permitted to film them. Children ran about on Friday morning, and men played cards while one dangled a toddler on his lap.

“This is not a life but this is not permanent, this should be just temporary until they decide our destiny: to take us to Europe or bring us back to our countries,” said 23-year-old electrician Mohammed Noor.

“What I wish for myself, I wish it for others too – to go to Europe and live a stable life.”

Meanwhile in a hospital in Bielsk Podlaski, on the Polish side, two migrants who had been caught after crossing were given treatment before being taken away by Polish border guards.

Before he was taken away, Mansour Nassar, 42, a father-of-six from Aleppo, in Syria, who had travelled to Belarus from Lebanon, described his ordeal during five days in the forest.

“The Belarusian army told us: ‘If you come back, we will kill you’,” he said, in tears in his hospital bed. “We drank from ponds… Our people are always oppressed.”

Kassam Shahadah, a Syrian refugee doctor living in Poland who helps out in another hospital, said patients were terrified of being forcibly returned to Belarus.

“What they have seen, what they have lived through on that side is a nightmare for them,” he said.

EXTREME SUFFERING

Human rights groups say Poland has exacerbated the suffering by sending back those who try to cross. Poland says this is necessary to stop more people from coming.

“I have personally listened to the appalling accounts of extreme suffering from desperate people – among whom many families, children and elderly – who spent weeks or even months in squalid and extreme conditions in the cold and wet woods due to these pushbacks,” Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović said after a four-day mission to Poland.

“I have witnessed clear signs of their painful ordeal: wounds, frostbite, exposure to extreme cold, exhaustion and stress,” she said. “I have no doubt that returning any of these people to the border will lead to more extreme human suffering and more deaths.”

The Polish border guards have recorded seven deaths at the border. Rights groups say more than 10 people have died.

‘CYNICAL AND INHUMANE’

Europeans have shunned Lukashenko since a disputed election last year, but reached out cautiously this week, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking to Lukashenko twice by phone.

However, on Thursday the European Commission and Germany rejected a proposal that Minsk said Lukashenko had made to Merkel, under which EU countries would take in 2,000 migrants, while 5,000 others would be sent back home..

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that the situation on the borders remained deeply concerning.

“Lukashenko’s regime’s use of vulnerable people as a means to put pressure on other countries is cynical and inhumane,” he said. “NATO stands in full solidarity with all affected allies.”

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska, Pawel Florkiewicz, Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk, Leon Malherbe, Yara Abi Nader, Kacper Pempel, Stephan Schepers, Andrius Sytas; Writing by Joanna Plucinska and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Peter Graff and Alex Richardson)