Peter Dijkstra, Dutch lawyer and chemical engineer in Kyiv

NOS interviewed him. If you know him and have a way of getting in touch with him, ask him how you can help him

He’s stuck in his apartment and mentions that he is running out of paracetamol (acetaminophen), that the constant stress of the threat of being hit by a missile is giving him a headache, but… I don’t presume that postal mail still gets through to Kyiv.

He does mention being in good contact with people around him and everyone helping everyone.

If you can get shipments through to him, send food.

He is frustrated that he can’t do a lot and says he’s become just “another mouth to feed”. He’d like to be able to start handing out food.

He’s looking after the two cats of a neighbor so that she could flee from Kyiv, so cat food might be welcome too.

Irina Faridi, you made me cry

She’s just arrived in the Netherlands Poland with her daughter, her sister and her mother and you can sense how exhausted she is and how she is still grappling with this crazy reality and the uncertainty of the future.

No, Ukraine is not in the EU.

Unfortunately, I have also read that thousands of Nigerians who were living in Ukraine are not being treated the same way.

One day, you have a good job and a nice home and the next day… nothing.

Video in English:

I felt like hugging her. If she could, she might want to hide in a corner where nobody can see her for a few moments and cry the exhaustion and confusion out of her so that she can go on. Her eyes. The tension around her mouth.

(Yes, I guess I know what these people feel like. I’ve sort of been there a few times too. Four times, I think.)

Meanwhile in the UK:


Zelensky has responded to Von der Leyen’s statements by confirming Ukraine would like to join the EU asap. A sense of family?

The plus of not being a career politician is that you say things out loud.

Here, you can see what a real comedian looks like. Now compare that with how a clown behaves.

Let’s face it, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson would have crumbled a long time ago in these circumstances. There is no way in hell he could handle something like this.

The negotiations at the Belarus border have concluded but are expected to resume later.

Grant Shapps has announced that Russian vessels will no longer be welcome in British ports. Orkney will be pleased to hear that.

FIFA and UEFA are on the verge of kicking the Russian team out, at least for the time being.

Macron has had a phone call wit Putin, with three “demands”. Putin may have been willing to listen, but in return for for example formal recognition of Crimea.

Russia has closed its airspace for planes from 36 countries. Russian foreign minister Lavrov was supposed to hold a speech in Geneva (UN Human Rights), but his plane won’t be able to land there so he had to cancel.

Conductor Gergiev is no longer welcome in Milan’s Scala. Was due to conduct there on Saturday. He’s close friends with Putin.

More than half a million Ukrainian refugees now according to the UN.

EU Member States to relax veterinary paperwork requirements for the dogs, cats and other companion animals travelling with Ukrainian refugees seeking safe passage in EU Member States.

Dutch male volleyball team, and expanding the EU, etc. etc.

The Dutch male volleyball team is not going to Russia to compete in the world championship. (Has not been moved out of Russia yet, no.)

Von der Leyen is openly advocating for Ukraine’s membership in the EU. Giving a strong “hands off” signal to Putin.

China is condemning the West’s sanctions along the lines of Putin’s words. So, they too see this as a domestic issue?

Talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegates this morning, at Belarus border.

AirBnB wants to house 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

150 Dutch military personnel are leaving for Romania this morning, and will be going to the border with Ukraine. It concerns an exercise that was supposed to take place in Germany. The exercise includes US military personnel.

A Ukrainian sailor has tried to sink the yacht of his boss, Alexander Mijeev, who manufactures arms for the Russian military. Near Mallorca. He was arrested but has been released, awaiting his prosecution.

Afghan refugees are now fleeing Ukraine. Poor folks!

About Putin’s rationality slippage

Putin’s going off the rails is what you get when someone surrounds himself with yes-men for far too long and becomes isolated. This is why it’s important to keep a dialogue going at all times, no matter how hard it is.

What Putin may need now is a good faith sign from NATO. His beef seems to be more with NATO than with the EU.

But it needs to be impossible for Putin to see it as a sign of weakness. So it really needs to come from a place of strength. It could be a double whammy, so to speak. An act of force followed by an act of goodwill. (Wait. We’ve had the “act of force”. Putin was not expecting so much support for Ukraine from other countries.)

