"The Corporate Media are neither free, honest, accurate, or fair. The Corporate Media are the means by which the world's money-junkies bypass civil leadership and usurp the power of nations for their own nefarious ends. " -- Michael Rivero

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They just can’t take a joke. The former president Donald Trump made a sarcastic crack about encouraging Russia to attack NATO members that didn’t invest in their defense, and hysteria enveloped both Washington and Brussels. For some officials, the imbroglio appeared to signal the end of Western civilization. 

A group of self-styled “experienced public international lawyers and practitioners” have put together a case for confiscating Russian sovereign funds currently frozen by the US and its allies, saying it would be the appropriate response to Moscow’s “unlawful conduct” towards Ukraine.

Approximately €260 billion ($280 billion) in Russian sovereign funds were frozen by the Group of Seven countries in 2022. The UK and the US have recently demanded the outright seizure of these funds in order to fund the government in Kiev. 

Polish farmers protesting near the country's border with Ukraine are trying to “humiliate” their neighbor and inflict upon it as much pain as possible, President Vladimir Zelensky’s most senior adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, claimed on Wednesday. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said the immediate future is bleak for the European Union due to the way the Ukraine conflict is unfolding.

He made the comments during a Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary faction conference behind closed doors on Wednesday, according to media reports.

Orban, who is a prominent critic of the bloc’s policies and has opposed its funding of Kiev’s conflict against Russia, predicted a major victory for conservative parties in the European Parliament elections in June.

Italy will sign a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine, Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani said.

According to him, a document similar to those signed earlier by France, Germany and the United Kingdom is in the works, it does not envisage any legal and financial obligations, as well as automatic political and military support.

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The faltering bid of congressional warhawks to continue to provide Ukraine with a blank check isn't the only sign of Russia's geopolitical strength in eastern Europe. As the future of the war in Ukraine hinges on that crucial aid package, another region has emerged as evidence of Russia's growing sphere of influence. Pridnestrovie, a region bordering Ukraine known better under the western exonym Transnistria, is scheduled to address Russian President Vladimir Putin at its next congressional assembly on February 28th.

The US State Department has approved Italy’s requests for air-to-air missiles and small bombs worth $214 million.

In a recent announcement, the state department said Rome had requested 12 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) for $69.3 million.

The European Parliament on Wednesday asked members on its defense subcommittee to have their phones checked for spyware after it found traces of hacking on two devices.

Members and staff in the chamber's subcommittee on security and defense (SEDE) have had their phones hit with intrusive surveillance software tools, the institution said in an internal email.

All lawmakers in the subcommittee have been advised to take their phones to the institution's IT service to be checked for spyware, according to the email, seen by POLITICO.

A recurring defect in US foreign policy is a refusal by elites to concede when they made a serious policy mistake.  This is not a new problem, but it has grown decidedly worse in the past few decades.  It characterized the intervention in Vietnam years after it should have become evident that Washington’s approach was failing.