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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (30 sites): Michael Novakhov – Shared Links – The News And Times: Wrongfully convicted Kansas man to get $7.5 million payment

OSKALOOSA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn’t commit will receive $7.5 million from the county where he was arrested and convicted of the crime. Jefferson County commissioners approved the settlement last week with Floyd Bledsoe, who was released from prison in 2015 […]

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Michael Novakhov’s favorite articles on Inoreader: Ukraine signals counteroffensive is near: What to know about the coming fight


Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive is just around the corner, with top commanders and defense officials announcing Kyiv has nearly everything it needs to mount a successful attack on occupying Russian forces. 

“Preparations are being finalized,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said at a news conference Friday, adding they were “mostly ready” for the offensive.

That followed remarks from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg saying Ukraine is now in a “strong” position to retake occupied territory in the east after the bloc delivered 98 percent of promised combat vehicles to Ukraine, including some 1,550 armored vehicles and 230 tanks.

While the launch date of the offensive appears to be coming into focus, it’s unclear whether it will be as successful as previous Ukrainian operations.

Michael O’Hanlon, the director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, said even with the new armor, he had “modest” expectations for the offensive because of heavy Russian fortifications.

“Russia’s got a lot of antitank weapons and other multiple lines of fortification,” he said. “Ukraine’s got limited ability to provide air support for these incoming armored units and probably limited ability to sustain them as they move further away from their home bases of support.” 

“So I don’t expect big breakthroughs, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.”

The armor rolling into Ukraine includes Germany’s Leopard tanks, British-made Challenger tanks and infantry fighting vehicles from Western allies, such as the American-made Strykers and Bradleys.

Those are far more advanced than the Soviet-era heavy armor used by Ukraine during successful counteroffensives in Kharkiv and Kherson last year. 

Ukraine has also received more MiG-29 fighter jets from allies like Poland, giving it a slight boost in air capability, though Kyiv remains heavily outmatched by Russia over the skies.

Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, told Senate Armed Services lawmakers on Thursday he is “very confident” Ukrainian troops have the military equipment they need for the offensive.

He said that Washington and Kyiv worked together to war-game and compile a list of needed weapons for the operation, which the United States pulled from its inventories and from those of allies over the past few months.

“We have fulfilled that. We have nearly gotten everything into Ukraine, and I am confident they have what they need for the offensive that we have planned with them,” Cavoli said. 

But he also warned that critical parts of the Russian military remained intact — including cyber, nuclear, information operations and undersea warfare, such as submarines — despite months of heavy losses in Ukraine.

“Much of the Russian military has not been affected negatively by this conflict,” Cavoli said at an earlier Wednesday hearing with the House Armed Services Committee.

“We should not make the mistake of underestimating Russia’s military capabilities because the stakes of getting it wrong are too high,” added Celeste Wallander, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, at the hearing.

Much of the recent fighting in Ukraine has been focused on the eastern frontlines around the industrial city of Bakhmut. But Ukraine is expected to launch its counteroffensive in the south as well. 

Ukrainian forces have been observed setting up positions on the eastern side of Dnipro River, an area that could be used as a staging point for a move to recapture the Crimea Peninsula, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

Moscow is aware of the most likely place for Ukraine to strike — in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, where Kyiv would seek to cut off a land bridge to the Russian-occupied peninsula.

Russian military bloggers are casting doubt on the prospects for success of the counteroffensive, though they anticipate a huge operation. 

Alexander Kots, a blogger with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, said “Kyiv will put all in” for the operation.

“Russian command has an understanding of the inevitability of the upcoming offensive,” he said. “A difficult period awaits us, during which the good news will be that the enemy has not been able to advance through our defensive formations.”

Leaked Pentagon documents suggest the U.S. is not confident Ukraine will make any significant gains soon, and a protracted war is likely to extend beyond 2023.

But Washington has underestimated Kyiv before, and Ukraine has the capabilities to slice through entrenched Russian positions, which are not very mobile, said O’Hanlon from Brookings.

“It is possible. It is possible to essentially go over some of these trenches,” he said. “Again, you’re [going to] take casualties and take losses as you do it, but it’s not as if a trench is somehow completely impregnable.”

