US-Russia relations under threat after US attacked Syrian air base

President Donald Trump ordered a massive military strike on a Syrian air base on Thursday in retaliation for a “barbaric” chemical attack he blamed on President Bashar al-Assad.

In a brief televised address delivered hours after the UN Security Council failed to agree on a prove into the apparent chemical attack, Trump confirmed the US strike on Syria and urged “all civilized nations” to unite to end the bloodshed in the country.

“On Tuesday Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent,” Trump said. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.”

“Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” Trump said.

The US military fired dozens of cruise missiles at the Shayrat Airfield at 8:45 pm Eastern Time (0000 GMT), officials said.

A White House official said 59 “precision munitions” had been blasted at the base, while a US defense official said “dozens” of Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched.

The missiles were fired from the USS Porter and the USS Ross, which belong to the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet and are located in the eastern Mediterranean. A US official said the missiles targeted aircraft and runways at the base.

The sudden US military action against the Assad regime marks a stunning development in Syria’s brutal, six-year conflict and a sudden about-face for Trump.

It came despite a warning from Russia of potential “negative consequences” if Washington strikes Syria.

“All responsibility if military action occurs will be on the shoulders of those who initiated such a doubtful tragic enterprise,” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said.

A US official said Washington had informed Russia ahead of the Syria strike.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had earlier vowed an “appropriate response” to the attack in Khan Sheikhun in rebel-held Idlib province, which killed at least 86 people, including 27 children.

The White House official said the United States assesses that the Assad regime used a chemical nerve agent consistent with sarin in Tuesday’s attacks.


Source: AFP

Russia asks court to declare Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organisation

By prohibiting its members from taking blood transfusion, the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a group violates the law on resistance to extremism, the spokeswoman for Russia’s justice ministry told the supreme court on Thursday.

It was on the second day of the hearing.

“Checks have found that the organisation is in breach of the law on resistance to extremism. In particular, the organisation’s religious literature forbids blood transfusion for its members in defiance of the doctors’ recommendation,” the spokeswoman said, providing documentary evidence about one such case.

Also, the justice ministry official said Jehovah’s Witnesses insist on their own exclusiveness, which also contradicts the law on resistance to extremist activity.

“The religious organization Jehovah’s Witnesses has been repeatedly warned by courts of law, but it has taken no required measures to eliminate the violations,” the justice ministry said.

The justice ministry believes that Jehovah’s Witnesses must be outlawed and the organisation’s properties, including those of the 395 regional chapters, confiscated.

“In view of the threat posed by the organisation Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Justice Ministry asks for declaring it extremist and banning its activity,” the justice ministry’s official said.

In its lawsuit, the justice ministry mentions a variety of violations, including those of the federal law on resistance to extremist activities.

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ press-service has told TASS the organisation “finds this affair very worrisome, because the decision may affect 175,000 believers”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Ivan Bilenko said the organisation was prepared to press for its rights in any courts.

A court in Moscow on October 12, 2016, warned the administrative center of Jehovah’s Witnesses over extremist activities. It said that if the organisation failed to eliminate the exposed violations within the established deadlines, or if new evidence of its extremist activities surfaces, it would be closed down.

The Moscow city court on January 16 upheld the warning over extremist activities.

On Wednesday, when the Russian supreme court began hearing the justice ministry request for the outlaw of the movement, the movement filed a counterclaim demanding the court proclaim the ministry’s actions as political repression.

The court, however, rejected the request.

The supreme court decided that the counterclaim could not be reviewed during the session, as it was filed in an inappropriate court.

“The court ruled to reject the counterclaim taking into account the fact that the party violated the jurisdiction rules,” the judge announced.

The court also refused to let 395 local chapters of Jehovah’s Witnesses participate in the hearings.

Jehovah’s Witnesses had 21 local organisations but three of them were shut down for extremism.


Source: The Cable

REVEALED: Russian citizen behind St. Petersburg attack

The likely suspect in Monday’s deadly blast in the Russian city of St. Petersburg is a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen, Kyrgyzstan’s security service said on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the GKNB security service identified the suspect as Akbarzhon Jalilov, born in the city of Osh in 1995. He provided no other details.

Kyrgyzstan, a predominantly Muslim Central Asian nation of six million, is Russia’s close political ally and hosts a Russian military airbase.

Monday’s blast on board a metro train in St. Petersburg killed 11 people and wounded 45.

Interfax, quoting security sources, reported that the suspect had links with radical Islamist groups banned in Russia.

The source added that remains found at the scene of the blast suggested that a suicide bomber was responsible but that final conclusions would be made after DNA tests had been conducted.


Source: The Cable

11 Killed, Several Injured In St. Petersburg Metro Station Blast.

At least nine people were killed and 20 were injured when an explosion tore through a train carriage in the St. Petersburg metro system on Monday, the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee said.

Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying the blast, which occurred when the train was between two stations, was caused by a bomb filled with shrapnel.

President Vladimir Putin, who was in the city for a meeting with Belarus’s leader, said he was considering all possible causes for the blast, including terrorism and was consulting with security services.

Ambulances and fire engines descended on the concrete-and-glass Sennaya Ploshchad metro station. A helicopter hovered overhead as crowds gathered to observe rescue operations.

“I appeal to you citizens of St. Petersburg and guests of our city to be alert, attentive and cautious and to behave in a responsible matter in light of events,” St Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said in an address.

An attack on St Petersburg, Russia’s old imperial capital, would have some symbolic force for any militant group, especially Islamic State or Chechen secessionist rebels. Attacks in the past have largely concentrated on Moscow, including an attack on an airport, a theater and in 2010 a metro train.

Video showed injured people lying bleeding on a platform, some being treated by emergency services and fellow passengers. Others ran away from the platform amid clouds of smoke, some screaming or holding their hands to their faces.

A huge hole was blown open in the side of a carriage with metal wreckage strewn across the platform. Passengers were seen hammering at the windows of one closed carriage. Russian TV said many had suffered lacerations from glass shards and metal.

Russia has been the target of attacks by separatist Islamist Chechen militants in past years. Islamic State, which has drawn recruits from the ranks of Chechen rebels, has also threatened attacks across Russia in retaliation for Russian military intervention in Syria.

The Russian air force and special forces have been supporting President Bashar al-Assad in fighting rebel groups and Islamic State fighters now being driven out of their Syrian strongholds


Source: Channels TV

“Russia not trying to interfere in France election”, says Vladmir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that his government does not want to interfere in the April 23 election of France.

Putin said this on Friday when he met with French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in Moscow.

US authorities have accused the Russian government of using cyber-attacks to meddle its presidential election last year.

The Kremlin has adamantly denied those allegations.

Putin told Le Pen that Russia was not trying to exert any influence on the French race, “but we retain the right to communicate with all representatives of all political forces of the country, as our partners do in Europe and the US”.

He said it was interesting to discuss development of bilateral relations with the far-right French candidate, whom he called a representative of a rising movement in European politics.

Le Pen noted Russia’s role in the fight against international terrorism and called for closer French collaboration, saying “only together can we overcome this scourge”.

Le Pen, who leads the National Front party, said the West’s poor relations with Russia are unjustified.

Russia and France should work together in the face of two great challenges – globalization and Islamic fundamentalism, Le Pen said.

She described France as no longer fully sovereign by ceding many powers to the European Union, especially in economic matters.


Source: The Cable

BREAKING: Comey confirms US intelligence assessment of a Trump-Putin collusion

Two of the nation’s top counter-intelligence officials stood by the U.S. intelligence assessment in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government sought to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election.

Under questioning from Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), FBI Director James Comey and Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, said nothing has changed since they issued their Jan. 6 report on Russian interference in the election.

The report found that senior Russian officials, including Putin, wanted to undermine the U.S. democratic process, hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump’s campaign.

Comey and Rogers declined to provide details on how the intelligence community reached that assessment.

“They wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt her and help him,” Comey said, adding that officials had reached that conclusion by December.

In part, the FBI and intelligence agencies came to believe that Putin wanted Trump to win because he very much disliked Clinton, Comey said.

“Putin hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was that he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much,” Comey said.

Conaway interjected with an anecdote about his wife cheering for the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the football gridiron and wondering whether such an analysis may be too simplistic.

“That might work on Saturday afternoon when my wife’s Red Raiders are playing the Texas Longhorns,” he said. “She really likes the Red Raiders … The logic is because he didn’t like candidate Clinton that he automatically liked Trump. That assessment is based on what?”

“Well, it’s based on more than that,” Comey said. “But part of it is the logic. Whoever the Red Raiders are playing you want the Red Raiders to win; by definition you want their opponent to lose.”

“I know, but you wanted her to lose and him to win,” Conaway said.

“They are inseparable,” Comey replied. “It’s a two-person event.”

“When did you decide you wanted him to win?”

“Logically, when he wanted her to lose,” Comey said to laughter.


Source: LA Times

US Spy Agencies To Testify On Russia-Trump Links

The heads of top U.S. spy agencies are to testify before Congress about possible links between Russia and President Donald Trump’s election campaign.

They would also address Mr Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director, James Comey, and the National Security Agency (NSA) Admiral, Mike Rogers, would speak at a rare open hearing of the Congressional Intelligence Committee.

Russia, had on the other hand, denied trying to influence the election, while Mr Trump denounced the investigation as a “total witch hunt”.

In January, U.S Intelligence Agencies said they believed Kremlin-backed hackers had broken into the email accounts of the senior Democrats and released embarrassing information in order to help Mr Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.


Source: Channels TV

President Trump’s Attorney General Under ‘Fire’ Over Russia.

The United States government has confirmed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, met with Russia’s ambassador in 2016.

At his January confirmation hearing, Mr Sessions, a senator at the time, said he had no contracts with the Russians during the campaign, stressing that he never met any Russian official to discuss campaign issues.

The democrats, have however accused him of lying under oath, saying he must resign.

They have also called on him to step aside from the FBI investigation which he oversees as Attorney General such as the alleged Russian interference in the U.S election.

Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired last month after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, allegedly regarding sanctions against Moscow.


Source: Channels TV

Russia to share intelligence with Philippines, train Duterte guards

Russia’s top security official on Thursday offered the Philippines access to an intelligence database to help it fight crime and militancy, and training for the elite forces assigned to protect President Rodrigo Duterte.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council and Vladimir Putin’s top security adviser, made the offer during a meeting between Russian and Philippine security officials in Davao, where he was visiting Mr. Duterte at his home city.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Russia had invited the Philippines to join a database-sharing system to help combat trans-national crime and terrorism, which he said could help track Islamist militants and their financial transactions.

In an interview with Reuters last week, Mr. Lorenzana said there were “very strong” links between Islamic State and militants in the Philippines.

Mr. Patrushev’s trip underlines Russia’s intent to capitalize on a radical recalibration of foreign policy under Mr. Duterte, who harbours resentment of the Philippines’ deep-rooted ties to the United States.

Mr. Duterte has made strong overtures towards China and Russia.

He praised Vladmir Putin’s leadership when he met him at an international summit late last year. He also he talked at length to Mr. Putin about what he called U.S. “hypocrisy”.

Mr. Lorenzana said security officials from both sides also discussed law enforcement cooperation, including anti-piracy and anti-narcotics exercises by coastguard and police.

The two countries were working on a military technical cooperation agreement, he said, and Russia offered to provide enhanced training for troops protecting Mr. Duterte.

Mr. Duterte will visit Moscow in May.

“We are keen on signing a defence cooperation agreement,” Mr. Lorenzana said of that trip.

Mr. Lorenzana said last week Russia was interested in selling military equipment to the Philippines, like drones, helicopters, rifles and submarines.


Source: Reuters

President Trump Attacks U.S. Intelligence Agencies Amid Questions Over Russia

U.S. President Donald Trump assailed U.S. intelligence agencies on Wednesday for what he said were illegal information leaks, and dismissed reports of contacts between members of his presidential campaign and Russian intelligence officials.

Trump went on the counter-offensive as his administration reeled from the abrupt dismissal of Michael Flynn as national security adviser on Monday.

The New York Times reported late on Tuesday that phone call records and intercepted calls showed members of Trump’s presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the Nov. 8 election.

Trump dismissed the report, firing back in a series of early morning tweets on Wednesday.

“This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign,” the Republican president tweeted, citing his former Democratic rival in the 2016 presidential contest.

In another tweet, Trump said: “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia,” adding that the situation was “very serious.”

“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!” Trump wrote.

He did not give evidence to back his charge that intelligence officials were supplying information to the news media. He did not say if he had ordered any investigation into leaks.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the Times report, which the Kremlin dismissed on Wednesday.

CNN also reported that Trump advisers were in constant contact with Russian officials during the campaign.

Vladimir Putin orders Russian air force to prepare for ‘time of war’.

Russia’s air force has been ordered to prepare for a “time of war”.


President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “snap check” of the country’s armed forces, accoording to defense minister Sergey Shoigu. As well as checking whether agencies and troops are ready for battle, the same order will ensure that systems are ready to fight, according to state news agency TASS.


Those preparations have already begun, according to Russian ministers.


The preparations come amid increasing concern about tensions between Russia and many of the world’s largest superpowers. Donald Trump has both condemned Russia’s military campaigns and been criticised for being too close to the country’s leaders, and Russia itself is standing in an increasingly tense relationship with some Nato countries.


The country has been increasing movement of its military including the launch of the biggest Arctic military push since the fall of the Soviet Union, last month. It has also revealed plans to expand its military over 2017, including a huge boost in the number of tanks, armoured vehicles and aircraft controlled by the company.

Russia demands apology from Fox News for labeling President Vladimir Putin “a killer”

The Kremlin on Monday urged US network Fox News to apologise after its presenter called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer” while interviewing US President Donald Trump.

“We consider such words from a Fox News correspondent unacceptable and offensive,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists in a conference call.

“To be honest we would prefer to receive an apology addressed to the president from such a respected television company,” the Kremlin spokesman added.

Trump answered: “We’ve got a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

“Take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes,” Trump added.

Asked to react to Trump’s response, Peskov said “in this case I would prefer to leave this without comment.”

Trump has prompted a political firestorm with his remarks on Putin in the interview broadcast ahead of the Super Bowl.

“I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them,” Trump said.

Senate leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on CNN, said of Putin, “He is a former KGB agent (and) a thug.”

But Vice President Mike Pence told NBC that Trump would not “let semantics or the arguments of the past get in the way of exploring the ability to work together with Russia.”

Trump and Putin had their first call since the US president took office on January 28, which the White House called “a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia.”

Oil prices stabilize as Russia joins OPEC in production cut

Oil steadied on Wednesday as Russia joined OPEC in cutting production to balance the market, although large supply in places such as the United States dragged on prices.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, is an intergovernmental organisation of oil-exporting developing nations that aims to ensure stable oil prices within global oil markets.

Brent crude futures LCOC1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $55.63 per barrel at 0749 GMT (02:49 a.m. ET), up 5 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 rose 5 cents to $52.86 a barrel.

