Putin’s Christian Dark Force

“Bolton went on, “Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him, and thought, maybe in a second term, Trump would make good on his desire to get out of NATO, and then it would just ease Putin’s path just that much more.” 

I watched Vice President Kamala Harris speak from Poland today, and could not help but wonder how many millions of American Christians wanted her to stumble, and sound like a fool. There are many articles about the evangelical support for Putin. Here is a paragraph from one of them:

“The evidence for Republicans’ attachment to Putin becomes clearer when one considers the religious right. Leaders among the conservative American evangelical movement have consistently praised Putin, claiming that he promotes Christian values in Russia. For instance, when Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham and head of the Billy Graham Evangelist Association, visited Russia in 2015, he commended Putin for defending Christian values amidst the rise in secularism in America. Putin’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws and war against Islamic terrorism have also been interpreted as the protection of Christian tenants. This praise is often joined by condemnation of the secular West, whose promotion of pluralism and tolerance of other lifestyles is taken as an affront to Christian values. Evangelical leaders increasingly view Putin as the defender of Christianity against the liberal West. Putin presents himself as bringing the restoration of glory to his nation from the supposed humiliation brought by immigration, LGBTQ+ individuals, feminism and other supposedly anti-Christian movements. As a result, Putin has been propelled as the leader of the global Christian right.”

There are fierce loyalty checks going on in this Nation – and now the world – in regards who is a real Christian, and who is – NOT close to the God and His son. Millions believe the War between Good and Evil will be a war between the Republicans and Democrats, this is why thousands of ministers suggested their flocks – become Republicans. With the recognition of Dallas Heard, we have evidence of vicious self-righteous in-fighting that has plagued most religions, and is recorded at length in the New Testament – beginning with Acts. The crucial question now, is, does Putin expect some Christians to join in his Holy War against Secular, Liberal Democrats – and European Democracies?

John Presco

Warsaw, Poland (CNN)Vice President Kamala Harris sought to reinforce cooperative ties between the United States and Poland as she met with the country’s President in the wake of an apparent disconnect between the two NATO members over providing Ukraine with fighter jets.

“I want to be very clear. The United States and Poland are united in what we have done and are prepared to help Ukraine and the people of Ukraine, full stop,” Harris said alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda during a joint news conference.

It was a diplomatic response to a situation that had angered some US officials and complicated Harris’ visit. In Warsaw, Harris is acting as an emissary of US resolve to protecting its NATO allies on the eastern flank, and she underscored that commitment to the region’s security by announcing the delivery of two new Patriot missile systems to Poland.

She also pledged more humanitarian support, announcing $53 million in new assistance and saying the United States would help countries like Poland where massive numbers of refugees have fled the fighting. She met later in the day with seven people the White House described as “displaced” and said the conversation would inform policy decisions back home.

Ex-Trump national security advisor John Bolton says ‘Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him,’ so he chose not to invade Ukraine (msn.com)

Is it the end of the world? Russia’s war on Ukraine has some Christians wondering. – The Washington Post

Russia-Ukraine crisis complicates American white evangelicals’ love for Putin (msnbc.com)

Putin isn’t the “defender of Christian values” evangelicals think he is // The Observer (ndsmcobserver.com)

  • Former National Security Advisor John Bolton said “Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him.”
  • Trump considered withdrawing the US from NATO while he was president.
  • Bolton said it’s one of the reasons that Putin did not invade Ukraine during Trump’s time in office.

John Bolton, who served as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, on Wednesday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t invade Ukraine while Trump was in office because “Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him.”

Bolton pointed to Trump’s outspoken criticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the military and diplomatic alliance established in the wake of World War II. 

“I think one of the reasons that Putin did not move during Trump’s term in office was he saw the president’s hostility of NATO. It was widely reported in American media,” Bolton said during an interview with SiriusXM’s Julie Mason. “And to Putin’s mind, it’s a binary proposition: a weaker NATO is a stronger Russia.”

Bolton went on, “Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him, and thought, maybe in a second term, Trump would make good on his desire to get out of NATO, and then it would just ease Putin’s path just that much more.” 

Trump undermined NATO during his time in office. In 2018, he privately discussed withdrawing the United States from the alliance, raising concerns among national security officials. 

