International

China Becomes Top Russian Energy Importer

Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February, China has overtaken Germany as the top buyer of Russian energy exports, according to a new report from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air. “Fossil fuel exports are a

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(Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

China Becomes Top Russian Energy Importer

Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February, China has overtaken Germany as the top buyer of Russian energy exports, according to a new report from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

“Fossil fuel exports are a key enabler of Russia’s military buildup and brutal aggression against Ukraine,” the report states. “Russia earned EUR 93 billion in revenue from fossil fuel exports in the first 100 days of the war (February 24 to June 3). The EU imported 61% of this, worth approximately 57 billion EUR.”

“The largest importers were China (EUR12.6bln), Germany (EUR12.1bln), Italy (EUR7.8bln), Netherlands (EUR7.8bln), Turkey (EUR6.7bln), Poland (EUR4.4bln), France (EUR4.3bln) and India (EUR3.4bln),” the report adds. “The revenue comprises an estimated EUR46bln for crude oil, EUR24bln for pipeline gas, EUR13bln for oil products, EUR5.1bln for LNG and EUR4.8bln for coal.”

The report also found that multiple countries have increased their imports of Russian energy to take advantage of their decreased prices relatively to other countries.

“India, France, China, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia increased imports,” the report says. “India became a significant importer of Russian crude oil, buying 18% of the country’s exports. A significant share of the crude is re-exported as refined oil products, including to the U.S. and Europe, an important loophole to close.”

The report comes as the national average price of gas in the United States reached over $5 per gallon for the first time ever last week, according to GasBuddy.

Terrorists Kill At Least 50 Christians In Attack On Nigerian Church

Terrorists massacred at least 50 Christians attending a Catholic church in Nigeria during mass on Sunday.

“The gunmen shot at people outside and inside the church building, killing and injuries worshippers,” Reuters reported. “Nigeria is battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast and armed gangs who carry out attacks and kidnappings for ransom, mostly in the northwest.”

AFP noted that guns are strictly regulated in Nigeria as citizens have “no legal right to gun ownership” and “civilians are banned from owning handguns, military rifles or machine guns. Licenses can be obtained from the police for double-barrel shotguns and hunting guns, but permission for this has been suspended because of the security situation.”

“I am deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo, worshiping at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Today,” Arakunrin Akeredolu, the governor of Ondo State in Nigeria, wrote on Twitter. “The vile & satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.”

“This is an unexpected development. I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals,” he added. “I urge our people to remain calm and vigilant. Do not take laws into your hands. I have spoken to the heads of the security agencies. I have equally been assured that security operatives would be deployed to monitor and restore normalcy to Owo kingdom.”

The flag of the People's Republic of China flies in the wind above the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco, California on July 23, 2020. - The US Justice Department announced July 23, 2020 the indictments of four Chinese researchers it said lied about their ties to the People's Liberation Army, with one escaping arrest by taking refuge in the country's San Francisco consulate. (Photo by Philip Pacheco / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden Says US Will Militarily Defend Taiwan If China Invades

On Monday, President Biden announced that the United States would be willing to militarily defend the independent country of Taiwan against a Chinese invasion, and that it is important that Russian President Vladimir Putin face consequences for the Russian invasion of Ukraine because it will deter China from invading Taiwan.

“Our policy toward Taiwan has not changed at all,” Biden said. “We remain committed to supporting the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and ensuring that there is no unilateral change to the status quo.”

“I would add that one of the reasons why it’s so important that Putin pay a dear price for his barbarism in Ukraine: The idea that on your station today and every other station in America they’re showing bombings of every school — no — no military purpose — schools, hospitals, daycare centers, all the things, museums — blowing up all the museums.  I believe what Putin is attempting to do is eliminate the identity of Ukraine — the identity.  He can’t occupy it, but he can try to destroy its identity,” Biden continued. “And the reason I bother to mention that is: He has to pay and Russia has to pay a long-term price for that, in terms of the sanctions that have been imposed.”

Biden added that “it’s not just about Ukraine” because if “these sanctions are not continued to be sustained in many ways, then what signal does that send to China about the cost of attempting — attempting to take Taiwan by force?  They’re already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers they’ve undertaken.”

“You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons,” a reporter said. “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, if it comes to that?”

“Yes,” Biden answered. “That’s the commitment we made.  That’s the commitment we made.  We are not — Look, here’s the situation: We agree with the One China policy; we’ve signed on to it and all the attendant agreements made from there.  But the idea that — that it can be taken by force — just taken by force — is just not a — is just not appropriate.  It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in — in Ukraine.  And so, it’s a burden that is even stronger.”

Rand Paul
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Rand Paul Blocks $40 Billion In Aid To Ukraine

On Thursday, Republican Senator Rand Paul (KY) blocked a massive $40 billion Ukraine aid package, saying that the bill would further worsen the ongoing inflation crisis.

Paul blocked the package after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came together to request unanimous agreement from all 100 senators to allow an immediate vote.

“Reserving the right to object, my oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation,” Paul said. “And no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America.”

“We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy,” Paul added, referencing the United States’ record high inflation rate. “Inflation doesn’t just come out of nowhere, it comes from deficit spending.”

“Without [Paul’s] consent to move more quickly, Mr. Schumer scheduled the first in a series of procedural votes for Monday afternoon to move the bill toward final passage late next week,” The Wall Street Journal explained. “It is expected to pass overwhelmingly. The House passed the legislation 368 to 57 late Tuesday, with support from all Democrats and most Republicans. All the lawmakers who voted no were Republicans.”

The news comes shortly after new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the inflation crisis continued to worsen last month.

“The consumer price index, a broad-based measure of prices for goods and services, increased 8.3% from a year ago, higher than the Dow Jones estimate for an 8.1% gain,” CNBC reported. “That represented a slight ease from March’s peak but was still close to the highest level since the summer of 1982.”

Report: US Intel Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals

The United States has provided Ukraine with intelligence on Russian military units that has allowed the country to target and kill many of the Russian generals who have died since Russia invaded the country in late February, senior American officials told The New York Times.

According to the report, Ukrainian officials said they have killed around 12 Russian generals on the front lines, a figure that has “astonished” military analysts.

“The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine,” The New York Times reported. “That intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.”

“The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently,” the outlet added. “Ukrainian officials have combined that geographic information with their own intelligence — including intercepted communications that alert the Ukrainian military to the presence of senior Russian officers — to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian officers.”

According to The New York Times, after they published their report, Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said in a statement that the intelligence was not provided to the Ukrainians “with the intent to kill Russian generals.”

However, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last month that the United States wants “to see Russia weakened to the degree it cannot do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

“Not all the strikes have been carried out with American intelligence. A strike over the weekend at a location in eastern Ukraine where Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, had visited was not aided by American intelligence, according to multiple U.S. officials. The United States prohibits itself from providing intelligence about the most senior Russian leaders, officials said,” The New York Times reported. “But American intelligence was critical in the deaths of other generals, officials acknowledged.”

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