Prices reversed earlier falls after reports that Russia cut its oil and gas condensate production by around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) between December and January, down to 11.11 million bpd.

Russia’s cuts are part of an effort led by the OPEC, of which Russia is not a member, to prop up the market and end a global fuel supply glut.

As part of this, OPEC has said it will cut production by around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.

Other producers, including Russia, have pledged to cut another 600,000 bpd in output.

A Reuter’s survey published on Tuesday showed that OPEC’s output fell by over 1 million bpd in January to 32.27 million bpd between December and January.

“That’s a good start to cut production to bring the market back toward balance,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

However, Mr. McKenna added that there were still some questions about whether or not OPEC will achieve its goals to cut even deeper and for the full period of the first half of 2017.

Traders said a reported climb in U.S. crude inventories was also preventing oil prices from rising by much.

“The release of the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) crude inventories at a much higher than expected 5.8 million barrels saw both Brent and WTI quickly give back gains,’’ Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst future brokerage OANDA in Singapore, said.

The API data showed that commercial U.S. crude inventories now stood at 488 million barrels.

Official U.S. storage data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due later on Wednesday.


Source: Reuters

Russia extends Snowden stay by two years

Russian authorities have extended US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden’s Russian residency permit by two years, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The former National Security Agency contractor shook the American intelligence establishment to its core in 2013 with a series of devastating leaks on mass surveillance in the US and around the world.

The announcement came as outgoing US President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of army private Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for handing classified US documents to WikiLeaks.

Snowden was not on Obama’s list of commutations or pardons.

“Snowden’s residence permit has just been extended by two years,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.

His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, could not be reached on Wednesday morning to confirm Zakharova’s statement.

Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since 2013, where he ended up after spending weeks in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

He was initially granted permission to stay in Russia for one year amid the rapid deterioration in Moscow’s relations with Washington.

The revelations from the documents he leaked sparked a massive row over the data sweeps conducted by the United States domestically and in allied nations, including of their leaders.

Snowden welcomed the action on Manning’s sentence, writing on Twitter: “Let it be said here in earnest, with good heart: Thanks, Obama.”


Source: AFP

BREAKING: ‘I think it was Russia’ behind election hacks – Donald Trump

US President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday he believed that Russia was behind cyber attacks that rock the 2016 American presidential election but said it would be an “asset, not a liability” if he gets along with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Trump, however, admitted it was not a given that the pair would be allies.


“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia,” Trump told a press conference — his first since winning the November presidential election.

“I don’t know that I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there’s a good chance I won’t,” he added, in the wake of explosive allegations about his dealings with Russia and purported intelligence gathered by Moscow about him.

Trump condemns leaks alleging Russia has compromising info about him

US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday furiously denied explosive claims that Russian intelligence has gathered compromising personal and professional information on him.


“Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” he said on Twitter, reacting to unsubstantiated allegations in reports circulating in US media.


“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” he said.


His tweets came hours before he was scheduled to hold a news conference in New York, his first in nearly six months.


Even before the allegations surfaced widely in US media on Tuesday, reporters had been expected to grill the billionaire Republican over his ties to Russia after the US intelligence community concluded Moscow interfered in the November election to tip the race in Trump’s favor.

Intelligence chiefs last week presented America’s incoming 45th president, as well as current President Barack Obama, with a two-page synopsis on the potentially embarrassing information in Russian hands, according to CNN and The New York Times, who cited multiple unnamed US officials with direct knowledge of the meeting.


Russia denied the claims, with President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling journalists: “The Kremlin does not have compromising information on Trump.”

Plane carrying 35 expelled Russian diplomats departs Washington for Moscow.

A plane carrying 35 Russian diplomats, expelled from the United States over Moscow’s alleged interference in the presidential election, took off from Washington on Sunday, Russian news agencies reported.

“The plane has taken off, everyone is on board,” said the Russian embassy in Washington, quoted by the state-owned Ria Novosti agency.

Relatives of the diplomats are also onboard, making 96 in all.

The expulsions were part of a package of sanctions ordered by President Barack Obama on Thursday in the final weeks of his administration.US intelligence says the Kremlin ordered a hack-and-release of Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign staff emails in a bid to put Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Thirty-five Russians, described as intelligence operatives based at the Russian embassy in Washington and the consulate in San Francisco, were given 72 hours to leave the country.

Obama also ordered the closure of two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that the United States says are used “for intelligence-related purposes.”

Economic sanctions were also announced against Russia’s FSB and GRU intelligence agencies. Four GRU officers including agency chief Igor Korobov also face sanctions.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.

President Vladimir Putin has ruled out sending home US diplomats in retaliation — a move interpreted as a sign he is looking to Trump to rebuild US-Russian ties after the US inauguration on January 20.

REPORT: Killer of Russian ambassador was Erdogan’s security detail 8 times since July 15 coup

The young Turkish policeman who killed Russia’s ambassador to Ankara this week had provided security for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan eight times since the July 15 failed coup bid, a report said on Wednesday.

Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, pumped nine bullets into ambassador Andrei Karlov at an art exhibition centre on Monday evening, before he himself was killed by Turkish police.

Altintas, a member of the Ankara anti-riot police for two-and-a-half years, had been on duty at eight events attended by Erdogan since July, the Hurriyet daily said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told US counterpart John Kerry in a phone call on Tuesday that Turkey believed the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who it blamed for the July 15 coup bid, was behind the assassination plot.

Turkish authorities are now investigating possible links of Altintas to Gulen, including a school he attended that was run by the cleric’s group.

Hurriyet’s Selvi said that on the day of the July 15 coup, Altintas had called in sick to the police. But it was not clear what he did that night.

The security forces have now detained 13 people over the attack including close relatives of Altintas, Turkish media reports said.

Meanwhile, a team of 18 Russian investigators arrived in Ankara on Tuesday to take part in a joint probe inside Turkey, an unprecedented move agreed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Alcohol poisoning death toll in Russia rises to 53.

The death toll from alcohol poisoning in the east Siberian city of Irkutsk has risen to 53, and 26 people are still hospitalised, the media report said on Tuesday.


The victims consumed a bath lotion which local officials later found contained deadly levels of methanol and antifreeze.


Police have found an underground facility that made the counterfeit lotion, and seized 500 liters of the substance at about 100 shops in Irkutsk.


President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described the mass poisoning as a terrible tragedy, adding that the president was being briefed about the situation.


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a cabinet meeting that authorities need to deal with illegal turnover of such substances with alcohol content and quickly ban it.


Russian media reported that 21 people had died of alcohol poisoning in Irkutsk.


All of them got poisoned after consuming the bath lotion marked with the warning that it is not for drinking.


Report says poisonings caused by surrogate alcohol are often seen in Russia, but the case in Irkutsk is the deadliest in years.

UPDATE: Russian Ambassador Shot in Turkey is Dead, Shooter Claims Revenge for Aleppo.

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, is reportedly dead after he was shot by a gunman at an art gallery in Ankara. According to reports, several others were injured in the attack, which comes as protests are taking place in the country over Russia’s involvement in the Syrian civil war.



According to the BBC, the gunman, who was dressed in a suit, shouted, “Don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria,” and added: “Allahu Akhbar.” Karlov was speaking at an event (“How Turkey sees Russia”) at the gallery when he was shot from behind and collapsed.



CNN Turk reported that shots could still be heard from the area where Karlov was taken down, and that a shootout ensued between police and the attacker. According to his official bio, Karlov was an experienced diplomat who previously served in Russia’s embassies in North Korea and South Korea. He was in his current post since July 2013, and was married and had a son.

BREAKING: Russian ambassador to Turkey shot, injured in Ankara – Report

The Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been shot and badly injured in Ankara while attending an art exhibition on Monday, state-broadcaster TRT reported.


The ambassador was attacked shortly after giving an opening speech at the event, TRT said, adding that three shots were fired.


Police have launched an operation in the area.


Russia and Turkey patched up rocky relations over the summer and have recently been working together on the evacuations from Aleppo, despite supporting opposite sides in the Syrian civil war.

Obama Vows Action Against Russia Over Election Hacks

US President Barack Obama has vowed to take action against Russia for its alleged interference in the US presidential election campaign.

“We need to take action and we will,” he told US radio station NPR.

Russia stands accused by the US of hacking the emails of the Democratic Party and a key Hillary Clinton aide, which the Kremlin strongly denies.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump has also dismissed the claim as “ridiculous” and politically motivated.

The intelligence agencies say they have overwhelming evidence that Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin were behind the hacks.

And on Thursday, a White House spokesman said President Vladimir Putin was involved in the cyber-attacks.

Hours later, Mr Obama said: “I think there’s no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact on the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will, at a time and a place of our own choosing.

“Some of it may be explicit and publicised. Some of it may not be.

“Mr Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it.”

Read More: BBC

Vladmir Putin himself involved in US election hack – US Intel

US intelligence officials now believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in hacking during the American election campaign as part of a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, NBC News reported late Wednesday.

Putin personally instructed how material hacked from US Democrats was leaked and otherwise used, the US television network said, quoting two senior officials with access to this information.

The officials said they have a “high level of confidence” in this new assessment, NBC reported.

Last weekend The Washington Post reported a CIA evaluation that Russia had hacked the emails of US persons and institutions as a way to sway the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump, who eventually did beat Clinton on November 8.

Putin is said never to have forgiven Clinton — then secretary of state — for publicly questioning the integrity of parliamentary elections in 2011 in Russia, and accused her of encouraging street protests.

The intelligence officials told NBC that Putin’s goals in the alleged hacking began as revenge against Clinton.

But they transformed into a broader effort to show that the world of US politics was corrupt and to, in the words of one official, “split off key American allies by creating the image that (other countries) couldn’t depend on the US to be a credible global leader anymore.”

In preparation for possible retaliation, US intelligence agencies have intensified probing of Putin’s personal wealth, NBC said, citing US officials.

Trump, who has spoken warmly of Putin, has dismissed as “ridiculous” the allegation that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and people close to Clinton.

Leading US lawmakers have called for a formal congressional investigation into the hacking.

Pakistan, Russia Fighter Jets Set To Join War Against Boko Haram- NAF

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will take delivery of war -planes and helicopters from Pakistan and Russia to boost its fleet ahead of the final push against Boko Haram insurgents, it was learnt yesterday.

Nigeria has failed to procure fighter jets from the United States and Brazil.

Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who broke the news in Abuja, said  Air Force personnel were undergoing training in many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Egypt and China.

The news came as Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai ordered his men to end the insurgency this month.

Air Marshal Abubakar said: “We have been enjoying support from other countries. Sometimes arms procurement is shrouded in a lot of politics. Unfortunately, I’m not a politician, so I cannot say much on that. But what I can tell you is that right now we are expecting the Pakistani Chief of Air Staff in Nigeria soon. Pakistan has accepted to sell 10 trainer airplanes. And that is why the Pakistan Chief of Air Staff is coming for the induction ceremony in Kaduna.”

The Chief of Air Staff said the Air Force was assisting the Army and the Navy in the North and South fighting terrorism and militancy through operational strategy, air interdictions strategy and soft-core strategy.

He said the objective was to create an enabling environment for the ground and surface forces to operate with little or no hindrance.

He said the Service was carrying out massive reactivation of redundant aircraft and many of them are already involved in the fight against Boko Haram.

“Another sub -strategy is the reactivation of airplanes. We have embarked on the reactivation of airplanes and today we are on the 13th aircraft. What I mean by reactivation is that aircraft that were not involved in any fight before the coming of this Federal Government; they were parked before but are today part of the fight.

“The 13th aircraft as I speak to you is being worked upon in Yola and we are hoping that before the end of this month that airplane will be flying. When you train, you must reactivate the platform to be used in flying.”

He praised the competence of NAF pilots, saying:  “In the last 18 months, we have flown almost 3000 hours with no incident. The pilots are among the most competent. Because the training curriculum is very clear. And that is why now in the Air Force you look at the wings, pilots wear wings. We have categorised the wings according to their skill levels.

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Pakistan, Russia fighter jets set to join Boko Haram war

Russia deploys warships near Crimea for Ukrainian missile tests

Warships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet have taken up position off Crimea’s western coastline to help strengthen the peninsula’s air defences.

This is in response to the start of Ukrainian missile tests nearby, a media report said.

Kiev, capital of Ukraine, began two days of missile tests on Thursday, angering Russia, which has put its air defence forces on high alert, saying it hoped the war games would not disrupt international flights.

“Warships of the Black Sea Fleet have taken up positions near Crimea’s western coast for the duration of Ukraine’s planned missile tests from Dec. 1 to Dec 2.

“The ship’s air defence units have been put on a higher state of alert. Their equipment is designed in the first instance to shoot down heavy anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles.

“Together with land-based air defence units on the peninsula, the ships have thrown up a practically impenetrable shield against the enemy’s rockets,’’ a military source in Crimea told newsmen.

Vladimir Krizhanovsky, a Ukrainian military official, earlier said that the exercises had begun adding that everything was going smoothly.

“The tests are being carried out in accordance with international law,’’ Krizhanovsky said.

He said that the tests were taking place at least 30 kilometres from Crimean air space.

“Therefore, it would be wrong to reproach Ukraine,’’ he said.

Report says Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Russian spaceship delivers three astronauts to space station.

Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, carrying a European, a Russian and an American astronaut for a six-month mission at the orbiting outpost.

“Capture confirmed,” said a NASA commentator as the spacecraft docked at the ISS at 4:58 pm (2158 GMT), US space agency live television images showed.

The trio — Frenchman Thomas Pesquet, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and American astronaut Peggy Whitson — launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Pesquet, 38, a rookie astronaut and amateur saxophone player, is the first French national to be sent to the ISS by the European Space Agency since 2008.

Novitskiy, 45, a Russian Air Force pilot and decade-long veteran of the space agency Roscosmos, is making his second trip to the ISS.

Whitson, 56, is an experienced veteran and biochemistry expert who will break records with this space mission, including the title of the most days in space by a US astronaut.

She is scheduled to surpass NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’s 534 days on April 24. In February, Whitson will become the first woman to command the space station twice.

She previously commanded the station in 2007, when she became the first woman to hold this post, NASA said.Their arrival means the staff at the orbiting outpost goes back up to six. Already staffing the ISS are Russians Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov, and American Shane Kimbrough.

But even after a two-day journey in cramped quarters, the three new arrivals were not allowed to exit the spacecraft right away.

More than two and a half hours of checks were needed to make sure the seal was airtight between the station and Soyuz.

When the hatches finally opened at 7:40 pm (0040 GMT Sunday) the crew was all smiles as they floated into the space station — first Novitskiy, then Pesquet and finally Whitson — and exchanged hugs with their crewmates.

“Watching you, we could not be more proud,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden, speaking to the crew from Earth.

Russia’s Soyuz capsules offer the only way for global astronauts to reach the space station since the American space shuttle program was retired in 2011.