Bolton, in remarks during a virtual event with The Washington Post on Friday, said that he believes Trump would have withdrawn from NATO if he had won a second term.

“I thought he put his foot over it, but at least he didn’t withdraw then,” Bolton said. “In a second Trump term, I think he may well have withdrawn from NATO. And I think Putin was waiting for that.”

Bolton also told Vice last week that he doesn’t think the former president would have stopped Putin if the Russian leader had invaded Ukraine while Trump was in office. His comments come as Trump has repeatedly said that Putin would never have invaded Ukraine had he been president and has criticized President Joe Biden over the US response to Russia. 

Bolton served as Trump’s national security advisor from 2018 to 2019, when Trump ousted him after the two repeatedly butted heads. Upon leaving the administration, he criticized Trump in his 2020 memoir and detailed several explosive claims about the former president, including that he wanted to “give personal favors to dictators he liked.”

  • Russian forces are frustrated they haven’t yet captured any cities in Ukraine, according to US intelligence. 
  • A senior US defense official told Reuters Russia had not planned for enough fuel.
  • “We know that they have not made the progress that they have wanted to make,” the official said.

Russian forces are “frustrated” they haven’t yet been able to capture any Ukrainian cities during their ongoing invasion of the country launched earlier this week, according to one US senior defense official who spoke to Reuters

According to the report, the US official, who was not named by the outlet, said Russian forces had not planned to bring enough fuel or for other basic logistics. 

“We know that they have not made the progress that they have wanted to make, particularly in the north. They have been frustrated by what they have seen is a very determined resistance,” the official told Reuters, adding: “It has slowed them down.” 

An unnamed US official told Fox News: “We continue to believe, based on what we’ve observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected.” 

The British Defense Ministry on Saturday made similar claims, saying: “The speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance,” according to the Associated Press.

Per the AP, a senior US defense official, who was not named in the report, said the US estimated more than half of Russian troops stationed along Ukraine’s borders had entered the country.

“Russian forces are bypassing major Ukrainian population centres while leaving forces to encircle and isolate them,” the ministry said.

The unprovoked Russian assault began on Thursday after weeks of warnings by the US that an attack was likely. Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian had denied that an attack was imminent.

Russian forces were about 19 miles outside of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital city, on Saturday night, according to Britain and US intelligence, the AP reported.

Russia has claimed its forces have only targeted military targets as part of Ukraine’s military operation, however, attacks have been reported to include apartment buildings, at schools, and bridges. Video captured early Saturday morning local time showed a missile striking an apartment building in southwestern Kyiv.

So far, 198 people, including three children, have been killed and more than 1,000 others have been wounded, Ukraine’s health minister said, according to the AP report.

How US intelligence got it right on Ukraine (msn.com)

President Joe Biden and US officials got the intelligence right: They said Russia would invade Ukraine, despite Russia’s assurances to the contrary. After a supreme miscalculation on how the pullout from Afghanistan would go, misguided intelligence on the run-up to the war in Iraq and many other mistakes, this is an important moment for the US intelligence community.

Multiple Eastern European countries triggered NATO’s Article 4. Here’s what that means. (msn.com)

Trump Praise for ‘Savvy’ Putin Showcases GOP Divide at CPAC (msn.com)

(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump’s praise of Vladimir Putin as “very savvy” shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine shocked many Americans and put the Republican Party in an uncomfortable position. But what was more telling is how many conservatives mimicked the former president’s assessment.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/sean-penn-on-the-ground-in-ukraine-says-putin-has-made-a-most-horrible-mistake-for-all-

Actor and activist Sean Penn, who is on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary on the invasion, denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin for what the American filmmaker called “a most horrible mistake for all of humankind.”

Anonymous launches attacks against Russia and pledges support for Ukraine against ‘Kremlin’s brutal invasion’ (msn.com)

Hacking group Anonymous has said that it will support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and has already claimed an attack on the state-controlled TV network Russia Today.

Anonymous claimed credit for the attack, posting on Twitter that it took down the “propaganda station … in response to Kremlin’s brutal invasion”. The group did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

At the time of the tweet RT was briefly unavailable, before returning online without images.

Currently, the broadcaster is online and appears to be operating as normal.