How different is Russian culture, Russian thinking? (traditionally, think Putin’s isolation, not modern life) Some of these oligarchs might know what could still get through to the guy?

He loves riding horses, doesn’t he? He has two or three daughters who he’s kept completely out of sight, apparently?

Putin sent his two daughters to *Germany*, for their safety, in the past?!

So he doesn’t see this war as a war against the West and it explains where his surprise and fury against the sanctions come from. He seems to believe it’s completely normal for him to attack Ukraine, fully within his right, sees it as a domestic issue. (Is restoring the Soviet Union his aim? Sounds like it.)

But this seems to indicate that there have to be ways of getting through to him. Who could do that? Merkel? What is she up to these days? Okay, she hasn’t exactly retired:

(And China)

That’s apart from hacking into the computer systems and approaching Russian military operatives to make them see that Putin has lost the plot, to block the deployment of nuclear arms. The latter is just as big a threat for them too. Putin sees threatening with nuclear weapons as one-directional, but it isn’t.

Ukraine seems to understand that. Its Telegram channel that is showing people in Russia who the Russian soldiers are was a smart move. People’s jaws are dropping in Russia as a result. “My brother is over there?!” It puts faces on this war, Russian faces. Of often young men who have nothing to gain from this war against Ukraine and everything to lose.

Russians are leaving flowers at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow.

The Russian authorities have arrested some 5,500 people who were making their opposition to the war clear, but there’s a limit to that these days. It’s no longer possible to arrest far too many people in secret. Beyond a certain point, the Russian people will revolt. It’s only natural.

(Who exactly was it in Russia who thought that shooting down MH17 would be seen as an act of aggression from Ukraine?)

Re Putin’s dream of restoring the Soviet Union, among some, there are strong similar sentiments in the UK too – about restoring Britain’s former glory – so some Brits may understand this. Specifically, Tories. What Putin is doing perhaps is not really that different from Britain hanging on to Chagos, the Falklands and Gibraltar and having stated that is is willing to wage war against Spain over Gibraltar. (Yes, this may be empty rhetoric from the UK, but it comes from a similar place, similar sentiments. So it may be a little hypocritical of Tories to condemn Putin’s words and actions…)

Meanwhile, the ruble has tanked and three Russian banks in Europe are on the verge of collapsing.

Want to know where Ukraine is and which countries surround it? And what is happening in Kaliningrad?

Note that there is a little chunk of Russia between Poland and Estonia. Kaliningrad. There’s been buildup there too, but I don’t know what the recent activity there has been. See links below.

December 2020 (by a right-leaning libertarian think-tank):

May 2017 (by another US think-tank):

About the Atlantic Council:

October 2016:

Russian official apologizes to Ukraine at UN climate meeting

And thousands of Russians have been arrested at demonstrations against the war. (Remember that the UK government wants to be able to start doing this sort of thing in the UK too.)

FIFA has disappointed in its comprising decision to let the Russian team compete under a different name in the world championship, the Polish and Swedish soccer organisations feel. They’re refusing to play against the Russian team.

Russian troops were also very aggressive in Syria, going after civilian targets, such as schools and hospitals, as the Russian military is now doing in Ukraine as well.

The people who fled from that have been drowning all over the place. Reason? Otherisation. Ukraine is too close to home for comfort, eh? But then again, governments made many promises with regards to the many people who fled that war too. Until the refugees actually came…

These too were all people who were quietly leading their lives, being teachers and lawyers and hairdressers and engineers and shopkeepers and doctors and professors and bricklayers.

All sitting down for breakfast or what have you when someone in power decided to start a war. It had nothing to do with them.

Pressure is being put on China to condemn the war. Pressure is also being put on conductor Valeri Gergiev. If he doesn’t, he’ll be fired from the Münchener Philharmoniker (not his only position). His management in Munich has cut him loose. Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is also putting pressure on him and willing to cancel performances and a festival.

Switzerland intends to join the EU’s sanctions.