Astronauts pay more than $71 million per seat for a ride on the Soyuz, which carries three people at a time.

Private industries including SpaceX and Boeing are designing spacecraft to once again ferry astronauts from US soil. Their first flights are not expected until late next year or in 2018.

Humans have lived continuously at the space station for more than 15 years. More than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the microgravity laboratory that circles Earth at a distance of about 250 miles (400 kilometers), NASA said.

US urges UN arms embargo against South Sudan, Russia says no.

The United States on Thursday launched a bid at the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan following UN warnings that the war-torn country could descend into genocide.

US Ambassador Samantha Power said a draft resolution will be presented to the council in the coming days to ban weapons sales to the African country and impose sanctions, setting the stage for a clash with Russia, which opposes an arms embargo.

“South Sudan is a nation at the precipice,” Power told the council.

“In the coming days, the United States will put forward a proposal to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and targeted sanctions on the individuals who have been the biggest spoilers to achieve lasting peace,” she said.

Of the council’s permanent, veto-wielding members, Britain and France backed the proposed arms embargo, but Russia reaffirmed its opposition and China expressed reservations.

The move followed a recent report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who warned that South Sudan faces a “very real risk of mass atrocities” and that 14,000 peacekeepers deployed in the country would not be able to stop such a bloodbath.

The US-drafted text seen by AFP calls for a one-year ban on all sales of arms, weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment.

Power said months of talks with South Sudan’s leaders had failed to persuade them to opt for peace as she made the case for a travel ban and an assets freeze on those behind the violence.

“There is no good reason why we would not deprive those who have shown a willingness to commit mass atrocities of the means of doing it more efficiently,” she said.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Petr Iliichev dismissed an arms embargo as “premature,” saying it would “hardly be helpful in settling the conflict” and warning that sanctions against South Sudan’s leaders would be “the height of irresponsibility.”

In a barb directed at the United States, he suggested that President Salva Kiir was being targeted to share the same fate as Moamer Kadhafi, the Libyan leader toppled in 2011.

China’s Deputy Ambassador Wu Haito said the council should refrain from sanctions “to avoid complicating the situation” and “send more positive signals” instead.

Returning from a visit to South Sudan, the UN’s adviser on genocide prevention, Adama Dieng, said he “saw all the signs that ethnic hatred and targeting of civilians could evolve into genocide if something is not done now to stop it.”

He cited perceptions that Kiir’s army was “increasingly ethnically homogenous,” composed mostly of ethnic Dinka, who are preparing to launch attacks against Nuer and other groups.

Dieng urged the council to end the “devastating” flow of weapons fuelling the war.

South Sudan’s Ambassador Joseph Moum Malok rejected the proposed embargo as a “totally unacceptable” violation of his country’s sovereignty.

The authorities in Juba, confronting an “armed rebellion intent on overthrowing the government,” he argued, should not be deprived of the means to defend themselves.

The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than 2.5 million people displaced.

The country won independence from Sudan in 2011 with strong support from the United States.

A peace deal between Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar in August last year had raised hopes of peace, until clashes erupted in Juba four months ago.

Russia withdraws from International Criminal Court

President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order on Wednesday removing Russia’s signature from the International Criminal Court’s founding treaty, piling pressure on a court that is already reeling from withdrawals by some African countries.

Moscow never ratified the treaty, which it signed in 2000, meaning it never became a member subject to its jurisdiction. But the symbolic move coincided with the opening day of the general assembly of member states.

On Monday, the ICC angered Moscow by referring to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea as an armed conflict. It is also examining allegations of war crimes committed by Russian and Georgian forces during a brief 2008 war.

“Unfortunately, the court has not justified the hopes attached to it and has not become a genuinely independent authoritative organ of international justice,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“It is revealing that in its 14 years of work the ICC has pronounced just four verdicts and spent over $1 billion.”

Russia is under international pressure over its campaign of air strikes in Syria, with some human rights activists and U.S. officials accusing it of bombing civilians and civilian targets. Russia has denied those allegations.

Russia’s announcement may be welcomed by African states like South Africa and Gambia, which have recently announced their withdrawals, but critics said the move was yet another example of Moscow flouting international norms.

“It confirms Russia’s retreat from its international commitments,” said Human Rights Watch activist Liz Evenson. “It’s closing the door for people within Russia to this important judicial institution.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the decision to withdraw Russia’s signature had been taken “in the national interest” and was a formality as it didn’t change anything as far as jurisdiction was concerned.

Most African and European countries continue to support the court, the first permanent international war crimes tribunal. But many expect it to face increased diplomatic pressure from the United States under President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised a less internationalist foreign policy stance.

The ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, was founded when 120 countries adopted its founding treaty in 1998. It is seen as a successor to the Nuremburg trials after World War II and ad-hoc U.N. war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Ukraine’s Poroshenko appeals to Trump for support in phone call.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko asked Donald Trump for support against “Russian aggression” during a congratulatory telephone conversation with the US president-elect on Tuesday.


Trump’s shock election victory has been met with trepidation in Kiev because of the outspoken reality TV star’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his apparent indifference to the Western coalition against Moscow.


The billionaire businessman suggested earlier this year the US could accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea if it led to improved relations between the two nations, which are bitterly at odds over Syria.


Poroshenko congratulated Trump on his victory and said he wished “to work together with his administration to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States”, according to a statement by the Ukrainian presidency.


He also “underlined the necessity of strong support from Washington in the fight against Russian aggression and the implementation of crucial reforms” in Ukraine.


The two men agreed to organise “a bilateral meeting”, the statement said, without giving further details.


The US election outcome had sparked fears in the ex-Soviet republic after Trump was accused several times by his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton of being Putin’s “puppet”.


Earlier this week, Poroshenko said he had “no doubt” that Trump would refuse to recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea.


Putin and Trump spoke on the phone on Monday evening for the first time since the US vote, agreeing on the need to normalise ties between Washington and Moscow, the Kremlin said.


After Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March 2014, which saw US-Russia relations dip to their worst since the Cold War, Washington imposed heavy economic sanctions on Russia.


Russia also has been accused by Washington of supporting pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, which the Kremlin denies.

Russian minister Alexei Ulyukayev detained over ‘bribe’.

Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has been detained in connection with an alleged bribe.

Russia’s main anti-corruption body, the Investigative Committee, said Ulyukayev received a payment of $2m.

His ministry had given a positive assessment that led to the oil giant Rosneft acquiring a 50% stake in another oil company, Bashneft. He is the highest-ranking Russian official to be detained since the 1991 coup attempt in what was then the USSR.

“This is about extortion of a bribe from Rosneft representatives accompanied by threats,” Svetlana Petrenko, a spokesperson for the Investigative Committee, told RIA Novosti news agency.

“Ulyukayev was caught red-handed as he received a bribe,” she said.

The Investigative Committee said the minister would soon be charged and could face a prison sentence of between eight and 15 years, if found guilty.

Rosneft, which is controlled by the Russian government, bought 50% of Bashneft for 330bn roubles (($5bn) in October.

A Rosneft spokesperson told the Tass news agency it acquired the Bashneft stake “in accordance with Russian law on the basis of the best commercial offer made to the operating bank”.

Ulyukayev was appointed economy minister in 2013; prior to that, he had been deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank for a decade.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump discuss mending ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US president-elect Donald Trump have spoken over the phone to discuss efforts to improve US-Russian ties, the Kremlin and Trump’s office said.


“President-elect Trump noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia,” Trump’s office said in a statement on Monday.


The Kremlin, in a far more specific and longer statement, said that Putin congratulated Trump on his victory and expressed Russia’s readiness to “establish a partner-like dialogue with the new administration on the basis of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in domestic relations”.


“During the call, the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues and the historical US-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years,” Trump’s office said.


In its statement, the Kremlin said Putin and Trump agreed that US-Russian ties were in “extremely unsatisfactory” condition.


Syria’s civil war


The two also agreed on the need to combine efforts in the fight against “international terrorism and extremism” and discussed settling the Syrian war in that context, according to the Kremlin.


How to fight side-by-side in Syria, where Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad and the US supports rebels fighting against him, and also against the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS), has been one of the key sticking points between US President Barack Obama and Putin.

The Kremlin said that Putin and Trump agreed to continue phone contact and to plan a personal meeting in the future.


Obama began his presidency with a goal to “reset” ties with Russia, but they eventually plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.


Separately, vouching for the successor he never imagined having, Obama on Monday sought to reassure an anxious nation and world that Trump would maintain US alliances and influence.


“There is enormous continuity … that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order around the world,” Obama said.


Relationships and policies go beyond presidents, he said, adding that military officials, diplomats and intelligence officers would cooperate with their foreign counterparts as before.


In a White House meeting with Trump last week, Obama said the Republican “expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships”, including “strong and robust NATO” partnerships.


It was a sharp change in tone for Obama, who regularly mocked Trump’s candidacy in the last days before the election, even accusing the billionaire businessman and former reality television star of helping ISIL with his rhetoric about Muslims and undermining US democracy through his claims of a “rigged” election.


At the time, almost all polls showed Democrat Hillary Clinton leading Trump.

Nigeria To End $800m A Year Wheat Import From Russia

The federal government has resolved to end the importation of wheat from Russia to preserve foreign reserves.

Foreign Affairs Minister of State Hajiya Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, stated this at the weekend after the fourth Joint Commission meeting between Russia and Nigeria in Abuja.

Nigeria spent $880 million on wheat imports last year and has already spent $660 million this year.

The minister said Nigeria would henceforth invite Russians to help improve the country’s agricultural productivity.

“We import a lot of wheat from Russia and we are telling Russia that this has to stop.

“We want the Russian companies and farmers to come to Nigeria to show us how we can grow our agriculture sector with modern technology,” the minister said.

The Russian delegation led by Mr Dianov Alexandar Yurievich attended the meeting.

The value of wheat imported into Nigeria between January and September 2016 is $660m, according to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Nigeria, in the first week of November, imported approximately 53 million metric tons valued at $7.8 billion.

Nigeria has stepped up wheat production and has hit 60,000MT, ranking it 61st out of 79 countries in global production.

According to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the country spends $11 billion (N3.1tn) annually to import wheat, rice, sugar and fish.

Nigeria’s food import was growing at an unsustainable rate of 11 per cent per annum.

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Nigeria to end $800m a year wheat import from Russia

Cameroon Must Beat Nigeria – Fecafoot

Cameroon have said that victories over Nigeria in their next 2018 World Cup Qualifying fixture remain their surest way to get a ticket to Russia 2018 after a dismal display against Zambia in Limbe.

A Vincent Aboubakar first half stoppage time penalty helped Hugo Broos’ side salvage a 1-1 draw against Wedson Nyirenda’s men placing the Indomitable Lions second in Group B with just two points, four adrift of Gernot Rohr’s men.

In a statement released by the Cameroonian Football Federation, the four-time Afcon winners have set their sights on halting the Super Eagles’ great run of form to get to the quadrennial tournament.

“The coming months will be months of hard work: in January and February next national team will have to confirm its ambition to restore the national coat of arms, during his participation in the CAN GABON 2017 more under its qualifying campaign for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, that of September 2017 will be of great importance with two decisive matches against Nigeria, currently first in our group,” Fecafoot wrote on their website.

“To maintain the positive report on the performance of our various national teams, one goal is needed, one to shine in Gabon and win these two matches against Nigeria.”

Cameroon will hope to stage an upset when they visit Nigeria on August 28, 2017 before playing host on September 2nd, 2017.

We Are Under Pressure To Win Against Nigeria – Bentaleb

Algerian midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has admitted that the Fennecs are under immense pressure to deliver when they face Nigeria in their second 2018 World Cup Qualifying match in Uyo on Saturday.

The Desert Warriors were forced to a 1-1 draw at home to Cameroon in their opening fixture, and they must win against Group B leaders Nigeria in Uyo to strengthen their bid for a place in Russia.

Bentaleb who missed the opening fixture in Bilda due to suspension says it will a herculean task recording a win with five of their regular players.

The Algerian team will be without Adam Ounas, Hilal Soudani, Rachid Ghezzal and Ryad Boudebouz in the game against Nigeria.

“I must say that we are a bit under pressure because we need a good result against Nigeria. But I’m optimistic because Algeria always gives good output in difficult times,” Bentaleb told Le Buteur.

The on-loan Schalke 04, played down the timing of hiring a new coach within a qualifying series could have, with Georges Leekens replacingMilosec Rajevac after the opening fixture.

“Risky? No. It remains the choice of the president of the federation. Now, if the old coach did not have the

Russia celebrates as Trump takes White House on Election Day.

How many Electoral votes does Russia have?

Social media began asking the question as poll watchers in the Kremlin — and presumably Russian president Vladimir Putin — took delight in Donald Trump’s impressive Election Night showing.

Putin pinged Trump a congratulatory telegram following his White House win, adding that he hopes relations between the two countries benefit as a result.

Popular Front, a political movement founded by Putin in 2011, also took note of Trump’s victory and Putin’s alleged hand in the election.

“They say that Putin once again beat all,” the group tweeted.


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Trump had been widely criticized over what had appeared to be a cozy relationship with Putin.

Election coverage was so intense in Russia that at least one news commentator joked that voters in Moscow were looking for places to cast ballots for Trump.

The night-and-day coverage in Russia led many to complain that the Kremlin-managed news media was devoting more attention to the American elections than it gave to a Russia’s national parliamentary vote less than two months ago.

“Correct me if I am wrong, but this has not happened for any elections in Russia,” Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition politician, wrote on Facebook.


Gudkov lost his seat in part because nongovernment candidates got virtually zero television coverage.

The Russian news media has generally been kinder to Trump. Clinton, on the other hand, is regarded as an old adversary who would tighten the screws on the Kremlin.

“Clinton will surround us with nuclear rockets,” one Russian newspaper warned.

Vadim Tyulpanov, member of the Russian Senate, told Moscow’s Life News that Americans were tired of overly aggressive leaders, and that a Trump victory could lead to collaboration between the former Cold War foes.


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He said he was dismayed that the American elite tried to paint Trump as a puppet of Russia.

China was watching the election closely, as well.

Commentators signaled Beijing’s preference for the billionaire, saying that like Russia, China was rooting for Trump because he appears less willing to confront China’s newly robust foreign

“From a comprehensive view, it would make it easier for China to cope if Trump is elected,” scholar Mei Xinyu wrote in the Communist Party newspaper Global Times.


Not Released (NR)

“This is because under the policy line advocated by Obama and Clinton, the political and military frictions between China and the U.S. will be more frequent.”

Not all of Russia rejoiced over the prospect of a Trump presidency. Margarita Simonyan, the editor of an English-language news outlet, tweeted a simple message.

“Democracy. R.I.P.”

REVEALED: The real story behind Hillary Clinton’s feud with Vladimir Putin.

