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TOPIC: nord stream

Geopolitics

Nord Stream Sabotage: Why Underwater Pipelines Are So Vulnerable

Whatever caused the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, it appears to be the first major attack on critical “subsea” (underwater) infrastructure in Europe. It’s now widely thoughtnot least by Nato – that the explosions that led to major leaks in the two pipelines were not caused by accidents.

The alliance says they were a deliberate act of sabotage.

The attacks occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden and demonstrate the risks that Europe’s subsea infrastructures are facing. This raises the question of the vulnerabilities of European pipelines, electricity and internet cables, and other maritime infrastructure. Europe will have to revisit its policies for protecting them.

But it is still unclear how the attacks were carried out. The investigations will probably take months to complete. Still, there are two likely scenarios.

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Ukrainian Army Makes New Gains In Regions Annexed By Russia

The Ukrainian army is pushing the front line forward in several directions.

The Ukrainian army is pushing the front line forward in several directions, including the liberation of two more cities – Arkhangelske and Myrolyubivka – in the southern region of Kherson. There were also reports Monday of major breakthroughs by Kyiv forces along the Dnipro River in the south.

Ukraine has also made progress in the past 48 hours in the region of Luhansk. Notably, these are two of the four regions that Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had annexed on Friday.

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With these advances by Ukrainian forces, along with gains in Donetsk (see below) and Zaporizhzhia, Russia does not hold the full territory of any of the areas of occupied Ukraine that Moscow now claims as its own.

Fighting has also intensified in the northeastern Kharkiv region, where Ukraine has also made significant advances and Russia continues shelling in response.

The successful counterattacks by the Ukrainian military in Kherson and the Kharkiv region since last month has left Russian forces controlling less Ukrainian land than they did at the start of the war in February 2022, an analysis by CNN found. Russia’s first massive push overnight into February 24 allowed it to secure or advance on one fifth of Ukrainian territory, or about 119,000 square kilometers. Russia now controls roughly 3,000 square kilometers less land than it did in the first five days of the war.

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Putin’s Landmark Annexation Speech Paves Way For Escalation

For Vladimir Putin, there are "four new regions of Russia."

In a wide-ranging and provocative speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the annexation of four Ukraine regions, which Putin says now make Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson officially part of Russia.

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Speaking in the Kremlin’s St George’s Hall, the much-anticipated address to the Russian nation follows the so-called "referendums" in the occupied areas of the four Ukrainian regions — which the West condemned as shams held under gunpoint. Friday’s annexation comes as Russia is losing territory on the ground following a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Putin directly addressed the leaders of Ukraine and "their real masters in the West," that the annexation was "for everyone to remember. People living in Luhansk and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens. Forever."

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Russia Announces Annexation, Aung San Suu Kyi Jailed, MIA Liz Truss

👋 Ia Orana!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia announces it will formally annex four Ukraine regions, Myanmar’s former leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced to three years in jail, and the inventor of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker gets rewarded. Meanwhile, Persian-language Kayhan-London looks at the Iranian regime's tools in crushing opposition, in the light of recent mass unrest in the country.

[*yo-rah-nah - Tahitian]

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Russia Cuts Gas To Europe, Myanmar Protests, SpaceX Rival

👋 Yokwe!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Europe braces for Russia turning off gas, an architect of Northern Ireland peace deal dies and a European rival to SpaceX is taking shape. Meanwhile, we look at what makes the Ukrainian port city of Odessa such a strategic and symbolic target for Vladimir Putin.

[*Marshallese, Marshall Islands]

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Russian Gas Flows Again, Draghi Resigns, Australia’s Pink Glow

👋 A jaaraama!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigns, the race for Britain’s leadership narrows down to two, and Australia’s sky turns pink. Meanwhile, Fiore Longo in Spanish magazine La Marea reports on the fate of the Maasai ethnic group in eastern Africa, let down by ineffective conservationist movements.

[*Fula, West and Central Africa]

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In The News
Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

Nord Stream Pipeline Repair Sparks Rift Between Kyiv And West

Canada has said it’s planning to return a repaired turbine to Germany that is needed for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Canada's minister of natural resources has said that repairing the pipeline is essentially to ensure continued flows of energy until Europe can end its dependency on Russian gas.

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But Kyiv is convinced that the West must cut off Russian energy immediately, and Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called in the Canadian ambassador in Kyiv for consultation.

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Geopolitics
Nikolaus Doll

Russian Oil And The Double Standard Of Biden's NordStream Squeeze

The United States expects Germany to put a halt to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. But the Americans are not mentioning the fact that they themselves import plenty of oil from Russia.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — On his return flight from his inaugural visit to Washington on Monday evening, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was half-jokingly asked to say “Nord Stream 2”, so that he would have uttered the irritant word at least once on his trip. Scholz did it. In all his public statements, he had consistently avoided mentioning the controversial gas pipeline by name.

Americans, both the politicians and the media, tried hard to pressure the Chancellor into making a clear statement that a shutdown of Nord Stream 2 could be part of sanctions against Russia if Vladimir Putin orders his troops to march towards Ukraine.

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Germany
Daniel Friedrich Sturm

Nord Stream 2: A Triangular Knot For U.S., Germany And Russia

An unavoidable topic for President Joe Biden's first foreign trip is Germany's support for the massive pipeline project that Washington believes makes Europe too dependent on Moscow.

BERLIN — It was a first in several ways when Lufthansa flight LH 9290 from Frankfurt landed at Washington's Dulles International Airport, last Tuesday at 3.42 p.m.: For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, several top German diplomats visited the American capital. Also, for the first time, Chancellor Angela Merkel"s foreign policy adviser Jan Hecker was ready to discuss the controversial topic of Nord Stream 2 face-to-face with leading representatives of President Joe Biden"s government.

Nord Stream 2, a system of offshore natural gas pipelines that runs from Vyborg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany, is the longest undersea pipeline in the world. Germany has long been reliant on Russia's energy supplies, but such dependence triggered U.S. concerns. The United States Senate levied a sanction last July on the Nord Stream 2 and the companies involved, but Germany was still sticking to the project.

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Russia
Alastair Gill

Why Washington May Detour Russia's Big Pipeline Project

Opposition to the planned Nord Stream 2 gas project had been limited to Europe. But now the Trump administration is challenging it too — with possible sanctions.

-Analysis-

The political heat over Russia's proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany is now coming from far afield, after the United States announced plans to sanction companies working with Moscow's state-owned gas giant Gazprom on the controversial project.

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