Russia should also return Crimea to Ukraine. At a minimum. Some people have commented that the West had been letting Putin get away with far too much (and has been co-founding this war against Ukraine). All the monies people may have been making off Russia one way or another are now being paid back, aren’t they? Looking the other way never pays. It’s like with the UK (and other nations) supplying the arms for the war against the citizens of Yemen for the sake of money. It only pays short-term. Always comes back to bite you one way or another.

BP dumps Rosneft

That’s one fifth of Rosneft. A 22 billion euro write off.

(Side note: So many global law firms must be working around the clock too at the moment. Because all these decisions that are being made around the western hemisphere and a few other places now require the involvement of lawyers. Documents.)

And Denmark is sending 2,700 of its own shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons.

The EU expects up to 7 million Ukrainian refugees. Unless we can stop Putin’s nonsense soon. 50 Ukrainians seem to have asked for asylum in the Netherlands, so far.

The Ukrainian President has forbidden men between ages 18 and 60 to leave the country. (So that must be why Anna’s husband – see earlier post – wasn’t allowed to join her in Hungary?) The UN estimate of now 368,000 refugees concerns mainly women and children.

In the UK, Truss is supporting Brits and others who want to join Zelensky’s legion of volunteers to help defend Ukraine. This will have consequences for the Home Office.

Meanwhile, Putin has given orders for increased readiness of Russian military units with nuclear weapons in response to the various sanctions. The Pentagon foresaw this in a report in 2018, and stated that Russia erroneously assumed that it could put pressure on other nations this way.

“Correcting this mistaken Russian perception is a strategic imperative.”

The Pentagon is currently updating this report.

From the report
From the report
From the report
From the report

Is what we now are facing the result of having had four years of Trump in the White House?

So what we need is hacking access that knocks out control of these nuclear weapons, one way or another. Because the above-mentioned strategic imperative has not been heeded or at least clearly not achieved. Knocking out comms could do it too. Easy for me to type. Can that be done? I have no idea. I do know that Dutch defence intelligence hacked into a notorious state-sponsored Russian hacker group a while back and watched them through their own cameras. (Who knows which western countries may already be in those systems right now, then. If Russia can do this to Ukraine, then other countries can do this to Russian systems. The US has previously done it in Iran; it sent a virus to its nuclear installations, I’ve forgotten its name, but it knocked out the centrifuges. That’s not the same as weaponry, but that is not the point. Oh, right. Stuxnet. There’s a book that I had – I think by Obama? – that actually talks about it quite openly. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harvard’s Belfer Center also has some papers on it, but I probably first ran into this when I was looking into Anonymous.)

I think our other best shot may actually be to start trying to convert Russian military operatives. Don’t think that it can’t be done, because then you will fail by definition. Don’t think CIA. Think Thich Nhat Hanh. And think one person at a time. Not all at once. Think “seeds”. Let’s face it, they’re as human as the rest of us. (Even though it may not look like that at the moment.)


The western world seems to be much more united and acting much quicker against Putin’s aggression against Ukraine than it has been against Covid’s action against all.

Food for thought.

Is it a matter of containment? Maybe not.

Because also interesting is that Russian expats in the Netherlands are reporting that they’re receiving sympathy from the Dutch folks around them, not hate. This was very different after Russia grabbed the Ukrainian Crimea peninsula in 2014. (Source: Dutch Financial Times)

The initial response to Covid was also a lot of hate aimed at people who looked even the slightest bit Asian (not just in the Netherlands, but it raised a public storm there).

Has Covid taught us a lesson?

It’s actually pretty damn amazing to see how quickly everyone is coming together now while we’re still in the pandemic and are experiencing massive inflation, to mention only two of the current challenges.

EU measures

Dutch finance minister Kaag: “No money? No war.”

  • All the Russian central bank’s balances in the EU will be frozen.
  • All Russian planes will be banned from EU airspace, including private jets.
  • Russian oligarchs will experience difficulties.
  • RT, Sputnik and other Russian state media will be blocked.
  • Unprecedented is that the EU is freeing up funds (450 million euros) to purchase and supply weaponry.

(Except the latter, this is likely similar to what the UK is doing.)

