WEDNESDAY 16 MARCH 2022
- Biden is to respond to Zelensky’s speech to the congress this morning.
- (Note: Marjorie Taylor Greene stood up with everybody else to applaud Zelensky, but got her phone and started texting. She did not applaud.)
- Richard Engel: Russian forces have taken over a hospital in Mariupol, and they are not allowing anybody to leave. They are firing from the hospital outward. They have rounded up some 400 people from outside to use as shields.
- Peace talks. There is a suggestion of movement. The Ukrainians have agreed to talk about neutrality, say the Russians, they’ve given up on NATO. This has not been confirmed.
- Putin gave an address on Russian television at almost the same time as Zelensky was speaking to the U.S. Congress. “It was angry. “ Said Richard Engel of the speech, “It suggested no compromise.” Putin was repeating allegations that Ukraine is developing weapons of mass destruction. He also accused the U.S. of helping the Ukrainians develop bio labs. Putin said that within Russian, the Russian people are seeing who the patriots are and who the traitors are. The traitors, Putin said, should leave the country. Russians should “spit them out like flies that flew into the mouth.” (Note: This doesn’t sound like compromise.)
- Zelensky: “Today the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine. We are fighting for the values of Europe and the world sacrificing our lives in the name of the future.”
- Ministers of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia arrived in Kyiv yesterday.
- Don Winslow: “We are living in a world absent of consequences for real crimes.” @donwinslow
- Putin is claiming that the Russian military is doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
- Zelensky showed a video of what is happening on the ground in Ukraine to the U.S. congress
- Zelensky: ‘I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the death.”
- Zelensky asked AGAIN for a no-fly zone.
JACOBIN MAGAZINE: “It’s time….” By Heidi Chow
- Ukraine owes billions of dollars in foreign debt. If Western governments are serious about helping Ukraine they would push for those dets to be canceled.
- More than half of this debt is to private lenders like banks and hedge funds.
- The rest is owed to multilateral institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank.
- The fall in the value of the Ukrainian Hryvnia against the dollar will make that debt harder to pay since the debts are payable in dollars.
- The response to the invasion has been that the multilateral institutions have given more loans, piling up on top of the ones already owed.
- These loans did not come without strings. The IMF loans, “…pushed Ukraine to accept punishing conditions involving public spending cuts, privatization, and market liberalization.”
- This is a “prescription of failed policies.”
- Civil society groups are demanding a cancellation of these debts.\
- “Calling for debt cancellation in response to invasion, disaster, or crisis should not be controversial…”
- The UK government should use its influence to push the IMF and World Bank to cancel Ukraine’s debt.”