In one of her last acts as secretary of state in early 2013, Hillary Clinton wrote a confidential memo to the White House on how to handle Vladimir Putin, Russia’s newly installed and increasingly aggressive fourth president. Her bluntly worded advice: Snub him.

“Don’t appear too eager to work together,” Clinton urged President Obama, according to her recollection of the note in her 2014 memoir. “Don’t flatter Putin with high-level attention. Decline his invitation for a presidential summit.”

It was harsh advice coming from the administration’s top diplomat, and Obama would ignore key parts of it. But the memo succinctly captured a personal view about Putin on the part of the future Democratic presidential nominee: a deep skepticism, informed by bitter experience, that would be likely to define U.S.-Russian relations if Clinton is elected. Her lasting conclusion, as she would acknowledge, was that “strength and resolve were the only language Putin would understand.”

Putin has been thrust unexpectedly onto the center stage in the U.S. presidential race, with Republican contender Donald Trump expressing admiration for the Kremlin strongman even as intelligence officials investigate apparent Russian attempts to interfere in the campaign. Clinton, by contrast, has used tough talk about Russia to burnish her credentials as an experienced diplomat who can stand up to the United States’ adversaries.

For Clinton, the rhetoric reflects genuine disappointment and frustration from a tumultuous term as secretary of state during which cooperation between Moscow and Washington briefly soared, only to come crashing to Earth after Putin’s reelection as president in 2012, following a four-year hiatus, according to current and former U.S. officials involved in Russian policymaking at the time. Clinton, who began her tenure by famously offering a “reset” of Russian relations, would end it by publicly blasting Putin’s government on issues including alleged vote-rigging in Russia and Putin’s support for authoritarian Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin would fire back with repeated attacks against her, often injecting an unusually personal tone into the growing diplomatic rift. The exchanges helped cement an adversarial view of Clinton on the Russian side that may explain, more than any other single factor, the apparent efforts by Russian operatives to influence the election by hacking email accounts of senior Clinton staff members, longtime Kremlin observers say.

“She has policies and a history that the Russians don’t like,” said Michael McFaul, who became the U.S. ambassador to Moscow during Clinton’s final year as secretary of state. “It’s frequently forgotten because there’s so much noise about Trump and Putin. But this history is real, and Putin doesn’t forget these things.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov press a red button marked “reset” in English that Clinton handed to Lavrov during a meeting on March 6, 2009, in Geneva. © Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov press a red button marked “reset” in English that Clinton handed to Lavrov during a meeting on March 6, 2009…

The ‘reset’ button

Clinton’s strong views about Putin predated her arrival at Foggy Bottom in 2009 as Obama’s first secretary of state. As a U.S. senator, she condemned Russia’s military incursion in August 2008 in the Georgian republic and suggested that Putin, a former Soviet KGB officer who was then Russia’s prime minister, was a throwback to the country’s hegemonic past.

President George W. Bush had famously vouched for Putin’s character in 2001 by saying that he’d looked into the Russian’s eyes and gotten “a sense of his soul.” But Clinton, during her own first presidential campaign in early 2008, insisted that Bush had seen no such thing.

“He was a KGB agent — by definition he doesn’t have a soul,” Clinton said.

Just over a year later, Obama’s surprise choice as secretary of state was tasked with managing the administration’s “Russian reset” policy, which sought to take advantage of the leadership change in both Washington and Moscow to inaugurate a new era of cooperation. The new White House believed Russia’s new president, Dmitry Medvedev — a St. Petersburg politician 13 younger than Putin and lacking his predecessor’s experience in the Soviet bureaucracy — might be more open to a real partnership.

Former State Department and White House officials who attended early strategy meetings said that Clinton ultimately agreed with the approach. But she remained broadly skeptical that the relationship with Russia would ever extend beyond specific issues where Moscow saw an advantage in cooperation.

“The reset was the president’s idea — it was something he wanted to do,” said Philip Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs during Clinton’s tenure. “But there was this logic that we were in a terrible place with Russia, and we should give it a shot to see if we could get some concrete things done, in our own interest.”

Another senior U.S. official present during the discussions attributed Clinton’s reluctance to lingering suspicions about Putin. The former KGB operative who served as president in the early 2000s had accepted the prime minister’s job under Medvedev, but many Kremlin watchers believed that Putin was still Russia’s de facto leader, and that Obama’s attempts to woo Medvedev misunderstoodthe real power structure in the Kremlin. These observers watched Putin’s hardening view toward the United States with increasing concern.

“It was right to be skeptical that you could translate that [reset] into a durable, strategic partnership,” said the official, who helped guide Russian diplomacy during Republican and Democratic administrations and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy debates freely. “Structurally, we still faced a lot of problems dealing with Russia,” including a “fundamental difference in worldview.”

The policy’s official launch was a flub: At a Geneva news conference in March 2009, Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a mounted red button emblazoned with the word “reset” in English, and the Russian word “peregruzka” — a translation error by the U.S. team that left the bewildered Lavrov puzzling over a term meaning “overload.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on June 29, 2012, in St. Petersburg. © Haraz N. Ghanbari/Associated Press Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on June 29, 2012, in St. Petersburg.

Years later, Lavrov would dismiss the reset as “the invention of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.” He noted pointedly in a Bloomberg News interview that he had a very good relationship with Condoleezza Rice, Clinton’s immediate predecessor as secretary of state.

Despite doubts, the new approach seemed initially to bear fruit.

Within a little more than a year, the two governments had notched historic agreements, including a new treaty on reducing nuclear stockpiles and a pact allowing U.S. military planes to use Russian airspace in delivering supplies to troops in Afghanistan.

Americans and Russians, working in unusual accord, achieved striking progress on some of the thorniest disputes before the United Nations. In 2010, Washington and Moscow cooperated on a package of unprecedented U.N. economic sanctions that ultimately drove Iran to negotiations about limiting its nuclear program. The administration worked with Moscow to overcome U.S. objections to Russia’s long-standing effort to join the World Trade Organization.

In 2011, Russia withheld its veto on the U.S.-led effort to authorize the international military campaign to stop Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi from slaughtering thousands of his own citizens — an act of diplomatic restraint that many U.S. officials regard as the “reset” era’s high-water mark.

“With the reset, we were never seeking goodwill with Russia; we were seeking a new strategy,” said McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador. “It was most productive in terms of concrete outcomes — not holding hands and singing Kumbaya, but real stuff, including some of our biggest security and economic priorities.”

But beneath a more placid surface, old conflicts continued both at home and abroad, and new ones would emerge.

In Washington, many of the administration’s Russian initiatives were drawing skepticism from Congress. In 2010, Obama had announced that he was discontinuing a Bush-era Eastern European missile defense shield that Russia viewed as a military threat, in favor of a new program designed to combat potential strikes from Iranian short- and medium-range missiles. But many Republicans criticized the change — which had been recommended by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, a Bush holdover — as an unwarranted and unwise favor to Russia, granted by a naive young administration.

Russian officials began publicly ruing their tacit support for U.N.-approved military action in Libya, after the intervention expanded from a simple civilian-protection mission to a sustained bombing campaign that led to the overthrow and assassination of Gaddafi. The Kremlin now believed it had been tricked into allowing the U.N. resolution to move forward.

Putin, according to U.S. officials who met with him at the time, concluded that the Americans were most interested in pursuing regime change for governments they disliked, first in Baghdad and Tripoli, and later in Damascus. Eventually he became convinced that it was the Kremlin that the United States most wanted to change. Logically, Clinton, a strong proponent of U.S. military action in Libya and Syria, would be on the side of those seeking new leadership in Moscow, he believed.

Suddenly, the Russians were casting skeptical looks at joint programs that had received strong support in both capitals. One casualty was the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which funded the dismantling of Soviet-era nuclear, chemical and biological weapons systems to prevent them from being stolen by terrorists or purchased by rogue states.

The program’s co-founder, Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), who served as the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during Clinton’s tenure, began noticing a change in tone during his many visits to meet with the initiative’s Russian partners. Powerful Russian military officials, some of them close allies of Putin, were beginning to perceive such ventures as part of the American plan to weaken the country. The military’s political champion was Putin, who decided in 2011 to run for president again, replacing his protege Medvedev after a single term in office.

“Putin had come to the point where he felt it was no longer necessary to cooperate,” Lugar said, “and it might even be demeaning to Russia.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia. © Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia.


In December 2011, despite a deepening economic crisis, Putin’s United Russia party retained control of the Duma in parliamentary elections that independent monitoring groups described as fraudulent.

Thousands of Russians took to the streets in protest, and Clinton — with the White House’s explicit blessing — spoke publicly in their defense, condemning Russian officials for manipulating the vote and systematically harassing election observers.

“The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted,” Clinton said during a speech that month in Lithuania. “And that means they deserve fair, free, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.”

After her speech, when demonstrations in Moscow grew still larger, Putin suggested that his political opponents were following marching orders from Clinton and her team.

Opposition parties “heard the signal, and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work,” Putin said. Kremlin officials repeated the charge in private meetings with U.S. diplomats, expressing a vehemence that surprised some Obama administration officials.

Even before the protests — and his own reelection as president in March 2012 — Putin had begun signaling the return of a more authoritarian and aggressive Russia. Beginning in late 2011, the Russian government would adopt policies stifling political dissent at home and increasing pressure on the former Soviet republics, from the Baltic to the Caucasus to Ukraine.

Clinton began privately warning the White House on how Putin’s return could affect a wide range of U.S. foreign policy priorities, such as promoting democracy in Eastern Europe and containing a Syrian civil war that was beginning to ignite sectarian violence and jihadist fervor throughout the Middle East.

She “argued that we were in for a rougher patch and needed to be clear-eyed about that,” said the senior U.S. official who worked for Republican and Democratic administrations. “It was a very honest analysis of the fact that, whatever hopes some people had early on for a more durable partnership, it just wasn’t going to happen.”

In fact, things fell apart with surprising speed. In 2012, Putin abruptly halted Russia’s participation in the Nunn-Lugar program. That same year, he expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from Russia, charging interference in domestic affairs and ending USAID’s multimillion-dollar support for Russian civil society organizations.

Putin then repeatedly blocked U.S.-led efforts to resolve Syria’s civil war, insisting on preserving the presidency of Assad, a close Russian ally. Two years later — well after Clinton had left office — Putin stunned the world by snatching the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, something he had first threatened to do nearly a decade earlier.

Yet, while each of those actions was consistent with Putin’s combative style, Russia’s disputes with the Obama administration took on a more personal tone after 2011, several current and former U.S. officials and Russian policy experts said.

Today, with Clinton now aiming for the White House, it’s not surprising that Putin might support clandestine efforts to undermine her candidacy — regardless of his views of her chief political opponent, the officials and experts said.

“Putin has kind of got it in for Hillary,” said Clifford Kupchan, chairman of the consulting firm Eurasia Group and a Russia expert who attended private meetings with Putin during the Clinton years. “The statements after the Duma riots were like kerosene on a fire, and it really made Putin angry.”

Putin last week denied taking sides in the U.S. presidential race and he scoffed at allegations of Russian involvement in the hacking of Democratic officials’ email accounts, a crime that U.S. intelligence agencies believe was instigated at the highest levels of the Russian government.

Kupchan said he thinks that Russia’s role in the hacking, if verified, was “more about sowing some chaos in the U.S. system than about any real hope of Trump winning.” But he said it also reflects a shot across Clinton’s bow, as her record suggests that she would be both tougher and more outspoken on Russia compared to her predecessor.

“It may well be useful that she has a tough image,” he said. “Mrs. Clinton has been through the same journey that a lot of us have gone through on Russia, which is dashed hopes.”

When it comes to Putin’s Russia, he said, “she doesn’t wear deeply tinted sunglasses of any kind.”

American Hacker Jester Warns Russia To Stop Interfering With U.S. Election

The American vigilante hacker known as Jester (whose signature graphic is shown above) took a swipe at Russia for hacking U.S. sites. The self-described “gray hat” hacker who calls himself “Jester” hacked the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website Friday night. His message: “Stop attacking Americans,” according to CNNMoney.

Anyone who visited the Ministry website after the hack first heard the intentionally loud, annoying, attention-demanding dial tone sound that plays just before American emergency broadcast civil alert messages. Jester’s letter to the Ministry displayed in full on the site’s homepage. The letter, which no longer appears on the site but was still visible Saturday, went into detail about the activities to which The Jester objected.

As summarized by CNNMoney, Jester’s message was, “Comrades! We interrupt regular scheduled Russian Foreign Affairs Website programming to bring you the following important message … Knock it off. You may be able to push around nations around you, but this is America. Nobody is impressed.”

Jester’s complaints about Russian hacking included alleged Russian interfering with American politics. Recently 17 U.S. intelligence agencies accused Russian agencies of being behind hacks into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, leaking information to influence the election toward Donald Trump and away from Hillary Clinton. Russia is also accused of supplying hacked and stolen emails to WikiLeaks.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has denied Russian involvement with DNC or other hacking, but the Jester called him out for it. “Let’s get real, I know it’s you, even if by proxy, and you know it’s you. Now, get to your room. Before I lose my temper.”

The Jester, who in the past has actively attacked terrorist activities, told CNNMoney this weekend that his frustration over Friday’s distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overloaded significant internet sites in the U.S. led him to attack the Russian Ministry site.

Read More: digitaltrends

BREAKING: War? Russia ‘orders all officials to fly home any relatives living abroad’.

Russia is ordering all of its officials to fly home any relatives living abroad amid heightened tensions over the prospect of global war, it has been claimed.

Politicians and high-ranking figures are said to have received a warning from president Vladimir Putin to bring their loved-ones home to the ‘Motherland’, according to local media.

It comes after Putin cancelled a planned visit to France amid a furious row over Moscow’s role in the Syrian conflict and just days after it emerged the Kremlin had moved nuclear-capable missiles near to the Polish border.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has also warned that the world is at a ‘dangerous point’ due to rising tensions between Russia and the US.


Politicians and high-ranking figures are said to have received a warning from president Vladimir Putin (pictured) to bring their loved-ones home to the 'Fatherland', according to local media

Politicians and high-ranking figures are said to have received a warning from president Vladimir Putin (pictured) to bring their loved-ones home to the ‘Fatherland’, according to local media.

Russia is ordering all of its officials to fly home any relatives living abroad amid heightened tensions over the prospect of global war, it has been claimed

Russia is ordering all of its officials to fly home any relatives living abroad amid heightened tensions over the prospect of global war, it has been claimed

According to the Russian site, administration staff, regional administrators, lawmakers of all levels and employees of public corporations have been ordered to take their children out of foreign schools immediately.

Failure to act will see officials jeopardising their chances of promotion, local media has reported.

U.N. Warns Russia Over Syria Air Strikes

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein warned Russia on Tuesday over the use of incendiary weapons in Syria’s besieged enclave of eastern Aleppo, and said crimes by one side did not justify illegal acts by the other.

