A Likely Explanation.
Attack helicopters and fighter jets.
1. Russia is moving attack helicopters and fighter jets towards the Ukrainian border even as the White House scrambles to defuse a stand-off with the Kremlin by blocking calls for sanctions on businesses linked to Nord Stream 2. The new pipeline, intended to funnel Russian gas to Germany, has become a bone of contention for those who believe President Putin’s aggression should be countered with financial penalties. Talks held this week between the US and Russia on the Ukraine issue remain deadlocked, but in Washington senior Democrats are trying to defeat a motion by Republicans in Congress to hit Moscow with sanctions. The Biden administration has insisted that such action would only serve to inflame tensions further. (Source: thetimes.co.uk)
2. The U.S. and other NATO members have deployed thousands of troops and invested heavily in weaponry to rebuild the alliance’s front line facing Russia. Moscow has parried that strategy by opening up new fronts just beyond NATO’s reach. Now, as Russian officials visit North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday to address grievances raised by the Kremlin, the 30-country alliance is grappling with how to counter Russia’s increasing assertiveness. Rather than confront NATO head-on, Russian President Vladimir Putin is exerting pressure in other countries including Ukraine, Syria and Libya. He is testing alliance unity with natural-gas deals while probing its democratic defenses with cyberattacks and disinformation, Western officials say. The approach is testing both the alliance’s military might and Western political will. (Source: wsj.com)
3. Russia may halt security talks with the United States unless Washington swiftly accepts its demand that Ukraine and Georgia not be allowed to join NATO, the Kremlin spokesman warned, saying Moscow would soon decided whether there was “any sense” in continuing. Dmitry Peskov said there was little reason for optimism ahead of a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the crisis. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
4. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi kicked off 2022 diplomacy by signaling a renewed development push in the Indian Ocean region, where Beijing is locked in an intensifying geopolitical contest with India and the US. The top diplomat hinted at a new economic network for nations that share the waterway during his visit to Sri Lanka this past weekend -- the final leg of a weeklong five-country trip that included the Comoros and Maldives, as well as the littoral East African countries of Eritrea and Kenya. (Source: asia.nikkei.com)
5. Leading British and US scientists thought it was likely that Covid accidentally leaked from a laboratory but were concerned that further debate would harm science in China, emails show. An email from Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, on February 2 2020 said that “a likely explanation” was that Covid had rapidly evolved from a Sars-like virus inside human tissue in a low-security lab. The email, to Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Francis Collins of the US National Institutes of Health, went on to say that such evolution may have “accidentally created a virus primed for rapid transmission between humans.” But a leading scientist told Sir Jeremy that “further debate would do unnecessary harm to science in general and science in China in particular.” (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
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