Because of its pro-Putnik stance, Belarus will no longer be allowed to export wood, cement, steel, tobacco and other products. The country is not part of the EU, but has trade agreements with the EU and is part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership.

The US plans to ask Congress for 5.7 billion euros for economic and military support to Ukraine.

Oxygen is running out in Ukrainian hospitals – think Covid – and the WHO is looking into supplying the Ukraine with oxygen via Poland.

The world’s largest airplane – the Antonov An-225 – has been destroyed in Kyiv. The Ukrainian response? “We will rebuild it.”

For the record: “Kiev” is based on the Russian name for the city, “Kyiv” is Ukrainian, according to CNN.

Its name was Mriya (“the dream”).

Over 100,000 people protesting in Berlin, Russian and Ukrainian delegates meeting in Belarus

They’re meeting at the Belarus border.

Even people in my original home town – where I was born – demonstrated too. That strikes me as unusual. (Usually not much happening there.)

Interesting to see that a large store that existed in my childhood and where my youngest sister – who now has her own very successful shop – used to work still exists, even though it isn’t necessarily the same building (can’t tell)

In the Dutch university city of Groningen, among other places, people demonstrated too, with Russian and Ukrainian students uniting against Putin’s actions.

The Netherlands also closing its airspace to Russian planes

The UK had already banned Aeroflot in response to which Russia banned British aircrafts from its airspace.

in response to the Swift decision,
Russians are now queuing in front of ATMs. To take cash out. Just in case.
The Russian central bank has announced it will supply more cash to the machines. Russia has a payment system of its own but it doesn’t compare to Swift. It handles only about 20% of the transactions, I think I have read.

Are Lithuania and Latvia next? And what about Bulgaria? And Romania?

I couldn’t help but wonder when I read that Symantec had seen virus activity there as well, but it was likely a matter of the virus aimed at Ukraine spreading beyond its borders. Lithuania and Latvia are both in the EU.

For the record, I am talking computer virus, not biological virus.

(video, in English)

That guy looks quite like Portsmouth’s Steve Pitt, doesn’t he?

Bulgaria – in the EU – is also badly affected. Bulgarians are the fifth biggest minority of the population of Ukraine. Bulgaria is contemplating removing a landmark statue – a monument to the Russian army – that has now become a symbol for the Russian invasion. But Bulgaria is divided.

Romania doesn’t seem to be and has offered to take in half a million Ukrainian refugees. There’s obviously some nervousness in the country right now and the Romanian govt hopes that diplomacy will be able to end the war.

There’s some hope that the Chinese may be able to reach Putin.

I hope that the Romanian, Bulgarian, Latvian and Lithuanian EU citizens in the UK and anyone else who is worried about what’s happening in Ukraine will come together to share their worries. Because this has to be pretty shitty for them too, not to mention Ukrainian students etc in the UK. Here in Portsmouth too.

368,000 people have now fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations.

Portsmouth flying the Ukrainian flag and the Union Jack

The local city council is flying the Ukrainian flag. Nice gesture, Mr Vernon-Jackson, granted, because this too supports affected foreigners here and no, I’m not being sarcastic. What else is being done?

The Spinnaker Tower is also flying the Ukrainian flag.

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

Petrol – gasoline – has been running out here and there locally as the war is driving up fuel prices.

Efforts to evacuate families of Ukrainians already living in Portsmouth are reportedly underway. But will they get proper support once here or will they be abandoned as has so far happened with almost all recently arrived refugees in the UK? That they are being evacuated to relatives may make a considerable difference. When will the first ones arrive, Ms Mordaunt? Or is your team still busy trying to secure visas?

Turns out that one family has already reached Poland and is on its way to Portsmouth. Good.

The Ukrainian President was in Portsmouth two years ago to sign a naval defence cooperation agreement.

Britain apparently too has sent military supplies to Ukraine, btw. And our local newspaper leans to the right (towards Conservative views).