Zeid said that the situation in Aleppo demanded bold new initiatives “including proposals to limit the use of the veto by the permanent members of the Security Council”, which would enable the U.N. body to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Such a referral would be more than justified given the rampant and deeply shocking impunity that has characterized the conflict and the magnitude of the crimes that have been committed, some of which may indeed amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Zeid said in a statement.

Syria’s government and its allies had undertaken a “pattern of attacks” against targets with special protection under international humanitarian law, including medical units, aid workers and water-pumping stations, he said.

Russia is a key player in the Syrian civil war by virtue of its military support for President Bashar al-Assad and its role as one of five veto-holding powers on the Security Council.

The use of indiscriminate weapons such as incendiary weapons in heavily populated areas was of particularly grave concern, Zeid said, drawing a parallel with the battles of Warsaw, Stalingrad and Dresden during World War Two.

There is no statute of limitations on international crimes, his spokesman Rupert Colville said.

“I remind all State parties to Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, including the Russian Federation, that they are strictly prohibited from using incendiary weapons in airstrikes on heavily populated areas, and that the use of such weapons by ground forces is severely restricted,” Zeid said.

The rebels’ use of inaccurate “hell-fire cannons”, homemade mortars that fire gas cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel, was also totally unacceptable, he said.

Designating the enemy as a “terrorist organization” was not an excuse to ignore the laws of war, Zeid said.

Read More: reuters

Russia Arrests Ukrainian Journalist For Alleged Spying

The Russian intelligence agency FSB says it has arrested a Ukrainian journalist suspected of spying on Russia, a move likely to increase tensions between Kiev and Moscow, which have been in conflict since 2014.

The FSB claimed in a statement on Monday that Roman Sushchenko is an officer with the Ukrainian military intelligence who has been collecting information about the Russian Armed Forces.

“Roman Sushchenko purposefully collected state secret information on the activities of the Russian Armed forces and the National Guard troops, which could have harmed state defence capabilities if leaked abroad,” the FSB said in a statement.

Sushchenko’s employer, the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform, condemned the arrest, saying it was carried out in breach of international law.

Read More: aljazeera

Kerry Tells UN that Russia Must Ground Syrian Air Force

US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded on Wednesday that Russia force Bashar al-Assad’s regime to ground its air force in order to revive hopes of a ceasefire in Syria’s civil war.

Addressing the UN Security Council, including his Russian opposite number Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kerry said efforts to find peace could yet be salvaged but only if Moscow takes responsibility for recent air strikes.

Kerry said that only Russian and Syrian war planes had been active in areas of northern Syria where on Monday a United Nations aid convoy had been destroyed from the air and on Tuesday a field clinic was bombed.

“I believe that to restore credibility to the process we must move forward to try to immediately ground all air craft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and to give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded,” he said.

“And if that happens there’s a chance of giving credibility back to this process,” he said, referring to an agreement he reached with Lavrov in Geneva earlier this month to broker a cessation of hostilities.

“In Geneva, Russia related that Assad was prepared to live by the cessation of hostilities and would accept the idea of not flying over agreed upon areas,” Kerry said.

“But because of what’s happened in the past few days my friends we have no choice but to do that sooner rather than later, move immediately to restore confidence and implement a genuine ceasefire now.”

Moscow has rejected the idea that Russian or Syrian planes carried out Monday’s strike on the UN aid convoy, and Lavrov told the council that there would be “no more unilateral pauses” by Assad’s government forces.

He said that previous breaks in bombing by the government side had only allowed the rebels to re-arm and strengthen their positions and urged UN members to revisit the list of banned terrorist groups excluded from the ceasefire.

“If we can agree on this kind of comprehensive approach, and integrated multi-faced approach, the chances of a cessation of hostilities surviving and being successful will be better,” he argued.

US Blames Russia For Attack On UN Aid Convoy In Syria

The United States has blamed Russia for an airstrike that targeted a UN aid convoy near Syria’s Aleppo province on Monday, shortly after the Syrian military ended a ceasefire due to recurrent breaches by terrorist groups.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that at least 18 of 31 Syrian Red Crescent trucks carrying UN-provided food were destroyed in an airstrike in Aleppo’s Urm al-Kubra region.

Washington quickly held Moscow responsible for the attack, arguing that the Russian military was in charge of making sure that a shaky ceasefire, brokered earlier by the US and Russia, stays in place.

“The destination of this convoy was known to the Syrian regime and the Russian federation and yet these aid workers were killed in their attempt to provide relief to the Syrian people,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

Read More: presstv

Top Military Expert Warns That Britain is ‘Totally ill-Equipped’ to Deal with Russian Nuclear Threat and Could be ‘Wiped Out’

A top military expert has warned that the UK is ill equipped and not prepared for a nuclear war if Russia decides to engage them, hence the region will be wiped out if Putin decides at any point in time to go on the offensive against them…

Britain and Russia don’t have the best of International relationships right now and reports indicate that Russia’s military have the capacity and strength to walk over NATO’s forces in the event of an agression.
 Dr Andrew Foxall, director of Russian studies at influential think-tank The Henry Jackson Society told Daily Star Online: “As things stand, the UK is ill-equipped to deal with Russia.



“There is an urgent need to strengthen not only the UK’s defences, but those of NATO members as a whole.
“The alliance simply isn’t doing enough to build up the range of capabilities necessary to deter an aggressive and resurgent Russia.”
Dr Foxall believes that the West’s shift to focus on terrorism and conflicts in the Middle East over recent years has meant our traditional military capabilities have suffered.
He added: “For almost two decades, the UK, with its NATO partners, has focused on counterinsurgency warfare.
“The military has been up against lightly armed insurgent forces, rather than conventional state-on-state warfare.
“This very different form of war has introduced logistics systems, training, exercises, equipment, and priorities quite different from those required to respond to a Russian threat.”
Russian forays in Georgia, Ukraine and now Syria have proved that they could decide to provocate UK by foraying into British territory too, Dr Foxall says.
“Russia’s Air Force bombers are frequently intercepted by RAF jets in close proximity of UK airspace.
“Russia’s warships often sail near British waters.
“And Russia’s submarines have attempted to record the ‘acoustic signature’ made by the Vanguard submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles.”
“More alarmingly, in 2008, a Russian Tu-160 “Blackjack” bomber carried out a dummy nuclear attack on northern England”, he said.
“Flying towards Hull, the bomber came within 20 miles of British airspace before turning away.

“While the chances of war between Russia and the UK seem rather low, it remains a possibility Russia will prepare for it – and Moscow has been doing so for some time.”

Vladimir Putin’s official car involved in fatal accident, driver killed.

Russian media has revealed that a head-on crash in which a man was killed involved Vladimir Putin’s official black BMW.

However the Russian President was not in the car at the time when it was struck head-on by another vehicle which crossed over from the opposite side of the road.

CCTV images of the footage taken on Kutuzovsky Avenue in the Russian capital Moscow show how the Mercedes collided head-on with the presidential BMW

Russian media has revealed that a head-on crash in which a man was killed involved Vladimir Putin's official black BMW

Russian media has revealed that a head-on crash in which a man was killed involved Vladimir Putin’s official black BMW

CCTV images of the footage taken on Kutuzovsky Avenue in the Russian capital Moscow show how the Mercedes collided head-on with the presidential BMW

CCTV images of the footage taken on Kutuzovsky Avenue in the Russian capital Moscow show how the Mercedes collided head-on with the presidential BMW

Russian media said that the car was being driven by Putin’s favourite official driver, and that he was killed instantly, but that the President was not in the vehicle at the time. The car is officially registered as belonging to the Federation Council, also known as the Russian Senate or Upper Chamber of Parliament.

Medics arrived at the scene and said that the presidential driver had been killed on the spot, while the Mercedes driver who was travelling alone has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Russian media said that the car was being driven by Putin's favourite official driver, and that he was killed instantly

Russian media said that the car was being driven by Putin’s favourite official driver, and that he was killed instantly

The driver who was killed was not named, although it was reported that he had notched up more than 40 years of driving experience as an official driver

The driver who was killed was not named, although it was reported that he had notched up more than 40 years of driving experience as an official driver

The driver who was killed was not named, although it was reported that he had notched up more than 40 years of driving experience as an official driver.

Police have only confirmed that they are investigating, without giving any further details.

The clean-up operation took several hours and a huge traffic jam formed when Kutuzovsky Avenue was closed after the crash.

‘Russian President Putin Wants All of My Country, He Wants a Less Secure World’ – Ukraine’s President Alleges

On a day when Ukraine celebrated it’s 25th anniversary of independence from the Soviet union, Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko has alleged that Russia’s president Vladmir Putin wants to take over ‘all of his country’

According to Petro Poroshenko, 50, Putin, the world’s most powerful man according to Forbes wants “the whole Ukraine” to be part of the “Russian Empire.”

Russia recently conducted military drills in Crimea, the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014 — but this military move is regarded by a lot of Nations as illegal and unwarranted.
“It is absolutely the same situation like Russian bombardment in Aleppo,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Wednesday night.
“They have only one purpose — [the] world should be less stable, less secured.”
Had you asked him in 2013, Poroshenko said, if it would have been possible for Russia to “occupy the Crimea,” he would have said “no, this is not possible — there is some red line, and Putin [will] not cross this line.”
“If you asked me in January, year 2014,” he went on, if it was possible that “thousands of Russian regular troops will penetrate on Ukrainian territory in the east of my country in July and August,” I would have said, “no, this is not possible.”
With those moves, he said, the world “is completely changed.”
“Russian aggression completely destroyed the post-war global security system,”

” 25 years after independence, the fight goes on, fighting for freedom, fighting for democracy, fighting for sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Russia Loses Paralympics Ban Appeal

Russia will not compete at next month’s Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after losing an appeal against a ban imposed for state-sponsored doping.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) ban on all Russian competitors, the BBC reports.

The IPC made the decision in light of the McLaren report, which detailed a state-sponsored doping programme operated by Russia.

The Paralympics begin on September 7.

The IPC’s decision to ban the entire Russian team “was proportionate in the circumstances,” according to the CAS panel, which said it would publish the full grounds for its decision later.

It added that the Russian Paralympic Committee did not file any evidence contradicting the facts put forward by the IPC.

The IPC’s decision is in contrast to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which chose not to hand Russia a blanket ban from the Olympic Games.

The IOC was widely criticised for ignoring the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommendation to ban Russia.

Read More:

Russia lose Paralympics ban appeal

Dope: Nigeria Profits As Russia Loses Beijing Relay Gold

Russia was stripped of a relay gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Tuesday night, after one of its female runners tested positive for steroids in a reanalysis of her doping samples.

Sprinter Yulia Chermoshanskaya tested positive for two drugs — stanozolol and turinabol — and has been retroactively disqualified and, along with her teammates, stripped of the gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter relay, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.

Chermoshanskaya was also disqualified from the 200 meters, in which she finished eighth.
Belgium stands to be upgraded to the relay gold, with Nigeria moving up to silver and Brazil to bronze.

The IOC asked the IAAF to modify the results and consider any further sanctions against Chermoshanskaya, who is no longer competing.

The three other Russians runners in the relay final were Yulia Gushchina, Alexandra Fedoriva and Evgeniya Polyakova. Under IAAF rules, an entire relay team loses its medals if one of the runners tests positive.

The Belgian runners in line to get gold are Olivia Borlee, Hanna Marien, Elodie Ouedraogo and Kim Gevaert.

The United States did not make the relay final after dropping the baton in the heats. The Jamaican and British teams dropped the baton in the final.
The IOC said Chermoshanskaya claimed in a written statement that she had been injured ahead of the Beijing Games and had been receiving injections on medical advice. The IOC said she should have declared those medications at the time.

Turinabol and stanozolol are traditional steroids that go back decades. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for stanozolol at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and he was stripped of the gold medal in the 100 meters.

Tuesday’s decision was another black eye for Russia. The country’s track and field team was banned from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over allegations of state-sponsored doping. Investigations are continuing into wider systematic doping in Russia involving dozens of other summer and winter Olympic sports.

Using enhanced techniques, the IOC has retested more than 1,000 doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Olympics to catch those who evaded detection at the time. A total of 98 athletes have been caught.

Read More: ThisDayLive

Finally, Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan Set To Meet After Damaging Rift

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is traveling to the Russian city of St Petersburg for a face-to-face meeting with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

It will be the first time the two strongmen leaders have met since Turkish interceptors blasted a Russian warplane out of the skies over Syria in November. The incident, in which one of the air crew was killed as he parachuted from the aircraft, provoked a diplomatic firestorm, with a furious Kremlin vowing retribution. A second Russian serviceman was killed trying to rescue the other crew member on the ground.
Today’s loss for us was like a stab in back delivered by the accomplices of terrorists,” President Putin said on state television at the time.
It will have serious consequences for Russia’s relations with Turkey, ” he promised.


As well as blocking trade ties with Ankara, banning the import of food stuffs from Turkey, Putin also struck at the Turkish tourism industry, halting charter flights that carried millions of Russians to Turkish resorts. Visa-free travel to Russia was canceled for Turks, and Turkish workers were asked to leave, their visas revoked. The Kremlin’s retribution also got personal. Russian defense officials called an unprecedented news conference to reveal satellite and spy plane video of what they said were oil shipments to Turkey from ISIS controlled areas of Iraq and Syria.
Defense officials told journalists they believed the family of President Erdogan were intimately involved in the illegal trade and were profiting from it. President Erdogan strenuously denied the allegations. For months it seemed the bitterness between Putin and Erdogan would never heal: a battle of wills between two autocratic hardliners at odds over Syria.
But then, suddenly, something changed.
The Turkish leader unexpectedly moved to heal the rift with the Kremlin, writing a letter expressing “regret” to the family of the pilot who was killed in the shoot-down.
Turkey’s attempt to restore ties to Russia was driven by desperation,” said Fadi Hakura, Turkey specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London.
Turkey needed to restore economic and trade ties to Russia. Turkey needs Russian tourists to flow back to the Turkish resorts. Turkey also needs Russia to try to restore some of the lost influence it once had in Syria,” he told CNN.

Within days of the Erdogan letter, the foreign ministers of the two rivals were meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and Putin was lifting sanctions, beginning what he said was the process of normalizing trade ties. Then the situation took a dramatic turn, with events in Turkey giving Erdogan’s rekindled ties with Putin unexpected significance.

A failed coup in Turkey gave way to a widespread crackdown by Erdogan on his opponents. Many Turks believed their allies in the West had failed to condemn to coup attempt in harshly enough, and were too critical of the mass arrests.
For Turkey, the détente with Russia was now an opportunity display its strategic options.
Turkish officials deny they are turning their backs on the West. But Erdogan’s cordial trip to Russia, a nation at odds with the West on a host of issues from Syria to Ukraine, may give Turkey’s allies pause for thought. And amid Ankara’s strained relations with the West, the Kremlin also senses an opportunity to win over a NATO member, said Alexander Shimulin, of the US-Canada Institute in Moscow.
To increase divisions within the Western community and in NATO is one of the purposes and one of the goals designed by Russia,” he added.