O’Hanlon said trench lines can be overcome with bulldozers and explosives, referencing the U.S. Desert Storm operation in 1991 when American forces overwhelmed entrenched Iraqi positions in Kuwait.

Ukrainian savviness may also come into play. During the counteroffensive last fall, Ukraine duped Russia by hinting in public media reports it was going to strike in Kherson, but it instead went for Kharkiv.

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It’s unclear whether Russia will fall for a similar head fake should Ukraine posit one ahead of the offensive. 

But Ukraine’s Defense Ministry posted a statement on Telegram earlier this month suggesting its counteroffensive “plan is finally chosen in such a way that the enemy cannot react.”

“The Armed Forces are currently not preparing one thing — for a specific time in a specific direction,” the statement read. “The Armed Forces prepare the entire complex of defensive and counteroffensive measures every day.”

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Michael Novakhov’s favorite articles on Inoreader: Armed with tanks and heavy armor from NATO, Ukraine says it’s about to hit Russian forces with an ‘iron fist’


Ukraine’s forces are nearly ready to launch a counteroffensive against the Russian invaders with weapons from the West, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Friday.

“As soon as there is God’s will, the weather and a decision by commanders, we will do it,” Reznikov said during an online briefing, per Reuters. “We are to a high percentage ready.”

Reznikov said that Western-supplied arms would serve as an “iron fist” in this effort.

The day prior, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said that alliance members and their partners had delivered over 98% of the combat vehicles pledged to Kyiv. Stoltenberg said the aid provided to Ukraine included over 1,550 armored vehicles, 230 tanks, and other military hardware, as well as “vast amounts of ammunition.”

“This will put Ukraine in a strong position to continue to retake occupied territory,” Stoltenberg said.

US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the top commander of US forces in Europe and NATO’s top general, told congressional lawmakers during a House Armed Services committee hearing on Wednesday he is “very confident” that Ukraine has what it needs for a successful counteroffensive. “We’ll continue a pipeline to sustain their operations as well,” he said. The M1 Abrams tanks promised by the US are still to come.

Though Cavoli expressed confidence, recently leaked top secret Pentagon documents that became a major point of controversy in Washington and abroad suggested that the US is not especially optimistic that Ukraine can actually make major gains in a counteroffensive. 

While Ukraine’s long-awaited spring counteroffensive is widely expected to start soon, some military analysts contend that it has already begun in small ways, pointing to reported Ukrainian advances across the Dnipro River in the Kherson region. 

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian people continue to face the deadly consequences of the Russian onslaught, which targets not just the Ukrainian armed forces but also civilians. 

Reznikov’s comments on Friday came as Russia launched fresh missile attacks across Ukraine — including in the capital city, Kyiv — that killed at least 25, BBC News reported. Several children were reportedly among those killed in strikes on residential areas.  

In the wake of these fatal attacks on Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that “Russian terror” could only be defeated “with weapons for Ukraine, the toughest sanctions against the terrorist state, and fair sentences for the killers.”

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Michael Novakhov’s favorite articles on Inoreader: Leaked papers reveal proxy war in Ukraine


Niraj Srivastava

Former Ambassador

ON April 7, The New York Times reported that a trove of around 100 highly classified US military documents, containing details of the US strategy in the Ukraine war and other sensitive information, had been released on social media sites, including Twitter and Telegram. The American media has described the release as the biggest security breach since the Edward Snowden episode of 2013.

The documents contain important military information, such as the number of casualties on both sides and the performance and quantity of weapons supplied to Ukraine by the US and other NATO countries, which could adversely affect Ukraine’s ability to fight Russia.

Reports in the western media indicate that photographs of the documents had been circulating for over a month on Discord, a messaging platform popular with video gamers. Some of them were marked ‘Top Secret’ and ‘NOFORN’ (not for foreign eyes), indicating the sensitivity of the information, which spilt over to the mainstream media when it could no longer be kept under wraps.

On April 13, the FBI arrested a 21-year-old member of the US Air National Guard for leaking the documents. However, some commentators have asked questions about the arrest, wondering how a junior operative could get his hands on such highly classified documents.