“After the statement by Anonymous, RT’s websites became the subject of a massive DDoS attack from nearly 100 million devices, mostly based in the US”, RT told The Independent in a statement.

Pope Francis breaks diplomatic protocol and visits Russian Embassy (msn.com)

Pope Francis on Friday visited the Russian Embassy in Rome in a gesture that broke diplomatic protocol, to convey his concerns over the conflict in Ukraine. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope spent more than 30 minutes at the embassy. Russian Ambassador Alexander Avdeev told a state-run media outlet that the pope had “wanted to personally ask about the situation in Donbas and Ukraine.” Bruni did not specify what Francis said to the Kremlin official but said, “He went to express his concern over the war.” Bruni declined comment to a number of media outlets including when asked whether the pope had visited or would visit Ukraine’s embassy.

Francis has previously called for an end to the conflict and urged Christians to take next Wednesday as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Ukraine. On Wednesday he called for political leaders to examine their conscience before God and to refrain from actions that harm civilians and “discredit international law.” However, he refrained from naming Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, reiterated the pope’s previous appeals for peace in Ukraine, adding that Francis’s words had “acquired a dramatic urgency after the start of Russian military operations on Ukrainian territory.”

Russia sees military coordination with Israel on Syria continuing (msn.com)

Russia sees its military coordination with Israel over Syria continuing, the Russian embassy said on Saturday, after Moscow signaled displeasure with Israeli statements about the Ukraine crisis.

Russia cannot allow Ukraine to become a dagger raised above us in the hands of Washington,” Naryshkin said in a video on state television, according to the New York Times. “The special military operation will restore peace in Ukraine within a short amount of time and prevent a potential larger conflict in Europe.”

While calling for Ukrainian forces to stand down, Putin on Thursday justified his attacks on the country by saying he was acting to prevent a genocide against Russian speakers and intending for the “demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine.”

In a major shift, Germany will send weapons to Ukraine (msn.com)

VIENNA (AP) — In a significant shift, the German government said Saturday it will send weapons and other supplies directly to Ukraine, which is fighting to keep Russia from invading its capital city. Germany is also ready to also support some restrictions of the SWIFT global banking system for Russia, officials said.

Germany’s chancellery announced Saturday evening that it will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 “Stinger” surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine “as quickly as possible.”

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It threatens our entire post-war order,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement. “In this situation, it is our duty to help Ukraine, to the best of our ability, to defend itself against Vladimir Putin’s invading army.”

The news came shortly after the German economy and climate ministry said in a Saturday evening statement that Germany is allowing the Netherlands to ship 400 German-made anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. The government has also approved the shipment of 9 D-30 howitzers and ammunition originally from Estonia.

Op-Ed: Trump’s adulation for Putin has gone way too far (msn.com)

Merchant ships have been targeted by Russian missiles, while the French Navy intercepted a cargo vessel heading for St. Petersburg, reports say (msn.com)

Israel fails to sign onto US text condemning Russia at UNSC (msn.com)

Israel did not sign onto a United States-backed resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that failed to gain United Nations Security Council approval on Friday night. or has Israel clarified what its stance will be on an upcoming UN General Assembly resolution that is expected to take Russia to task for its military action in Ukraine. 

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The Farmer’s Dog Israel is not one of the 15 UNSC members and so could not vote on the resolution submitted by the US and Albania.

The US, however, had asked for its diplomatic allies that were non-UNSC member states to make good on an option to sign onto the text as a sign of support.

At least 49 states nations heeded that call. Diplomatic sources said that Israel had refrained from taking a stand on the UNSC resolution because Jerusalem knew that it had no chance of passing. With respect to the UNGA resolution, the source said that Israel was waiting to see the language of the resolution before solidifying its position.

“Our allies know exactly what our position is on the issue,” a diplomatic source said.

Israel has attempted to take a moderate tone on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has condemned Russia, but Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been careful to speak only of his support for the Ukrainian people.