Rio Paralympics 2016: Russian Athletes Banned After Doping Scandal

Russian athletes have been banned from competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics following the country’s doping scandal.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had opened suspension proceedings following the McLaren report, and has now confirmed the ban.

That report, published last month, detailed a state-sponsored doping programme operated by Russia.

The Russian Paralympic Committee is to appeal against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In contrast to the IPC, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose not to hand Russia a blanket ban from the Olympic Games.

The Rio 2016 Paralympics begin in 31 days’ time, on 7 September, and 267 Russian athletes across 18 sports will now miss the Games.

“The anti-doping system in Russia is broken, corrupted and entirely compromised,” said IPC president Sir Philip Craven at a news conference on Sunday.

“The Russian Paralympic Committee are unable to ensure compliance with and enforcement of the IPC anti-doping code and the world anti-doping code within their own national jurisdiction and they can not fulfil its fundamental obligation as an IPC member.

“As a result, the Russian Paralympic Committee is suspended with immediate effect.”

Russian Paralympic Committee member Evgeniy Bukharov told BBC World Service: “I’m disappointed and really shocked. The IOC decided to stay for the rights of the clean athletes and only to fight against the athletes who are involved in doping.

“I spoke with my team-mates from the organising committee and saw the reaction of the Russian Paralympic team, the athletes and coaches. They are very frustrated with this decision. If someone over four years tries to do their best to participate in the Games, suddenly to hear that they should not participate frustrated them.”

Read more :

Erdogan To Visit Russia On August 9

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Russia on August 9 for his first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin since Moscow and Ankara mended ties damaged by the downing of a Russian jet last year, Turkish officials said Tuesday.

“The ambassador has informed us that our dear president (Erdogan) has confirmed that he will be in Saint Petersburg on the 9th (of August),” Russian news agencies quoted Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek as saying.

An official in Turkey confirmed the date, saying that Erdogan and Putin had agreed to meet ahead of the G20 summit in China in September.

Simsek is the highest ranking Turkish official to visit Russia since the November downing of the Russian jet on the Syrian border sparked an unprecedented crisis in relations.

He said he was in Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich in an effort to “normalise the situation and our relations as soon as possible and at an accelerated pace”.

The plane downing led to a bitter war of words between the two leaders, with the Kremlin strongman calling it a “stab in the back” and accusing the Turkish president of involvement in the illegal oil trade with the Islamic State jihadist group.

But after the Kremlin claimed last month that Erdogan had apologised to Putin over the incident, Moscow ordered the lifting of a string of economic sanctions including an embargo on Turkish food products and the cancellation of charter flights to the country.

The punitive measures had dealt a crushing blow to the Turkish tourism industry, which is hugely reliant on Russian tourists, especially on its Mediterranean coast.

Putin called Erdogan earlier this month to express his support after the failed putsch in Turkey, and the Kremlin confirmed at the time that the two leaders would meet in the near future.

Credit: Guardian

Rio: Russia Escapes Blanket Doping Ban

The International Olympic Committee’s decision not to ban Russia from the Rio Games over state-run doping left international sports leaders divided on Monday, less than two weeks before the opening ceremony.

Seeking to justify Sunday’s decision, IOC president Thomas Bach said an outright ban would trample the rights of clean Russian athletes who are hoping to compete at the upcoming Games.

Individual sports federations will have primary responsibility for determining every Russian athlete’s eligibility for Rio, the IOC executive said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency last week called for Russia to be banned after detailing how Russia’s sports ministry had directed a massive cheating programme with help from the FSB state intelligence agency.

United States anti-doping chief Travis Tygart — one of many who urged a total ban against Russia — accused the IOC of creating “a confusing mess” with its decision.

“In response to the most important moment for clean athletes and the integrity of the Olympic Games, the IOC has refused to take decisive leadership,” the USADA boss said in a statement.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Graeme Steel also criticised the IOC’s decision to “pass the hot potato to international federations”.

“The fight against doping in sport requires strong international leadership, none more so in this case, where the integrity of an entire Olympic and Paralympic Games is at stake,” added Australian Sports Minister Sussan Ley.

WADA officials said they were “disappointed” with the IOC’s decision, which director general Olivier Niggli said would “inevitably lead to a lack of harmonisation, potential challenges and lesser protection for clean athletes”.

The cheating affected 30 sports, including at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other major events, WADA said, in revelations that widened the worst drug scandal in Olympic history.

Credit: Guardian

Vladmir Putin Sends Attack Submarine Into English Waterways Just Days Before England vs Russia Clash At Euro 2016

Russian president Vladmir Putin has sent an attack submarine (kilo-class submarine Stary Oskol) armed with missiles and torpedoes into the English Channel, just days before England play Russia in the Euros according to a report by The Sun UK.

According to the report, the submarine will pass through the Dover Straits at 10am today.

England’s Royal Navy had intercepted the Russian submarine in the North Sea, and this action by the Russian president could spark a full blown out retaliation from NATO and the UN. It is not clear yet whether Putin was trying to intimidate England or if he was trying to attack the UK.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was quick to hail the Royal Navy for snuffing out Putin’s latest attempt to intimidate the UK ahead of the Euros.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This shows that the Navy is maintaining a vigilant watch in international and territorial waters to keep Britain safe and protect us from potential threats.

Nanny Who Beheaded 4-Year Old Girl In Russia Says Allah Asked Her To Do It

The nanny accused of murdering a child in her care and brandishing the child’s severed head outside a metro station smiled after admitting ‘Allah ordered’ her to carry out the act.
Gulchekhra Bobokulova, a 38-year-old mother of three sons, also replied ‘yes’ when asked if she accepted her guilt as she entered the courtroom in Moscow, Russia.
In scenes that shocked the world yesterday, the hijab-wearing nanny was seen walking the streets of Moscow brandishing the head of Nastya Meshcheryakova for an hour before she was detained by police.
Her appearance in court comes a day after a police source revealed the babysitter had kept her schizophrenia a secret and was ‘kicked on to the streets’ after a divorce.

Bobokulova, who the Russian press has dubbed ‘the bloody nanny’ was asked as she walked towards the court room handcuffed to a police officer why she killed the child, and she replied: ‘Allah ordered me.’
And asked in court if she pleaded guilty, she nodded yes. Questioned if she felt sorry about the girl, she shook her head, evidently meaning no. Inside the court cage, she smiled and waved to journalists.
Speaking in broken Russian from the suspect’s cage, Bobokulova said: ‘Allah is sending a second prophet to give news of peace’ and also complained that she was ‘hungry’, had not been fed and would ‘die in a week’.
‘Hi to everyone,’ she said, waving at the crowd of journalists in the courtroom.
Investigator Olga Lapteva, who was clearly emotional, told the court that Bobokulova was suspected of committing an ‘extremely serious crime’ and that she should face ‘a mandatory prison sentence of considerably more than three years.’
Her appearance comes as pictures emerged showing the inside of the flat where the four-year-old’s headless body was discovered.
It has also emerged today that a mystery boyfriend may have been with her in the apartment at the time the child, Nastya Meshcheryakova, was killed.
Police apparently now believe that she was not the instigator of the crime.
She has confessed to killing the child but police are now searching for the mystery man who evidently had a relationship with her – and is suspected of radicalising her.
It was revealed today that police suspect a boyfriend or husband visited her at the Meshcheryakov family flat on the day the girl was killed.
The child was killed between 8am and 8.40am so it suggests an early visit.
Interfax reported that police are ‘checking if it is true that a stranger was in the flat at that time and if he has something to do with the murder’.
An investigator told the court: ‘The accomplices of the suspect, or we better say the instigators, are currently at large.’
One theory is that the woman is mentally ill and that she may have been exploited by a man or men she knew.
It is believed she had a serious argument with her current partner on the phone the day before the murder.
A relative of the dead girl said that Bobokulova – known as Gulya to the family – had married a man during a trip to Uzbekistan around 18 months ago.
‘Gulya seriously changed after this,’ said the relative. She started wearing hijab, she began to pray in her room.
‘Before she was never religious, she wore ordinary clothes, sports clothes, shirts. But when she left the flat, she always put on a hijab.’
Nastya’s mother Ekaterina – or Katya – treated the change ‘with understanding – it was Gulya’s religion’.
‘I know she was arguing with her new husband on phone very often recently,’ said the relative.
‘The day before the murder they had a particularly loud argument that Katya even asked Gulya to slow down.’
Bobokulova had been registered at a psychiatric clinic in her homeland Uzbekistan – and her condition had been deteriorating in recent months, the source said.
Pictures emerged yesterday of her being interrogated in a police station in the Russian capital as conflicting reports continued to emerge about her personal life.
Escorted by armed police, handcuffed Bobokulova – herself a mother of three – earlier showed officers the Moscow flat where she apparently strangled Nastya , who had learning difficulties, before cutting off her head with a kitchen knife. The little girl’s remains were left in her cot. 
Source –

Oil Price Rises To $33pb As Russia Okays OPEC’s Position

Hope was rekindled yesterday after crude oil price rose 40 cents to $33.12 per barrel, paring earlier losses after fresh comments from Russia about its openness to talk with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) over output cuts.

Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said if there is consensus among OPEC and non-OPEC members to meet, “then we will meet”.

This helped push the price of oil, which had been set for a third day of decline after data on Tuesday showed another big build in U.S. inventories, off the day’s lows.

Brent for April delivery rose 40 cents to $33.12 a barrel, pulling away from a session low of $32.30.

US crude futures rose 46 cents to $30.34, off a session low of $29.40.

“Is there going to be a meeting between Russia and OPEC? That is a supportive factor in this rally that we’ve seen in the last one hour,” PVM Oil Associates analyst, Tamas Varga, said.

Oil is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy and the country is reeling from huge revenue loss following the crash of crude oil price.

Credit: Leadership

Turkey Will ‘More Than Once’ Regret Shooting Down Russian Plane – Putin

Delivering his annual state of the nation address today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will not ignore what he described as Turkey’s “aiding of terrorists”, adding that the November shooting down of the Sukhoi Su-24 plane was a “treacherous war crime”.
He said Turkey will ‘more than once’ regret shooting down the Russian jet near the Syrian-Turkey border.

Putin also called for a broad international front against terrorism, an end to what he called double standards and halting any backing of what he called “terror groups”.
Russia have already banned importation of fruits  and vegetables from Turkey and already deported several Turkish business men.

“We are not planning to engage in military sabre-rattling [with Turkey],” Putin said. “If somebody thought that after committing a treacherous war crime — the killing of our people — it would be possible to get away with mere restrictions on the trade of tomatoes, or some other restrictions … then they are grossly mistaken,” Putin said.
“We shall remind them many times about what they’ve done, and they will regret what they’ve done for a long time,” he said. “We know what needs to be done.”
It appears that Allah decided to punish the ruling clique of Turkey by depriving them of wisdom and judgment,” Putin said.
He criticised Turkey, accusing it of buying oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

“We are fighting for justice, happiness and the entire future of our civilisation. We have to be prepared and we have to defeat them [terrorists] before they get here that’s why we launched this operation in Syria.”

Turkish President ‘Erdogan’ Says Turkey Has Proof Of Russian Involvement In IS Oil Trade

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Turkey had proof Russia was involved in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, countering “immoral” Russian allegations that his own family was importing oil from the jihadists. “We have the proof in our hands. We will reveal it to the world,” Erdogan said in a televised address in Ankara.

The Russian defence ministry on Wednesday accused Erdogan and his family of involvement in the illegal oil trade with IS jihadists after Ankara’s downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes last month which plunged the two countries’ relations into a crisis. “In recent days a fashion led by Russia has emerged. Actually, Russia does not believe this either,” said Erdogan, referring to the alleged oil trade with IS group.

“Look, Russia has to prove that the Turkish republic buys oil from Daesh, otherwise this is a slander,” he added, using an Arabic acronym for IS extremists. “The immoral side of this issue is involving my family in the affair,” Erdogan added.  Erdogan repeated that he would resign if Moscow proved the allegation and said it was actually Russians who were involved in oil dealings.

“Who is buying oil (from IS)? Let me say it. George Haswani, holder of a Russian passport and a Syrian national, is one of the biggest merchants in this business,” Erdogan said.   In November, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Haswani, who was also placed on an European Union sanctions list, for serving as a middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the IS group.

Erdogan said Thursday “a famous Russian chess player” was also involved in the oil business with IS, without giving a name. “He’s also in this race,” he said.  The new US sanctions also apply to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a wealthy Russian businessman and long-standing president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) who was formerly president of the southern Russian region of Kalmykia.

NATO Chief Calls For Calm, Dialogue Between Russia And Turkey

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday called for calm and contacts between Moscow and Ankara after NATO member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border.


“I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation,” Stoltenberg said after an extraordinary meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels.


The NATO chief noted that work had to be done on developing and strengthening mechanisms to avoid such situations in the future.


He further said that the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey and supported the country’s territorial integrity.



Russia Suspends Military Cooperation With Turkey

Russia’s defence ministry has announced suspension of military cooperation with Turkey and Sergey Lavrov, foreign minister, has cancelled a planned trip to Turkey following the downing of a Russian warplane near the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday.


The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane was shot down for violating Turkish airspace, angering Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who compared the incident to being “stabbed in the back”.

Russia also warned its citizens not to travel to Turkey, saying it was unsafe, and deployed a warship to the coastline near where the plane crashed.


The plane crashed in Syrian territory in Latakia’s Yamadi village.


Russia has confirmed one of the pilots has died.


A Russian helicopter was also shot at as it took part in the search for the two pilots near the Turkish-Syrian border, opposition groups in Syria said.


Turkey, Russia and their respective allies have entered a war of words after the incident, raising tensions in a region struggling to cope with the ongoing Syrian conflict.


Putin sharply criticised Turkey for establishing contact with NATO to discuss the incident, prior to contacting Russia.

“Today’s loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” Putin said in televised comments.

“Our plane was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell in Syrian territory four kilometres from the border with Turkey. Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey.

“Instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know Turkey turned to its NATO partners to discuss this incident – as if we had hit their plane and not the other way around,” he said.


Credit : Al Jazeera

Russia Warns Citizens Off Travel To Turkey After Downed Plane

In an action that is unlikely to surprise people, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, cancelled a visit to Turkey and warned against Russian tourists visiting Turkey.

“The decision has been taken to cancel the meeting that was planned for tomorrow in Istanbul between the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey,” Mr Lavrov said in televised comments.

He told Russian tourists to avoid Turkey claiming the threat of terrorism there was not less than in Egypt where 224 people were killed by an Isil bomb on board a plane flying over Sharm el-Sheikh.