Finland, Google, Facebook

Finland’s closing its airspace to Russian planes. Google’s blocking downloads of the RT app on Android phones in Ukraine, at the request of the Ukrainian govt. De Pfeffel Johnson does his usual empty waffling. Okay okay, Russians operating within the UK seem to have been rendered pretty powerless in all sorts of ways. Think in terms of property deals and so on. But it’s hard for plain folks like me to assess what this really means in practice.

Google had already decided to cut Russian state media’s ad income and even Facebook – one of the world’s least ethical companies – took a similar step.

All over the world, from South Korea to Mexico and also in the UK, protests marches have sprung up against Putin’s war.

But the UK wants to curtail people’s rights to do something like that in the future (Priti Patel’s policing bill, up for discussion again soon if I am not mistaken). Because such protests mustn’t for example inconvenience Russian oligarchs in the UK, according to Priti Patel.

Swift: bunch of Russian banks kicked out

According to Dutch FT on my phone (latter means I can’t read the article right now). Oil and gas lines on fire? Not sure yet what that headline is about. Turns out to be about attack on a depot.

This is an extreme example of why brain scans need to become part of health care. So that people like Putin don’t wage crazy wars but get the healthcare support that they need. To attack another country is a sign of a mental health problem. No well person does something like that, let’s face it.

Now contrast that with the fact that Ukraine’s President is a guy who used to enjoy making people laugh and feel happy. A former actor and comedian.

And he’s refused to run away. (I think the US offered to get him out as he is a prime target for Russia. He said no.) He’s stepping up to the plate in a way that you will never see people like Bolsonaro, Trump, De Pfeffel Johnson and Putin do, let’s face it.


Putin isn’t only killing Ukrainians. He’s also killing Russians in this stupid war.

The Ukrainian President appears to be establishing a legion for foreigners who want to help defend the country.

He probably has a point. We need to start uniting against what harms us. That’s the opposite of what the UK government tends to do.

Governments in general have a tendency not to – or to act far too slowly. The Swift decision was a pleasant surprise, in that regard, as it’s come within days after the start of Putin’s crazy war.

Putin’s crazy war seems to have the sudden unexpected benefit of pulling all countries within the EU together, the UK as always merely watching from the sidelines. The latter was already the case when the UK was still part of the EU. The UK too often wants to be special, set itself apart from the rest. This also played a role at the start of the pandemic. De Pfeffel Johnson believed that COVID would magically stop at the borders of Britain and that only those weak foreigners were going to succumb to it.

The Dutch may reopen their gas reservoirs. Russian cyber warfare situation may escalate. Russia’s Swift access likely to be disconnected.

Further to my earlier post, the Dutch Financial Times just contained an article that talks about the Dutch possibly reopening their gas wells because of the situation with Russia:

Says René Peters, head of gas technology at research institute TNO.

This is seconded by David Smeulders, professor of energy technology at Eindhoven University of Technology and Rem Korteweg of the Clingendael Institute.

Two years ago, the Dutch government drew up an emergency planning for this kind of situation.

Yes, there is still gas in the Dutch gas reservoirs, but its exploitation was increasingly causing problems (earthquakes with damage to homes).

At the moment, reopening the gas wells is not actively on the agenda yet , however.

The matter of Russia’s cyber warfare against Ukraine was also addressed in yesterday’s and today’s issue of the Dutch Financial Times. Among other things, the Russians have released a virus called HermeticWiper; other countries may become affected too. Russia’s cyber warfare has already been ongoing for weeks. (They’ve been attacking banks and energy plants in Ukraine.) In fact, hacking attacks started around the time that Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.

See links below. Juan-Andres Guerrero-Saade is a cybersecurity researcher at digital security firm SentinelOne.

White hats from all over the world have just been hitting back. There is concern that this may lead to retaliation from Russian cyber crime groups – one of them already stated that it would retaliate for the white hats’ DDoS attacks on Russian sites – and that the situation may escalate.

(Unfortunately, this article also calls Anonymous “benevolent”. That’s a seriously shortsighted view.)