US official says Russian forces are ‘frustrated’ that they haven’t taken any cities in Ukraine due to ‘a very determined resistance’ (msn.com)

Pope makes surprise visit to Russian Embassy to the Vatican (msn.com)

MOSCOW (AP) — Moscow may respond to Western sanctions by opting out of the last nuclear arms deal with the U.S., cutting diplomatic ties with Western nations and freezing their assets, a senior Russian official warned Saturday as Russia’s ties with the West dived to new lows over its invasion of Ukraine.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, also warned that Moscow could restore the death penalty after Russia was removed from Europe’s top rights group — a chilling statement that shocked human rights activists in a country that hasn’t had capital punishment for a quarter-century.

The sanctions placed new tight restrictions on Russian financial operations, imposed a draconian ban on technology exports to Russia and froze the assets of Putin and his foreign minister, a harsh response that dwarfed earlier Western restrictions. Washington and its allies say that even tougher sanctions are possible, including kicking Russia out of SWIFT, the dominant system for global financial transactions.

Russian cargo ship seized in the English Channel (msn.com)

KYIV, Ukraine — Glass shards, bits of metal and shell casings, the detritus from a fierce and lethal street fight in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, lay scattered over hundreds of yards of pavement. Leading away from the site were bloody footprints.

© Lynsey Addario for The New York TimesUkrainian volunteers gather and prepare their weapons to fight Russian troops throughout Kyiv on Saturday.

The fighting, part of a seesaw battle over two nights in the northern parts of Kyiv, left Russian trucks and a tracked vehicle smoldering on a highway. And it signaled that, though vastly outgunned, Ukraine’s army and a growing corps of civilian volunteers are mounting a spirited defense of the capital.

While military experts say the odds are stacked against them, for now the combined Ukrainian defense forces have defied expectations by slowing and in some cases halting the Russian army’s advance, apparently upsetting Moscow’s war plans. After three days of battle, Russia has yet to take any major cities.

© Provided by The New York TimesUkrainian volunteers on Saturday prepare for deployment around Kyiv, the capital, to fight Russian troops invading the city.

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The change to a war footing has been swift, for some almost bewilderingly so. What just three days ago had been a bustling, modern European capital, with copious restaurants, bars and cafes, slipped into an eerie war footing faster than seemingly imaginable. Vans and cars with armed men without uniform careened along the streets. Checkpoints went up seemingly at every stoplight, with men and women in civilian clothes, carrying rifles, stopping cars.

© Provided by The New York TimesSiblings, Iryna Kozilenko, 42, and Oleksandr Kozilenko, 32, wait to donate blood in Kyiv on Saturday.

“When I heard the explosions I decided that I am ready,” said Olena Sokolan, a business manager who received a rifle to help defend the capital. “I am adult woman, I am healthy and it’s my responsibility.”

The newly armed civilians and members of various paramilitary groups are fighting under the loose command of the military in an organization called the Territorial Defense Forces.

“In the city itself, the territorial defense detachments are working quite effectively,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential chief of staff, said in a statement Saturday morning. “It turned out that people are coming out, defending their homes. It wasn’t expected by analysts of the Russian General Staff.”

At an army recruitment center where Kalashnikov rifles were being handed out, several dozen men milled about. Before receiving their guns, they were asked to form ad hoc units of about 10 men each and choose a commander, several of the men in line said.

© Lynsey Addario for The New York TimesUkrainian volunteers gather and prepare their weapons to fight Russian troops throughout Kyiv on Saturday.

One group was dressed in a motley assortment of sweatpants and camouflage jackets, some in tennis shoes and others in hiking boots. But they all bore yellow arm bands identifying them as members of the Territorial Defense Forces.

© Lynsey Addario for The New York TimesUkrainian shelter in a parking garage after heavy fighting took place on the streets above ground that morning in Kyiv, on Saturday.

The new unit walked out the driveway of the recruitment center and off into the city, where booms could be heard through the afternoon. “Glory to Ukraine!” the other men waiting for their rifles yelled. “Glory to its heroes!” the members of the new unit shouted back.

Men from their 20s to late 50s, from a range of backgrounds, showed up. Igor, 37, an economist for an online retailing company, who didn’t want his last name published for safety reasons, stood in line for his gun. He spoke at barely a whisper and his lips trembled. The dull thud of bombs or artillery could be heard in the distance.

© Lynsey Addario for The New York TimesUkrainian emergency workers at the scene after a residential building was hit by missiles in south Kyiv, on Saturday.