Islamic State Group Says Bomb Downed Russian Plane

The Islamic State group has said it smuggled a bomb on board a Russian airliner that crashed last month, after discovering a “way to compromise the security” at an Egyptian airport.

The latest edition of its official online magazine Dabiq said IS had initially planned to down a plane belonging to a country from the US-led coalition targeting militants in Iraq and Syria.

The militants decided to instead target the Russian plane departing the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after Moscow began an air campaign in Syria in late September, the magazine said.

Russian Plane Crash: Toddler’s Body Is Discovered 20 Miles From Crash Site

Ten-month-old Darina Gromova (pictured just before boarding the doomed flight) had been on holiday in Sharm el-Sheikh with her parents Tatiana, 26, and Alexei, 27, from St Petersburg when they, and 221 others, died shortly after their flight to Russia took off on Saturday.

The baby girl’s body was located more than 21 miles from the main crash site, indicating that the plane may exploded earlier than aviation experts have previously thought. That has forced investigators to widen the search area – and could lead to the discovery of otherwise missed clues.
The picture of little Darina, taken by her 26-year-old mother Tatiana at a St Petersburg airport shortly before they set off for Egypt, has become a symbol of the 224 victims of the disaster.
Mrs Gromova happily dubbed her daughter ‘the main passenger’ as the young family set off on a hard-earned vacation to Sharm el-Sheikh.

The remains of little Darina were sent to Cairo on Thursday after being found miles from the main crash site in the Sinai Peninsula.

Her parents Tatiana and Alexei Gromov, aged 26 and 27 and pictured on their wedding day just over a year ago, have yet to be found
Russian experts say no signs of explosives have been found on the bodies of the victims of the plane crash, but a Russian aviation official said Thursday the investigation was looking into the possibility of an object stowed on board causing the disaster

‘There are two versions now under consideration: something stowed inside (the plane) and a technical fault. But the airplane could not just break apart in the air – there should be some action. A rocket is unlikely as there are no signs of that,’ the Russian official said.

Meanwhile, ISIS representatives have repeated its claims that the militant jihadist organisation was responsible for the crash, adding it would eventually tell the world how it carried out the attack.

Culled from Mailonline


Russian plane crashes in Sinai with 224 passengers on board

A Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people crashed on Saturday in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian officials said.

A “Russian civilian plane… crashed in the central Sinai,” the office of Prime Minister Sharif Ismail said in a statement.

A senior aviation official said the plane was a charter flight operated by a Russian company carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. Communication with the aircraft was lost, he added.

Sergei Lzvolsky, an official with the Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia told Interfax news agency that the plane had departed Egypt’s Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh at 5:51 am local time (03:51 GMT).

He said the aircraft did not make contact as expected with air traffic controllers in Cyprus, and “since then the plane has not made contact and has not appeared on radars”.

“Prime Minister (Ismail) is expected to meet the concerned ministries and competent authorities to follow up on the accident of the Russian civilian plane that fell in central Sinai,” Egyptian premier’s office said.


Credit : PM News

ISIS Terrorist That Auctioned Off Young Christian Girls Killed In Russian Airstrike

According to Villi Wilson, this ISIS guy that was pictured auctioning off Christian girls in a slave market – laughing and happy (pic above) – was killed in the Russian airstrike recently. Villi wrote:

“You remember the son of a bitch ISIS guy that was auctioning off christian girls…Yep…Putin got him!!” See a pic of his corpse below…

Abandoning Iran Nuclear Deal Could Mean War – Obama

US President Barack Obama has defended the international nuclear agreement with Iran and warned the US Congress that blocking the pact could spark a war in the Middle East.

Obama’s speech at a Washington university came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a campaign on Wednesday to mobilise Jewish Americans to urge the Republican-led Congress to thwart the historic agreement.

“It is a very good deal,” Obama said.

“Every nation in the world that has commented publicly with the exception of the Israeli government has expressed support,” Obama said.

“I recognise (Israeli) Prime Minister Netanyahu disagrees, disagrees strongly – I do not doubt his sincerity – but I believe he is wrong.”

Under the agreement reached between Iran and a group of six world powers known as the P5+1, the countries agreed to lift economic sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Obama warned that abandoning the July 14 pact could accelerate Tehran’s path to a bomb and America’s credibility around the world would be seriously damaged if it refused to abide by the terms of the deal in lifting sanctions against Iran.

Putin Extends Western Food Ban For One Year

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday extended a ban against most Western food imports for a year after EU foreign ministers agreed to prolong sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict until January 2016.

“The government turned to me with an appeal to extend the measures,” Putin told a government meeting.

“In accordance with this letter today I signed a decree to extend certain special economic measures with a view to ensuring Russia’s security,” he said in comments released by the Kremlin.

“We are extending our retaliatory measures by one year beginning from today.”

Russia had been expected to prolong the ban for six months after EU foreign ministers formally agreed Monday to prolong damaging economic sanctions against Russia until January 2016, to ensure it fully implements Ukraine peace accords.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday said he would ask Putin to extend the embargo on Western food imports as well as sanctions targeting certain foreign trade transactions by another six months.

Officials led by Putin have previously said the sanctions have proved a boon for Russian domestic industries and have helped boost Russian agriculture.

Moscow has said the EU decision to announce the extension of the anti-Russian sanctions on June 22 — the day Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 and is now the official Day of Remembrance and Sorrow in the country — reeked of cynicism.

Brussels has hit Russia’s banking, oil and defence sectors hard and, along with the United States, it has warned more sanctions could follow unless Moscow lives up to its February commitments to withdraw support for the rebels and use its influence with them to implement the peace deal for Ukraine.

Russia retaliated with the embargo on most Western food imports last year.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev has killed over 6,500 people in the past 15 months. Moscow denies sending troops to Ukraine and says any Russians fighting there are volunteers.

Transsexual And Her Gay Friend Escape Russia To Join ISIS #Photos

Do they know the fate which befalls gays or transsexuals in Syria? Russian authorities have expressed fears for the lives of a transsexual man and his gay friend after they were reported to be heading to Syria captivated by Islamic State fundamentalist propaganda.

Dubbed the ‘battle trannies’ by the Moscow media, the two suspects Alexei T. and Viktor E – who prefers to be known as Viktoria and dresses as a woman – are accused of maintaining contacts with armed extremist groups.
A police source Alexander Vinogradov said:

 ‘We would always be interested in stopping people from joining a terrorist organisation but in this case there is a double motive, as our information is that this would not be accepted if they managed to get all the way to Syria, and it is unlikely that they would live very long once their sexual orientation was revealed.’

The pair claimed that they had suffered persecution and abuse from family and locals in the home in Kamchatka region in the extreme east of Russia.They hoped they would be welcomed if they went to Syria after watching an ISIS recruitment video online.

Viktoria’s aunt said her nephew and his friend were not known as being the most intelligent people in the neighbourhood .

He ‘did not have enough money for the surgery and asked relatives but we all refused.
‘The next thing we knew was that they were wanted by the police after it was found they had gone to join ISIS.’Viktor had been walking around in women’s clothes and wearing makeup and was living with his mum before converting to radical Islam.’She told him that he would probably be killed if he went there dressed as a woman, but he said that if he could travel there as a woman, he believed they would accept him as a woman.’

  Culled from news agency

Russia Has Better Things To Do Than Start WW3- Bryan MacDonald

Vladimir Putin said this weekend that “Russia would attack NATO only in a mad person’s dream.” Unfortunately, there are a lot of mad people working in western politics and media.

If the G7 were based on GDP, adjusted for purchasing power, it would be comprised of the USA, China, India, Japan, Russia, Germany and Brazil. Such a lineup would have remarkable clout. Members would boast 53% of the globe’s entire GDP and the planet’s 3 genuine military superpowers would be represented.

The problem for Washington is that this putative G7 might actually be a forum for a real debate about the world order.

Instead of a real G7, we have a farce. An American dominated talking shop where the US President allows ‘friendly’ foreign leaders to tickle his belly for a couple of days. There is no dissent. Washington’s dominance goes unquestioned and everyone has a jolly time. Especially since they kicked out Russia last year – Vladimir Putin was the only guest who challenged the consensus.

However, the problem is that this ‘convenient’ G7 is way past its sell-by-date. The days when its members could claim to rule the world economically are as distant as the era of Grunge and Britpop. Today, the G7 can claim a mere 32% of the global GDP pie. Instead of heavyweights like China and India, we have middling nations such as Canada and Italy, the latter an economic basket case. Canada’s GDP is barely more than that of crisis-ridden Spain and below that of Mexico and Indonesia.

Yet, the Prime Minister of this relative non-entity, Stephen Harper, was strutting around Bavaria all weekend with the confidence of a man who believed his opinion mattered a great deal. Of course, Harper won’t pressure Obama. Rather, he prefers to – metaphorically – kiss the ring and croon from the same hymn sheet as his southern master.

NATO and the G7 – 2 sides of 1 coin?

There was lots of talk of “Russian aggression” at the G7. This was hardly a surprise given that 6 of the 7 are also members of NATO, another body at which they can tug Washington’s forelock with gay abandon. Obama was at it, David Cameron parroted his guru’s feelings and Harper was effectively calling for regime change in Russia. It apparently never occurred to the trio that resolving their issues with Russia might be easier if Putin had been in Bavaria? The knee-jerk reaction to remove Russia from the club was hardly conducive to dialogue.

Read More:

Russia Blames U.S. For Ukraine Conflict

Top Russian officials accused the United States on Thursday of seeking political and military dominance in the world and sought to put blame on the West for international security crises, including the conflict in east Ukraine. Reuters have more:

Evoking Cold War-style rhetoric, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said a drive by the United States and its allies to bring Kiev closer to the West was a threat to Moscow and had forced it to react. “The United States and its allies have crossed all possible lines in their drive to bring Kiev into their orbit. That could not have failed to trigger our reaction,” he told an annual security conference in Moscow.

Echoing his comments, General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told the meeting: “Considering themselves the winners of the Cold War, the United States decided to reshape the world to fit its needs.

“Aiming at complete dominance, Washington stopped taking into account the interests of other countries and respect international law.” Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last March following what it says was an “unconstitutional coup” in which street protests toppled a Moscow-allied Ukrainian president in Kiev after he ditched a deal to move closer to the European Union.

Russia Changed Forever By Nemtsov’s Murder

Russia has been changed forever by the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov a day after thousands marched through central Moscow in his memory. “The reaction to the murder of Boris Nemtsov turned out to be as extraordinary as the politician himself,” wrote the Kommersant business daily in a front page article that ran alongside a photo of Nemtsov carried at Sunday’s memorial march.

nemstovOrganisers said that 70,000 people marched through central Moscow, crossing the bridge where Nemtsov was shot, a turnout that Kommersant said had not been reached since the mass opposition rallies of 2011 against President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin.

Nemtsov’s murder within sight of the Kremlin walls “crossed a psychological boundary, after which Russia will inevitably be different,” wrote the business daily Vedomosti in a front-page editorial.

“After Nemtsov’s shocking murder, a lot of people have said that we woke up in a different country,” wrote website, calling the march in memory of Nemtsov “a march against fear.” “In fact we have for at least a year lived in a country where thinking differently was equated with treachery, and some were ready to kill for this. It’s just that yesterday they were killing with words, and today they have started with bullets,” wrote.

Opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta wrote that Nemtsov regularly received death threats but did not take them seriously. “In recent years I have seen a huge number of provocations, threats and acts of meanness. And I’ve developed a certain immunity to this,” it quoted Nemtsov as saying last April. Commenting on pressure from Russia’s authorities, Nemtsov said: “Well maybe they could kill me, I don’t know, but it’s more likely they would put me in prison.”

Popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravada, however, dismissed the possibility that Nemtsov was killed for his political beliefs. “Who has ever been killed in our country for purely political reasons?” it asked in an editorial.  “This isn’t Ukraine after all… Here a lot of people are killed for money but you don’t find people killed for politics.”

Novaya Gazeta however described Nemtsov’s murder as a “point of no return, of radical destabilisation of Russia’s domestic politics, whose consequences cannot yet be predicted.” Kommersant pointed out that the repercussions of Nemtsov’s murder will affect Russia’s image globally and if it is not adequately investigated, “could be a serious argument for supporters of a hard approach towards Moscow.”

Russia says Ready to Reciprocate Nuclear Strike

A Russian military chief says the country’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) are ready to defend the country against any possible “lightning-speed” nuclear strike.

“If we have to accomplish a task of repelling a ‘lightning-speed’ nuclear strike, this objective will be attained within a prescribed period,” Andrei Burbin, the SMF Central Command’s chief, was quoted by Russian media as saying on Saturday.

He voiced the SMF preparedness to deliver a retaliatory nuclear strike “unhesitatingly” if Russia comes under any assault.

Referring to the geographic position of Russia’s missile units, the major general said it will protect them from demolition by “any global strike,” adding that 98 percent of the SMF systems would be new in 2020.

Read Morepresstv

Boko Haram: Russia To Help Nigeria After U.S Refusal

Following the refusal of the United States of America to supply Nigeria it’s much needed arms in the fight against Boko Haram, rival super power Russia, it is that has come to the rescue of Nigeria.

After the first mega supply of arms to Nigeria (during the three years civil war between 1967-70), this is the second time that the Russians would be supplying arms and ammunition that is helping to turn the tide of war against the Boko Haram terrorists in the north-eastern part of the country.

The reluctance of America and the West to Nigeria’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts, saw the government turn to the Eastern European country for assistance.

Sources within the presidency and security circle that the botched $15m arms deal, which exposed America’s hypocrisy, forced Nigeria to look for alternative sources of arms supply.

Read More:

17 Things You Didn’t Know About Vladimir Putin

1. Putin, 62, is divorced from his wife, Lyudmila Putin, 57, a linguist and former flight attendant whom he married in July 1983. “We practically never saw each other. To each his own life,” Putin saidwhen the couple announced their split in 2014.

2. Putin has two daughters, Maria (born in 1985) and Katerina (born in 1986), both rarely seen in public. They reportedly attended German-language secondary schools and St. Petersburg State University. Maria studied biology; Katerina, Asian studies. No official family portrait has ever been published. Putin’s personal life gets almost no attention in Russia. “Average Russians believe in the privacy of their leader,” said Katusa.

3. Then again, many journalists in Putin’s Russia have died horrible, excruciating deaths. “A free press seems to mean pitifully little to [Putin]. You investigate? You report? You die, unavenged,” wrote Peter Preston in The Guardian.

4. Putin was born October 7, 1952, in St. Petersburg, or Leningrad as it was then known. “I come from an ordinary family,” Putin himself has written. “I lived as an average, normal person.” Putin’s mother, Maria, was a factory worker and his father, Vladimir, wounded in World War II, worked a laborer on train cars. Putin’s older brother died as a child.