15:23 UK time:

Russia will likely soon be disconnected from the Swift banking transfer system; only Germany is reportedly still holding back on that. This would mean that trading with Russia will become very difficult and close to impossible, though certainly governments will still have convoluted options for paying their Russian gas bills. However, there are also risks for other countries when Russia is disconnected from Swift; it may make money laundering easier and it will also likely push Russia closer to China, and play into the hands of China, as many payments might start running via China’s payment system. The ECB is investigating these risks. (Sounds like more might have to be done than just disconnecting Russia from Swift; there should also be sanctions that address paying via China. Monitoring goods streams and the possibility of more money laundering may be part of the price that needs to be paid when this step is taken. Dutch finance minister Kaag said that the fact that Europe too will be hit hard by it is worth it as it is part of the price to be paid to achieve peace and security.) The final decision has not been made yet.

After I wrote the above, I did a few web searches to see what else I could find.

The Guardian has the latter news too:

Politico does too now (6pm):

Politico’s article mentions Germany’s fear of having its gas supply cut. This is why the matter of the Dutch gas fields came up. Other countries may put pressure on the Netherlands to reopen them.

NewScientist discussed the cyber war a few days ago:

Reuters also has an article on it and Symantec reported having spotted the virus activity in Latvia and Lithuania as well:
What Guerrero-Saade says in this article was also echoed in the Dutch Financial Times, that these hackers are being deliberately destructive.

18:54 UK time:
Germany softens stance on Swift decision:

A tragic and heartwarming war story

In this video you see Anna who had fled Ukraine with husband and children uniting with her children in Hungary, hugging her children and hugging the woman who took responsibility for the children when Anna’s husband wasn’t allowed to cross the border.

This is the exact opposite of what the UK government does. It allows such children to get lost.


Meanwhile, France seizes a suspect Russian vessel in the Channel and Turkey apparently has decided to block Russian war ships that want to enter the Black Sea (Bosporus).

Poland’s national soccer team is refusing to play world championship playoff match against Russia

Every little bit helps.

Poland is also welcoming Ukrainian refugees.120,000 people have fled so far, apparently.

UEFA moved the Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris.

Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic are in discussion about a joint letter to FIFA.

FIA (all sports), FINA (swim sports), UCI (cycling) and FIDE (chess) are also avoiding Russia. At the request of the IOC.

The GrandSlam judo tournament, to take place in Russia in May, has been cancelled.

Yes, the chess Olympics won’t be taking place in Moscow.

Schalke is taking off its Gazprom shirts.


I’m so so sorry, Ukraine

You’d think that in the 21st century, humans would know better. Will we ever learn? And Europe just seems to be standing there and watching, it feels like, but I’m sure I’ve not caught all the news. I mean surely all Russian embassies have been forced to close as all its staff has been sent home, right?

Following morning:

Turns out that the UK, EU and US have decided to go after Putin and Lavrov personally, by freezing all their assets. Good. The problem with sanctions is that it’s usually the people who have nothing to do with the problem suffer most. A few days ago, I read that sanctions would be likely to make Putin weaponize food such as wheat and that this is how he keeps for example China on his side. There has to be more that we can do. I think the Netherlands was sending materials even before Putin attacked.

Remember that passenger plane that was attacked. MH17. The Netherlands has already many victims in this war. The UK has a few too as does Australia. 298 people died in that plane attack. Three Russians and one Ukrainian have been charged in this Dutch-led investigation: I still remember the ceremonies held in the Netherlands when the planes with the corpses arrived. There was evidence that Russia had provided that missile launcher. See also

About the sanctions (in Dutch)

Kasparov had been warning for years that Europe was effectively adding to Putin’s war chest (in Dutch):

The Dutch have now started a petition to get all gas contracts with Gazprom cancelled. I’ve just signed it too. 120 Dutch municipalities have contracts with Gazprom. So do half of the Dutch water boards. They’re looking into it. A problem turns out to be that other suppliers too often use Russian gas. The Netherlands used to have its own huge gas supply (Slochteren) and a few minor ones in the western part of the country, but has needed to start importing recently.

As a side note, I think I’ve met Kasparov:

Latest: The Netherlands is sending 200 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, at the request of Ukraine.

The Netherlands decided to send military supplies last week; the first shipment left today.

(The Netherlands is a tiny country but it’s quite prosperous.)


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