“I never served in the army or with the police or anything,” he said. He said he hoped to be able to figure it out. He was worried, he said. “But people who are really afraid are sitting at home. They aren’t out here now.”

“Everybody in our country needs to defend — women, girls, everybody,” said Denis Matash, 33, the manager of Milk, a Kyiv nightclub, standing in line with about 50 other men at the recruitment center. “I don’t think they understand where they came,” he said of the Russians. “Look at what is happening here.”

Grigory Mamchur, 40, who works as a male strip dancer at the Milk nightclub, part of the now shuttered but once booming nightlife scene in Kyiv, was also in line for a Kalashnikov.

“There wasn’t even anything to think about,” Mr. Mamchur said. “We will defend the country however we can. This could be our last chance.”By Saturday in Kyiv, a city with a population before an outflow of evacuees over the past two days of 2.8 million people, signs pointed to a bloody battle ahead, even if Russian forces should claim victory by quickly capturing government buildings.

At the site of the 4 a.m. fight with Russian vehicles and possibly also infantry — which took place along a central thoroughfare, Victory Prospect, and came within less than a mile of the city’s central Maidan Square — Ukrainian soldiers were already digging new trenches Saturday.

The streets, deserted a day earlier, came partly back to life. People stood in lines at A.T.M.s, stocked up on essentials, donated blood or went to sites where guns were handed out. Air raid sirens wailed every hour or so.

Whatever the efforts, military analysts and even Ukrainian generals speaking late last year have conceded the Ukrainian army has little chance of holding out for long and it’s unclear how civilians with assault rifles might stop artillery from bombarding the city or Russian tanks from rolling into the streets. After the Saturday morning fight on the street that left burned Russian vehicles behind, the Ukrainian Security and Defense Council Secretary, Oleksy Danilov, issued a statement around 7 a.m. saying, “We are stopping the horde, so far as we can.”

But such assessments have not dented the determination of Kyiv’s citizens, who have protested or fought on their streets for independence twice before in this century, in 2004 and again in 2014.

Ihor Zhaloba, 58, a professor of history at a Kyiv university and a researcher at the Institute of History at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, said everybody in his family worried for him but nobody asked him not to volunteer.

“My wife worried; I worried; everybody is worried,” he said in an interview at the recruitment center. “But nobody told me not to do this, not my wife, not my daughters. They all think I should be here.”

About a mile away in another district in the city’s center, two dozen men and women waited in line to donate blood at the Regional Health Care Center.

“I am going to donate some blood, that’s the least I can do,” said Oleksandr Horbunov, 24, a programmer, who said he hadn’t volunteered to fight because his parents were deeply worried.

“I believe in our soldiers,” he said. “They will protect us. They have resolve. Everybody does.” He added: “They said Kyiv would fall in two days, and well, it’s been three days and I don’t see any Russian flags in the city.”

Iryna Koziienko, 42, a psychologist, said she came so nurses could “take just a little of my blood to support the bodies of my people.”

After the attack began on Kyiv on Friday, she said, “I am sometimes scared but I am also angry. You see this wonderful weather today? It is sunny, it feels like spring. The birds are singing. I don’t want to have war on my land.”

At the site of the fighting Saturday morning, bullets had hit shop windows and a car hundreds of yards away. A tank had churned tracks into the asphalt of Victory Prospect. The hulks of Russian military vehicles on the streets of Kyiv had burned to a rich, rusty orange color and an acrid smell wafted off them.

Walking in this area created a tinkling noise, from shorn pieces of metal from the destroyed vehicles, shell casings, broken glass and other debris. Small pieces of human flesh were scattered around the site from an explosion.

A trail of blood splatters and bloody footsteps led into an underground parking garage, suggesting a wounded soldier had made his way inside.

Several families were sheltering in the parking garage, including an elderly woman and a man with a baby, sitting on mats covered in blankets in the parking spaces.

Elena, 36, a human resources manager who didn’t want her last name made public out of concern for her safety, said she had been inside the garage during the battle. She listened to the cacophony of snaps and pops of small-arms fire and thunderous explosions outside. She wasn’t sure how long it lasted. “It was an eternity for me,” she said.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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