The leak of the documents, which have the imprint of the Pentagon and other US agencies all over them, demonstrates conclusively the proxy nature of the Ukraine war, with the US and its NATO allies on one side, and Russia on the other. The planning, supply of weapons and political cover to Ukraine in the UN are being provided by the West. The aims of the war include the recovery of Crimea by Ukraine and the overthrow of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in yet another episode of regime change.

The leak has also put a question mark on the ‘spring offensive’ of the Ukrainian army, aimed at recovering territories lost to Russia — currently adding up to around 20 per cent of the country’s area. It is also being seen, much to the consternation of the US, as an indication of fissures in NATO, which could be one of the possible sources of the leak. Though some US officials have blamed Russia, many observers believe that the source of the leak is either the US or NATO.

Lately, the war has not been going too well for Ukraine, with its military under constant shelling and bombing by the Russian forces and fighters from the Wagner mercenary group, a private Russian militia. Russia has made significant gains in the town of Bakhmut, which is a key logistical, supply and transport hub, crucial to the control of the eastern province of Donetsk. Russia has been trying to wrest it from Ukraine for several months. There are reports that Russia has deployed its most modern tank, the T-14 Armata, in the area.

On the other hand, Ukrainian forces are reportedly facing a shortage of ammunition for artillery and air defence systems. As a result, the Russian Air Force has reportedly been bombing Ukrainian targets with relative ease. This is primarily a land-based war, driven by artillery, tanks and manpower, in all of which Russia enjoys a significant advantage over Ukraine. In trench wars, like the one in Ukraine, some 75 per cent of the casualties are caused by the artillery, in which Russia has a 10:1 advantage, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Western efforts to replenish the Ukrainian war machine have been hampered by low stocks in their own arsenals. Russian forces, on the other hand, are not facing such constraints. To make up for these disadvantages, the US, the UK, Germany and other NATO members have been upping the ante by introducing more lethal weapons to the conflict. Thus, the UK recently announced the supply of depleted uranium shells to Ukraine.

Responding to the above announcement, Putin said, “Russia has hundreds of thousands of such shells which have not been used yet.” In June 2022, he had announced that Russia would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, and would help that country convert its Su-25 aircraft to carry nuclear weapons and train its crews. He also said Russia would transfer 500-km-range nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Belarus. In December 2022, Russia announced that 10 Belarusian Su-25 aircraft had been converted to nuclear capability, and in April, the two sides announced that Belarusian pilots had completed training for the nuclear mission.

The inclusion of Finland in NATO may elicit a similar Russian response because Russia is fighting not just Ukraine, but also 31 NATO members, whose combined manpower and weaponry easily exceed those of Russia. To make up for its deficiencies vis-a-vis NATO, Russia might be tempted to resort to an asymmetrical nuclear response.

That should provide food for thought to new aspirants for NATO membership: does the NATO umbrella result in an increase or a decrease in their security? Russia has signalled more than once that it could use nuclear weapons if faced with an existential threat. The road from tactical to strategic nuclear weapons could be a short one, exemplified by the recent movement of the hands of the Doomsday Clock from 100 seconds to 90 seconds (to midnight) by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Such a war could spell the end of the world. There is, therefore, a growing sentiment in the international community that negotiations are the only way to end the war in Ukraine. Moreover, negotiations must be conducted in good faith, not in bad, as in the case of the doomed Minsk I and Minsk II agreements, according to former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The next few months would be crucial to assess the contours of this devastating war, in which there would be few winners. The biggest loser would be Ukraine, which would be torn between Russia and the West. Russia is highly unlikely to return the areas controlled by its forces to Ukraine. Its future strategic orientation would be to the East, not the West, in which it has lost all confidence. The biggest winner, of course, would be China, courted by both Russia and Europe.