5. In the years following the Siege of Leningrad, which nearly killed his mother, the family was forced to move to a vermin-infested communal building. Putin spent hours chasing rats with a stick in the stairwell. Four adults and two children squeezed into a single 200-square-foot room on the fifth floor with no hot water, bathtub or toilet.

6. In the 1930s Putin’s father was drafted into the Soviet Navy, serving on a submarine fleet and later, the front lines against Germany in World War II. Putin himself has said, “My father had been assigned to a demolitions battalion [and was] engaged in sabotage behind German lines.” In one operation, Putin’s father blew up a munitions depot before the group ran out of food. The Germans ultimately cornered them.

7. “They had almost no chance of surviving,” said Putin. “Only a few people, including my father, managed to break out. Then the chase was on.” Putin said his father jumped into a swamp and “breathed through a hollow reed until the dogs passed by. Only four of 28 men survived.” Returning to combat, Putin’s father nearly had his legs blown off by a German grenade. He was disabled the rest of his life.

8. Putin was greatly influenced by his paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin, a skilled cook who worked for Lenin, then Stalin. “[Putin’s grandfather] managed to outlive the tyrants he fed so well,” writes Katusa in The Colder War. “It required sensitive political instincts and nimble balancing… He passed what he learned to [his] grandson.” Spiridon, reportedly trained by the NKVD (the KGB’s predecessor), died when Putin was 13.

9. Putin grew up a troublemaker. “He was a schoolyard punk prone to violence,” says Katusa. A poor student, Putin was even hauled before a neighborhood “comrades’ court” for acts of petty delinquency.

10. At age 12 he started boxing and moved on to judo, karate and sambo, a Soviet martial art. Sports gave Putin a focus and helped him compensate for his slight 5’7” frame.

11. But “even that was not enough for maintaining my status, so to speak, for very long,” Putin has said. “I realized I also needed to study well.” When he – interested by now in the spying life – learned law school was a key entry path for the KGB, his life took a decisive turn.

12. Putin enrolled at Leningrad State University in 1970, earning his law degree five years later. At age 22 he was recruited into the KGB – and for the next 16 years worked as a self-described “specialist in human relations.”

13. Fluent in German and able to pass for Nordic, Putin was posted to Dresden in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1985 and spent five years undercover. He was promoted several times. “He was expert at reading and manipulating people and was unfazed by violence,” writes Katusa. “These were indispensable qualities for anyone out to make his way to the top of the Russian political pile.”

14. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Putin’s undercover days were over. He returned to university, and in his doctoral thesis argued that Russia’s economic success would ultimately depend on exploiting its energy resources. He then entered politics and rose meteorically.

15. In 1999 Boris Yeltsin selected Putin to be prime minister “with prospects.” Putin himself has said, “I thought, If I can do something to help save Russia from falling apart, this would be something to be proud of.” He served two terms as president, returned to the prime minister role but still pulled the levers of power — and is now serving a third term as president despite protests in Moscow. He has said he might want a fourth term.

16. Putin almost always acts militarily from calculation, not reaction. “He carefully weighs the costs and risks of acting against the likely benefit to the homeland… Nevertheless,” warns Katusa ominously, “it is best not to poke him in the eye.”

17. Putin likes The Beatles. His favorite Beatle is Paul McCartney – and his favorite Beatles tune is “Yesterday.”


US Still Considering Military Option Against Russia: Analyst

The United States is still considering the military option against Russia over Ukraine, according to an analyst in Belgrade, Serbia.

Joaquin Flores, geostrategist and director at Center for Syncretic Studies, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday while commenting on US President Barack Obama’s claim that Washington is not seeking a military confrontation with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. “I’ve been very clear that it would not be effective to engage in a military conflict with Russia on this issue,” Obama said during his visit to India on Sunday.

Flores said, “At first this might sound like a positive development.” But “it must be understood in context,” he added. “Peeling back the layers of doublespeak and hypocrisy, we find that since the coup that the US launched in Ukraine about a year ago, it has been the US that has spearheaded the present military conflict there today.”

“It has been the US that has been funding and supporting the various extremist elements…in Ukraine,” he added.

Read More: Press Tv

I Am A Lover And I Am Loved In Return – President Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir Putin let slip during his annual news conference Thursday that he “loves” and is loved in return, but refused to reveal the identity of his mystery partner.

Asked by a journalist whether he loved someone, Putin said “I do, I tell you”. When asked whether someone loved him back, he said briefly that the person “loves me”.

He refused to give any more details, saying: “Everything is in order. Don’t worry.”

The 62-year-old president is sometimes referred to as Russia’s most eligible bachelor after he announced a divorce from his wife of 30 years, Lyudmila, who shared his years as a spy in East Germany.

Putin said on Thursday that he maintains “good, friendly relations” Lyudmila.

In 2008, a Moscow newspaper reported that he was to marry Alina Kabayeva, a former Olympic rhythmic gymnast 31 years his junior, who was then an MP in the ruling party.

Putin angrily denied the report and the intrusion into his personal life.

The newspaper shut down shortly afterwards.

Vladmir Putin Tells Russian Citizens : “Brace Up Hard Times Are Coming”

President Vladimir Putin of Russia has warned his citizens of hard times ahead and urged self-reliance. He said this in his annual state-of-the nation address to parliament. BBCcovered the event:

Russia has been hit hard by falling oil prices and by Western sanctions imposed in response to its interventions in the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine.

The rouble, once a symbol of stability under Mr Putin, suffered its biggest one-day decline since 1998 on Monday.

The government has warned that Russia will fall into recession next year.

Speaking to both chambers in the Kremlin, Mr Putin also accused Western governments of seeking to raise a new “iron curtain” around Russia.

He expressed no regrets for annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, saying the territory had a “sacred meaning” for Russia.

He insisted the “tragedy” in Ukraine’s south-east had proved that Russian policy had been right but said Russia would respect its neighbour as a brotherly country.


Source – BBC

‘Putin’s Revenge’: Russia And China Try To End The Dominance Of The Dollar

Russia and China just agreed to a second major gas deal, worth slightly less than the $400 billion agreement reached earlier this year, according to Bloomberg.

The details of the deal mean Russia will supply China with another 30 billion cubic metres of gas every year for the next three decades through the Altai pipeline, a proposed pipe transporting the gas from western Siberia to China.

Earlier in the fall, Keun-Wook Paik at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies said this kind of deal would be “Putin’s revenge,” according to the Financial Times.

Many analysts see the move as evidence that Moscow is pivoting away from reliance on European customers and toward East Asia, where relatively rapid economic growth should prop up demand.

It’s also a political move, as relations with the rest of Europe have become increasingly cold after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the tit-for-tat sanctions between the European Union, United States, and Russia.

The value of the Russian rouble has collapsed recently as the price of oil has declined. Russia’s economy is dependent on oil, so the currency fluctuates with the oil price. The price declines in turn threaten Russia’s ability to meet its budget obligations and pay debt. In sum, the country faces an economic crisis if it can’t find new demand for oil and currency .

But the rouble is rallying against the dollar today. Here’s the US currency dropping by about 3% against the rouble after the central bank announced it would stop trying to defend the currency’s collapse.

The China deal helps both Russia and China lessen their economic dependence on the West. It also helps Russia get around the economic sanctions imposed by the West because of the Ukraine situation.

Curtailing the dollar’s influence fits well with China’s ambitions to increase the influence of the yuan and eventually turn it into a global reserve currency. With 32 percent of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves invested in US government debt, China wants to curb investment risks in dollar.

The quest to limit the dollar’s dominance became more urgent for Moscow this year when US and European governments imposed sanctions on Russia over its support for separatist rebels in Ukraine.

Credit: Business Insider

Garry Kasparov: Putin is ‘the most Dangerous Man’ in the World and a Bigger Threat to the U.S. than the Islamic State


World’s best chess player ever, Garry Kasparov is on a new mission to convince the world that the biggest threat to global unrest is not the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda or North Korea. Instead it is Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008 and then again from 2012 to today.

In an interview with Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga, Kasparov outlined his reasons for believing that Putin should be what keeps the world up at night. He chided President Barack Obama for being too late in addressing Putin’s aggression in Ukraine — ultimately annexing Crimea. And while he views the president’s speech at the United Nations — calling Russia’s invasion into Ukraine  and ideology of “might makes right” backward —he still believes that actions speak louder than words. Kasparov has extremely harsh words for what he views as European indifference to Putin’s actions, and he compares the world’s complacency with the lead-up to World War II.

Kasparov calls the Islamic State militant group (also known as ISIL and ISIS) a diversion for the world to focus on. He finds it hypocritical that the U.S. and other Western allies have agreed to supply Syrian rebels opposed to IS, while refusing Ukraine’s similar request.

Regarding the current sanctionsimposed onRussia, Kasparov believes that at some point they will hurt not only the Russian economy, but also Putin and his inner circle. However, for that to happen, he believes the sanctions will have to be in place through at least March 2015. He adds that Putin will use Russia’s vast supply of natural gas as leverage ahead of what he calls the “upcoming cold winter,” threatening to shut down supplies to Europe and other former Soviet republics and satellite nations. Kasparov fears that the threat will be enough to persuade an easing of sanctions. He also believes Putin is telling his inner circle of Russia’s richest and most powerful business leaders, who are facing the ramifications of stiff sanctions that the western governments “will blink.  As before, they will capitulate.  We’ll get what we need.” Kasparov believes that Putin is calling the world’s bluff. “He is playing poker while everyone else is playing chess.”

Kasparov, who once expressed interest in running in the 2008 presidential race and who has in recent years become an anti-Putin activist, avoided the question of whether or not he would seek public office. Instead his response was a sobering one: “We should forget about power in Russia changing hands throughout the election process. I’m afraid it will be not a very lawful process and it may eventually end up with the collapse of the country.”

His political views have affected his professional career and aspirations. Just last month Kasparov losthisbid for the presidency of the World Chess Federation, to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a controversial billionaire who had ties to Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi and Bashar Assad. (Ilyumzhinov also believes that not only was the game invented by aliens, but that he too was abducted by alien years ago. “Of course it was,” Kasparov answered when asked if the election was rigged.)

As for the future, Kasparov sees dark days ahead as long as Putin is in office. He believes that the 2018 World Cup, now currently set to take place in Russia, should be relocated to another country. But that is down the line, Kasparov says, adding that he is currently focused on the upcoming “cold winter.”

Ukraine Applying for EU Membership ‘in 6 Years Time’

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said, he would present a broad plan of social and economic reforms on Thursday which would allow the former Soviet republic to apply for membership of the European Union in six years.

Ukraine’s parliament ratified a landmark agreement on closer ties with the EU on Sept. 16, though implementation of the trade part of the accord has been delayed until January 2016 to appease Russia, which says the pact will hurt its markets.

Poroshenko, speaking to Ukrainian judges, also said that for the first time in many months no deaths or wounded had been reported in the past 24 hours in a conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, indicating that a ceasefire struck on Sept. 5 “has finally begun working”.

“I will present my vision of Ukraine’s development, our strategy for the period up to 2020,” Poroshenko said, referring to a news conference set for later on Thursday.

“It (the strategy) provides for 60 separate reforms and special programmes, which will prepare Ukraine for applying for membership in the European Union in six years time,” he said.

Ukrainian and foreign analysts say Kiev needs to carry out deep-rooted and effective political and economic reforms to overcome years of inefficient and corrupt governance to make the country eligible for possible EU membership.

S. A Nuclear Power Deal with Russia

South African government officials said on Tuesday that the South Africa’s nuclear cooperation deal signed this week with Russia is part of a tender process that will involve other competing countries and is not a contract to build power plants.

The Russian atomic agency Rosatom issued a statement on Monday saying that it had signed a $10 billion deal with Pretoria for the installation of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2030, to help Africa’s most advanced economy cope with chronic electricity shortages.

However, South African government officials involved said the agreement was still in early stages.

Xolisa Mabhongo, an executive at South African state agency Nuclear Energy Corporation said, “There will be a South African procurement process of course. There will be other inter-government agreements signed.”

There would be a bidding process before any final contracts were signed, Mabhongo said from Vienna, where the agreement was signed.

“They jumped the gun,” a senior South African government source, who is part of the country’s delegation to an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna, told reporters.

“These kinds of inter-governmental agreements are standard with nuclear vendor countries. We foresee that similar agreements will be signed with other nuclear vendor countries, France, China, Korea, the U.S. and Japan.”

Ukraine Rebels get Self Rule & Amnesty

Rebels controlling Eastern Ukraine have been granted self rule and fighters have been granted amnesty, under the new adopted parliament law.

The measures are in line with the 5 September ceasefire agreement signed by President Petro Poroshenko. The amnesty affects rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but does not cover the shooting down of the MH17 plane.

The European and Ukrainian parliaments have also voted to ratify a major EU-Ukraine association agreement.

Negotiations with Russia last week led to the free-trade part of the agreement being postponed until 2016.

Ukraine & Rebels Sign Ceasefire Truce Deal


Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels in the east have signed a truce deal to end almost five months of fighting. The two sides agreed to stop firing by 15:00 GMT and the truce appeared to be holding. But the rebels said the truce had not changed their policy of advocating splitting from Ukraine.

Meanwhile, NATO has agreed to form a multi-national “spearhead” force capable of deploying within 48 hours.

The takeover – which followed the annexation by Russia of the southern Crimea peninsula in March – prompted a military operation by Ukrainian forces to retake the cities.

Ukraine Ceasefire Talks/ West Plans Russia Sanctions


Talks regarding restoring peace and ceasefire among conflicting sides, is ongoing in Belarus. Ukraine, Russia and pro-Russia rebels form the oppositions that are considering agreements to end the crisis in eastern Ukraine. However, there are new reports of shelling near the town of Mariupol.

Meanwhile, Western countries are preparing to announce a tightening of sanctions on Russia. They are attending the second day of a NATO summit in Newport, Wales.

The West accuses Russia of sending arms and troops to back the rebels in eastern Ukraine, even though Moscow denies the accusation. The enhanced sanctions are expected to target Russian banking, energy and defence, as well as what British sources call “Putin cronies”.

The UK however says the sanctions will probably go ahead whether or not a ceasefire is agreed at the talks in the Belarus capital, Minsk.

Breaking: Putin’s Spokesman Denies Ukraine/ Russia Ceasefire

Kiev says that leaders of aggrieved nations, Ukraine and Russia have agreed to a ceasefire, but Putin’s spokesman is denying claim.

Ukrainian presidency’s statement said on Wednesday after Poroshenko and Putin spoke by telephone that, “The conversation resulted in an agreement on a lasting ceasefire in Donbas. Mutual understanding was achieved regarding steps that would promote the establishment of peace.”

The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that he and his Russian counterpart have reached agreement on a “permanent ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine, however Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the leaders had only discussed “steps” towards a truce.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the Russian news agency Ria-Novosti that the two leaders had not agreed on a ceasefire because Moscow is not party to the conflict, adding: “They only discussed how to settle the conflict.”