#social media

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Michael Novakhov’s favorite articles on Inoreader: Eurovision 2023: Contest inspires Ukraine’s LGBT troops – BBC

Eurovision 2023: Contest inspires Ukraine’s LGBT troops  BBC

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Michael Novakhov’s favorite articles on Inoreader: “gay” – Google News: Far-right MK Avi Maoz ‘filled with shame’ over gay Knesset speaker – The Jerusalem Post

Far-right MK Avi Maoz ‘filled with shame’ over gay Knesset speaker  The Jerusalem Post

6756330 “gay” – Google News

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Michael Novakhov’s favorite articles on Inoreader: Latest Racism Reports Linked To Accused Pentagon Leaker Spotlight White Supremacy In The Military




This photo illustration created on April 13, 2023, shows the suspect, national guardsman Jack Teixeira, reflected in an image of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. | Source: STEFANI REYNOLDS / Getty

New reports of racist behavior linked to the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified Pentagon documents are placing a brighter spotlight on the documented trend of white supremacists infiltrating the U.S. military.

Airman Jack Teixeira, 21, not only allegedly leaked classified U.S. government documents on the internet, but he also did so while being racist, lawyers for the Department of Justice (DOJ) argued on Thursday in a successful attempt to deny bail for the suspect.

The revelation was the third such report of Teixeira being racist since he was arrested last week at his home on Cape Cod.

While none of the reports have gone into detail about Teixeira’s alleged racism, DOJ lawyers made sure to include that the Pentagon’s investigation found that he had made “racial threats,” the New York Times reported.

Teixeira, who is accused of leaking documents that reportedly included confidential information about Russia’s war in Ukraine along with evidence that the U.S. has been spying on its allies like South Korea and Israel, also allegedly said online that he had a desire to kill “a ton of people.”

The report about the “racial threats” came about a week after the Washington Post reported that Teixeira shared a video among a group on the Discord platform with whom he regularly shared classified documents showing him casually expressing racist sentiments as he practices shooting.

The Post’s piece was published in the hours before Teixeira’s arrest and was fueled by a narrative provided by a young member of the Discord group who referred to the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman as “OG.”

From the Post:

In a video seen by The Post, the man who the member said is OG stands at a shooting range, wearing safety glasses and ear coverings and holding a large rifle. He yells a series of racial and antisemitic slurs into the camera, then fires several rounds at a target.

The chat room was also reportedly a place where racism was no stranger.

Also from the Post:

OG’s group itself had a dark side. The Discord server’s eventual name, Thug Shaker Central, was a racist allusion, and signaled to members that they were free to hurl epithets and crude jokes. The young member expressed some regret for their behavior but seemed to shrug off the offensive remarks as a clumsy attempt at humor.

Likewise, the Guardian’s coverage of Teixeira built on the theme of racism and reported that the Discord group also peddled “racist memes.” The Guardian described Teixeira in part as someone “with racist and anti-establishment views.”

Notably, Discord is also the online platform where the so-called Unite the Right deadly march in Charlottesville, Virginia, was planned in 2017.

It certainly doesn’t help Teixeira’s case in the court of public opinion that notorious racist Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene defended him on Twitter because, as she said, he is “white, male, Christian, and antiwar.”

If the reports are true, Teixeira would be the most recent member of the U.S. military to be a suspected white supremacist who has infiltrated its ranks.

Notably, in 2019, now-former U.S. Coast Guardsman Christopher Paul Hasson was found with a stockpile of illegal drugs and weapons in his home and was allegedly part of a plot to commit acts of mass terrorism. Hasson even had a hit list that named Black elected officials, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Rep. Maxine Waters.

More recently, former National Guardsman Francis Harker, a suspected white supremacist, was sentenced last summer to four years in prison for planning to attack police in Virginia.

“Authorities said they found messages and images in which Harker threatened violence, praised Adolf Hitler or disparaged Black people, including one blood-spattered image with the phrase ‘Rape the Cops,’” the Washington Post reported at the time.

To be sure, Teixeira and Harker are far from alone.

“A blue ribbon committee called the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group was quickly commissioned in April 2021 to evaluate the extent of the problem,” Dwight Stirling, a lecturer in law at the University of Southern California, wrote in an op-ed about how the U.S. military is confronting white supremacists in their ranks. “The group found about 100 substantiated cases of extremism in the U.S. armed forces in 2021.”

This is America.


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